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25th of November, 2017

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Everybody Needs a Hobby...

The hobby, the age-old balance between what you do for bread and what you do for fun. Everybody needs a hobby, whether that means astronomy, collecting bottle caps, or watching the boob-tube. Watching TV gets short shrift, if you ask me. It’s nothing worse than reading comic books or blogs, really. But it’s somehow gotten the attention of do-gooders everywhere, sort of like smoking and drinking. Smoking has been linked to everything from insomnia to low sperm count. Second-hand smoke is supposedly deadlier than the first-hand variety, despite the hard work smokers do filtering out the bad stuff with their own lungs and tracheas. Likewise, it’s a widely know factoid nowadays anyway, that you burn more calories sleeping than you do while watching television. Once studies come out about you claiming absurd notions that no one dares to question, you know you’ve done something right.

250Px-T-1000


But I’m not here to champion smoking or watching television per se; I doubt the two most popular pastimes of the 20th century need or expect my help. I’m here to tell you about my new hobby: Watching old episodes of the X-Files. Now, I always thought I knew a thing or two about special agents Mulder and Scully, and really felt no need to do any catching up. That is, until I actually sat down and watched an episode last year, only to realize that Mulder had been replaced by a T-1000 and nobody had noticed the switch! Granted, replacing Mulder with a single-minded, humorless robot that displays no emotion as it goes about its work isn’t exactly what you’d call a catastrophic disruption, but you’d think the people around him would at least notice that it’s a totally different dude! I decided to investigate.

As it turned out, not only was I missing the plot arc that involved a Terminator taking over Mulder’s office, I’d also missed the part about the series being cancelled in 2003. So, I decided to turn to our old friend Mr. Torrent and do some catching up after all. Since I made that fateful decision about 6 months ago, the little lady and I have been watching an episode or two every evening, give or take. We’ve steeped ourselves in this fascinating bit of Clinton-era thĂȘatre paranoie to the point where I realize that, despite having seen an episode or two back in the day, I know exactly fuck-all about the X-Files.

In retrospect, this isn’t surprising, considering I never watch television. I mean, I try to slip into the comfortable rhythms, the somnambulant dynamic of the Tube, the Almighty, the One I so worshipped as a child. But I can’t get my head around the fact that you can watch television for days, literally, and never once see a bukakke tentacle rape take place. I guess the Internet has spoiled me in that way. Nevertheless, there is good television to be found, as long as you have a good tracker. With years and tens of gigabytes of content before us, and a cheap DivX player as our trusty guide, we embarked on our journey to figure out just what the Hell Chris Carter and his minions were trying to tell us with their 10+ years of air time.

From the first scene, I knew that I had missed out on a whole bunch of things the first time ‘round. In the pilot, for example, you see Scully in her underwear, as she examines a curious bug-bite in the bathroom mirror. Very erotic, albeit in a ham-handed, back-of-the-Sears-catalog kind of way. Up to that point, I had been under the impression that Gillian Anderson had been a bit pudgy for the first few years of the X-Files, and that it had actually damaged her character in later seasons when she had become the mercilessly hot red-headed seductress we all know and love today. But I was mistaken: She was built like a brick shitter from the very beginning.

Gillian Anderson5The pilot also painted a rather remarkable version of Fox Mulder, one that I wasn’t familiar with. He wore tacky sweaters, cracked terrible jokes constantly, and tried to be an all-around goof. These things went away, of course, as Mulder’s demeanour became famously glazed and torpid. I guess the meds kicked in after the first couple of episodes. But one thing from the pilot stayed in the series, and I never noticed it. Namely, Special Agent Fox Mulder is a porn freak. A quick exchange in Mulder’s office has Agent Scully referring ironically to his ‘special video tapes’, which he apparently has locked away in a drawer under the iconic “I Want to Believe” poster behind his desk. Apparently, he “Wants to Believe” that a woman could actually do that with a Heineken bottle.

In subsequent episodes, many references are made to Mulder’s obsession with porn and masturbation. For example, in an episode about a grunge teenager who can channel lightning (which co-stars Jack Black and the medic from Saving Private Ryan), Mulder and Scully find a sleazy magazine called Big ‘Uns, or something similar, and Scully makes a reference to Mulder having a subscription. Mulder timidly cops to it. In another episode, where Peter Boyle plays a psychic who can foresee how people die, a most disturbing exchange takes place while Scully is driving and Boyle is riding shotgun. Boyle says, “there are a lot of dignified ways to die, but autoerotic asphyxiation isn’t one of the them.” Mulder pokes his head in from the back seat and asks, suspiciously, “why are you telling me this?” At one point in the series you actually see Fox masturbating. At the end of Jose Chung’s From Outer Space, he’s laying in bed watching a well-known videotape of a supposed Bigfoot sighting, operating the VCR remote with his left hand while his right hand remains hidden under the covers. Any male over 30 would recognize the de facto official position of self-gratification of the those times. It was the early-90’s version of using the mouse with your left hand.Skinner 9 01

But the X-Files wasn’t only about waxing the dolphin. There are some great insights into the American mindset of the mid-90s. Every strenuous meeting that takes place in the office of Assistant Director Skinner (also a jerk-off addict, by the way) was smiled upon by the soothing, beatific visage of Attorney General Janet Reno on the one side and Bill Clinton on the other. Ah, the glory days of right-wing paranoia. Man, those were good times: The Unabomber Manifesto, the cattle mutilations, the crop circles, the black helicopters that hovered over Waco and Ruby Ridge. They just don’t make psychotic delusions like that any more.


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Comments

jessica

I am so happy that you have [re]discovered the show! The X-Files will forever live as my favorite show to air on television.

And yes, it was evident that both Scully was a sexpot and Mulder was a porn freak to those that were paying attention. For me, it added comic relief throughout the years.

Cheers to people who will help The X-Files live on.

zonker

Not to mention the episode where Mulder watches a porn movie while he's on the phone with Scully. At one point she hears some unusual sounds over the phone and gets a bit suspicious.

"What are you watching?" she asks.

"World's Deadliest Swarms," he calmly replies.

That bit was just too damn funny.

(p.s. - this comment was typed with both hands.)

Eric

... I knew I liked Mulder for some reason.... I just wish he'd have shagged Scully before the final episode....

Rube

Eric, Dude! How about a spoiler warning?! I was hoping to see a little hot special agent-on-special agent action there.

agent bedhead

Googling the phrase "x files fan fiction smut" leads to plenty of that sort of thing.

Rube

Agent Bedhead obviously speaks from experience. As a happy coincidence, her comment was also given the portentious ID# "6969". Oh, the waves of karma.

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