The first "adult" show I was allowed to watch that wasn't a daytime soap opera was The X-Files. I was definitely too young to understand most of what was going on, but I was instantly addicted to Mulder and Scully's adventures, and I wasn't alone. In the '90s, The X-Files had a kid fan base that was just as rabid as their adult counterparts. Here was a show that wasn't made with kids in mind, but appealed to their sense of curiosity, love of all things spooky, and desire to believe adulthood was going to involve chasing monsters and tons of travel. Is it any wonder so many eight-year-olds were obsessed?
Watching the show was a rite of passage for many people who grew up in the '90s. For better or worse, The X-Files provided a field guide for life. To this day I blame Fox Mulder for my inability to fall for anyone who isn't hard core obsessed with his work. As much as I learned from The X-Files about life, love, and good TV, I was also totally unprepared to deal with some of the messed up monsters of the week the show dished out.
From developing your first serious crush, fictional or otherwise, to the lifelong nightmare fuel of Eugene Tooms, here are 15 things every '90s kid will remember about watching The X-Files.
1. Being Scared AF By The Theme Song
You covered your ears every time those opening credits rolled, don't lie.
2. Developing An Intense Fear Of Air Ducts Thanks To "Squeeze"
Eugene Tooms was introduced in episode three of The X-Files. The terror he inflicted with his ultra stretchy, can fit through air ducts body lasted a lifetime.
3. Wanting To See Adults Kiss For The First Time Ever
Your parents kissing was super gross, but you would have traded a trip to Disney World to see Mulder and Scully make out.
4. Being Super Bored By The Mythology Episodes
Whenever they started talking about aliens, you started driving whichever adult you watched the show with absolutely bonkers by asking a billion questions and making more noise than an UFO crashing in Arizona.
5. Developing A Major Crush On Mulder, Scully, Or Both
If Mulder and/or Scully aren't at least partially responsible for your sexual awakening then your childhood was very different from mine.
6. Crying Your Heart Out When Scully's Boat Started To Drift Away
Even as a kid you got the metaphor and you weren't happy about it.
7. And When She Almost Died From Cancer
Why, Chris Carter, WHY?
8. Hating All Of Mulder And Scully's Love Interests
This mostly applies to Mulder and Diana Freaking Fowley, ruiner of lives and dasher of dreams. The basic rule as far as I was concerned was Mulder and Scully were not allowed to have any important people in their lives who weren't each other. In retrospect, this was not the healthiest of worldviews.
9. Seeing The Parental Advisory Warning Before "Home"
You knew you were about to watch something scary/forbidden, but you had no idea what you were getting yourself into until the episode got underway.
10. Losing Your Mind When Mulder Kissed Scully In "Triangle"
So many playground debates about whether or not an alternate universe kiss "counts" were spawned by this episode.
11. Getting Super Excited Over The Monster Of The Week Episodes
Seeing Mulder and Scully track down vampires, sea creatures, and creepy things that lived in the sewer was the highlight of your week.
12. Being Trained Not To Trust Any Technology
Online dating would get you eaten, computers were definitely trying to kill you, and messages on your phone were a sign they were sentient. I promise you The X-Files is directly responsible for you being a late adapter as an adult.
13. Wanting To Be Besties With The Lone Gunmen
Coolest nerds ever.
14. Begging Your Parents To Let You Stay Up Late When The Show Moved To Sunday Nights
There was begging, pleading, bargaining, and a few tantrums, but you definitely won that fight.
15. Feeling Your Soul Die A Little When Mulder Left
It was the end of an era, literally — the '90s were at a close, your childhood was transitioning into young adulthood, and you knew nothing would ever be the same again. So yes, The X-Files did give you your first existential crisis.
Watching The X-Files was a way a life in the '90s, and while you're not a kid anymore, the truth is still out there: this show rocks.
Images: 20th Century Fox (2); Giphy (13)