Felicity debuted when I was a freshmen in high school. She was a freshman in college that first season and I thought Felicity was like a gimps four years into my future. And what did I have to look forward to? Getting to choose which cute boy to love: Ben or Noel.
You ask a girl around my age ‘Ben or Noel?’ and she immediately knows what you are talking about. I can’t even begin to count how many conversations I’ve had with girls where they compare the two boys they are dating to Ben and Noel. Or compare their boyfriend to Noel and the boy they have a crush on to Ben.
It’s simple, really. Noel is the cute nerd you love spending time with and hanging out with and doing everything with who loves the crap out of you and who you are supposed to marry and love forever. Ben is the sexy asshole with the heart of gold who will beat someone up in a bar if they look at you funny, but then forget your birthday. He is the boy you think you can save and he is just nice enough to you, pays just enough attention to you, to get you to love him but be mostly miserable. And he does love you, he is just a boy. Whereas Noel would drop everything for you any time you called him.
Season one, which I have been re-watching this week for the 100th time, ends with Felicity torn: Noel, who she was dating before she cheated on him but of course he is still in love with her, invites her to go to Germany with him for the summer because he got a smarty pants graphic designer internship, and it wouldn’t be the same without her. Siigh.
Ben, though, just broke up with Julie (Felicity’s best friend) because he realized after all this time that he loves Felicity and wants her to drive across the country with him to start the summer. He is taking the trip by himself anyway, but it wouldn’t be the same without her.
When that episode first aired I was like, ‘SHE HAS TO GO WITH NOEL HE IS SO CUTE AND NICE AND SWEET AND THE BEST BOYFRIEND EVER!’ My mom, though, said to me, ‘She has to pick Ben because it is more interesting. Season two would be boring if she spent the summer with Noel.’
That sentence has stuck with me in the worst way possible. I’ve dated Noels and have been in love with Bens my whole life. In a subconscious effort not to be boring, to make season two way more interesting, I break up with Noel and date Ben, only to get pissed and sad, and then I stop talking to all boys.
Last scene of season one is Felicity in a cab. The camera is far away so you can’t tell what she says to the cab driver. Is she meeting Noel at the airport? Or is she going over to Ben’s apartment where he is waiting for her?
We had to wait all summer to find out.
Season one came out on DVD when I was a freshmen in college. One of my friends bought it, and we watched the entire thing in one weekend. I have this great picture somewhere of me and five other girls in our pajamas, holding the Felicity boxes, making sad faces after finishing all 22 episodes, and four pizzas.
We debated. I’ve debated this issue forever. You answer depends on your life. When I am happily dating a Noel, I of course would go with Noel to Germany. When I am not happily dating a Noel and getting fucked around by a Ben, I of course would go with Ben.
Felicity goes with Ben. Then Ben, in true Ben fashion, takes a job in Mexico for the rest of the summer, leaving Felicity in California all by herself, then, when they are back in school, tells her he doesn’t want a girlfriend.
At the end of the series she ends up with Ben, but after four years of putting up with his bullshit. He cheats on her, he has a baby with a different woman, he is an alcoholic, he has a gambling problem, he almost fails out of school a bunch of times, her parents hate him.
Is it worth it? We love Bens, we can’t help it. But, if she would have just stuck with Noel and been a little bored, wouldn’t she be ultimately happier?
So. Which is it? Ben or Noel?