Felicity Does Colonial Times or Felicity: An American Girl Adventure
I used to adore the American Girls series. I even received the catalogue, but I guess since I only looked at the dolls I could never have, they cancelled my “subscription.” Though they did send me one last year for some reason, and I saw they added a bunch of new girls, like a Native American, a girl from Old Mexico and some chick who dressed up like a flapper. Guess they wanted to show me what I was missing? Samantha from the Victorian era was always my favorite, and I assume many other girls’ favorite so she was first (last year). Felicity was okay, I guess, I really only liked her because she lived in colonial times, and you know I like my colonial times. I read some of the books, but I don’t remember which ones. So I see these for nostalgic reasons (like I will for Narnia). Damn you, nostalgia! ::fist shaking::
When the made-for-TV movie opens in Williamsburg, Felicity Merriman (Shailene Woodley) turns 10-years-old. She comes in riding a horse, and she loves horses, but a lady shouldn’t be riding them, ’cause that’s too sexual (this my own deduction). For her birthday, her mother, Martha (Marcia Gay Harden), makes her a ginger cake. Since she’s managed to reach the double-digit years without dying, her mom tells her it’s time for her education. Lissie asks if it’s not to be something cool, like an apprenticeship to Father’s store, but no, it’s for becoming a gentlewoman. A young lady cannot go unescorted so Ben Davidson (Kevin Zegers of Air Bud fame, the best movie about dogs playing basketball ever), her father’s apprentice, accompanies her. He longs to join the Continental Army to fight for freedom, which may be transference of his feelings since he’s stuck as an apprentice for three more years, and he totally knows how the colonies are feeling. God, I didn’t know it was so tough for apprentices back then. It’s like he was a slave!
At class she meets two sisters she met earlier in her father’s store, Annabelle and Elizabeth Cole, freshly arrived from England. Felicity and Elizabeth hit it off instantly, but Annabelle is, well, she’s been a Briton longer. Also, she looks like she’s 18 and she’s taking classes with 10-year-olds? Haha, loooooser. They learn how to serve and drink tea with Ms. Manderly. Ben comes by to pick her up and they stop by Jiggy Nye’s farm, a mean old coot who was nicer when his wifey was alive. Felicity sees a copper-maned horse she immediately christens Penny. (Wow this is just too much red imagery in the first half hour; ginger, Felicity’s red hair, and an anthropomorphic horse named Penny because of her mane.) Penny is too wild and Jiggy ties her up. He’s also known as a horse beater (haha too much) and when Jiggy leaves, Felicity horse-whisperingly comforts Penny. On the way home, Felicity remarks she’d loved to get into Ben’s breeches.
Mr. Merriman (John Schneider, Dukes of Hazzard w00t), deciding he’s a patriot, stops selling tea in his shop. The loyalist Coles don’t wish to associate with the Merrimans anymore, which totally sucks because Elizabeth and Felicity are BFF, fer shure. I realize this isn’t a historical piece, but it kinda grates me that they use the terms “patriot” and “loyalist,” since they were coined after the fighting ended. The “loyalists” thought they were patriots for staying true to the Crown. But I’m being a historical nitpicker, and this is meant for cwazy tweens. (Stupid tweens, when did they get so much power? I could hardly travel to Brooklyn by myself when I was 11 [back then we didn’t call ourselves retarded names] without telling my mom!) Felicity sneaks out to see Penny, but Jiggy comes out threatening the dark; she manages to escape without being seen. Even so, she continues to visit the horse before sunrise in a montage (montage!) that shows Penny slowly gain enough trust that she lets Felicity ride her, which is made easier when she steals Ben’s Sunday breeches (then what the hell are britches?) from a pile of clothes her mother plans on mending. Ben walks in on Felicity changing into his breeches and even though he is duty-bound to tell, decides to let her keep them and keeps her secret (after a little begging ‘course). And I mean this: aw.
Felicity and Ben secretly visit Penny, and Jiggy is pissed once again and the horse is so agitated she breaks free. Jiggy angrily yells after the horse that he’d let anyone who could ride her keep her. Lissie almost creams herself into frenzy, SHE RODE THE FREAKIN’ HORSE BAREBACK LYKE OMG!!!!!!!!!!1111111 Felicity finds Penny and brings her home, but Jiggy accuses her of thievery. She argues he ties her up and is a total meanie, but nothing can be done about it since he owns her. Felicity ruefully hands her over and cries. She decides there’s only one thing to do: set Penny free. She sneaks back in the middle of the night to liberate her. Felicity and Elizabeth can’t decide which side they’re on and Annabelle continues to have a rod up her butt, exclaiming they are what they are according to their families. On the way to lessons Ben lectures Felicity on freedom and taxation without representation and how she shouldn’t drink tea, because that supports tyranny. After learning to dance, during teatime, Felicity refuses tea, cementing her support for the “patriots.” I guess Ben got so turned on by his own speech he goes missing.
The Merrimans regularly summer at Martha’s father’s plantation near Yorktown, where Martha finds out she’s pregnant again (already got three kids). While at his horse ranch, Felicity spots someone very familiar — Penny! As she saddles up, she overhears bounty hunters talking to her grandfather about possibly sighting Benjamin Davidson on his grounds and he agrees to the search. There’s a reward out for Ben, but Felicity has hope that he didn’t really run away on his own. Like a cosmic punch, Lissie discovers a note written from Ben telling her where to find him. Whaaaaaa-a-a-a-a-t?!?! She quickly gathers some food and sets off to find him. He ran away to join the Continental Army, but fell through some plot hole so he ended up here. Felicity tells him one of her grandfather’s sayings, “‘Tis never a good thing to run towards something if you’re running from something else.” She’s hurt that he would go back on a promise he made to her father so easily, even if it is a contract and he’s following his beliefs. (You can’t have everything you want she says, which is what Ben said to her earlier.) Felicity plays pissed Florence Nightingale and patches up his wounded leg by ruining his shirt. But oh crap, colonial Jango Fetts are a-coming! (Boba Fett sucks ass, yeah I said it, bitch.) Felicity saves him by letting him sit in the bitch seat on Penny. She lets him stay in the stables and he says he will leave after midnight.
The next day, Ben turns himself in, surprising even Felicity, explaining that she convinced him to return and it was wrong of him to break a promise to the Merrimans. Mr. Merriman doesn’t punish him and even allows him to join the army when he turns 16 if he still wants to, provided he returns to carry out the rest of the apprenticeship. Yay. Felicity’s grandfather, after asking her how she persuaded Ben to come back, dies. Boo. During the funeral, we see the only real acknowledgement to slavery in the whole movie: the slaves mourning off in their own group (we see the Merrimans have Rose and Marcus, but anyone who doesn’t know U.S. history at all would think they were just house servants). Back in Williamsburg, Elizabeth is cold, though not in the ground. She eventually reveals that her father was arrested simply because he was a loyalist. Felicity promises her father will free him, he knows people, yo. He may be a patriot, but he’s not for injustice. While visiting Mr. Cole in jail, they also see pitiful Jiggy Nye inside for whatever reason (someone write a fanfic!). Taking her grandfather’s “words spoken in the heat of anger aren’t from the heart” adage seriously, she visits the prison again to give Jiggy some provisions, who looks like he’s about to shit a brick. We also find out that Penny’s been sluttin’ it up around the stables, and Mr. Cole is freed.
Winter 1775 (wait, shouldn’t it be autumn, winter doesn’t begin until at earliest December 20… unless all the following happened in a four-day period, which I suppose is more than possible): Felicity receives an invitation to Lady Templeton’s Christmas Eve Ball, the grandest ball in all the colonies, so suck on it, Bananabelle. Her mom starts on a new party dress for her despite being bigger than a house. However, before finishing she goes into labor and gives birth to a new baby girl, but is so sick Felicity has to take over as lady of the household. She does all the chores her mom usually takes care of. With Martha still weak, Lissie grows desperate and in a sweet little moment prays to God: she knows there are many people in the world and they are just one little family, but to them mother is their world. Miraculously, on Christmas Eve, Martha wakes up much to the joy of her family. She is proud Felicity managed to take care of the household and insists that she go to the ball, but her dress isn’t ready. In another miracle, she finds that Elizabeth and her mother finished the dress for her. And in another turn of events, her father can’t escort her because he has an emergency meeting… with… the… pa… triot… army… so Ben becomes her escort, damn predictability. Even though the ball is thrown by a loyalist, he saw that Felicity sacrificed a lot for her family’s happiness so he thought maybe he could do something for her.
At the ball, Ms. Manderly expresses her pride for her students. Also, Elizabeth lied to Annabelle that Ben was the son of a rich loyalist, so naturally she decides get a piece of the action. Bananabelle asks Ben out to the dance floor, and we all know white men can’t dance. Fed up, she storms off to a private place to stick the rod further up her ass, or maybe to stick another one in. After the dance, as Ben escorts her home, Felicity glows with happiness as she has another surprise coming: Penny’s ready to pop! However, some birth complication virus must be circulating, because Penny is having trouble, too. Felicity goes to the man who knows more about horses than anyone: Jiggy. With Jiggy’s help (he was released days before), the foal and mare are good and healthy. Lissie remarks the foal is as independent as his mother, and Jiggy says as free-spirited as his owner. “Like a patriot soldier,” Ben concludes, which inspires Felicity — she names him Patriot. (It’s a little amusing hearing the Canadian Kevin Zegers so passionate about American freedom.) They invite Jiggy over for Christmas supper, and everyone, whether they be patriot, loyalist or miscellaneous, enjoys dinner and each other’s company. Felicity gives Elizabeth her gift: the sampler she was having trouble with, which now says, “Faithful friends forever be.” And I mean this: aw.
Even though this was aimed toward a younger crowd, I could still stomach this fare. It’s about a girl who happens to live in an important juncture of American history, not a PBS Revolutionary War documentary with Philip Seymour Hoffman as a militiaman (or something like that, look it up on IMDb!). Probably because I’m genetically female that I enjoyed it. Also, nostalgia for both American Girl and Air Bud. Haha… dog playing basketball… what will we think of next?? Baby geniuses?? Talking animals voiced by Michael J. Fox??
I don’t remember a thing from the books, but did Ben always have such a big role? He was in the movie a lot, even more than her best friend, Elizabeth! I know, Kevin Zegers probably attracts some ladies to watch, but I thought the whole deal about American Girls were… about the girls. I mean, there was no pronounced romance (she was only 10 after all, which would’ve been kinda weird, not creepy, considering the news stories I’ve heard, just weird), but you could see the teeny tiny seeds waiting to be watered. I’M NOT CRAZY!!!! I know these movies follow the books pretty closely… so… I really have no clue. OMG, Kevin Zegers is one year older than me! He can buy tequila! Shailene Woodley is only 14, so that would be creepy. You know what’s even more creepy? A guy in his mid-twenties dating Shelly Marsh on South Park. Also: hilarious. (Shelly, Shelly!)
And because I watched The OC since the beginning: Shailene Woodley was the original Kaitlin on OC, aka Marissa’s younger sister whose magical disappearance was simply waved away with two words: “boarding school.” Now that the character’s returning, they are recasting her. I really like continuity, but The OC is usually considered as a primetime teen soap, so I can somewhat let it slide (is it the third or fourth Jessica on Passions now?), but continuity is one of the reasons why I so love Arrested Development, Veronica Mars, and Lost above the rest. Now that they are bringing Kaitlin to the forefront, I think I know why they’re recasting her: she’s not pretty enough. Face it, the OC only wants pretty white people as its stars, and as long as you and I know that, then well, yeah. The new girl was considered the top child model in the country for whatever amount of time, and even though I don’t think she looks right, she’s prettier than Woodley, although I still think Woodley should come back. Now, “prettier” is different than “more beautiful” and based on everything, not just physical looks, Woodley would be more beautiful. See, I’m not shallower than the puddle on my doorstep! (Although I haven’t seen Willa ugh, Holland act, so I may be prematurely wrong. But I’m not.)
So who’s next in the American Girls series? If they are following my favorites list, Kirsten, the Swedish immigrant would be next. I have always wondered how the Santa Lucia ceremony didn’t singe the girls’ hair. Makes me think of Willa Cather and O! Pioneers and Emil and someone dying in the grass after two people have sex? Haha I really have little to no memory of books I don’t care for…
P.S. Let Willa Cather keep her own damn name, none of y’all ugly bitches can live up to it!