Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Want to Believe...... By Jarys

Twenty years ago a new show premiered on the Fox Channel (11 at our house) and my family and u sat down to watch it. I was nine at the time and we ended up watching it faithfully almost every Sunday until I went to college, that's eight years. This was a big deal because my parents heavily regimented all television use. The TV could only be on for an hour every day, or two hours if the family watched together. Saturday morning didn't count since my younger and I found out that the first dawn of the weekend was exactly when our parents wanted to be the most alone. We would knock on the door, ask them to play with us, and whine "well....can we AT LEAST watch cartoons?" when they said know. I now realized they wanted to have sex. Bless their hearts.

I never told my parents this, but I used to sneak television after school. When our sitter would take my sister to gymnastics and leave me at home I would memorize where the remote was in the room, what channel the TV was on an what the jump button was set to. I would watch Reboot, Aladdin, X-Men, and listen for my dad's car. When he pulled in I would set the TV to the jump channel, turn to the channel it was on when off, then place the remote exactly how I found it. My homework (which I did on the commercials) was open when he came through the door. He never caught me and I felt like a conspirator.

I grew to love conspiracies.

Back to those Sunday nights, my family and I would watch season after season of that scifi-conspiracy thriller called the X-Files. Weaving and twisting plot lies of creatures and conspiracies laid by shadow governments spilled from the screen, scaring me and making me think. The subject matter drove my imagination wild, here you have two characters, Mulder who is open minded but lacks self preservation and sense pitted with Skully, scientific and eternally skeptical with enough wherewithal to call back up before she goes after the killer. This conflict between hard science and hopeful wonder was shown diversely; Mulder invariably turned out to be right, but Skully was dependably there to get themselves out of trouble. The characters started with some dimension and grew, Mulder and his male-geek-sexist discomfort with women, Skully and her torrid relationship to her faith. They both struggled with tragedy....and men in black.

The show was fun, dramatic, and played with the audience's  enough to feed my blossoming subjectivism. They had some incredible gimmick episodes, such as the MiB Rashomon episode, the episode from the monster's perspective, and of course the highly stylized an self aware Frankenstein episode won my heart. I loved this show and its paltry writing occurred too rarely to break my fandom. Plus it helped my dad an I bond during some rather uncomfortable years. Only vat grown clones find adolescence easy.

The show opened me up to vast sections of human culture i had been ignorant of or found hazy. The X-Files lead me to investigate  scientific and mythical oddities, read into conspiracy and UFO culture, appreciate horror story pacing, as well research the occult and magic. The show taught me to open my mind skeptically, to  take these things as seriously as a grain of salt can manage, but as respectfully as culture, placing them in the same realm as popular science and religion. X-file reinforced what my parent taught me in that women can be just as capable as men (my father would occasionally react to the characters by swearing he would rather have Skully as a partner than Mulder). The show taught me the worthiness and price of passion,  giving me characters who never gave up an never sacrificed their identities or values for their search (at least, not without confessing and repenting). You might say it was formative.

Not every episode was great, not every arc added to the show's entertainment value. But it was a great show and a great part of my adolescence. It brought my family together, changed the way I thought, and I think of it fondly to this day. I recently researched the entire run on Netflix, to give me some background stimulation while job hunting. I find it poetic that I stopped watching right before I got this job. I am further thankful, then that the X-Files kept me focused and entertained during that part of my life.  When the actors came to Wondercon to promote the recent movie, i had the distinct honor of embarrassing myself by going up to ask them questions in a Link costume (thank you Mae Linh). Except, I wasn't embarrassed, I had seen these people make fools of themselves for years. They entertained me, so when they asked about my costume I was happy to entertain them.

I couldn't find the picture of me as Link, so look at this pic, and think "cuter"

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