Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Power of X

20 years ago a little show called The X-Files premiered on FOX television network. I was 11 years old, and still thought a kid named Urkel was funny. That particular night, all those years ago, I had no idea that a show I wasn't watching would change my life forever.

Unfortunately, I was one of those annoying kids who did everything opposite of whatever was "popular" so as soon as I heard people talk about this show, I made the decision that I would absolutely NOT take part. Every time my cousin mentioned how awesome it was, I replied with, "Mulder and Scully? What kind of weirdo names are those?"

Okay, I was a total idiot. I didn't miss out on many episodes, but missing even ONE at all, I soon found out, was too many.
Thinking really hard about it, I tried to remember which was the first episode I DID see. I thought it was "Anasazi" but it turns out that it was actually "The Calusari."
The phone rang one Friday night and my best buddy Jessica said, "Sarah! I'm home alone and I'm watching The X-Files and it's dark in my house and I'M SO SCARED! Turn it on and watch with me!"
So I did.
And it scared the crap out of me.
It was also the most amazing show I'd ever watched ever.
And HOLEY BUCKETS this dude called Mulder was HAWT.
An obsession was born.

Here are a few true facts about me as relate to The X-Files:

*My first car was a Ford Taurus.

*I painted a giant black X on my wall exactly like the one in the opening credits.

*I carried around packs of David Sunflower seeds like they were crack.

*I played The X-Files drinking game with plain 'ol iced tea because I didn't know what a drinking game actually was and I figured that's what Mulder would have done.

*I take my coffee with milk and no sugar because I remember reading somewhere that's how Scully likes her coffee. (Note: I can't remember WHERE I read this. It very likely could have been a fanfic, or GASP! an UNauthorized guidebook. Either way it stuck with me. I also hope it's true, because I actually really like my coffee this way.)

*I made my debut on the World Wide Web using the AOL screen name BigBlue82.

There have been many fandoms that I've geeked out over in my life, but The X-Files was my very first. It's a special thing when you experience an addiction so intense you quite literally just. can't. get. enough.

I bought every guide book, authorized and unauthorized. If Mulder and Scully were on the cover of a magazine, I snatched it up without even blinking. If I saw anything with an alien or an X on it? Into my stash it went. 

When the movie came out, our local radio station held a special premiere party, and I stayed glued to the radio for A WEEK trying to win tickets. I was desperate to be the 100th caller, but no matter how fast I dialed, no matter how many times I hit redial, I couldn't make it happen. The day of the premiere finally arrived and I was ticketless and heartbroken. 

Being an Aries, idea that OTHER people in Knoxville would see this movie BEFORE me was absolutely unbearable.

So I called the request line at the radio station and BEGGED the DJ if he would please, please, PLEASE with whipped cream and a cherry on top give me tickets?

And... he did!

Thinking back on that night, it's hard to remember much of anything other than the way my heart actually stopped when that black oil filled the frame and the logo came up.

It was all kind of a blur, really. But the coolest thing about that night? There were around 340 people in that movie theater, and one of them turned out to be the man I would grow up to marry. We didn't know each other yet, but we were both there in that same room for 121 minutes. Maybe I'm a sap, but I think that's pretty special. :)

Chris Carter has mentioned many times how he was inspired by a show called Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Well, Mr. Carter, you went on to inspire millions more with your very own show. There are many reasons I'm a writer today. The X-Files is very high on the list of those reasons. It taught me so much about suspense and pacing, characters and storytelling, and how to develop and add depth to plot.

Some of the first stories I ever wrote were pieces of (very terrible) fanfiction. 

A lot of people are making lists of the "Best Episodes" so I'll share a handful of my favorites with you. I have to limit myself to a handful, because I could seriously find something I love about pretty much every single episode. 

Best Vocabulary Lesson: "Quagmire" 
The conversation Mulder and Scully have on that rock sent me straight to the Miriam Webster to look up many words such as, megalomaniacal, cosmology, abhorrent, and flippant. Of course, I proceeded to use them every chance I got.

Best Hair Episode: "Home"
Seriously, whatever the hair stylist did in this episode, whatever the humidity levels were, it all combined to give Mulder and Scully both the most AMAZING hair!

Best Crossover: "X-Cops"
Mulder and Scully chasing around some creepy unseen creature on Cops? Hilarious.

Skinner in a Bubble Bath: "Hollywood A.D." 
A lot of you may know that Mitch Pileggi is the muse for one of my characters, so I adore the episodes where Assistant Director Skinner makes an appearance. Even though there are lots of great things in this episode, seeing him in a bubble bath is the icing on the cake for me.

Most Inspirational: "Small Potatoes" 
The idea of someone who could shapeshift had a heavy hand in making THE SHIFTING DARKNESS what it is today. Also, let's do a slow clap for Darin Morgan, because, REALLY.

The Moment Where All the Shippers' Brains Exploded: "Post-Modern Prometheus" 
It's no secret that Chris Carter loved messing with us when it came to getting Mulder and Scully together. There are any number of episodes that could fit this description, but the manly way Mulder yanks Scully out of that chair to dance in the finale of this episode is the absolute best IMHO.

The One That Has It All: "Dreamland Parts 1&2"
I don't care if this is cheating because it's two episodes. They're great episodes. They have the conspiracy, they've got humor, and angst. GAW, that moment when Mulder and Scully are standing there, thinking Mulder's going to be stuck in Morris Fletcher's body forever? And they have to say goodbye? AAAGGGHHHH!! 

And obviously this moment:

That is superior television right there, folks.

Best Kissing: "Triangle"
This had not only one, but TWO kisses in it. Gillian Anderson totes got around in this episode. And even though she wasn't really playing Scully when Mulder planted that giant smackaroo on her face, every Shipper on the planet simultaneously went

Ultimate Creeper: TIE
This is a tie between Eugene Victor Tooms in "Squeeze" and "Tooms" and Donnie Pfaster from "Irresistible." Because, seriously, on a Creeper Scale from 1-10 these dudes hit it out of the ball park with a score of like 1,013. I can't look at an air vent without wondering if Tooms is gonna fly out of it and gnaw on my liver. 

And every time I clean my hairbrush I wonder if Donnie Pfaster is gonna go through my trash and use my hair to fluff up his pillow. *SHUDDER*

Best Episode Where Mulder and Scully Are Stranded in the Woods: "Detour"
Yeah, "Darkness Falls" was creepy as hell, but it takes a week of showers to get the nasty buggy crawly feeling off. Who wants to watch that when you've got Mulder very blatantly saying hinting that he and Scully should get nekked and crawl into a sleeping bag together? 

Lamest Monster: "Arcadia"
A monster made of trash that will...drag you into some dirt because your mailbox isn't painted the right color? Pfft. Whatever. Everybody knows this episode was only made so Shippers could pretend Mulder and Scully were married.

Best Parody: "The Springfield Files"
I couldn't pick just one image for this. I couldn't.

And there ya have it. I know that was more than a handful, and I'm sure I could go on forevermore with this, but you're probably itching to go watch all these awesome episodes, so I'll let you get to it.

Happy X-Files Day!