“My daughter about a year ago — she’s kind of mature for her age and she was bored one day — I said, ‘Hey, Willa, I did this show about this college girl and you might think it’s cool. It’s really sweet,'” the 46-year-old actress recalled during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday, February 22. “And so I showed it to her. I put it on and I downloaded an episode from Amazon or wherever you get it these days.”
The California native, who shares Willa and her eldest son, River, 15, with ex-husband Shane Deary, noted that she didn’t expect her daughter to be so critical of the show. (Russell also shares son Sam, 6, with partner Matthew Rhys.)
“After about 15 minutes, she turned it off and she went, ‘Ugh, mom, it’s so cringey,’” the Americans alum told Jimmy Kimmel. “She was actually grossed out by me. I was like, ‘Oh, I thought you might like it.’ And she was like, ‘Ugh, so cringey.'”
Russell later confessed that the coming-of-age series might not have been as fun to watch as it was to make. She put herself in Willa’s shoes saying, “Like, why would you think I’d want to watch your college experience making out with weird boys and stuff?”
On the series, which premiered in September 1998, Russell portrayed recent high school graduate Felicity Porter, who left California for college in New York after graduation. Throughout the four seasons, fans watched as Felicity navigate school, boys and, of course, the aftermath of chopping off her iconic curls.
“The beauty of the show, as always, this really simple idea that I feel is very relatable. This romantic idea … that a lot of times when you’re young of this chance to change your life completely,” Russell told fans during the 2018 ATX TV Festival as she reunited with her costars. “Everyone can look back on that one moment: I wish I would have chosen him or taken that chance. That’s was the sweetness, beauty and the truth of the show. And that’s what we got to live out through Felicity. She did, she took the risks. She jumped. That was the strength and core story of the show.”
Speedman, 47, told the crowd at the time that there was “absolutely” a chance of an onscreen reunion. “Let’s do a Felicity Christmas, like, we go to Hawaii episode,” he teased. “That would be great.”
Three years later, Foley revealed that the ATX reunion made him more open to reprising the role of Ben if there was a Felicity reboot. “Being around [the cast], being on stage again changed my mind,” the Scandal alum, 50, told Entertainment Tonight in April 2021. “I missed working with them and I would give it another shot.”