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.