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Ship Wars: The great 'Felicity' debate

Ben or Noel? Noel or Ben? In the season one finale of Felicity, our titular heroine (Keri Russell) was faced with an impossible choice. Should she go on a cross-country road trip back to Palo Alto with Ben (Scott Speedman), the boy she had spent years pining over, who now seemed ready to commit, or should she fly off to Germany for the summer with Noel (Scott Foley), her good-natured R.A.-turned-best-friend, who always put her first?

Felicity ultimately chooses Ben. And then she chooses Ben again. And again. And then Felicity time-travels and chooses Noel, and Noel dies. And then Felicity wakes up and chooses Ben one last time. After four seasons, Felicity’s choice was a definitive one. Yet, years later, the debate over whether she made the right choice rages on (in my living room, mostly).

In this edition of the EW Community’s Ship Wars, we’re tackling the infamous Felicity love triangle head-on, as Team Ben and Team Noel present some of their best arguments as to why their pick is the best pick for our favorite turtleneck-wearing artist/doctor, Felicity Porter.

So who will it be: Ben or Noel?

Team Ben: Simply put, Felicity is the original fangirl. She has a crush on a near-perfect guy whom she has put up on an incredibly high pedestal and who doesn’t know she exists. Ben Covington might as well have been Tom Hardy. Except that in Felicity’s case, it turns out that he does know who she is. A heartfelt note from Ben in her yearbook suggests that not only is he aware of her presence on the planet, but he even wishes he’d had a chance to get to know her better. This information naturally prompts Felicity to cancel her previous college plans in favor of hopping on a plane, flying across the country, and enrolling in the same university as Ben.

Slightly insane stalker move aside, most of us can relate to Felicity’s idea, even if acting on it seems a bit out there. This guy—the guy—just clued her in on the fact that he thinks she’s interesting. She had to do something!

From the very beginning, Felicity was about Felicity and Ben. Had Ben turned out to be a massive jerk unworthy of Felicity’s time, it would be a different story. But Ben is a regular guy, chock-full of his own insecurities. They develop a friendship, and Felicity has the opportunity to get to know him. Even without the rose-colored glasses she’d been wearing in high school—even once she gets under the surface, to the real Ben—she still loves him. Only this time, it’s real love.


That’s not to say that Noel, the other man in Felicity’s life, wasn’t a good option. Noel was also adorable and consistently treated Felicity the way we all wanted our girl to be treated. Ben’s choices were sometimes brutal—dating Felicity’s best friend definitely stung—but it was all part of the process of figuring out that Felicity was his destiny.

In fact, all of the obstacles these two faced allowed both Felicity and Ben to grow into the people they needed to be in order to make it work. It wasn’t always smooth sailing—and Ben made the terrible choice to let Felicity go, even as she correctly told him he’d regret it (followed by the saddest haircut in the history of television). But ultimately, they found their way back to each other.

The story of Felicity and Ben could have been clichéd had it been told differently. Instead, they were each given the chance to evolve and discover that after everything, they belong together.  —Tamar Barbash

Team Noel: Many years ago, I was bragging about a friend of mine who had recently built his own website. He was a wiz with graphic design, super-smart, and way ahead of his time; wasn’t that so cool? Partway through my story, I realized the friend I was bragging about was, in fact, Noel Crane—a fictional character, whom I’ve never met because HE’S FICTIONAL. So yeah, you could say I was in real deep on Team Noel.

It’s true, Felicity moved across the country for Ben. And I totally get the Ben appeal. She believes he’s her soulmate; he’s got that damaged, brooding factor; and he has a great head of hair. But you can only watch a gal get mistreated, stood up, and cheated on so many times before you just want to yell at her to get a grip and start dating that nice boy down the hall who loves Boggle, will rig dorm-fridge lotteries on your behalf, and, quite simply, adores you.


It’s honestly a mystery to me as to how Felicity resisted Noel for so long. Even at the time, I knew Noel was what one might call a “real catch.” When the two first meet, Noel is her resident advisor. This means that not only did Noel have some innate leadership qualities, but he was also smart enough to realize that this was one way to get some free university housing. Resourceful!

Noel Crane is also simultaneously nerdy and handsome. Is he the original embodiment of geek chic? It’s possible. He can fix your iMac (the super-old blue plastic one, guys!), build a website (noelcrane.com, Google it), have a career in graphic design, and, at the same time, woo the likes of Queen Tyra Banks and the Doritos Girl. What can I say? Babes love Noel Crane.

And don’t even get me started on the Subway Sandwich Maker Halloween costume. DO NOT GET ME STARTED.

Yes, Noel Crane is the nice guy. But what’s so bad about a nice guy? A nice guy will treat you well. A nice guy will be considerate of your feelings and your time. A nice guy will make you feel important and wanted—not just when it’s convenient for him, but always. Nice guys aren’t so bad, Felicity. And if you’re ever bored of nice, just slip him a little beet powder and see where the day takes you. —Maggie Fremont

Now it’s your turn. Vote Team Ben or Team Noel below, then explain yourself in the comments. And if you, like Felicity, are having trouble choosing, just ask yourself: WWSD? What would Sally do?

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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