Day: February 12, 2018

The Simpsons – The X Files – tape 2212

First on this tape, an episode of The Simpsons22 Short Films about Springfield. Is this a record for writer credits on the show?

This was the subject of yet another round of weird coincidences in our house, as my daughter had been reading a story about auroras, and there had been references to the line “The Aurora Borealis? At this time of year? At this time of day? In this part of the country? Localised entirely in your kitchen?” from this episode. And my wife had just seen a reference to the ‘Steamed Hams” line in the same scene, and I remembered that I’d seen the same reference, but from a completely different thread on twitter. The coincidences keep on coming.

Next, an episode of The X files, and this one is a lot of fun. It’s called Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.

The opening is brilliant, and expertly clues us in to the tone of the episode. A triangular spaceship passes slowly overhead, evoking Star Wars flashbacks, until the camera cranes up behind it to reveal that it’s actually the platform of a cherrypicker, being used by a man examining overhead wires.

A car passes, and a young couple exchange some rather cliched dialogue, before their cars stops suddenly and a ‘real’ spaceship appears in front of them.

They’re taken from the car by grey aliens.

Then, a completely different type of alien appears from a different spaceship.

Then the two grey aliens talk to each other in very Earth-like voices. “Jack, what is that thing?” “How the hell should I know?”

Cue titles.

Scully is talking to the author Jose Chung, author of The Lonely Buddha, for a book he’s writing on alien abductions. He’s there to get the details of the abduction case which we saw in the opening.

Initially, it seems like a date rape case. The girl can’t remember what happened, but the boy claims they were abducted by aliens.

They interview both the boy and the girl involved. There’s some great direction going on here.

Mulder says the girl has suffered an abduction. Scully’s reaction is perfect.

When a Police Detective talks to them, all his swearwords are replaced by ‘bleep’ and ‘blank’ as this is Scully telling Chung what happened. It’s brilliant.

They find a man who claims he witnessed the abduction. The linesman from the opening. He’s written his whole experience, but he’s afraid for his life, because he was visited by the men in black, in the form of Jesse Ventura.

Another amazing Gillian Anderson reaction shot.

Another round of hypnosis on the girl now suggests she was hypnotised by shadowy government people to cover something up.

And then they discover an actual body of a dead alien.

The young man who discovered it is a believer. And he’s wearing a Space: Above and Beyond T-Shirt. Probably the only person who ever wore one. It’s even funnier on my tape because he pops up just after an ad break featuring a trailer for it.

He recounts his meeting with Mulder and Scully when they come to see the body.

“One of them was disguised as a woman. But wasn’t pulling it off. Like, her hair was red, but it was a little too red, you know? And the other one, the tall lanky one. His face was so blank and expressionless. He didn’t even seem human. I think he was a mandroid. The only time he reacted was when he saw the dead body.”

Then Mulder actually yelps.

This is so brilliant.

Scully is horrified to hear his account, as he claims she threatened him if he spoke to anyone. “We let him film the autopsy” she says.

Which brings us to some shaky, handycam footage of an alien autopsy, looking strangely like the ‘real’ alien autopsy footage that was made famous not long before. We see a clip of what I presume is the X-Files universe version of the Alien Autopsy tape, complete with a presenter with amazing eyebrows, called The Stupendous Yappi.

“So this is footage of the actual autopsy you performed?” asks Chung? “This is so embarrassing” says Scully

“There seems to be two layers of epidermis. There’s a metal strip that runs just under the top layer, down the… It’s a zipper.”

The alien is a man in a suit.

The dead man is an Air-Force major, and there’s another Air-Force guy missing too.

Mulder and Scully have a meeting with the Men in Black, the second of whom looks like game-show host Alex Trebek.

Then, the wreckage of a jet plane is discovered, as are the two bodies of the missing airmen, one of whom we’d already seen

And Jose Chung publishes his book.

The episode ends with a passage from the book talking about Mulder. “Although agent Diana Luscy is noble of spirit and pure of heart she remains nevertheless a federal employee. As for her partner, Reynard Muldrake, a ticking time-bomb of insanity, his quest into the unknown has so warped his psyche one shudders to think how he receives any pleasures from life.” This plays over Mulder, in bed, watching the famous footage of bigfoot. I swear there’s a slight, satisfied grunt on the soundtrack as the camera tracks into the TV playing the bigfoot tape.

This episode is a small slice of genius. I’m amazed that a show that seemed to take itself so seriously most of the time, was happy to make what is basically a parody of itself. Wonderful.

The next episode isn’t quite so good, although it does give Gillian Anderson a chance to do a bit more acting than usual.

The episode opens with a man burying another man. As he’s cleaning up, he’s approcahed by another man who looks identical to the man he’d killed. Then two policemen arrive, both of whom look like the dead men. The man’s vision is doing some strange video-like glitching.

And he’s horrified to see, when the policemen have subdued him, that the second man he shot was a woman.

Mulder and Scully are investigating, and they learn the man had been watching local news broadcasts. Scully watches some of the tapes, and when she’s out getting ice from the ice machine, she sees Mulder meeting the Cigarette Smoking Man .

Mulder discovers a device in the local cable TV box of another person who randomly murdered someone.

He takes it to the Lone Gunmen who analyze it and find it’s adding a signal to the TV broadcast that could be affecting minds.

Meanwhile, having been watching more of the tapes, Scully is beginning to be affected, and starts becoming paranoid.

It’s a middling episode, really, after the last one.

Which brings us to Talitha Cumi, the season finale. I worry when I see the script has a story by David Duchovny and Chris Carter. In this case, I wonder if Duchovny’s input was “Make sure I get to cry, and have a kick-arse fight scene.”

A man pulls a gun in a burger bar and threatens the customers. Another man comes forward and tries to calm him down, and when the man panics and shoots some people, but the other man appears to heal them, then disappears from the crime scene.

When they track him down later, he claims not to remember anything. Genre fans might notice that he’s played by Roy Thinnes, who played David Vincent in the Invaders, a man being pursued by aliens who have taken on human form. He was the Fox Mulder of the 1960s.

Mulder gets a call about his mother, who has ad a stroke. This is after we saw her visited by the Cigarette Smoking Man who wanted her to remember something.

She leaves a note for Mulder, saying only “PALM”, and he works out it means LAMP, and finds a strange retractable spike thing in one of the lamps at her house.

The Cigarette Smoking Man appears to have Roy Thinnes locked up in a vault somewhere, and they have a cryptic chat, but then Thinnes morphs into Deep Throat (Jerry Hardin), Mulder’s old informant who was killed at the end of the first season.

Mulder’s mother dies, and he gets to do his Emmy nomination scene.

Scully discover that Jeremiah Smith (Roy Thinnes) appears to have jobs in rather a lot of cities across the country. Or there are a lot of Jeremiah Smiths.

One of them at least has morphed into the guise of Brian Thompson, so we know he’s not a good guy.

Mulder confronts another of his informants, Mr X, and they have a huge fistfight in a parking garage.

And there’s a showdown with another of the Jeremiah Smiths, when Thompson turns up as well, leading to a cliffhanger where, frankly, I’ve no clue what’s happening.

After this, there’s about 20 minutes of an episode of Quantum Leap before the tape ends.

In the ads, this tape has a lot of ads for Metz. Not the ones with the Judderman, which were OK, but these ones feature ‘The Man with the Mask.’ Why? To me he looks like someone who is going to kill you and wear your skin.

I guess it’s ‘edgy’.

Adverts:

  • Vybin’ 4
  • BT
  • Flora
  • Happy Gilmore in cinemas
  • Orbit
  • Oasis
  • McDonalds – Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • trail: Sightings
  • trail: Junior
  • Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles
  • Ford Probe
  • Carlton Select
  • Rimmel
  • Huggies Pull Ups
  • trail: Sky One Prime Time
  • trail: August on Sky
  • Oasis – Mike Reid
  • AA
  • Blockbuster Video
  • British Beef
  • Daily Mirror
  • M&Ms – Jean Paul Gaultier
  • trail: Blue Thunder
  • Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
  • Salon Selectives
  • Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles
  • Olympus Mju
  • trail: August on Sky
  • trail: The Outer Limits
  • trail: Interview with the Vampire
  • Britannia
  • Clairol Loving Care
  • McDonalds – Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Program
  • Immac
  • Sunkist
  • trail: Cops and Robbersons/Cool Runnings
  • trail: Space: Above and Beyond
  • Metz
  • Shine 5
  • BT
  • Wall’s Feast
  • Timotei
  • Mitsubishi
  • trail: Timecop
  • trail: The Specialist
  • Eurostar
  • Boots
  • Amoy
  • Vybin’ 4
  • Impulse
  • OK Weekly
  • American Express
  • trail: Killing Zoe
  • Right Guard
  • trail: September On Sky
  • trail: Tomorrow on Sky
  • Clairol Ultress
  • Bird’s Eye Potato Waffles
  • Bird’s Eye Crispy Chicken Dippers
  • The Best Dance Album in the World Ever part 6
  • Oil of Ulay
  • Argos
  • AA
  • Botanicals
  • trail: Football
  • trail: Space: Above and Beyond/The Outer Limits
  • Metz
  • Winalot
  • Eurostar
  • Winalot
  • trail: Home Improvement
  • American Express Travellers Cheques
  • Winalot
  • trail: Behind Bars season
  • trail: Arctic Blue
  • Metz
  • Hawaiian Tropic
  • Dettol
  • McVities Go Ahead
  • Castrol GTX
  • Sunkist
  • Midland Bank
  • trail: Hercules
  • Head & Shoulders
  • Walker’s Crisps
  • Clearasil
  • Orbit
  • Martini
  • trail: Sky Sports 3
  • trail: Football
  • Sony
  • Sony Super Trinitron Wide
  • Sony Handycam
  • Quorn Burgers
  • Pantene
  • Orbit
  • Radio 1 Evening Session
  • trail: The Outer Limits
  • trail: Sky 2
  • Metz
  • Persil
  • Always
  • Twister in cinemas
  • McVities Digestives
  • Vauxhall Corsa – Ruby Wax, Zsa Zsa Gabor
  • trail: On Dangerous Ground
  • trail: The Shawshank Redemption
  • WH Smith
  • Autoglass
  • First Knight on video
  • Boots
  • Metz
  • trail: Star Trek Generations
  • trail: Sky 2
  • Now 34
  • Vision Express
  • Oasis
  • trail: September On Sky
  • trail: Sky 2
  • Rice Krispies
  • Boots
  • Chappie
  • Vanish
  • WH Smith
  • Bird’s Eye Potato Waffles
  • Bird’s Eye Crispy Chicken Dippers
  • trail: Eurosong
  • trail: The Shawshank Redemption
  • Organics
  • Flash
  • Skittles
  • Setlers Antacid