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'Felicity' nostalgia recap: Heartbreak warfare

Season 1 | Episode 17 | “Assassins” | Aired Apr 20, 1999

Duck and cover. As the classic song goes, love is a battlefield, and shots have been fired directly at the hearts of Felicity and Noel. No one is safe, mostly because a building-wide game of Assassins has broken out, but also because clear-cut divisions are made in a few central relationships.

Felicity, of course, lost her virginity to the effortlessly (debatable) cool art student Eli, while Noel seemed to have chosen a fresh go at romance with Hannah over Felicity. Crossed lines and miscommunication lead Noel right back to Felicity, but the damage has already been done. There are gray areas and more battles to be fought, but will they make it through this heartbreak warfare? Let’s get into it.

First things first, Sean finally got his own storyline aside from being the bumbling budding entrepreneur who makes his friends try weird concoctions in the background. (Isn’t it funny to think that with his filmmaker and innovator sensibilities that Sean would probably be a YouTube personality à la Shane Dawson if Felicity had taken place in the ’10s?) He asks for Julie’s help in asking out the librarian he has the hots for. And while Julie aided in getting Chloe’s name, it was Sean’s quirky charm and desire to gift her a day planner that landed him a date with his crush. Go, Sean!



The reason that Julie’s devoting an afternoon to playing Cupid with Sean rather than spending time with her boyfriend is because Ben’s been anything but stationary. Now that he’s on the swim team and in Lynne’s good graces, he’s going to 1 a.m. concerts with his swim bros then hitting the pool for 5 a.m. practice. There’s not much time left in between for Julie.

Perhaps Ben’s problem doesn’t simply lie with his misallocation of time so much as it does with how easily he’s persuaded. Not to diagnose Ben (but to diagnose Ben), he’s so insecure about how people perceive him that when Lynne insists he comes to the bar, he caves after the smallest bit of protest. Minute by minute, he’s losing Julie’s interest. She won’t wait around for him to come home forever.

If this were a show on The CW circa anytime after 2005, viewers would be worried that he’d develop an addiction from his late nights of drinking, but there’s no time for that on Felicity. The worst that could, and most likely will, happen is that Julie dumps him and he runs back to Felicity. And, might I add, what impeccable timing for him to be carving cracks into his relationship …



The impending dissolution of the Felicity and Noel union spells intrigue for a Felicity and Ben reunion. But that’s pure speculation at this point. Felicity still needs to wade through the heavy feelings of her first time and her first love (two different things) before Ben becomes even a thought in her head. To see her go from describing her dreamlike first time to Sally to later regretting it is a powerful process.

Right away, she learns that Noel didn’t sleep with Hannah and he doesn’t want to be with her. Felicity avoids Noel pretty expertly, but she can’t hide the truth much longer when she receives a bouquet of flowers from Eli. Once her one-night stand is out in the open, it’s hurt feelings and guilt. Noel can’t focus in class, Felicity goes easy on Noel’s faults, and Eli refers to Felicity as “some girl.” In short, it’s a real mess.

What Felicity’s struggling with underneath the Noel surface drama is her first time being with someone she doesn’t know. She had always wanted her first time to mean something, and Noel throws this fact in her face. Even though Felicity didn’t know Eli from Adam and wasn’t in love with him, let’s be honest — she could have done a lot worse for her first time. He was kind, nothing was forced, they weren’t somewhere sketchy. She shouldn’t have to regret it.



But she does regret sleeping with Eli. It played a role in ruining her relationship with Noel, though Noel should take ownership for effectively choosing Hannah over Felicity. He brings up a good point, that he waited in the wings while she sorted out her feelings for Ben. Although he wasn’t patient or happy about it, he stuck it out while Felicity figured out how she felt. But they weren’t together when that happened.

Sure, when they went to the hotel to attempt to have a nonflammable first time, she wigged out over Ben and Julie hanging out. What she didn’t do? Act on the impulse that she might have feelings for Ben. She didn’t ask Noel to wait while she explored those feelings. She put them to bed, which Noel tries to do with Felicity. He thinks that having sex and forgetting about their fight will make it go away. But only a breakup can do that.

Noel can’t forgive Felicity. Felicity can’t forgive Noel. Ironically, they have become each other’s targets in the game of Assassins. Is all really fair in love and war when love is the war?


  • Elena is the ’90s feminist icon we needed, deserved, and have completely forgotten about. We could (and would) sit here for hours and list the reasons why she’s amazing, but “Assassins” highlighted her icon status boldly. From correcting Noel’s (unintentionally) sexist use of the word “hitmen” to standing by Felicity’s side no matter what, Elena should forget about medicine and go into politics.
  • Now that Felicity and Noel are no more and Ben and Julie are walking on eggshells, one might sense that a little boyfriend swapping might be on the horizon. The storied Felicity-Ben-Noel love triangle could take shape any minute now.
  • Just a well-earned round of applause for Meghan. Where would we be without her unaffected snark?

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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