“How do you say ‘howdy pardner’ in Arabic?”
Hey, X-Files, how do you say “Fuck you” in English?
I was flying between Dallas and San Antonio last Monday when the 5th episode of The X-Files revival aired. I did DVR it but, as soon as I found out that this episode was set in Texas, I found myself reluctant to actually watch it.
Well, why not?
TV shows and movies never get my home state right. After all, Texas is the state that the rest of the world loves to hate. We are a convenient scapegoat for the rest of America. Every sin of this country is blamed on my state and it gets a little tedious after a while. And yes, I know that some people (mostly folks up in Vermont) would claim that it’s our own fault for being so confident and outspoken but you know what? We only do that because we know it bothers you.
But anyway, the Babylon episode of The X-Files was set in Texas and, having just watched it, I have to say that it really is no surprise that it gets the entire state wrong. After all, The X-Files movie portrayed Dallas as sitting out in the middle of the desert, surrounded by mountains and caves. (There are no mountains or caves in North Texas.) Babylon, meanwhile, portrayed every single person in Texas as wearing a cowboy hat and denim and talking like a bunch of actors who just finished the first day of James Lipton’s “How To Talk Southwestern” class at the Actor’s Studio. I lost track of how many denim skirts I saw in the background of a scene that was meant to be set at DFW. It was embarrassing. Seriously, X-Files, do a little fucking research in the future, okay? I mean, I know it’s hot but it wouldn’t kill you to spend two hours down here and see what we actually dress and sound like.
And if I seem like I’m making a huge deal about this, you should understand that Babylon made a huge deal about being set in Texas. If I had taken a drink every single time somebody made a point of saying that they were in Texas or that they were going to Texas, I would have gotten drunk off my ass within a matter of minutes. Of course, I would already have been drunk from taking a drink every time that someone wandered by wearing a cowboy hat or a denim skirt.
As for the rest of the episode — well, it was technically okay. It actually had an interesting idea at the center of it, with Mulder attempting to communicate with a brain-dead terrorist. Robbie Amell and Lauren Ambrose showed up as Agents Miller and Einstein, who were basically younger versions of Mulder and Scully. (Lauren Ambrose, in particular, was well-cast.) If, for some reason, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson refused to ever appear in another episode of The X-Files, I wouldn’t have any problem with the series following the adventures of Miller and Einstein.
But, I have to be honest here. I could not look past how thoroughly this episode failed in portraying my home state. And really, there was no reason to set this episode in Texas. Draw Mohammed exhibitions take place all over the country and Babylon could have just as easily been set in New York or California. (Except, of course, that would have meant acknowledging that there is prejudice in all the states of the union, even the ones that serve as home base for the entertainment industry.)
Anyway, this upcoming Monday will give us the finale of The X-Files revival. My Struggle II will feature the return of Joel McHale and, if I had to guess, I would say that it will somehow involve Mulder and Scully’s long-missing son, William (a.k.a. Sculder). If you want a season 11 of The X-Files, be sure to watch.
I just hope they won’t return to Texas.