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'Felicity' nostalgia recap: Monsters, mugshots, and a massive hangover

Season 1 | Episode 5 | “Spooked” | Aired Oct 27, 1998

“I don’t always judge everybody. I always judge you.” Truer words have never come out of Felicity’s mouth, and they’re directed at Ben.

They have known each other just a few months—a mere five hours in narrative time—but Felicity has already come to a relationship-defining epiphany about Ben: She cares too much about what he’s doing, thinking, feeling. And it spooks her to her core.

Before the epiphany knocks her over her head, it’s a pair of armed burglars who do the spooking. It’s business as usual with Felicity and Ben, hanging out like Felicity isn’t overanalyzing every movement (she is) while Ben flutters through the occasion oblivious to his impact. She wants their relationship to deepen and grow, but that’s hard to do when all they do is study or settle for baseline conversation. Divine intervention grants Felicity’s wish, though it’s neither divine nor the wish she wanted. Ben unlocks his loft door, and they are immediately greeted by gun-wielding muggers who force the pair to the ground. It might not have been the bonding moment she expected, but … be careful what you wish for?

Down one necklace and a whole lot of chill, Felicity and Ben answer questions for the police. Like Taylor Swift with her haters, Ben shakes off the bruise he’s sustained to his stomach. What initially comes off as “tough guy” machismo ends up playing more like a wake for the machismo Ben lacked during the hold up. He couldn’t protect Felicity, he couldn’t protect himself, and he couldn’t even save a necklace. No one was severely hurt, but that didn’t stop Ben’s ego from taking a beating.

Julie, Elena, and Noel pester Meghan with questions about Felicity’s well being, but Meghan’s as knowledgeable as an automated voice recording. And she’s as caring, too, as she scopes out Felicity’s side of the room. Felicity appears in one piece, surely to Meghan’s disappointment, just in time to save her friends from a phone call with her father.


While Felicity’s friends shower her with compassion and support, Sean guilts Ben about not putting up a bigger fight during the robbery. The muggers swiped Sean’s idea book, and with it, his ticket to million-dollar entrepreneurial success. (Fear not, Sean still manages to somehow think up “Smoothaise” in a later season.) Sean’s conceit doesn’t help Ben’s particular case of survivor’s guilt, an emotional undertaking Noel would gladly take over if it meant sharing the trauma with Felicity. Honestly, being jealous, even a little bit, of a dude who was held at gunpoint with the girl you like is kind of crazy, no?

Inevitably, Felicity tosses and turns that night until her phone rings. It’s Ben. He’s downstairs. He stops by to check on her, thinking she’d still be shaken up. But his middle-of-the-night drop-in tells a different story. Sure, Felicity is shaken up, but it seems like Ben’s the one who needs the comforting.

Felicity aces her job interview at Dean & DeLuca and meets Javier, who will become one of her closest confidantes. Afterward, she meets Ben at the police station to scan through a stack of mugshots to find their robbers. Ben acts cagey, not fully committing to the exercise, and leaves early. Later that night, Felicity’s phone rings again: Ben is downstairs again. They carve pumpkins together at the loft, planning to dress up as Frankenstein and The Bride Of for Ben and Sean’s Halloween party. Before Sean interrupts their date (?) and steals their Chinese, they talk about their fears, their life-flashing-by concerns, and the ironies of them all. But chem lab grades pale in comparison to your crush simultaneously pulling you in and keeping you at arm’s length.


Ben is a no-show for mugshot hunt day two, but he’s not doling out apologies. Elena, however, is apologizing to Noel for flipping out when he put a cardboard witch on her door. She begrudgingly agrees to dress as a Subway employee with Noel, but all bets are off when she hits it off with a new guy named Blair. Julie isn’t so lucky in love following her awkward movie date with Zack. She backs away from him when he tries to kiss her, a move that sets them back two giant leaps.

Decked out as the Bride of Frankenstein, Felicity sinks when she sees Ben dressed as a member of The Rat Pack instead. She can’t read his weirdness and throws caution to the wind, accepting a drink from a perfect stranger—the guy who did dress as Frankenstein. It’s not a smart decision (never take a drink from a stranger), but if her goal was to get smashed, she’s a real go-getter. She catches Ben making out with a pink Power Ranger (not Amy Jo Johnson) and runs out in tears.

Noel comes to her rescue, offering his shoulder when she tells him she has never felt so lost. Of course, he acts as a human Thought Catalog article and says all the right stuff … just as Felicity throws up all over him. Perfect timing.

Felicity and Noel

Felicity confronts Ben about their traumatic bonding moment and him leading her on. Because when you call it like it is, that’s essentially what he’s doing—whether he’s cognizant of it or not. He doesn’t understand the issue or what he may have done wrong, instead telling Felicity she judges everyone. While that may be true, Ben can’t be mad that Felicity felt something for him, their circumstance, and his 2 a.m. visits.

He pleads his case for being in college and following his freedom in whichever direction it points, and that means making out with whomever he pleases. “Not everything has big meaning,” he concludes. It’s true. He’s right. Some things can simply exist without definition. Felicity isn’t like that.

She wants to know what it means when Ben comes to her workplace to fight for her friendship. She wants to know it means he tells her she makes him nervous. She wants to know what it means when he gives her a new necklace to replace the stolen family heirloom.

When all of your life has been planned for you the way Felicity’s has been, you would think she’d dive headfirst into a sea of possibility, that she’d give up trying to figure everything out. But old habits die hard, and damn it, she’s a passionate person. So passionate that catharsis strikes when she realizes she needs to stop obsessing over Ben. Like Julie with Zack, Felicity will find the man among the monsters who treats her like a real person.

All four seasons of Felicity are available to stream on Hulu Plus.

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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