The X-Files: The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat
January 24, 2018 10:40 PM - Season 11, Episode 4 - Subscribe

While exploring the idea of the Mandela Effect, in which groups of people remember an alternate history, Mulder and Scully discover how the X-Files may have originated.
posted by potrzebie (34 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
X Files does a Dan Harmon fake memories episode! I loved this. I especially love that decades from now I'll probably get bits of it mixed up with bits of Jose Chung's From Outer Space, and that was definitely intentional.

I have a lot more to say about it but I have to mull for a minute. Like JCFOS, it's making me think pretty big thoughts about this stupid, wonderful show.
posted by potrzebie at 10:54 PM on January 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm still stuck at "what the shit did I just watch?" I mean, in the best possible way, but still.
posted by soren_lorensen at 3:42 AM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Another great Darin Morgan episode. I keep chuckling at the "hundreds of millions" at the inauguration, the alien on the scooter, and that they brought back Bill Dow (Chuck Burks) to impale him with a lawn dart.
posted by AndrewInDC at 5:47 AM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


This was one for the ages. An absolute classic.
posted by Catblack at 5:59 AM on January 25, 2018


Or maybe we entered a parallel universe where The X-Files never had that tragic prior season.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:16 AM on January 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


My family had those lawn darts! Or maybe I just think we did.;)

The Cheeto potshots are a lot of fun.
posted by orange swan at 7:26 AM on January 25, 2018


My dad had those lawn darts as a kid and he and his siblings called them "lethal lawn darts". With good reason, apparently.
posted by potrzebie at 7:58 AM on January 25, 2018


Fun facts: apparently Foxy went to Vancouver to visit with Dr. They, because that's where the A-maze-ing Laughter statues live.

"Soy Bomb" definitely happened, the Eels did release a song called "Whatever Happened to Soy Bomb?" (YT audio, lyrics), and Mark Oliver Everett, the lead singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist and sometime drummer of the rock band Eels, is the son of physicist Hugh Everett III, originator of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory.

Also, I LOVED Brian Huskey as Reggie Something* / Murgatroid** and I was hoping for a People of Earth cross-over. I really realize now that the guest actors are the ones who make or break an episode of Monster/Mystery of the Week episodes.

* ESPECIALLY the flashbacks with him edited in, but at his current age, next to the oh-so-young (!!!) Foxy and Skulls (!!!)
** Which I thought was said by The Great Gazoo, but that's the wrong Hanna-Barberra character; and apparently Snagglepuss was the first to say Heavens to Murgatroyd.

Though I also want to say that in this and the prior episode, it really looked like Gillian and David are having a lot of fun. Particularly David in this episode, who got to go squatchin' and recount the time he found a footprint, 35 years ago, on the banks of the mighty Mogoagogo River. And he got to throw a fit about getting the answer to everything in a concise book, from an alien who had the most ridiculous methods for travel. (But at least aliens are safety-conscious, as seen in the red railing of a decent height.)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:25 AM on January 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


potrzebie: My dad had those lawn darts as a kid and he and his siblings called them "lethal lawn darts". With good reason, apparently.

I'm guessing you're referencing this episode, but lawn darts were a really bad idea, especially for kids:
Over a period of eight years, lawn darts had sent 6,100 people to the emergency room. 81% of those cases involved children 15 or younger, and half of those were 10 or younger. The majority of injuries were to the head, face, eyes or ears, and many had led to permanent injury or disability.
~Mentalfloss: How one dad got lawn darts banned
posted by filthy light thief at 8:27 AM on January 25, 2018


There was quite some hype about this episode, and ooooh boooye, did it deliver.

Still undecided if if I liked more Reggie's x-files flashback, or his actual (?) jobs montage.
posted by lmfsilva at 9:16 AM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ooh, yeah, and Reggie about to mention which company uses the mengele effect to suppress bad products and the video skips over the name.
posted by lmfsilva at 9:33 AM on January 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


Yes that video-skip gag was pitch perfect.
posted by potrzebie at 9:40 AM on January 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


I already loved the always-the-same-cubicle gag, but the casual waterboarding while waving to a coworker killed me.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:04 PM on January 25, 2018


I loved it.

Except for that terrifying Baby Mulder, which made me glad that I watched this episode sober.
posted by Elly Vortex at 3:15 PM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I am not a Darrin Morgan fangirl. He's written a couple of good episodes but he's also written some of the ones I found unbearably self-indulgent and smirky. I feel like he can do very well when he bothers to color inside the show's lines and makes something with some soul and some laughs without turning the whole thing into a meta self-parody. (I feel like he never got better than Humbug.) But when he goes into full quirkfest jerk-off mode I just can't stand it. With this one I rolled my eyes a few times at too-cute stuff like kid Mulder having fifty-something Mulder's head, but overall I thought it worked fine.

While it was the kind of in-jokey smirk-n-quirk that usually annoys me in Morgan's scripts, I took some delight in the reference to the Mogoagogo River. I saw Hitchcock's Spellbound years ago, and there's this weird scene where Gregory Peck jokingly diagnoses Ingrid Berman with "mogo on the go go" and she laughs like she knows what the hell he's talking about. Since then I've often diagnosed my girlfriend with "mogo on the go go" when she's being annoying in a cute way, and eventually I got curious enough to do some Googling and discovered it was a phrase with a long, tangled and very goofy history. So it's been this little thing in my life for years, and hearing Fox Mulder say it out of nowhere was a weird thrill.

What was the deal with the two younger agents telling Mulder he'd become part of the deep state? I felt like I was missing something there. They weren't from the institution, apparently.

A little mindfuck for my fellow olds: Dr. They was Angel from The Rockford Files. Yep.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:21 PM on January 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


Finally.

I approved of this episode.
posted by biscotti at 4:57 PM on January 25, 2018


Not just one my favorite episode of the season, but one of my favorite episodes of the series. I appreciate it when the X-Files grapples with what the show means in the current day, and Dr. They’s explanation that seeking and exposing the truth is a mugs game now because no one gives a shit about the truth was deeply cutting. Couple that with Scully’s decision not to eat the Goop-O because she’s rather keep the memories from her youth, and it’s almost like Darin Morgan is declaring that this reboot was a bad idea, even as he delivers its best examples.

There was too much great stuff to enumerate, but one of my favorite bits of any Darin Morgan episode is the repeated phrases: everyone saying “Wait, what?” at some point, and Mulder, Scully, and Reggie each getting to say “look like your ride is here.”
posted by ejs at 6:36 PM on January 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


Such a sad end for Reggie, but I'm glad they tied up his story arc rather than leave us hanging after all this time. Gotta go; looks like my ride is here.
posted by Servo5678 at 4:55 AM on January 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


Wonderful episode, and I have to thank it for putting "Squatchin'" squarely in the household lexicon.
posted by mrgoat at 6:39 AM on January 26, 2018


watched this with mr supermedusa last night. he was never a fan back in the day so he really didnt get the over-the-top silliness of this episode, or that its part of the canon. I found it delightful and much more fun than the tired conspiracy-of-the-ages stuff...
posted by supermedusa at 9:08 AM on January 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


I am not a Darrin Morgan fangirl. He's written a couple of good episodes but he's also written some of the ones I found unbearably self-indulgent and smirky.

I kind of agree? I mean, his original X-Files scripts struck me as someone who was both actively interested in playing around with the structure and expectations of television while at the same trying to passively destroy The X-Files and also he hated Mulder. This one, though? I don't know. It lost me, somehow. It felt like he was saying "why the fuck are you bringing The X-Files back? I mean, I'll take the check, but I'm going to fucking destroy your show"
posted by Automocar at 11:53 AM on January 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


This was Darrin Morgan alright. I haven’t watched any X-files since some time late in the original run (S7 maybe?), but I jumped on this episode. I thought it was fun in parts while also skewering the idea of the xfiles in this year of 2018.

That sculpture park is fucking amazing.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:41 AM on January 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


That sculpture park is fucking amazing.

If you ever visit Vancouver, it's in a lovely neighbourhood; lots of restaurants English Bay (a beach) is across the street from it.
posted by porpoise at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2018


I haven't been in Vancouver in about 16 years, unfortunately. I'm pleased to see y'all got weirder while I've been away.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:32 PM on January 27, 2018


DO YOU EVEN KNOW ME

(sorry I just watched)
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:13 AM on January 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


Ages ago, during the X-Files' network run, I used to joke with my roommate that in between cases, Mulder would get all into his own status as a notorious weirdo and freak out in restaurants and the like, screaming "Do you know who I am?" Glad to see an obscure bit of my personal head canon on the show.

I loved this episode. It was like a concentrated distillation of Jose Chung, which is my favorite episode of all time. And like all great humor, concealed within was the nasty truth that we live in a time of weaponized relativism amid the ruins of consensual reality. In a way, the episode acknowledges that in our times, Mulder's quest for "truth" is considered no longer relevant or necessary.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:18 AM on January 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I used to joke with my roommate that in between cases, Mulder would get all into his own status as a notorious weirdo and freak out in restaurants and the like, screaming "Do you know who I am?"

EFF.
BEE.
EYE.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:21 PM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


So glad to hear this show has improved after the utterly dire first episode of the season.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:53 PM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, I LOVED Brian Huskey as Reggie Something* / Murgatroid** and I was hoping for a People of Earth cross-over. I really realize now that the guest actors are the ones who make or break an episode of Monster/Mystery of the Week episodes.

I watched the last three out of order as it took Darin Morgan to get me back in after the first episode. Reggie was in the download/scan of the X-Files Mulder and Scully searched through at Skinner's home, which really helped nail the last scene of this episode.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:14 AM on February 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


Also, who did the psychic voices of the aliens? That wasn't Art Bell, was it?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:45 PM on February 1, 2018


Just checking - was the alien saying "bing bing bong bong bing" a Trump thing?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:57 AM on February 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Spotnitz Sanatorium on the ambulance taking Reggie away!
posted by sldownard at 11:35 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Just checking - was the alien saying "bing bing bong bong bing" a Trump thing?

Yes.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:44 PM on February 4, 2018


I put off watching any of the episodes from this season because I was so disappointed by last season. My sister casually mentioned that she thought I'd like these better, and now I'm wishing I'd watched them as they aired.

Because I'm a schmoopy shipper, I liked Plus One, but this was wonderful. There were so many lines of wackiness, and Scully driving made me grin. But I kind of liked Skinner's "Where are they taking Reggie?" the best.

How did I not recognize Stuart Margolin? X-Files/Rockford Files connection is nifty. Mulder would appreciate that.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 11:01 PM on February 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


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