So, apparently today is the 20th Anniversary of the premiere of X-Files. Which means I have many feels. And apart from feeling old, I’m feeling nostalgic because this show was really my first fandom.
Technically, I shouldn’t really celebrate MY anniversary of the show until April 22 of 2014 because the first episode I ever saw was “Tooms“. I remember it well. I was home with my little brother, babysitting while my parents were out running errands or some such. We were both enjoying The Adventure of Brisco County Jr and we knew that the show after it was supposed to be really scary. Vincent was sitting next to me as the credits rolled for Brisco and we both made an unspoken agreement to see what the scary show was like. I remember sitting on the couch, both of us sorta bracing ourselves. The show appeared to be starting…the little FOX logo had popped up in the corner. It was really dark…I pressed the volume button up a few notches but didn’t really hear anything…it appeared to be some kind of hallway, maybe a prison…volume up a little more…then SCARY EYES!!!!!!!!!! And, BLARING OUT OF THE SPEAKERS CAME:
I screamed, pressed the volume button down as quickly as I could…but it was too late. I was hooked.
I spent the rest of the summer, tuning in every Friday night. I learned how to program the VHS player to record episodes when I wasn’t home and soon mastered the art of recording on SLP mode, editing out commercials, getting 7 episdoes on a 6 hour VHS. I even transferred the Pilot and E.B.E. to cassette and listened to them on my walkman while sitting in the backyard and with my walkman on the school bus in the morning and they were soon committed to memory.
Yeah, I was hardcore.
Soon, I was on the Prodigy message boards, reading tame fanfic (like reworkings of the Cinderella story with Scully as the heroine) and finding early filk lyrics. I had a poster of David Duchovny on the wall and I printed out DDEB (David Duchovny Estrogen Brigade) cards to carry in my tween wallet. I even wrote a script, my own fanfic, which I passed around to my 8th grade class, getting feedback. Everyone knew it was my show, they knew trying to contact me on a Friday after 9pm was hopeless. I signed up for an unofficial fan club when the show was truly just a cult show, getting a photocopied ‘zine sent to my house every few months (whenever the person in charge had time to get it all together).
I wrote fan mail to the actors and got my first autograph + photo back. Not sure if pen ever actually met paper, but it was a big step for me. Later on I wrote a letter to the composer, Mark Snow, asking him about how one would play the song on a flute (my high school instrument) and he actually sent me back some sheet music, which he autographed for me. My fangirl heart new the rush of getting that personalized autograph – life would never be the same!
And should I even mention the story where I managed to track down the copy of Playgirl that had the interview with David Duchovny? I’m sure the person I was talking with on the online forum didn’t realize how young I was, but I needed that magazine. When it arrived for me (thank god my Mom didn’t go through my mail, not sure what would have happened then!) I was SO EMBARRASSED, I closed my eyes, ripped out the pages I needed and GLUED THEM TO CONSTRUCTION PAPER! I didn’t want to see the random naked men, I just wanted to read about Dreamy David.
Like all good fandoms, it helped me make new friend, particularly bittertwee. She was already a family friend, but the show made the two of us become life long pals and to this day we still bitch about the show and then wax nostalgic about the characters and plots. And, yes, we even went to see the second movie, which was laughably bad but at least we were together.
Yes, eventually X-Files let me down. Carter never seemed to have a plan for where it was all going and the explanation of the conspiracy never came. He promised that all the questions would be answered in the movie but instead decided to drag the show out until Duchovny left and even dared to continue after Anderson was done with her role. MISTAKE!
I had left long before that, the episode with the “Butt Genie” pushed me over the edge and soon I found myself in the comforting arms of Joss Whedon and that long term relationship. But X-Files will always be my first. I look back on it with mixed emotions. I’m always surprised when I see younger users on tumblr reblogging posts, but I guess Mulder/Scully was the original ‘ship (even though I NEVER shipped them. never EVER). I’m still a little bitter about it all – when you devote that much time to a fandom, it’s hard not to feel hurt when it ends poorly. But it was one of the first. It was the first show to really deal with The Internet and probably the most involved I have ever been with a single fandom.
Happy Anniversary X-Files.
I want to believe.
Trust No One.
Believe the Lie.
This is all your fault.