January 11, 2020

Felicity 1.1, Pilot: Extraordinary Circumstances

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:03 pm by Jenn

It’s time to get moody

Summary: Felicity Porter is sitting in a bare dorm room, dictating a letter to her friend Sally. We flash back to her high school graduation, after which she planned to go to Stanford for pre-med and med school. That was the plan her father always wanted her to follow through with. She watches Ben Covington get his diploma, then collects her own as her parents, Barbara and Edward, photograph and film her. The graduation speaker tells the grads to embrace their lives because they won’t get these days back.

Felicity voices over (oh, great, I picked another show with voiceovers) that people who have lost a limb say they can still feel it. At graduation, Felicity starts worrying that high school will go away but the feeling of it won’t. Her life is going great, but all she feels is dread. That’s called anxiety, Felicity. Go see a shrink.

She remembers helping out while Ben had blood drawn at a blood drive. That’s the closest they’ve ever been. She watches him fight with his mom, sending her away. Felicity introduces herself to Ben and asks him to sign her yearbook. She hovers a little, so he asks for a minute, sounding a little annoyed. But when he returns the book, he thanks her for asking him to sign it.

Felicity voices over what Ben wrote, a note about how he spent high school watching her and wondering what she was thinking. He doesn’t know her, but he admires her. He tells her to take care of herself and signs it “love, Ben.” The P.S. says that he wishes they’d known each other earlier. As Ben leaves, Felicity asks where he’s going to college. He says New York. She says her plans aren’t clear yet. But all of a sudden, she doesn’t feel dread anymore.

At home, Felicity digs out information she’d discarded on the University of New York and tells her parents she wants to go there instead of Stanford. She’s already called the school and was told that it’ll take “extraordinary circumstances” to get her enrolled in time for the fall semester. Edward refuses to pay her tuition, but Felicity has already arranged to get loans and try to get a work-study job. She doesn’t want to follow in her father’s footsteps anymore.

After the worst summer of her life, Felicity arrives in New York and finds her new home, Kelvin Hall. She’s giving up all her plans and everything her parents expected of her, all to go to school with a guy she doesn’t even know. She knows this could be a huge mistake, but it also might save her life. She finishes her audio letter, telling Sally she misses her.

Felicity goes to get her picture taken for her student ID, first asking the photographer if her hair looks okay. She runs into Ben and pretends she forgot he was going to school there, too. He’s with a girl, whom he kisses, and he tries to introduce the two of them but he doesn’t remember Felicity’s name. Ouch. Her ID photo doesn’t turn out so great.

Felicity meets with a counselor or advisor or something, John, admitting that she hasn’t completely planned everything out. He tells her that her parents called him and expressed their concerns. Felicity says they’re insulted by her change in plans. John tells her that the school and the city can be overwhelming, so it’s better for students there to be independent. He and the Porters aren’t sure Felicity is. Does she have any interests outside of medicine? Felicity says she likes art and shows him her portfolio. She’s shaken by her parents’ concerns that she’s not independent.

Ben and Felicity are in a literature course together, but not sitting near each other. She starts crying as the professor gives them some introductory remarks. The student next to her, Julie Emrick, writes her a note asking if she’s okay. She can check “no” or “I will be.” Felicity checks “I will be” and writes a thank-you to Julie. Julie makes her laugh by writing a note making a crack about their professor’s hair.

After class, the new friends go to lunch together and talk about how difficult it’s been transitioning to college. Felicity hasn’t met her roommate yet, but the girl is already intimidating – she has bone sculptures. Julie’s roommate is a clean freak, and everything in the room smells like pine. She admits to being scared about this new chapter in her life.

Felicity spots Ben and pulls him out of the cafeteria to make a big proclamation. She tells him he’s most of the reason she came to New York. She had a huge crush on him in high school, despite only talking to him maybe once. Now she realizes that following him to New York was kind of crazy. However, she’s past it and is going to make a life for herself. Ben says he’s flattered by all this and agrees to be friends.

Felicity gets a work-study job in the admin office, quickly breaking the rules of confidentiality by reading Ben’s file. Back in her dorm, she ends a phone conversation with her parents when they tell her that the family isn’t pleased with her decisions. It says a lot about her and the family dynamics that she feels like she has to ask if she can hang up, instead of just doing it.

The floor’s RA, Noel Crane, comes by to introduce herself, presenting himself as the “floor shrink.” It doesn’t take long for Felicity to decide she should go chat with him. She tells him she read Ben’s application essay, which is about how he never liked his older brother when they were growing up. The brother died of brain cancer years ago, and Ben is now older than his brother ever was. He’s just now grieving the loss and the love he never knew he had.

Felicity asks Noel if it’s possible for her and Ben to just be friends after she’s had feelings for him for so long. Will she always be setting herself up to get hurt? Noel thinks they can be friends. Her emotions are heightened by all the changes in her life; they’ll smooth out eventually. She just needs to give it a month or so. Felicity thinks he’s right.

Ben and Felicity’s lit class gets back their first papers, and Ben isn’t happy with his grade. Felicity voices over that it’s amazing how much someone can change in just two weeks. The old her wouldn’t have been able to let go of her expectations about Ben. But when he asks the new her for help with his work, she’s okay with hanging out with him as friends.

As they study in Felicity’s room, Ben asks her why she never went to parties in high school. She says she went to a few, but she wasn’t very popular (unlike him – he was actually voted most popular). Noel comes by to bring her a subway survival guide, so…yeah, he’s totally in love with her. I don’t think Felicity gets it. Ben asks Felicity if she wants to study more the next night. Noel comes back in to ask Felicity a question that I’m sure just couldn’t wait until Ben had left her room. He leaves, then comes back, saying it’s just to bug them. Heh.

Felicity has plans with Julie the next night, but she invites Ben along. When Julie learns that Felicity invited him, she bows out, not wanting to be a fifth wheel. Felicity assures her that they’ll just be three people getting together to study. She and Ben are just friends. Julie’s surprised that there’s not something going on between them.

The three go out together, and Ben and Felicity are very comfortable with each other. Julie’s kind of a buzzkill. When she leaves the table, Ben asks Felicity to confirm that she really just wants to be friends…because he likes Julie and wants to ask her out. Felicity tries to act casual, like that’s totally fine. She says it seems like Julie thinks Ben is great.

Back at her dorm, Felicity sulks, then finally meets her roommate, Meghan Rotundi. Meghan isn’t impressed. Felicity then goes to Ben’s and yells at him for writing in her yearbook that he watched her for four years and wishes he’d gotten to know her. He should realize that even the smallest actions can have big effects. He made her fall for him, and now he just wants to be friends.

Ben tells her that, though he said he was flattered that she followed him to New York, he actually thinks it’s awkward. He revealed a tiny bit about himself and she changed her whole life. Felicity says she knows him better than he thinks. She admits to reading his application essay, the only thing she’s done in 17 years that wasn’t completely moral.

Ben gets mad, saying that he was nice to her, and that’s all. He didn’t ask her to come to New York. How can she think she’s in love with him when she doesn’t even know him? It’s then that Felicity realizes Ben isn’t the only one in the room. Julie’s also there. AWKWARD. Also, sucks to be the girl Ben was hanging out with and kissing earlier.

Felicity goes back to see John, telling him she’s thinking of leaving New York, taking the semester off, and going to Stanford in the spring. It’s expensive to stay in New York, and if her father will still pay for Stanford, she should take advantage of that. Her parents are already coming to visit on Sunday, so she’ll just go home with them. Then she’ll become a doctor and try to save lives. John gives Felicity back her portfolio and tells her she’s a good artist.

Ben comes by Felicity’s room as she’s packing and gives her a tape that was outside her door. It’s from Sally, who Felicity explains was her French tutor. Sally was supposed to get married, but her fiancé died in a motorcycle accident three months before the wedding. Felicity likes talking to Sally instead of writing to her, so they send each other tapes instead of letters.

As Felicity starts to apologize for her blow-up the other night, Ben asks her to go up to the roof to chat. He admits that he lied in his essay – he never had a brother. He’s not sure why he wanted to tell her the truth; maybe because she provokes him and makes him think about things he usually doesn’t. Ben wanted to come to New York to get away from his life. Now he feels like a shallow loser. He also feels bad that Felicity thought he was someone he isn’t.

Felicity says she’s never made a big decision in her life. She thought Ben was the reason she came to New York, but he was just an excuse. She felt high after talking to him at graduation; she’d never done something like that before. Her first big decision ended up being dumb and embarrassing. She’s sure she’ll regret it in the future. Ben says he wanted to make sure things were okay between them, especially if Felicity’s leaving. She says he didn’t have to do that. Ben looks out at the city and says he can’t wait to see what it looks like when it snows.

Now Noel has something he wants to say. He tells Felicity she shouldn’t leave school – in five or ten years, she’ll regret it. He has four words of advice: “Stay in New York or perish.” (I hope Noel isn’t a math major.) Felicity hesitantly asks if he has feelings for her. He admits that he does, but that’s no reason for her to ignore his advice.

Felicity and Julie run into each other, and Julie apologizes for the whole thing with Ben. She never would have gone home with him if she’d known that Felicity liked him. Her friendship with Felicity means a lot to her, and Julie won’t see Ben again. Felicity says it doesn’t matter, since she’s leaving.

Felicity’s parents take her to dinner and tell her they support her plan to take the semester off, then go to Stanford. They’ll take care of all the necessary expenses and pull strings to get her into Stanford. Barbara thinks Felicity is being mature about fixing her impulsive mistake. Edward reveals that he pulled strings to get her into Stanford originally, so doing it again won’t be a big deal. He offers her a car to sweeten the deal.

Felicity says that if she made a mistake, it was hers alone. Now she wants to stay in New York. Agreeing to the new plan would be another impulsive decision, and maybe not the best thing to do. She should at least give herself more time in New York. She can’t wait to see what it looks like when it snows. Edward tells her that if she stays, making another huge mistake, the offer to help her is off the table. Felicity says that’s a decision he’ll have to make.

As Felicity walks around the city, we hear Sally’s tape. She talks about how difficult it’s been for her in her new life in Santa Fe. She thinks tragedy wants to harden us, so we can’t let it. She was about to move again a couple weeks ago, but Felicity’s tape made her rethink things. It was like Felicity was tutoring her instead of the other way around.

Felicity meets up with Julie and makes up with her. Sally voices over that we have to decide what are lives are going to be. Things happen to us that are out of our control, but we can control how we react to them. Sally thinks Felicity made a good choice, and she can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Thoughts: Sally is played (well, voiced) by Janeane Garofalo.

I watched this on ABC’s website, which cut the original music for some reason, but just know that Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” is played at some point, which is the least surprising thing to happen in a show from 1998.

We all agree that the chances of Felicity making all the arrangements to get into a college in May or June are tiny, right? That the whole premise here is ridiculous? I don’t have to cover that? Okay, good.

Also ridiculous: Ben says he’s going to New York, and Felicity knows exactly which school he’s going to. Not to mention that when someone asks where you’re going to school, you tell them the school, not the location.

If my child made sudden, huge life decisions after never being impulsive before, I would take her to a shrink. And if a girl I barely knew told me she’d moved across the country for me, I would run away screaming and get a restraining order.


  1. Nick Rivers said,


    I was a huge HUGE Felicity fan (well, first couple seasons anyway) during its first run, and it’s a travesty they didn’t get all the original music for the re-runs. Anyway, I actually ended up moving to New York for grad school with little planning or preparation, a Felicity-style impulsive irrational decision, but it worked out great, so I have such a spot in my heart for this show and that girl. Can’t wait to hear your takes on the love triangle(s).

  2. Kaylen said,

    I’m so glad you’re recapping it too!

  3. Deja said,


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