The 10 Funniest X-Files Episodes

By Rob Bricken in Daily Lists, TV
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 7:57 am
By Kevin J. Guhl

The X-Files is not a show best known for its rip-roaring comedy. Nevertheless, the usually serious and creepy investigations undertaken by FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully occasionally veered off into more humorous and even farcical adventures. Episodes that treated the usual subjects of conspiracies and bloodthirsty cryptozoological monsters with a tongue-in-cheek tone were a welcome respite from the often gloomy plotlines upon which the show was centered. It could even be argued that producer Chris Carter's willingness to experiment with different styles is what helped The X-Files attain such longevity.

There are more lighter episodes of The X-Files than you might realize, as they became more common in the later years of the program. We've chosen what we feel are the 10 best X-Files episodes to watch when you'd like a few laughs to accompany your search for the truth.

10) Arcadia

There are two levels of humor in this episode. Blatantly hilarious is Mulder and Scully's posing as married couple Ron and Laura Petrie (straight out of The Dick Van Dyke Show) as they go undercover as new homeowners in a planned community to investigate the disappearance of several residents. The two seem to settle a little too easily into married couple bickering, with Mulder getting a kick out of Scully's discomfort. Best line -- Mulder to Scully: "Woman, get back in here and make me a sandwich!" The episode is also a perfect parody of life in planned communities and all the little petty rules Homeowners Associations dictate to maintain conformity. It's bliss watching Mulder subvert the rules in order to rock the boat, through tactics such as installing a pink flamingo on his lawn, digging a hole in his front yard that is supposedly for a reflecting pool, and trashing his own mailbox (including pouring orange juice all over it).

9) Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose

This story about Mulder and Scully enlisting the help of Clyde Bruckman (Peter Boyle), a man with possibly real psychic abilities, to track down a serial killer who is murdering fake psychics is not really a comedy. But Boyle played the character with such a dry, sarcastic wit that his lines and performance make this one of the funniest episodes of the series. Boyle balanced the humor with a sense of pathos, as his character was burdened with being able to see how people will die. When Mulder asks to know his own fate, Bruckman tells him he doesn't want to know and later hints that it might be sexual asphyxiation, appropriate considering Mulder's (and apparently Duchovny's) very active libido. When Scully asks how she dies, Bruckman mysteriously tell her that she's doesn't.

8) Small Potatoes

Eddie Van Blundht (with a silent "h"), a schlub with a tail and the ability to mimic the faces of other people, misuses his ability to seduce and impregnate several women by posing as their husbands (and Luke Skywalker). After a bunch of babies with tails are born, Mulder confronts Van Blundht and embarrassingly gets knocked out and imprisoned in a boiler room. Van Blundht impersonates Mulder and goes back to Washington, D.C. where he files a report that has Federal Bureau of Investigation misspelled several times, observes enough of Mulder's life to conclude he is a loser, and comes extremely close to seducing Scully. Van Blundht was played by Darin Morgan, the writer who wrote many of the show's comedic episodes (although not this one).

7) Hollywood A.D.

Mulder and Scully come across an ancient bowl that supposedly has Christ's voice recorded on it like the grooves in a record, speaking an incantation to raise the dead that translates to "I Am the Walrus." Bones and bodies seem to come alive and start dancing. The case gets made into a film starring Garry Shandling as Mulder and Tea Leoni (Duchovny's wife) as Scully. The real Mulder and Scully go to Hollywood to observe the filming, interact with the stars, and ultimately witness how badly Hollywood (typically) botchedsthe facts. A lot of meta-reference make this more of an X-Files send-up, and it's hilarious to see them poke fun at themselves.

6) Humbug

This second season episode about a creature that is killing circus freaks was the trend-starter for X-Files comedy episodes, combing biting, dark humor with otherwise suspenseful and nauseating elements. Thankfully, writer Darin Morgan also managed to balance the sideshow actors' weirdness with dignity. Fun fact: In the scene where Scully appeared to eat a bug (which she later revealed to have hidden with slight of hand), the cameras were to have been stopped and the real insect replaced with a candy insect. But Gillian Anderson quickly chowed down on the real bug, disgusting all around. How can you not love her?
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