Sunday, June 14, 2015

The X-Files: Hollywood AD 'Shipper Survey

In honor of The X-Files resuming their filming, I felt it appropriate to break out a 'Shipper Survey from Season Seven for the classic fourth-wall demolishing episode "Hollywood AD."  Lights!  Camera!  People Made Out of Turkey!  ...wait, what?

Relax, Gillian, This Wasn't As Bad As That Second Movie...

1) The episode begins with explosions, laser battles, some kid bending a spoon with his mind because he tells you "There is no spoon," and...and...<sigh>. The show begins with Garry Shandling running around thinking he's Mulder. It also has Tea Leoni thinking she's Scully. That black-lunged mackerel snapper called the Smoking Pontiff, I dunno where they got him. You're pretty sure:

A) Someone was drugged.

B) Someone lost a bet.

C) Someone needs a hug.

2) Garry/Mulder and Tea/Scully defeat the Smoking Pontiff and his zombie minions, and find themselves rolling into an open coffin which closes as they enter. They banter, make a few quips, then start making out like a drunk FBI agent and a so-called "blonde" detective during some planetary alignment. We find out we're watching a movie, and in the audience are the cast members of this travesty, as well as Minnie Driver and David Alan Grier from "Return To Me" (wonder who sent them invitations...). As the camera finally settles on the stunned faces of the REAL Mulder and Scully (well, the actor and actress who tend to play the characters on a regular basis), you determine:

A) Scully's fans are probably outside the theater, protesting the hiring of a tall, long-legged woman to play her, when Kate Winslet would have sufficed...(fume) (chant) (protest)

B) Mulder's fans are right next to the Scullyists outside, protesting the failure to hire the actor they want to play the spooky FBI agent: Eddie Deezen! (fume) (chant) (protest)

C) That somebody should tell David Duchovny that Garry Shandling is making out with David's wife Tea in a coffin. Hey, Bree Sharp would be thrilled to break the bad news to him...(wicked grin)

3) After the credits roll, we find ourselves in Skinner's office with a message informing us it's "eighteen months earlier," where the bald guy is handing over a report on a church bombing to Mulder and Scully. Meanwhile, some geek sitting on a far sofa is making notes and answering his cell phone. You notice the confused look on Moose and Squirrel's faces, and:

A) Begin to ponder the myriad and mystic aspects of our reality. In other words, you've already had two Scully-ritas too many...(hic)

B) Suddenly realize that if this is eighteen months earlier, this episode (and this survey) should be back in Season Five! Damn! Now I have to re-shuffle my 'Shipper Survey web pages! (grrr)

C) Hope this leads to a quiet moment in the hallway where Dana and Fox question their assignment, leading up to a hand-hold, some of that slow-motion stuff from all things, and another visit to Fox's bedroom...(sigh)

4) The guy on the sofa, Federman, is a writer/producer, who's an old friend of the "Skinman" from his college days. Federman's here to make a movie about the X-File cases Mulder and Scully work on: he sees it as a cross between "Silence of the Lambs Meets E.T." That look on Mulder and Scully's faces tell you:

A) They're about ready to jump out the Skinman's window. Aliens, they can deal with. Liver-eating mutants, no problem. Somebody who actually calls himself a "writer-slash-producer?" NOOOOO!

B) They're wondering about that writer/producer title: does that make Federman a hybrid? Quick, grab him! He's the clue you've been looking for!

C) They're not ready to deal with a sequel just yet. Damn bee!

5) Mulder, with Federman in tow, goes to the Catholic church where Cardinal O'Fallon, whom Scully knows as a high-ranking church official, had reported the bombing. Federman is questioning about Mulder's relationship to Scully, if she's more than just his partner. Mulder is trying to get him to shut up as they walk past a pair of nuns into the church. You:

A) Are certain that the nuns are Sis Paula and Sis Twee from the OBSSE, and they're here to help the Punk learn the fine Art of Trout-Slapping to deal with this writer-slash-producer from the sixth plane of Hell!...

B) Have this nagging suspicion that the church is three blocks away from this comic book store you know in the shopping district of Georgetown...

C) Worry that Wayne is thinking the wrong things about Dana staying back at the office to work with Walter. Trust us, the bald guy's REALLY secretly doing the Monica with his prancy secretary!...

6) Mulder is interviewing Cardinal O'Fallon about the bombing of the church's crypt. O'Fallon notes there was little of value in the crypt, merely ancient church texts and relics. O'Fallon keeps cracking quips, like owning the relic of the Bathrobe of St. Peter, which amuses Federman. Federman being amused, of course, drives Mulder to snarl, "Shut up, Wayne." You:

A) Can't picture the male members of the OBSSE wearing the kind of fancy duds the Cardinal has on! One thing about Catholics, they've got a good fashion sense...

B) Note you have holy relics of your own: the Dish That Can't Be Cleaned, the Signed Autograph of William B. Davis On a Piece of Paper, and the Unfathomable Computer of Constant Crashing!

C) Worry that there's something going on between Kelly and Sue...damn Survivor Slashers!

7) A cell phone goes off. Mulder looks ready to kill Federman, but it's not his. Mulder checks his own phone, nope. Cardinal O'Fallon checks his phone, uh-uh. They follow the sound of the beeping to a body beneath the rubble. As Mulder answers the dead guy's phone, you think he ought to answer it with:

A) "Yes? You're calling for a lifeline? Uh, I don't think so, Regis..."

B) "Mad Dog Pizza. We deliver."

C) "I'm sorry. The dead guy can't come to the phone right now. If you would like to speak to his medical examiner, please dial 1-800-FOXLOVESDANA..."

8) Scully was able to get away from the office so she could play hooky. Or was it hockey? Anyhoo, she, Mulder, and Federman head for the residence of the dead man, Micah Hoffman, a radical protestor of the 1960s who disappeared in the 1970s before making a reunion tour in the 1980s and ending up in a "Behind the Music" documentary in the 1990s. Deep breath. Mulder does his breaking-and-entering routine, which brings up a not-so-nice comment from the writer-slash-producer. Also, Scully's reply that she and Skinner just did paperwork gets an eyeroll from the hanger-on. You take this all in and:

A) Triangulate the best possible trout swing between the demonic writer-slash-producer and the moronic Punk! (slap-woosh) Damn. Missed the Punk's hair by three centimeters. Recalculating now...(slap-slap) That got it.

B) Wonder if Mulder's ever broken into the stash of Playboys you've got hidden in the safe...(check contents) Hey! The newsstand issues with Sophia Arden pics are missing! NO!

C) Sigh. Having a writer-slash-producer tag along as a chaperone to Dana and Fox can be a huge bummer. They'll never hold hands while someone's watching!...

9) Mulder, Scully and Federman find evidence that Hoffman was the mad bomber, and that Hoffman had ancient scripts of a long-rumored Lost Gospel involving Mary Magdalene. Scully, good Catholic that she is, considers them forgeries. Mulder wonders why Hoffman was messing with heretical texts. Scully wonders why Hoffman was making forgeries of them. Federman wonders why O'Fallon might be involved with the forgeries. As Mulder and Scully glance at each other realizing the jerk is right, you:

A) see B)

B) see C)

C) Slap your forehead in shock and dismay! Federman figured it out?! Oh, BLEEP, Chris Carter is going to add this jerk to the team! AUGH!

NOTE: after a handful of Federman's lousy quips, Mulder snarls, "All right, one more pun and I pull out my gun." See, Mulder's a poet and we did not know it. (snicker)

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Scully mentions her Greek's a little rusty. The writer learned Greek, too...unfortunately, it was the stuff written on the bathroom stalls in Tarpon Springs High School, so I can't give you the translations here...

10) Mulder goes back to the wrecked crypt, with Federman still in tow. They find a copy of the Lost Gospel, which Federman wonders is the "real" fake or the "fake" fake. Amidst odd clicking noises, Federman answers his cell phone, trying to talk to Hollywood about ordering a pizza. As he talks, he flashes his light across bones dancing, yes that's right dancing, along the catacombs. You:

A) Start humming "Dem Bones." What, you never saw Prisoner, Episode 17 Fallout?!

B) Shake your head. Bones dancing the waltz. Okay, NOW you've seen everything on this show!

C) Worry that the thigh bone is looking at the ankle bone the wrong way...damn anatomy slashers! (Writer's note: yes, go ahead, scratch your head at that one. I just can't think of anything else 'Shippy to say about dancing bones...)

11) Later at a coffee house, Scully tries to explain what Federman thinks he saw as dancing bones was actually a weather balloon. Federman doesn't care: he's gotten his "flavor" of what the X-Files are like and takes his leave. Before he goes, he tells the agents they're both crazy: Mulder for believing what he Believes, and Scully for NOT believing what Mulder Believes. You take in that evaluation and:

A) Mark that producer-slash-writer jerk for a jihad. How DARE he accuse the Blessed Skeptic of not Beli...uh, wait a second. It IS kinda her raison d'etre after all...(Writer gets trout-slapped by the more fanatical OBSSE nuns) Okay, it's your call...

B) Try saying "She sells seashells by the seashore" very quickly. (Writer has trouble saying 'sh' words)

C) Realize Wayne has figured out what 'Shippers have known for years! (sigh)

12) After Mulder uses some much-needed sarcasm directed at Federman's departure, Scully brings up an old story she once heard from one of the twisted Sisters of her old Catholic school (St. Baptista of the Tennis Elbow). The story involved the Lazarus Bowl, a clay bowl forged by Lazarus's aunt during Jesus's resurrection of the dead man. The bowl pieces the bones were fingering might be that bowl. You listen to the story and:

A) Wonder what else the Blessed Red-head learned in Catholic school...(Writer points out he knew a lot of bad girls who got sent to Catholic school, so she must have learned a lot) (Writer gets trout-slapped)

B) Chuckle. We knew Jesus was good in wood shop back in high school, but didn't He flunk pottery class? (Writer gets crushed by God's Mighty Anvil) (note: bonus points to anybody who even remembers the show that's from) Oooooow. Uh, sorry. Won't do that again...

C) Hope that Dana was gently rubbing her leg against Fox's under the countertop while they shared that chocolate shake...(Writer sighs) (Writer gets sued by NoRomos still convinced they're just good friends)

13) Scully brings the bowl pieces to everybody's favorite paraengineer, Chuck Burks. He mentions how everything from people to trout give off vibrations. Essentially, it's our electromagnetic auras (or as Yoda called it, the Force), attuned to specific frequencies. Burks uses his gear to listen to the vibrations of the ceramic, and he instantly hears it vibrating on all frequencies. As that happens, you:

A) Measure the vibrating aura of the mitichloreans in the trout you're wielding to match the Punk's shield modulation and...and...this is getting TOO silly. Start over...

B) Start humming "Good Vibrations"...oh, c'mon, you had to see THAT coming!...

C) Think about other things that vibr...(Writer gets trout-slapped by Sen. Joseph Lieberman) Ack! He's not only cleaning up Hollywood, he's cleaning up naughty 'Shipper web sites!

14) Mulder, meanwhile, is confronting O'Fallon about the Lost Gospel forgeries. It seems the Cardinal was convinced the forgeries were real, and that its' description of a Jesus who made love to Mary Magdalene had shattered his faith. So he hid them, but he couldn't destroy them. He asks, " Is being made a fool of a crime, Agent Mulder?" When Mulder replies, "I'd be doing life if it were, sir," you reply:

A) "On the 193 charges of Being a Punk, how does the jury find? GUILTY!"

B) "Really? According to the U.S. Code, it's only a Class 3 Misdemeanor!"

C) "Why do fools fall in love? (start warbling) Why do birds sing singing once you notice the stares of others) Um, it's a good song, people..."

15) Mulder calls Scully and asks if she can do an autopsy on Hoffman's body. In mid-flirting, he gets an incoming call from Federman, who's asking who Mulder thinks should play him in the movie. Mulder suggests Richard Gere. You suggest:

A) Ben Stiller. Janeane Garofalo can be the trout-wielding Scully who can keep him in line.

B) This guy named David Duchovny. Yeah, okay, he's not an A-list guy, but hey they've already got a song about him!

C) Fox play himself, and Dana play herself. Sure, they'd have to give up their glamourous jobs with the FBI, but if the movie careers never take off they can always do the Ab Roller infomercials!

NOTE: Richard Gere had already signed on to play Walter Skinner. Which was a damn shame: the guy who played Captain Stuebing was perfect for that role...

16) Scully does the autopsy on Hoffman's body. She takes out a few vital organs to measure them, but then Hoffman wakes up and insists she give the organs back when she's through. You shout at the screen:

A) "Don't you hate it when bodies wake up in the middle of autopsies? I'm sure the Blessed Red-head does!"

B) see A)

C) see B)

17) After the shock of the "illusion" (or did it happen?) of Hoffman's resurrection, Scully reports to Mulder her discovery of wine and poison in the dead man's stomach. It looks like O'Fallon poisoned Hoffman, then left his body near the bomb before it exploded. They go in with a warrant to arrest the Cardinal, and Scully takes a moment at the church to pray to a Crucifixion. She suddenly sees the Christ on the cross change into Hoffman. It gets weirder. As they arrest Cardinal O'Fallon for the murder of Micah Hoffman and on an additional charge of illegally wearing St. Peter's Bathrobe, they all watch in amazement as Micah Hoffman walks smiling into the church. You:

A) Curse "Dammit! Who's cloning 60s radicals?! CANCERMAN!!!"

B) Scream "Ahh! The dead bleeping live! Ahh! Kill it before it eats our brains! KILL IT!"

C) Shout "No! Dana and Fox should have gotten the Cardinal to marry them first before having him arrested!!!"

18) The next thing we see is Skinner chewing out Mulder and Scully for false arrest, unwarranted break-ins, and failing to get Michael Ovitz to represent him for his own talk show. He orders them on a four-week leave (probably still getting paid for it too), and the agents actually seem disappointed they can't use that time to goof off. You:

A) Task the Bald One for his overzealous reaction to the Blessed Red-head's work. Hey, who do you think helped out with your paperwork earlier in the episode? Show some gratitude! (trout slap)

B) Wonder about the body that was in the blast rubble. Did it disappear? Did it rise from the grave to hunt down nubile co-eds in the cheerleaders' shower room?! Check to find out!!!

C) Cheer that Dana and Fox have time now to go off to Vegas and hunt down alien Elvis hybrids!

19) Dejected, Mulder and Scully return to the basement, where they catch Burks listening to the ceramic pieces. It turns out the bowl contained two vital clues: someone singing in the ancient Aramaic language that "the walrus was Paul," and the voice of someone praying another man to rise from the dead. You:

A) Wonder how Jesus got ahold of the White Album! And how did He play it backwards?...

B) Can't see how a ceramic bowl can fit into a CD-recordable drive!

C) Wish that Burks would take his work back to his office so he can let Dana and Fox use the basement for a quickie like they were hoping!

20) Despite orders to leave the case alone, Mulder and Scully go to interview Micah Hoffman. He confesses his work forging holy documents; but explains that as part of the process, in order to create documents relating to the life of Jesus, he had to BECOME Jesus in order to make the scam work. But once that happened, Hoffman regretted his acts and tried to destroy the documents the only way an aging 1960s radical could: with explosives. This, of course, doesn't explain who the dead guy was. Plot holes can be annoying like that. Anyway, you also question:

A) "Does this mean those holy documents claiming the Blessed Skeptic Scully is a Highlander aren't real? Trout-slap the offender!" (survey writer goes into hiding for awhile)

B) "So who's going to pay for the pizza that the dead guy ordered during the autopsy?"


21) Scully, after hopefully finishing off a tub of cookie dough ice cream, stops by Mulder's place to see if any more government-sponsored assassins have shot up the stale orange juice. She finds him watching "Plan 9 From Outer Space." He says it's the 42nd time he's watched the film. You:

A) Curse "Damn you, Punk! You ought to be getting enlightenment from 'The Mighty'!!!"

B) Scream "42! The answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything! It all makes sense now!"

C) Sigh "At last! Someone's figured out Ed Wood films are great for casual dating!"

NOTE: I am not about to say anything about the God Ed Wood Jr. (ohm) (genuflect) (ohm)

22) Mulder and Scully head for Hollywood. They visit the movie set for "X-Files: Insert Lame Subtitle Here." They run into Yahoo Serious and thankfully put him out of his misery. They try for Pauly Shore but he ducks behind the lead singer of Limp Bizket. Maybe another time. Anyway, Federman introduces David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson to Garry Shandling and Tea Leoni. As these actors who've obviously met in real life (especially David and Garry) pretend like they haven't met before, you:

A) Spot the glaring inaccuracies of Tea's Scully outfit: the cross is too big, the tastefully covered birthmark above the lip is on the wrong side, the jacket collar is turned all wrong, and the trout she's holding isn't a trout, it's a halibut!

B) Spot the glaring inaccuracies of Garry's Mulder appearance: no trenchcoat, no hair parted in the exact right way, no sad-eyed-puppy look, and no style!

C) Spot the glaring inaccuracy of Tea and Garry's performance as Dana and Fox: where's the hand holding?! Damn stunt bee!

23) Tea has a question for Scully: how the bleep can she run around in those high heeled shoes? Scully looks askance, then shrugs and goes off to the other end of the movie set. There, she proceeds to run back and forth during the rest of the scene. You have to see it to believe it. Go! Now! Watch it now! Rewind! Watch it again! Okay, come back to the survey. If there are any questions, please remember that some questions are best left unasked...

24) While the Running!Scully scene plays out, Garry asks Mulder, as a way of finding the character's rudder, "Do you dress to the left or to the right?" Mulder seems a little embarrassed but answers "mostly to the left." Garry seems horrified. You seem:

A) Perturbed. It's not how he dresses, it's if he gets trout-slapped left or right!

B) As confused as the survey's writer. What's the deal about dressing to the left or right? For me, it's up with the underwear and pants, and down with the t-shirt. There's no left or right involved here! Just what is this all aboot?!

C) Perplexed. Garry, instead of embarrassing Fox, could have asked Dana, she would know! (sigh)

25) It's later. The director is filming a scene. Action is called, and the cameras roll. A zombie bites into Tea's shoulder, then stops and bitches that the "flesh" he'd bitten tastes wrong. It seems the zombie actors are all vegetarians, and the one who bit Tea is running off screaming that "the people are made out of turkey!" You:

A) see B)

B) see C)

C) Muse, "Wow, no wonder Soylent Green tastes so familiar!"

26) Much later. Scully is enjoying a bubble bath and calls Mulder. Mulder is also a bubble bath, and they talk about zombies and Ed Wood movies. There's another call: it's Skinner (who immediately orders Mulder not to call him "Skinman"), and HE'S in a bubble bath at the same hotel the agents are at. In fact, he says, "I'm right underneath you...Right below you and Agent Scully." You scream:

A) "Ack! This is all wrong! Only the Blessed Red-head should enjoy bubble baths!"

B) "Ack! Is there anybody left back at FBI headquarters? Who's minding the store?..."

C) "Ack! If the damn Slashers got ahold of that 'right below you' line..."

27) We've returned to the scene of the crime. Back at the movie theater, we're watching the love scene in the coffin. Suddenly, Tea stops kissing Garry and tearfully admits, "I'm in love with Assistant Director Walter Skinner." Mulder stands up and loudly protests "THAT'S IT!" You:

A) Want Scully to stand up and protest "This movie sucked! You could see the strings holding up the UFO!"

B) Smirk evilly like any NoRomo would and snicker that you were right about Mulder and Scully being "just good friends"...


28) Mulder storms out of the movie theater. Scully joins him, and they talk. For one thing, the real-life Lazarus Bowl case has gone bad: Cardinal O'Fallon killed Hoffman and then committed suicide. Mulder is enraged at the movie, however; it had trivialized the complexity of the case and the people involved. O'Fallon had been sadly morphed into "Cigarette-Smoking Pontiff." Mulder muses, "How are we going to be remembered now 'cause of this movie?" You would point out:

A) "Forget this movie, Mulder. Do you want to be remembered for 'Playing God'?!?!"

B) "Forget this movie, Scully. Do you want to be remembered for 'The Turning'?!?!"

C) "Forget this movie, stunt bee. Do you want to be remembered for ruining a perfectly good kissing scene in the real 'X-Files' movie?!?!"

29) Scully points out that Skinner is so tickled by the movie premiering that he'd given the agents a bureau credit card and carte blanc to use it. Smiling, they decide to walk away. As they do, Scully admits something to Mulder: she's in love with Assistant Producer Walter Skinner. You:

A) Worry that Scully is going to try and use her relationship with Assistant Producer Skinner to snare a role in the Matrix sequels! Actually, that's not a bad idea...Scully in tight leather kicking Agent ass...hmm...

B) Ponder what the debit bill on that card's going to look like next month!

C) Curse the damn NoRomos again!!!

NOTE: when Mulder says, "Yeah, me too," you also curse the damn Slashers.

30) As Mulder and Scully continue walking into the night, the zombie dead rise from the graves of Hollywood to seek revenge on all the talent agents who said they couldn't find work past the age of 175. Then, they start dancing Lambada, the Forbidden Dance. You worry about your sanity, remember you already lost that back in Season Three, and we all conclude with this thought:

A) see B)

B) see C)

C) We can only hope Leonard Maltin gives this X-Files Lazarus Bowl movie two-and-a-half stars just like Laserblast.

If you more often answered:

A) Then you are an OBSSE nun who's got a copy of the sacrilegious Book of Spookycc, which shockingly suggests that it was Scully's older sister Melissa who learned the Sacred Art of Trout-Slapping before teaching it to the Blessed Red-Head! Do you know what that means?! It contradicts the Holy Texts declaring that the Red-Headed Skeptic was fully born with that knowledge!...

B) Then you are a zombie who knows Lambada, the Forbidden Dance! (zombie hunters show up and thankfully nail you in the head the way it's done in the original Night of the Living Dead)

C) Then you are a NoRomo who's in love with Assistant Producer Walter Skinner...damn Slashers!

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