Musing on Mulder.

“The X-Files” are back, you guys.

All the reviewers who saw the first episode before it aired pretty universally panned it, but I thought they did a good job wedging in a metric buttload of exposition while still remaining watchable. I liked it. The next episode, though, was classic Monster of the Week, and it was pretty darned good. So far, I’m completely satisfied.

But I want to have a little ramble about Fox Mulder. I have loved “The X-Files” since the very first episode aired (reminder, I am not a Millennial – I was in college at the time), but I have always had mixed feelings about Mulder. Scully – of course I love her. I mean, I really love her. It took me a few seasons to figure out that part of my problem with Mulder was good, old-fashioned TV crush jealousy. My Scully was too good for him, you see.

I digress. Scully does that to me.

Anyway, Mulder can be a super dick. He almost never sees the forest for the conspiratorial trees. He’s a pedantic weirdo with mediocre people skills, and an obsessive streak a mile wide. He’s unpleasant to deal with (think of poor Skinner), convinced that he is absolutely right 100% of the time, and arrogant enough to make even people who agree with him hate him a little bit.

I was rewatching the original series a few years ago, and one evening I launched into a terrible tirade on Mulder’s shortcomings, when Lennox interrupted me to say, “You hate Mulder because you basically are Mulder.”

“What??” I spluttered in reply. “That’s ridiculous!”

But even I couldn’t argue very hard once Lennox laid out his argument. I, too, am a paranormally obsessed weirdo – though my leanings tend more toward ghosts and Sasquatch than UFOs – and I am both terribly arrogant and always convinced that I’m right. I’m a little more skeptical than Mulder, true – but only because I feel that real answers are to be found in the 2% of reports that legitimately can’t be explained. I’m not the sort to corner you at a party to discuss Roswell at length, but I may give you quite an earful about the dermal ridging evidence for Bigfoot. (Seriously, it’s fascinating.)

I had to accept it. I have too much in common with Fox Mulder to really like him very much. I can admire him, but I couldn’t “hang” with him – you know what I mean?

Although I consider Meyers-Briggs typing to be the astrology of pop psychology, I can’t deny that my typing is pretty accurate. (Heck, sometimes I behave like a Pisces is supposed to, too.) I’m an INTJ: introverted, intuitive, thinking, judging. Pretty sure Mulder is exactly the same. INTJs think rules are stupid if they hinder more than help, can be insensitive, and though they are guided by their intellect, they are often overwhelmed by their emotions because they rarely understand how to control them. Also, as one source put it: “INTJs are simultaneously the most starry-eyed idealists and the bitterest of cynics.” Sounds sort of Mulder-y to me.

It never shocked me that Mulder became a reclusive super-obsessive hiding away from the world with a conspiracy “murder wall” in a country cottage. It was where he was headed all along, really.

But it’s good to see him out in the world again, with Scully at his side, looking for the truth – or whatever passes for “truth” in these cynical times. I’ve missed their flashlights in the dark. I like revisiting these weird, alien-filled spaces – and I think that six episodes will be just right. We’ll get much more content than another movie would have given, but not enough to drag out the mythology or wear out a welcome. Goldilocks would approve.

I also love that we’re getting the original cast. I’m sure there was a terrible temptation to “reboot” the show, to make it “young and sexy” again. But adventure doesn’t belong solely to the young, and as someone who is not quite young anymore myself, I am very pleased to see stories that acknowledge this.

Good job, “X-Files” revival.

The shipping news, or imaginary people who ought to boink.

I had a few thoughts about shipping earlier on Twitter.



I think about shipping a lot these days — though it was rarely a focus of my fandom in the past. I blame the beauty that is fan fiction, frankly. It’s kind of a fascinating business to see what ships take, which fizzle, and which eventually become canon.

I’ve discovered a couple of patterns in my own shipping habits, too. I lean heavily hero/villain — especially if the villain wants to redeem him or herself — and though less often, I find that I sometimes favor May/December pairings, too.

Let me prove my point with a short (and incomplete) list of pairings I favor…

Buffy Summers/Spike (William “the Bloody” Pratt) – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
I despise Angel, and his stupid hair. And I love Spike even more than I hate Angel. The really funny thing is that I identify with Drusilla (I’m batshit crazy, kind of goth, & a little bit psychic), but I’ve always shipped Spike with Buffy. I feel that the canon relationship was handled horribly on the show, though. Thank goodness there is such a plethora of fantastic fan fiction to address these canonical flaws.

Helen Magnus/Nikola Tesla – “Sanctuary”
I don’t know how anyone could resist the fictional vampire version of Tesla, let alone someone trying to resist his charms for over a century. I had a two part essay all about this ship on a previous version of this blog, so I’ll try to sum up. Suffice to say: I was heavily, weirdly invested in this ship. The important thing is that these characters were equals among people who could never quite measure up to their genius. Besides, there was endless sexual tension in their bickering — and they shared several lifetimes worth of common experience.

Jeff Winger/Annie Edison – “Community”
I’ve written a bit about this one before, too. Jeff may be quite a lot older than Annie, but they’re on the same emotional level. Annie had to grow up too fast, and Jeff didn’t start to grow up until he was nearly 40. Their chemistry was irresistible, and their adventures were always my favorite episodes.

Dr. Daniel Jackson/Vala Mal Doran – “Stargate: SG1”
I know everyone generally ships O’Neill/Carter on this one (and I’m cool with that, too – it’s one of my favorite May/December pairings), but I adore Daniel/Vala. Their love/hate friction (more love than hate, obviously) was one of the best things about the last two seasons of the show. And everybody knows that true love is inevitable, at least in alternate timelines.

Dr. Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham – “Hannibal”
Is there anyone ALIVE who doesn’t ship these two? It’s so wrong, but it’s so right. Or should I say…it’s almost criminal, but it’s too delicious to resist?

Sarah Williams/Jareth the Goblin King – “Labyrinth”
A big ol’ “DUH” here. I could write reams about this movie — and have actually written a fan fiction novella about this pairing. You can think I’m a pervert if you want, but I was already a Bowie fan when this movie came out, and considering I was 11 at the time, and my actual name is Sarah, you can understand that this film had developmental implications for me. So let’s face it: This pairing is probably the entire basis of my hero/villain AND May/December issues.

Lisa Reisert/Jackson Rippner – “Red Eye”
This is the pairing about which I have the most intellectual misgivings, and about which I feel most guilty. There is no doubt that this would be an abusive relationship on some level, but I can’t deny a regretful gravitation toward the pairing. There was very little in the movie to support this ship (aside from a peculiar possessiveness in Rippner’s manner, and a threat to “steal” Lisa later), but there was just something in the performances of both lead actors that betrayed the characters’ unlikely fascination with one another. I have read some truly wonderful “Red Eye” fan fiction that explores these uncomfortable themes without flinching — and while managing not to be rape-y or gross, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. The movie itself is an underrated gem, even if you find my Lisa/Jackson shipping reprehensible. You can, you know. It’s fine. I already feel terrible about it.

Elizabeth Keen/Raymond Reddington – “The Blacklist”
Another hero/villain + May/December pairing. What? No. Calm down. He’s not her father. He never was. It’s fine. Okay, maybe it’s still a little creepy. I admit that. And yes, season two kind of sucked, with its misplaced emphasis on trying to redeem Lizzie’s fake husband, a.k.a. “that abusive fuck, Tom Keen.” It pushed me straight into the arms of the Lizzington ship, if you want to know the truth. I was kind of on the fence about it in season one, though the terrible yearning glances between Red and Lizzie were difficult to ignore. I mean, she spent most of the first season staring at his lips! This is a ship built on body language; it didn’t get verbal until later. “The Blacklist” only succeeds when Keen and Reddington work together (whether they currently hate each other or not), so let’s hope season 3 is better in that respect. Let’s also hope they return to writing Lizzie as a complex person with agency and whatnot. (Sigh.)

Emma Swan/Captain Hook (Killian Jones) – “Once Upon a Time”
This ship is just classic hero/villain stuff. In fact, it has a great deal in common with Buffy/Spike — though I hope it fares better on screen than Buffy/Spike did. I’m half a season behind on the show, though — so don’t tell me if they’re going to break my heart!

Walter Longmire/Victoria Moretti – “Longmire”
This is just classic May/December stuff, although the actors’ chemistry is undeniable. This ship has a number of vocal detractors among TV fans, but it’s completely canon in the Longmire novels. I also love the fact that “Longmire” fan fiction is the “musical-based-on-a-movie-based-on-a-stageplay” of fan fiction, as it is fan fiction based on a TV show which is based on a series of detective novels. That gives me such a tickle.

Anyway, you get the point. I have patterns. Probably most shippers do. Weirdly, most of my slash ships don’t follow my patterns, though — like Kirk/Spock (the original Space Gay!) or Dean/Castiel (total hotness!). I have also been known to embrace more conventional, mainstream pairings — like Crichton/Aeryn (fate! also completely canon!) or Carter/O’Neill (see above!).

My earlier tweets were brought on by “NCIS” Abby/Gibbs shipping, though. I thought it was one of the silliest, most preposterous pairings ever…until I really binged on the show. It recently popped up on Netflix, and I watched 3 seasons over 2 weeks. And my goodness! I may not be 100% on the Gabby train, but I can totally see why other people are — and what canon evidence they use to back up their assertions. Gibbs is openly, physically affectionate to Abby (and fiercely protective of her), and Abby seemingly adores him. Now, you could read that in a paternal/platonic way (lots of fans choose to do just that)…but they really do flirt — aggressively at times. Sure, it’s a ship that’s not likely to ever be canon, but the show still gives Gabby shippers plenty of ammunition. What I really meant by my tweet storm is that fans rarely create a ship out of whole cloth — there’s usually a concrete reason people start shipping characters, whether show runners intend it or not.

Now, all that being said, there is one ship I will never support, no matter how directly it is addressed in canon. I will never, ever ship Scully/Mulder…because I will always ship Scully/me!

Hire me for your paranormal reenactment needs.

I have not graced a stage in many years, and I really only have one acting ambition left: I want to be in a paranormal reenactment.

I am a bananapants obsessed viewer of paranormal reality shows — seriously, I love them all. I love “A Haunting” and adore “Paranormal Witness” (there’s a new season starting next month on SyFy, yaassss), and even have a weird soft spot for “Celebrity Ghost Stories,” despite the fact that I don’t always know who the “celebrities” are. So it’s only natural that I would want to participate.

I have always loved reenactment shows of all kinds — “Unsolved Mysteries” converted me early on, despite focusing more on crime — but paranormal reenactments are my favorite. Where else will you see actors of all shapes and sizes, all ages? And yes, all levels of acting ability, too — if we’re going to be really honest. So that’s a mark in my favor! I’m a fat actor whose skills are markedly rusty, but that won’t stop me from performing my very best haunted histrionics. I will bring it.

I will settle for portraying an average haunted homeowner, but I really want to  play the psychic brought in by the friendly ghost investigators the homeowner found on the internet. I want to be the one who tells the hapless family, “There are demons in your basement/attic/crawlspace/wherever!” Because there inevitably are!

I would be so good at that.

This is it. This is the sum total of my remaining performance ambition.

Hashtag “life goals.”

I’ll have what S & P are having.

I could write about the show “Hannibal” all day (best show on TV, for real), but the question on my mind lately regards the following Mason Verger quote: “Spitters are quitters, and you don’t look like a quitter to me.”

How on earth did they get that past standards and practices? How?

Then again, this was in the same episode as a pretty graphic disembowelment, so maybe standards and practices were on vacation that week. Or possibly they’ve been shooting up with whatever creepy cocktail Bedelia was injecting the next episode? Oh! I’ve got it. They were so worried about early edits for the kaleidoscopic lesbian sex scene in “Dolce” — too much female satisfaction on display, you know — that a vicious little quip about swallowing semen just slipped right through the net.

Either way, two thumbs up! Keep up the good, filthy, violent, weird work, you guys. The fans appreciate your laxity.

Yo ho, a pirate’s life, and so forth, and what have you.

OK, I have been watching “Once Upon a Time” since the beginning, and although I think the writing has been a little weak so far this season, I’ll be sticking with it. I mean, I made it through all of those pointless circles in the jungle in Neverland last year, so what’s a little wooden dialogue between friends? Because once a week, I get to look at this:

HookIntense Sure, I can look at this gif whenever I want, but you catch my meaning.

Ah, Captain Hook, you devilish bastard-with-a-heart-of-gold. Your swagger and your Swan-pining are delicious. You’re single-handedly bringing back chest hair. (See what I did there?)

And you have some difficulties with modern technology.

HookMobile1 HookMobile2HookMobile3HookMobile4(Yeah, sorry to go all Tumblr on you, but c’mon. That’s just cray-cray adorbs.)

When Emma’s father asks about Hook’s intentions towards his daughter, he’s the kind of guy who responds, “That’s old-fashioned even by my standards, and I still pay with doubloons.” What a dude, right?

Gotta love that pirate.

Things I’ve learned from reading fan fiction.

  1. The “Sanctuary” version of Nikola Tesla is an unstoppable vampire sex machine. No surprises there, really.
  2. The dirtier the scene, the worse the typos and grammatical errors. Actually, that’s unfair. There are a lot of errors everywhere.
  3. Writers of erotic fan fiction about “The Mentalist” are surprisingly realistic about Patrick Jane’s stamina, which I think is oddly charming, but now that “Jisbon” (Jane/Lisbon) is canon, they’ve gone bananas with the sex anyway.
  4. “Community” fan fic writers have penned as many feverish imaginings of Jeff and Annie’s first coupling as there are snowflakes in a blizzard. (And some “Community” fan fic is better than the “gas leak” season.)
  5. Grammatical errors won’t stop me from reading, but OOC (out of character) dialogue or actions will. I always thought I was more pedantic than that, so it’s nice to see I’ve mellowed.
  6. If Walt Longmire spent as much time worrying about his attraction to Victoria Moretti on the show as he does in fan fic, no crimes would ever get solved in Absaroka County. But also? “Longmire” fan fiction is actually a thing in the world, and for some reason that just makes me grin.
  7. Sometimes I’ll read a really, really good fan fic and wonder if the writer is going to be the next E. L. James. (I never read that novel, though. You know the one.)

Some random thoughts on “Community.”

  1. I’m just going to go ahead and give in to shipping Jeff and Annie. Honestly, I think I have been shipping them subconsciously since the debate episode — even though Britta is my favorite character on the show. I guess, like Jeff himself, I’ve just matured enough to admit my feelings on the subject. Quick parallel between episodes: After Annie tells Jeff to look in his heart in episode 3.11 and he sees mostly status symbols, a golden retriever, and multiple images of Annie (as well as one image of her boobs), he then spends the rest of the episode drunkenly yelling about marriage with Britta. Then, when Annie points out that Jeff may be “settling down” in episode 5.12, he runs off and immediately proposes marriage to Britta…but does nothing but fight with her. And then, of course, Jeff reboots Raquel by using his feelings for Annie in 5.13, and the ludicrous marriage/wedding with Britta is off very shortly later. Cue the music.
  2. I realized recently that my Chinese-American husband speaks Spanish more fluently than Benjamin Chang. I have been forbidden to call him El Tigre Chino, though.
  3. The news of the unlikely renewal of a sixth season (on Yahoo, of all places in the universe) gave me such strong emotions that I could have blown all of Raquel’s circuits. All of them. So many feels. So many.

Television gold from my subconscious.

Last night I dreamt that a new version of “Unsolved Mysteries” came out — and it allowed you and your friends and family to do the recreations at home!

Imagine the possibilities: Get your parents to reenact that bank heist, your best friend to reenact a UFO sighting, and then you can reenact the mysterious disappearance of a small town girl with so much potential and love for life. You can have reenactment parties. People could record their reenactments, and post them online to compete for prizes!

This is gold, I tell you — television gold!

And people think voting on who gets eliminated on some silly talent show is the pinnacle of participatory television. Haha, no.

I almost can’t believe this isn’t a real thing in the world.

Jeff/Annie, George Michael/Maeby, & the classics.

Here are some more rambling thoughts on television. Take all of this with a giant grain of salt.

I don’t ship Jeff/Annie on “Community,”* but I can see why people do, and I’m not disturbed by it.

People are mostly put off by the large age difference between the two characters, but frankly, I have read far too much Victorian and Regency literature to be weirded out by that. Actually, I’m sort of relieved that they’re not cousins, when I think about it in that light. Jeff is pretty much the same age as many Victorian leading men, and most Victorian and Regency  heroines (with exceptions, of course) are 19 – 22, exactly the same age as Annie. Think Arthur Clennam and Amy Dorrit, for instance – though Mr. Clennam was likely even older than Jeff.

Readers of the classics would find their age difference fairly normal.

You can even read a literary riff into the will they/won’t they of Jeff and Annie’s relationship. Like Bronte’s Mr. Rochester, Jeff is a bad man trying to be better, but still mostly failing. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that his attraction to Annie is similar to Rochester’s hunger for Jane, either. He wants to be redeemed by untainted young flesh. (WHO DOESN’T? amirite?) Annie may not be as eccentric or naive as Jane, but she is somewhat naive.

Jeff would always fail in an Austen story, though – the man is clearly a rake. Annie really is an Austen sort of heroine. She may fall for a rake in the beginning, but she’s smart and driven, and she’ll end up with a proper gentleman in the end. (Let’s hope his nipples are of the appropriate size, though.)

The George Michael/Maeby pairing from “Arrested Development”** is problematic for a lot of people, as they are assumed to be first cousins for most of the series (even though – spoiler alert – we learn in the third season that they’re not biologically related after all). Anyone who has read any amount of VicLit has encountered a cousin marriage or two…or twenty. Mansfield Park’s Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram are first cousins, after all. (By the way, cousin marriages are mostly only outlawed in the United States – and legal in 19 states. Just for the record. Worried about the progeny? No need.) So, George Michael and Maeby are just kicking it old school – really old school. You know how it is with those grand old families and their bloodlines – and what are the Bluths but a grand old family? It makes sense, in a very old fashioned, Victorian literature sort of way.

I don’t know what the hell those two kids see in each other, though. That’s the problem for me. (Him? / Her?)

*Please note: When I’m talking about “Community,” I’m talking about the original three Harmon-led seasons, and not the incredibly mediocre fourth season, which I have not completed. I will watch it at some point – after the sting of its lost glory has faded, and I am less attached. So I am ignorant of anything that happened in season four after the Halloween episode.

**Dying to see the new episodes. DYING.

A few thoughts on “Hannibal.”

This isn’t really a review or anything like that, just a sort of dumping ground for a hodge podge of thoughts about the show.

First of all, I was simply blown away by the pilot. Really! I was gape-mouthed in wonder, love at first sight blown away. And everything I’ve seen so far supports my original reaction. I was really reluctant to see anything Lecter related become a TV show, as I was so attached to the characters from the books – but this is a wonderful interpretation, though it is very different (and not at all canon, if that’s a sore spot for you). The writing and acting are fantastic, but the camera work is sublime. You rarely see cinema these days made with such care. I mean, when was the last time you watched a TV show and gasped, “MY GOD! THE COLOR SATURATION!” Probably never, right?* But I actually did that, and I have a witness to prove it.

The show is just so beautifully shot. It’s luscious to the point that I start to feel guilty that such violent imagery is so pretty to me. From the magnificent cascades of slow motion blood spatter to the pretty-as-a-postcard vignettes of Graham’s nightmares, each new horror is lovingly crafted and bewitching to the eye.

I’m really grateful that Hannibal Lecter isn’t my therapist, though I do enjoy watching him at work. And isn’t it nice to see a really different sort of Lecter? So dapper, yet…somehow wrong. Much more menacing than other screen versions. This actor brings no false frisson of the Halloween haunted house theme attraction; he embodies a barely veiled coldness like that of a predator. I love it. I particularly like his micro-expressions. Such a controlled performance.

It’s nice to watch someone cook on television, too – someone who isn’t on a chirpy celebri-chef on the Food Network. Someone who isn’t afraid to get in there and saute his own organ meat.

I have inappropriate thoughts about Graham, too – but not of the sort you would expect. I keep thinking to myself, why does he continue to sleep in t-shirts if he’s just going to drench them in sweat and strip them off every night? And is “Graham in his tight boxer shorts” the new “Mulder’s got his shirt off again”? Perhaps that is unkind.

Mustn’t be unkind. We all know what happens to the rude when Lecter’s around.

I like this new Graham, too. I think watching him fracture will be as much fun for the viewer as it will be for Lecter. He is distinctly damaged, and watching Lecter opening him up is like watching his internal cracks turn into faultlines. Fascinating stuff, and so well acted.

What is up with that stag? I have so many thoughts about this, but I will let the show play out the symbolism before I delve into it too deeply.

Will we learn more about Graham’s gentle wolf pack of stray dogs?

Why does Freddie Lounds get all the cool lady clothes?

That’s enough rambling, I suppose, except to say that it’s amazing, and you should see it.

*Well, maybe a couple of times on “Pushing Daisies,” but that was also a Bryan Fuller show.