Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The X-Files: El Mundo Gira (4.11)

I'm always a little ambivalent about X-Files episodes centered on minority groups, since so often the show bathes in stereotypes and cultural clich├ęs instead of exploring actual issues. El Mundo Gira doesn't necessarily avoid these trappings (it makes a decent attempt at reflecting cultural 'issues', I'll give the show that), but it is still pretty awful. I'm informed that the title translates to 'as the world turns' in Spanish, implying spoofery on Mexican telenovelas and their melodramatic ridiculousness. However, in the hands of the show's worst writer, any self-conscious awfulness instead only reads as completely unintentional.

One of the problems with the script is that is way too much happening. There's the urban legend of the chupacabra (a great idea to base an episode around), the distrust of authority from the Mexicans, possible police corruption, disease control, alien sightings, and tons and tons of fungus. It's a needlessly convoluted story, and I'm not sure the general idea (stories being deliberately elaborate and contrived to cover up real-life horror) necessarily works when written so ham-fistedly.

The episode also doesn't avoid treating its Mexican characters as stereotypes. We have men and women so in denial of their circumstances that they create fictitious fables about vampire-goats and UFO creatures, cops who throw away the badge to protect 'their own'. It's all contrived and unnecessarily offensive.

At the end of the episode, Skinner notes that the story is complicated, while Mulder ruminates on the fact that "nobody cares" about the plight of Mexican illegals. The message is lost in the confusion of the last couple of acts, an attempt at covering up an illogical script. There's nothing more annoying than a piece of fiction which claims to be awful on purpose, and this is one such example. El Mundo Gira's intentions are interesting, but in execution it majorly backfires. Rating D

Credits
Guest stars Mitch Pileggi (A.D. Walter Skinner); Ruben Blades (Conrad Lozano); Raymond Cruz (Eladio Buente); Jose Yenque (Soledad Buente); Simi (Gabrielle Buente); Lillian Hurst (Flakita)
Writer John Shiban Director Tucker Gates

2 comments:

  1. Just watched this on Netflix and it's completely rife with stereotypes. The Chupacabra-man's brother is bent on vengeance because he killed "his Maria". Oh boy. The Spanish acting is generally awful, and the dialog as scripted even worse. Totally agree with this review.

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  2. Heh, don't remind me about the brother. Thanks a lot for reading, Wes.

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