February 22, 2020

Felicity 1.7, Drawing the Line, Part 1: Doesn’t Anyone on This Show Respect Boundaries?

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:08 pm by Jenn

Suddenly, a silly love triangle doesn’t seem so important

Summary: You guys! Felicity’s not making a tape for Sally! Instead, we start with Noel sharing his problems for once, instead of being the one who has to listen to other people’s problems. He says a guy on his floor has a connection with a girl, but she keeps telling him about her feelings for another guy. The person Noel’s talking to says he has “the nice-guy friend thing” going on. Noel says his “friend” feels like there’s a spark between him and the girl.

Noel is making up this story at an RA meeting, which was supposed to be about the new fire code. Astrid is there, which means she has some level of responsibility in the dorm, which scares me a little. Noel tells her that he doesn’t know what to tell his advisee about the girl he likes. Astrid and a couple of RAs agree that the advisee needs to draw a line with the girl – tell her to stop talking to him about the guy she likes.

Oh, now Felicity’s making a tape. Sigh. She shares that the word “buttinsky” is in the dictionary. It means someone who’s nosey and makes trouble. Felicity admits that she’s one, though she doesn’t mean to be. Flashback to a work shift, when she sees Ben walking by Dean & DeLuca. Felicity knows that she ruined things with him by rewriting his essay.

Elena’s on hold with someone in the school’s administration when Blair brings her a record player and Ben Webster record. She tries to turn down his gifts, admitting that she’s not sure if she’s staying at school. Zach sits down with Julie while she’s in the cafeteria with Felicity and Elena, and announces that some agent is coming to the school and will be seeing Zach’s movie. Elena tells him not to get his hopes up.

Zach asks Julie to do some guitar music for his film. They share a chaste kiss, which Julie admits to Felicity must be a statement of some kind. Elena bluntly asks if they’ve screwed yet. Julie says no, then changes the topic to Felicity and Ben. No, they haven’t screwed yet, either. They’re also not talking. But he’s in the cafeteria, so Felicity approaches him to invite him to sit with her and her friends. He coolly declines.

Felicity, of course, goes to Noel to talk things over. She feels like she and Ben were starting to develop a friendship before the paper thing, but now he hates her. Noel looks like he’s imagining jumping out the window just to get away from this topic. Finally, he tells her he needs to draw…a comparison. A friend of his went through something similar. He tells Felicity to pretend she left something at Ben’s apartment, which will give her an excuse to talk to him while she looks for it. Felicity hugs him and says he’s such a good friend.

Back in Felicity’s room, Meghan asks if Felicity opened her box. Felicity says she didn’t know Meghan had a box. Okay, this sounds weird. Meghan has some sort of keepsake box, and she thinks Felicity did something with it. Felicity wonders why they live together in such a big room when they could live in two rooms with a wall between them. After all, they have two doors. Why do they have two doors?? Meghan says she’s leaving, and taking her box with her. Felicity’s fine with that, but Meghan thinks she’s using reverse psychology. I have no idea what just happened.

Time for another RA meeting. Astrid teaches everyone that the singular of “graffiti” is “graffito.” She urges them to use the word in conversation because it freaks people out. No, Astrid, I think you’re the one who freaks people out. Another RA doesn’t get how they’re supposed to balance their schoolwork with all their RA responsibilities. For example, they have to counsel people with eating disorders and a guy who keeps peeing in the sink. Noel says that he told his advisee to draw the line with his friend, but the advisee had some trouble with that. Astrid tells him to repeat his advice the next time his advisee comes to him.

Felicity tries Noel’s trick at Ben’s place, pretending she left a notebook there. Sean chats with her about his stolen idea book, which he’s since replaced. His new idea is a board game version of Quarters, called the Quartermaster. Ben helps look for the supposedly missing notebook as Felicity babbles about how people probably do a lot of crazy things when they’re just starting out at college. She feels like she’s grown up a lot in the past week. Ben doesn’t care. Felicity asks if he’s going to be mad at her forever. Ben says he’s not mad – he doesn’t feel any way about her at all.

Guess where Felicity goes next? Yep, Noel’s room! He’s working on his web page, noelcrane.com (which, as I said in the last recap, doesn’t contain anything. I know, I’m disappointed, too). Felicity starts talking about Ben, and Noel stops her and announces he’s drawing a line. There will be no more conversations about Felicity and Ben. Noel isn’t Felicity’s girlfriend, and he doesn’t want to be the person who always talks to her about a love interest. Any other subject is open for discussion, just not Ben. Felicity decides to leave instead of risking breaking the new rule.

She goes to Julie next, but Julie’s on her way to meet Zach. Felicity, I told you to make more friends. There has to be someone out there willing to listen to you whine about Ben. Felicity admits that she’s jealous of Julie and Zach’s relationship, but also happy that Julie’s happy. Julie promises that Felicity is still her closest friend.

Blair spots Elena as she’s going in to the financial services office. He goes to Elena’s room to leave her a note, telling Felicity, who’s there for a chat, that Elena’s not there. He laments that he keeps trying to reach out to Elena, but she keeps shutting him down. Felicity can relate, since she’s going through the same thing with Ben. Finally, someone who can relate to Felicity’s problems and doesn’t mind listening to her complain about them!

The two get coffee together in the cafeteria and talk about their respective friendships. Felicity doesn’t think Blair should worry about Elena, since there are a lot of students who have financial issues, which Felicity knows from her job in the admissions office. Blair gets an idea, but Felicity preempts it, saying she can’t look at Elena’s file. She doesn’t want to be a buttinsky. Blair thinks something serious is going on, since Elena said she might have to leave school. Felicity knows from past experience that looking at students’ files could be disastrous. Looking at Elena’s would be crossing a line. Blair asks her to do it anyway.

That night, Meghan wakes Felicity up by rattling her box. Felicity denies touching, shaking, or picking up the box. She asks what’s in it that’s so important. Meghan won’t tell her. Felicity asks what it would matter if she had looked through the box and seen Meghan’s naked pictures or drugs or whatever. Meghan announces that she’s buying a fingerprint kit. What’s in the box, Meghan? WHAT’S IN THE BOX???

Felicity decides that since she’s up, Noel should be, too, so she can yell at him about the line he drew. Noel says he’s just setting one boundary in their friendship. He’s fine being friends with Felicity, as long as they talk about things other than Ben. Felicity asks about Hannah, who…I don’t think has anything to do with this. Well, other than the fact that Noel’s dating her but also has feelings for Felicity.

Felicity asks how long it’s been all about Ben. Well, honey, since minute 1 of the pilot, I’d say. She doesn’t get how Noel can insist he’s fine just being friends with her when he has feelings for her. Noel points out that that’s exactly what Felicity’s going through with Ben. Yeah, it’s called a love triangle. He says she’s just a lovesick schoolgirl. Felicity accepts that.

Sean teaches Ben and Blair how to play the Quartermaster. It looks like it just involves sliding quarters around on a little table, and scoring points based on which colors they land on. Blair brings up Felicity and Ben’s issues, but Ben doesn’t want to talk about her. Blair says she may be trouble, but she also has a good heart, and he likes her. Ben just smiles a little.

The RAs are hanging out again, though I think they’re just eating together, not having another meeting. Astrid thinks one of her advisees is running a phone-sex line. Noel says his friend drew the line with his crush, but she got mad. Now he’s thinking about redrawing the line. The other RAs object like Noel just said he was going to get drunk and call his ex. If the guy takes back his line, the girl could draw her own line. He should stick with the first line. The RAs (and Noel) agree that the guy’s an idiot.

Julie plays something on her guitar for Zach, who loves it. In fact, he loves it so much that he starts kissing her. They make out on the bed, and when he puts his hand on her breast, she moves it away. He goes back, this time reaching up her shirt. She tells him she wants to move slowly, and he apologizes and stops.

Felicity goes to her job in the admissions office and lets Blair get a look at Elena’s file. He then goes to Elena’s room, where she’s packing up to leave. She explains that her father, who travels a lot, never paid her tuition. Now he’s not supporting her choice in schools. Blair reveals that he knows the truth: Elena’s scholarship didn’t go through, and her father can’t afford the rest of her tuition. He makes just enough to disqualify her from financial aid.

Blair has brought some information on scholarships, including a private one that would be perfect for Elena. It wasn’t awarded this year, so the money’s available. Elena gets stuck on the part of the scholarship that designates it for a woman from a “moderate- to low-income family with one parent.” She thinks someone must have tipped Blair off that she fits that category. Blair admits that he talked to Felicity the buttinsky.

Noel comes to Dean & DeLuca to tell Felicity that he’s redrawing the line. (The other RAs, elsewhere in the city: “NOOOOOO!”) Felicity says the line is a symptom, not the real problem. Noel was right about Felicity talking about Ben too much. Noel says he’s willing to hear about Ben now, just not any sex Felicity might have with Ben. Felicity says she’s going to draw the line now.

But before she can, Elena comes in and confronts her for being a buttinsky. She doesn’t appreciate pitied for being black or having less money than Felicity and her friends. She’d rather not stay at school with them. Elena says she got to go to a really nice high school because of scholarships based on her race and low-income status. The scholarship she was supposed to get for college was based on merit. She earned it. Elena won’t take handouts or be a cliché.

Another RA meeting? How often do they have to meet? Anyway, the latest rules is that students can’t bowl in the hallways. Oh, come on! Let them have some fun! Of course, Noel turns the attention on himself, admitting that his friend redrew the line with his crush. Now they’re not friends anymore. Astrid thinks the crush goes deeper than just a crush. Also, she’s guessed that Noel is the “friend” he keeps mentioning. She tells him to just keep being friends with his crush, in case something more comes of it. Noel realizes that all the RAs knew he was the “friend” all along.

Julie and Zach come back to her room after a studio session. He’s been drinking, and he invites himself in for more making out. Noel checks in on Elena and tells her he also had a scholarship. It wasn’t enough for full tuition, so he had to apply for grants and loans. He’ll never be judged for how he got here, but he’d be judged if he didn’t go to college at all. No one cares how Noel pays for school, and no one will care how Elena pays for school. It’s her attitude that matters. Noel acknowledges that they’ve been through different things, but if he were in Elena’s position, he’d take any scholarship he could get.

Elena puts on the Ben Webster record Blair gave her, then pulls the discarded scholarship information out of her trash. Later, she tells Felicity that she contacted the woman offering the scholarship. She was one of the first black women to graduate med school in New York – she finished second in her class. She’ll pay Elena’s full tuition, with no terms. She won’t even let Elena pay her back in the future. Instead, she wants Elena to offer her own scholarship when she eventually becomes a doctor.

Ben approaches Felicity next and says Blair told him how Felicity helped Elena get her scholarship. So I guess the ice between Ben and Felicity has thawed because she was a buttinsky in a good way for once. Felicity goes to see Julie, who’s visibly upset and standoffish. Felicity is cool back to her, then notices that Julie has thrown her sheets in the trash.

Julie tells her that Zach came home with her last night. Felicity guesses that they had sex, but Julie replies, “He was pretty aggressive.” Afterward, Zach fell asleep. Julie sat in a chair all night. She’s not sure why she’s surprised about what happened. Felicity gets her to admit that she didn’t want to have sex, and asks if she told Zach that. Julie just nods. To be continued…

Thoughts: One of the RAs is played by Taraji P. Henson.

So many TV shows depict rape as sudden attacks or violent acts by people who are distinctly villains. I appreciate that this show didn’t show us Julie’s rape at all, and that it was what has to be a common occurrence for college students – things started off innocent, then went too far. Rape on TV doesn’t always have to be a woman getting dragged into an alley or being kidnapped at gunpoint. Date rape is just as traumatic and difficult to get past.

Now that I think about it, a friend of mine might have had two doors in her dorm room. It was a strangely shaped triple, and I think the doors led to two different hallways. Still, there’s no reason for Felicity and Meghan to have two doors.

Yeah, I’ll bet Felicity loaned Julie a Sarah McLachlan CD. As if Julie wouldn’t have her whole discography.

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