Mulder & Scully: True Romantic Friends

I'm a huge fan of Mulder and Scully. I think they fall into the "Friendship" category of romantic partners rather than the "Knight and Damsel in Distress" or "Instant Attraction" categories. (There are more categories, but the last two are the ones that popped to mind.)

For example, although Mulder does sacrifice himself for Scully, he also plays Mulder as rather remote. While Scully, however logical and scientific, is clearly (I think) enamored with Mulder by the time of the first movie (though being enamored never stops her doing her job), Mulder always seems to be holding Scully at a slight distance. He cannot live without her, and his enemies know that. But at the same time, he will never fully commit, never get too close, never (really) admit any consuming need for Scully (I'm referring specifically to Seasons 1-6). Duchovny often plays his feelings for Scully "off" or sideways.* I don't know if this is Chris Carter. I suspect not. I suspect it is Duchovny.

And I think this is fairly clever. The point, for me, of the Mulder-Scully relationship is that the final "I love you! I love you!" confrontation is unnecessary because they have already been living a "marriage" for most of the seasons. Their relationship is the relationship of people who are so far gone in terms of intimacy with another human being, Mulder's "Back off!" signs are completely pointless. Which will not, of course, stop Mulder from putting them up. And Scully is willing to put up with Mulder putting them up. Which consequently gives the relationship more edge, more reality, than most romantic TV relationships.*

*My favorite indication of this "offness" coupled with reality is in "Memento Mori" when Scully tells Mulder that she has cancer and instead of getting maudlin, he says, "I refuse to accept that." I LOVE that line: "I refuse to accept that." Somehow, it makes Mulder so much more real and more passionate than the usual romantic hero and yet, at the same time, gives you a sense of Mulder's remoteness. (Mind you, that sort of inaccessibility is great to watch on the screen but not so great to fall for in real life.)

This post originally addressed some other aspects of X-Files. The first comment below refers to my theory that Skinner is in love with Scully. I find the commenter's objections odd since Skinner, while obviously in love with his wife, can still be in love with Scully. "In love with" doesn't mean "will act on."  However, I am working through the remaining seasons (7-9) as the commenter suggests!


Anonymous said...

You really need to see the entire series from the pilot to Requiem. Mulder's episodes at the end of Season 8 and The Truth.

You may have missed the episode "Avatar," but Skinner is married and very much in love with his wife.

Mulder's and Scully's feelings for each other pre-date the movie by years. They may not have been feelings of passion, but they care deeply for each other. Mulder realizes just how deeply when Scully is abducted early in Season 2.

As I said, watch the series. You may want to alter your theories after doing so.

Good luck.

Cherndawg said...

X-Files is fun, but my favorite episodes were always the stand alone stories as opposed to the "mythology" episodes. One of the best is the episode where mulder lives the same day over and over, but every times it's just a little different. I liked the movie, but I was a little disappointed that little was resolved and in the end not much made sense. but I am looking forward to the sequel, which is currently in pre-production. Also- totally know what you mean about the theory of one- I feel that way about xander and buffy.

Sophie Brady said...

Actually, there's good reason to believe Skinner had it bad for Scully.
He may have cared for his wife, but as Sharon Skinner mentioned to her husband in 'Avatar'- he wanted a divorce too, he just wasn't brave enough to ask.
He admitted that was the truth,and after this episode Sharon is never referenced again.
I'd say watch the show too, every episode featuring Mitch Pileggi- you're bound to see plenty of evidence.
He does plenty for Mulder and The X-Files throughout nine seasons, but he cant seem to say no to Scully.
Also, as sidenote, Mitch Pileggi recently mentioned in a panel that Skinner totally had a crush on Scully.