Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A "STANDOFF" WITH MULDER & SCULLY

When the FBI was interviewing a guy named Neil about the possibility that he might be a stalker, Neil looked at the one-way mirror and wondered if Mulder and Scully were behind the glass.

This is the second time in less than a week that Mulder and Scully were cited by characters in other TV shows. (See my take on the 'Las Vegas' reference.)

I think I made a reasonable argument for Delinda DeLine having known Dana Scully. But I don't get think there's any way for this guy Neil to have known either one of the two FBI agents. But he talked about Mulder and Scully as though he knew Agent Matt Flannery would know of them.

This could seem obvious, since Flannery was an FBI agent and Mulder and Scully used to be. But how many agents are there across the country? They can't possibly all know each other.

But Scully and Mulder had extraordinary reputations within the Bureau, so it's likely that Flannery knew of the two.

However, that still doesn't splain how Neil knew about them as well.

'The X-Files' went off the air in 2002, Scully and Mulder were on the run from the shadow government that really runs the show. Since then, who knows what's happened to them?

It could be that they were involved in an adventure that made the news all across the country; their names splashed across headline that even Neil would have noticed.

It didn't have to be something we in the Trueniverse would ever find out about. We'd have to depend upon it being mentioned in some other show, since their adventures as seen in 'The X-Files' are no longer broadcast. And even if it was the most earth-shattering of news stories to come along in Toobworld since the Canamids tried to make hummus out of humans, that doesn't mean it would have to be the topic of conversation among other TV characters.

There is precedence for this in Toobworld. The 1990s passed without any mention of the Eugenics Wars in any TV show except for those in the 'Star Trek' franchise. (Although they may have been mentioned by the equivalent here in the Real World, ethnic cleansing.)

And the televersions of Real World events also get the "benign neglect" treatment as well. This may seem unlikely in these days when almost every drama series on the air (and even some sitcoms) has made some kind of connection to the attacks of 9/11 (except for '100 Centre Street', strangely enough which was located just around the corner from "Ground Zero"). But there was a time when the biggest news stories of the day were invisible in Toobworld.

Even something that had as much impact on everybody's lives as Viet Nam here in our world was barely mentioned in the TV Universe. A few dramas, once the age of relevance set in (1969-71), dealt with the topic if it had some connection to their basic theme ('The Mod Squad', 'Then Came Bronson', surprisingly, one of the early episodes of 'The Twilight Zone'). But were there ever any kids from Mayberry drafted and shipped off to war? Certainly not Gomer Pyle, and he was in the Marine Corps. (For that matter, did the civil rights movement ever come to Mayberry?)

But for the most part, the Viet Nam war had no place in America's living rooms except during the dinnertime news.

So Mulder and Scully could have been involved in foiling the assassination of President Bush live on TV, and that doesn't mean it would get mentioned by the gang in 'The Office' of Dunder-Mifflin in Scranton, Pa.

So let's say there was a big story that made Mulder and Scully famous to the common man, where might it have been reported where Neil knew of it, but there was no way we could have learned of it.

Here are three options:

The best possible source would be the local papers, and since Neil lived in Los Angeles, that would mean the Trib. Even if 'Lou Grant' was no longer working at the L.A. Tribune, and Mrs. Pynchon and Charlie Hume more than likely have passed away, the paper would still be publishing.

The weekly TV news "magazine" show 'FYI', on which 'Murphy Brown' was the anchor, would have broadcast the story nationally. Neil could have seen mention of Mulder and Scully on that.

And although we hardly see anything of the comedy bits on 'Studio 60' (thankfully!), they may have done a sketch on whatever the two agents were involved in. At least it would have been good for a few jokes on the "News60" segment with Simon and Harriet. (Unlike the other examples where it would have occurred after their cancellations, it probably happened on a segment of the show before its parent show - also called 'Studio 60' - even debuted.)

A lot of blather over just a throwaway line, isn't it? Oh well. Just wanted to make sure that any future references to Mulder and Scully can be splained away.

BCnU!
Tele-Toby

"I just love Television so very much."
Kenneth the Page
'30 Rock'

2 comments:

Brent McKee said...

AHA, you mentioned the LA Tribune, which gives me the opportunity to mention Numb3rs. In one of last season's episodes the body of several young Chinese women washed ashore on a California beach. Among them was a young woman who had some markings tatooed on her leg which turned out to be symbols from the I Ching which led the FBI to discover a phone number. Turns out that the woman was a reporter working on a story about smuggling of young Chinese women into the country as sex workers, and the phone number was that of a colleague at the LA Tribune.

Toby said...

Bless you, Brent!

This makes four shows connected to the Trib:

'Lou Grant'
'Burke's Law II'
'Lookwell' (okay, just a pilot, but it aired....)
and now....
'Numb3rs'

That even brings the show into the Westphallian version of the TV Universe.