In the year’s final episode of The X-Files, FBI special agents Mulder and Scully investigate a rash of ”possessions” by huge shape-shifting entities of enormous power. As usual, Scully is skeptical.
Scully: This isn’t an X-file, Mulder. This is capitalism. Big fish eats little fish.
Mulder: [at his desk, looking over the case file] Seagram’s takes over MCA…Disney envelops ABC. Westinghouse swallows CBS. Time Warner’s absorbing the Turner empire…. It fits the pattern.
S: What pattern?
M: Remember those peaceable folk who all dressed alike — collarless shirts, black sack coats —
S: The Kindred?
M: One touched your hand, Scully, and practically had you in the sack.
S: Yes, but he wasn’t human. [Mulder holds his eyebrows aloft, waiting.] You mean —
M: [nodding] Michael Eisner. [Now it’s Scully’s turn with the eyebrows.] How else do you explain a $19 billion deal cinched in a Sun Valley parking lot?
S: Oh, and I suppose if we pricked Ted Turner, green goo would dribble out.
M: Or his eyes might yellow as he quadrupled in length, like our old friend Stretch. Listen to this: At the press conference announcing the merger, Mr. Turner said, [He reads.] ”I’m tired of being little all the time. I want to see what it’s like to be big for a while.”
S: Mmmm. [The phone rings. Mulder answers.]
M: …Yeah. Good. Signal corps? I owe you one. [He chuckles.] Yeah…more than one. [To Scully] Wanna visit the Smithsonian?
In an archive of the National Air and Space Museum…
Fenster: Some say radar kept us even in the Pacific War and that uranium decided it for us, but I say —
M: Fenster has a lot of wisdom, Scully, but he also has pictures.
F: Oh, indeed. These are just the radiomen. [He offers a sheaf of aging black-and-white glossies.]
S: What’s this about?
F: In 1943, members of the Ninth Army operating in New Guinea went schizy—talking back to trees, laughing in unison at nothing. These scars were found on the backs of their calves.
M: Identical divots. No entry wounds.
S: Is that the CBS eye?
M: And the Westinghouse W, impressed on GI flesh eight years before the logo was created.
S: So you conclude that an alien —
F: Radio waves reach outward forever. Whom would you have contacted first?
S: Bob Hope, I suppose.
M: Scully, it fits. The truth is they’re out there — watching us — on TV! And now they’re taking over. They’re consolidating the networks and cable and video, movies and music, books — everything. Eventually all of our entertainment will be controlled by them — and we won’t even know it. It won’t be like knowing that Viacom owns both Paramount and MTV and that Clueless is a Paramount movie. We’ll be at the mercy of some cosmic Clueless House Party! [A beat. He exhales deeply.]
S: Do you think they’ll cancel The Real World?