CTP Episode of the Day - 09.11.06

Today's Cherished Episode: Wetwired (3x23)
Original Air Date: May 10, 1996
Written By: Mat Beck
Directed By: Rob Bowman

Mulder and Scully discover a conspiracy involving mind control through television signals that's responsible for a series of murders in a small town and begins causing Scully herself to behave strangely.

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"All I know is television does not make a previously sane man go out and kill five people, thinking they're all the same guy. Not even 'Must-See TV' could do that to you."

Some "Wetwired" Tidbits & Musings:

-- It has been suggested that the episode title "Wetwired" comes from the short story "Johnny Mnemonic" by William Gibson (who wrote two X-Files episodes, "Kill Switch" and "First Person Shooter"). In the story, Johnny's brain is "wetwired" to a computer hard drive. The term was popularized as referring to a brain consisting of living and mechanical parts.

-- This episode was the first and only episode written by Mat Beck, special effects producer for The X-Files. Among his other talents, he wrote his master's thesis at Harvard on visual perception.

-- Beck drew his inspiration for the story not only from the debate about television violence but his desire to explore the effect television had on people. "The concept evolved a little bit," he conceded, noting that it was "move complex at first" -- as he thumbed through neurology texts studying how the brain interacts with visual media -- and ultimately simplified as the episode developed.

-- It was supposed to be Mr. X who brought the information about this case to Mulder, but Steven Williams had a production conflict with his other series, L.A. Heat. So the character of "The Plain Clothed Man" was created to bring this case to Mulder. Of course, it was later established that he was serving as a messenger for Mr. X. "They gave three of my scenes to another character," confided Williams, who said the producers of his new show were X-Files fans who had pledged to try and work around such logistical problems for any future XF appearances by Williams. Fortunately for The X-Files, unfortunately for Williams, L.A. Heat didn't last that long. Also unfortunately for Williams, "X" would also soon meet an untimely end.

-- Oopsie! Dr. Stroman said he was called *down* from D.C. to the Frederick County Psychiatric Hospital to investigate the killer from the teaser, but Frederick County, Maryland, is north of D.C., so Dr. Stroman should have been called *up* from D.C.

-- Looks like Mulder got the economy room on this trip. His room seems to have a single bed, while Scully gets a luxury suite complete with sofa and fireplace.

-- The Riddocks' house was actually the home of X-Files location scout David Caughlan.

-- Co-producer Paul Rabwin provided the voice of the game show host heard in the episode as Helene Riddock imagines she's seeing her husband in a hammock with a beautiful blonde.

-- When Chris Carter remarked that his XF pals didn't let David Duchovny live down the fact that he lost on Celebrity Jeopardy, he wasn't kidding! In "Wetwired," in the home of the lady who shot her neighbor, Scully opens a trunk to find many neatly labeled videotapes -- one of which is a tape labeled Jeopardy.

-- "Wetwired" features the series' first "John Gilnitz" reference. The name John Gilnitz is an amalgamation of three of the show's writers/producers: JOHN Shiban, Vince GILligan, and Frank SpotNITZ. In "Wetwired," John Gilnitz is the name of the victim in the hammock. There is also a "John Gilnitz" reference in the Shiban/Gilligan/Spotnitz written episodes "Leonard Betts," "Christmas Carol," "Dreamland II," "Theef," and "Jump the Shark."

-- Oopsie! There was no car next to the utility pole that Mulder climbed before he climbed it. But when he came down, he stepped on a trunk of a car.

-- "Maybe it's a job for Special Agent Pendrell and the Sci-Crime lab." Can you imagine how Pendrell would have melted had he heard Scully utter that phrase?

-- Oopsie! Scully knocks a stack of tapes to the floor when she is searching behind the TV, but in the next shot, they are neatly stacked again.

-- Oopsie! Scully fires six rounds at the hotel room door, but later in the episode, Skinner said that she fired four rounds.

-- On her bedside table, Mrs. Scully has photos of Dana and Melissa but none of her other two children. I guess she always liked the girls best!

-- Mulder puts an "X" on his window for the first time since "Anasazi."

-- "Bring it home, boys." I can't say exactly why (maybe something in the way Duchovny delivers it), but it's one of my favorite Mulder lines ever.

-- "Wetwired" was the episode in which Mulder claimed to be red-green colorblind. He said he was unaffected by the video signal because of that fact. In reality to become a Special Agent at the FBI he would have had to pass a color vision test.

-- "Scully, you are the *only* one I trust." Another of my favorite Mulder lines, most definitely because of the way Duchovny delivers it.

-- When Mulder comes to visit Scully in the hospital, he turns off the television, which is showing footage of a plane crash. This is most likely a reference to Gillian Anderson's hosting of the TV special Why Planes Go Down.

-- This episode marks the first time one of the agents (Scully) uses the name "Cancer Man" for the Cigarette-Smoking Man.

-- The time Mulder arrives at the house where he eventually runs into Mr. X is 5:17 p.m. 5/17 is the birth date of producer/writer Frank Spotnitz's wife.

-- Given its subject matter, this would seem to have been a challenging episode for Gillian Anderson dramatically, but according to the actress it didn't really pan out that way. "It's odd, because it's big emotionally, but I'm not in it all that much because I disappear for a short period of time," she said. "The stuff that I am in is dramatic, and the challenge is to lay it out in a believable way without going too overboard. Hopefully it all cuts together okay."

-- The first meeting between X and the Cigarette-Smoking Man in the closing scene provided a jolt for some viewers, and the producers labored to make sure the sequence had just the right look. "We spent a couple of hours, take after take, of just me coming down the alley," laughed Steven Williams, who added with some irony that "We spent a couple of hours doing that, and about a half-hour on the dialogue."

-- Scully's motel room was actually a set constructed within a studio soundstage, as was the office for the Lone Gunmen. The episode also experienced late sound problems that caused postproduction to drag well into the night/early morning prior to its telecast.

-- Once & Future Retreads: Sheila Larkin reprised her role as Maggie Scully. Linden Banks, who played Joseph Patnik (the killer in the teaser), also played the antiabortion activist Rev. Sistrunk in "Colony." Crystal Verge (Dr. Lorenz) appeared in "Red Museum" in a red turban, reading instructions channeled by Odin. Joe Maffei (the Motel Manager) played a Guard in "Eve." John McConnach (Officer) played a Sailor in "Dod Kalm." Colin Cunningham (Dr. Stroman) was also Lt. Terry Wilmer in "End Game" and Escalante the leper in "731." Tim Henry (the Plain-Clothed Man) was the marshall Scully handed the Gregors over to in "Colony." The last two actors (well, their characters) were each impersonated by the Alien Bounty Hunter in the "Colony/End Game" two-parter.

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(Thanks to chrisnu for today's pics.)

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

Polly