The X-Files In-Jokes List


X-Files In-Jokes: Season Six


The Beginning

  • In an interview with the LA Times (August 28, 1998), Chris Carter explained that the first thing in the opening teaser of the premiere is a shot of the sun. The camera then pans down to a desert landscape -- a scene they would never have been able to do in Vancouver. Carter says that these opening images are a "wink to the audience that we are now in the land of sunshine".
  • Mulder & Scully's new boss, Kersh, is reportedly named after characters (Dr. Kersh & Anton Kersh) from one of Chris Carter's favorite movies, 1971's "Vampire Circus". The scoop was unearthed by GF2020.
  • "Homer", sleeping at the helm of the nuclear power plant, was a nod to "The Simpsons" dad, Homer Simpson.
  • Isn't it fitting that Sandy, the ill-fated Roush employee, was played by long-time X-Files casting director Rick Millikan. Good casting job there, Rick. Reportedly, he took the part because he looked a lot like the chest-bursted victim-dummy used in the X-Files movie (which was re-used in this episode).
  • A.D. Maslin was named for New York Times film critic Jane Maslin, and A.D. Bart was named for Variety critic Peter Bart (who both reviewed the X-Files movie -- in much the same manner as the two A.D.'s reviewed Mulder and Scully's exploits while on the panel -- and even using some of the same phrases!).
  • Drive

  • Country music start Junior Brown will be playing a bit part in this episode (as a man who buys a lot of fertilizer). He was approached for the part by producer/writer Vince Gilligan because he is a fan of Junior's music.
  • Drive was Vince Gilligan's homage to the movie Speed.
  • The gas station where Mulder hijacks the station wagon is named "Holly's" after Vince Gilligan's girlfriend, Holly Rice. For the full list of Holly sightings, see the Lists & Statistics page.
  • Triangle

  • Much like "Post-Modern Prometheus" was an homage to Frankenstein, this episode was a homage to "The Wizard of Oz", filmed in the style of Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 film "Rope" (with the story taking place in real-time and being shot in continuous takes with no cutaway shots). "The Wizard of Oz" homages include:
  • The story will loosely followed that of "The Wizard of Oz" (with Mulder in a sort-of alternate reality, running into people who look amazingly like the important people in his life).
  • Mulder's wrecked boat was named the "Lady Garland". Judy Garland was the actress who played Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz".
  • The first ballroom scene includes a band named "Elmira Gulch and the Lollipop Guild". Elmira Gulch was the non-Oz name of the Wicked Witch of the West character (the mean old woman who wanted to take Toto), and the Lollipop Guild was the ruling body of the Munchkins.
  • The events Mulder witnesses on the Queen Anne are taking place in 1939. The movie version of "The Wizard of Oz" was released in 1939.
  • Captain Yip Harburg was so-named for "Wizard of Oz" lyricist, Yip Harburg.
  • Of course the most obvious (thus not really an in-joke) reference - in the hospital when Mulder is telling Scully and Skinner that they were there, Skinner replies "Right, me and my dog Toto."
  • Arlene Pileggi (Mitch Pileggi's wife and Gillian Anderson's former photo double) reprised her role as Skinner's assistant. Arlene can also be seen as Skinner's assistant in Season 5's "Bad Blood", Season 6's "S.R. 819", and "Monday", Season 7's "The Sixth Extinction: Amor Fati", Season 8's "This Is Not Happening" and "Dead Alive", and Season 9's "Sunshine Days". Arlene also played Scully's look-alike in Season 7's "Fight Club".
  • Tara Parker, the girlfriend of Chris Owens (Spender), appeared in this episode as one of the dancers in the ship's ballroom.
  • Tag Line - the familiar "The Truth is Out There" tagline was changed to "DIE WAHRHEIT IST IRGENDWO DA DRAUßEN", or "The Truth is Somewhere Out There" in German. Some people have suggested that the additional "somewhere" in the phrase is yet another "Wizard of Oz" homage (as in "Somewhere Over the Rainbow").
  • Either the powers-that-be at 1013 are still reading the newsgroups, or Carter just thinks like we do, because it is obvious that no matter what time he is in, Spender is a weasel!!!
  • Triangle Script Differences


  • Title - the name "Dreamland" is a nickname for the infamous Area 51 in Nevada. "Dreamland" actually stands for "Data Repository Establishment and Management Land".
  • 1013? - Scully arrives at the convenience store at 10:12pm. That would mean that she found the "11 cent piece" at 10:13. Does that count?
  • Michael McKean's character, Morris Fletcher, was named for McKean's son, Fletcher.
  • Dreamland II

  • This is the fourth episode to have a character named "John Gilnitz". A conglomeration of the 3 writers' names (John Shiban, Vince Gilligan, Frank Spotnitz), this episode's John Gillnitz is the real named of the man hired to play the role of Saddam Hussein. See the entries for "WetWired", "Leonard Betts", "Christmas Carol", and "Theef" for other occurrences of the name.
  • The "mandroid army" mentioned in the Gunmen's paper was a reference to "Jose Chung's from Outer Space".
  • Terms of Endearment

  • 1013 - The time that the baby's body was placed in the fire (10/13 is Chris Carter's birthday)
  • Rain King

  • As Mulder & Scully wander down the street, they pass "Vince's Diner". This may be a reference to writer Vince Gilligan.
  • Kroner, Kansas was named for Paul Kroner, writer Jeffrey Bell's college roommate at the University of Cincinnati.
  • How the Ghosts Stole Christmas

  • 1013 - as the episode opens, Mulder is listening to Christmas music on radio station 101.3.
  • Ed Asner's character's mention of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) may be a sly reference to Ed Asner's own well-known crusades for liberal causes.
  • The haunted house's address, 1501 Larkspur Lane, may be a reference to a Nancy Drew mystery story, "Password to Larkspur Lane".
  • R. Grimes, the author of the book "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas" seen in the episode, was named after X-Files assistant props master Marty Grimes.
  • How the Ghosts Stole Christmas Script Differences


  • Title - Tithonus is a character from Greek mythology. A mortal man, Tithonus fell in love with the goddess of Dawn, Eos, who begged Zeus to grant Tithonus immortality. Zeus consented, but neglected to give him eternal youth. Tithonus continued to shrivel and grow feeble as he aged. Eventually Eos turned him into a grasshopper.
  • Title (part 2) - It is also worth mentioning that a "tithonograph" is defined as "a photograph produced by the action of 'tithonic' rays on a sensitized surface" -- and "tithonic rays" are "analogous to rays of dark heat". (Special thanks to OpheM for the research).
  • One of Fellig's pseudonyms was "L.H.Rice". This name was an homage to (Lucy) "Holly" Hartwell Rice, Vince Gilligan's girlfriend. For the full list of Holly sightings, see the Lists & Statistics page.
  • One of Fellig's press passes also bore Holly Rice's birthday, April 4th.
  • Other than the "L.H.Rice" reference to Holly, all of Fellig's other pseudonyms were references to real-life photographers. (special thanks to Deborah Thomas - The Librarian - for compiling this information)
  • Alfred Fellig was named for Arthur Fellig (also known as "WeeGee"). WeeGee was a New York City photographer in the 30's, 40's, and 50's who covered the police murder beat. He took graphic photos of the victims, which the newspapers usually printed along with their stories. He also photographed the high society beat.
  • Alfred Fellig's first name came from Alfred Stieglitz, another famous photographer much admired by Vince Gilligan.
  • Henry Strand might have been named for Paul Strand. Paul Strand was a New York City photographer in the early 1900's. He went through a period of photographing his subjects without their knowledge in attempt to extract a "quality of being" from them. At the time this act was quite controversial.
  • Lewis Brady might have been named for Mathew Brady, a photographer who covered the Civil War era when photography was still a new thing. He was an accomplished portrait photographer in his time. His subjects included Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allen Poe, Frederick Douglas, and Susan B. Anthony. He was most famous as a war correspondent who collected images on the Civil War battlefields.
  • SR 819

  • Title - this title may have been named for a "real" Senate Resolution (S 819) from 1993 regarding a hazardous, toxic, and potentially deadly chemical, Trifluoromethylaniline. The bill extended the temporary suspension of duty on the chemical.
  • Arlene Pileggi (Mitch Pileggi's wife and Gillian Anderson's former photo double) reprised her role as Skinner's assistant. Arlene can also be seen as Skinner's assistant in Season 5's "Bad Blood", Season 6's "Triangle" and "Monday", Season 7's "The Sixth Extinction: Amor Fati", Season 8's "This Is Not Happening" and "Dead Alive", and Season 9's "Sunshine Days". Arlene also played Scully's look-alike in Season 7's "Fight Club".
  • St. Katherine's hospital was named for writer John Shiban's sister, Katie.
  • Dr. Katrina Cabrera was named after a researcher on The X-Files staff.
  • Me hangin' out with Mrs. Spender

    Two Fathers

    Two Fathers Script Differences

    One Son

  • 1013 - Date and time stamp on the teaser: 10/13/1973, 10:56 (Chris Carter's birthday 10/13 -- month & day, 10/56 -- month & year)
  • 1121 - the time everyone meets at the air force base - 11:21 (Chris Carter's wife's birthday)
  • 1013 - Time stamp when Spender is looking for his mother
  • Actress Jo Black-David, who played the murderous nurse, was casting director Rick Millikan's high school drama teacher.
  • Arcadia

  • Title - from my trusty Webster's dictionary, "Arcadia" is "A region in ancient Greece held to be an ideal of rural simplicity and peacefulness", or "A region offering rural simplicity and tranquillity".
  • The pseudonyms used by Mulder and Scully in this episode are "Rob and Laura" after Rob & Laura Petrie from the Dick Van Dyke Show.
  • The name Polizzi on one of the neighborhood mailboxes is in honor of Lauren Polizzi, one of the art directors on design director Corey Kaplan's staff.
  • Agua Mala

  • Title - Spanish for "Bad Water", the term "Agua Mala" also is a slang name for a particularly nasty type of jellyfish (the Portuguese Man of War) in the Caribbean. This jellyfish has tentacles that can spread out over a large area of water, the clear *arms* unseen until it has wrapped itself around a person's limb or limbs, leaving welts that look very much like acid burns.
  • Monday (previously titled Mobius)

  • Previous Title - Mobius (or a Mobius strip) is a one-sided surface that can be formed from a rectangular strip by twisting one end 180 degrees and fastening it to the other end. It is sort-of like a 3D infinity symbol. Fitting for an episode where the day keeps "looping" until they get it right.
  • You knew Vince couldn't leave us without a "Holly" reference, right? The Cradock Marine Bank is named for a suburb of Portsmouth, Virginia where Holly grew up, and Holly's mother's maiden name is Bernard (the name of the man who tries to hold-up the bank). For the full list of Holly sightings, see the Lists & Statistics page.
  • Arlene Pileggi (Mitch Pileggi's wife and Gillian Anderson's former photo double) reprised her role as Skinner's assistant. Arlene can also be seen as Skinner's assistant in Season 5's "Bad Blood", Season 6's "Triangle" and "S.R. 819", Season 7's "The Sixth Extinction: Amor Fati", Season 8's "This Is Not Happening" and "Dead Alive", and Season 9's "Sunshine Days". Arlene also played Scully's look-alike in Season 7's "Fight Club".
  • Alpha

  • Parts of this episode take place in Bellflower, California -- which is creator Chris Carter's home town (see the in-jokes for the pilot episode for another reference to Bellflower, CA).
  • Characters Dr. Detweiler and Karin Bergquist were named for friends of writer Jeffery Bell. In "real life", Detweiler and Bergquist are married to each other and play in a Cincinnati band called "Over the Rhine".
  • Trevor

  • "Trevor" was written by props master Ken Hawryliw and by Grammy-nominated composer Jim Guttridge. For other "appearances" on the show by Ken Hawryliw, check out the in-jokes for Season 5's "The Unusual Suspects", Season 3's "D.P.O." and "Pusher", and Season 1's "Jersey Devil".
  • I'm not sure whether or not this is an intentional reference, but it is amusing that the "electric" man at the center of this episode is named "Pinker" Rawls, while the character that Mitch Pileggi (Skinner) played in the movie "Shocker" (who was made of electricity) was named Horace Pinker.
  • The character Trevor Gurwitch was named for Trevor Marquiss, a young nephew of producer John Shiban.
  • Milagro

  • Title - "Milagro" is Spanish for "miracle".
  • This episode marks the 3rd appearance of Angelo Vacco, Vancouver production assistant turned actor. In this episode he played the ill-fated 16 year old (yeah right) Romeo. He was previously seen in Season 2's "F. Emasculata" and Season 3's "Talitha Cumi", and later appeared in Season 9's "Improbable".
  • Possible homage? In the cemetery, the camera seems to linger on a tombstone engraved with the named "Diana and Nicholas Salinger", which are the names of the late parents of the kids on "Party of Five".
  • Possible in-joke? The name "Phillip Padgett" was also the name of a character Nick Lea (Krycek) played on his appearance in the SciFi series "The Burning Zone" (in the episode "The Hall of the Serpent"). Lea played a cult leader and evil psychic-surgeon.
  • Another possible in-joke? Dr. Ken Naciamento -- a variation of his last name (spelled Nascimento) is Portuguese for "birth" (and the character is Brazilian, where they speak Portuguese). Another variation (spelled Nacimento) is Spanish for birth. It is also worth mentioning that the name is also shared with that of a lake in California.
  • The Unnatural

  • Title - The title of this episode, written and directed by David Duchovny, is a play on the common phrase used to describe someone born to do what they do, a "natural", or an homage to the Bernard Malamud book "The Natural", as well as Robert Redford's classic baseball film of the same name.
  • David Duchovny's brother, Daniel, plays the role of "Piney" in this episode.
  • The baseball announcer on the television as Scully is on her way to Mulder's office is none-other than Vin Scully, the man whom Chris Carter named Agent Scully after.
  • Vin Scully also mentions Bellflower, Chris Carter's hometown (which has appeared in various in-jokes, particularly in the Pilot Episode).
  • "My Best Friend's Martians?" M. Emmet Walsh's Arthur Dales (who was filling in due to Darren McGavin's unfortunate illness) obviously a played with the title of "My Favorite Martian", but maybe it was also a play on "My Best Friend's Wedding", which M. Emmet Walsh also appeared in.
  • "Josh Exley" may had been modeled on "Josh Gibson" (whose jersey Mulder was wearing at the end of the episode) who played for the real-life Homestead Grays. Gibson was one of the greatest batters ever, and if he had been allowed to play in the major leagues he would have had the home run record. Official write-up on Josh Gibson
  • The Unnatural Script Differences

    Three of a Kind

  • A few people have sent in as a possible in-joke that the unit mentioned by Byers (AE-135) in the episode is named the same as the one HAL uses to lure Poole and Bowman outside the ship in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Actually, in 2001 it is called the AE-35, not the AE-135. So was this an intentional in-joke or tip-of-the-hat? I'll let you know if/when I find out.
  • Field Trip

  • The small gray alien was played by seven year old Cody Weselis, son of X-Files stunt coordinator Danny Weselis.
  • Biogenesis

  • Title - According to my trusty Websters, "Biogenesis" is "the doctrine that living organisms develop only from other living organisms and not from nonliving matter. It is also Latin for "creation of life".
  • Biogenesis Script Differences


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    Laura Witte
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