So we can all agree that the revival season of X-Files was rather bad, right? The dialogue was unbearable, the story was clumsy and rushed, and at times played like a ten-year-old taking way too long to explain a dream they had, while you’re stuck in rush hour traffic.
I’m not saying anything revolutionary there. Show was not good. But there was something really gross about watching the New Adventures of Dana Scully and the Guy From Californication. There was an almost sinister agenda that I couldn’t shake that made even the silly bottle episodes tough to watch.
Lately I’ve taken an interest in who is creating our pop culture. For instance, the money we pour into Captain America: Civil War will help Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter dump more cash into Donald Trump’s campaign. It sucks, but at least it’s not present on the screen when you’re watching the movie. We can ignore it.
The difference with X Files was that it was front and center on the screen as Mulder realizes the truth behind the truth: contrails! FEMA camps! Militarized police coming for our guns! Is Chris Carter a crazy, right wing conspiracy theorist, or is he just a shitty writer?
The answer seems to be a bit of both. Watching Fox Mulder, a truth-obsessed investigator, who has been locked in his house for the past 15 years, pinning yarn to photos have a ‘sudden realization’ about basic conspiracy theory 101 stuff that you only have to click one Wikipedia link to find (you have to click at least 5 to get the deep diving good stuff) was absolutely cringe inducing. “Don’t you get it Scully?! My eyes have been opened- it’s all in the Idiot’s Guide to Conspiracy Theories! It’s amazing the government hasn’t pulled this book!”
It was equal parts cringe-inducing bad writing and a cringe-inducing window into Chris Carter’s beliefs. It was jarring and gross to see X Files turn Infowars’ Alex Jones into a handsome American hero. I kept waiting for a twist where he was just a blustering idiot, but no- if only we had listened to him sooner. Realizing that the main conflict was justifying anti-vaxxer doctrine because the government added alien DNA to the bird flu vaccine to test our kids was worse. “It all started in 2012!,” shouts a frantic Dana Scully, because of course it did.
Maybe it’s not surprising that the creator of a show with the tagline “the truth is out there” went off the deep end, but it is deeply disappointing. And given how similar his eye-rollingly thin plot points are to the same drivel that keeps people from vaccinating their kids, or believing in the Birther movement, it’s pretty fucking irresponsible.