The X-Files Global Rewatch is moving along at full speed and… boy, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for everyone! With season two fast approaching at the end of July, I didn’t want to skimp on guidance for your upcoming restocking trip to the store. From “Little Green Men” to “Anasazi”, this season challenges you at every turn. Shocking and even nauseating at times, this is a season that continues building up on some of the gore that made this show so famous.
With a whole season under our belt, the snacking is not just about emotional relief but also starts to become a themed event, and with The X-Files, this is quite an adventure.
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Season Two’s culinary identity: Please, grab me the seltzer!
For me, this season as a whole couldn’t be described with a dish like I did for Season One, but I really associate it with this basic aid that you’re going to need every once in a while. The second season of The X-Files has just so many revolting moments. Once you stock up on the basics - popcorn, candy and cheese doodles - grab a case of soda water. I recommend Trader Joe’s flavored ones, but I know that this fantastic store isn’t available for everyone, so get your hands on whatever you can find. If you favor the good ol’ Alka Seltzer, stop by your local pharmacy and pick up a box or two. Not only will it help with any queasiness and bad indigestion, but it will definitely soothe that headache you’re going to have after crying your eyes out ... the emotional hangover.
I’m really selling this show to you, aren’t I?
Actually, this is also a season to embrace that chocolate addiction you don’t want to admit you have. My advice is to let it out in the open, but gradually. You’re only on Season Two, and really, I’m trying to get you through these 202 episodes and two movies without slipping into a diabetic coma.
So being that I don’t claim to have the ultimate word on this topic, it is always wise to consult experts in the field. I took the topic to those knowledgeable ones in the science of TV watching and snacking. What healthy options may I give you this time?
My brother (the chef, ‘membah him?) refused to give me light alternatives, as it apparently goes against his snacking philosophy. He actually suggested that this is the one season where the frozen party snacks from Costco will come in handy, but he’s a theme snacker so this will come with some disadvantages. Embrace this trend only if you’ve passed the nervous stomach phase.
Then one of my BFFs suggested “bananas!” and I thought, “Well, here goes another guy that thinks I’m crazy!” but actually he did mean it as a snacking choice. I can see it; they’re pretty hassle-free and portable. An apple will definitely serve as a way to bite away your anger. Are you feeling festive? Is it summer where you are? Hit up one of those fruit arrangement places and treat yourself to something fancy. Due to recent events, I would advise against watermelon, but that’s just me.
Let’s get to some specific cases for Season Two’s emotional or theme-centric snacking.
Take this as a warning; if you’re not going for the theme, do not do seafood or the leftover gummy worms that you bought for your “Ice” rewatch. Definitely not octopus, eel is out of the question. Don’t do sushi or cabbage. I’d even frown upon spaghetti. Actually, I don’t think that there’s a way to snack during this episode if you’re not committed to some level of disgust. You’ll find yourself constantly needing to brush your teeth and at the same time feeling disgusted by it. If I were to advise on something to bite into, it would be some simple candy mints.
There’s a reason why Dana Scully thinks that this case is the one thing she’d forget of all her X-Files experiences. This shouldn’t make you skip watching this one, though. This episode is good because it really makes you squirm. So while it may not be the best one to watch while having a hearty bowl of clam chowder, it is definitely one of the best of the show.
"Duane Barry", "Ascension" & "One Breath"
Now, these episodes don’t run as a trilogy, but in my book they actually are. Perfect examples for emotional snacking and I have two things to tell you about them: 1) it will be SO.HARD to not hit next after “Duane Barry” and 2) these are episodes in which I won’t even care to make any healthy recommendations at all. Bring out all the chocolate. Limit the alcohol intake to just the three shots per episode for the sake of remaining coherent through this rollercoaster of angst. We can get to The X-Files Drinking Game later on.
For those that love their livers more than or at least as much as Eugene Tooms, and don’t want to give themselves a bad case of cirrhosis before they get to Season Five, I’d say that this is a great moment to break out some beef jerky and bite angrily. Just get yourself something that you can use to drain that pent up anger and raw desire to punch Alex Krycek where it counts. Stock up on Kleenex and plenty of water, the amount of crying that will happen is proportional to the number of times that Scully says: “Mulder, it’s me…” throughout the series.
Here’s the thing, this is an episode that will make you question what’s in your fridge and what you’ve been eating for however long you’ve been on this planet. “Red Museum” is the elemental culinary episode; food is part of its main premise and you can totally use this as a theme. But while the episode played vegetarians against meat eaters, for the sake of the ones outside that reality, this is when we find two teams in the camp: #TeamQueasy, made up of emotional snackers and #TeamIronGut, the theme crazies.
I’d say, if you’re quite convinced the government is out to get you by modifying your behavior via genetically engineered foods and have thought more than once about joining the Anti-Vaxxer movement, go straight to #TeamQueasy without even collecting $200.
If, on the other hand, none of these impending threats make you break into a sweat as you chew on a juicy slab of ribs, you’re totally #TeamIronGut. That being said, I’m sure many of you will never look at a T-Bone the same way again.
Queasies, stick to your celery sticks and dip. I’d keep it simple and clean. Popcorn, chips, crackers, whatever settles your stomach. Irongutters, go to town on whatever meaty version of dinner you have planned, but don’t come crying to me when you question if you’ve been munching on a cow that may or may not have been part of the Syndicate.
I wondered what to recommend for this one but for copious amounts of wine and chocolate. Then I realized that I should also protect you from associating these enjoyable snacks to traumatic memories, especially if you’re already falling for Special Agent Dana Scully - *cough* like Mulder *cough*. I feel that this episode calls for an on-site hug buddy. One that at least holds your hand by the end of it or who hugs you and whispers sweet nothings into your hair… and… this just got weird.
I wouldn’t recommend any snack in stick shape for this one, and I realize now that this is making your shopping list somewhat complicated. Maybe a nice, soothing and warming cup of soup? A sandwich? Maybe this is an episode that you’ll just be able to have a cold beer and that’ll do it. Pizza, let’s just dial up Domino’s and call it a night.
In any case, “Irresistible” is full of angst to begin with, and then it turns personal. I don’t know if it is that I’ve grown a thick skin over time and I can take it, but I can totally see how a baby x-phile might have nightmares for days and refuse to use their tub ever again. Does it get worse if I tell you that this is not the last time you’ll see this villain?
"Colony" & "End Game"
If the previous one didn’t trigger your emotional binge, this is the one that will. We’ve learned about Samantha Mulder via just a few spoonfuls in the past, but now Mulder comes face to face with his sister and this is about to become a plate of heartbreaking with a side of angry. Plus you have all the right ingredients for an angst stew: Partnership, daddy issues, trust issues… and then three cups of paranormal. You’ve already got a bit of a look into Scully’s family issues, but the Mulders are neck deep in the pool of conspiracy fudge.
This duo plays at the strings of every emotion, from fear to sadness, and you’ll be gorging on cheese puffs while mumbling curses under your breath and downing some thick hot chocolate. You’ll possibly end up throwing a fistful or two of popcorn at the TV set. One good option I see for this one it’s a nice big stash of Oreo cookies. They’re pretty hassle-free and the cleanup is minimal. I’m not even going to try and sound conservative and limit you on the quantity; you know your emotional investment by now and I’ll leave it up to you. My one advice that should really be taken into account for all the X-Files munching is… never ever put the food on your lap. Learned that the hard way.
I can bet all the money I don’t have, but that I plan to earn when I sell all these TV scripts that I have yet to finish, that you will be sticking a straw into a 5-gallon bottle of water midway through this episode. You will also be checking on just how elastic the skin is on the back of your hand. So indulge in that soda water, because combined with the seasick sensation that you’ll get as you sympathize with Mulder and Scully, your stomach is going to need all the help you can give. Crackers, let’s go for some crackers.
For those of you that like to eat thematically instead of emotionally, maybe this is the episode that you’ll relish in those seafood platters and sushi. Though, I’d keep that salt intake in check. Pickles and sardines are mentioned. I recommend them fried.
The nail-biter nature of this episode will definitely have you reaching out for some sweets by the end, just when you surely think the end is nigh. You already indulged in some heavy cocoa ingestion with the abduction trilogy, so be considerate of your blood sugar. If this is the time you want to flaunt just how good your rewatch is going with some Instagramming, may I suggest a platter of aged cheese?
This is another episode that took references to food to some unexpected level; from a man biting into raw fish to Scully munching on a grasshopper, this one tests your tolerance to the revolting… Especially at the end. Maybe this is the time you break out the chocolate covered crickets.
But nonetheless, this is also the freak show episode, one that doesn’t quite deliver much angst but instead a whole lot of entertainment. Finally, a way to snack without actually having the need to alternate between the napkins to wipe your hands and the Kleenex to dry your tears!
I suggest that you embrace the circus nature of this one and indulge in all the carnival food. Bring out the popcorn, the funnel cake and cotton candy. Turkey legs? Nachos? Sure! Make this one a fun one, but be wary... do.not.overeat.
While you may have gone for some “natural and organic” types of snacks for “Humbug”, I’m sure that this won’t be the case for “F. Emasculata”. I have a list of things I never eat while watching this episode: vanilla pudding, soup, any type of thing that could be a cream… like a Cadbury cream egg, onion dip, peanut butter or nutella, just… don’t. You’ll thank me so much. Keep to the dry things, the ones that require no attention and honestly will dull you with the repetition. This is the episode for beer and chips.
The thing about this one is that it’s filled with action and twists and turns as Mulder and Scully try to beat the case down. Without falling into spoilers, I hope that by now you’ve become a sturdy X-Phile that withstands snacking through the most unpleasant of imagery. If you’re bent upon making this a themed snacking session, I suppose deviled eggs are not out of the question.
You’re in for a thrill with this one and possibly scarring yourself for life, never being able to hit up a KFC restaurant in the future. Yup, you guessed it, this one effectively ruins fried chicken for you and there’s nothing you can do about it. Come to think of it, maybe Season Two’s culinary identity should be “All the diet food”!
If you’re a child of the 90’s, Mad Cow disease was the rage, and by “rage” I mean that everyone was scared shitless about it. And you may think, “oh well, I already had The X-Files ruin cows and chicken, I’ll just go fishing!” Well, think again! Unless you’re really good at erasing a really messed up imagery of a very unfortunate lake, I think we can all agree here that the final message of this season is… everyone needs to become a vegetarian.
So in that spirit, for this episode’s emotional snacking, besides the chips and beer, I recommend Ants on a Log – Celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins – carrot sticks and ranch, and some broccoli. Skip the cherry tomatoes, they might… remind you of… things. Theme eaters, you’re on your own.
Come back next month for your next shopping list. Season Three will probably earn you a gold card at Starbucks, a membership at Godiva, and a promise to hit the gym, eventually, sometime around February 2016.