Welcome to “My First Time,” a recurring section on the blog where we query fellow X-Philes about how they came to the show, and then later on how their fandom developed and evolved over the years.
Before we reach out though, we’ve taken the opportunity to tell you all our stories.
I have a confession to make: I am a big chicken. I only like watching horror movies with friends, and even then, I duck behind whatever person or object I can find. A childhood fear of clowns prevented me from watching any Joker-centric episodes of Batman: The Animated Series (now one of my favorite shows of all time) for a good year or so. I’ll read just about anything, but don’t expect me to watch something that scares me without whimpering. So you might wonder how a person like me got into The X-Files.
The truth is quite simple: I love a good mystery, good stories and good characters. So when I found myself bored and channel surfing on a Sunday night at the age of 12, I couldn’t help but stop when I came across two FBI agents bantering cleverly on my TV.
The episode was “Detour” from season five. And though I hadn’t really watched The X-Files before, I was at an age where the show was hard to avoid. It was probably at the height of its popularity, pre-movie, and I knew plenty of people who watched it — at least casually if not religiously. And while I am a big chicken at heart, I was at an age where I felt I could handle what I was watching. Plus, I’m not going to lie; David Duchovny was a great incentive to watch the show for just about any almost-teenage girl at that point in time.
To this day, “Detour” remains one of my favorite monster-of-the-week episodes. It has this perfect blend of Mulder and Scully interactions, just enough suspense to be intriguing without being downright horrifying, and enough of the classic cinematic tropes that made The X-Files so memorable.
I was hooked after that, tuning in week after week, turning my head away for the scenes that grossed me out, but taking pleasure in the weird mysteries the show had to offer. My dad started making what he thought were hilarious jokes about me writing a thesis on The X-Files. My mother surprised me with the first season DVD box set when I finished my freshman year of high school, and I spent years finding ways to collect the rest before I could finally buy what I was missing once the prices dropped significantly in college. I bought X-Files magazines and taped an “X” on my bedroom window. The action figures you see in this blog header are the ones I bought on clearance at a toy store more than a decade ago. They’re still on the nightstand in my childhood bedroom.
And oh, the friendships I made! One of my best friends to this day is a girl I met in middle school, gushing over our mutual love of The X-Files. (After graduating college, we made fools of ourselves meeting Chris Carter when he was promoting the second movie, and we nearly wept with joy after meeting David Duchovny a few years ago.) I also made loads of friends on the Internet — the official message boards to be exact — and I’m still in touch with many of them in some capacity to this day.
My days of planning to be an FBI agent or naming my hypothetical son, “Fox,” may be long gone, but I still reference The X-Files all the time, and still receive Phile-oriented presents from friends. My status as an X-Phile is one of those things that will just never be able to go away, and it all goes back to that fateful Sunday night in 1997.