WHY BASEBALL OF COURSE.
Leading in to one of the 'Shipping-est episodes of the X-Files roster, Season Six's The Unnatural:
|So, what's the rule about third base again...?|
...ahem. There is a survey that follows.
1) The place: Roswell. The time: July 2, 1947. There's a bright light in the distance. As the camera swings about, you realize:
A) A weather balloon carrying crash-test dummies can give off quite a natural glow, ya?
B) That in 1947, events were set in motion leading up to the creation of a hybrid mix of X-Files and Dawson's Creek forging a t.v. show to be broadcast on the Dubya-Bee in 1999!
C) That it's too soon! Dana and Fox aren't even born yet, so there's no UST to whine aboot! Noooo...:-(
2) Whoops, instead of a UFO crashing in the New Mexico desert, it's a baseball game (?!) As the near-sighted pitcher keeps abusing a poor defenseless cactus with his lousy knuckleball, you:
A) Loudly announce you don't believe in the existence of knuckleballs...after all the aerodynamics of that supposed pitch can't be proven in the realm of physics!
B) Turn to your grandfather and ask, "Pops, did you have baseball back in those days?" And he'll answer, "Sure, but in my day we had to play with pumpkins...while swinging a mackerel...in ten feet of snow...uphill...both ways!..."
C) Wonder if this will be another time-travel episode, where Dana goes back in time and runs into a 1947 version of Fox and gets a chance to kiss him! (hopeful sigh)
3) A Negro League team is playing a white team in the desert, where a black player named Exley is talked about as the next black in the major leagues. After Exley hits his 61 home run, everyone celebrates...until the Klu Klux Klan rides in threatening to lynch him. The white pitcher, however, finally gets his swerve on and nails the Klan leader with a beaner. The players turn the tables and the white manager confronts the shaken Klansman. When he removes the white hood, you expect to see:
A) Pat Buchanan
B) Pat Buchanan
C) Well, since this is the X-Files, you usually get alien grey, but considering it's a doofus wearing a pillow sheet over his head, you finally answer with Pat Buchanan (Writer mumbles, "He makes me ashamed to be a registered Republican...") (note: as of 2002 I quit the party, because the SOBs quit on us)
NOTE: The tag line is "In the Big Inning." O-ho. He-he. I fear I breathe my last. Etc.
4) The time shifts to the present day. Spring is in the air, and Scully is on t.v. providing coverage of the Dodgers. No, that's *Vin* Scully. Poor Dana Scully is in the basement of the Hoover Building lugging about books that are twice the size she is. After dropping the books off on someone's desk (you can take a guess whose), she looks out a window and complains that on a day like today, they should be outside getting a life instead of inside reading old newspapers. When Mulder replies, "I have seen the life on this planet, Scully, and that is exactly why I am looking elsewhere," you reply:
A) "Look, you sad Punk, you may not a have a life, but you shouldn't be dragging the Blessed One down with you into your own personal Hell! (trout-slap)"
B) "Oh, like the Oum-Galgi of Pentax Omega are a barrel of laughs to be with!"
C) "No! Don't look elsewhere, Fox! Look right next to you! Take Dana out to a picnic! (sigh)"
5) Scully sighs and pulls out her snack for the day. Mulder takes notice, and wonders if she brought ice cream for everyone. Scully grins and answers, "It's not ice cream. It's a nonfat tofutti rice dreamsicle." To which you answer:
A) "Hey! Whatever happened to cookie dough ice cream?!"
B) "What? A nonfat tofutti rice...uh-oh. No human could ever eat something like that! She's a clone! She's a clone! RUN!"
C) "Oh, c'mon, Dana, you can share! Just lean in and wave it temptingly in front of F...the dreamsicle. Wave the dreamsicle!"
6) This leads to a scene where Mulder and Scully toss cliches at one another. You:
A) Toss your Punk voodoo doll
B) Toss your cookies
C) Toss aside all preconceptions of the UST. This is serious flirting, boys and girls! Woo-hoo!!!
7) Mulder jumps up and wrestles with Scully for her...her...non-ice-cream thingee. You note:
A) That the Punk, as always, is being a selfish, childish Punk! Trout-slap him, Scully!
B) That no sane man would fight for a nonfat ANYthing! He's a shape-shifting alien! RUN!
C) That they'll spill the nonfat tofutti rice dreamsicle all over each other, meaning they'll have to lick it off one another, leading up to...YES! YES! YES!
8) Mulder has lousy aim and the nonfat thingee spills on the book instead of his partner ('Shippers everywhere are screaming "Aw, NUTS!"). Scully looks down to see that Mulder has been, instead of looking for UFOs, looking at RBIs. Scully, for some reason, cannot comprehend anyone's interest in baseball, but you, for some reason, cannot comprehend that:
A) The Blessed One would give up her Saturdays to help the Punk work on his fantasy baseball league! Like he ever helps Scully on her fantasy football league! (mutter grumble)
B) They would have newspaper clippings from 1947 devoted entirely on baseball when there were more important things to write about, like alien invasions and liver-eating mutants!
C) Dana and Fox aren't tipping those books off the desk and using it for a quickie! Aw, c'mon, you two! Nobody's watching!... (sigh)
9) Mulder suddenly spots a photo clipping of a young Arthur Dales talking to a black baseball player while an eeriely familiar face is in the distance... Faking a sneeze, he tears the page out of the book (the writer of this survey, being a librarian, screams a blood-curdling scream of utter horror and disgust. NO YOU SICK BASTID! YOU STOLE A PAGE FROM A LIBRARY BOOK! DIE YOU MUTANT PIGDOG DIE!) and runs off without telling Scully where he's going. As she mutters "Rebel" after him, you answer:
A) "Rebel? You want rebel? Go watch a James Dean flick! Mulder's a page-stealing Punk who's ditching you AGAIN! But quick, knock his nameplate off the desk and claim it as your own! That ought to teach him!"
B) "DAMN YOU MULDER! YOU RUINED A LIBRARY BOOK! DIE DIE DIE!!!"
C) "Ack! Fox! You forgot your manners and didn't kiss Dana good-bye before running off! No wonder you two haven't made out yet!..."
Okay, Chris Carter, David Duchovny, any and all lawyers representing all sides in this matter, as a librarian I am making a formal protest against your defilement of library property, namely Mulder's unnecessary tearing out of a page when all he had to do was make a photocopy of it. By his actions, he will influence others to deface library materials which will hinder other library patrons needing such resources for legitimate research needs. I request that a formal apology be given to the American Library Association, and that further broadcasts of this episode come with a disclaimer reminding people not to destroy library books. I await your reply. (note: more than ten years later, I have yet to receive a reply. I haven't forgotten this, DUCHOVNY. YOUR SINS HAUNT YOU...)
10) Mulder races off to find Arthur Dales, returning to the set used for that horrendous non-Scully episode Travelers. Expecting Darren McGavin to answer, instead we get esteemed character actor M. Emmet Walsh answering as Arthur Dales. He explains that he and the retired FBI agent are brothers whose parents never got a baby name book, hence the fact that the two boys, their sister, and the pet goldfish were all named "Arthur." You realize:
A) That having a unique name like "Fox" is actually a blessing. The Punk should feel grateful...
B) That vanity plates for this family is a moot issue
C) That conversations must have been like this: "Arthur? Did you feed Arthur?" "Don't look at me. Ask Arthur." "Arthur! It's your turn to clean Arthur's castle!" Etc. etc. (insert scream of the damned here)
11) Mulder and Arthur Deuce discuss that which really matters: collecting Star Wars action-figures. Well, they should. Instead, they talk baseball, leading up to Arthur's question if Mulder believed love can change a man. Mulder answers that, you know, when you meet that special redhead and all... Arthur Deuce retorts, "I'm not talking about women. I'm talking about love. Passion. Like the passion you have for proving extra-terrestrial life. Do you believe that passion can change your very nature? Can make you shape-shift from a man into something other than a man?" You take these rhetorical questions and:
A) Realize these are more philosophical in bent, and do not require answers in a scientific, rational manner
B) Ask your own rhetorical question involving woodchucks, wood, and the act of chucking
C) Answer "Damn right love can change a man! But Fox, dammit, you've got to let Dana change you! Let her heal your soul! Let her mend your heart! Let her operate on that ingrown toenail you call your love life!" (romantic sigh)
12) Arthur Deuce begins his tale (once Mulder pays the nice man with the hat) of working as a policeman in Roswell, looking to protect a Negro League star player, Josh Exley, whom the racial extremists have targeted to keep Blacks out of Major League Baseball. Riding the bus with the team, he spots a reflection of Exley just as lightning strikes in the distance, revealing the face of an alien grey. Mulder can't believe a baseball player was an alien. Arthur Deuce notes that all the great players were aliens. You note:
A) see B)
B) see C)
C) That it makes absolutely perfect bloody sense! How else can you explain Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa?!?! (note: in hindsight, this was not that funny...)
13) Continuing his story, Arthur Deuce describes one day where he spies two burly white men plotting something insidious. He jumps on Exley to protect him, but he notices the two whites were just aiming water pistols at an unsuspecting matron of the fine art of hardball. (Hey, reading George Will *does* come in handy!) Arthur Deuce tries to explain away his actions by claiming he was knocking away some giant bee. You answer:
A) "Damn bee!"
B) "Damn bee!"
C) "Damn Slashers, uh, I mean Damn bee!"
14) After a beanball nails Ex on the head, Arthur Deuce hears him talk gibberish and spies green acidic goo on a glove. He turns the glove over to a skeptical non-redheaded scientist and talks with a police officer from Exley's supposed hometown. When we see the police officer is really the Alien Bounty Hunter, we realize:
A) That this guy looks like one of the punks who hassled Arnold in the Terminator movie back in 1984! Hey, didn't he get his heart ripped out?...
B) That the Alien Bounty Hunter must not be paid well by the Syndicate since he seems to have a second job and all...
C) That a show without Dana is a show without a resolution to all this sexual tension! Bring back the redhead!
15) Later that night, Arthur Deuce hears a noise in Exley's room. Quietly picking the lock, he sneaks into Josh's darkened room and turns on the light to see...an alien grey working on his hitting stance. The grey screams. Arthur screams. The grey screams back. Arthur screams and faints. You:
A) Turn to the two robotic friends sitting next to you on the sofa and say, "Girly scream, Tom, girly scream, Crow."**
B) Scream because someone spilled nonfat tofutti...what do you mean, you're sitting there by yourself?! Then who...? Oh...no... (Scream)
C) Cry (not scream) because Dana and Fox haven't held hands yet and the episode is half-way finished! (weep) (wail)
**This was gleaned from an MSTied version of "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" written by Robert Coakley (I had helped a little on that one). He used to have a web site containing a lot of the Season Three episodes that were MSTied by him, but it's gone now. :-(
16) Ex does what he can to wake Arthur Deuce, who keeps fainting. Finally, he stays conscious long enough to ask Exley if this is what he really looks like. Exley tries to prove he's a shape-shifter by turning into a sexy blonde. As she (?) slides into the lap of an increasingly uncomfortable Arthur, you shout at the screen:
A) "Damn blonde!"
B) "Damn Yankees!"
C) "Damn Slashers, uh, I mean Damn bee!"
17) Exley explains to Arthur Deuce how he fell in love with baseball, and fled from his "people" so he could play the game, which to aliens seem incomprehensible. As they get off the bus, Ex spots the Alien Bounty Hunter and realizes the gig is up. The scientist who tested the green goo for Arthur Deuce finds it's of an unearthly origin, but then "Exley" shows up and kills the scientist, quickly flashing the face of the Bounty Hunter. Arthur goes to warn Ex he had been framed, but Exley says he's leaving and going back to his community. Arthur tries to talk him out of it with cliches about teamwork and all, while Exley bounces back a few cliches of his own. You:
A) Ponder out loud, "What is it with sports and lame cliches?"
B) Respond to the OBSSE acolyte sitting next to you with a "Remember Bull Durham? It's like Crash says, you gotta know your cliches, they're your friends. Repeat after me: 'I'm just here to help the ball club...'"
C) Sigh, "When are Dana and Fox gonna do it?" (Writer notes this is the point where the other two X-Philers stop talking about Kevin Costner movies and start slapping you with their trouts)
18) The show repeats the opening scene in the desert. When the hood comes off to show the dizzy grey alien blinking, most everybody runs off. The grey stands and reverts to the face of the Bounty Hunter, who is disappointed more than angered over Exley's recklessness doing something as worthless as "a game." He prepares to execute Ex for his sins, demanding the ball player show "his true face." Exley replies that it is his face, so the grey executioner accepts this and proceeds to shove that pointed stick in Exley's neck. Arthur Deuce shows up too late and witnesses the execution. When he cradles Exley in his arms, finding red blood instead of green (signifying Exley's transformation into a human being), you realize:
A) That this cannot be counted as a miracle since the Blessed Redhead is nowhere in sight!
B) That the good news is Exley is dying a man, but the bad news...well...
C) That humming "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" at this moment is going to get you another trout-slap from your fellow Philes!
19) After a showy overblown shot of the aged Arthur Dales pining for an absent friend (okay, David, you know how to direct. Thank you for pointing that out...), the scene shifts to a ballpark at night. Scully FINALLY shows up (after suffering 40 minutes of withdrawal) to find Mulder working on his batting swing. One thought sticks to your brain cells:
A) When Gillian directs her own X-Files episode, she's gonna keep it simple and sweet, not showy like the Pu...uh, David's work. Whoops, gotta keep the actors and the characters as separate entities in my...screw it! Gillian IS Scully! David IS Mulder! Gizzie IS that third extra on the left holding a hot dog!...
B) Hey! Whatever happened to the goldfish?!
C) Ooh! A moonlit night! In an open field! They're going to...aw, nuts, there's that kid working the pitching machine! Damn it all!
20) Mulder offers to teach Scully how to swing the bat. She stands at the plate while Mulder hovers right behind her (WHOA), wrapping his arms around to help Scully hold the bat (GASP), occasionally dropping a hand to her thighs (JAW DROP) to guide her hips (YOWZA) as she masters her swing (pant pant). When she tells him, "Shut up, Mulder, I'm playing baseball," you conclude this episode:
A) With a hale and hearty cheer for Scully as she hits those dingers like she was Mark McGwire (note: in hindsight, not an apt comparison...)
B) With a puzzled, "No, really, what happened to the goldfish?"
C) With the sudden and permanent tossing out of your Bull Durham tape. Screw that, you've got *this* episode to keep your erotic baseball desires going for the rest of your life! (orgasmic grin)
If you more often than not answered:
A) Then you are an OBSSE member who hits .275 lifetime, has a .993 fielding percentage, and two Golden Gloves in your brilliant hardball career
B) Then you are an X-Phile with a 1.87 ERA, averaging 8.3 strikeouts a game and a winning average of 20 games a season
C) Then you are a 'Shipper who has never hit a home run...(depressing sigh)...but you get the feeling Dana and Fox will (figuratively speaking) once the kid leaves! (orgasmic sigh)