Monday, May 07, 2012

It's Sunday Night...

 Ah yes, another entry, and it's about another television show. This time, however, the love is much deeper, all-encompassing.

 It's sunday night, at the height of The Madness.

 It's gotten to the point wherein I have the tv all to myself by 9pm, and if I don't (usually due to football), there's the small one downstairs to squint at. My dad is usually watching with me at this point, especially if this is a Monster of The Week episode. He's not much of a fan of the years-long Conspiracy episodes. They're not always my favorite either, but hey, I'm involved heart and soul at this point.

 The opening teaser. The opening credits. The opening theme that still manages to make my nerves twitch and goosebump.

 The Truth is Out There.

 When most of my peers were watching Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Dawson's Creek, I discovered an entirely different love. Granted, I caught those shows sometimes too, but it wasn't James Vanderbeek who was all over my walls when I was 12 years old. It was David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, and a green rubber alien in a giant pickle jar, a masking tape letter 'X' backlit on my bedroom window.

 I was a weird kid growing up, and no mistake. I grew up enjoying a lot of things my female peers didn't, like Star Wars and Star Trek and Doctor Who reruns from the 70s on PBS. I was girly too, don't get me wrong! I loved pink and dolls and horses and dresses. But I also loved stories about magic, I loved reading The Hobbit and running around in the woods, pretending I was a warrior princess. And I loved scary things, scary stories, they were dark and mysterious and forbidden and I ate 'em up. Aliens and Trolls and Dragons and Ghosts hinted at a world more colorful and interesting than my own, just as much as the Good Faeries and Unicorns and Hobbits did.

 Thus, my weird little head was fertile ground for Chris Carter's magnum opus about FBI Agent Fox Mulder and his partner Dana Scully. Having witnessed his sister abducted from their home when he was 12, Mulder leaves a promising career as a brilliant criminal profiler, to take on the FBI's dustbin of unsolved, unexplained cases nicknamed "The X-Files". Scully is assigned to keep him in line, the logical Spock in heels to his borderline obsessive Kirk. Magic follows.

 Nowadays there's plenty of spooky, supernatural fodder on the tele. Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, True Blood. However, none of them have managed to pull off, visually, what the X-Files did, which was create an atmosphere (at least in the first 6 seasons) that got inside your head. Filmed in and around Vancouver, the episodes weren't just spooky. They were gloomy, moody, a disturbing horror landscape even in episodes with very little actual violence. You didn't want to go into the places Mulder and Scully went, even when it was a perfectly normal suburban home.

  For me, the show was Mine. Sure, my elder siblings watched and enjoyed it, but I drank it into my soul. I hung on every earnest word David Duchovny spoke as Fox Mulder, I wanted hair like Scully's and I wanted them to end up together one day. Gillian Anderson's wardrobe got sleeker, and by 13 I was emulating it, if just in my going-out clothes. 13, in suit-pieces and pumps on the weekends, all gothed out like my favorite computer hacker from the show during the week. It was something all mine, to lose myself in when life wasn't quite going the way I wanted it to.

 I have much more to thank it for, though. As I said, I was a weird kid. I had friends, but none terribly close, and few I actually shared interests with. Incredibly lonely, when I was around 13 I was allowed on our computer, with its achingly slow dial-up internet. This was 1998-99, and you had AOL or you had nothing, at 12 - 13 anyway! I discovered the AOL message boards. Then I discovered the X-Files board.

 Life = altered.

 I made friends! Friends who liked the same things I did! Who dressed like me and liked the music I did. I met my very best friend when I was 13 years old, and we are still BFFS nearly 14 years later, and still very good friends with two or three others we met on the same chat boards. We all discovered fanfiction, wrote fanfiction, all the things that came with really and truly LOVING something imaginary, for the very first time. The X-Files introduced me to my best friend, and to Fandom itself.

  Other things would follow over my teenage years. Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter and Star Wars are life-time loves. I honed my writing with silly things like fanfic, I've traveled half-way across the country to see movie premieres with good friends. I have a wealth of geek knowledge and a well-exercised imagination now, which is weaving it's own contributions to the Great Geek Canon as we speak.

 And it all began with Sunday Nights.

 A skinny girl with a hot mug of tea cross-legged on the floor next to dad's armchair, eyes glued to the screen, the mantra forever pulsing in her brain. A mantra she'd unknowingly be reciting all through her life, through every dazzling experience, in the real world and on the page, the screen, in Tokyo, Japan or in Bomoseen, Vermont.

 I Want To Believe.

  ~ Amy

Me and my brothers, Halloween.
 I forget the year, but this was um. 
A look I sported for a long time!

Me and Dena!
After our very first IRL visit, in 2004.

A Classic.


Anonymous Sarah said...

I still can't believe we met on that X-Files board, too. That's insane to me -- travel all the way around the world, meet people from your past. But I, too, owe my life to The X-Files and that AOL message board. I can trace everything to that one day I stayed home sick.

2:39 AM  
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