X-Cops 7×12: With all due respect, what the **** are you talking about?


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It all depends on how they edit it together.

It’s not you, Vince. It’s me.

I realize we haven’t talked for a while, or ever, but I believe it’s best if we’re absolutely open and honest and each other. Because good relationships, like Mulder and Scully’s, are built on mutual respect and trust.

Now, you know I’m not the touchiest feeliest type, but with all my little grinch heart I do love you. Way back in “Soft Light” (2×23) I knew there was something special about you. Maybe it was your sense of humor, your obvious love for the characters that came out in the dialogue, your well-placed touches of continuity… because you always were the King of Continuity, Vince. I don’t know what it was exactly, but I knew that you had it.

Then along came “Pusher” (3×17) and I was just gone. Maya Angelou once said that people will forget what you did but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. Well, “Pusher” makes me feel things, Vince. Happy things. Those happy, gushy, illogical feelings that you get when you’re watching really, really good television. You wrote and directed “Sunshine Days” (9×18), so I know you know what I’m talking about.

I’ve always thought your biggest strength is that you’re a fan first, a fan who can write like the dickens. As a fan then, you’ve had those moments when, for whatever reason, your favorite television show doesn’t do it for you one week. Maybe you had a cold. Maybe it was the weather. Maybe you didn’t like the guest star. Whatever. It could be anything. But it happens.

Well, it’s happened for me, Vince. It’s happened for me with you. It’s “X-Cops.” I just… can’t.

Don’t get upset! Please! I don’t want this to come between us. I’d hate like the devil for that to happen.

I know you’re a genius and I believe in your powers. But this just isn’t my brand of humor. I mean, I suppose I can do broad humor. It may have taken me a little longer than most to warm up to “Bad Blood” (5×12) but we get along fine now. And I’m a huge fan of I Love Lucy. So maybe I’m just a hypocrite. It really is me, not you.

But in my heart and in my mind, there’s broad and then there’s wide enough to straddle Manhattan. Each time “X-Cops” comes up on one of my rewatches I try my darndest to give it a fair try, but when Steve and Edy come on the scene, you lose me. They make The Birdcage look like an exercise in dramatic restraint.

I’m not insulting your taste because I worship the ground you walk on. I do. Or at least I imagine I would if I were anywhere near the ground you walk on… and if worshiping you weren’t blasphemous… and psychotic.

But you know how Chris is famous for saying The X-Files is only as scary as it is real? Well, if you get really real it ain’t scary either. Not that you meant for this Boggart – because that’s what this Monster of the Week effectively is, a Boggart – to be truly frightening. Still, when you take Mulder and Scully out of their alternate universe and drop them in mine, something feels off. Really off.

Frankly, you did too good of a job. The creativity and accuracy in this one is impressive. Actually, this feels so much like an episode of Cops, down to the impeccably done intros and outros, that I’ve lost the sense of mystery and wonder that I’m used to getting week after week…. not that I’ve been getting it very much recently. Season 7’s been rough on me. I’ve kinda been losing the loving feeling. So, like I said, it’s not really your fault.

But I guess I’m like your mom. I read your Entertainment Weekly interview from back in 2000 and you said when you tried to show her “X-Cops” that she left the room to do the dishes saying, “Well, turn off Cops and show me some X-Files.” I feel the same way, Vince. The truth is, you did too good of a job. As a creative exercise, “X-Cops” is impressive. I mean, it’s amazingly accurate. And your dialogue, as always, had me chuckling despite myself. I have needs, though. Emotional needs. And what I need at this point in the series is a good old-fashioned X-File. “X-Cops” just isn’t fulfilling my needs right now.

It’s not a big deal. It’s just one of those things, one of those bumps in the road that every relationship has. We’ll move past it. I still love you! I still love The X-Files! Nothing’s going to change that. Nothing’s gonna spoil us.

I know it’s hard because up until now we’ve never had so much as an awkward moment. You know how I feel about “Unruhe” (4×2) and “Small Potatoes” (4×20) especially, not to mention “Paper Hearts” (4×8) and “Drive” (6×2). And then I could go on and on about your work as part of the John Gillnitz trio, but I wouldn’t want you to think I’m sucking up. I just want you to know that my love for your work has by no means diminished.

Besides… you don’t need me, Vince. You never have. Most people love this episode! Many a time I’ve read it lauded as the best episode of Season 7, so there you go. Never mind that my heart won’t accept it as an X-File. That’s a personal problem of mine.

One day soon we need to sit down over a cup of cocoa somewhere and catch up. I know you’ve been living your life and I’ve been living mine, but I miss you. I’ve been dying to tell you how haunting I thought the Breaking Bad finale was, how much I loved the way you used the song “El Paso”, and how I saw that little nod to The X-Files in the episode “Full Measure” and grinned like an idiot over it. And every time Breaking Bad comes up in conversation… and it does a lot…. I tell people, “Vince was a writer on The X-Files,” with all the pride my voice can handle.

I’m glad to know you’re out there and busy, giving lots of people the same geeky joy you give me.

And that’s why I say it’s not me, Vince. It’s you.

Yours devotedly,

Salome

Verdict:

If I’m going to be totally honest, and why not be? When the show first aired, it was right here at this episode that I remember thinking to myself, “I’m never going to love an episode the same way ever again, am I?” 

Yes. This was my personal “Jump the Shark” moment.

C+

Crack House Commentary:

This is the first of several episodes this season that smell suspiciously like fanfic, as if the cast and crew wanted to fulfill a few guilty pleasures before the show left the air.

On that note, part of me feels this whole exercise was just someone’s (cough!) excuse to fulfill the boyhood dream of riding along in a cop car all for the sake of “professional research.”

Okay, maybe it was an adulthood dream.

How could Steve and Edy really be sure it was Chantara? I feel like in that kind of neighborhood brightly colored fake nails wouldn’t be hard to come by.

I’m not superstitious, but I’ve found over the years that crazy really does come around when the moon is full.

Why are David and Gillian still gorgeous even on video?

That really cute moment when Scully hides behind the ambulance door.

That sketch artist came up with a drawing of Freddie Kruger in less than thirty seconds. I know. I counted.

Those scenes with Steve and Edy… I don’t think Mulder’s trying not to laugh I think David Duchovny’s trying not to laugh.

If you are going to do an X-Files/Cops crossover, an invisible MOTW is a wise choice. If a monster had actually shown up in the real world it would have been all over, for both the episode and the show.

Best Quotes:

Scully: Look, Mulder, you want to talk about werewolves to me you can knock yourself out. I may not agree with you but at least I’m not going to hold it against you. But this, Mulder, this could ruin your career.

Mulder: What career? Scully, I appreciate it. You don’t want me looking foolish. I do. I appreciate that.

Scully: I don’t want me looking foolish, Mulder.

——————-

Officer: My favorite part of the job – knocking down crack houses.

Dep. Wetzel: I heard that.

——————-

Dep. Wetzel: You really believe me, huh? You really believe I saw what I thought I saw?

Mulder: Yeah, I believe you.

Dep. Wetzel: Why?

Mulder: Why do I believe you?

Dep. Wetzel: Yeah. I mean, what proof do you have what I’m saying is real? I mean, it’s not… it’s not on the video tape.

Mulder: The camera doesn’t always tell the whole story.

Dep. Wetzel: And what about your partner? Does she believe me?

Mulder: I don’t think she thinks you’re lying.

Dep. Wetzel: Yeah, but what? Maybe I’m crazy? You know, I’ve been on the job 18 months– all I ever wanted to do. Right out of the gate, I get some kind of rep like I’m crazy? I mean, you know how cops are. How’s somebody supposed to live that down?

Mulder: I don’t know. Uh, I guess just do good work.

Dep. Wetzel: It’s a hard enough job already, you know?… And it’s hard to have a fast-track career in law enforcement when everybody thinks you’re nuts.

Mulder: Tell me about it.

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21 responses to “X-Cops 7×12: With all due respect, what the **** are you talking about?

  1. Aww…see, I really like this episode. This is one of the few episodes of season 7 that I will sit down and watch all the way through and not just find the particular scenes I like. I enjoyed watching Scully be all protective of Mulder and how she hated being on camera and dealing with the camera crews. I also really enjoyed the autopsy scene. I guess this one is really one of those that you either love or you hate. I honestly didn’t mind seeing Mulder and Scully in “our world”. In a way, I think this was the only way we could really see Mulder and Scully from a perspective completely removed from the story. Like Hunger is from the suspect’s perspective, this one is a random third party.

    • This and the next episode, to me, are the kinds you either you get or you don’t, you love or you hate. I haven’t heard a lot of in between opinions on these.

      I think the autopsy scene with the super anxious assistant was probably the best scene, actually. That or when we’re first introduced to Mulder and Scully and Scully can’t get far enough away from the camera.

      You mentioned Hungry and I agree that there too Gilligan is trying to come at Mulder and Scully from a different perspective. I do like the idea. This was a cool experiment, it just didn’t work for me.

  2. I’d been getting “jump the shark” vibes going back at least to last season’s Triangle, but I admit those were probably premature. If anything, First Person Shooter was more of a “jump the shark” moment than X-COPS for me. I thought X-COPS was a brilliant idea, but I have to agree I didn’t find it to be as good an episode as fans had led me to believe. It’s not the last great X-File, and it’s not even the best monster-of-the-week episode of this season, in my opinion. But it was definitely an idea worth trying.

  3. “It’s not a big deal. It’s just one of those things, one of those bumps in the road that every relationship has. We’ll move past it.”
    Just like Mulder and Scully will move past THEIR bump in the road? ;o) (Here’s hoping…)
    But I agree with you about X-Cops. Not a fan myself…

  4. Like I said, we cringe at the light, campiness now, but we’ll get our payback with the season finale. 😉

  5. Season 7 is spotty in my memory. I’d watched the show since early in the first season (Squeeze, maybe?) and by Season 3 I was already feeling disgruntled by the continuity lapses. I watched “X-Cops” last night in anticipation of your review and although had great memories of the episode, I felt very “meh” on this re-watch. Damn you, time and perspective! Vince gave us “Pusher”, my favorite most beloved scary/tense/shippy episode ever, and I fear my pro-Vince bias initially left me with warm X-Cops fuzzies where none were earned. I take comfort in knowing that Vince writes Mulder and Scully’s dialogue, interaction and reactions as I see them (isn’t that always how they should be written? as *I* see them??) so there are little moments like Scully’s constant aversion to the cameras which always amuse me. Alas, there was no protein in this episodic meal, just straight up carbs. Not sure if I can bring myself to re-watch most of the rest of this season (aside from Je Souhaite, obvi). I prefer to remember my X-Files as the dark and scary, shippy-goodness Friday night show and not Fox/CC’s “keep it running on empty” straight-up cash cow. (All though I reserve the right to gripe like Statler and Waldorf when all things and Hollywood A.D. roll around!)

    “Besides… you don’t need me, Vince. You never have.” I see what you did there, Salome 😉

    • “I take comfort in knowing that Vince writes Mulder and Scully’s dialogue, interaction and reactions as I see them (isn’t that always how they should be written? as *I* see them??)”

      Yes, they should. Yes, they should.

      At least, I’ve always taken a self-centered view of The X-Files.

      “Running on empty” is about what it feels like right now. And it leads to some serious irritation come the next couple of seasons when the writing starts to pick up again, in the MOTW episodes anyway, and I get annoyed thinking, “Why didn’t they do that in Season 7???”

      “‘Besides… you don’t need me, Vince. You never have.’ I see what you did there, Salome ;-)”

      Was I that obvious?

  6. Oh yes, Salome, you were that obvious. And I love it! 😉
    I feel like your writing is the equivalent of Captain America bellowing “Assemble!”
    I’ll be there shortly!

  7. I think this might have been the first episode of XF I ever watched. I had heard of it and had a vague idea what it was about, and I had definitely watched COPS before, so one night when the X-Files happened to be on and it appeared to be a COPS crossover, I thought “Sure, why not?”

    As an introduction to the characters of Mulder and Scully, I think it works pretty well. Their personalities and relationship dynamic come across pretty clearly. As an introduction to “what the X-Files is all about” as I now understand it, it seems symptomatic of post-Vancouver XF: short on scares, long on humor, and too self-aware to properly sustain suspension of disbelief.

    I can’t be too hard on it, since it was my gateway. But I probably shouldn’t ever watch it again; to remember the experience of first watching it should be sufficient.

    • That’s the thing about sacred memories – they must remain sacred. Mine was GenderBender. And as confused as it was, I still have a soft spot for it.

      Gilligan was always the best at characterization, so whatever else X-Cops did or didn’t do, Mulder & Scully were exactly themselves.

      That self-awareness became a major balancing act, though. I mean, the writers couldn’t pretend the show wasn’t popular or that the fans weren’t out there expecting certain things. If the show had stayed the way it was in Season 3 it would have become redundant and pretentious. At the same time, it could tip the line into being too self-aware and even nonchalant about its self-awareness.

      I was fine with it Seasons 5 and 6, but Season 7 always makes me antsy. Maybe if there were more genuine excitement in the plots or sense of enthusiasm in the characters.

      • I don’t really blame the writers for allowing self-awareness to creep in; after all, the X-Files was a Major Cultural Phenomenon™ the likes of which have not been seen since. The change in tone may have been unavoidable, but I don’t agree that it was necessary. I think the worst thing any writer can do is to start writing for the fans — there’s a difference between hoping the audience will enjoy what you write and trying to write what the audience will enjoy. To me it feels like the XF team lost direction after the big push of making Fight the Future: the mythology episodes are mostly just tying up loose ends, the MOTW episodes are mostly wish fulfillment.

        • That’s a good point, but I actually think certain episodes like Triangle and X-Cops especially, are more wish fulfillment on the part of the writers than they were writing for the audience.

  8. Pingback: Season 7 Wrap Up – You don’t want me looking foolish. | Musings of an X-Phile

  9. I thought the plot, acting etc were just fine in this ep. I liked the pacing and especially the MOTW idea.

    What I felt though was akin to breaking the fourth wall in the presentation. Like the X-files universe just showed up on my doorstep in real life. It was the first episode (of course) then that made me not care about it or the series generally for the first time.

    Me is sad now.

    • Yes! That’s it! I think that was my problem. They smashed the 4th wall and I had been listening from the other side of it with a paper cup and didn’t know what to do with myself now that TXF and I had been exposed to each other. It wasn’t bad, I just couldn’t get into it. At all.

  10. I rarely disagree with your reviews, Salome, but I thought X-Cops was a great episode. I’ve never seen the show “Cops” but I think I can guess what it is!

    The portrayal of Steve & Edy – though camp as Christmas of course – was also unusually positive for the time, I would say. Plenty of TV shows from the era had gay characters, but I can’t remember one that showed a long-standing mutally-supportive gay couple. Or am I wrong about that?

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