Theatre of the Mind ~ Empedocles
This episode is named for a Greek scientist and philosopher, but it's more popularly known as "The Pizza Episode." Some fans found the Moose and Squirrel interaction in this episode far-fetched, especially their discussion about being stuck in an episode of "Mad About You." But I don't see what's so far-fetched about that at all. I'll explain at the end.
1. Way down yonder in New Orleans.
2. Good news, then bad news, then good news: it's called a Dirt Sandwich.
3. Hey, Morticia Addams is still working.
4. It really sucks to get "fired" twice in one night.
5. Jeb has a different idea of how to cut jobs due to the poor economy.
6. TWC1: I really think Mulder should take time to get a new photo ID made.
7. Agent Reyes of Sunshine may find it hard to walk and chew gum at the same time, but she's still investigating those satanic ritual murders with a smile!
8. A "stressor" is defined as any event that produces stress in an individual. There are different determining factors in how a stressor affects a person, including age, gender, personality, experience, and emotional state.
9. Trust me. Getting fired is the *least* of Jeb's stressors right now.
10. First Martha Stewart, now Marilyn Manson. Poor K-Mart is really taking it on the chin lately. Please don't tell me anything bad about Jaclyn Smith.
11. The *real* X-File: Why is a guy like Jeb listening to Marilyn Manson in the first place.
12. Monica sees crispy corpses!
13. TWC2: Knock, knock. Who's there? Woo. Woo who? That's what I said. Woo-hoo!
14. Don't take a pizza man in the shower unless you want soggy topping.
15. "Mad About You" *is* about a married couple, Paul and Jamie Buchman, but there are similarities to that other couple who "just work together." Episodes of both shows focus on the couple adjusting to their life together while dealing with unusual situations that test their mettle and their partnership. Both shows feature the couples' strange friends and deal with the sometimes dysfunctional relationship between each person and his or her parents. In the case of each couple, the male partner had a pet(s) before meeting the female partner, and each couple had a baby together as their shows were coming to an end. Paul Buchman suffered anxiety when someone else named Paul Buchman died; Fox Mulder suffered anxiety when Fox Mulder died ... two or three times. See, the similarities are just creepy!
16. And I think that "Mad About You" is a guilty pleasure for Scully, as her kitchen cabinets are just like Paul and Jamie's!
17. TWC3: Oh how I've missed the banter and the man with the puppy dog face!
18. Scully, just keep in mind pizza men have to come in 30 minutes or less.
19. TWC4: Nice package. I'll say. And the baby gift ain't bad either. (And be careful; admiration of the package is probably what got you two in this predicament in the first place.)
20. Glad it's little Caesar and not Papa John.
21. TWC5: For a man who has dropped dead several times, the man is just drop-dead gorgeous. Leather jacket, blue sweater, white tee - who needs pizza when you've got *that*?
22. Best Mulderism: "$29.08? What'd she get on it, a tank of gas?"
23. Something tells me the pizza guy is about to get a 92-cent tip.
24. Every time Mulder pays for Scully's pizza something bad happens. (And just how did the pizza man know where the phone was?)
25. 1:42 p.m.? Scully was having that pizza for *lunch*?
26. Someone needs to drop kick that nurse into the 21st century.
27. The Protective!Mulder shields come up at the first sight of Agent Doggett. You can see he still doesn't know as much about what went on while he was dead as he'd like.
28. Why doesn't Scully's landlord mind his own business?
29. Doggett the husband? Not unless Chris Carter has a death wish.
30. Mulder probably thinks it's Scully calling him from the other side of the door. He's missed the Good Phone as much as we have!
31. Mulder knows he should just say "no" to Reyes, but his curiosity about Doggett gets the best of him.
32. Okay, I don't mind the "Mad About You" reference, but I draw the line at any similarities to Paul Reiser's *other* show: "My Two Dads."
33. Ouch, I guess all those stressors are making Jeb's face break out in those fiery strips.
34. Great icebreaker, Monica. Why didn't you just say, "You're not as stiff as I remember."
35. How I've missed that great DD subtlety! Another fine example as his anger at and suspicion of Agent Doggett subsides in an instant when he learns that he and Doggett have more in common than he could have imagined.
36. I think Monica wants to share more than just visions with John.
37. Speaking of DoggettVision ... guess they want to prove they can still do those "One Breath" type of effects.
38. A private room the FBI must have been able to upgrade their health care plan since Mulder hasn't been around for awhile.
39. I always feel like somebody's watching me ... and I have no privacy ...
40. "You fellas just don't listen." Tee-hee-hee. That means Nurse Nasty had to kick that *other* fella out of Scully's room. Now if someone would just kick Nurse Nasty.
41. MMM: Doggett's been waiting for this moment since Mulder pushed him in Skinner's office.
42. Hey, buddy, say it, don't spray it!
43. If you want to keep that finger, you'd better get it out of his face.
44. Did Katha know that her brother was listening to Marilyn Manson?
45. Way to cover! No one would *ever* suspect that your brother is on the phone.
46. Poor lady. A flat tire isn't the only bad luck you're going to have today.
47. Even drugged out of her gourd Scully wonders the same thing we all do: what on earth is Doggett doing in her room?
48. Opening yourself to extreme possibilities gets easier when your boyfriend returns from the dead.
49. More DoggettVision ... but no SurroundSound this time.
50. TWC6: Back at the old desk, feet up, chewing on a pencil that probably fell from the ceiling. Everything's back to the way it should be. Except that it's not his office anymore. Rats.
51. A wise man once said if coincidences are just coincidences, why do they feel so contrived?
52. Mulder realizes he's just met the female version of himself.
53. I think you should go visit your sick friend in the hospital too ... and say you're the husband this time.
54. Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire!
55. TWC7: Is the man trying to kill me, or what? Leather jacket, feet on the desk, now rolled up shirtsleeves? If he wears the gray tee, you'll have to revive me.
56. Do you see what I see? (A better question for John might be "Do you hear what I hear?" Hey, I haven't picked on the ears for the whole episode. Give me a break!)
57. It's not that he can't see it; he *won't* see it.
58. Mulder's thinking that perhaps he and Monica were separated at birth.
59. Just when you thought you'd never hear another Mulder Elvis reference ...
60. Take note, Agent Doggett: *This* is the correct way to enter someone's hospital room.
61. Medical Factoid: Abruptio Placentae is the premature separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus. This is a potentially life-threatening complication of pregnancy that may occur during the last trimester. Warning signs can include bleeding, premature contractions, and abdominal pain. The danger increases with the severity of abruption (marginal, partial, and complete), but the risk is usually manageable with immediate and appropriate medical care.
62. MSRM: When Mulder reached out and put his hand on Scully's tummy, I believe at that precise moment any confusion he had about where he fit in melted away. What Scully means to him and the fact that he could have lost her *and* his child is plainly on his face, the relief changing to wonder as he perhaps feels the heartbeat or movement of his offspring for the first time. And Scully's broad smile indicates she now knows everything is going to be all right between them. A wonderfully sweet moment.
63. TWC8: And though Mulder has gone the extra mile to provide bovine-worthy moments in this episode, I think his "I'm gonna be a daddy" realization is too good to pass up. Holy Flaming Cow!
64. She likes Reyes cause she's like *you* Mulder (with a little Melissa thrown in for good measure).
65. Yes, he'll try to help Doggett. He does it all for you, Scully.
66. Scully and Mulder like the new kids, why can't all of you? You just never give up, do you Chris?
67. Jeb tries to explain he may not be who he are.
68. Jeb's middle name, Larold, is probably a nod to one of the show's sound mixers, Larold Rebhun.
69. Manly Men don't discuss "feelings."
70. Awww, we can relate to people who do everything humanly possible to find out what happened to their missing loved ones.
71. I'm sure Katha's glad she turned her brother in to trigger-happy Reyes of Sunshine!
72. It's good to know that Nurse Nasty treats everyone with equal impertinence. (How come she didn't say "Are you the wife?" to the two ladies?)
73. Why go home when you have DoggettVision right there in the hospital?
74. Good for you, Mulder. Nip this stalking thing in the bud right now! (Not to mention that Mulder makes a fine-looking barricade!)
75. Mulder and Doggett never really talk much, do they? What's stopping them?
76. I love the scene between Mulder and Doggett in the hallway. It's a great metaphor for these two men, their beliefs and their tentative relationship diametrically opposed, sizing each other up, feeling each other out, trying to come to terms with the existence and opinions of the other, and finding that they do have a sad and tragic common bond. Mulder firmly establishes his place; Doggett feels pushed to the outside just when he is starting to question what he has seen and what he believes. Fantastic.
77. Mulder's speech about evil going from man to man or age to age is probably what ties best to this episode's title. Empedocles was a Greek scientist-philosopher-poet (c. BC 492 432). He was known for his belief in the "four-element" theory that all things are composed of four "primal" elements: earth, air, fire, and water, and that different mixtures of these four elements produced the materials of our common experience. He also believed that opposing forces love and strife (also known as "good" and "evil") acted upon these elements to combine and separate them into their varied forms (strife separates them, love combines them). Empedocles argued that this cycle continues eternally, thus introducing the possibility of reincarnation and an evolutionary process.
78. Mulder is also saying, "There but for the grace of God go you and I, Agent Doggett." He realizes that both he and Doggett suffered occurrences that left them vulnerable and open to evil, and things could have turned out very differently for both of them.
79. Tasha Yar! I wondered what happened to you when you left the Enterprise!
80. Denise Crosby is listed in the credits as Dr. Speake, whom Mulder identified as Scully's doctor. So why is Scully's doctor treating ER patients? She sure knows how to pick 'em.
81. Oooh, oooh, oooh, I'm on fire.
82. Reyes is definitely the female Mulder - she takes a licking but keeps on ticking!
83. TWC9: Sorry, I saw the gray tee and fainted for a minute.
84. There's probably a Mystic Pizza joke in here somewhere but I can't quite find it.
85. I was hoping we'd see the nice package again ... and the gift too.
86. The sweetness, the playfulness, the teasing, the flirting, the giggling ... Moose and Squirrel show us the flip side of Empedocles' theory. Love is a continuous cycle too.
87. I'm sure Scully thinks she knows why Mulder gave her this gift and what it means ... that he appreciates that they are an extraordinary couple who shared some extraordinary moments ... that what can be imagined can be achieved ... that you must dare to dream ... and you must never give up on a miracle ... but there's no substitute for perseverance and tenacity ... and teamwork ... because no one makes a baby alone ... and as they prepare to commemorate the greatness of this blessed event, they cannot forget the sacrifices they made to make this moment possible.
88. But Mulder just thought it was a pretty cool doll.
89. Oh, and there's that other gift too. Not the bun in the oven. Courage to believe. A gift she hopes to pass on to their little one ... and one that perhaps she has already passed on to Agent Doggett.
90. As Doggett watches Katha infected by evil, the same evil that infected her brother and others before him, does he finally have the courage to believe? You don't spend all that time stalking and having visions and not learn a little something about courage, you know.
91. Now back to that "Mad About You" thing. After studying up a bit on that show, I think that Mulder and Scully could *be* Paul and Jamie in another life (and with another Executive Producer!). As proof, I offer up these actual quotations from episodes of "Mad About You," but I think you can see how easily they could be said by our Dynamic Duo. Observe! (Now I'm talking like Tony Randall!)
MULDER: That's why guys get married, so they can stop wooing. It's exhausting to woo. You know, you woo, you woo, and you woo and then you've gotta go 'Whoa!'
MULDER: You are a ruthless woman. You are entirely without ruth.
SCULLY: Will you tell her what men think when girls give in on the first date?
MULDER: Of course I want the 'boom.' Guys ALWAYS want the 'boom.' We only made up the whole 'bing' and 'bang' just to get the 'boom.'
SCULLY: How are you holding up?
MULDER: Well, if I had two tongues, I'd be the happiest person in the world.
SCULLY: Second happiest.
MULDER: Okay, so the earth didn't move.
SCULLY: The bath mat didn't even move.
MULDER: When did I embarrass you?
SCULLY: Pick a day.
92. "Mad About You" and "The X-Files" share something else in common. When Paul and Jamie finally had a baby on "Mad About You," they had a tough time choosing a name. They finally named their daughter MABEL - which was short for Mothers Always Bring Extra Love. Now it can be told that Scully's baby really wasn't named after Mulder's father as she said. In reality, Scully used this same abbreviation system to name WILLIAM - Wild Intercourse, Little Luck, It's A Mulder!
93. Finally, in researching "Mad About You," I learned something very interesting. There are lots of web sites devoted to this show! They call it "MAY" and the people who like the show are called MAY-niacs. The web sites have synopses of each episode they even have pictures and quotes. They have chat rooms where they talk about this show - a show that's been off the air since 1999! They debate what should have happened to the characters on the show and they overanalyze and nitpick every teeny tiny little detail of every single episode. I don't know about you, but I find that downright scary!
94. Last but not least, I'll always remember "Empedocles" fondly, because it's my closest brush with X-Files greatness. The city I work for received a request from the show to duplicate the uniforms, badges, and vehicles of our police department for an upcoming episode, identified as AB08X17 in the letter. The Police Department called me to ask if I thought the request was legitimate. I assured them it was and the request was passed along to our elected officials for a decision. To make a long story short, the elected officials eventually granted the request, but we then received another letter saying too much time had passed and they would not be able to use the items in that episode, but they would hold them for use at a later time. AB08X17 of course turned out to be "Empedocles." My delusions of serving as a technical advisor were short-lived. But I did get the letters on X-Files stationery, so I guess that was the next best thing.
Perhaps some of you have been wondering if you were ever going to receive this TOTM - I was wondering that myself. Others probably really didn't care. Some of you may have lost interest while you were waiting. I can only say that I had some real life stressors of my own and just haven't had time to focus on this effort, so I apologize for the long delay. But it's finally done! If you didn't read it, I can understand why. If you did read it, I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to "Tell Me Why You Love Me Like You Do." Or not. So that's it.
"Is it what you imagined?" "Not even close."
So many apologies, so little time. So I'll just give one big blanket "I'm sorry" and hope that covers everyone. I'll try to do better. Otherwise, "I think there's an opening coming up in this office soon. You might want to apply."
Apologies, as always,