Sunday, October 2, 2011

Felicity, Episode 1: Pilot

So, we decided to watch the pilot of Felicity tonight.  It’d been a long weekend and we were both pretty tired, and we wanted something we didn’t have to think about too much.  For some reason Jennie was not in the mood for anything funny (I know, what?), but when I suggested Felicity she was all over it.  That’s right.  I suggested Felicity.
I would probably not even think of watching this series if J.J. Abrams wasn’t involved.  It kind of boggles my mind that the guy behind Lost and Fringe is behind this show as well.  He wrote the pilot, and Matt Reeves (the director of Cloverfield, if I’m not mistaken) directed.  Keri Russell is the title character, in case you were under a rock in 1998.  The pilot also stars Scott Speedman as Ben, Amy Jo Johnson as Julie, and Scott Foley as Noel (pronounced ‘Knoll’, just so you know).  There are some other characters, but they’re not that important, this is really a four-person show at this point.

For a pilot, this thing really moved along.  It was only 44 minutes long, but it definitely felt longer.  I don’t meant that to sound like it was boring – I mean a lot of stuff happened.  There’s a thing in comic books called ‘decompressed storytelling’, or, put another way, ‘writing for the trade.’  It’s where two or three issues worth of story are stretched into six or seven issues so that it will be better able to be sold as a collected edition later on, and it is one of the main things that I hate about current comics.  Single-issue comic book stories are all but a thing of the past at this point, and it’s terrible.  The pilot of Felicity is the exact opposite of decompressed storytelling. It honestly felt like a season’s-worth of stuff happened.  Feelings are confessed more than once, friends betray each other, and Felicity has multiple nutball meltdowns throughout.  Storylines that could have been played out over the course of thirteen or twenty-two episodes are completely blown through, and it’s amazing.  There’s a lot of status to quo here, and they don’t waste any time doing it, and it’s incredibly refreshing.

"Basically, I'm crazy, is where we're at right now."

Felicity, as mentioned, is nuts, and also kind of a disaster at life.  I know she’s a teenage girl, with the hormones and the not thinking about things before she does them, but man, this whole thing is just a cluster almost from the moment we meet her.  She chooses to upend her life and go to college in New York, partly to spite her super-controlling parents, but mostly because she’s got it bad for Ben.  They’ve never been together.  They’ve hardly ever even spoken.  But after he writes some nice stuff in her yearbook, she decides that this is a healthy thing for her to do.  Then, when things don’t go exactly as she hoped they would, she waffles back and forth between going back home to do what her parents want her to do and sticking it out, trying to be friends with Ben and have a life of her own.  Ultimately she decides on the latter, but the road to get there is not pretty.  I hope she gets less bananas.  Then again, like I said, she’s a teenage girl, so what am I supposed to expect?

Ben seems like kind of a man-whore.  When Felicity first runs into him in New York, he’s got some girl on his arm, and they kiss and seem really close, and then we never see her again.  Then he’s hooking up with Julie after who knows how many dates (I’m thinking one).  Maybe he’s not really a man-whore, but I think he has man-whore potential.  He’ll bang anything that moves if it’s not Felicity.  That’s rough.

Noel reminds me of Xander Harris, in the best way possible. I have a friend who hates Xander, and there is something wrong with her because Xander is the most likable character ever, except for when he’s mean to Anya.  But in the ‘super-likable’ category, Noel fits right in, especially when he confesses his feelings for Felicity.  Jennie and I are both immediately on Team Noel.  Too bad I know that, in real life, he cheated on Jennifer Garner.  No man cheats on Agent Sydney Bristow and lives to tell the tale as far as I’m concerned.  Noel must inevitably die.

At no point in the pilot did Amy Jo Johnson duck off to morph into the Pink Power Ranger.  That made me sad.  She did, however, wear two different earrings throughout the episode.  That also made me sad.  Where does she do her jewelry-shopping, in people’s trash cans?

I could probably do more to tear into this, but, honestly, I enjoyed it.  I know there will probably not be any smoke monsters or parallel universes on this series, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.  It’s pretty brainless so far, no matter how hard the characters try to sound deep and smart.  Kids, amirite?  Also, I’m already ‘shipping Felicity and Noel, and I do enjoy a good ‘ship.  We’ll see how this thing goes.