Did ''The X-Files'' and ''ER'' leave you with questions? -- EW tries to find you some answers

By Joe Dziemianowicz
Updated March 12, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Ah, February sweeps. We laughed, we cried, we…scratched our heads. Sure, all those Very Special Episodes were fun, but they left behind a host of burning questions. We search for some anwers:

The Practice

Q: We learned that Lindsay (Kelli Williams) earns a whopping $242,000 a year. So why does she need Helen (Lara Flynn Boyle) as a roommate?

A: Simple, says the show’s coexecutive producer, Jeffrey Kramer: ”Money doesn’t give you comfort. Friends do.” Perhaps, but we wouldn’t rest on that closing argument. ”Very few people making a quarter of a million dollars are anxious to have a roommate,” says Michael Santo, head of New York City-based Roommate Finders. Of course, having the two cohabitate helps Practice writers create more scenes for Boyle. And Williams has her own theory. ”Maybe she secretly owns the brownstone,” offers the actress, ”and she’s getting rent from Helen.” A money-hungry lawyer. Now that we can understand.

The Grammys

Q: First, the usually shy George Lucas shows up as a presenter at the Golden Globes. Then he pops up at the Grammys. Is this a Jedi mind trick?

A: According to Lucas’ spokeswoman, Lynn Hale, there’s no mysterious Force at work. ”He was at [the Grammys] to honor music in the movies,” says Hale. And the gigs had nothing to do with a certain upcoming blockbuster? ”He’s obviously decided to raise his profile,” says director Lawrence Kasdan, cowriter of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. ”I think he’s anxious to have people see it.” For his part, Pierre Cossette, exec producer of the Grammys, downplays Lucas’ appearance. ”We were doing a motion-picture tribute and [Lucas] was happy to do it,” says Cossette. ”To be honest, if we hadn’t gotten him, we would have gotten Spielberg.”

The X-Files

Q: Let’s put it this way: Huh?

A: Going into sweeps, X-Files producers promised to tell all. And, says exec producer Frank Spotnitz, ”the conspiracy has been smashed.” True, the Syndicate is dead. But…why do the faceless aliens care if the black oil takes over the Earth? ”What their agenda is, other than self-defense,” says Spotnitz, ”is not yet clear.” Then why did they steal the alien fetus? ”The fetus is extremely important,” says Spotnitz. ”But what they’ll do with it is something we have yet to deal with.” And why did the black oil need help in the first place? Says Spotnitz, ”What the black oil intended to do with Earth, and what life would be like postcolonization is something we’ve never tried to answer.” Whew! Good thing we got that cleared up.

ER

Q: So HIV-positive Jeanie Boulet (Gloria Reuben) now has hepatitis C. What exactly is her prognosis?

A: Despite the show’s grave faces, Reuben’s fate shouldn’t be all that dire. Although hepatitis C is a growing problem — nearly 4 million Americans are currently infected — Richard Garfein, an epidemic intelligence service officer for the Centers for Disease Control, says ”less than 1 percent of those who get the disease will die from it as soon as they’re infected.” And only 7 to 10 percent of those infected ever die from a hepatitis C- related illness. As for complications with HIV, studies are still ongoing; according to Garfein, it’s unclear how one affects the other. Although ER‘s producers won’t comment on Jeanie’s condition, one thing’s clear: Warner Bros., which produces the show, confirmed Reuben is signed for another two seasons.

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