Monthly Archives: April 2014

Fringe

In preparation for the twentieth anniversary project of the classical documentary Fringe in however many years that’ll be from now, I watched the entire first season over the past few months with a splinter group of the XX-Philes (ROMAN NUMERALS DO YOU GET IT) namely Paul. I just blasted through the last few episodes right now while working on my fabulous Link needlepoint project that will probably go with me, unfinished, to my grave. Anyway I think a full study is in order, but for now just want to highlight how important this show is. For a documentary about a parallel universe, it’s incredible that the filmmakers managed to get in some X-Files references. I mean there’s a billion but my two favorites are first, in the season finale where they’re at the lake and the whole thing is a big homage to the X-Files pilot and how in the second season premiere there’s actually a clip of Mulder on a television screen. That’s actually how I discovered that Fringe is definitely a documentary, because how else would people depicted in Fringe be able to watch other documentaries. Duh. What illuminating evidence. What an illuminating addition to the canon.

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Synchronized Watching of Tooms!

So Amanda and Paul and I are now sync-watching “Tooms,” one of the best revisited MOTW episodes of our documentary series.

It is eerie to hear the same exact sounds coming through the phone as coming out of my television.

I am also writing a paper on the content of media piracy networks. I am watching this on Netflix though, not pirated. That is illegal.

Still, this is exciting as it is the first trans-state watching of X-files 20 years from its original air date in a while.

This episode is really a study in what happens when no one can accept the bizarre phenomena that they see before them and demand that their new and bizarre experience fit within a predefined orthodoxy of experiential reality. Summary: everyone thinks that Mulder is crazy, but he’s the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind. But we already knew that.

Happy watching. Recap to follow later this week.

PS – Is anyone else hungry for liver? Gross.

Darkness Fell

Consider this a recap, sort of.

So I wasn’t able to view “Darkness Falls” with the others this week because I was otherwise indisposed (you don’t need to know, nosey. Rude). Luckily, back in the day, when my brother and I were going to miss X-files we would program our video cassette recorder (VCR) (it’s like a DVR, but medieval) and then put in a tape cassette (I don’t even know. Some sort of recording medium. I don’t remember what they look like anymore) and then when we came home the episode would have been recorded so that we could watch it later. So this week, I had my colleagues in the north tape the X-files for me and then send it to me using the United States Postal Service (it’s like email, but SO SLOW. Like, it can take several days for me to receive something that someone else sends. BUT, you can send physical objects [future readers: I know, you 3D-print everything now. Aren’t you special. Kiss my past-ass] so it works for some stuff still). Unfortunately, I don’t have a VCR (or whatever it was called) so I just watched it on Netflix. Actually, I’m lying about this whole process (in this reality, not in an alternate one in which I am not lying). I just watched it on Netflix several days late, but that story is SO BORING. The other story was much better. I’m sorry to confuse you, though. I know we are already traveling through time (always forward, very slowly) and I apologize for introducing alternate realities as well (mostly just daft imaginings and delusions, according to this reality self). SO, if you want truth (BO-RING) then you can believe the Netflix story and if you want something way more fun, imagine Amanda trying to program a VCR and then mailing me a tape (WAY better).

Okay?

Okay.

Oh yeah. A recap of “Darkness Falls.” Sorry, I get distracted. There is so much TV to watch in so many past timelines that it is difficult to keep up with which one that I am presently actually physically in. I call this “temporal dysphoria” or “dystemporalia.” Mark your calendars (in whatever reality you like) as the day that those future words were coined. Someday they will be much more common because we will always be moving through time in multiple directions/dimensions and people will have a really terrible time integrating past-, present-, future- and alternate-reality-selves. It will be a huge new branch of psychology and psychiatry. So crack the books, kids, and become future psychotemporal therapists. Make all the money. Except that there will be no money because we will live in a socialist utopia. Or perhaps there will only be money, but it won’t matter because we will live in a dystopian, collectivist surveillance police state. Whatever, become psychologists.

And there you have it.

What? Oh yeah, the recap. I’m sorry. I get so confused.

Okay, so, “Darkness Falls.” [ALL THE SPOILERS ARE AFTER THIS] Tiny bugs. Green. Glow in the dark. Swarmy. Make webs/cocoons around people (not animals, I guess) and suck all the water out of their bodies. But only at night. During the day they are hiding under stuff. They don’t like light. Light is abhorrent to them. So anyway, Mulder and Scully manage to survive being cocooned somehow. Like usual, anyone else would die (and many do), but not our heroes. They are sort of just fine by the end, but Scully is worse, like usual. The end.

This is one of my favorite monster-of-the-week (MOTW) episodes. There is no solution. There is no explanation (not that there ever is). There are just a bunch of “Holy shit WTF?” looks exchanged at the end. I like it when they end like this.

Alright, so I have to go. I have to watch an episode of Star Trek Voyager that will have been airing five years from past now and then back to back episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel that will have been airing a year after that. We are so lucky to have all of this documentary content about the past future and the present past and also the alternate present past (sometimes).

Good luck staying out of temporal trouble. I’ll have been seeing you on Tuesday (present)/Friday (past) for “Tooms.” Cheers.

Darkness Falls

Omg (swt) you guys!!! After a long hiatus while I was in the sultanate of Oman, it’s time to return to x-files. We’re coming at you from Harvard with a small but thoroughly dedicated viewing party. Back to it!!!!!

All Shapes and Sizes

Comparative mythology is one of my favorite subjects of study and inquiry. Speculative comparative mythology, really. I mean, what about comparative mythology can be anything other than speculative. Mythology is weird. There are coincidental descriptive characteristics between all sorts of different mythological paradigms. Vampires and werewolves seem a lot like the manitou or chupacabra (we’ll get to that one later. Probably. Shh. Nevermind.) and they all act like different races of jinn. That’s my current favorite: that everything from vampires to fairies to trolls to imps to sprites to nymphs to demons to ghosts to poltergeists are all jinn. Describe something weird to me and I will probably tell you it is a jinn, sometimes facetiously (never facetiously). Summary: jinn come in all shapes and sizes. Just because one can fly and another can change its size doesn’t mean they aren’t the same. It is sort of like how some humans are good at math and others excel at swimming. We are not all the same and neither are they.

So, in case you hadn’t caught on, we are talking about “Shapes,” 19th episode of our favorite documentary series. This episode is about a manitou (a kind of a jinn, but for aboriginal Americans) which embodies and represents the ongoing struggle between native/aboriginal peoples and their white oppressors. The manitou takes possession of a human and transfigures its body to attack other humans, or maybe just to do manitou stuff, but pesky humans always get in the way. Either way, the tribe on the nearby reservation knows all about this. They totally get it. Mulder thinks it is a werewolf. He is an idiot. It is clearly a jinn. Duh. Jinn are known shape-shifters. Silly Mulder. Manitou and jinn are the SAME THING obviously. Jinn have their cosmological origins in the terrestrial fire. When they burned the body of Joseph Goodensnake, it clearly released the jinn that had possessed him. Clearly. This is obviously the case because it then went on to possess someone else, ironically the son of the man who shot its previous host. Q.E.D.

I won’t summarize further, that is what Wikipedia is for. The plot is not important here, only the lessons. Back to jinn: most of what you think about mythological creatures is colored by the bowdlerized retelling of Grimm’s fairy tales. Those are garbage. The originals are way scarier, but not anywhere near scary enough. Even the original Grimm’s tales seem like children’s stories compared to the real stuff. The real stuff will curl your hair. It will leave you laying awake at night staring at the amulets you have nailed to the walls all over your house, watching the shadows for little movements that might be the end of you, or at least your sanity.

I don’t know anyone who does that stuff in the last paragraph. But I have friends who do. Yeah. Friends. But I digress.

What I really came here to do was write about the lessons that we should take away from “Shapes.” Here they are in order of increasing profundity.

  1. Native peoples all over the world have been seriously effed over. We should really think about that. A lot.
  2. Talk to old people. They are wise. Listen to what they have to say without thinking that they are just crazy.
  3. The world is weirder than you can imagine. So take whatever you imagine the world is like and remember that it is the cube root of the actual weirdness of the world.
  4. All of those things that you previously thought were weird supernatural things are just jinn, so don’t worry about them. Or worry and fret. As you like.

Thankfully, after another week of weird skips and jumps we will be back on a weekly schedule for a five-episode streak to the end of the first season. We have some of the best “monster-of-the-week” episodes in the series coming up followed by a doozy of a season closer. So hold onto your hats, folks. Nail your amulets to the walls, recite your protective supplications and stay tuned for “Darkness Falls” on April 15.