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.
Case File: AN061114
We continue this series by interviewing Annie, another person I met on the official FOX message boards back in the day. This longtime geek tells us her story.
Radhika: What was your first episode of The X-Files?
Annie: I caught bits and pieces of the early part of season one, but it wasn’t until “Ice” that I saw a whole one [I had a toddler in the I’m not going to bed” stage].
Radhika: What do you remember most from watching “Ice”?
Annie: What I remember most about “Ice”: Thinking it was like an updated Twilight Zone episode, smart and scary, just enough realism to make it (the worm creature) cringe-inducing scary instead of laughable. Oh, and that hot guy from Red Shoe Diaries was on it.
Radhika: What was it about The X-Files that drew you in?
Annie: Smart writing, interesting story lines. At first I missed a good deal of the big arc of “aliens took my sister”, then decided the VCR was my friend.
Radhika: How was your appreciation for the show different from that of other shows you enjoyed in the past or during that time?
Annie: This was the first show that made my geekdom cool. I was always a [Lord of the Rings] reader and went to a Star Wars convention in 1978 (one of only 5 girls there). It was nice to have normal people to talk about a SciFi show and discuss theories without looking like an idiot.
Radhika: Did the show have an impact on your life outside just watching it on TV? How so?
Annie: TXF was one of the first online fan communities, and I joined in around ’98 or ’99. I found [the official site’s message boards] and made many (now) real life friends. As a stuck-at-home single mom, I enjoyed late night antics online with some very clever people. At one point I was somewhat stunned to find out my buddies had a following of sorts in TXF community.
The general formula for shenanigans was 1) [Those friends] started some silliness, 2) Said silliness offended very serious people who were very serious about a TV show, ergo the writer was banned immediately 3) They changed personas and poked sticks at the overly serious people, and 4) [Got] the rest of us into the melee. Childish perhaps, but some really brilliant snark [fiction] resulted. Good times. Many of us eventually met in real life, some numerous times. I was a bridesmaid for one of my Philes, and keep in touch with numerous others now.
Radhika: That’s a pretty enormous impact on your actual life! Have you managed to maintain such intense fandoms with other TV shows or movie franchises since The X-Files?
Annie: As to other fandoms: Not really, I got excited about Farscape while that lasted, and still consider myself a Browncoat, but no other online community has grabbed me. I suppose the newness of the internet has worn off, I believe that was a big part of the success of TXF Official Site for so long, as no one had seen anything like it before. If we went back and looked at the actual message board now we’d be shocked at how primitive it would appear next to what is available now. There was no private messaging, that is why we started new forums on Delphi [which hosted the official forums]. Well, that and the fact [a friend] kept getting banned for being a pain in the a**. To be honest, I am a bit old to be trolling the Harry Potter and Hunger Games sites. If you know of any online communities for those that cater to the AARP crowd please let me know.
Radhika: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your experience as a Phile?
Annie: I still have my… account on Delphi, the Vox [our self-started forum] is still up. It is like a ghost town, whenever I peek in it is sad and happy at the same time. Kind of like looking at your middle school yearbook. Anyone can go pull up old threads and laugh or cry. That is the last real tie I have to my Philedom other than ongoing friendships that made the move to Facebook and real life. I’m going to leave it up in case someone else needs that connection.