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'Felicity' nostalgia recap: Pride, prejudice, and presents

Season 1 | Episode 18 | “Happy Birthday” | Aired Apr 27, 1999

Felicity, like its namesake character, feels the pangs of its first year ending. While gearing up to stick the landing with the first season finale, the series continues to drive its main character down a contemplative path. Felicity’s first love has just blown up in her face, and she’s recovering from the aftershocks. Oh, and there are some pretty wild aftershocks.

Noel, to his credit, has feelings about the breakup, too. Although Elena won’t let him forget that he chipped the crack into the Felicity-Noel union that sent it shattering, he’s still hurt that Felicity slept with someone and regretful that he chose to leave with Hannah. So, in an attempt to wipe the slate clean, he’s going to resign as RA and move off campus. Wait, what?

That’s Felicity’s reaction to the news in a nutshell: complete and utter confusion. But before Felicity unpacks her emotional schizophrenia to Sally, she has to deal with the invasion of Meghan’s straight-laced family. Meanwhile, Julie gets the surprise of her life from Carol for her birthday. In “Happy Birthday,” Felicity and her crew pack their pride, prejudice, and some unexpected presents.



As if Noel interrupting Felicity, Elena, and Julie’s pizza party weren’t awkward enough, Carol (the woman Julie believed to be her birth mother) drops by to deliver a birthday gift for Julie. It’s some off-the-rack sweater sets, but the real gift is her truth: She lied about not giving up a baby for adoption. She gave up a baby, and that baby was Julie.

Surprisingly, Julie takes this news well. She doesn’t get mad about the lie or call out Carol. Maybe anger is the incorrect assumption, but seeing Julie follow up the news with a hug is jarring for a few reasons. First, she’s known to value her emotions and ask the hard questions, even if the receiving party isn’t up for it. Also, she hasn’t historically been easy on Carol. She expressed that she felt she wasn’t given a choice when she was given up, and now Carol is taking advantage of Julie’s feelings again.

But Carol harbors an even bigger lie, if that’s at all possible. Over dinner, Carol tells Julie their relationship must stay between them, because her husband has no idea that she had and gave up a baby before they met. Julie later declines the terms of the deal and inadvertently meets Carol’s young daughter. Suddenly, she gains perspective on what’s at stake for Carol. Still, Julie continually gets the short end of the stick. The kicker? The man Carol married is Julie’s dad. She wants to meet him, but Carol won’t let her. Having overheard Carol’s dinner plans, Julie shows up at the restaurant and observes the family she could have had from afar.



Felicity doesn’t know what to make of Noel’s intent to flee. He’s apartment hunting because bumping into Felicity is too torturous. With every awkward run-in, he’s reminded of what he’s done, what he’s lost, and what Felicity did, too. She’s hovering over the same emotional mayhem. As she tells Sally, one second she’s mad, the other she’s sad, and then the next she feels guilty. One thing’s certain: Noel is pulling the trigger on an apartment.

In the midst of her latest Noel drama, Felicity encounters Meghan’s parents, who are practically ripped from the plot of a perfect Hallmark Channel movie compared to Meghan’s wardrobe reenactment of The Craft. Felicity is taken aback when Meghan’s side of the room loses its punk rock edge, and so does Meghan’s style. Her parents don’t know Nose Ring Meghan, and that means Felicity has to keep an eye on The Box.

Spoiler alert: We still don’t find out what Meghan has stashed away in her box. But her parents take a peek, thinking it belongs to Felicity, prompting Meghan’s dad to confront (and openly judge) Felicity about the depraved contents. What is in this box?! A clue: It can’t be thrown away. Is she practicing the dark arts or collecting human body parts? Anything’s possible with Meghan.



Everyone gathers to celebrate Julie’s birthday, complete with cake, presents, and unresolved romantic intrigue. Ben bought Julie a new guitar (more on how below), and Meghan gives Felicity the last drink. You wouldn’t think that would be such a monumental moment, but knowing their relationship and how Meghan operates, that’s as close to a peace offering as Felicity will get from Meghan in the near future.

Finally, Felicity gathers up the courage to talk to Noel. She tells him that he can’t move, that leaving the dorm would “disrupt everything.” She means this in the least selfish way possible, since he is the glue that holds that entire floor from imploding. But between the lines, she means she wants the option of a reconciliation. She and Noel are unresolved, and to put a toe tag on their relationship without seeing their breakup through would be admitting defeat. It’s a hopeful way to view the state of their union, but who knows if time and close quarters will offer a resolution.


  • Ben continues his parade of bad decisions, turning to sports gambling when he’s strapped for cash. Sean spots him for rent, and Julie tells him not to get her a birthday present, but pride is a nasty drug. With Lynne’s help (this swim bro will be the end of Ben Covington), Ben places a bet and scores enough money for rent and a new guitar for Julie. In hindsight, this feels like minor preparation for Scott Speedman’s role in Animal Kingdom.
  • How cute/slightly ridiculous is it that Richard was sad to see Noel resign? There’s a fine line between friend and enemy.
  • Another episode without the sage wisdom of Sally. What is Sally thinking?!
  • However, we get more solid proof that Elena is a feminist icon. When she yells, “You stay proud!” at Felicity as she putters off to talk to Noel, listen closely and you can actually hear the audience from 1999 shouting, “Yaaas, queen!”
  • Felicity looks back and forth between Ben and Julie kissing and Noel at the episode’s close. What does this mean? Help us, Sally!
  • The “hey” count is unofficial, but an educated guess would be somewhere between 8 and 15.

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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