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'X-Files' Fridays: Stop running after your sister

Season 1 | Episode 4 | “Conduit” | Aired Oct 1, 1993

It’s been over two decades since The X-Files made its debut, but the series is as relevant as ever. 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. Next up, Scully and Mulder reexamine his sister’s abduction and continue to be the trendiest people ever to chase a UFO through the woods.

KELLY: If “Conduit” were a Friends episode, I’d call it “The One Where Mulder Makes Significant Eye Contact with a White Wolf and Scully Wears a Plaid Blazer with Velvet Collar,” but I think that might be a little wordy.

ANDREA: It might be wordy, but I think I’d call mine “The One Where Mulder Tries to Convince Scully He’s Not Crazy and That Whole Thing with Samantha Really Did Happen and Dammit Scully … SCULLAAAAAAY.” Early episodes were really my favorite.

KELLY: The early episodes are adorable. They’re babies, but they’re so tough at the same time, and they’re so committed to each other. Mulder just wants Scully to believe what he believes—which she doesn’t, but she still defends him to the FBI. She only challenges him in private, and even then, it’s only because she already knows his most vulnerable point (Samantha) and doesn’t want anyone to take advantage of it. I think this is why Mulder and Scully’s partnership is so different than most of what we see today and why it hasn’t really been duplicated: They disagree on big fundamental ideas (aliens), but their priorities are mostly in line from the start. They just want to protect each other and find the truth. So even when they do argue, they bounce back quickly, because they don’t take it personally.

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ANDREA: I agree. And I feel like this is the first time you see the Syndicate (well, Blevins) really try to shove home their reasoning for putting Scully with Mulder in the first place—they want him to fail. We’ve known it from the pilot, but here, they give her the file and everything. And still Scully doesn’t give in. Sure, she disagrees, and she thinks his ideas and his notions are crazy … but she doesn’t immediately turn him over, even when they start to give her reasons otherwise.

KELLY: Blevins is so dirty. He calls Scully into his office to talk about Mulder behind his back, and he tries to use Samantha’s file against Mulder like that’s the only thing it’s good for. Obviously Scully doesn’t play, but I can’t see why Blevins ever thought she would. He honestly expects her to side with him, when really he’s just giving her new evidence that he’s manipulative and opportunistic and all of these things that Mulder isn’t. Mulder is just here to find Ruby. Even with the connection to Samantha, Mulder never makes it about him. I think Scully is more concerned about this case getting personal for him than he is. He’s always in it for the victim. Also, points to Mulder and Scully for not dismissing Ruby just because she wasn’t an “innocent” little girl. She doesn’t have to be squeaky clean to be worth saving.

ANDREA: He is! And this really shows Mulder’s empathetic nature. Not that Scully isn’t, but she’s here for the science. She’s not used to being maternal and having that instinct of having to protect and care about kids, really. Mulder is used to that from Samantha. And I think that part of his heart is a huge reason of why Mulder has gotten away with so much. He really does have the greater good in mind. (Also, in important news, is this the first time the Redskins are mentioned? We should start a tally of how many times Mulder whips out tickets to the Redskins.)

KELLY: I think this is the first! I was keeping a silent tally of Packer references for a while, because obviously I fell for Mulder even more when he started quizzing Budahas on Packer facts in”Deep Throat.” He doesn’t have a lot of outside interests—this work is so all-consuming, and his focus is so singular—but he does have sports, and I think that grounds him a bit, as does his ease with kids. Scully is good with kids too, but she’s very matter of fact with them, especially at this point. And then they switch places with the Sheriff. Suddenly Mulder is confrontational, and Scully is the one reminding him that they might need the cooperation of local law enforcement later. (“I’ll send him a bundt cake.”) At this point, Scully still thinks that authorities are basically trustworthy. Mulder has seen enough to know better, but he’s going to let her figure it out on her own time.

ANDREA: Yep. And I love that Mulder doesn’t force that. He’s so jaded about it all, but he doesn’t brainwash her with it. He knows what his views and feelings are and he knows that she still is a long way off from defying authority the way he is. But I think that’s a testament to how much Mulder trusts her, which comes through in these exchanges where they switch places. And Scully is still searching for that … well, outlet. Mulder has got his sports; what does Scully have? Reading medical journals? (I love you, Scully, but really. Your Saturday nights are so DULL.)

KELLY: Oh, I’m so into how she spends her down time. If you replace medical journals with Netflix, Scully’s ideal Saturday night looks pretty similar to mine. Maybe baths are her outlet. Scully is really committed to a good bubble bath. I feel like she’s very intentional about treating herself when she can—she’s trying to convince herself that running through the woods with Mulder is her job and it’s exhausting, when really she absolutely loves it. She’s the one who told him that she wanted to have a life, but he’s the one giving that life to her.

ANDREA: I love that analysis: “She’s the one who told him that she wanted to have a life, but he’s the one giving that life to her.” That, to me, is the perfect way to sum up the beginnings of their relationship, before she really started cementing herself in his life. I think it speaks volumes about what they became … two people who needed each other, who needed this “other” thing in their lives. Not necessarily to be complete, or to give it meaning, but to help them become better people.

KELLY: YES. And I think they did eventually complete each other, but before they met, they didn’t realize that they needed it. They weren’t waiting around for someone else to give life meaning—they just sort of found themselves in this relationship that gave them something they didn’t expect: “This ‘other’ thing.” Mulder finally has someone to watch his back, which he needs, because he leaps before he looks. I love how he shoves his papers at Scully’s boob without even looking at her and then chases a white wolf into the forest. And she follows him. This is her life now.

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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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