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'X-Files' Fridays: This fits a profile?

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Pilot” | Aired Sep 10, 1993

It’s been over two decades since The X-Files made its debut, but the series is as relevant as ever, and with talk of a revival in the air, there’s no better time to revisit it—or to discover it for the first time. Community assistant editors Andrea Towers, who watched in its original run, and Kelly Connolly, who was introduced to the show last summer, will be here each week to talk it out. Whether you’ve had an “I Want to Believe” poster on your wall for 20 years or are just now meeting Mulder and Scully, there’s a lot to discuss.

KELLY: Let’s do this. The truth is out there. How long has it been since you’ve seen the pilot?

ANDREA: Oh god … at least seven, maybe eight years? I think the last time I really watched was back in 2008, when I bought the compilation DVD set that was made for the release of I Want To Believe. My best friend had never seen the show (still hasn’t, we’re working on that) but understood how important it was for me to see the movie, so she wanted to understand enough of it going in. I think I’ve seen bits and pieces since then, but definitely not the whole thing. I can still remember every beautiful word, though. Especially that scene in the rain.

KELLY: Mulder and Scully in the cemetery, in the rain, at 5:07 in the morning, has to got to be one of my favorite scenes of this whole series. It’s easy to think that Scully is giving her whole career over to Mulder’s quest, but the way she laughs when she goes along with his theory says that she’s getting something out of this too. She’s having fun. As much as she’s all for science, Scully also likes pushing the rules to their limits, and with Mulder she can do that every day. Plus Gillian Anderson is so tiny and precious. Her sleeves are too long for her arms.

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ANDREA: I LOVE their relationship and how from the very first episode, we understand it and we get it. I know a lot of that is probably due to David and Gillian, but it’s really hard for me to think about another show, ’90s or not, that set up a relationship so well. Scully is skeptical, but she’s not so skeptical that she doesn’t have a heart; Mulder is a brash believer, but he’s not such a believer that he can’t take her seriously. But you’re right, it sets up so much of who they are as people and what their partnership will be with each other down the line. Like that hotel room scene? Who else gives two random partners an intimate hotel room scene in their first episode?!

KELLY: THE CANDLES. THE ROBE. The look on his face when she hugs him. It’s the most intimate scene. The friends who introduced me to this show made it very clear that they’d never yelled “MAKE OUT” at their TV screens more than than they did at The X-Files, and as soon as I saw Mulder kneel down to study Scully’s lower back, I got it. Their chemistry drives this show from day one. And it’s her lower back; she really could have thrown on some sweatpants and just pulled up the back of her shirt if she wanted to, but she didn’t care. Scully doesn’t apologize.

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ANDREA: Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so young when I first started watching because I really can only comprehend the amazingness of this scene and basically all the early stuff if I look back in retrospect. Now I’ve been involved in fandoms and other TV shows long enough to recognize what feelings are. THAT SCENE, THOUGH. The fact that she bares herself like that is basically the most vulnerable she can allow herself to be. She’s literally giving him a view into the most private part of her life, and in return, he tells her about Samantha. And I know Mulder isn’t exactly shy about letting people know why he follows his crusade, but he tells her and he tells her honestly. It’s a great exchange of emotions.

KELLY: It really is. He’s not just telling her what happened to his sister; he’s telling her what it did to his family and how it eventually led him where he is now. He instinctively wants to open up to her, even when he worries that she’s here to spy on him. As soon as she tells him that she’s not, that he can trust her, he does. And that’s when he gets real about what he thinks happened that night. That’s so huge for him to believe her, because Mulder doesn’t trust a lot of people. He’s trained as a profiler. He analyzes everyone, but he takes Scully at face value the minute she asks him to.

ANDREA: You know what I love about this? That The X-Files is a TV show about ALIENS and it’s sci-fi and we’re sitting here talking about their relationship. Which is basically what this whole show was. I think that’s why I became so defensive in the future when Chris Carter would make statements like “the most important thing to me is storytelling,” because the most important thing for me was always Mulder and Scully. They drove the show. It was a show about two human beings and their connection, not just about aliens. (Although I do love aliens. I had a green plastic alien on my keychain in high school and a Scully bob with dyed red hair.)

KELLY: Did you have a Scully bob, or did the keychain alien? I can’t decide what I want your answer to be.

ANDREA: I had a Scully bob AND an alien keychain. But the alien keychain did not have a Scully bob. I feel like Mulder could’ve investigated that.

KELLY: That would be an adventure for everyone. And I bought an “I still believe” shirt today, like a responsible adult, so I know what you mean. The aliens and the conspiracies are a huge part of this show’s legacy. It wouldn’t be The X-Files without the mythology, but the mythology matters to me mostly for the ways it affects Mulder and Scully. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to focus on the plot when I watch the pilot. I’ve tried, but I keep coming back to how well it sets up their characters.

The FBI has absolutely no idea what they’re starting when they assign Scully to work with Mulder. They just want to shut down the X-Files and get back to their conspiracies (love how the real villains on this show are old guys in suits), but they don’t count on Scully having the integrity that she has, and they don’t count on her rapport with Mulder being so strong right off the bat. They’re setting up the only team that can ever take them down, and it’s because they don’t understand how people work. Scully and Mulder are such a good team precisely because they’re so human. You really can’t love the story behind this show without loving them.

ANDREA: You hit the nail on the head: “You really can’t love the story behind this show without loving them.” That’s why I love that first meeting so much. She just goes down to Mulder’s basement and she’s got no idea who this guy really is, aside from what she’s heard, and she isn’t even fazed when he snarks at her. True. Love.

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KELLY: Right! He thinks he’s ready for her. He read her senior thesis (“I liked it!”). Mulder knows the FBI will want her to debunk his work, and he figures from everything on paper that this little scientist is never going to take him seriously. I think he’s made up his mind to intimidate her, but Scully doesn’t budge. When they’re driving into town and she impresses him by noticing a discrepancy in the autopsy reports, Mulder tells her that she’s pretty good, and she throws back, “Better than you expected, or better than you hoped?” She just sees right through him. She knows he’s resisting her, she’s very aware that it’s because he sees her as a threat to his work, and she’s not afraid to address it—directly, and with a little sass, but with absolute understanding. She means it when she says she’s looking forward to working with him, and she wants him to know it. Scully is in this all the way from the start.

And by the time you get to that scene in the cemetery, Mulder’s in it too, because he’s seen that she really does want to solve this case with him. I love that moment when he starts to walk away, because he figures that she thinks he’s crazy, and then he turns around and waits for her. They haven’t even wrapped up their first case (as if these two ever wrap up a single case), but already it’s not about whether she agrees with him. It’s just about the two of them refusing to dismiss each other. That’s why they work.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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