I Want To Believe
December 30, 2015 6:20 AM   Subscribe

"I want to believe," a core sentiment of the show and its viewers, is a phrase that comes from an iconic item on the show: the UFO poster that hangs above the desk of FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder, everyone's favorite socially isolated, orally fixated, paranoid insomniac alien chaser. When The X-Files became a hit in the mid-'90s, this poster was found on the bedroom wall of every self-respecting X-Phile. It was a special link to the show and Mulder's hopeful yet tortured conviction that the truth was out there, shrouded in conspiracy, waiting to be uncovered.
posted by veedubya (86 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Since the late 90's, the first thing I'd do when I changed jobs, or cubes, or offices, is a google search for this image, print one out, and hang it on the wall. I must have left dozens of copies hanging in corporate environs over the years.

I've got a framed one in my home office, now.
posted by valkane at 6:31 AM on December 30, 2015 [16 favorites]


Valkane, I used to do something similar.

But I've just realised that I haven't done it here.

Hmm. It is a quiet day in the office. I might have to bring that back.
posted by Katemonkey at 6:36 AM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


You two are now on Cigarette smoking man's hit list.
posted by marienbad at 6:40 AM on December 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


I haven't put up any "I Want to Believe" posters, but I did tape a picture of Fox Mulder to one of the alphabetically-arranged file drawers in my office. You can probably guess which one.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:42 AM on December 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


The poster also appears in the 1998 X-Files movie, Fight the Future, as well as the horrendous abomination that was the 2008 movie, cruelly also titled I Want to Believe. I want to believe that this movie was never made. But there's no need to talk about that.

Heh.
posted by Artw at 6:45 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, I am now finally watching the The X-Files Re-Opened YouTube video and now I understand why all the old school MSR fans I know were suddenly raging about Chris Carter again.

"A platonic relationship". Oh Chris. I don't think Scully and Mulder belong together forever, but, come on, man.
posted by Katemonkey at 6:48 AM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've got this version in my hallway. I want to believe.
posted by BinaryApe at 7:01 AM on December 30, 2015 [11 favorites]


The post spends a little too much time ragging on a 7-year-old movie that at least some critics liked, but otherwise I'm reminded that I really need to decorate my office.
posted by AndrewInDC at 7:03 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Typical X-Files episode:

/spooky stuff happens
MULDER: did you know that [rattles off Wikipedia entry for obscure phenomena in deadpan]? I believe that is what happens.
SCULLY: [perfectly reasonable reason why that is bollocks]
/evidence gathering occurs. Spooky thing turns out to be a different spooky thing than MULDER thought and incredibly hostile.
SCULLY & MULDER: Arrgh! Now we believe in THIS particular thing and want to kill it with fire.
/they kill it with fire
MULDER: Maybe Sasquatch is real tho.
/credits
posted by Artw at 7:10 AM on December 30, 2015 [82 favorites]


orally fixated

Did I miss a memo?
posted by sidereal at 7:14 AM on December 30, 2015


(I strongly feel that Scully getting to be right about something is an important part of the episode structure and if that's left out the writer has screwed up. She shouldn't just be the designated nonbeliever in a world that is blatantly packed to the hills with flukemen and ghosts.)
posted by Artw at 7:14 AM on December 30, 2015 [16 favorites]


I don't think Scully and Mulder belong together forever, but, come on, man.

I like to imagine that Scully, just before she went underground to start a whole new life, arranged for Hannibal to eat Mulder. That would explain a lot.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:16 AM on December 30, 2015 [28 favorites]


orally fixated

Did I miss a memo?


Sunflower seeds.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:20 AM on December 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


I hadn't seen that half-hour teaser video before. Thanks for posting that, Katemonkey.
posted by hippybear at 7:26 AM on December 30, 2015


I Want To Believe...In The Funk
posted by anazgnos at 7:27 AM on December 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


MULDER: did you know that [rattles off Wikipedia entry for obscure phenomena in deadpan]? I believe that is what happens.
SCULLY: [perfectly reasonable reason why that is bollocks]


Cocks eyebrow, warily considers the mysterious screenwriter in the room. Wikipedia did not launch until 2001, close enough to the end of the X-Files' run to make the above improbable.

Where have you hidden the time machine, "Artw"?
posted by notyou at 7:41 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


MUlder actually write all the Wikipedia entries on fringe subjects, from memory.
posted by Artw at 7:42 AM on December 30, 2015 [23 favorites]


Sunflower seeds.

Incredibly handy when you're drugged by a portly pizza delivery boy vampire.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:53 AM on December 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


...the 2008 movie wasn't THAT bad, sheesh.

I don't have a poster. But I have an X-files mug that I use at work, and The polar-suit versions of the action figures for the movie came with me into every booth for every show I did, along with a magazine that had a glorious beefcake photo of David Duchovny. For a while I was also using a CD single of that Bree Sharp song (YOU know which one I mean) to "test the sound system" before each show (by blasting it).

And I am still a bit of a noromo.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:54 AM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


...the 2008 movie wasn't THAT bad, sheesh.

/reads Wikipedia entry for Stockholm syndrome in deadpan Mulder voice.
posted by Artw at 7:57 AM on December 30, 2015 [10 favorites]


There are five different posters in that article. Other than the two subtly different versions used on the show, that's something the article doesn't even touch on. What the hell.

Kumail Nanjiani mentioned it once on the podcast, though. He had the poster back in the day -- which he believed to be a perfect replica of the one in the show -- only to realize years later that it was completely different in every respect. In the days when you watched things on TV and, if you hadn't taped them and scoured every detail of every frame meticulously, all you had to go on was your faulty memory. Even for something as iconic as that poster, printers could get away with fudging the design significantly without anyone raising an eyebrow. Nowadays you just need to google a screenshot.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:02 AM on December 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


Mulder also believes in fashion world conspiracy from Zoolander.
posted by Artw at 8:04 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don't be too hard on the 2008 movie, it's just like an old school X-Files episode!


...you know, one of those ones you skip on a rewatch because it's just kinda boring.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:05 AM on December 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


(It was deleted due to lack of reliable sources, his greatest Articles for Deletion fight. It is largely what led him to be less active on the Wikipedia project post-2008)
posted by Artw at 8:06 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Don't be too hard on the 2008 movie, it's just like an old school X-Files episode!


...you know, one of those ones you skip on a rewatch because it's just kinda boring.


I was a fan of the second movie because it was like an old school X-Files episode. The development of the relationship between the characters of Mulder and Scully rang true and it avoided the whole collapsing house of cards that the grand alien conspracy had become. Roger Ebert was also a supporter, rating I Want To Believe at 3.5/4 stars.

I hope the shows in the new series are as good.
posted by fairmettle at 8:25 AM on December 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


I simply make sure one pane of glass in my office had a masking tape "X" on it. But only when I need the help.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:26 AM on December 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


I always found the poster a stupefying example of the worst kind of woo thought.

Saying "I want to believe" has the implied addition of "whether it's true or not" or "whether there's evidence or not"

It's like the most non-skeptical phrase possible
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:30 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, yes, but that was kind of the point?
posted by tobascodagama at 8:40 AM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I always found the poster a stupefying example of the worst kind of woo thought.

Saying "I want to believe" has the implied addition of "whether it's true or not" or "whether there's evidence or not"


Harry Houdini was one of the most ruthless woo-debunkers of his time, despite desperately wanting to be able to contact the spirit world (according to some biographers -- there is some controversy over this).

On the other hand, Arthur Conan Doyle also wanted to believe and never debunked anything, going so far as to claim that Houdini was such a powerful spiritualist that his debunkings were the result of Houdini's powers interfering with the people he was trying to debunk.

So it can swing both ways.
posted by Etrigan at 8:42 AM on December 30, 2015 [9 favorites]


But wasn't that the core of X-Files? The tension between having proof and having belief? Mulder's willingness vs Scully's skepticism? I mean, that poster was in Mulder's office from the beginning and no matter what the series did, it was always Mulder v Scully when it boiled down to any single thing they encountered.

The point of the poster, especially as it spread outside of the show and onto walls of houses or cubicles around the world, isn't that what it symbolizes is true. It's that the desire to be able to believe something that isn't proven is a base human drive.

Myself, I'm very much a scientific-extinctionist as far as what I know to be true. But I still create and participate in rituals that give a Jungian psychological frame and supposed "meaning" to life. Not because I believe them to be true, but because I find that I function better in the world when I give expression to those symbolic expressions because that's how human brains are wired. I burn a Yule Log with associated rituals not because it is going to bring the Sun back, but because doing so seems somehow to be a lubricant for my daily life.

I want to believe. But I don't. But I go through the motions of belief anyway. I don't live in the world of the X-Files, where the monsters and unexplained exist, because that's not the real world. But somehow, wanting to believe, and acting as if I do, is a benefit in my life.
posted by hippybear at 8:42 AM on December 30, 2015 [13 favorites]


I have that poster hanging in my bedroom. I admit I'm still baffled that my wife let me hang it there. I hope it's because she supports my hobby, but I have a sneaking suspicion it's actually due to her love of Mulder/Krycek Slash.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:45 AM on December 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also, this seems as good a place as any to bring up, but anyone want to do a Fortean/High Strangeness bookclub over on FanFare? I figure we can start with The Mothman Prophecies and go from there to psychic Sasquatches, Montauk, and other weirdness that's available in cheap used/Kindle form.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:49 AM on December 30, 2015 [10 favorites]


Looking back on the poster itself, I wonder if it hasn't been a subconscious influence on a whole generation of Internet meme-makers. The very classic, standard meme format is white block capital lettering commenting on an image. Is this so merely because it's the most readable form of text on a wide variety of photos, or is this so in some kind of tribute to or influence from the I WANT TO BELIEVE poster?
posted by tobascodagama at 8:51 AM on December 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


RustyBrooks: “I always found the poster a stupefying example of the worst kind of woo thought. Saying ‘I want to believe’ has the implied addition of ‘whether it's true or not’ or ‘whether there's evidence or not’ It's like the most non-skeptical phrase possible”

Isn't "I believe" a whole lot more non-skeptical? I mean, if "I want to believe" implies "(whether it's true or not," then so does "I believe" – and that means actually believing it.

"I want to believe" just seems like an admission of bias. And admissions of bias are completely essential to rational, skepticism-based investigations of the world. Moreover, as the linked article points out correctly, "I want to believe" signals openness without suggesting that we actually will believe if the evidence doesn't pan out – "I want to believe," but maybe in the end I won't, depending on what I uncover. Open-mindedness isn't anathema to skepticism, and I think that's what the show was trying to signal: that there's a tension there, but it isn't an irreconcilable tension; it might be an essential tension, because radical open-mindedness is what leads us to investigate in the first place.
posted by koeselitz at 8:55 AM on December 30, 2015 [9 favorites]


It's like the most non-skeptical phrase possible

It belongs to Mulder. Mulder who has seen aliens but when his mortal enemy tells him aliens aren't real believes it and goes into a week long sulk before Scully of all people can argue him out of it. Mulder who's every encounter with aliens is awful but who is still like a puppy dog for that stuff.

Mulder is not a very skeptical person and subject to the worst kind of woo.
posted by Artw at 8:56 AM on December 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


Right, it's an admission of bias. I guess I find it a weird thing to do.

(I don't want to believe, so maybe I just don't get it)
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:58 AM on December 30, 2015


Mulder: I think what we're looking at here is (theory requiring not only extraterrestrials but a working perpetual motion machine, bipartisan cooperation in Congress, and a previously undiscovered primary color between blue and yellow).

Scully: Oh, come on, Mulder, you can't POSSIBLY believe that.

Mulder: (is right)

After a while the hardest thing to believe on the whole show was that Scully kept bothering to take up a contrary position...
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:01 AM on December 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


Our household is currently going through an X-Files rewatch binge in anticipation of the new series and I can confirm ArtW's outline above is correctly, except he left out the 'Scully says "Oh My God" at least once every episode"
posted by Megami at 9:05 AM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Scully "Oh My God" supercut!
posted by n. moon at 9:08 AM on December 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


You're forgetting:

Scully: (gets knocked out/locked in a closet/is on the phone due to actress pregancy and misses the big reveal)

Also, don't forget the faith-based episodes where Scully gets to be all believey and Mulder is the bah-humbug.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:08 AM on December 30, 2015


Mulder's first theory is almost never right and frequently ridiculous.
posted by Artw at 9:09 AM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've always thought it would be fun if there was some very specific "supernatural" aspect to Scully which she wouldn't think anything about because it actually fits into her perfectly rational worldview and which she never bothers mentioning to Mulder because she just assumes that he's also aware of it.

"What do you mean Mulder? Didn't you spend a gap year biking through all Six Opalescent Cities of the Hollow Earth?"
posted by RonButNotStupid at 9:09 AM on December 30, 2015 [16 favorites]


I always preferred Scully to Mulder.
posted by humanfont at 9:12 AM on December 30, 2015


Also, this seems as good a place as any to bring up, but anyone want to do a Fortean/High Strangeness bookclub over on FanFare? I figure we can start with The Mothman Prophecies and go from there to psychic Sasquatches, Montauk

Montauk is actually quite mundane though they do get beautiful dawns there
posted by clockzero at 9:21 AM on December 30, 2015


I've been trying to get through the original run of the show on Netflix, but I keep getting bogged down in season five. I never would have thought it to be true, but I vastly prefer the Monster Of The Week episodes to those about the Big Conspiracy, which have become a dull, convoluted mush that I suspect will have no satisfying conclusion.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:23 AM on December 30, 2015 [10 favorites]


Looking back on the poster itself, I wonder if it hasn't been a subconscious influence on a whole generation of Internet meme-makers. The very classic, standard meme format is white block capital lettering commenting on an image. Is this so merely because it's the most readable form of text on a wide variety of photos, or is this so in some kind of tribute to or influence from the I WANT TO BELIEVE poster?

TFA: Seven years ago, while doing publicity for the movie we won't talk about, X-Files creator Chris Carter told Smithsonian.com that the look of the poster "came from me saying, 'Let's get a picture of a spaceship and put–Ed Ruscha-like–"I want to believe."'"

Ruscha-esque white-lettering-over-an-image-with-a-strong-gradient has been de rigeur for the past few years. I think there's even a bunch of photo apps that'll do it automagically. But I don't think the Impact memes are consciously aping that at all--certainly not directly. "I Want to Believe" may well be their genesis. That, or, you know, just plunking some text on an image.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:25 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seasons 3-4 are Peak X Files IMHO.
posted by Artw at 9:28 AM on December 30, 2015


I always found the poster a stupefying example of the worst kind of woo thought.

Saying "I want to believe" has the implied addition of "whether it's true or not" or "whether there's evidence or not"

It's like the most non-skeptical phrase possible


Except this is the exact opposite of true. The implied addition of "I want to believe" is "but I currently don't" or "but I have too much doubt". If it meant "I want to believe whether it's true or not", it would just say "I believe", because that's what would be true.

Mulder does want to believe, but he's also intelligent. He needs a theory that he can at least believe is credible. Mulder can be dissuaded of things because he is ultimately driven by logic. We always set him and Scully up as contrasts and he's certainly a hell of a lot less skeptical than she is, but he's also not Blaine Faulkner.
posted by IAmUnaware at 9:31 AM on December 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


I made this one a few years ago, after a long rewatch.

I wanted to believe (heh) that watching all of the early episodes, and at least all of the "mytharc" episodes, would help me stop feeling like I had missed a key episode early in its run. Truth is (out there), that feeling never went away.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:43 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Scully:
Season 1: Seriously?
Season 2: Okay, but it's not aliens
Season 3: IT'S NOT ALIENS
Season 4: Okay maybe it's aliens
Season 5: Definitely aliens
Season 6-7: Not an X-file dude
Season 8: They're always X-files
Season 9: My baby is an alien
posted by Automocar at 9:43 AM on December 30, 2015 [9 favorites]


But I don't think the Impact memes are consciously aping that at all--certainly not directly. "I Want to Believe" may well be their genesis.

Which is exactly how memes work!
posted by mondo dentro at 9:46 AM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


The way Gillian Anderson has aged is worthy of an X-Files episode of its own. I want to believe.

"I Want to Believe" can be said by a skeptic who wants to accept woo:
[Evidence suggests not, but] I want to believe

[I have my doubts, but] I want to believe
It could also be sarcastic, of course, a fake image with a statement mocking the position of the woosters.

Or it could easily be the hands-over-ears dismissal of someone presented with evidence but who refuses to accept it, and the statement is their "final" argument for their position. (This is known also known as the GOP position.)
posted by maxwelton at 9:52 AM on December 30, 2015


I know this is probably derailing the conversation, but every time the X-Files comes up, considering how popular it was in the 90's, I just want to know...

Where were all the people who believed in shadowy government conspiracy when we had actual evidence of our government lying through their teeth to get us into a war in Iraq in 2003? And when it was revealed the NSA was spying on citizens indiscriminately in 2007?

Perhaps the fantasy of an alien conspiracy is more interesting than the painful, boring, and difficult to face reality of how far our actual societies have fallen (torture, mass surveillance) while we were busy watching TV?

I want to believe.
posted by deadaluspark at 9:53 AM on December 30, 2015 [9 favorites]


Where were all the people who believed in shadowy government conspiracy when we had actual evidence of our government lying through their teeth to get us into a war in Iraq in 2003?

Jet fuel something something steel beams.
posted by FJT at 9:57 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jet fuel something something steel beams.

Easy dismissal, but the problem is the X-Files was massively popular. To act like only the conspiracy theory set would be influenced by it is absurd.

I mean, that's why it rubs me the wrong way. We went from one of the most popular "good" television shows of the 90's that was all about government agents fighting government conspiracy to having the government actually fuck a lot of shit up, hide really fucked up things, and then blame it on the small fries.

X-Files popularity was huge and crossed all kinds of social strata. So where were the government agents inspired by Fox Mulder to fight conspiracy in their own ranks? I mean, it just seems really odd to me considering its massive (and lasting!) popularity never lead to more people questioning the things we actually did have evidence for in respect to government corruption.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:05 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


X-Files popularity was huge and crossed all kinds of social strata. So where were the government agents inspired by Fox Mulder to fight conspiracy in their own ranks?

It was a TV show. Slightly less popular than Home Improvement at its peak, and we're not asking where the legions of idiots making public-television DIY shows are.

And you don't get into or stick around at the FBI (or any other government agency) if you genuinely think the agency is evil. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to get to a point where you can effect change, and very, very few people have the kind of drive to do that while serving a master they dislike.
posted by Etrigan at 10:22 AM on December 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


Seasons 8 and 9 and the 2008 movie were so bad that I'm kind of dreading this new season, while simultaneously being super excited for it. So, you could say that I Want to Believe.
posted by gatorae at 10:28 AM on December 30, 2015


Easy dismissal, but the problem is the X-Files was massively popular. To act like only the conspiracy theory set would be influenced by it is absurd.

A lot of people believe that 9/11 was a conspiracy. It wasn't only wild eyed conspiracy theorists, but perfectly average or normal people would insist that it was an inside job. Even with engineers, scientists, and experts saying how it's not a conspiracy, the idea continues. I think once it was accepted by everyone that nobody was going to change their mind and we still had to live with truthers, we just kind of decided to move on and it just became part of the background.

I mean, it just seems really odd to me considering its massive (and lasting!) popularity never lead to more people questioning the things we actually did have evidence for in respect to government corruption.

I think you're conflating between belief in conspiracy and skepticism. Those are separate things. Conspiracy is based on a belief that reinforces your world view or that you feel is true: Vaccines cause autism, 9/11 was an Inside job, Obama wasn't born in the US. Actual skepticism requires a lot more discipline and a lot of acceptance of the possibility that you are wrong, what you believe in is wrong, and things are not black & white.
posted by FJT at 10:28 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


and we're not asking where the legions of idiots making public-television DIY shows are.

Thank you for this, I am connecting Home Improvement to YouTube on my grand conspiracy yarn board
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:05 AM on December 30, 2015 [13 favorites]


It's 2015. Anybody got a version with some lens flare?
posted by srboisvert at 11:16 AM on December 30, 2015


There's also the 90s militia movement - Ruby Ridge, Branch Davidians, Oklahoma City, Centennial Park Bombing, etc - who expressed deep mistrust of the government. I blame Cooper's Behold A Pale Horse for bringing that movement and the UFO folks together in really unfortunate ways. I've been trying to collect old UFO paperbacks and once you hit '95 or so, it gets really hard avoid that strain of hateful paranoia. The was a rise in the Love and Light, Raise Your Vibrations camp in the late 90s in advance of Y2K, but that was drowned out immediately by 9/11's return to hate.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:27 AM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Krycek! You sonofabitch! *smek*
posted by valkane at 11:30 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I vastly prefer the Monster Of The Week episodes to those about the Big Conspiracy

Very much this. I gather about half of the new series will be monster-of-the-week, and the "mythology" stuff will be the other half, updated for contemporary politics. 3 episodes in a new context might even be enough to keep it interesting, but yeah. I feel like the mythology stuff got a lot less interesting as it became more of a focus on the original show.
posted by Hoopo at 11:41 AM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it's a mistake to think of the role of the conspiracy in The X-Files as anything more than a trope and object of resistance that the protagonists are forced to struggle against in their quest(s). Consumer media doesn't anticipate a popular worldview as much as it reflects it, which is why the 1970s saw a spate of post-Watergate political conspiracy thrillers (e.g. The Parallax View), The X-Files mined the UFO craze of the late '80s and early '90s, and rah-rah shows like 24 proved popular after 9/11.

That the X-Files is coming back now demonstrates, I think, how popular perception has shifted again since 9/11 in light of Wikileaks, the NSA surveillance program, etc.
posted by AndrewInDC at 11:41 AM on December 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


I gather about half of the new series will be monster-of-the-week, and the "mythology" stuff will be the other half, updated for contemporary politics. 3 episodes in a new context might even be enough to keep it interesting, but yeah. I feel like the mythology stuff got a lot less interesting as it became more of a focus on the original show.

You'd think they would have learned from, I dunno, any of the seemingly billions of X-Files clones that have followed that you can do both -- have your heroes beat a monster of the week while advancing the arc in the same episode. You write an episode and a half of arc, chop off the first third and parcel it over the first five shows, and Bob's your genetically engineered alien overlord uncle.
posted by Etrigan at 11:45 AM on December 30, 2015


I'll tune in for the new one. I just hope they echo the simpler times, and don't make it about terrorism.

I missed a lot of the later seasons when they originally aired, so I rewatched all of X-Files this year (including commentary, the movies and spin-off Lonegunmen).

Season 3, was the best. X-Files in its prime, absurdity everywhere. In the "War of the Coprophages", S3E12, they introduced a one episode character, an over-the-top sexy scientist, Dr. Bambi Berenbaum.
My eyes where rolling, but instead of groaning, I couldn't stop laughing over their trope-ish choice.

But S3E20, "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'" is the BEST ever. Absurdity, meta absurdity. Just golden.

And I think they missed an oportunity to turn a goof into a great joke in S6E5.

There is a two part episode called "Dreamland" wherein Mulder swaps bodies with a character introduced in the first part of the two parter, General Wigman.

After a lot of effort, "Mulder" sneeks into the super secret military base and meets the "General" in his cramped office. And the "General" says something like, "It's finally great to be alone with you", so they could discuss how to swap back.

And eventhough I cannot find a picture or youtube clip there's a very visible boom operator in the back of the office; his legs, torso, head and outstretched arms holding the boom. Right as Wigman says that they're alone. I figure that they were on location, and the office was too small, so they couldn't fit everyone behind the camera. They addressed the absurdity in the dialogue but maybe they should broken the fourth wall and had the General just stare into the camera as he gave the line.
posted by ecco at 12:00 PM on December 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Here's my story about the poster: about two years ago, I was commissioned to do part of the decoration of a gaming-themed bar. As I struggled to have enough ideas, I decided to do a take on it.
I got shit because "nobody gets it or cares, the show is old". Of course, I must be a fucking prescient wizard, because that old show nobody cares about was revived.
posted by lmfsilva at 12:10 PM on December 30, 2015 [9 favorites]


MULDER: did you know that [rattles off Wikipedia entry for obscure phenomena in deadpan]? I believe that is what happens.

well but to be fair rattling off descriptions of obscure phenomena like it's no big thing was a little bit more fun in the 90s, back when it meant that you knew all the right Fortean journals to subscribe to, rather than just that you had spent some spare time wiki'ing.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:48 PM on December 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


Majestic 12! Bob Lazar! Mel's Hole!
posted by entropicamericana at 12:56 PM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've always thought it would be fun if there was some very specific "supernatural" aspect to Scully which she wouldn't think anything about because it actually fits into her perfectly rational worldview and which she never bothers mentioning to Mulder because she just assumes that he's also aware of it.

I assumed that was the point of making Scully religious. It's the one thing where Scully errs on the side of faith and Mulder on the side of pragmatism.
posted by Tarumba at 1:26 PM on December 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


The really ironic part (that the article rather brushes over) is that the original UFO shown in the X-Files poster (before an IP claim forced it to be changed in Season 4) was a known fake by Billy Meier, a hoaxer, cult leader and fabulist. Perhaps Billy's most egregious claim - that he had photographed alien visitors named "Asket" and "Mera" - were later revealed to be dancers from the 1970 Dean Martin Christmas Special.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 1:46 PM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really wish they had standardized the type. Preferably to Futura Black, since the angular corners Ruscha uses sometimes wouldn't really work stylistically.
posted by a halcyon day at 1:48 PM on December 30, 2015


I mean, it just seems really odd to me considering its massive (and lasting!) popularity never lead to more people questioning the things we actually did have evidence for in respect to government corruption.

At the time that specific kind of corruption was going down, though, you were considered unAmerican if you doubted the government because 9/11 Never Forget.

It's almost like how -remember in The Watchmen, and how Ozymandius decides the way to unite all the different nations into collaborating would be to give them a common enemy? This was kind of the same thing - in the 90s we'd just wrapped up the Cold War, which left us without the specter of the Commies as the national boogeyman for the first time in FOREVER - so a lot of people picked up the underground conspiracy theories to turn them into the boogeyman in their movies and plays and TV shows and the like, and we went for it since we needed someone to be the boogeyman in the nationa conscious. Then after 9/11, a much more real and impactful boogeyman stepped onto the scene, and people were much more invested in them being the Big Bad because they'd had a more visible impact.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:04 PM on December 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


The X Files has never had a Mel's Hole episode, and I feel like this a huge omission.
posted by Artw at 5:07 PM on December 30, 2015


Also post-9/11 we traded the crypto-racism in a lot of earlier conspiracy theories for open racism and racial animus in modern conspiracy theories.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:26 PM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


When I put this poster up back in the day I believed in a lot more than alien encounters. Now I don't believe in anything. Thanks, George Noory.
posted by Camofrog at 10:16 PM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


The X Files has never had a Mel's Hole episode, and I feel like this a huge omission.

Dennis Hopper could have played Mel to great effect. Mel is (was?) easily the most entertaining and inventive bullshitter I've ever heard, and those few hours of C2C never get old.
posted by Camofrog at 10:32 PM on December 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Typical Castle episode:

/spooky stuff happens
CASTLE: did you know that [rattles off Wikipedia entry for obscure phenomena excitedly]? I believe that is what happens.
BECKETT: [perfectly reasonable reason why that is bollocks]
/evidence gathering occurs. Spooky thing turns out to be a different spooky thing than CASTLE thought and incredibly hostile.
BECKETT & CASTLE: Arrgh! Now we believe in THIS particular thing and want to kill it with fire.
/they kill it with fire
CASTLE: Maybe Sasquatch is real tho.
/credits
posted by bongo_x at 12:03 AM on December 31, 2015


I want to mention that I always loved how rational Scully's Christianity was a major thing. Its like "Fox, I don't think what you believe is true and you're a fool for believing this hokum. Its happening because my magical sky pixie wants it to happen."
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:11 PM on December 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I do love all those "How is Bigfoot more ridiculous than your Christianity?" conversations in the X-Files, and I love the same conversations in Bones as well. (My favourite being the one where Bones asks the Hell House guy some sort of theodicean question, which the guy answers, and then she just nods like "Yeah, I guess that logic is at least internally consistent" rather than pressing the issue like Booth expects her to.

I'd love to see more of that from Scully, but I think Mulder is too pushy about his Fortean stuff to allow for it.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:35 PM on December 31, 2015


Mulder knows Fortran? Is that even useful anymore?
posted by hippybear at 2:47 PM on December 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Scully "Oh My God" supercut!
posted by n. moon at 12:08 PM on December 30
But Scully's scientific method/medical science thing is so much hotter.

Agent Dana Scully: Medical Doctor (supercut)
posted by Brian Puccio at 11:09 AM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


a Mel's Hole episode

I don't know what this refers to. I'll just assume there's an especially dreadful episode of Alice I'm not remembering.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:41 PM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just read this in Mulder Voice.
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh. So, Les Revenants, basically?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:11 AM on January 2, 2016


I did tape a picture of Fox Mulder to one of the alphabetically-arranged file drawers in my office. You can probably guess which one.

Was it D?
posted by psoas at 1:32 PM on January 5, 2016


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