the OBSSEsed - continued
Issue No. 34, May 2000
Join the Brothers and Sisters of the OBSSE
this May at the annual Scully Marathons for NF, Inc.:
Don't forget to order a marathon t-shirt!
by Kirby Dee
Face acting. It's not just for Gillian anymore.
I remember where I was the first time I saw the Impressed!Scully face during the conversation on the rock in Quagmire (apple dumpling line, for any cretins out there who don't know what I'm talking about . . . go read the latest Dear Autumn Prancy confession if I'm going to quickly for you.). It showed such a stretching of acting muscles... both literal and symbolic, that I forever changed the way I viewed Gillian Anderson's work.
There have been innumerable moments of classic Scully face over the years... from the flashy canyonesque anger dimples of The Ghosts Who Stole Christmas, to the limber tear-nastics seen in Pusher and whatever the hell that monstrosity of a season premiere was titled this year, to the expression of wonder as Scully realizes Mulder has read her journals in Memento Mori ("I didn't want you to read that.")--equal parts embarrassment, modesty, and childlike petulance.
And while it seems many of you share my admiration for face acting, few people fully grasp the complex preparation and skill it takes to become a facemetician. As the public's curiosity about face acting has grown, new opportunities to explore and improve face acting, for actors and lay people alike, have grown exponentially. Unfortunately, the waiting list to join the alternate list for Face Acting Camp 2005 is impossibly long. In the interim, and for those of you who can't handle the hefty registration fee (Lauren fills an SUV with gas in L.A. so you can imagine her budget demands), since all things is so fresh in everyone's mind, I thought I'd take the opportunity to provide some free Face Acting pointers to the public (Lauren, get off the faint couch and bring me my Face Pointer) And yes, Gillian is very good at what she does, but she still maps out her every face acting choice beforehand. I hope you've all brought your blue mats--we're going to see if we can find a dimple or two along the way. I know many of you are hoping for anger dimples, but keep in mind a nice, humble little face crinkle is JUST as important. Let's not go all Sharon Stone on ourselves and end up disappointed in the end with our failure to progress. And those of you spearheading the smear campaign against our corporation? Just keep working on David's anguish face--I saw Return to Me.
So, on to all things and some of Gillian's face acting choices.
The key to Gillian Anderson's face acting is in what she allows her FACE to say in relation to the dialogue she's reciting. I don't deal with inflection or line delivery or voice in my camps. Nor do we worry about body language or hair choices, or wardrobe or makeup. It's simply the acting from the neck up, particularly in the neck, chin, eyes, forehead, and of course the area of the dimples and crinkles, which for you novices to face acting (glare at Twee), extends from mid cheekbone all the way to the lips.
Let us take for instance the scene where Scully sees Waterston for the first time in all things. As she gazes upon him in his hospital bed, she does some very nice neck work--Gillian won Most Expressive Neck five years running in the summer face acting circuit of the late 80s. (pause to sigh and shake head nostalgically.)
One of my favorite trademark Anderson choices is the almost painful attempt she makes to speak without actually coming anywhere near physically saying anything. The best example of this is in the X-Files movie, as she shows up late and rumpled for her hearing after being swarmed by bees only hours before in Texas. Skinner is there to greet her impatiently, and as she hurries across the hallway and pauses to check herself in a reflection, she gives Skinner a brief, wordless shorthand apology using only her face: "I'm sorry I'm late. I hurried as best I could. There were bees and then we ran." The first time I saw that scene, I could have SWORN she spoke to Skinner. And every time I re-view that scene, I'm more impressed with what she conveys using only face acting. Many a passable actress could provide the apologetic implications of the moment, but only Gillian could somehow manage to toss in that tiny dash of, "F*** you, Skinner; you let us down ALL THE TIME. I said there were BEES," that puts the moment over the top.
Similarly, in this scene over Waterston's bed, Scully appears on the verge of attempting to speak, even though there is no one there to see or hear her. It's almost as though she has no conscious control of that purgatory between thinking and speaking. And this time she's helping the viewer understand that she knew this guy . . . BOY did she know this guy. That they haven't seen each other in years, that seeing him in the hospital is tearing her up, and that this ain't a long lost Scully uncle she sees before her.
That moment is followed by a brief scene with an unfortunately undermatched extra playing Waterston's doctor. And in the wake of such dazzling acting choices, the guy can't quite manage to use ANY of his chins in this scene. What follows is a teleplay not only of the dialogue, but also what the face acting is SAYING to the viewer. Cue up the VCRs and follow along at home.
Dr. Kopeikan: Excuse me. Can I help you with something?That final Scully face, by the way--a neck swallow, followed by a flinchy
tight smile on only the right side of her face--took Gillian seven hours of
furious face preparation to perfect. And it nicely demonstrates the division of her face into two styles of acting. The left side, what I like to call her
Natural Side, is where the truly inspired inner dimples show themselves. The right side, where Liarpants!Scully resides, is most often associated with her grimaces, forced smiles, and eyerolls. [see also Appendix D: "Atmospheric Studies of the Split Tendencies of Face Acting and Right Brained Insincerity Gene Manipulation.]
[Note: it is at this point in preparing the article that two things occurred. First, my VCR revolted after the 98th insistent rewind attempt and devoured this scene with absolute relish. And it wasn't a BIT sorry about it. Then it spit the tape out and refused to accept it for the rest of the evening. With some cajoling and a lie or two about there being more Scully cleavage in its future, it eventually relented. AND, it dawned on me, the OBSSE mailing list recently debated the merits of this episode for Gillian Anderson's contributions to the writing and directing. I'm sure she did a find job with both, but the more I watched this scene and heard the little symbolic pings in the background, the more I began to torture myself with the thought that for every ping and lighting choice, we could be getting more dimples. As a Face Acting Counselor, I must tell you that this very idea has become torture for me. Because she did not spend her summers growing up perfecting her use of light filters and pinging. Dammit. (momentary artistic breakdown ensues) HOWEVER, I must say that all the little slow motion techniques enhanced some of Gillian's face acting choices magnificently: there are several CLASSIC SOOSBs throughout.]
This episode is too packed with Face Acting to illuminate every one, and so on your own, rewatch the first meeting between Scully and an awake Waterston. Note in particular the honest acting Gillian Anderson does in this scene. She doesn't use fancy moves--this scene is too important to muck with. Her choices are spare and convincing--note the electric shock she exhibits at the initial hand holding. Her eyes have never done better work -- see if you can spot the aggravated eyeroll upon mention of her bad choices--notice it moves to the LEFT. For another great eye moment, see also the first scene with the Detour lady outside her home. Scully skittishly mentions her near car accident: "It's nothing, really." Check out that shifty eye manipulation . . . liarpants!Scully at its finest.
Another fine moment comes in the hospital summons scene as Waterston uses Scully to back up his opinions on treatment, and Scully accidentally falls into the trap.
(Scully inadvertently makes the doctor look like an ass)These are the little moments I love to take apart. Please, I beg you to watch some of these with a slow motion button at your disposal. Gillian executes a beautiful double take of belated recognition of what she's just done to this guy. Her face registers open mouthed regret, as though she might wish she could suck the words right back inside herself. And then, fleetingly, a rebellious urge overtakes her, a momentary, "Well, I was right, wasn't I?" neener as she glances away. And it all happens in the space of two seconds. Face acting!
As much as I'm proud of Gillian's face acting throughout this episode, she leaves no doubt as to her finest moment, perhaps in years. This is one of my favorite Scully unspoken reactions, EVER.
(Waterston is droning on about how hard things were for his family when she left and he shut down.)That's the face that Gillian holed up for a three day weekend to perfect. The face she agonized over, the face that required two boxes of Ho Ho bingeing and an anguished phone call to a certain face acting counselor who shall remain nameless . . . Check it out. She nailed it. We get.... a lip lick, face crinkles, spontaneous tearing, pained smiling, and a patented Scully Lookaway in a Time of Great Angst. Of all the things she does well here, I think her eyebrow crinkles are my favorite thing--I keep TELLING the woman to insure the space between her eyes, and not just the eyes and eyebrows themselves. Actors . . . .
As a special treat, I'm pointing out a magic stunt tear you may not have noticed. Continue through the scene and you'll see several fine, run of the mill tears. But at one point Gillian sits up slightly and allows a lone tear to trickle down her nose and fall right off the tip. (/me begins to snuffle) Her stunt tears always get me.
I know you're reading this and saying, "But Kirby, what about the anger dimples?" And I say on to you, go find the damned anger dimples yourself. Ghosts is hip deep in anger dimples. Hell, Pine Bluff Variant has a beauty, and that episode isn't even all that great. But for you lazies out there who don't feel like changing tapes, fast forward to the resuscitation scene. Gillian is a modest director--she lit the scene in such a way that you can't quite even see the anger dimple as she screams at the nurses. But it's there. Oh yes.
(Random note: I think Gillian is bitter about Season Seven hair. Check out the Ma Scully hair she chooses for the flashback scene. She can be petty about hair.)
After watching this episode somewhat obsessively
(Kirby's VCR bleats
And finally, as a special treat for those of you who actually read this article, I'll share the REAL nod Gillian Anderson put into the episode for the OBSSE. Well, OK, not so much you guys but ME. But you might like it too. This is Face Acting's version of a double half gainer with a twist, or an inverted pic-toed triple flying axle on bad skates. Honestly, if I hadn't rewatched this episode so carefully, I never would have caught it. Check out the scene after Scully has said her piece with Waterston and is about to depart. Maggie stands in the doorway, and Scully turns to see her there. For a brief moment we get a wordless Scully, her feelings running willy nilly across her face. In THREE SECONDS, Gillian executes:
Face acting fever. Catch it.
To send in your burning question just email me at Ask Sister Autumn.
Dear She Who Grants Ops Using a Line of
Reason That I Can't Quite
Sister Beer here. I don't know if you've heard, but I'm driving to Fest again. Oh, it's not because of the outrageous airfare--it's because I find cross country driving to be relaxing. It makes me feel adventurous. I like to pretend that it's the 1870s and I'm driving a chuckwagon (a really deluxe chuckwagon) to find a place to settle down and fight locusts, prairie fires and Indians. Just me, my provisions and the great, big, beautiful country of ours. I'm lured by the immense beauty of the physical geography and finding that YES, there are perfect strangers out there who will NOT carjack you simply because they can. It's enough to bring tears to my eyes. <sigh> I could drive everyday for the rest of my life and never see everything I want to see or meet everyone I'd care to meet.
In a nutshell, I love road trips. It's what I do.
Unfortunately, this year, I've developed
some sort of unexpected hangup. I
What does it all mean? How can I get over
my curb complex before Fest 2000? I've noticed that the interstate highway
system does not utilize the curb, but what about when I have to go into
town for supplies? What then? Huh? Who will stop the laughter, that incessant
, mocking laughter!!?
Where to start? First, Beer the panties thing. Way. Too. Much. Information. Second, I think we all know now we need to keep Rania out of Gaffney. Third, if I were a classically trained Freudian I'd have to say your dream means you are obsessed with sex. Fourth, if I were a classically trained anything I'd have to say you are afraid of escaping from the gutter where you must believe you dwell. Fifth, if I were merely classy I'd say, well I don't know what I'd say. Sixth, I don't think you have to worry about this as far as Fest is concerned. I'm sure your occupants will not mock your obviously poor driving skills, though they might say "Oh for goodness sakes, it's a bit bumpy then."
Dear Sister Autumn, wielder of Sparky, the Sacred Wonder Trout, whose scales I am not worthy to touch, or even glance upon.
The other Nuns are starting to bug me. Every Sunday after the latest episode, I go to chat and I hear...
"Hey Reade, explain away that shippy moment"
"Hey Reade, she wasn't wearing any panty hose that time"
"HEY READE... they're going at it like two rabid, cheeto crazed squirrels during the commercial break... why can't you just accept it?"
Well, I won't. I just won't. I confess it's becoming harder and harder to maintain the quiet air of dignity that I've become known for, but I just can't let the other LOONs down. Until I see Scully and Mulder naked on the floor with rug burn all over their patooties... they are NOT doing it.
The reason I'm writing to you is to beg
you to make them stop neenering me. You have power, and I know deep
down in your heart you can't really believe she wants him. Please
Autumn, please... make them see the
HEY READE... they're going at it like two rabid, cheeto crazed squirrels during the commercial break... why can't you just accept it?
Dear Sister Autumn (who is so great yadda yadda yadda),
Help! I'm starting to pack for Fest (can't be too prepared, and all that) and I'm really in a fix. I only want to bring the one suitcase since the Sam's Club boxes of Cheetos are going to take up so much room, and I just can't decide what to bring. I mean, how do I choose between the tube tops and the halter tops? The glitter tankini or the ruffly one-piece? Please keep in mind that my styling products and cosmetics take up a lot of space, not to mention the curling irons.
Eagerly awaiting your advice,
P.S. I did read the Minnesota Primer, but it just didn't seem... completely applicable to my, um, situation. Thanks!
P.P.S. How 'bout that Scully?
Hmm, that sounds vaguely obscene. Anyway. Can you just wear the Cheetos?
Dear Sister Autumn, Mighty Adjuster of the Mammarial Regions of the Earthly Incarnation of The Blessed One of the Order of the Blessed Saint Scully the Enigmatic,
I fear for my soul. I have always prided myself on being quite an acceptable Scullyclone, but lately I have had cause to doubt my worthiness for such an exalted position. Let me 'splain. It is a sad and dreary tale of woe, so you might want to fire up the blender.
Item 1: The Hair. Now, Sister of
Unsurpassed Demurity, I need to make it clear that my hair is naturally
of a ruddy hue; I am not one of those prancy fraudulent clones.
However, since The Blessed One's hallowed locks have been known to occasionally
alter in tint, I felt obligated to emulate her
Item 2: The Boots. As if this catastrophe
weren't enough, Measurer of the Holy Cup Size, another misadventure occurred
within the week. I had recently procured a pair of boots greatly resembling
those worn by our saint in the sacred episode Milagro. (I'm sure
you will concur on the
I fear that I have been judged unworthy to continue in the role of Scullyclone. O Exalted Sister of the Sanctified Hook Fastenage, what should I do? I am wallowing in the depths of despair and if you cannot help me I feel that I will be unable to continue in my mediocre joke-ridden life. Help me, Sister Autumn. You're the only one who can.
Yours in desperation,
P.S. Your koala backpack should be arriving any day now.
Not too worry. I am confident I have discovered the blond roots to your problem and they can be found in these words: "Miss Clairol" and "Spendless Shoes." When was the last time you saw alien goo eat through a pair of Scully's pumps? That's right. Season two. Since then she learned the truth of the age old phrase "you get what you pay for." Rather than buying a lot of cheaper clothes and accessories she has concentrated on buying just two outfits that no matter how many times they are shot through, bled on, covered in mud, or smeared with that pasty orange color from Cheetos when they get wet will always come clean. They may be ugly shirts, but by God they are quality. So, if you already have red hair do not tweak it, for frankly that makes you no better than the next Scully wannabe. And as far as the shoes go, would you rather buy one pair to last a lifetime (or five seasons) or cheap knockoffs that come apart at the smallest of sprints? Surely some things are more important than food and rent.
Dear fellow trout owner (though clearly yours is much better than mine),
In a fit of temporary insanity, I signed up to be a chat host (a position of too much responsibility and not enough perks). What can I say? I like to talk. Last week in a trial chat to test my mettle before I got my official chat, a Mulderist entered the room and when the topic moved to that most special and wonderful of episodes, all things, written and directed by the most talented woman on the planet, Gillian Anderson (I'm sorry, Sister Autumn -- you're a very close second though.), this Mulderist bashed it! She tore it into little pieces and stomped on it. Even worse, she bashed Scully -- called her "wishy-washy" and a "bitch"! Now, I pulled out my best arguments... I provided evidence and tried to prod her into doing the same. Needless to say, she didn't have a leg to stand on, and still she kept up the ranting, even going so far as to say she mostly hated the Scully in the last couple of seasons.
Now my problem is, as a host, I wasn't able to call her a moron -- I'm not supposed to smack people around who do that kind of thing in the chats. My trout was tied! So what should I do? Quit my job as chat host so I can tell that Mulderist what I really think? Or stick with it and make a voodoo doll of her?
Spanky and I eagerly await your sage advice.
I will now impart upon you what I have learned in my seven long years of dealing with the Mulderist crotch-watchers:
There really is no need to sic your clearly substandard trout on them. Most make themselves look like complete and total idiots with no prompting. This obviously goes beyond liking or not liking an hour of television. There is no reason to call this person a moron, they show everyone by their actions. I've found that the best way to shut these types up is to ask them "you do realize this is a television show, right?" or "do you always harbor deep seated negative emotions towards fictional character?" or "wooooo hooooo U RoCk! Tell us more bout the super duper tightness of Mulderz pants CUZ thats the BESTEST reason to watch duh Filez - LUV speedogrrrrrrrrl."
(Note: This letter came on the back of a postcard from Namibia. I wonder who it could cough *NaK* cough be from)
Dear Sister Autumn,
I really don't need any help so I am not sure why I am writing. (Perhaps the fact that I've not met my humiliation quota yet for this month?) Anyhoo - just thought I'd drop a line and let you know that I'm fine. Really, I'm fine. Quit starin' at me! - Oops, sorry, you know what I mean. So, good, so far.
So I was walking home today (and by the scalpel of The Blessed One, was it hot!), after a day where there was no water at school. I'm walking along, sand creeping into my shoes, skirt blowing around when I have a vision! Our Lady of the Nighttime Pushup Bra was there! She was attired a la a certain killer dolly ep and in a Mustang convertible. She smiled an EndGame smile at me and said, "I'd offer you a ride, but you do realize that I'm an audio-visual hallucination triggered by your lack of fluid intake, combined with the excessive heat."
There never was a better mirage. No Scully for me for four months, though I understand both Touched by an Angel and Seventh Heaven air on TV here.
Yours in Scully-Deprivation,
Well, the good news is even your hallucinations are in character and in a great outfit. Her hair probably looked good too didn't it? Look at it this way, if you were here you might have hallucinations involving a flat little helmet of hair and an ugly nicotine yellow blouse. Does Seventh Heaven have a CHarc?
To the sister of all those golden leaves that get stuck in our driveways....
I am in great need of your ... umm ... wisdom. Yeah... that's it ...
I have a brother. This brother is an X-Files "viewer" and not as fanatical as you and I. I think that he may be an anti-relationshipper. I'm not sure. He was the person who first introduced me to the world of X-Files - an act that I am forever in his debt. There have been a few things that have my Scullyistic mind in an bit of a state.
My brother sees how devoted I am to watching the Blessed One. He knows how I run circles around the rumpus room when any relationshippy moment occurs. (You should have seen me at the end of Millennium. I was cheering!) So, he has taken to referring to our Pantsuitedness as ... "Slutty" instead of Scully.
I do not know what
action to take to repair these "glitches" in my brother's
Thanking you in advance
(because I know that you WILL answer this
Sister Dopey Truth
Sometimes it is almost too easy.
You know what Sister Dopey Truth? I think you are so wise you really don't need my advice. I think you've got it all figured out there in "ASPARAGUSVILLE" so I'm confused why you would even honor me with a letter. We should all be writing to you! Your brother. He's just the meanest of the mean meanies isn't he. Maybe you could just chant "I HATE YOU HATE YOU HATE YOU" to him next time he makes things in creamy land all icky and stuff.
Oh, and please don't ever say "you and I" to me again.
Where does Scully buy her shoes? Just wondering.
Why do you want to know where a fictional character buys shoes? Just wondering.
How OBSSEsed are you?
"Parts of it were excruciating, but parts of it were exhilarating. By that I especially mean the scenes where I was running through the FBI. It was like live theatre. We were taking risks, doing things differently, learning. You just go here and do this. I was resonating on a whole different level."
Anderson on shooting Triangle
"I found it easy to treat McKean like Mulder - after all. I've been dealing with Mulder for five and a half seasons. But the other way around? Treating David like McKean's character? That was a challenge. I have this intense history with David. There's a lot of energy and chemistry between us; and I had to work hard not to fall into those patterns while I was dealing with him as if I did not know him. In the end I think we pulled it off, but it was very tricky, very interesting."
Anderson on the Dreamland body switch
"I enjoyed this episode. I got a big kick out of sitting next to David and doing all the little things to pretend we were married. I also liked calling him Poopyhead."
Anderson on Arcadia
"That technical stuff is never fun. When you're just standing around computers, talking to someone off-screen and faking that you see something drastic, that's not fun. That's not acting as far as I'm concerned."
Anderson on First Person Shooter
"There are opportunities all over the place for this character to come off as very bossy and self-centered and not likable, just based on some of the dialogue she has to say and some of the situations she's placed in. One of the challenges has been to come at that side of her from a place that is based in pure strength and humility, with no degree of attitude or self-serving."
Anderson on Scully
"I have a couple of images that I had pitched to Chris a few years beforehand.' Chris had said 'OK that sounds great. We'll do something with it next year'. Well, nothing happened."
Anderson on her previous storyline attempts
"I think my favorite parts have to do more with camera work, with particular shots and transitions from one scene to another scene.
I wrote most of it. The next step was to go through it with Frank and determine which order of scenes was most effective and what the right tone for each of the scenes. Then I went back and I rewrote, and we kept going through that process for a while - brainstorming and me re-shifting. Then Chris stepped in and rewrote. Then, I went back and tried to get it back to my original idea... which worked.
I got my hands pretty dirty, I was there for casting, for location scouting. I actually had a few days of work the episode before "all things", so other people went out and scouted locations when I couldn't do it myself. They brought pictures back to me. But basically I was there for the whole process.
Anderson on writing and directing all things
"I'm excited for my future on the show, off the show, my future as a mom and a director and an actor in many different mediums. As the options, the possibilities are opening slightly; it's just a nice feeling. It's nice to know I have more outlets in which to explore myself creatively than I originally anticipated. And that's an exciting place to be."
Anderson on her future
|(These two letters are
going to be run together, and I think it will be very apparent why.)
Dearest Autumn, who is far too wise to be taken in by sycophantic platitudes, I need your sage advice.
I know how busy you are, what with all
that toast making and such, so
My problem is this: I live with a Neener
Nun. Being of a good and giving
I await your advice.
AdrianneFF, to her own self being true
Light of the Abbey, Swinger of the Trout... Wisdom, Authority, blah, blah, blah,
Is it wrong to neener your fellow nuns? And for that matter, how does one know when to neener? I ask because I have been neenering of late, yet I am not sure if the experiences are actually neener-worthy. Perhaps you can help me out?
Last month I happened to be in Chinatown
when I stumbled across some
After I had a danish and conversed with my co-conspirator for a while, I got to watch them film a scene. It wasn't much, really. It only featured our Saint walking past some apothecary that wasn't even an actual apothecary. Nothing eventful happened. Just take and retake of that scene, with the EI walking right toward us. She would yell out "Cut!", and they would reshoot. Over and over and over again. Nothing exciting.
Twice during the day, the EI walked right in front of me. I didn't stop her for an autograph because she was frightfully busy working out details of the episode with Mr. Kim Manners. She was so close that I could smell her perfume (it's heavenly, by the way), but I did not talk to her.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was able to finagle my work schedule around being an extra in the upcoming episode Fight Club. (Look for me banging Kevin-from-Vallejo's head on the railing, if it makes the cut!) Now, one might think that maybe possibly being in an episode of the greatest show ever to grace our television screens would immediately be neener-worthy, but hold your opinion until after I tell you the details.
The whole first day of shooting we had to be contented with being plied with free food and prizes while watching some b-grade actors doing some scenes, and a guest star dropping his water bottle in front of where we were sitting, bending over to pick it...
Where was I? Oh yes.
Ms. Anderson was only there for part of
the second day. AND she was a
And OH! The smirk she gave while
watching us "background artists"
That other guy was there too. What's his name? Damian?
Whatever. He was there for a long time on the second day.
Is it so wrong to tell others about these adventures? I want to share the memories, but I don't want to make those who are less fortunate feel (too) bad.
Can you help me decide if these are neener-worthy
experiences, oh Wise
It's not like I got a picture with the EI's cheek smooshed up against mine or anything. And everybody and their sister has their Vagina Monologues program autographed by now, right?
Dear Adrianne and SpicedRum,
I hate you both.
Dear Autumn upon whose wisdom I have relied upon many a time, and yes, this is another one of those times,
First is was a thing with Scully having to be rescued by Mulder all the time and CC not letting her kick ass, then it was about me and Ratboy, then it was that Fowley/two drawers of underwear comparison, but now I think that I have actually gone over the top and I need you to bring me back.
Could it be possible to have TOO much Scully in your life? I mean I don't have the pajamas or anything but I have her as my wallpaper on my PC at home AND at work. I have my Scully action figure on top of my PC monitor at work with Mulder appropriately genuflecting from below. I have Scully wavs whenever I do....well.....ANYTHING on either PC. At one point, I even thought of dressing like her with pantyhose one moment and then none the next. I tried to get that pasted down hair look that she has going. I wear shirts that are so tight across the chest that any popping buttons would kill people (shirts untucked of course). I eat at least two packs of orange tic tacs for breakfast at least 5 days a week. I could go on and on and on Autumn, but for the sake of brevity, I won't.
Please, Autumn. Is there something wrong with me?
Slightly scared and considering shock therapy (but only if Scully would deliver the shocks),
Yes, there is definitely something wrong with you. You are in grave danger of catching that unfortunate cousin of attention deficit disorder called attention deficit pissorder. Generally it is recognizable as a person trying to draw attention to themselves loudly until they piss off the entire Order. I suggest you be very careful to avoid this frightening condition since it usually ends up with the person contracting it being shoved in a woodchipper at FEST and their next of kin being told "Hmm she/he just didn't show up this year. We thought he/she dropped out last minute."
My suggestion? SLOW DOWN before its too late.
Dear Sister Autumn, who's demurity, wisdom,
kindness, and access to the
Guidance, therapy, why quibble? Anyway. Back to my problem.
I'm bereft at the thought of the end of the X-Files. No, no I haven't actually started watching the show again, perish the thought. After they stopped showing Skinner handcuffing Krycek, I kind of lost interest. Besides, all y'all need someone to be on blender duty. Plastic blender duty, that is. But I'm digressing. The problem is that the show is going to end, and therefore our 'raison d'etre' (translation: partially chewed raisin) ceases to exist. I just can't stand the thought. See? I'm sniveling.
I can't go back to life without the Order.
No tic-tacs. No newsletter. NO
Don't call the cops. I have a handheld mixer, and I'm not afraid to use it!
Lens (holed up in the abbey lounge with a supply of reblochon and rationed agave, holding her plastic incarnations hostage)
There, there. I know. It is a frightening prospect to face. I mean here you've slaved for years as Elder of, um, whatever it is you do. Even allowing the brothers and sisters to fan you with palm fronds and feed you chocolate dipped strawberries when you don't even really watch the show that much anymore. Your generosity knows no bounds.
While The Blessed One may ride off into the sunset until a possible movie, the spirit of the Abbey will live on forever. Or something like that. Plus, I'm pretty sure we can string the minions along until at least after FEST. Then perhaps you can make a big show of maybe, just maybe being convinced that you could come back for another year in the Abbey if you had more time off from your strenuous duties and if FOX ever settles your lawsuit about PANSPERMIA residuals even though poor La.. had to sign up for another year already just so that she could be waited on part time by a distracted minion every third Monday (holidays excepted).
You saw the disturbing image and you bravely sent in your captions anyway. Thanks to everyone who contributed to last month's poll! Here are but a few of the entries. Extra credit goes to Karin Gregory for stating the obvious and making me laugh out loud. -- Paula
Sister Lens of
Mulder got it, finally, when he hugged his sister goodbye to the strains of Moby in the appropriately named Closure. Scully got it too, in all things when she took a hard look at her life and decided maybe crazy old Mulder was onto something all these years (suitably enough, with musical accompaniment from Moby as well).
Now I want mine, damn it.
As Season 7 began, I was resigned to the show's imminent conclusion. Seven years was a nice lucky number. The actors appeared tired (one of them, having filed a massive lawsuit against Fox, perhaps even on the verge of "tired and cranky"); the writers seemed spent as well; even many of the fans -- myself included -- were a bit weary of the whole thing. All in all it felt like a good time to retire the Spooky Patrol. Sure, there was that pesky detail of Gillian Anderson's contract going through Season 8, but that's all it seemed, a pesky detail. It's not as if they'd make her do the show alone for heaven's sake. It was over. The announcement was just a formality.
Ah, but something funny happened. Someone at Fox woke up one fine day in Los Angeles and noticed that (A) The X-Files was making them an unholy amount of money and (B) pretty much everything else on Fox either sucked or had terrible ratings, or both. This same Fox executive (some scenes in this rant have been reenacted for the purposes of dramatic illustration) sprang from his Craftmatic Adjustable Bed, kissed his poster of Tiffani-Amber Thiessen goodbye and pranced off to the office to inform his colleagues of his gigantic revelation. All the other Fox executives stroked their trendily stubbled chins maniacally, fingered their wire-rimmed glasses, and leaned back in their plush chairs around the mahogany conference table with Rupert Murdoch's head stenciled into the fine finish. "Hmmmm," they all said. "You've got something there, Chet. Maybe we SHOULDN'T just let The X-Files go without a struggle."
I think the vast majority of us let out a collective anguished groan when we heard of the possibility that Fox was trying to wring one more year out of TXF. "Let it die in peace!" some of us wailed. The words "Mad About You" were spoken in soft horrified whispers. Even Gillian Anderson was heard to utter the phrase "modicum of dignity."
At first, another year didn't look at all likely. Gillian Anderson told reporter after reporter, some at least seventeen times in the space of a three-minute interview, that although her contract did indeed extend through a hypothetical Season 8 she did not plan on returning for one. Just how she expected to accomplish that she did not detail, but many suspected it had something to do with feng shui or, perhaps, goat's milk yogurt for pets. David Duchovny, meanwhile, continued with his usual routine of utter contempt for the show and everyone on it, lending support to his costar's fevered campaign for release by opining frequently that the show would thrive in peachy merriment when she was legally obligated to carry it by herself. "Why, back in the beginning of the show when I was a complete unknown and Hercules almost got my part, I was a crucial element, in fact the very thread of support that prevented The X-Files from collapsing into a howling mess," he said, "but now that my face is on lunchboxes everywhere and the character has been tailored to match my personality and I've written episodes and carefully cultivated a chemistry with the leading lady, who has been at my side as we've grown and changed together throughout seven long seasons, I'm completely dispensable. Maybe that Hercules guy is available." No one understood this statement, at all, but most of us are simply too hopelessly dumb to comprehend what David Duchovny says anyway. But I digress.
No, it didn't appear likely that The X-Files would continue. Gillian was practically pressing her nose against the glass screaming "GET ME OUT! OH SWEET LORD, PLEASE RELEASE ME FROM THIS TORMENTED HOUSE OF HELLISH EVIL!" David wanted twenty-five million bucks and intellectual fulfillment. Indeed, it didn't look good.
But something funny happened, again. As we all sat waiting for the bell to toll for our favorite weekly program, we were rewarded instead with a deafening silence. Other shows announced their doom, and Fox began compiling the rights to every song ever published with "Goodbye" somewhere in the lyrics (Moby included, naturally) to play over commercials for the final episodes of Beverly Hills 90210: The Aimless Post-College Years and Party of Teen Slasher Flicks. Through the sobbing of devoted fans of these fine shows (and the occasional muttering of "God, is 90210 still on the air? I used to watch that back in high school"), we X-Philes still listened, and waited, and heard nothing. The great Fox fortress remained solid and unbreachable and stubbornly silent.
Then David Duchovny started making publicity rounds for his new movie, Return to Me (an enjoyable little film that I would recom -- oops, sorry), and on couch after couch, addressing any number of hosts behind any number of fake desks (pausing on the Conan O'Brien show to make the shocking statement, "Remember how a couple years ago I came on here and pretended to complain about Vancouver and there were funny actors wearing costumes and we read off of cue cards and we rehearsed it beforehand? Well, that WASN'T actually a spontaneous expression of my true feelings, believe it or not, though I know I was very crafty about it," causing the jaws of several Canadian newspaper editors to hit the tundra in astonishment as they began to rethink their strategy of having knee-jerkingly banned Mr. Duchovny from strip clubs throughout the country), he gave this answer to the inevitable "So, last year, huh?" question: "Maybe." Yes, across the nation rang a resounding "perhaps." "Fox has my terms," he would say. "The ball's in their court." The use of this sports metaphor, specifically engineered for easy digestion by the common man, drove the message home: With the right set of conditions, David Duchovny might return for another season after all.
"Do you know what this could MEAN?" we all cried, pulling off our respective pairs of wacky sunglasses. Rumors abounded that David's mysterious terms extended to anything from one MEELLION dollars per episode to creative freedom to more time off to a large treehouse surrounded by a moat from which he could rule the earth. All of a sudden it looked as if Fox's desperate plea to Save Our Cash Cow might not go unheeded.
But what about Gillian Anderson? Well, she too experienced almost as shocking a turnaround. After spending the year using an ear trumpet to bellow into the auditory canals of clueless reporters "NO, I AM NOT COMING BACK FOR ANOTHER SEASON, YOU DISREPUTABLE TABLOID HACK, AND BY THE WAY, HERE IN AMERICA WE CALL IT 'SEASON', NOT 'SERIES'," she suddenly told TV Guide that she wanted to return. "After all," she said, "I would enjoy writing and directing more episodes, and if the show doesn't come back, that will be quite difficult and, in a way, perhaps even futile." TV Guide ran this revelation this under the banner headline SEXY FLAME-HAIRED FED FATALE USED TO HAVE PURPLE MOHAWK AND LISTEN TO PUNK ROCK -- AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, making sure to include a snarky reference to the freaks on the Internet and to use the word "X-pectations" somewhere in the article. At least they probably did. <shrug>
With this surprising development, we Philes were unsure what to do. But, we told ourselves, there would have to be an announcement soon. After all, the final episode would have to be written, and you can't very well write a final episode without KNOWING whether it's a final episode.
So, as I write this, it's late April. The final episode of Season 7 has not only been written but is reportedly being filmed. AND WE STILL DON'T HAVE AN ANSWER.
And it is SLOWLY KILLING ME.
I'll admit it -- I'm now at the point (possibly due to the cruel psychological torture of Fox) where I'm hoping we do get an eighth season. If the actors and writers need changes in the show to keep their interest, I say go for it. Frankly, I've felt TXF could benefit from a premise-rejiggering for a couple of seasons now. Now that we've got our closure, it's the perfect time to do something drastically different -- let's stick Mulder and Scully in a field office, or kick them out of the FBI altogether and have them operate out of the back of a pet store in Anaheim (then they could stop pretending it's not California, which they're not that great at doing anyway). I'd love something different. I think it could be lots of fun. Anderson and Duchovny both seem quite interested in developing their characters, so, hey, let 'em. They've got to understand the show better than random imports from Harsh Realm at this point. Save some money and downsize some of the big-time producers -- is Spotnitz really earning his check these days? (Just kidding, Fashion Boy.)
Those are my humble suggestions for a Season 8 with Scully and Mulder. If the only option available is a Season 8 with Scully and Nobody, or even Scully and Hercules, then I humbly suggest that Fox is a bunch of short-sighted money-grubbing freaks who would rather take a pitchfork to their golden goose and stab it good and bloody before flinging its entrails to the four winds and auctioning off pieces of it on eBay than let it bide its time and present them with golden eggs once every few years at the box office. The show can't work like that, my humble opinion of course, and I would hate to see it compromised that way. Rejiggering the premise is one thing; slicing it in half is another.
If it's a choice between a Mulder-less (or Scully-less, certainly, though there doesn't appear to be any danger of that at this point) season and no season at all, then I do think the time has come for the show to end. It'll be too bad if that happens, though, since Fox will have wasted its prime final-episode-milking time squabbling with lawyers. A last episode, a "Next time, Mulder and Scully encounter some scary snakes in the South!", and the following month a TV Guide footnote saying, "Well, it turns out that was the final season of The X-Files" is not the send-off our favorite show deserves.
So if you're going to end the show, end it already. Give us some pitiful time to mourn it. And if you're not, I understand the negotiations are delicate, but ANYTHING you could do to move things along would be much appreciated, seeing as how the wait is slowly nibbling away at the last shreds of my sanity like a barrelful of fake attacking kitty cats.
Just give me my damn closure. I need it bad. If it has to be to the strains of Moby, so be it; I'll take track 11. But this wait is not doing anybody, or the show itself, any good.
Now, one more thing. If The X-Files does end this year, this could well be my last rant for you fine people. So, just in case I don't get this soapbox ever again...
Schizogeny sucked. What was with that haunted dirt? And nice job sticking your necks under the broken glass, Mulder and Scully. Guess what, 1013 -- Continuity IS important, and you either want us to pay attention to your show or you don't, so make up your mind. It was nice that we had a movie and all, but it's too bad half of Season 5 had to be wasted on filler episodes because David and/or Gillian wasn't available. Joan Rivers, I bet you and your clique threw sticks at the chubby kid with the greasy hair on the playground in third grade and then pointed and laughed, and guess what -- you're still doing it. Nice life. The Field Where I Died was a lame excuse to showcase Morgan's girlfriend's accents disguised as a dramatically unsound melodrama featuring frequent closeups of David Duchovny's nostrils. Gillian, it's "noo-clee-er," not "noo-kyuh-ler." Chris Carter, it's not cute anymore when you pretend you have everything planned out when you really don't. Spender was pointless the day he conveniently appeared and pointless the day he was conveniently killed and pointless every day in between. Ditto for Fowley, except she also got to have the "girl" cliches like being a tawdry seductress. Travelers should have been titled "Everybody Takes a Vacation and Forgets to Keep an Eye on David." No one could possibly make their hair look as bad as Gillian's has for most of the year without the help of a professional hairstylist. What the hell is up with RealPlayer -- if it takes forty minutes to download the 3-megabyte clip, then why does it still stall due to net congestion? Shouldn't it only have to deal with net congestion when it's streaming? And if it is streaming, why the $#@& did I spend forty minutes downloading it? Would it seriously, physically kill them to hire an official novelist who writes above a fifth-grade level? How many more lingering closeups of that cross can you possibly have? Why the hell would Mulder and Scully rent a luxury car to drive through the desert, and did they really think I would pay five dollars to have my picture taken with one? Do there honestly need to be twenty layers of frames on the official site, and does anyone realize that to most normal people ridiculously overdone bells and whistles and flashing things and constantly reloading things are a DISINCENTIVE to visit a website, not a draw? Just who let them get away with that "I'm not a psychologist" line in Terms of Endearment? Who invented pop-up windows and did they actually think that people would interestedly read the advertisements in them? Why did Mystery Science Theater have to die? What is with the whole "Melissa" deal? Whatever happened to the bees, anyway? Why on earth did they have a "1992" date stamp on the pilot? Did Synchrony really need to exist? How about Hell Money? I didn't think so.
And Kill Switch KICKED ASS. So there.
I just wanted to take the time to recommend a piece I've actually been waiting about two years to mention in this column. This month an author who has been featured here before, Michaela, finished her sequel to the episode Never Again. As I think there are a few people in the Abbey who enjoyed that episode, some of whom even think that Scully slept with Ed Jerse, you might want to take a look at the havoc he manages to cause in her life in the chilling tale "Unnatural Disaster." I'll admit I was hooked by this story from the minute Scully comes home in the first chapter and discovers that one of her lamp shades is a different color. I hope you enjoy being able to read it in one sitting as much as I did over months in pieces.
want to show you something." -- Scully
As the official adventures of Mulder and Scully grind enthusiastically to a close, and the sun goes down (heh) on the series, I thought it appropriate to come full circle (I've been practicing) and begin where it all began. I wanted to start at the start, to commence at the initiation point, where the truth began to unravel and paranormal pervitude had its genesis. I bring you, as an homage to the series that brought us all together in this singularly pleasurable group activity, a perv treatment of the Pilot.
From the swirling blow j-- er, vortex -- in the teaser, we know that we are in for a special time with this show. Karen Swenson, the hapless first-ever XF victim to snuff it on screen, loses her life but gains a nifty new pair of nipples. These nipples appear over and over again throughout the pilot, and we very nearly get to see Scully's as she discovers what she thinks is a new set of her own. Lots of forepla -- er, foreshadowing about XF boobage to come, because as we now know the show spent quite a bit of time on Scully's chest, from the upstanding profile of One Breath, through the black pushup bra period, to the Boob-O-Phone of En Ami. This of course doesn't even begin to account for the prodigious pillows of Agent Fowley, which would probably require an entire article all its own. Who knows what mammarian marvels await us through the remainder of the series, and in the uplifting movie a couple of years hence.
Sexual references and phallic symbols abound, from Coroner Truitt's innocent query "Gettin' any?" at the gravesite scene to Scully's carrying a flame atop an erect pillar of wax to the little penis-shaped implant shoved up various characters' noses. This, of course, makes inevitable the following conversation between Mulder and Scully as they examine Mulder's personally significant discovery:
MULDER: This is amazing, Scully. Do you know what this could mean? It's almost too big to even comprehend.And, in another exchange:
MULDER: You're not squeamish about that sort of thing, are you?No wonder the poor girl put off jumping him for the next seven seasons. However, you will recall it was enough to get her all wet later.
As we look back on the pleasure we've derived from watching XF shenanigans over the years, we see perv opportunities aplenty. I would take it upon myself to do perv reviews of each and every episode, but since it's become very clear that dedicated perv acolytes abound within the hallowed walls of the Abbey, I will leave it to each and every one of you to take that task upon yourselves. Think of it as discipline (heh).
And as the sun quietly sinks below the beltline -- er, horizon, I would like to leave you all with this final, inspirational quote that rather sums up the whole thing rather nicely, I think:
"Agent Scully, thank you for coming
on such short notice."
As of this writing the fate of the X-Files and season eight STILL has not been decided. Sure. Fine. Whatever. The only good news I have is that what I know of Requiem seems like it could provide some sense of ending for the fans. Let's hope this is the case.
If you are a script collector, the X-Files Official Fan Club has been offering scripts from the last few episodes this season for two weeks each after they air. So, if you want to own an official version of one of the episodes you see in May, run over there to check it out.
Bad news for those of us hoping that Gillian's House of Mirth project would be screened at the Cannes Film Festival as it was not chosen. They still do not have a U.S. distributor, so it is looking more and more like you all should be ordering Showtime to be sure to catch this movie.
For those of you still recovering from David Duchovny awareness week (I think the only show he was not on was some Public Access special about sidewalk legislation), Gillian Anderson is scheduled to appear on the syndicated Martin Short Show on May 5th - check your local listings. The David Letterman show is also running commercials announcing her as one of the May guests, so keep your eyes open for that as well.
The First Season DVDs are out early this month. In addition to finally featuring the entire first season in Dolby 2.0 Surround, they have a number of additional goodies on them:
May 7 - Fight Club W: Chris Carter D: Paul Shapiro
Sister Amanda Writes
Having spent years as a fervent worshipper
of Saint Scully the Enigmatic, membership in OBSSE will formalize my dedication
to Her Pantsuitedness. I already respond to every personal question
Sister Snark Shares
I would make a good OBSSE candidate because I can turn my feet in all the way to make a 180 degree straight line. You know, little kids or ballerina dancers can do it the 'other' way--turn your feet outwards and put your heels together, forming a straight line with your feet. I can do it the other way too, putting my toes together to form the line.
Which, of course, has less than nothing to do with why I would be an asset to an organization such as OBSSE, but I figured it might grab thy holy attention a little bit quicker than "Cuz me like Scully lots."
Sister Thomasina Blurts
In truth, my favorite thing about the X-Files is that it's mostly about two highly intelligent and beautiful people having a deep, mature, yet not necessarily non-sexual (boy, this fence could use better seat cushions) relationship while chasing aliens and scary slimy things through plot twists and turns. But of all the characters of this most wondrous show, Scully is my favorite. In fact, when I watch the show, I often find myself making up witty remarks that She-Of-The-Many-Clever-And-Complicated-Names would zing back in response to the smart-alecky quips of the occasionally PUNKish one, were she were not so saintly.
Her Blessedness is in my mind one of the only fictional characters worth having a shrine erected to, and she shows it in every facet of her semi- fictional personality. Even though she is not perfect-gotta love those rational explanations that are always right - I root for her anyway in most cases. Bob forbid she were perfect, because then her chit and san would be out of alignment. Instead, she is a bastion of light and balance for the Unyielding-Masticator-of-Sunflower-Seeds, as he is for her in her dark hours.
So, I now prostrate myself before your
holiness's, beseeching you to admit me into your hallowed halls, though
I must refrain from joining the
PS- I do not currently own an attractive pantsuit, but am considering investing in one.
Sister Mary Friend of Bats Talks of Her Training
My training began many years ago with the genesis of The X-Files. Called from the start I knew there was a higher, more lofty purpose and that one day the reason would become clear. My former life cast aside, I took up residence on a deserted tropical island with only my television and a small fruit bat named Boris for company. Once my training was complete Boris, who had become my mentor and teacher, informed me that the time was right and that there was nothing more I could learn on the island. I returned to civilisation and came straight to the Abbey. This is what my training was for. This is the purpose. This is... the Truth.
The Wrong Haired Prancy Body Double Waxes Poetic
The black zippered
The graceful run
on the bridge
But nothing, nothing
to the tune of
"Waterloo" by ABBA
my a Floofy-do is what I remember
won't be cheated, I want some more
my, they chopped it off when I like it longer
won't be cheated, I want some more
your hair looks as great as your shoes
hair is of great value
you're a fan of "The X-Files"
concept is pretty simple
Denver and Houston and Chicago
cash goes to NF research
|The X-Files is owned by FOX. No copyright infringement is intended. The OBSSE and News for the OBSSEsed are intended for entertainment purposes only. In other words, it's a joke folks. Thanks to all who contributed this month. All articles and columns appearing in News for the OBSSEsed are copyrighted to the authors.|