CTP Episode of the Day - ??.??.06

Today's Cherished Episode: Schizogeny (5x9)
Original Air Date: January 11, 1998
Written By: Jessica Scott and Mike Wollaeger
Directed By: Ralph Hemecker Some "Schizogeny" Tidbits & Musings:

-- What exactly does "schizogeny" mean? It's a scientific term (spelled schizogony) for asexual reproduction -- fission -- frequently used in botany tests. It has also been suggested that in this case the title "Schizogeny" is actually a combination of the prefix "schizo" meaning "split" (referring to the personality of Karin the psychologist) and the suffix "geny" meaning "production, generation, origin" (as in progeny, referring to the children and their problems with their parents, especially karin.

-- Although producer Paul Rabwin joked that "schizogeny" meant that every season around the same time they did a show with a lot of S's and Z's in the title.

-- "Schizogeny" was conceived by two first-year staff writers Jessica Scott and Mike Wollaeger (who had previously worked in non-writing jobs on The X-Files), and underwent an even lengthier gestation process than usual. There were many, many script revisions by many people who worked on the show which probably explains the choppiness of the script.

-- Scully tells us her mud pie weighs 12 pounds 9 ounces, but the scale disagrees -- it says almost 11 pounds.

-- Scully's line about the town getting "400 inches of rain a day" is a reference to a comment David Duchovny jokingly made about Vancouver during his appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, getting himself into a lot of hot water with the people of Vancouver. "Now that's a bit of an exaggeration, don't you think?" was a perfect comeback by Mulder, given the circumstances.

-- Dub flub! A very obvious case of poor dubbing (do they think we can't read lips?) when Mulder says Bobby Rich's classmates refer to him as "Dorkweed." The line had to be dubbed because the nickname referred to in the original script, "Dickweed," didn't make it past FOX's Standards and Practices department.

-- It was interesting that Standards and Practices paid so much attention to the "dickweed" comment, yet pictures of what appear to be a bare breasted woman and someone flipping off the camera with both hands scroll by among the many, many items on Bobby's cluttered bedroom wall.

-- Mulder's translation of the Kennedy quote is wrong. He says the following: "You know when Kennedy told the Germans 'Ich bin ein Berliner' he was actually saying 'I am a cocktail sausage'?" A "Berliner" is NOT a "cocktail sausage," that would be a "Wiener." Rather, a Berliner is a German deep-fried, jam-filled dough, similar to a doughnut (without the hole). What Kennedy meant to say was "I am a Berliner," which in German is "Ich bin Berliner."

-- Bobby Rich's Ich bin ein Auslander poster was a collaboration between art director Gary Allen and Vancouver photographer David Gray, who went to the city dump in nearby Richmond and photographed a cooperative young actor standing atop a huge mound of garbage. Director Ralph Hemecker was unsatisfied with the result, so to heighten the dramatic impact he requested that the artists airbrush away several garbage-pushing bulldozes, remove hundreds of garbage-foraging seagulls from background, and give the garbage-mountaineering kid a digital haircut.

-- L.A. based actor Chad Lindberg, who played Bobby Rich, was familiar to ER fans as the cystic fibrosis sufferer who fought to die with dignity during the 1996-97 season. In "Schizogeny," so convincing and authentic was his portrayal of a mumbly, disaffected teen that it was feared during editing that viewers might not understand what he was talking about. As a precaution, the actor was called back into the studio to "loop" or rerecord his dialogue.

-- Oopsie! After her father is pulled out of the window, Lisa leans out and there is no glass left on the sill; she even places her hands on it. Later when Mulder and Scully look at it, there are lots of jagged edges on the sill.

-- The biggest X-File in this episode is wondering what in the heck Bobby is doing with that comb in his science class. He surely hasn't been using it.

-- Another curiosity is that Scully goes to conduct the questioning while Mulder goes to view the autopsied body. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Maybe it's Job Swap Day at the FBI.

-- I also had to wonder why Scully and Mulder didn't get in the car to conduct their conversation after they opened Karin's father's grave at the cemetery. Instead, they stand outside their car and have a discussion during a rainstorm so loud that they almost have to shout at each other across the roof of the car to be heard. Meanwhile, we can see the downpour behind them (methinks the 400 inches a day isn't such an exaggeration after all), yet they don't get wet. File that under unexplained phenomenon!

-- Portions of the scenes of people getting sucked into the mud in the orchard were filmed outside, and other portions were filmed inside. For the open air filming, locations manager Todd Pittson hunted down one of the few existing nut orchards in the Vancouver area; a hobby farm in the small town of Fort Langly. In a stroke of initiative/pure luck, greensman Frank Haddad located another hazelnut farmer who, at that very moment, was cutting down many of his overage trees for replacement. Using Haddad's fireplace-bound wood as scenery, construction supervisor Rob Maier's crew built an exact replica of the fatal orchard on a wooden platform six feet above the floor of a rented sound stage. Then they built two big tanks to place below the "green set" and filled them with a mixture of peat moss, mud, and water. The mud was heated so the actors would be comfortable. In one scene, a hydraulic elevator was used so that actors could stand in the mud and then be drawn down into it. In another scene, air-powered ramps were placed on the elevator and the young actor's boots were fastened to them, to be able to suck in one leg and then the other.

-- The trickiest part of the process was staging the shot of Karin Matthews's headless body sinking completely into the ooze. For that scene, a stuntwoman was completely immersed in the mud; she was fed oxygen through a tube so that she could breathe while she slowly went under. The stuntwoman had to be eased in slowly because the physical weight of the mud on a person's body could be so heavy that the person couldn't expand their chest to breathe.

-- Breathing wasn't a problem for David Duchovny and the other mud-soaked actors who filmed scenes in the pit. Several tongue-in-cheek observers pointed out that the actors were getting the kid of warm mud treatment that pilgrims to hot spring spas pay dearly to undergo.

-- The massive tree limb that attacked Mulder's car windshield was actually from a massive tree that had uprooted itself on a nearly plot of public land. With government permission, the deadwood was hoisted by a crane and dropped onto a 1994 Ford Crown Victoria. So neatly done was this operation that picture car coordinator Nigel Habgood, who had purchased the former police cruiser at an RCMP auction, was able to refurbish it for use in "Kill Switch."

-- Composer Mark Snow was proud of his score for this episode, which compliments what he called a "dark tale with a wonderful aura about it." His choice for much of the episode's musical underpinnings was woodwinds.

-- Sarah Jane Redmond, who played the disturbed Karin Matthews, had a small role in "Aubrey." She also had roles on both of Chris Carter's other series: she was Lucy Butler on Millennium and Inga Fossa on the short-lived Harsh Realm.

-- Katherine Isabelle, who played Lisa Baiocchi, is the daughter of X-Files production designer Graeme Murray. This was her first role on the show, after several tries.

-- Laurie Murdoch (Coroner) played Lydon in "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man."

-- Kate Robbins, who played Lisa's aunt, played the mom of another dysfunctional teenager -- Darin Peter Oswald in "D.P.O."

-- "Hey, Scully, is this demonstration of boyish agility turning you on at all?" I don't know about Scully, but the answer would be yes. And so is that beautiful blue overcoat.