The X-Files #256: Three Men and a Smoking Diaper

"Just show us where the volume control is."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: The Gunmen take care of a senator's love child while they investigate the campaign for wrong-doing.

REVIEW: Chris Carter should not be trying to do straight comedy. Wow. Aside from a moment or two, "Diaper" is really unfunny, unless you particularly enjoy fart jokes (of which there are several to choose from) and babies urinating on people (something we've seen hundreds of times before, though the twist is, this baby is apparently all bladder). Throw in a Clinton stand-in as the drunk, womanizing senatorial candidate just so the political satire can't be missed, Langly vs. a fascist cop (because it's apparently the 60s), and a sitcom moment with Yves bringing Frohike to a natal care course because he has her thinking the senator's love child is his, and you've got Sad Trombone written all over this. Except instead of the sad trombone, you've got a screaming baby and an abused door buzzer. No thanks.

Jimmy is once again reduced to complete moron, always believing the senator is a great man because of his unshakable naivety, even though his "heroic" friends all tell him he's responsible for the death of the baby's mother. He goes undercover in the campaign, but really believes the propaganda, and spends most of his time busy with silly slapstick and fabricated misunderstandings. He has a nice moment at the end, when he finds a clever way to get everyone's fingerprints, but the flaw in that plan is immediately obvious unless absolutely everyone had different coffee orders. The twist is that the senator is just a drunk but charismatic puppet, and is guiltless of any crime (just sins of the flesh), a good guy whose campaign managers are the real villains. And yet, no one seems to face any consequences. The senator might win based on his honesty about the wrongdoing once he discovers it, and "Brenda" is somehow earmarked as the baby's caretaker when she's really complicit in the manslaughter of a volunteer. The Lone Gunmen's cartoon aesthetic strikes again.

So what DID I like? Well, Jimmy's earnestness can be kind of sweet, and seeing the dark side of journalism - that it can ruin people - makes him question the Gunmen's blind devotion to the Truth, and their innate bias. They're just too used to not trusting government. The joke where Byers' reaction to Jimmy being told the senator's condition shouldn't be discussed is telling him to discuss it. That one's timing made me laugh out loud. And the grace shown by faux-Clinton is nice too. But that stuff's hidden in a dumb comedy of Police Academy proportions.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Chris Carter shouldn't be writing comedies and that's all I have to say about that.



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