CTP Episode of the Day - 06.05.06

Today's Cherished Episode: Monday (6x15)
Original Air Date: February 28, 1999
Written By: Vince Gilligan and John Shiban
Directed By: Kim Manners

Trapped in an endless time loop, Mulder and Scully are fated to live the same day -- the day that they die -- over and over again.

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

"I'm having the best damn day of my life. Any moment I'm about to burst into song -- zip a dee doo dah. My waterbed sprung a leak and shorted out my alarm clock. My cell phone got wet and crapped out on me and the check I wrote my landlord to cover the damages is going to bounce if I don't deposit my pay. You ever have one of those days, Scully?"

Some "Monday" Tidbits & Musings:

-- According to writers Vince Gilligan and John Shiban, "Monday" was not a rip-off of Groundhog Day, Sliding Doors, or any other of the more recent treatments of the theme of alternate realities and/or desperate protagonists caught in closed time loops. Instead, the inspiration for "Monday" was an episode of The Twilight Zone called "Shadow Play."

-- "Shadow Play" started with a man played by Dennis Weaver on trial for murder, standing in front of the judge. The judge declares him guilty and tells him that his penalty, death by electrocution, will be carried out within the week. It turns out that Dennis Weaver is having the same nightmare over and over and over again. He gets convicted of his crime and sent to death row -- and the end of his dream, always, is him being electrocuted. He realizes it's a dream, and starts trying to tell that to the people around him, his lawyer and prosecutor and the prison guard and the prison chaplain. He tells them they don't really exist, they only exist in his dream, and if he dies, then they will cease to exist. The people ask him that if he knows it's only a dream, why is he so afraid of being electrocuted; and Dennis Weaver tells them that it's a nightmare, and everything is always scary in a nightmare, even if you've had it a thousand times.

-- The original title of this episode was "Mobius" which was derived from "Mobius strip," which is a continuous one-sided surface that can be formed from a rectangular strip by rotating one end 180 degrees and attaching it to the other end. [Named for August Ferdinand Mobius (1790-1868), German mathematician.]

-- Gilligan and Shiban wrote "Monday" under extreme pressure after the Christmas break, although it went faster than usual because many of the story elements were repeated, with slight but significant variations, over and over.

-- Realizing that he would have to shoot what were essentially the same scenes up to five times, director Kim Manners diagrammed every camera angle and camera move in advance with an eye toward making each succeeding near-repetition somehow fresh and different.

-- Part of the fun of this episode was watching for the subtle little changes between the repetitive scenes; for example, Mulder's in a different position each time he wakes up in his soggy waterbed (on his tummy, his back, left side), and a different type of graph is used each time we see the meeting from hell (bar graph, pie chart, etc.).

-- First assistant director for this episode was Bruce Carter, a former mineral geologist who survived a plane crash in the Alaskan bush to get his first show business job in the 1986 Michael Keaton movie Gung Ho.. Carter took the "Monday" script and deconstructed, then reassembled, it in terms of time, place, and continuity. The timeline was needed to keep track of what each character was doing, and when they were doing it, each time the bank robbery repeated.

-- In spite of this painstaking effort, in one scene, the clock in the car reads 9:55 a.m. and moments later the clock in the bank reads 11:50.

-- Writer Vince Gilligan includes a couple of references to his girlfriend, Holly Rice, in this episode. The Craddock Marine Bank is named for Cradock, a suburb of Portsmouth, Virginia, where Holly grew up; and Holly's mother's maiden name is Bernard.

-- Casting director Rick Millikan saw more than his usual quota of young actresses before casting the part of Pam. "It was a difficult part to cast," he said, "because you had to feel sorry for this woman's terrible, unbelievable plight without at any time thinking she's insane. Because Mulder would never believe this woman if there was a hint of that."

-- Carrie Hamilton was ultimately cast as in the role of Pam. She was an accomplished actress and filmmaker in her own right, but was perhaps best known as the daughter of Carol Burnett and her producer husband, the late Joe Hamilton. Her godmother was Julie Andrews. Carrie studied music and acting at Pepperdine University, and after battling drug and alcohol addiction in the 1980s, embarked on a mildly successful acting career, guest starring on popular TV shows like Fame, Walker, Texas Ranger, and Touched by an Angel. She starred as Maureen in the first national touring version of the musical Rent and wrote and directed short films through the profit-sharing production company Namethkuf. She was also a member of the rock band Big Business. Carrie and her mother collaborated on a stage version of Burnett's best-selling memoir "One More Time." The resulting play, "Hollywood Arms," had its world premier in Chicago in April 2002, with Harold Prince directing. Carrie's appearance on The X-Files was one of her last acting roles. She died on January 20, 2002, at age 38 of lung and brain cancer.

-- Darren E. Burrows (Bernard) was probably best known for playing radio station employee Ed Chigliak on Northern Exposure. Burrows' father, Billy Drago, played the role of Orel Peattie in Season 7's "Theef." Incidentally, Drago's real last name was Burrows, but when he became an actor he took his mother's maiden name of "Drago" because there was already a Billy Burrows in the Screen Actors Guild.

-- For the part of the Craddock Marine Bank, Ilt Jones and his location department staff selected and secured an architecturally impressive 96-year-old building located at Fourth and Main Street in downtown Los Angeles that had once been a bank but had been turned into a combination animation school/educational film production house. Under the supervision of production designer Corey Kaplan, the place was gutted and turned in to a financial institution, complete with double-glazed windows, faux marble columns, and fake ATMs, down to the check-writing desks and chained pens, procured from a standard bank-supply catalog by set decorator Tim Stepeck.

-- Mulder's waterbed, first seen in "Dreamland II," was obtained from a specialized San Francisco furniture store after a long, fruitless search in Los Angeles.

-- To give Pam the proper haunted look, makeup department head Cheri Montesanto-Medcalf applied plenty of mascara under Carrie Hamilton's eyes, then intentionally smudged it all badly.

-- Pam's stringy, multi-hued hairstyle was Carrie Hamilton's own creation, but the hair department had to recreate it precisely for the wig worn by the actress's stunt double.

-- Mulder's two-part paycheck and pay envelope, not exactly FBI issue but as close to it as possible while satisfying the requirements of the plotline, was manufactured after several phone calls to the J. Edgar Hoover Building by the property master.

-- The roof lights on the huge fleet of Washington, D.C., police cars, were powered by carefully concealed battery chargers (since keeping their engines running would create too much noise for filming).

-- The Craddock Bank explosion was shot on the eleventh and last day of filming at the bank location. A four-block area was sealed off tightly, and a total of 11 cameras, some running at regular speed, others cranked faster for ultra-slow motion, were trained on the building. Unavoidably, several of the cameras themselves were in other cameras' field of vision; so they were painstakingly erased by special effects producer Bill Millar.

-- Wayne Alexander (Agent Arnold) also appeared as an FBI agent in "The Beginning" and "Via Negativa."

-- Arlene Warren Pileggi made her fourth appearance as Skinner's Assistant in this episode.

-- Another popular XF myth -- that Mulder was independently wealthy -- was blown to hell in this episode, as we learned that he had to worry about bouncing his checks, just like the rest of us.

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

Polly