the x files: the theme song is still amazing/stuck in my head
the experience: the x-files, a super-nerdy scifi tv show that dominated the alien abduction-themed segment of the television market throughout most of the '90's.
then: i'm fairly certain my brother and i watched this show from the very first episode, and i remember the x-files being an integral part of my sunday night experiences ages 11-14/15ish. i can clearly picture lying in my bed after the show every week, staring out the window and determining whether the flashing lights in the distant night sky were moving or hovering in place, (everyone knows modern earthly spacecraft cannot maneuver like UFOs), as well as a general and not-just-sunday-night anxiety that i was about to be beamed up and abducted right from my safe little bed. i frequently feared the nightmarish creatures dreamed up by the show's writers, and my brother and i were both slightly traumatized by a man forever known in our family as the VENT MONSTER.
however, this show wasn't all scare-factor for my younger self. in fact, a pretty big part of what i loved about this show was the dreamy FOX MULDER, played by david duchovny, the fictional character who became the standard against which i judged my male peers until i met colin firth's affably-snobbish mr. darcy. i even purchased some sort of x-files trading cards that had images of specific scenes on one side, and a brief synopsis printed on the other. i kept them in my makeup drawer, tucked away behind the hideous blue eyeliner and various non-human-shades of glittery eyeshadow that i wore in order to express my self-perceived sexual viability, and i would part with any of the cards rather willingly-so long as they didn't depict mulder's brooding visage.
as the show wore on and my teenage tastes veered toward insane-boyband mode, the x-files moved to the periphery of my pop-culture education (i also remember being vaguely bored by the endless quest to discover what the cigarette smoking man was really after, and what happened to mulder's sister samantha - i mean, the truth was supposed to be out there so what the fuck was taking them so long to find it?), but i intermittently watched the show through high school, and the series' themes and plots remained nostalgic conversation pieces for my brother and me for years to come.
now: in the past week, i've re-watched most of the first season of the show. i was surprised to find that, 17 years later (HOLY SHIT I'M OLD), i could remember details in most of the episodes and their plot lines. some of these plot lines are totally lame, others are paranormal-fun at its scifi best, and the fucking vent monster is still scary as hell (halfway through the first episode featuring this scary mofo, i called my brother not once, but twice to announce how scared i was).
noticeably different this time around, however, is that, although mulder is still a smokin'-hot piece of man meat, the only FBI agent i have eyes for these days is one dana scully. i can't believe my younger (and delusional about my sexuality) self thought this woman was dowdy. not only is scully totally superhot, but she is also soooooo badass. oh, yeah, you need someone to perform an autopsy on a really scary-looking alien? no prob for dr. dana scully. some bastard shape-shifter shooting at you? scully is so gonna shoot him and take him down. can't find your husband? scully is there to track down his otherworldly captor and save the motherfucking day. bad. ass.
i've also found myself in the midst of an internal debate regarding the show's believability, a factor that is rather difficult to measure in a series that's about aliens, gender-shifting-amish-y-people and endless government conspiracies. but seriously 89% of this show is filmed in the woods. mulder running through the woods. scully shooting people in the woods. dead bodies appearing in the woods. i mean, do aliens not abduct little girls from their beds in van nuys, california? how could i have missed this comforting fact during those sleepless childhood nights? is it really believable that so many cases, these x-files, would take place in the middle of nowhere? part of me says yes, because of course aliens aren't exactly going to park their spaceship next to the beemer in the 7-11 parking lot. but part of me is an equal-opportunity paranormalist, and i want to see some crazy shit go down in my own neck of the proverbial woods.
the re:experience: well, i suppose the shifting of my x-files crush from foxy fox to sexy scully is a pretty big difference, but not much of a surprise considering that on a scale from 1-gay, i'm practically pissing rainbows these days. overall, the thing that strikes me most is that, in this re-watching, i've been able to pinpoint specific moments in the show that likely scared the bejesus out of little me, and which were certainly incorporated into my once-solid belief that i had indeed been abducted by aliens (a belief, by the way, informed not by traumatic flashbacks of bright lights and little green men, but an inability to put anything in my eye, which i totally picked up from an early episode of the x-files). perhaps my eagerness to believe the unbelievable was a sign of my youthful malleability, and perhaps my lack of cynicism toward the x-files' specific brand of crazy was a sign of the way in which i once viewed the world as a place where anything is possible. perhaps it wouldn't be such a bad thing for this current version of myself to suspend my disbelief, accept the inexplicable, and say, "i want to believe."
Posted by rachel morgan