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Small Potatoes

Chris Carter and his team of intrepid writers learned a very important lesson early on: If you take yourself too seriously you'll be devoured by the hype. The hype never got to them, for it takes a pure mind a comedic soul to concoct a show like "Small Potatoes."

This repeat from season four is set in the very rural town of Martinsburg, West Virginia (a State ripe with comedy). Mulder and Scully investigate this Mecca of the backwoods after a tabloid reports on the remarkable number of locally born children who pop from the womb sporting four-inch tails.

After a little digging, Mulder and Scully learn that all of the monkey-bearing mothers were treated by the town's local fertility specialist. While visiting Dr. Alton Pugh, Mulder takes a look around and stumbles upon the poorly concealed butt crack of a janitor. Normally Mulder might look elsewhere for evidence, but the tail thing has him going and he notices a triangular scar over the janitor's tailbone. The janitor spins around, sees that he's in trouble and tries to run for the border, but he's foiled by a well-timed special teams tackle from Mulder.

The janitor is Eddie Van Blundht, a homely local who would ordinarily escape the attention of the most observant person. But paternity tests reveal that Eddie is the father of all five monkey kids, leading Scully to suggest he drugged the mothers. Eddie is aghast—not at the accusation of being the father, but at the insinuation that the only way he could score some nookie is if he drugged his date. Scully is unimpressed.

So it appears the case is solved, but this is the X-files and the show is an hour long. While being booked, Eddie suddenly morphs into the desk officer, then promptly smacks him upside the head. Posing as the officer, he walks from the station and carries on his merry monkey-making.

Mulder and Scully travel to the home of Eddie's father where they think they interview his dad, but Mulder realizes the senior Van Blundht is actually Eddie in disguise. Mulder tries to foil him yet again, but this time the tail-wagging bandit escapes. During an investigation of the house the agents meet the mummified corpse of Eddie's father.

Scully is once again called upon to perform an autopsy (and we all know how much she loves autopsies after "Bad Blood") and she discovers that the senior Van Blundht possessed more than just a tail -- his skin was a giant muscle as well. Putting the pieces together, Mulder and Scully figure that if Eddie has the same genes, he probably possesses the ability to morph his appearance. His success with the ladies is suddenly clear.

Eddie obviously has a sense of humor, for he morphs into Mulder when cornered in a nice suburban bathroom. Mulder (the real one) finds Eddie in a locker room, but Monkey Boy blindsides Mulder and renders him quite unconscious.

Now that he's got a badge, a gun and the face of an FBI agent, Eddie decides it's time for a career change. The fake Mulder and Scully return to D.C. where Eddie closes the case with a poorly typed report. Skinner reluctantly buys the story and the fake Mulder and Scully go to their apartments. Later that night fake Mulder stops by Scully's Ikea Palace (aka "apartment") with a bottle of wine and a whole new kind of tail.

The two while the night away and Scully reveals her tempestuous prom night. Eddie sees the time is right, leans in for a little shmecking, but before he makes contact with the horrified Scully (she really did look horrified) the real Mulder busts Scully's door in. Eddie's tail wilts and he morphs back into the ho-hum janitor. The case is closed, Eddie goes to jail and the sexual tension between Mulder and Scully is restored to its proper, purely Platonic level.

"Small Potatoes" is a great episode on its own, but it achieves classic status through the comedy of David Duchovny. His monologue in front of the mirror in his apartment is one of the series' funniest moments. "You're a fine lookin' man...F...B...I"

Note: This review originally appeared at Ontap.com. It's reprinted here for archival purposes.



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