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The Column

Felicity Doesn't Always Mean Happiness
12/7/03

Did you know that Felicity went back in time? That's right – the bright-eyed girl whose New York City coming of age story the WB inflicted upon us decided to time travel in the fifth year of the series. I know, I'm shocked, too. I still have no idea how that show could have lasted five years.

I watched half an episode once. It was one of those moments involving a female friend that I was probably trying to date at the time and her persistence that I not pre-judge something simply based on the over 400 commercials I'd seen for it. So one Wednesday night, I ventured to her suite and sat and watched, partially due to the lure of free food and future dates. And after watching a half-hour of half-baked plot and half-assed dialogue, I could take no more.

Noel, or Ben, or NoelBen, or whoever the hell Felicity was dating and yet simultaneously not dating at the time, was explaining to his roommate how he was still in love with Felicity, even though she had walked out on him or blocked him on Instant Messenger or ran over his cat or some such nonsense. "But I still like her," BenNoelBen said. And the roommate responded with the only true piece of dialogue the show had ever seen.

"Only idiots like Felicity."

It was at that point I said, "amen," and left the room. And I know that this is going to get me hatemail from people who just love an unrealistic teen drama brought to you by the network responsible for keeping Sister Sister on the air. But before you write me angry letters filled with alternating capitalization and several incorrect uses of the apostrophe, please finish reading this column. I can assure you that by the end of it, I will both adequately explain my point and predictably end up dating Ben. Unless its sweeps week, in which case I will time travel and fix it.

I learned about the time traveling thing this week. While visiting my friend Melissa at her sorority house, I stumbled upon the TV room, where she and some of her sisters were watching the Felicity DVD. The bonus features of which include Keri Russell's Felicity talking about how much she loved going to NYU, before the school told the WB they can't shoot there and they should screw off. My alma matter, Columbia, told the WB the same thing, though I'm guessing they didn't end the sentence with a preposition.

Felicity ended up at UNY--the University of New York—a fictionalized version of NYU that she attended with at least seven other students. And I, in turn, ended up having to defend my anti-Felicity position to a portion of Melissa's sorority, which has more people than the student body of UNY.

I pointed out that the conversation I witnessed between BenNoelNoelNoelBenNoel and his roommate took place in an apartment the size of Giants Stadium. In New York, apartments are usually much smaller. My apartment, for instance, is so small that Superman routinely uses it to change.

They told me that to enjoy the show, I needed to suspend my disbelief when it came to the set. Just like I had to, for instance, when Felicity time traveled in the final season.

"When she what?"

Apparently, the show finished after four seasons, wrapped up into a nice little package that anyone who'd ever seen one commercial for the series could have seen coming. Felicity and Ben got together. Yay. Yeehah. Yipee. Everyone was happy, especially the people who never had to watch the show again. But then the show was renewed for six more episodes. Suddenly, the writers needed some more drama to goad viewers into watching, and Ben having an affair with Paco, the poor yet striking cabana boy was out of the question. So the writers invented a way for Felicity to get with Noel, too. How could that be possible? Time travel, of course.

But it would be ridiculous for Felicity to have access to an actual time machine. So instead she found a witch who helped her go back in time so she could date Noel. MUCH more believable.

If you like Felicity, I won't try to stop you. That's your decision/guilty pleasure/inherent character flaw. I will not question why anyone watches it, or even buys a DVD with bonus features. I will, however, be shocked and appalled when someone is surprised that I don't like it, too. As NoelNoelNoelyBenBen's roommate said, "only idiots like Felicity." And I may watch Sportscenter six times a day, but I am no idiot.

Hey - if I've got to suspend my disbelief, you do too.

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