FOX Television, 2000
For years I’ve known about the wrestling episode of The X-Files. In fact, as I did for every episode after season four, I watched the 2000 episode, “Fight Club” when it first aired. But for years, I resisted writing it up for the site.
Granted, not every “wrestling episode” of a TV series deserves to be inducted here on WrestleCrap – only the ones that suck. Fortunately for us, that’s most of them. But to bring myself to induct an episode of The X-Files, it would have to be the worst X-Files ever.
As it turns out, it was. That meant re-watching the episode for the first time in 20 years (rather than writing entirely from memory, which rarely pans out, I’ve found).
The episode begins with a pair of ersatz Mormon missionaries riding their bikes through the suburbs of Kansas City, going door to door with non-denominational Christian tracts.
After being rebuffed by one red-headed resident…
…they try their luck at another house a few blocks away.
There, they note the astonishing resemblance between this woman and the other one.
Rejected once again, these Latter-Day Ain’ts inexplicably start wailing on each other.
Then comes the big reveal – the mystery woman is Kathy Griffin! Suddenly, the Mormon fisticuffs makes sense; I’d be pissed too if I saw the most annoying woman in the world twice in one afternoon.
The FBI is soon on the case, tracking down Kathy Griffin for questioning. When the other Kathy Griffin drives by, the two agents (who look like Mulder and Scully but aren’t) start beating each other up, as well.
It’s official: Kathy Griffin makes everyone, from missionaries to FBI agents, irrationally angry. This even applies to other TV shows where Kathy Griffin has appeared; Michael Richards and Terry Bollea have only two things in common…
…and one is that they both told Kathy Griffin she’s annoying.
Mulder and Scully eventually figure out that there are two Kathy Griffins in town; one named Lulu Pfeiffer, and the other, Betty Templeton. Over the past three years, they have moved around the country trying to get away from one another, only to end up in the same city every time.
As a courtesy to the viewer, the director has color-coded the two Kathy Griffin characters – one blue, the other pink. Which one’s which isn’t important – Griffin isn’t playing two characters so much as playing one character, twice.
The only relevant difference between Lulu and Betty is that one has been in town a few months longer and is dating Bert “Titanic” Zupanic, a journeyman pro wrestler.
For reasons never explained, Bert owes his promoter Argyle Saperstein a whole lot of money, and if he doesn’t cough it up soon, Saperstein will kick him off his next card.
Despite these shady business dealings, Agent Mulder pals around with this promoter…
…who promises to show him some in-your-face, smack-down moves.
One night, Bert arrives at a bar with a briefcase full of money (where he is greeted by bartender Gene LeBell)…
…but gets sidetracked when he runs into who he thinks is his girlfriend. Then, his real girlfriend shows up, causing the room to shake and the liquor bottles and mirrors to shatter.
The next day, he meets his promoter at the same bar, where the liquor bottles and mirrors were all apparently replaced overnight. There, thanks to a screenwriter’s copy-paste error, the Kathy Griffins show up again…
…the room shakes again, and the liquor bottles and mirrors shatter again. Amid the chaos and recycled footage, Bert gets knocked unconscious…
…at which point, Saperstein steals his briefcase full of cash. And since Bert doesn’t know about his trickery, the promoter tells him he’s still on the hook for the money.
Despite one of the Kathy Griffins having lived in Kansas City for months longer, both apply for a job in town on the same day, getting hired at two different franchises of
Kinko’s Koko’s Copy Center.
As they cross paths throughout the episode, unexplained zaniness ensues…
…such as Mulder getting sucked into a sewer and remaining there until nighttime for some reason.
While Mulder sits out a good chunk of this lousy episode off-camera in a sewer (Can you blame him?), Scully tracks down the Kathy Griffins’ father, a prolific sperm donor, current prison inmate, and really angry dude. This means, by the way, that despite being identical, the Kathys don’t even share a mother.
While in the prison, Scully also discovers an exact double of Bert Zupanic. This will become important later on (but not really).
Meanwhile, each Kathy Griffin spends time in the confused Bert Zupanic’s bedroom…
…and each responds to his cash-flow problem with one of the dumbest criminal plots in television history:
Sneaking into their respective copy shops at night, each Kathy Griffin photocopies $100 bills…
…one side at a time.
The next night is Bert’s big match, or “fight”, as every single character calls it.
Just when the promoter is going to call off the match (“fight”) because Bert can’t produce the money…
…a Kathy Griffin shows up to save the day with a big sack of counterfeit cash…
…which looks exactly like real $100 bills and not pieces of paper cut out and glued together.
That means the match (“fight”) is on!
Bert “Titanic” Zupanic enters the ring to face this Zorro-looking goof…
…known to you and me as Rob Van Dam.
He and Titanic chain-wrestle, allowing Bert to wow the crowd with his technical prowess.
Just look at that clothesline. You can hardly tell which of these two men has zero experience as a professional wrestler.
Soon, Agent Mulder shows up to drag Kathy Griffin away before she sees Kathy Griffin and all hell breaks loose.
Just then, the other Kathy shows up with her own sack of fake money.
Now that the two Kathys see each other, everyone in the arena get into a fist fight, possibly after overhearing this infuriating dialogue:
But then comes Agent Scully to the rescue, escorting Bert Zupanic’s convict doppelgänger to ringside. The crowd falls silent, unable to believe their eyes.
Even RVD breaks his hold to figure out what’s going on.
Obviously, bringing yet another pair of lookalikes face-to-face doesn’t solve anything – why the hell would it? In fact, it makes the situation worse, as now Bert and his double get into a fight, as does the whole crowd.
Back at FBI headquarters, a banged-up Mulder and Scully explain the case to Argyle Saperstein.
For the record, this promoter has accepted two bags full of counterfeit money (and stolen a briefcase full of real money), yet the agents never question him about any of these huge off-the-books cash transactions.
Instead, he gets the inside scoop on Doppel-gäte. Questions abound:
Why would they show him evidence in an ongoing investigation?
Why would they let him smoke in a federal building?
Why would they invite a wrestling promoter anywhere?
And while the agents don’t answer those questions, they do resolve the episode’s main mystery thusly:
Lulu and Betty are “non-fraternal biological siblings” (i.e. half-siblings), as are Bert Zupanic and his unnamed double. The odds of two such identical siblings meeting are 27 million to 1, but when they do, the results can be “unpredictable”. Or something.
So there you have it: when people who look exactly alike meet, it makes weird stuff happen, I guess. (Unless they’re actual twins, because there are tons of those, and this stuff doesn’t happen to them)
Look, I’ve seen every X-Files episode there is. I know that the supernatural drives its plots. And I know that the show’s pseudoscientific explanations for all its strange phenomena have little basis in reality. But this – this rationalization is so flimsy it’s not even half-assed. It’s quarter-assed, at best.
I mean, how could the episode’s writers fail to realize that identical twins exist, and that nothing like this ever happens to them? Frankly, they’d have been better off using my Kathy Griffin Hypothesis.