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'Felicity' nostalgia recap: Two guys, a girl, and fundamental discord

Season 1 | Episode 7 | “Drawing the Line (Part 1)” | Aired Nov 10, 1998

So you’ve made it to the other side of a cheating scandal unscathed, but minus one friend. Now what? Naturally, at least if you’re Felicity, you organize a hasty redemption tour.

Felicity hits the campaign trail, telling Sally via tape recorder that she doesn’t mean to be a “buttinsky,” but alas, here she is picking up the pieces from the rubble that is her life as a meddler. Ben is her first stop on the promotional run, and it goes exactly how you think it would. He’s icy, still not over the whole paper-rewriting thing. Felicity can accept responsibility, but she can’t accept her apologies falling flat.

She vents to Noel, who has recently been given advice from fellow RAs to draw the line with Felicity. Cut off the conversation about Ben and put a piece of tape across the floor, like sparring siblings forced to share a bedroom. Noel, however, is incapable of being an absentee friend. He gives her a tip to aid her redemption tour. Did he just inexplicably become her campaign manager?

Zack crashes lunch with Julie, Elena, and Felicity to share the good news that an alumnus who works at an agency is coming to NYU and will watch his film. There’s a slim chance he could sign with an agent, and asks Julie to record music for his film to give him an edge. She agrees and kisses him, their first public display of affection. Elena’s seismic glare cuts through the cuteness. Felicity and Julie don’t know it, but she’s lost her scholarship and might be tossed from NYU.

Amy Jo Johnson as Julie in Felicity

During another RA meeting, Noel asks for more advice for his “friend” who chickened out while drawing the line. They collectively groan and insist that this “friend” must draw the line. The line he failed to draw the first time has led Felicity to Ben’s loft to search for a notebook she never forgot at his place. See, Noel’s plan is to feign forgetfulness as a ploy to talk to him. It works until Felicity snatches a mile from an inch and Ben tells her, “I’m not mad at you. I’m nothing.” What do you do with that?

You rush right back to Noel to check the game tape and what went wrong with the mission. Finally, Noel draws the line with Felicity, embargoing all talk of Ben. For once, Felicity is momentarily speechless. What do you mean, no Ben talk? Having lost her closest confidante and her favorite topic of conversation, she leaves. She doesn’t want to cross the line after all.

Felicity is being thrown curveballs left and right. Meghan confronts her about touching and/or moving her mysterious box (a box that becomes strangely important later on in the series). She keeps her chin up in search of someone to talk to, finding no help from Julie, who’s en route to record music with her boyfriend, or Elena, who is suffering in the pits of hell. Of course, I’m referring to the financial aid office.

Blair runs into Felicity at Elena’s door and tells her about Elena’s predicament. They get to talking and realize they are going through the same struggle. Blair wants to help Elena, but she’s pushing him away. Felicity tried to help Ben and failed, and now she’s getting nowhere with apologies. But Blair asks Felicity to meddle once more and read Elena’s file. Will Felicity throw on her buttinsky cape for one last ride?

Felicity and Blair

Meghan watches Felicity sleep, clutching her box and doling out more accusations. Felicity, enraged over the box drama and bent out of shape about the drawn line, barges into Noel’s room in a fury. Noel makes her realize that she’s the Noel in her relationship with Ben. Their friendship was built on Felicity offering her help, just as Noel did with Felicity. He’s not wrong. Both relationships are terminally unbalanced and friendzoned like crazy.

But that wasn’t the talk Felicity wanted to have.

Ben and Blair test Sean’s new quarters game, and Blair opens the conversation to Felicity helping Elena. Hearing Blair plead Felicity’s case somehow enlightens Ben to listen to reason. Noel, on the other hand, tries to listen to reason in yet another RA meeting. (How many do they need to have?) They tell him his “friend” (they’re reading though his guise and know it’s him) can’t redraw the line. Apparently, there are a lot of politics involved when drawing metaphorical lines. Who knew?

Julie pitches multiple guitar tracks to Zack for different scenes in his movie. He’s being objectively creepy in the way he watches her and leans in to kiss her while she’s playing guitar. It’s the opposite of smooth, and he quickens the pace. Soon, they’re horizontal and he’s reaching under her shirt. She wants him to slow down—something he doesn’t do the next day when they go back to Julie’s after recording the music.

Blair stops by Elena’s while she’s packing her things to say goodbye. She spins a story that her dad forgot to pay her tuition, but Blair knows the truth. Thinking he’s saving the day, he hands her a scholarship opportunity tailor-made for Elena’s circumstance: an underprivileged, pre-med African-American woman. She’s not thrilled with his superman complex, and she’s even more annoyed when she learns that Felicity read her file.

Meghan and The Box in Felicity

Noel drops by Dean & DeLuca to redraw the line, only to have Felicity draw her own line that effectively terminates their friendship. He redefines the terms of the line, but Felicity boils all of this down to a “symptom of some fundamental discord” between him and Ben. She’s about to get some more symptoms of fundamental discord from Elena, who confronts Felicity about having more pride than to accept a scholarship based on race and income, rather than merit, for the second time in her life.

After a talk with Noel, Elena shakes her pride and accepts the scholarship. But Elena’s fight against being confined by the color of her skin and the amount of money her single parent makes was an important one to have on Felicity. The show is about more than a love triangle. It’s about an overprotected girl engaging with the big, bad world for the first time. Coming face-to-face with racial inequality, robbery, and rape opens her eyes wider than Ben’s silent treatment ever could.

And so, even though Felicity regains her friendship with Ben, it’s Julie confiding in her that Zack raped her that brings Felicity back down to earth. Real things are happening, and real hearts are breaking from a fundamental discord much graver than a fake line.

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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