The X-Files #229: Je Souhaite

"I think you missed a spot here. I can see straight through to his ass."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Two idiots find a genie.

REVIEW: Despite a couple of fun gags and some strong effects work, Je Souhaite is preposterously stupid and I can't throw my recommendation behind it. The premise need not have been inherently silly, but rolling a jaded modernized genie out of a rug wasn't an auspicious start. What makes it silly is that 1) no one blinks at the existence of such a being except Scully and even she does so halfheartedly, and 2) the two boys who find her aren't just stupid, they're CARTOON stupid. I mean, these are characters that can't see the obvious wish even when it's pointed out to them (one of them is in a wheelchair and could ask for his legs back). If the point was to say all human wishes are selfish and stupid, then making the wishers such extremes is over-egging the pudding. By the time one of them asks for invisibility powers - the one really cool effect, which leads to a very funny gag where a bike hits his dead body - you're just wondering if they're wasting good X-Files on this bit, throwing in premises from their slush pile.

The whole invisibility thing makes Scully rather giddy even if she doesn't buy into the genie concept. It's science vs. magic rather than skeptic vs. believer, but once the body disappears and she's made a fool of in front of Harvard types (because she recorded nothing, and no other witnesses can account for the invisible body?!), she starts questioning whether the autopsy ever happened. Oh come on. Then of course Mulder gets his own wishes, and tries for peace on Earth, which is a thoughtless and out of character thing for him to ask for. It's like the episode doesn't really have any stakes even though the genie can apparently make everyone on Earth disappear. Mulder acts like it's a fun puzzle, trying to get a wish just right. But every wish has a curse attached because frankly, the genie thinks the worst of people. So even world peace is a selfish wish from her perspective, and reason for bitter sermonizing. The actual solution is to un-genie her, and it's an obvious trick because she essentially tells Mulder that's what he should do. Saw it coming a mile off.

And what is wrong with the music? This is the second episode in a row to feature strident synth chords, plus bouncy romp music so you know nothing bad can actually happen. The I Dream of Jeannie references are kind of fun, if you're the right age, but the coda in which Mulder and Scully sit down to watch Caddyshack doesn't bring anything to the table, either thematically or character-wise. A big disappointment from Vince Gilligan here.

The guest-stars are stupid, the threat is preachy, and the leads look foolish. It has its charms, but none that would justify such a silly train wreck.



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