There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long long ago…
I’ve had this conversation a couple times this year. After hearing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” someone naturally asks, “What ghost stories? Who tells ghost stories at Christmas?” Well, beyond A Christmas Carol (or my preferred A Muppet Christmas Carol), we’ve got this episode of The X-Files.
I haven’t watched The X-Files in years, but for a while there, around seasons four through six, when I was a big fan. And at that time, this was one of my favorite episodes. Yet, as I did a little research for some good Christmas episodes for the Christmas Challenge, I was surprised to realize I had forgotten all about it. Well, it was fun to revisit it.
Especially since I could say certain lines word for word. Seriously, I had watched it a lot. Saved on a good ol’ VHS for a while there. Anyway…
This was one of those unique episodes for The X-Files when Scully and Mulder weren’t really following a real case. Instead, Mulder suckered Scully to investigate ghosts (which, of course, Scully didn’t believe in) in the late hours of Christmas Eve. The ghosts were the original owners of a condemned house, two lovers who committed a lovers’ pact murder-suicide and come back every Christmas Eve in the hopes to convince others to do the same. After all, they have a reputation to keep.
Honestly, I forgot how funny this episode was, which I think is why I enjoyed it so much. Not only were the lines funny (“Ok, I’m afraid. But it’s an irrational fear.”) to the choreographed flashlights as they wandered the house.
And, of course, there’s Lily Tomlin and Ed Asner, who play the ghosts Lydia and Maurice. They’re a perfect pair, walking the line between creepy and comedic and just genuinely entertaining. Watching them manipulate Mulder and Scully was just a delight — Lydia’s creepy laughter as she gets carted out of the room after shooting Scully or Maurice’s psychology breaking Mulder of his peppy ghost-hunting mood.
Most of all, though, I loved the classic attitudes of Mulder and Scully. Mulder is absolutely fascinated by the ghostly tricks he’s seeing throughout the house (mainly by Lydia), and Scully goes into skeptic panic mode, even to the point of actually fainting at the sight of the ghosts, which is actually uncommon for the rational Scully.
But the ‘shipper in me prevails, with the final scene. Mulder and Scully end their ghostly encounter with some happy gift opening, making us wonder once again when these crazy kids will ever get together. (I guess we know the answer to that now.)
To this day, I always wonder what Scully got Mulder in that wee box, and I’m still pretty sure that Mulder’s gift for Scully was an empty paper towel roll wrapped in Christmas paper. Oh, TV props.