This is how it all began, in December of 1994 (when The X-Files was mid-way through its second season):
Dear R.W. Goodwin,
This is an ardent fan letter. You have made The X-Files a remarkable show, distinguished by consistently sharp writing, intriguing lead actors, effective guest casting, and an imaginative brand of all-too-plausible paranoia blessed with a good sense of humor. Intelligence, adventure, style, wit and invention rarely show themselves so distinctively on television, much less all at once in the same series. Even more unusual is the depiction of Dana Scully: a strong, brilliant, effective woman who gives men orders and is still allowed to be beautiful, without being ogled or patronized. Marvelous! In addition you've created a relationship between a man and a woman based on mutual trust and respect, where two attractive people don't have to go to bed with each other in the first five minutes of their acquaintance (although the romantics among us wouldn't mind the deepening of their relationship now that they've become close friends). My only complaint: Mulder's taste for skin magazines, "adult" videos, and bikini babe calendars. His sexuality is his own business, but having these things in the workplace, in an office he shares with a woman he supposedly respects, is both inappropriate and a bit tacky. Aside from this: You seem committed to ignoring all the TV conventions of shallowness and inanity--a very welcome rebellion, indeed. I stand addicted. I hope I can be forgiven if I found the Internet discussions a bit pointless, and haven't participated (I mean, I really don't care what kind of suit Mulder wears, and an estrogen brigade [referring to an avid fan group called The David Duchovny Estrogen Brigade] sounds to me like some militant feminist senior citizens' organization). Obsessed though I am with your show, I've never found the mania of fandom attractive.
This is also a pitch, of sorts. My own curiosity as to how a change in Scully and Mulder's relationship might be effected without disturbing the show's focus on the paranormal and the paranoid, combined with the questions raised by the season-ending cliffhanger [the end of the first season, which concluded with the X-Files shut down and our heroes re-assigned to different divisions] and Ms. Anderson's pregnancy, compelled me to spend my summer writing X-Files teleplays. Over a period of twelve weeks, I produced six of them (now if only I could be so productive with my dissertation research in Folklore and Ethnomusicology)! My first three stories address the Mulder-Scully issue, one featuring an alien psychology experiement involving Scully as an unwitting subject [Heart's Desire], another a psychopathic telepath who turns out to be benevolent in a twisted kind of way [Predator], and a third in which I thoroughly indulged myself in the interpersonal and did not include any X-Files case material at all [The Real Thing]. The last three are a trilogy that I wrote as my personal solution to the shut-down of the X-Files and the logistics surrounding a co-star in her third trimester when production for the second season began [Transformations; Communions; Restorations]. I recently began writing again and have nearly finished a string of four episodes to work within the current status of the show [Out of Reach; One Blood; Stepping Out; Emergence (which I re-worked from a teleplay into a prose story)], with a few more brewing (and some extra case ideas kicking around for fun). Either I've found my calling, or I need to be shot in the head!
The following excerpts are taken from the second story in my three-episode arc intended to anchor the first eight or nine weeks of second season. While that assignment is now irrelevant, the story material remains strong (with some plot points bearing a resemblance to those actually produced on the show). My trilogy begins with Scully's abduction by a clandestine wing of military research, who implant in her womb a genetically altered human-alien fetus, using technology and medical assistance coerced from a captured extraterrestrial. He whom we now know as "Cancer Man" acquires an identity, and plans to re-establish the X-Files duo on a new and sinister footing: their investigations will be monitored and controlled to uncover new research avenues. In this second instalment [Communions], Scully is being held out of Mulder's reach. He has been assigned to a team led by one Janet Terpenning, investigating a string of murders in which the victim's heart is removed, apparently in imitation of Aztec ritual. Terpenning, an older agent, resents Mulder for reasons of her own, and knows more than she is willing to tell. Mulder begins to be contacted by Scully's alien "doctor" in his dreams, and Scully's captors allow certain contact, as the harrowing case draws to its conclusion.
[brief excerpts from "Communions" followed]
I also sent variations on this letter (with different excerpts from my stories) to Chris Carter and to the three main writers for the show at the time (all of whom have since moved on: Howard Gordon, James Morgan and Glen Wong). I enclosed a postage-paid postcard with each letter; Mr. Goodwin was the only one to reply to me, with a hand-written note postmarked 1/19/95. This is what he wrote:
Thanks so much for the letter. You don't know how much it means to us to receive such positive--and informed--feedback. As to your writing efforts, that's something that really is Chris Carter's department. I'm the guy who takes the scripts and figures out how to put them on film. I'd be happy to pass this on to Chris--if you haven't written him already. Please let me know.
Once again--thanks for support. Bob Goodwin
Click here to see a scanned image of the original postcard.
So I wrote him back:
Dear Mr. Goodwin,
Thank you for your kind response to my letter. What with all the media attention The X-Files has received, and the massive X-Phile traffic on the Internet, I would have thought you got more "feedback" than you could handle, but I'm glad my appreciation was meaningful. It certainly meant a great deal to me to get your card. You may know by now that I sent five different fan/pitch letters to yourself, Howard Gordon, somewhat foolishly to Morgan and Wong since they have now left the show (with quite a send-off in the credits), and to Mr. Carter (one copy each to L.A. and Vancouver). Mr. Carter--or his secretary, probably--forwarded my letters to Twentieth Century Television Senior Counsel Anatole Klebanow, who returned them to me with a very polite form letter informing me that for perfectly understandable legal reasons I have to do it the hard way and get an agent! I really wasn't surprised. I only tried pitching directly to you because I had been under the impression from reading the credits during first season that you weren't taking outside work at all. So I suppose you could show Mr. Carter my letter (this time he might actually read it), but he'd probably just have to forward it to poor Anatole again.
I do truly appreciate your card; as I've made these efforts I've told my friends that all I really want is a response, and now you've given me that. I joked with my husband as I pulled your envelope out of the mailbox, "Here's another X-Files rejection!" and I don't think it's quite sunk in yet that you liked my letter and made actual human contact with me. I probably will try the rounds with agents, so you may yet see my name in print crossing your desk one day (I do have a dissertation to work on, though, too, and I work full-time). I tried once before with a star-crossed Star Trek: The Next Generation teleplay, which due to Grad School getting in the way I didn't finish until the August before the show's last season started, so the poor thing never really had a chance; but three or four agents actually asked to see it before rejecting it, so I felt pretty successful. I will probably keep writing, too, just because the ideas keep coming in almost frightening proliferation (it's an X File, I'm sure of it, aliens or the government inducing an obsessive fixation so we won't notice what they're really up to...), and I have so much fun with it. I'll confine my comments here to how you do The X-Files, so you won't have to risk legal action if something resembling my ideas were to show up in an episode. It would be silly of me to sue my favorite show--after all, it's a finite universe, and great minds think alike, right? I'd probably just be flattered if I had the hubris to think it came from me. But so be it.
Some more heartfelt praise for you and your show: I very much appreciate the subtlety of detail that characterizes The X-Files. Half the fun of each episode is reading between the lines, catching quick camera references and "throwaway" clues that don't necessarily connect 'til much later--and, of course, trying to get ahead of you and predict the Truth that is Out There this week. You make us work, you make us think (and to those who may not want to think you still give a great ride), and I like that. Sometimes, though, it goes beyond subtlety and into obfuscation. The episode "3", with the vampires in L.A., is a good example of this. Noir is as noir does, but if in broadcast quality television the audience physically cannot see who is doing what to whom (as in the extremely dense final act of "3"), the point just gets lost. This episode, while richly textured and atmospheric (and watching Duchovny's sweetness with his real-life girlfriend was fun), was in general difficult to follow. A friend of mine made an astute observation: without Scully there to clarify the connections Mulder is pursuing ("Wait a second--what you're saying is..."), the audience has a much harder time figuring out what he's up to. This is especially so in an episode like "3" that requires some specialized information--information that Mulder has because he's studied vampires and vampire lore and these perpetrators in particular, but that we won't have until he tells someone or talks to himself or something.
Speaking of "3" and the need for clarification, can someone please tell me what the Unholy Spirit says to Mulder just before he kills her??! The same friend I mentioned earlier came up with, "For now try to be true to Dana," but with the oddly enunciated looping that doesn't jive with what the actress' lips are doing (it looks like "tribe" something or other), even with repeated replayings on video I can't make it out for the life of me [I later learned that this line is in Romanian, which would explain the difficulty; it isn't sub-titled, and I haven't gone out of my way to look for a translation (although I'm sure there must be one out there on somebody's Phile webpage), so I still don't know what the character is supposed to be saying]. If she is talking about Scully, she's a little late; he just had sex with the waif-like vampire wannabe he met the night before with whom he's had a sum total of approximately fifteen minutes' conversation, whom he knows has multiple casual partners and also no concern for AIDS (um, Mulder, did you use protection?). Granted, Mulder had his reasons to be emotionally vulnerable, and the "zing" between them was believable, while Kirsten also keyed into his loss of Scully immediately ("not a lover, a friend") and tapped his need to protect and redeem (his Messiah complex again), something he can't generally express toward the ever-competent, self-contained Scully, but still.... [In a later letter I protested the extremely tacky timing for Mulder's fling with the vampire girl: this is the only episode in which we know Mulder has sex, and also the only episode set within the period of Scully's disappearance. I could just hear the writers: "Quick--Scully's gone; who can Mulder sleep with?"]
And when is Scully going to be allowed to have a libido? Mulder's not the only one with drives, you know, although Scully is a bit more self-controlled in general. I am absolutely not asking that you throw her into bed with somebody, and I do profoundly appreciate the efforts you've made to not depict her as Mulder's "sexy partner", as so many magazine articles seem ignorantly compelled to describe her. Gillian Anderson is undilutably gorgeous, but none of you have been afraid of making Scully get grungy/frumpy in the appropriate circumstances. It would be interesting to see someone romancing her, see her connect with somebody the way Mulder did with Kirsten (not necessarilly sexually, but emotionally). The fingerprint expert with a crush on her in "Irresistible" was cute, but it's not quite the same thing.
It seems pretty clear by now that Mulder and Scully have special feelings for each other, but that neither of them is willing to cross that line in their professional relationship. You've shown Scully working pretty hard to keep things cool, even when trying to let Mulder know how much he means to her. Imagining myself in her shoes I wonder how she gets through it sometimes, since Mulder is such a physical guy--not that I think Duchovny is this awesome hunk (oh, please), but he has a bodily presence that is hard to ignore. This would be pretty tough on a woman who cares for him and has to work with him in such close quarters and intense situations, especially as they become closer-knit in their partnership over time. It would tend to make a person a little irritable ("Get away from me, I don't want to be attracted to you!").
Personally, I think Scully and Mulder would make a fascinating couple: they would fight like cats and dogs, but they already have a deeper foundation of trust and respect than many married people. You guys definitely have the skills to make it work without being too corny or distracting; but since the FBI doesn't allow couples to work together, it would seem somewhat pointless. Their whole relationship is about pursuing X-Files mysteries, and I don't think either of them would be happy (not to mention the audience) if they couldn't work together. I know my bond with my husband means an enormous amount to me, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, and I would wish similar joy for Scully just because I like her so much.
For me, anyway, much of the show's strength is due to Gillian Anderson's work as Scully (who, of course, owes her qualities to the writer-producers who have made her such a strong character). Every time I turn around these days David Duchovny is being interviewed or quoted or appearing on Letterman. I don't grudge him the attention; I love Mulder, too, and he's being a real trooper promoting The X-Files hither and yon. But it makes me fear the dread hand of gender bias in our society when Gillian Anderson, and Scully, are hardly mentioned in reference to the show. Of course, Ms. Anderson has an infant daughter at home and probably wants to spend what little time she has off-camera with her family. But somebody besides me at least ought to notice that she's there and doing excellent work in an interesting (and important) role.
Scully is in danger now of becoming a rubber stamp for Mulder as she by the necessity of experience becomes less resistant to extreme possibilities. I think I can trust you guys not to turn her into a jeopardizable plot device. There remains plenty of place for her to question Mulder's methods and the severe risks he's often willing to take, not to mention becoming more active in the pursuit of cases, as she did in "Excelsis Dei" (a well-done episode, but probably the grimmest Christmas show I've ever seen: brutal rape and the tragedy of Alzheimers, ho, ho, ho!). For a guy who's supposed to be so brilliant, Mulder does some astoundingly imprudent things (e.g., "Red Museum": going off by himself without telling anybody to follow an assassin into the meat plant, a sure-fire plan for getting yourself iced were it not for writers on your side, "Cancer Man"'s directive not to martyr you, and a partner who knows how you think), and he shouldn't get away with it so easily. He no longer works alone: the truth isn't just about Fox Mulder any more.
Another hazard for the show, in my opinion, lies in the extreme application of the intent to give us the creeps. Especially when treading on traditional horror movie ground, you risk losing cogent storytelling to the momentary shock effect, not to mention the threat of descent into camp. In "Die Hand die Verletzt", for example, my husband and I spent the entire commercial break laughing after Mrs. Paddock (literally the substitute teacher from Hell) casually opened her desk drawer to reveal for our benefit a nicely cleaned heart and two eyes in a tray--presumably the heart and eyes of the young man killed the night before. I suppose if she has the demonic power to transform into a snake, eat a man alive, leave his bones behind and shed a rather large skin, all in the time it took for a round trip between the man's house and the school (but we didn't know this about her when we saw the heart and eyes), then she could probably spirit these trophies into her desk and keep anyone from seeing them or noticing the smell--but why? What reason does she have to keep these things with her, unless she plans to show them to the straying members of the PTC--whom she never confronts directly, and who throughout the show simply make panicked guesses about what's happening? If she needs to draw power from these talismans, why is it we never see them again? Well, maybe she just likes having them around. Alas, I fear the main reason those organs were in her drawer was to make the audience go, "Ew, gross!"--which really shouldn't be a good enough reason (unless you want us to laugh, in which case we've been suitably entertained).
Again, subtlety becomes dangerous when it crosses the line from giving us the opportunity of working with you, to making us work for you to make the story hang together. I understand how difficult it is to tell a complex story well in the forty-five minutes' air-time alotted a one-hour drama on commercial television, and I'm not faulting you, only giving a friendly warning that we do get frustrated by these things out here in TV-land. I also don't want to be mean in singling out Morgan and Wong's last episode. I've loved their other X-Files work, and I very much look forward to their new series. But "Die Hand die Verletzt" required about ten minutes' arguing after the show with my husband and a friend before we had concocted enough rationalization to justify the plot (i.e., Mrs. Paddock was a representative of the true Faithful sent to destroy the back-slidden, lukewarm Satanists when the kids committed the blasphemy of performing a frivolous, ignorant demon-calling). What started out as a delightfully clever and well-played reversal of the conservative parent stereotype (from fundamentalist Christian to sincere closet Satanist) became something more muddled. This is better, however, than the Star Trek storytelling technique of having someone make a big contrived speech that Explains Everything --so I really shouldn't be complaining! You guys make Star Trek look awfully flabby.
I read a quote from Chris Carter stating that his goal for the show is primarily to scare people. If that means sacrificing the depth of story, character and dialogue that have made the show so intriguing, then he risks losing viewers like myself, although that may not trouble him as the show's popularity continues to soar across a desirable demographic. Generally speaking, I find the science-based and aliens stories more interesting and more riveting than the more conventionally "scary" stuff. Each month's Discover magazine alone gives at least three good X-File case ideas derivable from current research. It shouldn't be necessary to reach too often for stories suggested by the same material that inspired "Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein" and "Friday the 13th Part Ad Infinitum"--the associations are just too strong.
All that said, I very much enjoyed "Fresh Bones", the "voodoo" episode set in North Carolina. Please tell Howard Gordon I think he's wonderful ("Sleepless" was another standout for me). He gives a lot of care to "minor" characters, and that helps make the story that much more involving. Dorothy Sayers wrote that as creative beings we reflect the mind of God: a writer is a god to the world and people she creates, and the way she treats her characters shows what kind of god she is. I think a writer owes something to the people she invents--that even when you're threatening them or killing them off (or burying them alive, as in "Fresh Bones"), you can do so without throwing them away or reveling in their affliction. A good god does not discount even the suffering she allows to happen; a bad god just watches and laughs (bet you didn't know the whole endeavor was so theological). As far as I'm concerned, Howard Gordon is a very good god. To be picky, Scully really ought to have told Mulder when she realized she'd been poisoned by that thorn, but I guess she's still being defensive about things like that. If she were a real person and not a fictional character, I would be worried about that level of denial; it resembles dishonesty, and it could get both of them in big trouble. And neither of them should have assumed that the colonel was really dead when they had been dealing with zombification throughout the hour. Great casting on Chester the boy/cat/spirit, though (loved the cat).
I eagerly look forward to your next directorial effort; after "One Breath", I believe you capable of just about anything (although bringing Scully literally "out of the woods" when she regained consciousness was a little heavy). I'm sure you'll be glad to know that I now cheerily greet your name in the credits with a rousing, "Hi, Bob!"--just to tease myself about the whole thing. I'm a little embarrassed about the intensity of my investment in a TV show about FBI agents chasing ghosts and UFOs (or any TV show, really, when there are so many other things I should be doing). But they're such interesting FBI agents.... When you mailed off that response card to me you probably weren't asking for a cranky four-page essay analyzing episodes you weren't specifically involved with; I hope I haven't tried your patience too much.
I love your show, even when (especially when?) I argue with it. I think it's amazing that you keep the intelligence and style of the show so consistently solid while working under the grinding schedule of weekly television. A special bonus for me is the British Columbia locations (even when they're supposed to be Puerto Rico). Born and raised in Seattle on camping and cross-country skiing and canoeing at dawn, I had never been east of Idaho before coming to Indiana for Music School as a fearful Freshman in 1983 (I got stuck here after meeting the most wonderful man in the world and deciding to pursue Graduate studies in Folklore and Ethnomusicology). Seeing the temperate rainforests and mountains of my youth does my homesick heart good, and I thank you. Special congratulations on the Golden Globe award! Hurray for our side, beating out ER and NYPD Blue! I hope you continue to get the recognition you deserve for the fine work you do. Thank you again for responding to my letter. I wish you the best of everything as you continue to give us some of the most stimulating entertainment around.
Yours ever, Abbie Anderson
I was stunned--and delighted--when Mr. Goodwin sent a brief, typed letter in reply, dated 27 February, 1995, on "The X-Files" letterhead (wow!). Here it is:
Dear Ms. Anderson:
Thanks again for your kind letter. I think that you know more about the show than any of us here!
It's nice to know there are people out there who care about the show as deeply as you do.
Hope to hear from you again.
Bob Goodwin signature
Robert W. Goodwin
Click here to see a scanned image of the original letter.
He was probably just being nice; at this point in the show's history (second season) it was not yet a huge hit, and he probably hadn't learned yet that he really didn't have to respond to fan-mail. However, I took him up on the nicety of "Hope to hear from you again", and continued to write him. This is my reply:
Dear Mr. Goodwin,
Are you sure you know what you're getting into? I mean, do you truly hope to hear from me again? If you were just being nice, you've gotten yourself in trouble. You must realize, I'm perfectly capable of sending you a detailed essay in response to every episode, not to mention continuing to gripe about past frustrations and salute past achievements. This can't be something you want to happen! Well, you made this bed, now I'm morally obligated to make you lie in it.
I'm perfectly aware that you guys can't possibly afford the obsession with detail that your fans maintain. We have the luxury of repeated VCR viewings and at least a week between instalments; you folks have to go on to the next show before the first one is finished, there's no way you'll share our fretting over (much less recall of) the details of each week's final product. I hope I'm not as bad as the truly crazed X Philers who will want to find cosmic significance in the stroke of a pen, or who fixate on the number of sunflower seeds from one shot to the next (and who probably also speculate on such arcanities as what kind of underwear Mulder prefers, for crying out loud). When you get really blatant I do have to protest, though.
For instance: you've probably caught quite a bit of flak already for the massacre "Little Green Men" made of Mulder's original story of his sister's abduction in this season's opener. The flashback shows them playing Stratego in the early evening, the aliens coming and Mulder scrambling for a gun, watching his sister helplessly as she is soundlessly carried away. His testimony to Scully in the pilot and on the hypnosis tape in "Conduit" told a markedly different story: Mulder and Samantha were already in bed, the abduction taking place in the bedroom rather than the family room; Mulder couldn't see his sister, and couldn't move, and heard her frantically calling his name but was not afraid because of the soothing voices in his head. Really, guys, we waited all summer to have you thumb your noses at your own mythology? Sigh. [Chris Carter has protested in interviews that memory in general and hypnotic recall in particularly are notoriously unreliable, essentially claiming that this means he could change the story any way he wanted. This was only the first incident in a long and maddening history of carelessness with the details set forth in previous episodes on The X-Files--but I digress.] Not to mention the fact that Mulder has his big Encounter with aliens and apparently just passes out after emptying his gun at them--with no apparent contact having been made. I was kind of hoping he'd start having unexplained nose bleeds or something, to justify this waste of our (and his) time. I'd spent my summer writing six teleplays because I was so desperate for new X-Files, and what I got was...potted palms in British Columbia, a corny Watergate flashback, flat contradiction of the original terms of Mulder's obsession over his sister, and a hyped Alien Encounter that turns out to be a big Zero. The things we do for love! I obviously didn't give up on you, and I've been well rewarded. When you guys are good, you are very, very good--and when you are bad, you're still better than just about anything else on TV.
In recent weeks you delighted us with "Colony" and "End Game". Whether you're being good or bad, you guys will stop at absolutely nothing, which is why we keep coming back. We know you're not likely to play it safe, and you're almost guaranteed not to do the obvious thing, TV-convention-wise. Tell the guys in the Armani suits who give you a hard time about "closure": this is exactly what we love about your show. You give us subtlety and ambiguity, intrigue and both intellectual and personal interest without stooping to cheap, easy answers (most of the time, anyway). Leaving Scully in the motel room with the interstellar assassin impersonating Mulder at the end of the hour, without telling us yet just how Mulder got onto the ice and why he'll die if they thaw him out! No wonder you won the time slot for "End Game". I'm glad you got such a large audience for what is probably among your five best episodes--well, at least the five best this season. Of course even you didn't have balls of the dimension to have it really be Samantha, but I wouldn't have put it past you. It would probably be just as difficult to deal with Samantha's genuine return on an ongoing basis as it would to sustain a change in the Mulder-Scully relationship (i.e., not very, if you played your cards right and stayed true to character--somehow I can't imagine those two being sappy lovers). Moot point, however, on both counts.
"Colony" and "End Game" were so good that we'll have to forgive you for "Fearful Symmetry". Great Blake title, and you finally got a Biblical reference right on the church bulletin at the end (Scully's headstone was off by a verse in "One Breath", and we won't talk about John 52 in "3"--there are only 21 chapters in the book of John, guys; you probably have more imperative things to do than to check these things, but they do mean something to some of us). But you know, a guy (or gal) in a gorilla suit is still a guy (or gal) in a gorilla suit, even if the body language is pretty good; and having zoo animals abducted by extraterrestrial conservationists still doesn't explain why, when the animals are transported, some kind of animal spiritual force is produced that goes around killing people (nor, for that matter, why Mulder wasn't attacked by said spiritual force when Sophie was transported out of the cell--she beat him up while still corporeal). Not to mention getting heavy handed with a Message on us. Oh well. My consolation is that if you'll do stuff like that, you have to take my stuff! No offense meant: I'm just encouraged. I have to sustain myelf with something when I'm embarking on such an incredible long shot. I figure that what I've written is probably as good as the episodes I would consider mediocre to good as a fan--not as compelling as "One Breath", maybe, but probably as good as "Born Again" or "Fire". [I blush over this kind of vanity now!] Another moot point, however, at least for now.
Honestly, I don't expect a response this time. You've already been more than generous with me! I think I care a bit too much about your show. My husband likes to tease me about my little obsession; he enjoys The X-Files too, but he's not going to go into convulsions about it the way I do. The ridiculous part is that I'm still writing, even while pitching to agents three of the teleplays I've already written, and as I step up my dissertation research. I still don't really understand this apparent need to generate my own X File stories, but I'm enjoying myself. I can't seem to staunch the flow of ideas, and once I start fleshing them out in my head I feel like I have to write them down and work them out or I'll be killing something (similarities with Right to Life philosophy are entirely coincidental and somewhat unsettling to contemplate). I have a sneaking suspicion that writing my dissertation just won't be this easy! That will be work, complete with footnotes and having to read a lot of abstruse scholarship that doesn't intrinsically appeal but must be done in order to be informed about one's field of interest, and having to couch oneself in Academicese and the theoretical trends of the season (word voodoo, I call it, when I'm being polite). [Gee--I never wrote that dissertation after all; any clues here as to why?] Running around with Scully and Mulder is a lot more fun, even when I'm doing the more strenuous work of editing and making sure points B and C make sense between A and D.
Congratulations on the Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide cover stories. Every success (and hopefully some rest and relaxation sometime!) to all of you, from inventive producers, writers and directors to your terrific-to-watch leads to your tremendous casting director (who almost never fails to find somebody potently interesting for key recurring and guest roles) to the entire crew. And to my personal favorite: Mitch Pileggi. Now that Skinner has more substantial things to do, we're seeing just how good an actor you hired (and I reiterate my suggestion that you consider Pileggi next time you're planning to expose one of your cast members a la Duchovny's Speedo stunt in "Duane Barry"). Thanks again for being so good at what you do!
Yours in extremis, Abbie Anderson
I continued in this vein with periodic letters to Mr. Goodwin for nearly two more years, spouting my personal philosophies along with my analyses of individual episodes. I enjoyed being able to "talk back" to the show in a more concrete way (as opposed to just heckling from the sofa while watching, and hashing over episodes with friends); I tried to be entertaining, too, and not waste his time too badly (in case my letters were actually being read). If for some perverse reason you really want to see the letters I haven't posted here, e-mail me and I will send you the files.
As you've already seen, when I first started writing to Mr. Goodwin I still labored under the naive and misguided hope that I might one day sell a story to The X-Files. The whole thing makes me feel painfully foolish now. The Star Trek franchise series each have maintained a "slush pile" of amateur "spec" scripts from which they have even been known to select a story or two for use on the show, and they have also accepted scripts "shopped" by agents, which is why I had the idea in my head to try. This is understandably a very rare exception in the real world of TV, however, where no one can afford the time or resources to wade through the work of untried writers. Fan fiction on the Web is a much better outlet--and within the fanfic world you can become a famous, award-winning author, too (not that that has happened to me--although I have gotten some really nice e-mail from people who have read my stories). In March of 1995 I received this honest reply from the Wordsworth literary agency:
Getting a popular series to read your work is almost impossible. They have their own writers who are Guild members. Sorry, I just don't even try this type of representation any more. Good Luck!
I find some of what I wrote to Mr. Goodwin more than a little embarrassing when I re-read it, particularly in the early period when I was taking my own writing too seriously--or when I would tell him things about myself and my life (sheesh, Abbie Marie!). My primary consolation is that he probably didn't actually read all of my letters (some of which got rather long and convoluted!), particularly toward the end of my correspondence as the show became a ratings phenomenon and his responsibilities (and fame within fandom) grew more intense.
He wrote me back one more time, again on X-Files letterhead, in August of 1995. Here 'tis:
Forgive me for not writing back sooner. I've been very busy directing the last episode of season 2 and the first episode of season 3, and in between running to Europe to get some R&R.
We truly appreciate your obvious devotion to our show and your intelligence and very perceptive criticism.
However, there is one thing that I neglected to tell you: the female producer Kim Manners you were so happy to see listed in our credits is most unfortunately male, although he does have very nice hair. Despite the fact that he's a man, he's a good director and I'm sure he appreciates your kind words.
Bob Goodwin (signature)
Click here to see a scanned image of the original letter.
I wrote him back after that and told him that my friends and family had taken a vote and declared him to be a Good Person for being so kind in writing to me--and I also let him know that I was perfectly aware that he had much better and more pressing things to do than respond to my letters. Although I never heard from him again, I kept writing to him regularly for a little more than a year after this. My letters finally petered out as my enthusiasm for the show dimmed somewhat (primarily due to that carelessness about details I mentioned earlier, and to my growing guilt over my stalled academic work), and as I felt more and more that I was just pestering him with my opinions when he had an awful lot of hard work to do. One thing I regret is that I didn't get around to writing him before he left the show at the end of the fifth season (Spring of 1998), when production moved to Los Angeles (he lives with his family in northern Washington, and didn't want to go back to Hollywood). The poor deprived man never got the chance to read my opinions about the extremely silly Tunguska/Terma 2-parter (I often use "silly" as a highly positive, joy-rendering adjective, but in this case silly is just dumb-da-dumb-dumb, testosterone-addled silly; I was so afraid that these two episodes were "practice" for the movie--although they did make me laugh quite a bit, so I must admit I was at the least entertained), or what I thought of the episode he wrote ("Demons", in which Mulder, with typically passionate stupidity the consequences of which he miraculously survives, submits himself to some dangerous experimental memory retrieval "therapy" involving holes drilled into his skull and the application of hallucinogens; I'd give it a B+ for some good character work), or Morgan and Wong's last episode ("Never Again", a Scully-centric episode in which she gets an enormous tattoo which is virtually identical to the logo for Chris Carter's misbegotten Millennium [which Morgan and Wong were leaving The X-Files to unsuccessfully attempt to resuscitate], and appears to have finally had sex with somebody, the whole of which I had some mixed feelings about)--and I never got to tell him how I felt about the increasingly irritating disarray of the "Mythology" (spit). Here is the last letter I wrote to him, in November of 1996:
Dear Mr. Goodwin,
Congratulations on your promotion [to Executive Producer, from Co-Executive Producer]! And on a fourth season off to an interesting and provocative start. I hope this new year brings you challenges you enjoy, with a minimum of shooting schedule scenarios involving disputes between Inexorable Forces and Immovable Objects. If you need another job title, perhaps this one would fit: Wrangler of the Impossible.
If you read and remembered my (much-too-long) letter from July, you may or may not have been looking for me at the recent X-Files convention in Seattle [Oct. 13, 1996]. I was indeed there, having flown home for the weekend for the ostensibly exclusive purpose of (gulp) greeting you in person--and I blew it. Rather than sit through the lame trivia contests while waiting our row's turn to join the autograph line after your talk, my friends and I went and got in line to see the lame "Prop Museum" (it was "atmospherically" lit to the point of illegibility, and carelessly set up). When we got back, Dean Haglund [who plays Langly, the blond Lone Gunman, and is a stand-up comedian in real life] had already begun his side-splittingly silly improv (you were a good sport to join him, that was a hoot). I checked the program, saw that you were scheduled to join Mssrs. Haglund and Pileggi for a final autograph session at the end of the con--and made the fateful decision to be entertained from my seat rather than get back in line.
Ah ha ha ha ha. Joke's on me: the schedule was wrong, and you were wise enough not to stick around and watch Mitch Pileggi field with great grace and good humor a series of painfully inane questions from the Fans. The majority of these Fans persisted in presenting the poor man with penetrating essays on the character of Skinner (typically referred to as "you"), his future, and his "adversarial relationship" with the CSM--despite the fact that Mitch made it repeatedly clear, both before questions and during, that this role is no more and no less than his job (and a job that makes him very happy). All he does is work with the scripts he's given; he doesn't know any more than the rest of us about the Truth Out There, and he doesn't lose sleep over the deep dark questions that enthrall the fans. Good for him! I think he deserves a medal for remaining so relaxed under all the attention, and for not letting the job overtake his life. And he doesn't even get testy about it, he just starts joshing the fans and giving them memories for a lifetime in the process (e.g., to the guy who apparently has become an X-Files convention roadie: "You were in Tampa? I want to shake your hand, man!"). He definitely gets the fan PR prize. His fiancee is certainly a brave woman, saying yes to a man who is carnally worshiped by thousands of strangers. Now I'm wishing I'd gotten up and asked him to demonstrate some of that West Side Story choreography that we've heard has been known to break out on the set between takes!
It was definitely worth the price of admission to hear your talk. I loved the stories about your career and your family; you already know I'm a huge fan of your wife [Sheila Larken, who plays Scully's mother]. I did actually get in the Q&A line to ask you whether David Duchovny hates his job (I feel bad sometimes watching his work when I fear it may be making him miserable, since from what we hear he doesn't like the fans, doesn't like Vancouver, doesn't like the hours, doesn't like being associated with Mulder...), but I hesitated and was lost: they cut off the questions when I was two people away from the mike. You handled that budding young director very nicely, by the way, the one who wanted to talk shop with you in front of 2,000 people--something about lighting setups for different characters. It was very good of you not to give him a direct answer that would have been largely meaningless to the other 1,999 people in the hall, but then that did mean that he kept trying....
With 20-20 hindsight, and from a fan's perspective, I would suggest that it was a mistake to sign with Creation Entertainment. From what I saw, their name is highly ironic, and I still resent the slogan "Creation is Out There" which they stamped on the back of my hand. I know they're profesionals at this and have a national network, but judging by the 10/13 Seattle con I'd say they know about as much about showing a person a good time as Donny Pfaster (the villain in "Irresistible" who enjoyed mutilating women's bodies). They treated us little better than herd animals; I wouldn't have been surprised to find one of the lines ending at a dip tank. They made neither space nor time for what should have been the most stimulating thing happening at such a gathering: fans meeting each other and talking, members of Internet groups connecting face to face. The merchandise room was sparse and rather lacking in flair (who hired those poor psychics who everybody pretty much ignored?), although I did come happily away with two scripts: "Ice" and "Humbug" (they didn't have "One Breath", "Sleepless", "Clyde Bruckman" or "Jose Chung", to name a few I would have been pleased to blow my dough on). Granted, this was just a 7-hour con, and the logistics involved were probably pretty formidable, but still (man, they didn't even have your tape [a videotape of clips he had prepared for his talk]). When my sister stuck up for me and asked the m.c. dude what the deal was with you being scheduled to stay 'til the end (I was too busy kicking myself to be assertive), he said that must have been a misprint. "Sorry 'bout that." Yeah, right. He's sorry, and Bill Clinton feels my pain, too. But who's going to pay for my therapy? (wink)
If you read and remember my letter from July (neither of which are at all an obligation!), I should probably also mention that I did indeed get to Vancouver during my visit home to Seattle that month, and had a great time. The weather was perfect, and I really enjoyed sightseeing in Vancouver. I hope you've been to the Anthropology museum on the U.B.C. campus, it's fantastic. We went by Northshore Studios on Monday on our way out of town, and talked to a very nice security guard. I was rather embarrassed and self-conscious about being there (unlike the guy who was videotaping the oh-so-exciting comings and goings from across the street). The guard must have been reassured by my demeanor, since once I made it clear I had no intention of trying to go in and harass anybody he actually told me where you were on location. Now if I had been a truly deranged fan, it could have been a messy day in Kamloops. If I'd been thinking I would have asked if I could leave a message for you; fandom is still a challenge for me, I'm learning as I go.
I meant what I said about the season being interesting so far. That doesn't mean I've enjoyed every minute of it, however. "Herrenvolk" was fine, despite some logical lapses. The desperate Mulder (who's a car thief now, too) had Jeremiah Smith alone for hours, and yet apparently never asked him a thing about, say...Samantha?! At least Scully finally seemed appropriately annoyed with Mulder for ditching her--all too typical behavior on his part. The Scully-Pendrell Power Scenes were great (poor guy, she really bulldozed him), and Scully's Comfort Embrace for Mulder in the hospital was truly beautiful. The position-stating dialogue between them in the hospital was also spot-on, just right, a great scene. The CSM's furtive tenderness with Mrs. Mulder was intriguing, and I have to admit I was surprised and pleased by the twist of having the assassin heal her. He just hating doing it, too, that was great.
Of course "Muldermom's" miraculous recovery will not even be mentioned in subsequent episodes, so we won't know the extent of it until the next Mythology ep, no doubt. I hate the personal illogic of this silence, but I guess in production terms it can't be helped. Sigh. It seems to me that the Consortium's purposes would be better served if she were not completely healed, since they don't want her repenting of past repression and telling Mulder everything she knows. I would hate to be in her hospital bed and wake up with Cancer Man holding my hand, let me tell you! Mulder's new U.N. informant could be interesting ("the UNaBlonder" is probably my favorite Internet moniker for Ms. Covarubias), although I pity her if it's the writers' intention to get her involved with Mr. Self-Absorbed. Deep Throat lasted one season, X survived for two; maybe she's here for the duration--it's too soon to get worried about that just yet. The offing of X seemed needlessly graphic (come on, the old "writing a message in his own blood" trick?), and one wonders how Mulder felt when he came home to the man's corpse on his threshold--since this little incident won't be referred to in the aftermath, either. We wonder innocently whether X had to die because Steven Williams [the actor who played him] was doing that unauthorized merchandising.
"Home" was interesting if only for the intense discussion it provoked. From what I've gathered, nobody over the age of 18 appreciated the gore in this one. The people who didn't like it protested in the most violent terms: it offended, revulsed, repulsed, sickened. And you know there have got to be some dismayed X Philes out there who finally persuaded their mother or priest or sensitive friend to watch ("you'll like it, it's got some of the most intelligent writing on TV")--and subjected them to this. Come on, guys, you're supposed to be the subtle ones, right? There has been speculation that Morgan and Wong deliberately produced something they knew would get the show in trouble with the network and the sponsors and a lot of fans, since they only came "home" to XF due to the cancellation of Space: Above and Beyond before it could really prove itself. Among the Dana Scully Power Rangers (my little e-mail discussion group), the few who liked this one were intrigued by the family, the town, and Mulder and Scully's interaction, and were inspired to near-poetry in describing what they felt was the story's resonant commentary on Family Values. Kim Manners did a great job, of course; but once again for me the makeup was over-obvious and overdone, a weakness that makes the show border on camp. Is this intentional?
It seemed to me that a fair chunk of story must have gotten left out of the script or on the cutting-room floor, so that we could spend more time watching the boys play baseball and Sheriff Andy Taylor be bludgeoned to death (I still haven't decided whether that name is just too precious for words, or an acceptable conceit). There has to have been more of a relationship between the sheriff and the inbred family than we were shown, or why would he protect them, and why would they come after him? And Deputy Barney was acting like he'd just stumbled onto something that turned his world upside down (more than just the buried baby), but we were only given interrupted hints of this for him, as well. What I really could have done without was the sequence cutting between the boys in their Caddy and Scully asleep in bed in a motel where the doors don't lock, when we've just been told that the brothers are probably out either to retrieve their alleged captive "brood mare", or to get a new one. Gentlemen, don't threaten me with yet another Scully abduction and a nice gang rape, especially when what you're really going to do is tenderize ol' Andy while his wife has to listen from under the bed waiting for her turn. Again, screen time thrown away for "effect" which could have been spent on actual story.
It was refreshing but strange to see the old first-season Mulder and Scully bantering in this one: relaxed, almost flirting, comfortable together--and that little conversation about genetic histories/potential mates/Motherhood has got to be one of the most oddly intimate moments we've ever seen between them. The Relationshippers loved it, but it was truly strange for them to be even that forthright about, um, considering each other. Anderson and Duchovny made the out-of-left-field dialogue work, but this bizarrely tender interlude (and don't get me wrong, I live for tenderness) felt like it belonged someplace else, even if it did tie into the "Home" theme of emotions and genetics in family. The "Baa, Ram, Ewe" line was a bit much, but I guess I'd be punchy too if I'd just watched the deputy be needlessly decapitated and was shoving some pigs around in my suit, waiting for the Three Stooges from Heck to come out and try to kill me. The goofy humor in this one was especially surreal given the slasher-flick content--but maybe that just shows how much I know about slasher flicks: are cutesy gags typical of the genre?
"Teliko". This got a shrug from most of us. "Deceive, Inveigle, Obfuscate"--a line so brilliant it had to be used three times? Four, if you count the opening credits. Too many logical holes and inconsistencies in the plot to even begin to discuss. OK, just a minor one: people in gray pancake make-up immediately identified as albinos, when African albinos are more pinky-yellow (their skin-tone really does look like white folks': it's that same absence of melanin that afflicts you and me). The vitiligo effect was well done, though. There's nothing wrong with Equal Opportunity Mutancy, either: if we can have a white Liver Man who squeezes down chimneys, we can certainly have a black Pituitary Man who squeezes down drainpipes. Carl Lumbly's line about naturalization just being the next step toward bringing the African Mutant's whole family over is just the thing to get those anti-immigration people burning down the INS, though.
Gillian Anderson thin and glamorous, the most gorgeous coroner ever filmed in mid-autopsy. Power Scully saving the day (hurray! Mulder gets to be the damsel in distress this time!). Grody picks up noses (I couldn't watch). Mulder nabbing Scully's evidence before she's even had a chance to look at it, and she doesn't even let out a peep; Mulder denigrating Scully's serious fact-finding and essentially calling her a stooge for the coverup (how can the fans respect Scully if you don't?); Mulder once again giving annoyingly cryptic exit lines rather than answering a simple question ("Where are you going/Where are you?")--this is getting really, really old. With behavior like this being so god-awful consistent, why on earth does Scully trust this man? We know she's not stupid. Mulder claims she's the only one he trusts, yet he never tells her what he's doing and has a habit of withholding vital case information until they're stumbling over bodies at the crime scene. If this is trust, if this is respect, then I'm a fiddler crab (Daffy Duck joke: "Shoot me again! I enjoy it! I love the smell of burnt feathers!"). She's his partner, for crying out loud! She's not just your personal attaché, mister. Get a life.
Thank you, I feel better now.
We did like Mulder cutting Scully off at the pass and taking the evidence to Pendrell himself (and giving our favorite lovelorn consultant a hard time, too). Gee, is Mulder jealous of all the time the redheads have spent together, not to mention the actual hard evidence they've worked out? Hmmmmm. Mulder's line later about finding meaning in a framework that makes sense to you, whether that be a folktale, a disease, or a conspiracy, was definitely a keeper. Very nice moment. Zakes Makae, the brilliant South African actor, was quite a catch, if underused: I think you've missed a spot on Mr. Millikan's feet. [In my letters I often praised casting director Rick Millikan, instructing Mr. Goodwin and all associated with The X-Files to kiss Mr. Millikan's feet.] Carl Lumbly was great, too, I'm glad his character didn't have to die. Howard Gordon's choice of Burkina Faso is interesting, when there are decidedly more Bambara people in Mali; perhaps he wanted to honor the fine Burkinan filmmakers. With this one I did get an African story, featuring African folklore--but with no African language. The African Studies and Ethnomusicology programs at UCLA are first-rate: would it be very difficult to draw on the expertise there to beef up future stories? Grad students would probably love to volunteer, we're suckers for that kind of thing.
All I have to say about the UNaBlonder in this one is, at least she looked more annoyed with Mulder than anything else. We can probably rest easy that even though we didn't see Mulder again 'til morning, you're not trying to imply that she, um, put out more than information. One astute comment about her on the Internet is that it's plenty ironic if she's being set up as Mulder's "love interest" (awful euphemism, but more pleasant than "bimbo"), when physically she's exactly the type Mr. Carter fought against in order to cast Gillian Anderson. The leggy blonde. Great. Thank you so much. I find myself numbly resigned on this issue. There's nothing I can do to stop this Mulder-must-have-sex thing (hey, what about Scully?!), any more than I can keep a show that's trying to scare me from laying on the gore I'm not interested in. The dead horse wishes I'd put away the whip: I don't watch The X-Files because it scares me. I watch it because it's smart. For the most part the "scary" stuff just makes me laugh, because I know you're trying to push my buttons. When you succeed in pushing my buttons, I blame myself for being suckered. So, given the fact that I don't like to be made anxious or frightened (if I want my heart to race, I'll do aerobics), the question becomes unavoidable: why do I like this show? Because it gives me satisfying, challenging entertainment when it's not trying to see how high I'll jump. Besides, I can't stop now: I'm a Dana Scully Power Ranger.
We heard a lot of pre-broadcast buzz about how 1013 was so excited about "Unruhe" they moved it out of order to show it for the first Sunday (in this scenario, "Home" was supposed to be the Halloween episode, which would explain a few things). Perhaps because we had too much build-up, some of us were not overwhelmed by it. For me, the writing was very strong, a well-structured story with a very affecting villain (more kisses for Mr. Millikan--I loved that actor in "Nobody's Fool"); but Scully is going to have to go more than one season abduction-free before I consider you fellas cured. Those credence-stretching nick-of-time rescues are pretty tired, too. Scully has rescued Mulder, of course, and she's frequently been both stronger and smarter than he is, but rarely if ever has he been tied up and gagged in the process (unless you count "Deep Throat" and "Erlenmeyer Flask"). What, strong women must be bound, is that the idea? Six times, now, guys! "Lazarus", "Ascension", "End Game", "Irresistible", "Our Town", "Unruhe". I won't deny that Mulder has taken a lot of punishment, getting beaten up and injured on a regular basis (and far more than six times). It seems we've got a gendered violence paradigm going here, one which one of my friends from the Power Rangers has described as a sensitive-guy chauvinism for the '90's (she finds it endearing): You can't hit a woman, but you can threaten her and tie her up; testosterone is for fistfights and bullets and sharp edges. Granted, my biases are showing in my over-reaction to this kind of thing; but I think the point remains valid.
Once again in "Unruhe" Scully had to ask Mulder where he was going, as he started waltzing away from a crime scene with nary a backward glance. I suppose Scully's dazed reaction to freedom was appropriate, but most of us wanted just a little something more--like even a fleeting moment's eye contact with Mulder. Regardless, Gillian Anderson was tremendous in this (fun German, too). Mulder's psychobabble about the photos seemed better suited for Millennium, however, as did Scully's closing "I'm-typing-my-report" speech: some people suspected a deliberate plug. In spite of the fact that I'm generally allergic to portentous voiceover narrations, I was riveted by that final scene, watching Ms. Anderson's face and listening to her voice.
From the silly preview I was expecting "In the Field Where I Died" to be the worst kind of processed cheese, which I wouldn't normally expect from Morgan and Wong. Happily, my forebodings of cornball were groundless: except for the hokey gibberish of those dreaded voiceovers at opening and closing ["hokey gibberish" which turned out to be poetry by Yeats or somebody, I found out later...but it still sounded hokey to me in context...], I found this one extremely moving. Kristen Cloke was marvelous. Mark Snow outdid himself again. It would have been nice if Mulder had named Sullivan Biddle's sergeant, so Scully could have looked herself up in those registers. It is, however, quite interesting to consider Scully as his sergeant, and as his father: she's just doomed to be responsible for him, isn't she? Great dialogue between them, with interesting challenges back and forth as well as an affirmation of friendship (the Relationshippers feel jilted). Once again Scully does the real investigatory work, and I have to wonder if the words "thank you" have left Mulder's vocabulary entirely, but overall this was just lovely. Thank you.
On Millennium: great production values, nice to see David Nutter again, Mark Snow is terrific; but Frank Black could use a sense of humor, and a more substantial wife (I couldn't help imagining how much more effective Sheila Larken would have been in the same necessarily underwritten role). If he only has a wife and kid so they can be jeopardized, I'll be ticked (Brittany Tiplady is quite a doll, though). This is not a very nice thing to do to people you've created: they exist only to be threatened, not to have reality in themselves but to impact the central character. Chris Carter is an impressive writer, as always, but someone has to convince him to lay off the pretentious faux profondités. And impossible last-minute resolutions are not a good idea, either. After the second episode, we now know the true face of evil: nobody with a drop of sense is going to breeze off to a secret cult lair by himself, in the middle of the night, and then walk right into the oven where the victims have been irradiated--unless Chris Carter makes him. This was really, really cheap if you're asking me, especially since we could see it coming for an excruciating stretch of time and thus had plenty of opportunity to get worked up about it.
I have gotten some perks out of fandom, and not just via the Internet and fanfic. I recently got a free meal out of it. I was invited to be a panel member for an informal pizza dinner-discussion for the University Honors Division, entitled "The Truth is Out There: Paranormal or Paranoid?" Most of the talk centered on the development of UFO/alien-invasion mythology as a manifestation of paranoia in 20th century American pop culture, particularly demonstrating our growing distrust of the government. My main contribution was to suggest that our contemporary impulses toward the paranormal/supernatural and the paranoid/conspiratorial are two sides of the same proposition: there's more out there than they're telling us. "They" are the scientists, who (we think) tell us that all we are is a bunch of temporary chemical reactions, so we reach for a more transcendent significance in alien encounters, angels, psychic abilities, near-death experiences, channeling, past lives; "they" are the government and the military, who know and do things they won't tell us about until it's declassified fifty years later, whereupon they'll apologize. Heh heh. It was a fun evening, with great discussion, and the pizza was good, too.
Clearly, I have little patience for Chris Carter's "profondités" because I can generate too many of my own. I.e., it takes one to know one!
Gillian Anderson was quoted in an interview as saying she's so opposed to making an X Files movie during the hiatus next year that she could see you making it without her. Excuse me?!?! An X-Files movie without Scully? Or worse, as has been suggested, casting someone else in the role (oh, yeah, the bad guys rewrote her DNA, and only now has its full effect been felt: she's got a new body)?! There are no words for how truly horrifying a thought this is. I can't imagine intelligent people considering either option, but I felt I should say something. Besides, she's right: none of you should have to do XF "24 months a year", as she put it.
I hear once again the very troubling news that the brilliant, gutsy Ms. Anderson is disparaged in the most ugly of terms by Internet fans on "alt.tv.xfiles", and once again I have to say, "What is wrong with these people?!" I hope she doesn't read any of that stuff. She's one of the very best things you got goin' on this show, and you durn well better pay her at least half what you pay Duchovny. It has occurred to me in my dewy-eyed idealism that perhaps Scully got that reduced screentime at the end of last season because you felt guilty about the wage inequity. In a business where Kelsey Grammer is worth 250 grand per episode for a half-hour ensemble sitcom [I wrote this before the million-dollar mark was reached by the casts of "Seinfeld" and "Mad about You"], wherein the most strenuous thing he generally has to do is walk across the room and look smug, David Duchovny is certainly worth 100 grand for the extremely heavy lifting he has to do on The X-Files; but if that's the case, then Ms. Anderson is worth it, too. It would be nice if we would consider teachers and child caregivers and social workers worth that much, but I'd better not go any further with that thought unless I'm prepared to go out and start setting fires. Did you see or hear Gillian Anderson's personal definition of power in the Entertainment Weekly issue on Power in Hollywood? She said, "What it does mean is to have a name and money, and what it should mean is to be creative and honest and a risk taker." 'Nuff said.
I've read that Mr. Duchovny thinks nostalgically of his Yale days, and even talks about going back to Grad School. This is a joke, right? Don't do it, David, don't do it! Your first answer was the right one, just like on the SAT! Besides, there would be so many people wanting to sleep with Mulder that he'd never get any work done. Believe me, if the rest of us intellectual schnooks had the talent and the savvy to do what he's done, $100,000 a week wouldn't sound like a contradiction of the laws of physics. You're a star, David! You're good at it! Make it work for you!
We all mourn the departure of Darin Morgan from the show. He brought something very special to the mix, as I'm sure you're well aware. I hope you'll find some other means of shaking out the kinks (or in the kinks, depending on how you look at it) in his absence.
Well, there you have it. I don't know if I'll write you again; it seems to me that you hardly need my input when you know your job so well. I fear I'm only repeating myself, anyway. I might as well just send you a telegram every few weeks: "More Scully [stop] Think Feminist [stop] Mulder's self-involvement and disregard for his partner's contributions are really annoying me [stop]" Besides, I'm really truly going to be doing my research now [ha! didn't happen], and I'll be writing dissertation chapters, not dissections of your work. I'll leave you with one possibly final thought/request: pleasepleaseplease let Scully be right about a case, and Mulder wrong, and let him acknowledge it graciously. Thank you.
All of you are brilliant: we owe you more than we can say for all your skill and hard work. It's been fun, Bob. All the best.
Yours (and you know I mean that),
One good thing about all this: perhaps one day I'll be able to sell his letters to me on eBay or something, and ease my retirement. Ya think?
E-mail author about these letters
Back to Abbie's X-Files Fanfic home
Back to Abbie's Vanity Page home