I thought enough time had passed. I thought I'd finished with the three stages of X-phileism which are, as we all know, love, confusion and "what the hell was that all about?" But yesterday I had the urge to watch Fight the Future and I succumbed to that urge, only to find myself in the "what the hell" stage all over again. None of it makes sense! None of it! There's bees and there's a virus and Martin Landau urinating in an alley, and then there's more bees and cavemen and a giant space ship and just kiss already, for God's sake!! It's enough to make you crazy.
I was a devoted X-phile for all nine years. And don't get me wrong, I still love the show. There are a lot of great things about it. First of all, there was David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson who made Mulder and Scully the mournful, sardonic, repressed modern-day equivalent of Nick and Nora Charles. Mulder and Scully were great characters: flawed to the nines, self-absorbed yet heroic and devoted to one another. ("Scully's trapped in an alien ship in the Arctic, and I've just been shot in the head? Hand me my parka!") Their partnership, romantic or otherwise, made the show.
And then there was the comedy. Few "serious" shows brought the unexpected yet intentional funny better than The X-Files. You had brilliant Darin Morgan episodes like "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" which featured Peter Boyle as an actuary who could predict enough of the future to foresee people's deaths, but not enough to see those winning lottery numbers. You had "Jose Chung's From Outer Space," and "War of the Coprophages" with the cockroaches from outerspace and "Humbug," with Jim-Jim the Dog Face Boy and a town of circus freaks far more normal than most people. And best of all, you had a drugged Mulder singing the theme to "Shaft."
And the show could be scary, too. "Home" with the murderous, in-bred Peacock family and their limbless, insane mother hiding under the bed -- well, that freaks me the hell out ten years after the fact. And serial killer Donnie Pfaster in "Irresistible." I've never be able to look at Nick Chinlund, the actor who played Donnie, without thinking of that show. He could play the god of puppies and fluffy kittens and buttermilk pancakes, and I'd still think "psycho killer."
But here's where The X-Files blew: the conspiracy. I stopped understanding it around season four, and I'm pretty sure the writers stopped understanding it around season three. Not all the mood lighting or Well-Manicured Men in the world was going to make that mythology make sense. Mulder's kidnapped sister became a star in the sky? Barren Scully with her eggs in Mulder's refrigerator has a miracle baby...but it might be an alien? Cigarette-Smoking Man was killed how many times?
I'm sure it's difficult to produce a product that stopped making sense three years into the game, but that doesn't mean I don't feel enraged every time series creator Chris Carter shoves a stick through the spokes of my little TV viewer's bicycle. The sad part is that the show could have been even better than it was, but they just never took it to that next level. The level where logic lives. And for that I shake a rolled-up newspaper at Carter, rub his nose in "Gesthemane," and say, firmly, "Bad producer! Bad!"
All I can say is, I hope the second movie makes sense. And I hope Mulder sings "Shaft."