TV From The Crypts: The X-Files
It’s been too long since I’ve written a post for you all, and here I come back with a shocker. This one is just as much a shock for me as it might be for you. No, I am not writing about the recent reboot of the X-Files. Instead I am writing about the good old classic TV show from the 1990’s. The show that I grew up loving, one that made me interested in pursuing a career in medicine, and got me all sorts of excited about all things science-fiction. It was probably my first on screen crush as well, as 12-year old me was head over heels for Fox Mulder. So here I am, over twenty years later, re-watching the classic and iconic TV show. Watching this show has left me surprised and shocked in many ways, and I want to tell you why. I doubt there will be many spoilers here, but just in case, be forewarned this will be full of spoilers, and revelations.
What am I ranting about? Well, I have re-watched my beloved childhood TV show, and quite frankly, it’s not even half of what I thought it was. Truth is, nostalgia is great, but when you actually try to relive those fondly remembered moments of the past many times you get let down, and that is exactly what happened when I re-watched the X-Files this past year.
How can I say this? This is blasphemy, right? Well first, ask yourself why you loved The X-Files. For me, I remember Scully being one tough cookie, and a great female role model for women of the time, encouraging women to pursue a field in the sciences. Then there was the quirkiness, which I can attest still remains and I still enjoyed. There was also Mulder’s endearing smile and encouraging attitude. And then there was this complicated over-arching plot line involving aliens and government conspiracies.
These probably all sound like great reasons to love The X-Files, but if you have the time to re-watch it, you might be surprised by what you find. The most disappointing aspect for me: Scully. Maybe 21st century me as set the bar even higher for strong female characters, which I hope is the case since it might mean that Scully was still a strong female character for the 90’s, but compared to what I am currently used to she is frankly weak. In the first three seasons I think she is kidnapped by the perpetrator at least four times. She never wins in a fist fight, actually, she never has one, and just ends up gun-less with her mouth gagged and hands bound anytime there is a confrontation. She regularly threatens to use her gun, then backs down or gets too close to her suspect so that they can knock the gun away from her- it’s embarrassing! And while I fondly remembered her being the practical, scientific minded one of the two, in reality it makes her seem bitchy and in denial. She also lets Mulder push her around and act like he’s her boss even though they are supposed to be partners. I still love Scully, but the truth is I don’t think she is nearly as good of a female role model as I previously remembered.
Then there is Mulder. At least I did remember that sweet smile, but aside from that he’s a regular D-bag! Not exaggerating here, he seriously is a stuck up, overconfident, womanizing jerk! He regularly demoralizes Scully, and rarely sticks up for her. Sure, both of them go to great lengths to save each other’s skin when they are in real danger, but when it comes to their day to day interactions Mulder continuously puts Scully down. I hated to admit it, but by the end of the second season I had been saying “Wow, what a jerk!” at least every third episode. Plus Mulder’s obsession with the truth is so pervasive it leads to an overall dehumanizing aspect of himself. He is willing to sacrifice others’ lives, or let them die, so that he could find the truth, which is frankly a poor character trait.
And what about the aliens and overarching story line? Well, that was ok, but had a lot more holes than I previously remembered. It seems that there wasn’t any direction with the story, just a continuous ebb and flow of the two of them discovering something that supported their believes, then findings something that contradicted it. They uncover numerous government conspiracies, but never really find out what the point of them is. It left the whole show feeling kind of pointless and frustrating. I found myself really enjoying what I called the “goofy episodes”, ones that were stand alone and often times involved quirky and bizarre characters or phenomenon, but could be taken at face value rather than easily picked apart without any evidence of connectivity between the overarching plot line.
I still think that The X-Files was a groundbreaking show of its time. I also think that the show instilled a love of science fiction in many individuals who looked forward to every Sunday night because of it. But looking back through the filter of time, I find that many of the redeeming qualities I remember this show having are not entirely present, and maybe it was better left in the crypts untainted by my reassessing it. In summary, it saddens me to write that I don’t recommend re-watching The X-Files, especially if you have as fond memories of the show as I did. Instead, let the show remain on that pedestal you put it up on when you were younger, and choose to believe.
Posted on May 6, 2016, in Let Me Put My Suggestions In You, TV, TV From the Crypts and tagged let me put my suggestions in you, mulder, nostalgia, Science fiction, scully, The X Files, TV, TV From the Crypts. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.