My problem with the "relationshippers"

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Title: My problem with the "relationshippers"
Creator: Tony R. Boies
Date(s): May 29, 1996
Medium: online post
Fandom: The X-Files
Topic:
External Links: page one of seven; archive link to all comments expanded
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My problem with the "relationshippers" is a 1996 essay by Tony R. Boies.

It was posted to alt.tv.x-files and garnered 243 posts by 92 authors (seven pages!). The topic was the Mulder/Scully relationship, and is one of the first volleys in the Great Shipper War. It is a very early use of the term shipper, at least on Usenet.

Related Discussion

The Essay

You DO all have the right to express your opinions without getting blasted about them. I have no problem with the "relationshippers", I just feel that the concept of a male and a female character becoming romantically involved in a TV series has been done TO DEATH, and it has been immensely refreshing to watch a show where it is not a factor. To even hint at it is to fall victim to a now-tiresome pattern: witness what has been going on with "Frasier." I don't want to see the "X-Files" wind up like "Moonlighting", which was one of the greatest shows ever on TV before its two main characters became romantically involved. Chris Carter will get letters and petitions to get Scully and Mulder together; I say, "If the show ain't broke, don't fix it."

Some Excerpts from the 243 Comments

StefD:

....is that they will *insist* on bringing up the same old hoary irrelevant comparisons like 'Moonlighting' when they want to explain why a mature adult relationship between the two protagonists can NEVER be done on television. The relationship between Mulder and Scully is indeed immensely refreshing - but not because it is platonic or asexual, but because it has the potential to be treated in a sophisticated and mature way.

But Chris Carter may not have the courage that he needs - he may be content to play safe and refuse to allow these characters to develop. Clearly he is afraid of losing a chunk of his audience if he is bold enough to try for something new. He has said frequently (even if also frequently accompanied by contradictory cryptic comments) that they won't get together on the show - and I'm afraid it's the case that people will tell him what they think he wants to hear, whether at conventions or elsewhere.

He may find that he has trapped himself between the devil and the deep blue sea, though - he has given us these wonderful characters. If he develop them in the way which many of us find they are naturally headed, he will lose the "anti's" to loud moaning and complaining. If he chickens out, however, the show will become sterile - and those of us -maybe as many as 50% of your audience, CC - who watch for the character development and interaction will drift away, because there will be nothing for us in the programme any more.

Which were the really successful shows this year? NOT the plain old stories with no character development or interaction - not 'Teso' or 'Hell Money' or 'The List' or even 'The Walk' but 'Pusher', 'WetWired', 'Quagmire' and 'Revelations.'

As Kristel so eloquently expressed it - we don't want the show to be *about* the relationship. we just want the relationship to be *in* the show. We don't need to see it all the time, but we want to know that it's going on behind the scenes.
Parateam: What you said. Where can those of us go who would rather stick pins through our eyes than see "Mulder and Scully: An Affair To Remember"? Where's our support group? Why don't we get to whine when we're flamed by passionate relationshippers? Why? WHY???
Kristel S. Oxley-Johns:

Thank you, sir, for addressing the "Moonlighting" argument and reminding me to say something that I didn't in my original post.

First of all, a MAJOR fact that NO ONE seems to see is that the series "Moonlighting" as about the relationship between the two characters. They were two people with a very strong sexual chemistry that just happened to work on a case every once in a while.

This is not what the X-Files is about, is not what the X-Files has EVER been about, and there is absolutely nothing to support the theory that for a relationship to develop between Mulder and Scully, the show would have to become about the relationship, like "Moonlighting" was.

Also, allow me to add that it does not speak very highly of the creative PTB of the X-Files that EVERYONE assumes that to develop the romantic chemistry between Mulder and Scully, they would have to sink to the predictable and overdone. The X-Files is NEVER predictable and overdone, and that is the same pattern that we relationshippers would like to see should the relationship ever happen...we want a new take on it, something that hasn't been done before.

Lastly, I would like to say that, when we look at this from a biological standpoint, it is actually rather implausible that Mulder and Scully wouldn't eventually give in to their attraction for each other. Think about it: They are two warm-blooded, heathly, attractive adults who share a great affection (I'm sure no one, not even the most ardent anti-relationshipper, would deny that they are affectionate--heck, not even CC denies that) for one another. They are in close proximity to one another HOW MUCH of their time? And they have no other emotional commitments to prevent them from pursuing such a relationship...supposed office place policy aside, folks, it is in their human nature that they would be drawn to one another.

Kristel S. Oxley-Johns -- list-owner, XF-Romantics
Angela: I agree 100%!!! I don't think that anyone wants to see Mulder try to cook Scully a romantic dinner at home, or watch Scully stand in front of a mirror trying on 10 different outfits for their big *date*. I don't want to see a scene where they admit their undying love to each other with violins and roses. This show will ALWAYS be about the files, but I think that it would be only a natural progression for there to be a MORE than platonic love between them. Scully and Mulder have endured so much pain and horror together. If it's true that they only trust each other, why shouldn't they find solace and safety in each others arms? Scully is not, and in my opinion, has never been Mulder's surrogate sister. They are partners, and I think that the potential is there for them to be patners in every sense of the word.
Parateam:

No, no, no. Chris Carter is being courageous by not selling out. Do you people have any *idea* how hard it is to create the kind of complex relationship that Mulder and Scully have? Have any of you actually ever *tried* to create these types of characters before? He's not refusing to let them develop. If he let them play house together, *then* he would be refusing. He would stunt these characters and right now, he's got too much integrity to do that.

[...]

*I* watch it for character development and interaction, so don't claim that the relationshippers are the know-it-alls of character. The show will become sterile if the staff is unable to come up with fresh ideas. IMO, Mulder and Scully are not *naturally* headed for the white picket fence.

All of this aside, it doesn't appear that we can ever agree on what a relationship truly is, but when my fellow "anti-relationshippers" (using your definition) are attacked, I will fight back!!

Viva la platonica!!!
Crunchy Frog:

OK, some anti-relationshippers take extreme exception to part of this post. I really enjoyed Moonlighting. I saw it as two characters who worked well (for characters, not for detectives) together, with snappy retorts and a nice fast-paced dialogue. I never once saw it as interaction between 2 people in love. Sure, there was oodles of sexual tension, but sexual tension is a dime a dozen.

THAT'S where the similarity to the X-files exists. There is - not all the time, not every episode, but here and there, just like in real life - sexual tension between Mulder & Scully in the form of comments, quips, etc. To be blunt, I think equating sexual tension with love degrades both states. I've worked with gents with whom I've had a great 'joking' relationship, comments that would make Mulder blush, but it was all a fun *working* relationship. None of these guys fell in love with me, nor did I fall in love with them. LOTS of people have "platonic sexual tension", if I can call it that, where you tease eachother about things that other people would find intimate. This is the nature of the relationship that I see between Mulder & Scully. Stating that the "natural" progression of such a relationship is romantic love seems - to me, at least - a juvenile take on the states of human interaction.

Men and women can be friends without being in love with each other. Men and women can be attractive people, and be friends without being in love with each other. Men and women can be attractive people, be friends, and have deep-seated trust for each other without being in love with each other. Men and women can be attractive people, be friends, have a deep-seated trust for each other, and joke about the various uses of dessert topping WITHOUT BEING IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER.

When I watch the interactions between Mulder and Scully, I see trust, respect, and even 'love' - the sort of love that two friends who have been through a lot together would share. To say that a WWII vet 'loved' his comrades, people he'd been through life-or-death situations with, would not be to suggest he had a sexual or romantic love for them. The problem that *I* have with relationshippers is that they only seem to be able to see the one kind of love - romantic/sexual - in a world with an infinite variety of human relationships.

There. Enough of my contribution to the squabble. Anyway, most anti-relationshippers don't bother to post about it beacuse, after all, the creator of the series (hence the omnipotent God over the characters) says it won't happen, so hey, when you have a deity on your side, you don't need to raise a fuss.
J.D. Haas: Actually, it hasn't been done to death. What has been done to death is stringing the audience along forever and ever until the series is in it's last, dying breaths. Then, in one last ploy for ratings, TPTB finally get the characters together long after anyone cares anymore. That's the real lesson of the oft repeated example of Moonlighting. This also happened with Remington Steele -- NBC even dragged Pierce Brosnan back from a James Bond movie -- the one that Timothy Dalton ended up doing -- to make a very contrived little post mortem that finally got the characters together. This is what I would really hate to see happen to the XFiles. I agree with you that the relationship that M&S currently have is immensely refreshing for a television series. They are two intelligent professional people who function as equals and as friends. I would hate to see them lose any of that. And it would be totally out of character for both of them to suddenly turn all warm and fuzzy and I would hate to see that. But wouldn't it also be refreshing to see a romantic relationship that is based on friendship, respect, loyalty, shared history and love AND lust as opposed to the usual lust, lust and lust relationships that populate TV Land. To recap what someone else has said --We don't want the show to be about the relationship, we just want to know it's there.
Barbara:

Even some of us "relationshippers" (though liking to fantasize about the possibilities) really DON'T want to see this great partnership/friendship altered by a romantic liason. It IS possible to have an intimate relationship with someone without having sex... and in every way (except the obvious) and it is just as satisfying and fulfilling.

I think I identify so strongely with this pair because I have been in just such a platonic friendship with someone of the opposite sex and I wouldn't have traded one minute of it for a roll in the hay.

"Willing to believe in extreme possibilities. . ."
elizabeth:

Hear! Hear! You guys have said it so well. I didn't respond to the original post about why "relationshippers" deserve to be heard because I had nothing to add, but I was applauding in my chair! Four more seasons with Mulder and Scully's relationship remaining stagnant is, indeed, not something I'm looking forward to.

At the risk of being torched, though, I'd be interested to know the ages and/or marital status of those who are so vehemently opposed to seeing Our Heroes' relationship move on to a higher level. The posts I've read from the anti-relationshippers all seem so squeamish. As if they were contemplating seeing Mom and Dad "doing it," and the very idea was repulsive. All of the "ewwww's" and "yuck's" at the very thought of a more intimate relationship makes me think they have a rather immature view of real-world partnerships/marriages. (But I could be wrong.)

A real relationship (except very young newlyweds) does not revolve, in most instances, around sex. (Or even romance.) It's a big part, but not the whole. It involves caring and support, patience and being able to overlook whole bunches of bad habits. Mulder and Scully already exhibit a lot of this. Why does a sexual relationship have to get in the way of their work? And why does the show necessarily have to be about this relationship, should it occur? It doesn't. But, as Kristel said, we'd like it at least acknowledged occasionally.

This is not a criticism of those who oppose a romantic bond. They have their arguments, and mostly good ones. I'm just really curious to see if there is any correlation between youth (and/or the lack of involvement in a long-term relationship) and a reluctance to see Mom and Dad..er... excuse me - Mulder and Scully get a little closer. I could very well be way off base. (There must be a connection, though. I'll find it!)
StefD:

Turn about is fair play!

You've all had it very much of your own way so far......but we're not going away this time :-)
TwoSpooky:

Stef, I couldn't agree more! Having "Teso" and "Hell Money" come right after "Pusher" was just awful.

'Sterile' is an excellent word for these two episodes. Also 'wooden,' maybe. They had less feeling -- and interesting dialogue -- than a test pattern. If CC is deliberately trying to tone down the chemistry between M&S, he's going to kill the show.

Without the relationship, the show is just another horror movie. Without the horror element, the show is just another drama. It's the *combination* of the two that makes XF such a great show -- it's the combination that makes us watch!!!

M&S's partnership needs to *evolve*, or the show's quality will decline. And that evolution, IMHO, seems to be toward a love relationship. Hell, like so many partners, they already *act* like a married couple...
Sheryl Martin:

I think the major problem that people have to deal with is the concept of two mature adults who may not leap into bed at the first chance... sorry, the best example I can give is "Melrose Place"... no offence meant at the fans, honest - my mother watches it faithfully! after all, for years the idea of a romance on television was based almost solely on the chase and the bedroom scene, steamy and with lots of passion for the viewers to drool over... which is great if that's all you want...

but I think that CC could definitely write a slow, steady REALISTIC romance where the two casually court and get together eventually... come on, folks - in real life you very rarely if ever just leap into bed on the first date - and I'm bloody sure that Mulder and Scully would be much more shy about the first kiss, never mind discussing the bedroom stuff...

so first we get a shy hug... maybe in a bit the first kiss... but not that they leap into bed at the end of the first date; no matter how it might appeal to people... frankly, I think there's alot that could be done with a subplot of a romantic relationship... if any good writers dare to take it on and make it work without resorting to the typical Hollywood stereotypes of having bedroom scenes and sweaty shower scenes... hmm... interesting thought that... excuse me while I go write some fanfic...
Karen Green:

Let me say first, that I believe both relationshippers and anti-relationshippers have a perfect right to their opinions, no matter what each thinks of the other.

That being said, I think the "Moonlighting" analogy needs to be, ahem, put to bed. As a relationshipper eloquently pointed out, the point of that show was the attraction to each other. So, it's a dead issue. Likewise, "Lois and Clark," in which everyone knew that Clark was in love with Lois from day one. The romantic/carnal inclinations of Mulder and Scully have never been a central issue in The X-Files.

Still, I find myself siding with the anti-relationshippers. I don't think that Chris Carter is a coward for not exploring, or depicting emotional growth. I think that both Mulder and Scully have shown enormous emotional growth in their relationship, and it has to do with their trust for, and relaince on, each other. Why people think that this implies a necessary route towards romantic involvement mystifies me. If they were both men, or both women, would there be the same calls for their trust and attachment to turn to love? If the answer is no, then I think it means that there is not an inevitable progression from shared experience, trust, and affection to passion and love. What if one of them were married? Would that also mean that their growing trust and affection had to turn to romance?

There's also the possibility that, attractive as we all find them, they're just not each other's type!

Chris Carter has said he wanted to shake up the conventional stereotypes by making the woman the skeptic and the man the believer. I like to think he further wanted to shake up convention by showing a mature, strong and committed friendship between two people of the opposite sex. I remember being horribly angry at the ending of "When HArry Met Sally..." - after trying, as I thought, to show that men and women CAN be friends without sex getting in the way, it succumbed to its own desire for conventional romance. I want to believe - that men and women can be friends just as men and men or women and women are friends. I want to believe that it doesn't all come down to being "abducted by our rampaging hormones."

My name is Karen, and I'm an anti-relationshipper.
StefD:

We were constantly attacked and that's why we left....but now *we're ba-ack*....and we're not going to be frightened off this time however loudly you (not you personally) all shout :-)

I know the definition of a relationship - I looked it up in my Oxford English Dictionary! But we are talking about a specific type of relationship here, as I stated in my original post - not a platonic asexual relationship. That is not what CC has created in this show. If that was what he intended to create, then he has signally failed if 50% of his audience don't agree that's what he's achieved!

You can't prove a point by making poor analogies - which is what 'Moonlighting' is. And it has been hashed over many times before.

Likely we'll never agree, and as I said before, at the end of the show's run, half the audience will be dissatisfied. I just hope it's your half and not mine ;-) But who knows?
Jen: Know what's weird? I consider myself a relationshipper (who doesn't want anything to happen *on* the show, except for lots and lots of UST...I like fanfic...) and I can't figure something out. It seems to me that the people who keep bringing up sex are the so-called anti-relationshipers. I keep hearing "shippers" say relationship, in my mind implying feelings and intimacy. not necessarily physical so much as emotional and spiritual. (sounds cheesy..I know. :p) And non-shippers assume that means sex. <shrug> Am I mssing something?
Kristel S. Oxley-Johns:

It comes to my attention that there is a great deal of misunderstanding as to what exactly it is that we "relationshippers" want in the show. To say that we want Mulder and Scully to simply fall into bed together like would happen on any other show on TV is unfair, and patently untrue...One of the reasons we 'shippers have kept to ourselves for so long is because every time we dare to bring our opinions forth, we get words that we never spoke shoved into our mouths and then we get flamed for them...

Allow me to clarify.

There is not a single person I have come accross, the the xf-romantics list or elsewhere, that can truly fall into the classification "relationshipper" who wants to see Mulder and Scully indulge in cheap sex. They are about SO much more than that. Sure, the fanfic abounds with it, but I have already mentioned, emphatically, that what we want is NOT necessarily what is depicted in the fanfic, so please do not make those comparisons.

Allow me, here and now, to dispell the idea that to us, "relationship" = "sex". While, yes, sex would be an inherent part of what we wish to see between Mulder and Scully, we are looking for something more all-encompassing. Let's face it...on TV, cheap affairs are a dime a dozen...The appeal of the X-Files is that it DOES dare to be different...so why this insistence that the only way to avoid falling into the ratings trap that comsummating a relationship rife with romantic tension creates is to avoid romance all together? Why not handle the romance in a way that no one handles romance? Why not create a relationship that would blow people's minds?

The attraction that we 'shippers see as existing between Mulder and Scully exists on all levels--the intellectual (most of Mulder's flirty lines happen when Scully is at her brainiest...,) the emotional, and yes, the physical. We wish to see their relationship reflect all of this--the abiding respect, the fact that in their quest their lives and souls have become inextricably bound together, the attraction, the trust, the affection--we wish to see all this commingled in a manner of relationship that surpasses any seen on television these days. We do not want the standard TV fling, rife with lust and angst afterwards...we want what those other shows barely manage to scratch the surface of.

We see hints of this bonding process in the show as it exists now, and we are greatly encouraged by the promise that there will be a "deepening" of Mulder and Scully's partnership. We are not even asking for immediate gratification in this matter--we are enjoying the UST too much, and we hope that it will continue to grow and develop. But we do feel that eventually, there will come a time when the relationship must move to that next level, that it must develop into a romance based on the love and trust and admiration and attraction that we see between them and have seen all along. We feel that this evolution of the relationship by necessity must, as one of its lesser points, include sex, simply because there comes a point in such a bonding where there is nowhere left to go but to dedicate your entire being, heart, mind, body, and soul, to the desires and welfare of your counterpart.

This dedication does NOT, contrary to any rumor that WILL EVER exist, have to preclude the quest that set all this in motion in the first place...they would not take their attention from the quest to dote on one another. If anything, they would be even more drive on the quest. Remember, they want the same thing...to take the relationship to that level would only enforce that desire, because then, they would want it not only for themselves, but for each other.

It is the manifestation of this bond, of utter trust and dedication, which we wish to see reflected in the show. But I cannot emphasize strongly enough that we do not wish to be inundated with it on the show. None of us wants the "Mulder and Scully Romance Hour." No one has ever stated such a thing, and it is the rankest, most arrogant form of presumtion to imply that we have! We DO NOT wish for the relationship to consume the show. We mrely want the occasional glimpse of it, because there is a brand of purity in such dedication and committment and devotion that would contrast wonderfully and add the tiniest light of hope to a show where the miracles of nature and science are continually twisted and tainted by the mechinations of man and monster. After all, in a loving relationship, and yes, we TRULY believe that Mulder and Scully are deeply in love, what more pure expression of trust and devotion is there than making love?

If, somehow, we 'shippers seem to place an emphasis on the physical side of the Mulder/Scully relationship, it is because it is easier to grasp onto the obvious than to take the time to go into an in-depth explanation as to what we see and what we would like to see. However, I know that there is not a single person on the xf-romantics mailing list who has equated a Mulder/Scully one night stand with the relationship that we wish to see. Whoever said such a thing I do not think could be called a relationshipper in any form of the word. There is so much more to it than sex, but in a sex-centered society, I guess that is all most people want to see...

I hope that this will clarify the relationshipper POV and put an end to the petty bickering as to what constitutes a relationship.
TwoSpooky: Dare I say...this is why relationshippers started staying away from the newsgroup in the first place? There's a rather large mailing list full of people -- xf-romantics -- afraid to come over here and discuss their favorite tv show for fear of being insulted and flamed! And that's exactly what's happening right now. I guess this does prove that X-Files fandom is a big thing, since it seems to have its own unique brand of the petty crap that goes along with every bonafide fandom... *sigh* Come on, guys. I can debate the question of whether or not M&S should/ could/would ever fall in love (and yes, I am a relationshipper -- if we must put stickers on our foreheads) all night long. But what's been insinuated here is that wanting and/or *seeing* the development of a romantic relationship between M&S means that one is immature and somehow emotionally stunted. That's not only not nice, it's not true, either.
Parasteam:

Okay, hold the phone here. The whole reason that the *idea* of who was more *mature* about the relationship or lack thereof came from a Relationshipper who wondered if us anti's were immature because we couldn't see the possibilities for a romantic relationship. So -- you guys started it.

Oh, and why are we now the *anti-faction*? Really, we're trying to get away from being anti anything. ;-)
Crunchy Frog: Perhaps that's part of the problem for non-romantics and relatioshipper in seeing eye-to-eye: tactics are for wars and battles. We want a discussion. Without the name-calling, without the hissy fits of offended dignity (OK, I have to admit, I have my hissy fits and I'll continue to have them... I do my best work when I'm in a snit :) and perhaps, just maybe, listening to people's views before judging them. Or editing them for that matter.
Sandra Ballasch: My objection is to the tone of this discussion and not the sex vs no-sex argument for the characters. There has been a firm (and IMO rudely stated) assumption by one group (for want of a better term - relationshippers) that the other group (again, for want of a better term - antirelationshippers) is either warped/cowardly/maladjusted - take your pick - because we (or I since I can't really speak for anyone else on this issue) see the current state of affairs as both mature and realistic. For me this is part of the attraction of the show BECAUSE it is realistic and more like real life than what happens on most television or in the movies. I think Carter, et al, have offered us a giant accolade by assuming that we can deal with a show that mixes fantasy (the plotlines) and reality (the way the characters interact with each other and the world around them) in a highly skilled manner.
TwoSpooky:

Why is this such a sensitive topic? (Yes, I am asking a real, *not* a rhetorical, question.) I'm just curious as to why everyone has such strong opinions about this (yes, myself included)... I just find it interesting that (with a few notable exceptions) the M&S romance idea is either loved passionately or hated passionately. It's just curious how bitterly factionalized XF fandom is over this issue... We can't seem to have a calm, *rational* discussion. I find this disturbing... and I don't think it serves *either* side -- since both have done it -- to make insulting pseudo-psychoanalytic diagnoses in place of real argument!

Maybe the real reason that this discussion seems to have degenerated into dime-store psychoanalysis is because there is a *fundamental* difference between so-called "relationshippers" and "anti- relationshippers" as to *how* the M&S relationship is viewed. Different people react to the characters in very different ways, and what one person might take as a sign of UST, another won't.

I liked the suggestion (I forget who made it) that CC might be keeping the exact nature of M&S's relationship deliberately ambiguous. That's a very likely possibility.

Different people, with different personalities, will see different things, since there *is* a fundamental vagueness/ambiguity as to exactly *what* M&S are, or could become, to each other. Interpretations will vary. That doesn't make one more psychologically sound or more mature than the other -- so let's quit insulting each other, huh?
Sarah Stegall:

TheDDEB fights among itself...

Julia, I have to support Steff here.

The reason I think "Moonlighting" is a poor and irrelevant analogy is that the whole *point* of Moonlighting was the sexual tension between the lead characters. The story was never really about the mysteries--it was about the Blue Moon detective agency and the quirky, romantic, funny people who ran it/staffed it. Ditto "Cheers", the other TV show people love to compare X-Files to. Cheers had one and only one premise: Sam and Diane were mad for each other--how long could they hold out?

Both of the aforementioned shows were romantic comedies. They were never supposed to focus on anything beyond the sexual tension. Once the sexual tension went, the shows collapsed (for some of us) like a balloon with a leak. I think a better comparison with The X-Files would be another dramatic series: "Hill Street Blues", which had two of the principal characters involved in a passionate affair from day one. The X-Files is constrained from doing this more by the lack of a large cast than by anything else.

The X-Files, however, unlike most TV dramas, is plot-driven. When the relationship is incorporated into that plot, as in "Tooms", it serves to cement *our* relationship to the characters even as it advances the story. If Mulder's relationship to Scully had been merely platonic, much of the dramatic power of "One Breath" would have gone out the window.

Bottom line for an ongoing episodic melodrama: viewers come back for the characters. This has been proven time and time and time and time again in the ratings. People watch "ER" for the characters, not to learn the details of a bowel resection. People watch "The X-Files" to see *these* two characters solve mysteries, not just any two random investigators. And if these two characters are smart, sexy, and available, the inevitable happens in the minds of viewers. Maybe it will never happen onscreen. I agree with the poster who said a really *grownup* sexual relationship has never been attempted on television (no, I'm not talking about sex here). But the reasons for not having Mulder and Scully romantically involved have nothing to do with the realities of human behavior we all know and understand. It has to do with the commercial and artificial constraints of network television. If "The X-Files" was a movie and not an ongoing series, Mulder and Scully would be conducting a passionate affair under Skinner's very nose. But this would give the show an emotional closure an ongoing series cannot afford.

And for the poster who complained that having the leads romantically involved was just old hat--so what? The reason it's a cliche is because it has *been* satisfying audiences for thousands of years. It reinforces our understanding of the way people really behave, which is what drama is all about.

Julia, you know I'm not picking on you personally. I'm just standing on your post to make my stump speech. I'll get down now. :D Thanks.

Your sister in squidge.

Jonathan Day:

To be honest, I /don't/ want there to be any on-screen relationship. What the characters do between episodes is their concern, but, personally, I find visually sexual elements in anything (especially sci-fi!) highly unpleasent. If they must, they must. I'll just have to find something else to watch. There's no shortage of surreal, spooky, relationship-free sci-fi, after all.

IMHO, CC is doing a good job trying to balance all the different sides, giving all the fans as much of what they want as he can. Whatever people say about what he's done, I hope CC gets credit for trying to consider the feelings of /everyone/.
Sarah Stegall:

You know, the longer I read this thread, the more the question arises in my tiny little mind:

Why the hell is everyone so afraid of sex?

The relationshippers bend over backwards to say they prefer Mulder and Scully in a sexual relationship. The anti-relationshippers equate sex between the two as something slightly less degrading than heroin addiction and child molestation.

Sex is surely not something to apologize for, snicker about, or talk about behind one's hands. As an expression of desire, it celebrates the physical body as well as the mind. Are we really all such complete victims of Western culture's all pervading mind/body spiritual split that we truly believe an intellectual relationship is somehow superior to one that also incorporates physical expressions of love?

Everyone pays pious lip service to the *idea* that sex can be a natural and beautiful thing, but everything I have read in here, from both sides of the question, seems to me to be denying that. Personally, I think it is latent Puritanism.
J.H. Madigan:

I've been following this thread for a while, and now, even though it has been flogged into the turf, I can no longer resist the urge to reply. ;-)

I'm seeing a lot of "we" and "they" stuff about various "factions", and I would like to stress that I speak only for myself and not for any alleged faction. I do not whish to see M&S romantically involved, not because I don't see any UST (I see quite a bit actually), but because the X-Files thrives on ambiguity and a lack of resolution. A&LoR is present in everything from the scripts to the mood to the camera work. It is integral to the show. An M&S romantic entanglement, or at least the sort a lot of people seem to want, would be too pat and defined for the show and therefore I don't think it would work. Furthermore, I think it would fundamentally alter the nature of the X-files because of its incongruity. I keep seeing a lot of descriptions of M&S that include words like "spiritual", "soul mates", etc., descriptions that seem more representative of a love story from mythology than from anything which exists in the X-Files universe, or in the real world for that matter. One of the things I really like about M&S 's relationship as it is is the fact that it's not perfect. They disagree, they fight, they are sometimes distant and sometimes close, remarkably like real people for a TV show.

As an example of how I think the X-Files would be fundamentally altered, imagine M&S in a perfect, unassailable romantic bond. Then imagine _Wetwired_ and Scully's sudden paranoid doubt in Mulder and his role in their work. Imagine how the lack of doubt and ambiguity would render the entire episode and all the plot and character development that takes place in it entirely unbeleiveable.

Hell, we're already asked to accept overwhelming government conspiracies and aliens, not in isolation but in league with one another. How much more can one take? ;-)

I think _Ouiblette_ is another good example. Look at how M&S's relative distance and misunderstanding are integral to the character development and plot of _that_ episode. I know, fear of The Rift made a lot of people scream. But without the lack of certainty between M&S the whole story would have to be different, and in my opinion a lot of dramatic tension would have to be sacrificed. This would not be an improvement.

I'm sure CC & company could write an excellent romantic story. I just don't think it can be done in the X-Files.
Robin:

Frankly, I can see a Mulder/Scully relationship from both points of views. On one hand, there is so much tension going on right now that to some people it might seem inevitable that there be some sort of romantic involvement between Mulder and Scully. on the other hand, a relationship could destract from the whole point of the show: the two agents' search for The Truth. I've read so many posts debating both sides of the argument. (I'm not going to annoy everyone-If you want to read what other people have posted, read their posts.) A good ending of the series (god forbid) would be their relationship finally being agnowledged. However, I could also see Chris Carter ending the series with a cliffhanger. (a devil's god?)

After spending days thinking of what I actually thought on this issue, I think all i would like to see is each character coming to grips with their feelings towards each other. I wouldn't even mind if they didn't even reveal their feelings toward each other. then again, I wouldn't be upset be either a sexual relationship or a truly platonic one. Stubborn as I am, I am very open minded. (The believing skeptic? That's me)

Actually, the way I would like the series to end would be a realization on the part of Scully that MULDER was conspirating against her. That would truly be a trust no one scenario. Then again, I'm perfectly happy just to watch The X-Files, because whatever it is, it's still the best show on TV.

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