Thursday, November 5, 2015

Asymptotic Romance

If the shipper review blog I read is any indication, at this point in its run (about a third of the way through its sixth season), The X-Files has become the mecca of giggling 14 year old schoolgirls, instead of 40 year old alien abduction enthusiasts and conspiracy nuts. Now, I don't have anything against 14 year old schoolgirls (I thought the mayor's baton-twirling daughter in The Rain King was just adorable), but let's be honest with ourselves. Is this the show that The X-Files is supposed to be?

The X-Files - that show your tweenage niece loves to watch.

I mean, I was concerned about the tone of the show when I watched Humbug back in season 2 (the advance scout for the army of comedy episodes to come), but I've never been outright opposed to the idea that The X-Files could do funny episodes. I just really don't like the idea of the show turning into a funny show, where the traditional roles are switched, and most of the episodes are comedy episodes, while the dark, serious, sci-fi/horror episodes are the outliers. But can we talk about the romance?

Even as the series had reached its peak and begun to decline, from what I can gather, the move to L.A. marked the dawning of the golden age for shippers. A friend of mine in high school once told me that he had stopped watching The X-Files because it had become too absorbed in the soapy "will they or won't they" drama playing on the romantic tension between the two leads. How did we get to this point, from the days when Chris Carter avowed that Mulder and Scully would never get together, because he wasn't interested in writing a soap opera?

Or, is that just the problem? Because at this point in the show, ever since the almost-kiss in the movie, the series has been milking the shipper perspective as much as possible without actually crossing the line (like some maddening asymptote). And that's what's so infuriating about it - the longer they draw it out without going one way or the other, the more annoying it gets. The X-Files is not about making jokes and going back and forth on whether Mulder and Scully are in love with each other, as it is so invested in doing at this point in its run.

I agree with Chris Carter['s original opinion] that putting Mulder and Scully together in a romantic relationship would be a distraction from what this show is [supposed to be] about, and I've always admired them more for the professional respect they've held for each other. But by all accounts, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were just too attractive, and they had too much chemistry together, that even Chris Carter began to break down by the sixth season of the show.

Except, if they had just stuck Mulder and Scully together once and for all, they could move beyond it, and get back to the show at hand. I think that would have been better than drawing it out for so long (even if drawing it out fulfills Chris Carter's mandate that they won't ever be a couple). I'm not particularly invested in whether or not Mulder and Scully get together - I'd prefer they didn't, but it doesn't matter much to me if they did. I just wish the show would stop wasting so much time on the romantic comedy bit and get back to being that gritty, sci-fi/horror show it used to be...

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