Film, Pop Culture, Writing

There Was a Time I Watched Way Too Much X-files

On my ride in to work yesterday morning, I had a gnawing feeling that it was a special day. A famous day in history or someones birthday. A day that needed celebration! I thought about it for a minute and then it hit me- it was Dana Scully’s birthday!

How the fuck did I remember that, I’ll pretend you asked?

Well, I used to be embarrassingly obsessed with The X-files. Like forced my elementary school friends to call me ‘Spooky’ obsessed. Paraded around in pantsuits at eleven years of age obsessed. Read poorly written NC-17 fan fiction during the beginning days of household Internet obsessed. Lulled myself to sleep night after night with dreams of Mulder and Scully taking off those dismal 90’s suits and gettin’ busy obsessed.

I had every episode on tape. Every book, every magazine, every newspaper clipping about the show was neatly pressed in binders. I built a shrine to The X-files in my childhood bedroom equipped with posters, action figures, and makeshift FBI badges and guns.

So, it comes to no surprise that after ten years I would remember something like a character from The X-files‘ birthday.

I began watching The X-files when I was ten years old and the show was just rounding out it’s first season on Fox. At this point in time, the show held the Friday 9PM slot and my viewing was enjoyed after a family swim at the YMCA and a doughnut at Mr. Donut. As I selected my one doughnut from under the florescent lighting of the now defunct store, I anticipated what storyline that evening’s episode would have. Would it be about violent and hairy Jerseyites? Gender-bending Menonites? Liver-eating escalator dwellers?

Over the course of the second season my interest in the storyline was quickly overshadowed by the thick fog of sexual tension looming between the two lead characters. Being led through the gateway of puberty by two fictional characters who stared at each other for long periods of time but never touched was deliciously painful. Every week I anxiously waited to see if the characters would give me just a lil somethin’ instead of leaving me in a perpetual state of blue-balldom. Unfortunately, the consummation of their relationship took another seven years which left me in a arrested state of sexual development throughout most of my teens. Throw in their codependency, Mulder’s love of porn, and Scully’s seeming long bouts of having sex with no one and I figure I’m pretty much screwed for life.

I will always be a lifelong X-files fan, but I have to admit, I really could care less about the science fiction aspect of the show- The X-files was my soap opera. Don’t get me wrong, I really dug scary stuff as a kid. So much so that I spent most of my single digits awake and paralyzed in my bed every evening. However, as the show progressed I became solely fixated on the relationship between Mulder and Scully. They were my Tracy and Hepburn. My Cash and Carter Cash. However, after watching the show again as an adult, my new found grown up cynicism about all things made me question the characters’ validity- particularly Scully. For instance- why in God’s name would a highly intelligent woman like Dana Scully stick by a man who’s carefree approach to danger has caused her to die– multiple times. When Mulder said, “Hey, Scully, fly to this remote location with me where there is a good chance one or all of these things might happen to you: 1.) You’ll be abducted by aliens and impregnated by something, I’m not sure what 2.) You’ll be raped by the Amish 3.) You’ll be raped by a dude who looks like me, but is not me and has a tail 4.) You’ll be raped by a dude who likes to collect fingernails. You know, it will be fun!”, Scully obediently agreed. If if she questioned Mulder’s irrationality, she always ended up sticking beside him.

Also, why was Scully so one-dimensional? I know what you’re going to say, “No, she wasn’t! She was one strong and intelligent broad!”, but let’s dissect this for a second- Scully lived, breathed, and slept her career with little to no reward. I mean, if a reward came in the form of alien babies, then she was a champion. She had zero sense of humor. She did not color outside of the lines. She seemingly had no friends or lovers. Yes, we had the occasional glimpse into her family and her emotions, but it wasn’t until season 7, when Gillian Anderson had to write and direct an episode about Scully, that we finally saw her as something more than just an ol’ stick in the mud. Looking back, I would never want to be friends with a woman like Scully before the episode “All Things”.

Perhaps I am sensitive to the subject of Dana Scully due to my unwavering love for her as a little girl. Now being an adult I want to relate to her, but I can’t and I’m disappointed that she was often a victim of a stereotyping on network television. Mulder was the interesting one. Mulder was the one we tuned in to watch. Mulder had the charm and the quips and the doe-eyed stare. Scully was kind of boring. Sure she was nice to look at, but we really didn’t get to know her until the show was almost over.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But she was Mulder’s exact opposite! He needed a Felix to his Oscar!” and I agree, but with the primary writers of the show being all men, I can’t help but wonder the Scully

I’m going to stop right here because my pleasant stroll down memory lane has turned into a feminist rant and all I really wanted to say was Happy Birthday to our favorite Catholic Type A ginger-haired scientist/doctor/FBI agent.

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  • Reply Jeff February 24, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Oh man, she isn't kidding when she says obsessed. Ah junior high memories!

  • Reply Benny February 24, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Oh man, seeing old shows again and wanting to relate to them is a crazy feeling for me. I've been scared to rewatch Star Trek for that reason.

    I liked the description of your routine… the swimming, the ice cream… I hadn't thought about it in a while, but if I really tried, I could probably recall routines like that. I love remembering that stuff, because first, I'll be like "Man, being a kid was boring," but then I'll realize, "No, actually, it was super fun."

    As a guy I suppose I can't relate to the feeling left-out bit… but I do find myself wondering if screenwriters have ever talked to *interesting* women in their lives. I also feel like, in large part due to characters like Scully, a lot of us dudes grow up with the twisted impression that we should be attracted to inexpressive women who have the right look.

  • Reply JDel February 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I felt the same way about Paula Abdul. When I was in elementary school, she was my end all be all. Now that I am older, it makes me sad that I could never be friends with her in real life because she has a really bad personality.

  • Reply IT (aka Ivan Toblog) February 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    So, what you're saying is she was a stereotypical federal bureaucrat?
    I don't remember seeing X-files… Fox came late to my neighborhood. In fact they still haven't settled on a particular channel.
    Perhaps it isn't fair to say Scully is stereotypical, because she did (does?) appear to occasionally break rules.
    I kinda liked Moonlighting… at least until it started to become a soap opera.

  • Reply Big Mark 243 February 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I would have watched X-Files with you if you would have SNICK'ed with me on Saturday night…

    The memories that you brought back with this post… though I was only an occasional viewer, I remember making observations about the perpetuation of the damsel meme in the show… but that is getting off track…

    You sound like you were a neat kid…

  • Reply Brooke Farmer February 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I was never really obsessed with the X-Files. I was purely obsessed with David Duchovney. To this day, really. I am not quite certain if I would watch Californication at all if it weren't for the fact that my pre-pubescent crush plays a deviant sex addicted writer on the show. He's SO my type!

    Also, is blue-balldom a word?

  • Reply The Vegetable Assassin February 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Well if it helps I have all the box sets so you know… 🙂

    Scully did indeed live for her job. And she was so serious. Just once I wanted her to reveal some girlfriends and go out and get freaky drunk. I guess she did get the creepy Jodie Foster voiced tattoo that one time.

    Also, I feel that Mulder probably grew up, went batshit insane from all the UFO chasing with no pay off decided to write books and turned into his "Californication" character. 🙂

    I miss the X-Files!

  • Reply Rachel February 24, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    oh you funny little thing. i had an xfiles stint as well. frightening.

    lookbook things.

  • Reply Avery February 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I'm not a rabid X-Files fan, but I do have a favorite episode…

    It was the one where Scully and Mulder visit the circus freak show carnival and discover that Vincent Schiavelli (eccentric character actor; teacher from Better Off Dead) has a "twin" embedded in his abdomen that escapes nightly to commit acts of violence.

  • Reply The Vegetable Assassin February 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Also, I reposted a little X-Files something JUST for you.

  • Reply Teenysparkles February 24, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    That sexual tension was hot wasn't it! I think I stopped watching because I got sick of waiting for something to happen between them. I occasionally get very bad flashbacks to the episode of the incest family that hides the limbless mother on a rollaway under the bed. ARggggh, there i go again. Hideous. I'd be interested to read about your top ten gross/scary X Files episodes. Just sayin.

  • Reply MG February 24, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    I never watched the X-files. Perhaps it was because I was too into all those damn nickelodeon shows. However, if my parents would have said I was forbidden to watch it, I would have been obsessed for sure. Also, gingers kinda freak me out…like carnies…and homeless people.

  • Reply Zoë February 25, 2011 at 2:27 am

    i loved her too, when i was a kid. it makes perfect sense that she's a Pisces…brooding, dreamy, wanting to believe but resisting belief. (i was an astrological skeptic back then, but not now. go figure.)

    do you remember the episode when mulder pulled a loaf of bread filled with blood out of an oven? i vaguely recall being titillated by this episode when i first saw it and the memory has been haunting me for years. which episode is this??

  • Reply Melanie's Randomness February 25, 2011 at 5:22 am

    Somehow I completely missed the X-files. After reading this I really feel like I missed out. I have netflix's now & I think I just realized what will be next in my queque! =P

  • Reply StrangeBird February 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    As a current re-watcher of The X Files, I sort of see what you are saying about Scully's character; but I don't think it's a lack of intelligence that keeps her in harms way – I think it's her feelings for Mulder that keep her hanging in there – she is a woman afterall, and we all get hooked on boys we can't change! Well done for remembering her birthday – that's impressive!

  • Reply M February 25, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Eugene Tooms was the best! I even wrote a song about him. Not kidding (wish I was).

  • Reply Brenda March 16, 2011 at 3:58 am

    oh my god, this is such a sad sad reminder of my own teenaged years. that show warped so many youg lives.

  • Reply Anonymous March 16, 2011 at 3:59 am

    oh man that show warped our young lives so terribly. you are NOT kidding.

  • Reply Nayo July 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Every once in a while I come back to this post and am overwhelmed with warm fuzzies.

    I was THE SAME. VHS, clippings, X-files webrings and geocities webpages. Yahoo groups! Ah man. I started watching when I was 8 and I cried when it moved from Friday to Sunday because it was a school night and I was afraid my mother would make me to go bed too early. Seeing that I was obviously crazy, she let me stay up to watch it.

  • Reply Mortified on TV November 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    […] 3.) I willed myself to sleep as a teenager dreaming about Mulder and Scully getting it on. […]

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