The X-Files In-Jokes List


X-Files In-Jokes: Season Three


The Blessing Way

  • When Krycek aids in the killing of Melissa Scully, actor Nicholas Lea (Krycek) is actually helping to kill his then-real-life girlfriend, Melinda McGraw (Melissa).
  • Not a joke but -- this episode is dedicated to the memory of Larry Wells, an X-Files costume designer.
  • Paper Clip

  • 10/13 - Mulder's birthday is shown as 10/13/61, which mirrors Chris Carter's birth month and day.
  • 11/21 - Samantha Mulder's birthday is shown as 11/21/65, which mirrors Chris Carter's wife's birth month and day.
  • Stunt coordinator Tony Morelli is one of the men who beat up on Skinner in the stairwell.
  • Not a joke but -- this episode is dedicated to the memory of Mario Mark Kennedy, an original on-line X-Phile killed in a car accident.
  • D.P.O.

  • The Astadourian Lightning Observatory is named for Mary Astadourian, chief researcher and office manager at Ten Thirteen, as well as Chris Carter's personal assistant.
  • Gillian Anderson's stand-in for scene blocking, Bonnie Hay, plays the night nurse in this episode.
  • Darin Peter Oswald is named for writer Darin Morgan.
  • The yearbook page from which Darin had cut Mrs. Kiveat's picture also contains the pictures of director Kim Manners and prop master Ken Hawryliw. See the In-Jokes for Season 1's "Jersey Devil", Season 3's "Pusher", Season 5's "The Unusual Suspects", and Season 6's "Trevor" for other "appearances" by Ken Hawryliw.
  • Finding Sharon Kiveat's yearbook picture between the pages of an 'adult' magazine could be a reference to the fact that the actress (Karen Witter) once modeled for Playboy.
  • Sheriff Teller was named for the magician/comedian from Penn & Teller (both of whom would like to appear in an episode).
  • 1013 - the 10th high score on the video game has a date & time of 9/8/95, 10:56 (Carter was born in October of 1956).
  • When Darin is bothering his mother by changing the channels on the television, he changes it to a channel that is showing a music video. In the lower left corner of the screen we see the video's information:
    The Rosemarys
    "Mary Beth Clarke, I love you" - (presumably the song's name, the real Mary Beth Clark is an AOL X-Phile)
    JHartling Records (JHartling is the screen-name of another AOL X- Phile)
    Director: Deb Brown (Deb Brown is yet another AOL X-Phile)
  • Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose

  • During Mulder's investigation of Clyde Bruckman's psychic gifts, Bruckman holds up a blue piece of cloth and asks if it is from Mulder's New York Knicks t-shirt. This is a reference to the episode 'Beyond the Sea', where convicted murderer and psychic Luther Lee Boggs gives a detailed and intricate story after holding a piece of cloth that he assumes is from the victim, but is actually from Mulder's New York Knicks t-shirt.
  • When Clyde plays poker with Scully, he has a 'dead man's hand' (aces and eights).
  • The actor who plays 'The Stupendous Yappi', Jaap (pronounced Yapp) Broeker, is actually David Duchovny's stand-in, filling in for D.D. when scenes are blocked or lighting is measured. Writer Darin Morgan saw Broeker on the set waggling his eyebrows and wrote a scene for him.
  • The name 'The Stupendous Yappi' may also be a reference to 'The Amazing Randi', a professional magician and skeptical debunker. The Amazing Randi, or James Randi, is a key member of CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal), along with Philip J. Klass (see listing for 'Jose Chung's from Outer Space').
  • The actor portraying the bellhop is Stu Charno, husband of former X-Files staff writer Sara Charno (she wrote the episodes 'Aubrey' and 'The Calusari').
  • Clyde Bruckman is also the name of a film director who worked on silent comedies, including Laurel and Hardy movies (but not the one Scully was watching at the end of the episode.) The 'real life' Bruckman also wrote screenplays for Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. Just like his fictional counterpart, Clyde Bruckman committed suicide.
  • The hotel that the killer works for is named 'El Damfino,' just like Buster Keaton's boat 'Damfino' in his movie 'The Boat'. Buster Keaton is another comedy director (and actor) of the silent era.
  • One of the detectives, Detective Cline, shares his name with director Eddie Cline. Eddie Cline is yet another director of comedies of the silent era (much like Clyde Bruckman), many of which he co-directed with Buster Keaton (see the previous inside joke).
  • Detective Havez, the man assigned to watch Bruckman in the hotel room, is named for Jean C. Havez, who collaborated with the real Clyde Bruckman on numerous Buster Keaton film screenplays.
  • The dead man under the wheels of the car is named Claude Dukenfield, the real name of W.C.Fields (William Claude Dukenfield), who the real Clyde Bruckman directed in numerous short films.
  • In the Space: Above and Beyond episode titled 'R&R' (the one with a guest appearance by David Duchovny himself) Col. McQueen is watching a Clyde Bruckman movie. Perhaps this is Space: Above and Beyond writer Glen Morgan's nod to his brother Darin Morgan, the author of Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose?
  • Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose Script Differences

    The List

  • Producer Joseph Patrick Finn plays the chaplain in this episode.
  • The executioner, Perry Simon, was named for an NBC executive producer Carter knew while working for NBC.
  • 2Shy

  • 1013 - When Mulder is telling Scully about the test results of Incanto's skin sample, the time was 10:13 (Chris Carter's birthday is 10/13)
  • Virgil Incanto's name is much like the Italian poetry he translates. Incanto's name may come from Dante's Inferno, which is divided into long sections called 'cantos'. Also, the Roman poet, Virgil, is Dante's guide through the first two books, Inferno and Pergatorio.
  • The Walk


  • Bonnie Hay, Gillian Anderson's stand-in for scene blocking and lighting, appears (again!) as a therapist.
  • Title - an oubliette is a medieval dungeon having a trap door in the ceiling as its only means of entry or exit. It is derived from the French word 'oublier', to forget.
  • Nisei

  • Title - Nisei is the Japanese word for a child born in America or Canada to Japanese parents (who were born in Japan). Translated literally, it means 'second generation'.
  • The boxcar that the doctors are killed in (the one before the opening credits) is car number 82594. 8/25/94 is the date that Chris Carter began working on his directorial debut, 'Duane Barry'.
  • The boxcar that Mulder is interested in is numbered 82517. 5/17 is the birthdate of producer/writer Frank Spotnitz's wife.
  • Mulder's second gun reeks of an internet-inside joke, what with all of our discussions on his fumble fingers where guns are concerned.
  • Agent Pendrel (who makes his first appearance in this episode) is named after Pendrel street in the west end of Vancouver where the series is filmed.
  • After the MUFON woman opens the door and recognizes Scully, another woman comes to the door and says "She's one". The actress who says "She's one", Gillian Barber, is the same woman who played the mother in 'Red Museum' - the episode where kids disappeared and returned with the words 'He/She is one' painted on their backs. In-joke? or just a cool coincidence?
  • 731

  • 1013 - The combination Scully gives Mulder to free him from the boxcar is #101331 (the 10/13 is Chris Carter's birthday)
  • The boxcar that Mulder is trapped in is numbered 82517. 5/17 is the birthdate of producer/writer Frank Spotnitz's wife.
  • Title - Camp 731 was a germ warfare research station in Manchuko (Japanese occupied Manchuria) by General Shiro Ishii (the Japanese Mengele). Hideous experiments were conducted there on POW's, including Americans. After the war Ishii and his crew were recruited into the American bio-war research establishment.
  • Tag Line - this usual tag line was changed from "The Truth Is Out There" to "Apology Is Policy" - the statement made by Scully to Mulder when describing the government's willingness to knowingly do the wrong thing and just apologize for it later.
  • Revelations

  • See 'Quagmire' entries for a possible co-inside-joke.
  • War of the Coprophages

  • This episode paid homage to Orson Welles' famous 1939 radio drama "War of the Worlds", which was adapted from the novel of the same name by H. G. Wells. The name of the town, Miller's Grove, mirrors that of Grover's Mill (New Jersey) in the radio drama. The mass hysteria in the town not only echoes that in the radio play, but also the real-life hysteria caused by the airing of the radio show, which many people thought was an actual news event.
  • There are also a lot of other things that reference, for lack of a better word, dung. Aside from the obvious, we have coprophages in the title (dung eaters), and Scully eating 'Choco Droppings' (and Mulder eating whatever that stuff is at the end of the episode -- does that count?). It has also been suggested that Scully's eating the 'Choco Droppings' might be yet another reference back to her bug-eating stunt in 'Humbug'.
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's - the book Scully is reading during one of Mulder's many telephone interruptions is also the Final Jeopardy answer (or rather question) that was missed by David Duchovny and ended up costing him the game.
  • At the end of the episode, Scully mentions that "Smart is sexy" in reference to the two scientists. "Smart is sexy" is also a phrase used by many magazines and news programs when talking about Mulder and Scully themselves.
  • The name of the television news reporter is Skye Leikin. This is the name of yet another AOL X-Phile, whose screen name is Leikin Skye. She won an AOL trivia contest -- the prize was to get her screen name on one of the episodes.
  • The methane plant was named alt.fuels -- which may be a reference to the usenet newsgroup
  • The robotics researcher, A. Ivanov, has a name very similar to the great writer of sci-fi (sometimes dealing with robotics) stories, I. Asimov.
  • Dr. Bambi Berenbaum is named for Dr. May R. Berenbaum, head of the Entomology Department at the University of Illinois and author of many books on insects.
  • The name of the exterminator who dies at the beginning of the episode is Dr. Bugger.
  • War of the Coprophages Script Differences


  • Grover Cleveland Alexander High School - This was the incorrect answer (or question) David Duchovny gave during his infamous appearance on Jeopardy. The answer was 'This president was named for the reverend Stephen Grover, of Caldwell, New Jersey'. Duchovny answered "Who is Grover Cleveland Alexander?" (The correct question was 'Who is Grover Cleveland?' - It was the only question he missed during regular play).
  • Comity - the name of the town also means 'courtesy.' As we watch Mulder and Scully enter the town, on the other side of the intersection we also see a road sign that says 'Leaving Comity' (how true, once they enter, no one is civil to each other). As they leave, the camera passes the road sign that states 'Entering Comity' (thankfully true again, since everything goes back to normal after they leave).
  • The whole 'Scully driving' thing - you know that just has to be a nod to us!
  • When Mulder brings the first girl into the police station, the time is 11:48 (Chris Carter's wife, Dori Pierson, was born 11/21/48).
  • Syzygy first aired on January 12, 1996. That date actually was during a syzygy of Mars, Mercury, and Uranus (just like in the episode) - although January 9th had the best alignment of the planets.
  • The cross dressing doctor, R. W. Godfrey, has a name that is quite close to that of the coexecutive producer, R. W. Goodwin.
  • Grotesque

  • Agent Nemhauser shares his name with Post Production Supervisor Lori Jo Nemhauser.
  • Piper Maru

  • Piper Maru - the name of the episode is also the name of Gillian Anderson's daughter, Piper Maru Anderson (or is it Piper Maru Anderson-Klotz).
  • Drop Dead Red - the inscription on the side of the Zeus Faber is also an admitted tribute to Gillian Anderson, the Intellectually Drop Dead Gorgeous redhead herself.
  • 1121 - The flight Mulder and Krycek take back to Washington is flight number 1121.
  • Gauthier - The diver shares his name with Dave Gauthier, the X-Files effects supervisor
  • Robert F. Maier, the man who plays the downed World War II pilot, is also the series' construction coordinator.
  • Gauthier's apartment was actually the home of X-Files location manager Todd Pittson's neighbor.
  • Apocrypha

  • 1013 - The number on the door for the silo where Krycek and the alien craft are being held is 1013 (Chris Carter's birthday).
  • The actor who plays Byers, Bruce Harwood, should look comfortable on those skates -- he was trained as a figure skater in 'real life'.
  • 517 - the case number for this episode is #621517. 5/17 is the birthdate of producer/writer Frank Spotnitz's wife.
  • 517 - The number on the key and locker where the digital tape's box is found is 517. 5/17 is the birthdate of producer/writer Frank Spotnitz's wife.
  • Pusher

  • Tabloid - the front page of the tabloid newspaper picked up by the 'Pusher' in the grocery store line reports on a sighting of the Flukeman from 'The Host' - apparently he washed up on Martha's Vineyard (where Mulder grew up).
  • The tabloid also contains a picture in the top corner that is still the subject of much speculation on the internet. The caption reads 'Depravity rampant on hit tv show' and the picture is that of prop master Ken Hawryliw with a strip-o-gram on his birthday. See the in-jokes for Season 1's "Jersey Devil", Season 3's "D.P.O.", Season 5's "The Unusual Suspects", and Season 6's "Trevor" for other "appearances" by Ken Hawryliw.
  • Production assistant Danielle Faith Freedman is the cover model on one of the 'American Ronin' magazines.
  • Cameo - Dave Grohl (Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighter member) and his wife, Jennifer Youngblood-Grohl, make a cameo appearance as the 'Pusher' attempts to gain access to the FBI building.
  • The Loudoun County Courthouse was named for writer Vince Gilligan's actual home town.
  • The secretary who beats up on Skinner is named for writer Vince Gilligan's significant other, Holly Rice. For the full list of Holly sightings, see the Lists & Statistics page.
  • Teso Dos Bichos

  • Title - 'Teso' is Portuguese for 'Burial ground'. 'Bichos' means 'small animals'.
  • Dr. Lewton was so-named for Val Lewton, director of the original 'Cat People' movie.
  • Graduate student Mona Wustner was named for writer John Shiban's mother.
  • Hell Money

    Jose Chung's From Outer Space (Eth Snafu)

    Before we get into this -- there has been a lot of talk lately about which things in this episode are inside jokes. I have tried very hard not to add things to this list that the authors did not really intend to be jokes (like the infamous apartment number 42), so I have not included everything that has been discussed on the internet recently. Also remember, this is a list of inside jokes, not jokes in general.
  • The name of the character Jose Chung was created in an on-going practical joke from the writing staff. In their joke, a man named Jose Chung called the offices every so often to inquire about an unsolicited script that he supposedly had submitted. Jose Chung was always turned away, so the recipients of the calls were quite surprised to find his name in the title of this episode.
  • Lord Kinbote shares his name with Charles Kinbote, a character from Vladimir Nabokov's "Pale Fire". In the book, Charles Kinbote is the commentator on a long and obscure poem, one which he completely distorts. The book is about interpreting your experiences so that they confirm your own opinions. Sound familiar?
  • Klass County, the town in which everything takes place, shares its name with Philip J. Klass - one of the biggest UFO debunkers there is. In fact, in his book "UFOs Explained" he says that "No single object has been misinterpreted as a 'flying saucer' more often than the planet Venus." Sound even more familiar?
  • Military abductees Robert Vallee and Jack Schaffer, along with the man who comes to collect them, Sergeant Hynek, share their names with authors who have written books on UFOs. When you trade the first names of characters Robert Vallee and Jack Schaffer, you get Robert Schaffer, an author on the paranormal, and Jaques Vallee, who along with Allen Hynek wrote the book "The Edge of Reality: A Progress Report on UFO's".
  • Poor Harold Lamb, the boy on his first date with Chrissy, is named for Harold Lloyd's character in the 1925 movie "The Freshman" (see the in-jokes for "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose for another snippit of info on Harold Lloyd)
  • The autopsy movie Chung shows Scully, "Dead Alien: Truth or Humbug" sounds a lot like the title "Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction" - the X-Files' favorite show to make sly references to. The music that plays during the video is also a different, lighter version of the familiar X-Files theme by Mark Snow. It may also be worth mentioning that writer Darin Morgan's first solo script for the show was titled 'Humbug' (see season 2 entries 'Humbug' in-jokes).
  • Roky Crickenson, the witness to the kids' abduction, may need to thank Roky Erickson for the use of his name. Roky Erickson was the psychedelic lead singer for the 13th Floor Elevators and went on to form a band called 'Roky Erickson and the Aliens'. The real Roky was obsessed with alien visitation, paranormal phenomena, and pyramid lore.
  • Lord Kinbote is played by stunt coordinator Tony Morelli.
  • Once again, we have an appearance by "The Stupendous Yappi". As mentioned in the inside-jokes listing for "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", the actor who plays Yappi (Jaap Broeker) is actually David Duchovny's stand-in for scene blocking and lighting.
  • Mr. Chung mentions one of his earlier works, titled "The Caligari Candidate". This could be a reference to "The Manchurian Candidate" - a black comedy in which a brainwashed soldier is manipulated into believing in alternate versions of reality by political enemies -- as well as a reference to "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" - a German silent movie also dealing with mind control and an evil hypnotist.
  • Dweeb-boy Blaine is wearing a Space: Above and Beyond T-shirt. Beside the obvious reference to a show created by two of the best X-Files writers, it was also quite fitting to have Darin Morgan make a reference to a show his brother, Glen Morgan, co-created -- especially on the same night that an X-Files star (Duchovny) made a guest appearance on Space AND when that very same Space episode also referenced yet another X-File episode written by Darin Morgan - 'Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose'. (Do I get a prize for most confusing run-on sentence?)
  • Blaine also has an 'I Want to Believe' poster just like Mulder's, except that the 'Want to' has been covered, leaving the words 'I Believe'.
  • Reynard Muldrake - the pseudonym Jose Chung uses for Mulder. The French word for 'fox' is 'renard'.
  • Detective Manners certainly has no manners to speak of, and is so named for sharing his habit of 'colorful phraseology' with producer Kim Manners.
  • More references - Was that a mountain of mashed potatoes just like the 'Devil's Tower' in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind?" And was the opening shot an ode to the 'Imperial Star Cruiser' opening of "Star Wars", or was it a clever vehicle Mr. Morgan was using to show us that our own reality differs according to how we see/perceive it? Was the pie and/or donuts a reference to Twin Peaks? We won't know until Darin confesses.
  • Does anyone know the significance of Dr. Fingers and Dr. Hand? They were in the credits.
  • Was the appearance of Alex Trebek yet a third dig at Duchovny for his appearance on Jeopardy, or is Mr. Trebek a fan of the show who wanted to appear, or is there something even more sinister afoot? He is, after all, the perfect person to be a man-in-black - since all answers on the X-Files seem to come in the form of another question.
  • At the end of the episode, we see that Roky has relocated to El Cajon, California. El Cajon, California is where Darin and Glen Morgan were born and raised.
  • Chung's publishing house is owned by "Warden White Incorp., a subsidiary of MacDougall-Kessler" according to Mulder. Heather MacDougall edited this episode, and Sue Kessler is an assistant editor.
  • I personally counted 5 "I'm/You're a dead man"'s and 3 "How the hell should I know"'s.
  • Jose Chung's Script Differences


  • Title - an avatar is the human incarnation of a deity. The word has been popularized in recent years as a computer term for a person's on-line graphical representation (first used in Neal Stephenson's book 'Snow Crash').
  • I can't really tell, but it was reported on the newsgroup that Gillian's daughter, Piper, was looking out of a window on the bus that sped in front of Skinner as he was trying to cross the street.
  • Quagmire

  • Everyone knows that Queequeg was named for Scully's love of Moby Dick, but did you also know that the book's Queequeg was a cannibal? (Remember what that sweet little dog was doing when Clyde Bruckman foresaw his neighbor's death).
  • Heuvelman's Lake in this episode was named after Bernard Heuvelman, a Dutch cryptozoologist who wrote "In the Wake of the Sea Serpents".
  • Dr. Faraday is named for chemist and physicist Dr. Michael Faraday, who discovered the principle of electromatic induction, which is the basis for generating electric power.
  • The photographer is named Ansel after famous photographer Ansel Adams.
  • The episode takes place in Millikan County, named for casting director Rick Millikan.
  • The boat 'Patricia Rae' was named for writer Kim Newton's mother.
  • I don't know whether this counts or not, but it is an intriguing suggestion -- both this episode and 'Revelations' were written by Kim Newton. In 'Revelations' the demonic bad guy was named Gates (just like the head of Microsoft's Bill Gates.) In 'Quagmire' the lake monster's name is 'Big Blue' (also a nickname for IBM -- whose mainframe computers are now considered to be dinosaurs). Were these both nods to the computer industry, and commentary upon its 'evil/unsavory' state of being?
  • Then again - maybe 'Big Blue' was just named after Duchovny's dog, Blue.
  • WetWired

  • In the home of the woman who shot her neighbor, Scully opens a trunk to find many neatly labeled videotapes -- one of which is a tape labeled 'Jeopardy'. I wonder if she has the 'Celebrity Jeopardy' episode in which David Duchovny appeared?
  • When Mulder comes to visit Scully in the hospital, he turns off the television - which is showing footage of a plane crash. Could this be a reference to Gillian Anderson's hosting of the show 'Why Planes Go Down'?
  • 517 - The time Mulder arrives at the house where he eventually runs into Mr X is 5:17pm. 5/17 is the birthdate of producer/writer Frank Spotnitz's wife.
  • Co-producer Paul Rabwin supplied the voice for the game show host seen on the television.
  • This episode by special effects producer Matt Beck was the first to utilize the name "John Gilnitz" for a character (in this case, the man killed in the hammock). The name is a combination of the 3 staff writers (John Shiban, Vince Gilligan, and Frank Spotnitz). The name was later re-used in other Shiban, Gilligan, Spotnitz episodes "Leonard Betts", "Christmas Carol", "Dreamland II", and "Theef".
  • The Riddicks' house was actually the home of X-Files location scout David Caughlan.
  • Talitha Cumi

  • The title of the episode is Aramaic for 'Little girl rise'. The phrase is used in the Bible (Mark 5:41), spoken by Jesus when he raises the young daughter of a Jewish leader from the dead.
  • Angelo Vacco, an X-Files production assistant who also had a small part in 'F. Emasculata', appears once more as one of the gunshot victims who is miraculously healed. For Vacco's other appearances, check the in-jokes for season 2's "F. Emasculata", season 6's "Milagro", and season 9's "Improbable".
  • Bonnie Hay, Gillian Anderson's stand-in for scene blocking, plays a nurse in this episode.
  • 11:21 - When Mulder visits his mother in the hospital, the time at the bottom of the screen is 11:21PM (Chris Carter's wife's birthday)
  • 11:21 - When Scully finds the multiple pictures of Mr. Smith on her computer, the time at the bottom of the screen is 11:21PM (not the same day as the above entry).
  • It is funny that CancerMan mentions being good at water-skiing, since in real life William B. Davis (the actor who plays CancerMan) is reportedly one of Canada's top water-skiers in the 55 - 65 age group.
  • The scene between Jeremiah and CancerMan was in homage to a classic scene from The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky called "The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor". In the legend, Jesus returns and is arrested by church leaders. The Grand Inquisitor tells Jesus that he shouldn't have returned and that he burdened man with too much freedom. The Grand Inquisitor explains that the church took that freedom away because man wants to be led by others.
  • The name of the restaurant where this episode begins is Brothers K -- yet another reference to The Brothers Karamazov.
  • Extras that appear in the restaurant scenes include cinematographer John Bartlet's daughter, first assistant director Tom Braidwood's daughter, key grip Al Campbell's daughter, and three of stunt coordinator Tony Morelli's children.
  • Jeremiah Smith is locked up in room number B18 -- building 18 is the location where many Roswell tourist items are housed.
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    Laura Witte
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