There is nothing better than American TV. I shared before my Catholic guilt, mucous thick, at the fact I never read, would take an hour with Dawson Leery or Carrie Bradshaw over a library visit any day. That it’s serious medicine, panic attack curing, life fattening, better than Bible understanding, philosophy knowledge, that opens up parts of your brain you didn’t know existed before. Every epiphany I ever had, took place during an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, and I ain’t ashamed to admit it (not anymore).
Finding new shows is tricky, like dating. But Felicity was an instant win, shit hot chemistry from the off. From the first episode set up in which Felicity follows the hot guy from her high school all the way to New York for College, I was hooked, and not only because our titular character, played by Keri Russell, is so god damn understated beautiful, she makes Joey Potter look a bit boring (this is a form of blasphemy I would never break lightly, because I’ll love JP ’til I die).
Soon I’ll be finished, all four seasons digested, and I’ll have to watch something else instead. There are a million questions I have about it: Did JJ Abrams get the idea for Alias meeting Jennifer Garner on set? Are the blue prints for Lost buried within? Did the Pink Power Ranger get fired because she’s shit? These and other questions I’ll unravel in coming weeks, but the one that’s glaring obvious, and was since the first episode: Is the biggest choice a girl will have to make like, ever, between two men?
I love Felicity because, demure as she may seem, and smart as she is, she trusts her gut, and where Joey Potter would stop herself, Felicity dives right into the wrong choice, because, she knows, sometimes two wrongs will make a right. Or maybe it’s that mess is a sort of understanding deeper than clarity, that only when you’ve fucked your entire world right up can you start to figure out the building blocks you want for the reconstruction.
But, like Joey Potter, Felicity’s at the behest of two men. Both beautiful. Both smart (eventually, it turns out). Both love professors, not afraid of their feelings, when it comes to her, anyway. And both in want of the long term, forever, dropping marriage casually like cinema listings in the local paper. And sure, she followed Ben from California, loved him through high school, picks him first when he finger clicks. But Noel’s a soul steeler, is that BFF you accidentally sleep with because you only see the line once you’ve crossed it. Sometimes, up close, chemistry confuses like smog – you lose a sense of the perimeters, street markings, cliff edges.
There are other men in Felicity’s life too, who she sleeps with, dates, gives chances to, but no-one competes with the original two, and although Noel doesn’t get a proper look in again ’til the end of season 4, he’s a background lurker, always supporting our heroine and giving her super good advice, especially when Ben makes shitty choices most of us would find difficult to comprehend.
What’s frustrated me since the start is, I always thought Felicity should be with Noel. I’m not alone in thinking this. Hell, I bet there are blogs dedicated to this, fan fiction, or, at the least, fantasies. But the writers obviously weren’t watching Dawson’s Creek concurrently, didn’t hear the Dawson-Pacey-Joey triangle was keeping viewers bound. Instead, Noel mopes, even gets therapy and prescription drugs to deal with the fact she won’t pick him, and Ben, despite all wrong doing, and at times, plain boring-ness, wins out. He has a pretty face. He’s softly spoken as shit. Opposites attract and all that.
Felicity seems to know she has two choices, feels that ultimately this is the only choice, out of every man that ever lived, her forever is bone glued to one of them, though, which one? This isn’t unusual in TV, or life. Is hammered harder in Sex and the CIty: Aiden or Big? And even more so in the Creek: Pacey or Dawson?
How did this happen? How did a young woman get so trapped by the choices she made early on in College or High School? Why are we built to believe that any connection, if it lasts months or weeks or hours, is meaningful and worth a re-try, or several?
I wonder if it’s cultural, that we keep our exes close because, you know, they’re a part of us, or we placed a part of ourselves into them in the time we were together, and never seeing them ever would be like chopping off fingers and arms. But wouldn’t it be cleaner to be done when we’re done. To line draw, say it didn’t work so chances are it never would? Because for all that charming stalking, Felicity’s dream wasn’t as pictured: Ben is Jerry Springer damaged. But she chose it, pre-committed to it, and she’s definitely not a quitter. But how many chances does one person get?
But, it happens. People meet and marry early. Just the crux of life isn’t only which is the best man to date, surely? Is that all there ever is?
Salutations to Felicity for being the one with the power, the holder of choice, able to choose her own adventure, book-style, and, what Felicity does best, own those decisions whether they shit-spiral or stick. My favourite thing about Felicity is that she stands by every terrible thing she ever did (including that season 2 haircut. You go, Felicity, yeah!)