Chandler, Arizona, United States
There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .
When I Found Out I Was Different Than Other X-Files Fans
with love from CRS @ 1:24 PM
this entry brought to you by lcd soundsystem, "can change"
Ugh, fuck, these stupid corn fields, Jesus Christ.
I remember the first time I found out I was different than other X-Files fans.
The first year the FX channel existed, it was nothing but repository for old shows from the Fox Network, and that initial year it was interesting for two things: seeing how gaudy and outdated early-era Fox shows that I once loved were, such as Parker Lewis Can't Lose; and X-Files reruns, which seemed to be a huge chunk of the programming. Thanksgiving was coming up, and a marathon began to be advertised. You could go on-line (although I had been on the Internet for years at that point, it was still a novelty to have television shows advertising their websites) and vote for your 24 favorite episodes, which would be played over the Thanksgiving weekend. If an episode that was part of a series of episodes got voted, instead of playing just that episode, the entire group would be played.
My mother and I immediately had a list of episodes in mind. "Jose Chung's From Outer Space", a hilarious, off kilter episode about no one knowing exactly what happened when a pair of teenager get abducted by aliens. "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", about a man who can predict exactly how and when anyone will die, but otherwise has no other psychic abilities. "Humbug", about a man with a twin that was attached to him and could unattach itself and murdered people."Home", an episode about hillbilly inbred monsters who murdered people, and has not only some hilarious dialogue between Mulder and Scully, but is genuinely one of the scariest, most disturbing hours ever to be shown on tv.
We excitedly tuned into the marathon every hour, hoping to record our favorite episodes to tape, and our enthusiasm sucked out of us more and more as the day went on. She and I had not made plans this particular year, and this was going to be an event-- a marathon of our favorite show. But as each episode started, we were dismayed to learn that they were mostly mythology episodes, episodes about the overarching story about government conspiracies and the shape shifting aliens and the black oil and the yadda yadda. For me it wasn't just the dismay to looking forward to seeing my favorite episodes and then not being able to, it was the realization that I watched my favorite show for totally different reasons than other fans did. It was the realization that I identified myself as an avid X-Files fan, but apparently I had nothing in common with other self identified avid X-Files fans. I thought I was in a special club, only to find out all the other members were special needs.
It's not that I hated the mythology episodes, at least at the time. I was invested in the characters, I was invested in their lives, so of course I was invested in the entire story. And Cigarette Smoking Man, who mostly showed up in the mythology episodes, was an excellent villain, and I would venture to say he belongs on any list of top villains. I loved Mulder's family, and I was so happy that instead of just never answering the question "where is Mulder's sister?", one of the central questions from the beginning of the show, they actually came out and answered, and I didn't expect that. Also, who didn't love Krycek showing up and then proceeding to get the shit beaten out of him?
But the mythology of the show was clearly being made up as it went along, and after a while, it didn't really seem to be going anywhere. I watched them out of dedication to the show, but frankly, I didn't really care about the stupid black oil, I didn't care about the government conspiracies, and I didn't care about aliens. I cared about a dude who was hundreds of years old and came out of his nest every so often to feed and could stretch into your air ducts. I cared about a man who could convince anyone to do something just by talking to them.
But you know what? I didn't have a problem with the idea that there were people out there who enjoyed the central storyline. Different strokes. But to actually prefer them over any other goddamn episode? Oh look, its that episode where Mulder sees a UFO and Scully isn't quite there to see it, again. Oh here's my favorite episode, the one where that faceless alien sets someone else on fire. Dude, my favorite episode is where Mulder's informant gets killed or otherwise becomes catatonic. Who could tell any of these episodes apart from any of the others? You know what episode stands out? Any of the others!
Michelle recently went through every single episode of the show. She does this a lot, actually, and I really don't. But whenever she does, I sort of half-watch episodes. I'll see half of one as I'm getting ready for work. After my nap I'll see three quarters of an episode. I'll miss like three episodes in a row, but then I'll see another. And when The X-Files is hitting on all cylinders, man, its such a good show. It would sometimes be impossible for me to leave the room when the good ones were on, even if I'd entered the room with plans on leaving soon. Sometimes I'd sit down, and within moments say "I'm sorry, but you're going to have to start this episode over again."
Remember how I said earlier I never hated the mythology episodes? Well that was how I felt when the series was still running. Now, as a person who has seen the entire show, holy fuck are they completely dreadful. I would walk out from the bedroom and see what was on television and groan. This plot line never went anywhere. Or, geez, that character didn't really end up doing anything interesting before they killed him off, did they? They sure dwelled on this stupid thing forever with no fucking pay off, didn't they? I wanted to just tell her, for the love of God, just skip these. God, who could watch them?
I've never seen Fringe, but when it was at its most popular, people would tell me "It's a lot like X-Files. You would like it." I'm sure the show was great. But anyone that would tell me I would like it because I liked X-Files? Yeah, sure. Sure I would.