Chris Carter’s Constipated Chicks

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully

That’s gotta hurt!

Sometimes I wonder why I never got heavily obsessed with The X-Files. I fit the show’s core demographic of a somewhat geeky sci-fi fan. I’ve contemplated wearing a tin foil helmet. I’ve posted to Usenet, and might do so again at any time. So what’s the fly in the ointment? What fostered my “take it or leave it” attitude towards the show? I’m forced to conclude that the show was successful on many levels, but something was fundamentally wrong. An undercurrent that made every episode feel like a cold shower administered by a CDC emergency response team. What was the the poison in my Sunday night kool-aid? Upon carful reflection, I’ve realized the fly in the ointment is Scully.

Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Scully is supposed to represent the ideal woman for my demographic, the brainy geekette who prefers deductive reasoning to brute force. Pretty in a school teacher way, the kind of pretty that resonates with memories of your junior high librarian. So why does she leave me cold? Nice body (well, except for the season when she was pregnant), red hair (who can resist a redhead?), but there’s something lurking beneath the surface that I can’t quite put my finger on, something that’s just a total turn off. Now that the series has come to some sort of closure, now that I’ve had time to reflect, I think I know what that something is…Scully spends at least half of her screen time wearing a look on her face, a look that I’ve seen before. I’ve seen it in the aisles of my local pharmacy. I’ve seen it in the mirror when I don’t get enough fiber. The look of….CONSTIPATION!!!!

This was a huge revelation. Scully’s irregularity poisons her system, and poisons my ability to see her as the thinking man’s sex object she’s obviously intended to be. The built up toxins in her colon seep out through her pores and into the ether, and all we can do is watch. Watch and think. Think about some of the other leading ladies in Chris Carter’s shows. Millenium is the first show that comes to mind. Frank Black’s long-suffering wife seems to share Scully’s colonic woes, perhaps to an even greater degree. Meagan Gallagher, the actress who played Mrs. Black, has established that her acting range is somewhat broader than pure constipation. Her role on Hill Street Blues showcased her as the tough but sexy cop, and her character on The Larry Sanders Show was put upon but still fairly attractive. But once Chris Carter drew her into his evil orbit, her intestines seized up like an engine without oil. The tone of her acting fluctuated between constipated and not quite as constipated, and colons across America clenched in sympathy as she filled the screen with her ever present expression of excretory woe. Even more frightening were the episodes which featured Mrs. Black and Laura (played by Kristen Cloke). One can’t help but shudder when thinking of the explosive tension these two share on screen. I hope the bathroom is stocked with a double roll of Charmin!

Carter’s next foray into production was the short-lived Harsh Realm. Although there were only a few episodes produced, one couldn’t help but wonder if Carter was slipping Metamucil into the actresses’ coffee, as the classic pained look of the Carter women was present on the faces of all the females from the pilot on. Fortunately, the show was cancelled before any of the actresses reached critical mass. Meanwhile, the X-Files continued to serve up bowel obstructions in the form of Mimi Rogers. Ms. Rogers has appeared in a wider variety of features than most of Carter’s female leads, but never has she looked so plugged up. Although she’s generally got a glamourous, sexy look about her, the Carter magic replaced her normal sexy presence with a gastrointestinal wasteland of unattractive grimaces. Not satisfied with two constipated women, Carter introduced the character of Monica Reyes (played by Annabeth Gish). Funny, but she seemed a lot more regular in Mystic Pizza. Although the pains don’t seem to have affected Agent Reyes as severely as Scully, you can feel the pressure building with each successive episode. If the series had continued on, I’m sure she would have reached the Ex-lax gobbling desparation displayed in Gillian Anderson’s performance every week.

With the end of the X-Files as an ongoing series, what new frontiers await Chris Carter? Other than talk of another X-Files movie, Carter is silent. But rest assured, wherever there are women praying for a bowel movement, Chris Carter will be there!