When I first saw an episode of the X-Files, I was far too young to truly appreciate the famed sexual tension between its two leads. To me, it was all just filler between the scary monsters and the exciting shots of adults who could make their own phone calls without having to boot their older siblings off the Internet first.
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The '90s were a dark time.
So when I rewatched Season 1 on Netflix recently, I looked forward to a new, adult appreciation of the long-praised, nuanced relationship between Mulder and Scully. And, well, I ended up as disappointed as Eugene Tooms in a hepatitis ward. The relationship, which the world remembers as steamy enough to get mainstream audiences interested in a show featuring extraterrestrial Amish sex-killers, mostly just comes off as awkward. Mulder knocks on Scully's motel door late at night to invite her out running, calls her in the middle of the night for personal reasons, constantly gets in her personal space, and actually reaches out and grabs a necklace that's resting between her boobs because she's trying to turn away and he's not done talking.