In the spirit of Halloween I’ve decided to sell you on my favorite TV show of all time: The X-Files. The entire series is on Netflix and iTunes. You have no excuse. These are my top ten funny episodes. The following episodes are filled with the whit, charm and the banter that made me fall in love with these characters. If you’ve ever kicked at the tires of this series, may you start with these fine selections.
Bad Blood (Season 5)
If you’re new to the X-Files start here. Trust me. Mulder has driven a stake through a pizza delivery boy’s heart. The boy’s parents are suing the bureau for millions. Mulder and Scully need to get their stories straight. In Scully’s version of events: Mulder dragged her down to Dallas on a wild el chupacabra chase. Convinced they’re dealing with vampires, Mulder staked out a local graveyard. He strategically placed himself between Scully and the total hunk of local law enforcement (played by Luke Wilson). In Mulder’s version of events. He chased a vampire with glowing green eyes, capable of leaping like a flying squirrel. Mulder’s Luke Wilson has big buck teeth and says, “Y’all must be the guv’ment people.” This is Mulder and Scully’s Rashomon episode. It will make you fall in love with these two. Trust me.
Jose Chung’s “From Outer Space” (Season 3)
Three words: Charles Nelson Riley. Who, that sissy from The Match Game with the big glasses and knotted scarfs? What did you just say about CNR? Charles Nelson Riley plays an author in the spirit of Kurt Vonnegut. He’s trying to write a book about an alleged alien abduction. No one will give him a straight answer. Witnesses claim to have encountered a pair of men in black, in the forms of Jesse “the body” Ventura and Alex Trebek. Others claim to have seen a pair of chain smoking aliens assaulted by a clay-mated cyclops known as Lord Kimbo. This episode reveals how the tin foiled hat wearing public sees Mulder and Scully.
“The tall lanky one. I don’t think he was human. I think he was a mandroid.”
Arcadia (Season 6)
Mulder and Scully go undercover in the scariest place yet: the suburbs. Arcadia is a gated community where the penalty for tacky lawn ornaments is death. Mulder and Scully pose as a married couple. Mulder can’t help but take things too far.
He squeezes Scully’s hand, “Last night we just spooned up like a pair of baby kittens. Isn’t that right honey bear.”
Scully rolls her eyes, “Sure is poopy head.”
There’s a subset of the X-Files community called “Shippers.” These were the people who wanted to see Mulder and Scully in a “relationship.” Here they’re given way more than they had bargained for.
The Post-Modern Prometheus (Season 5)
I’d like to be a fly on the wall when the writers pitched this one. “What would happen if Mulder and Scully stumbled through a classic black and white monster movie?” You say you want flashing lightning with no sign of rain? You got it. You say you want a mad scientist that scoffs at those who say he’s playing God. You got it. You say you want a surprise cameo from a Cher impersonator. You got that too. Mix this episode into a classic Twilight Zone marathon and see if anybody notices.
X-Cops (Season 7)
This is every inch the crossover that the title implies. Mulder and Scully stumble through the filming of an episode of Cops, complete with the Bad Boys theme song and everything. Mulder is hot on the trail of a demon that takes the form of your worst nightmare, be it a local drug lord or Freddy Krueger himself. Scully treats it like a contagion of fear. She tries to stop it from spreading. This was shot hot on the heels of The Blair Witch Project, but has far more laughs and far more jump scares.
Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (Season 3)
There are psychics who know who Madonna is going to marry and there are psychics who can predict how anyone is going to die.
Clyde Bruckman shakes his head at Mulder, “You know, there are worse ways to go, but I can’t think of a more undignified way than autoerotic asphyxiation.”
Clyde Bruckman had tickets to see the Big Bopper on the eve of that fateful plane crash. Ever since he’s been obsessed with death. Mulder and Scully need him to suss out a serial killer who targets tarot readers. This episode pits cynicism against evil and we all win.
How the Ghosts Stole Christmas (Season 6)
Mulder lures Scully out on a Christmas Eve for a spot of urban exploration. Mulder swears this manner is haunted by the ghosts of a lovers’ pact. Scully fails to stop him from breaking in. Once separated, they encounter Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin, a spirit couple dead set on using pop psychology to convince them to kill themselves. As funny as this is, it is also a revealing character study of Mulder and Scully.
Syzygy (Season 3)
When the captain of the football team (a young Ryan Reynolds) is found hung, a small town’s suspicions turn to satanists. Mulder and Scully investigate a pair of cheerleaders. Scully suspects foul play while Mulder suspects psychic warfare. Soon the town is awash with madness.
Great line, “Let’s solve the mystery of the horny beast.”
This episode asks the question, are there astrological links between mood swings and the alignment of the planets?
Humbug (Season 2)
Mulder and Scully meet the Jim Rose Circus. Oh and Mulder suspects a merman of killing sideshow freaks, or something like that. There’s a great cameo from the backward talking dwarf from Twin Peaks.
Dreamland 1-2 (Season 6)
Mulder and Scully try to break into Area 51, when a chance encounter with a flying saucer has unpredicted side effects. Mulder and a member of the Men in Black switch bodies. Yep, it’s The X-Files meets Freaky Friday. The Man in Black tries to reinvent Mulder as a lady’s man. He even tries to put the moves on Scully. Meanwhile Mulder is stuck trying to fix the Man in Black’s failed marriage. The best part is when Mulder and the Man in Black do that Bugs Bunny gag where they dance in front of the mirror. Oh, and there’s UFO’s and government conspiracies abound, or something, whatever.
Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man (Season 4)
The series villain recounts the assassination of JFK… In the tone of Forrest Gump.
Hollywood A.D. (Season 7)
See Mulder and Scully played by Garry Shandling and Tea Leoni.
War of the Coprophages (Season 3)
At one point a cock roach walks across the screen itself. Enough said.
Small Potatoes (Season 4)
A shape shifter tries to seduce women by appearing as their husbands… And Mulder.
The Unnatural (Season 6)
An alien disguises himself as a human to play baseball in the African American Leagues of the1940s. Oh, and there’s an alien dressed as a klansman at some point.
Improbable (Season 9)
Burt Reynolds plays God. Read that sentence again, slowly. Why aren’t you watching this episode right now?