No one should have ever let this happen. On October 8th, 1993, the still new Fox show The X-Files aired it’s 5th episode “The Jersey Devil.” It’s an episode that will go down in infamy as not only the worst X-Files episode of all time, but the worst episode of any television show in the history of the universe. If that sounds too preposterous to you, you MUST go back and watch this episode. It’s streaming on Netflix if you are so inclined.
Thankfully, I only watched this episode a couple of weeks ago so I haven’t lived 19 years with the terrible memories it. I’ve been stewing over it since I watched it because it made me so furiously angry and confused. I couldn’t understand how such an embarrassing episode was green-lit to actually air on TV. I think I may have only watched one or two X-Files episodes in my entire life, but this was not one of them.
There are so many things wrong with the episode. I’ll try to sum them up as briefly as possible for you. First of all, the plot was inaccurate and completely dumb. Here it is in a nutshell: A naked savage beast woman is THE JERSEY DEVIL. She normally lives in the Pine Barrens, but sometimes she goes to Atlantic City, no not on a senior bus trip, but on foot, and pillages the makeshift forts of HOMELESS people that seemed to comprise the entire span of Atlantic City. There’s been a report of a grisly murder in the Pine Barrens and Mulder wants the case so bad that he risks his life and his job to make it happen.
Eventually, beast woman of the Pines has a run in with Mulder (David Duchovny) but she eludes him. He then becomes obsessed with trying to track her down and apprehend her. After the nude savage cannibalistic beast woman goes and steals food from the garbage and terrorizes the homeless peeps of A.C, she stops at the Pool at Harrah’s to fist pump with DJ Pauly D. Ok, so that’s not how it went, but that would’ve been a way funnier story.
Beyond the plot there were other problems with this show. I couldn’t get over how bland the acting was. I realize there was supposed to be a certain chemistry between Mulder and Scully, but DAMN it was non-existent! Like George Carlin once said, “I’d rather watch flies f*ck” than watch these two interact with each other on the small screen. Duchovny’s acting seems to channel offbeat actors like Jeff Goldblum, but Goldblum’s idiosyncrasies and like-ability push him into the stratosphere while Duchovny acts like he’s a full frontal lobotomy patient. He’s monotone, and facially paralyzed. I realize some people worship this guy, but in this specific episode he made me question why he’s even an actor.
Wikipedia ALSO notes that The Jersey Devil episode was “Pretty Silly,” and you know if Wikipedia says it, it’s 100% true! It comes down to this question: what does the Jersey Devil really look like? This episode will lead you to believe that J.D is a naked woman who lives in the woods, has animalistic tendencies, will kill people, eat garbage, and shoots down to A.C every now and again because there’s better tasting trash there.
Local myths legends are open to our interpretation, and I get that. It’s just that I believe if the Jersey Devil is going to be portrayed, he should be as scary and ferocious as many artists and accounts have described him over the years. And yes, something tells me it’s a HE, not a she.
What was that? You’re a fanatical X-Files fan and you are outright livid that I am insulting your blessed show? The X-Files obviously has a rabid fan base and this episode isn’t a classic example of how good it may have been. But don’t even bother defending the craptastic “Jersey Devil” episode. That’s not even a good silly adjective for it because most times things that are craptastic are actually good in a very crappy way, this one is soooo the complete opposite. Beware!