(art by Aireen Arellano - to view larger version, click here)
SHOW: The X-Files
FIRST AIRED: May 04, 1997
In nine years of ghosts, monsters, beasts, aliens, and vampires (one of whom bore a striking resemblance to Ham), Fox Mulder himself remained the most improbable X-File. Prone to absurd leaps of logic yet always right, he somehow remained employed at the FBI despite spending our hard-earned tax dollars chasing bumps in the night.
As the supposed central figure of The X-Files, he fulfilled every mythological definition of hero, man on a quest, man vs. the system, man vs. the world, man vs. himself. He’s everything taught in a high school English class. But while the show’s writers insisted on casting Mulder as a Christ figure (no, seriously), as his partner, Scully traversed a journey more human and humane. “Elegy,” Season Four’s exploration of the most funereal aspects of Scully’s inner workings, demonstrates that while Mulder reflected our primal desires for possibility, ideals, and untainted hope, Scully bore the burden of reality, uncertainty, and death. Mulder might have been out there, but it was Scully who contended with bleak truth.
art by Aireen Arellano (to view larger image, click here)
EPISODE: “The One with Five Steaks and an Eggplant”
FIRST AIRED: Oct. 19, 1995
Friends fans are legion and vocal, eager to belt the words to “Smelly Cat” or see if they can still name the Chandler Bing misnomer on his TV Guide subscription. But for every fan, it seems there’s someone in the vicinity just as vocal in their distaste for the sitcom, and their criticisms are many: that the show is just a parade of pretty people with problems, that it’s a paean to white middle-class heternormative homogeneity, that it’s the zenith of joke-punchline-laugh-track-gooey-sentiment hamminess, or that the characters’ lavish lifestyles are too incongruous with their purported incomes to reach any kind of authenticity. A chef and a waitress live in that Greenwich Village apartment with that wardrobe and those haircuts?!
The creative team behind Friends must have thought they were just making an entertaining show about people with charisma and chemistry, but throughout the show’s ten-year run, the six main characters became inadvertent talking points for the responsibilities of the media when it comes to stoking or abating the audience’s predilections for lifestyle wish-fulfillment. Since it’s an episode that throws focus on the characters’ jobs and incomes, “The One with Five Steaks and an Eggplant” seems poised to address the rampant criticisms regarding the show’s most improbable displays of socioeconomic delusions.