CTP Episode of the Day - 08.24.06

Today's Cherished Episode: Genderbender (1x13)
Original Air Date: January 21, 1994
Written By: Larry Barber and Paul Barber
Directed By: Rob Bowman

Scully and Mulder seek answers to a bizarre series of murders committed by one person who kills as both a male and a female.

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(Thanks to chrisnu for today's episode pics.)

"I know what I saw, Scully. And I saw you about to do the wild thing with some stranger."

Some "Genderbender" Tidbits & Musings:

-- Written by the fraternal tandem of Larry Barber and Paul Barber, this episode went through various conceptual changes during the writing process as well as at least one more specific alteration because of concerns regarding the content. The teaser sequence initially had a moment where someone's crotch starts to rot away, but the sequence was quickly toned down, with co-executive producer Bob Goodwin saying, "If I was watching that with my kid, I'd turn it off."

-- Director Rob Bowman marked his debut on the series with this hour, after working on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Bowman, who would go on to become one of the show's most prolific directors (including directing the feature film), found filming in the Kindred tunnels, which had to be constructed, particularly cramped. Because of the tight logistics and close quarters an extra day of filming was required.

-- The setting of this episode (Steveston, Massachusetts) was named after a real town south of Vancouver that was often used by the crew because of its diversity of locations.

-- The music used for the disco in the opening scene was from Mark Snow's theme music for a television movie, In the Line of Duty: Street War.

-- The large picture we first see Marty standing next to was painted by artist H.R.Giger, the man who designed the aliens for the blockbuster Alien movies and more recently the alien for the movie Species.

-- Oopsie! As the camera pans through the night club, you can see the steadi-cam operator in the reflection of the stairs as the camera goes up them to the next level.

-- This was the first episode where the credit "Music by Mark Snow" appeared during the opening credits and not the closing credits.

-- The legend at the beginning of the first act said the crime scene was in a motel in Germantown, Maryland, "outside Washington, D.C." Germantown, Maryland, is pretty far outside Washington, D.C. Trust me on that one.

-- During filming of the crime scene at the beginning of Act One, Mitch Kosterman (Detective Horton) flubbed his lines and said "chum chippy" instead of "some chippy." For the rest of the shoot, David Duchovny enjoyed joshing Kosterman about that line.

-- According to Detective Horton, the time the victim entered the room with a "woman" was 10:13 (creator Chris Carter's birth month and day).

-- "Radar Love" was the breakthrough hit by Dutch rock band Golden Earring, a murky tale of late-night driving and ESP. The real attraction was the non-stop parade of musical invention, from the crashing 14-note guitar-and-cymbals introduction to an impressive drum solo to the twin guitar responses to each vocal line in the last verse to the cascading synthesizers that crash the tune to a close.

-- I always chuckle at map-impaired Mulder.

-- A Nitpick: Having Mulder and Scully surrender their ammunition (which in essence is the same as surrendering their guns) is about as silly as Scully giving her gun to the victim in "Roadrunners." It is against Bureau policy for agents to surrender their weapons except at gunpoint, and doing it just because the Kindred cited "religious reasons" added nothing to the plot and could have been left out without changing anything with regard to the story.

-- Mulder must be an Addams Family fan. His line, "The Addams family finds religion," was his second reference to the creepy family (he mentioned Uncle Fester in "Deep Throat"). The Addams Family was a creation of cartoonist Charles Addams about a bizarre family who delight in all things frightening and macabre. They first appeared in the 1930s as a cartoon in The New Yorker and later as part of a popular 1960's television series. In the 1990's the comic was adapted for a series of films.

-- The chant sung by the Kindred was written by co-executive producer Paul Rabwin, and was sung by Paul himself along with six other singers.

-- Oopsie! After the part where the head Kindred woman tells Mulder and Scully "I asked you not to interfere," Mulder leads Scully away. From one camera angle, he is leading her away by the hand. In the same scene, but from a different camera angle, he has his arm around her. In the next shot using the first camera angle, he is once again leading her away by the hand.

-- I think this might have been the only time in the series' history that Scully didn't stop to check on an injured Mulder. She just kept right on going. Later on, he did stop to check on her, though.

-- Tony Morelli played a cop in "Genderbender" and would go on to become the show's Stunt Coordinator for the first five seasons. He also appeared on camera as one of the men who beat up Skinner in "Paper Clip" and as Lord Kinbote in "Jose Chung's From Outer Space."

-- "Genderbender" was notable as the first appearance of actor Nicholas Lea, who played Michael (the club-goer who seemed to be more worried about the implications of making out with a man than with an alien). Lea didn't take up acting full-time until the age of 25, after going to art school and singing in a band. After the group broke up he met an acting coach and, having always wanted to give it a try, took the plunge headfirst. "I went and quit my job the next day and started acting," he said, admitting that he perhaps felt "a little bit bulletproof at that point."

-- After landing parts in Vancouver-based television shows and some low-budget features, Lea earned his first real exposure with a recurring role in ABCs The Commish, where he also met his then-girlfriend Melinda McGraw, who would later play Scully's sister Melissa on The X-Files. Lea did more than 30 episodes of The Commish before landing the part of Michael in "Genderbender." But it was that small one-shot role that particularly impressed Rob Bowman, who kept him in mind for a return and immediately thought of him for the role of Krycek.

-- This episode was also notable in that it provided great fodder for the Season 1 gag reel. Bloopers abounded.

-- In commenting on the difficulties of filming The X-Files in the early seasons, David Duchovny said: "Rob [Bowman] had this show called 'Genderbender.' Do you remember that one, with the aliens that would change sex? I think we shot that show for like three months [probably a bit of an exaggeration]. These aliens lived in like a beehive and it was like Spinal Tap where the Stonehenge comes down. It was really tiny and they had to shoot me in the beehive and we kept on going back and shooting and I had goop all over me."

-- Once & Future Retreads: The most notable retread is of course Nicholas Lea (Michael) who would return for a long-running recurring role as Alex Krycek. Michele Goodger (Sister Abigail) played Barbara Ausbery in "Die Hand Die Verletzt." Kate Twa, the female half of Marty, returned as Scully's protégé Kelly Ryan in "Soft Light." Mitch Kosterman (Detective Horton) played the same role again in "Sleepless" and was also Fornier in "The List" and the Sheriff in "Travelers." Paul Batten (Brother Wilson) was Dr. Seizer in "Piper Maru." Doug Abrahams (Agent #2) was a patrolman in the "Pilot," Paul Vitaris in "Die Hand Die Verletzt," Lt. Neary in "Hell Money" and Harbaugh in "The Field Where I Died." Lesley Ewen (Agent #1) was a receptionist in the "Pilot," Carina Maywald in "Revelations," and Renee Davenport in "Unrequited."

-- Asked if there was any concern about parallels between the Kindred and the Amish -- who also shun all modern conveniences and dress in similar fashion -- Chris Carter said, "They don't watch TV, so I wasn't worried about it."

Please share your first impressions, favorite (or cringe-worthy) moments, classic lines, favorite fanfic, nagging questions, repeated viewing observations, etc., as today we celebrate "Genderbender"!

Polly