This was meant to come right after the “5 Best Minor Recurring Characters” post, but then the new trailer happened and I lost several days of my life. Pardon the interruption.
For the run-down on the methodology behind this ranking and for a ray of sunshine in this miserable world, read the first post. In the meanwhile, here are the 5 worst minor characters.
5. Holly (“Pusher,” “Redux”)
Meet Holly, one of the only non-super-soldier characters who can take down Walter Skinner without the assistance of a firearm or nanobots. The only explanation I have for this is that Skinner’s secret weakness is people with no last name.
During Holly’s brief tenure as <whatever the hell office role she fills>, she gets mugged, gets hypnotized, beats up Skinner, and expresses sympathy for Scully’s cancer scare as though they’ve been chatting in the break room whenever Scully’s between cases.
She doesn’t drive any ‘shippiness and she’s not important to the mytharc. Her episodes are quite good, I’ll give her that, and she’s pretty so more points there. I also went ahead and threw in a couple points for Fear Factor because — and let’s not lose sight of this — this is a tiny secretary who took down an ex-Marine because she was hypnotized into doing so. Modell didn’t give her any special powers or weapons; he just unleashed the pent-up atom bomb of rage that she must carry around with her (next to her pepper spray) at all times in order to be able to assault Walter Skinner. That’s scarier than any fluke monster.
4. Susanne Modeski (“Unusual Suspects,” “Three of a Kind”)
Susanne Modeski exists in a web of lies. When she says her ex-boyfriend Mulder kidnapped her daughter, what she means is that she’s a government scientist trying to expose their secret bio-weapons tests on the public. When she comes back a few years later and says she’s been rescued by her fiance, what she means is that her fiance has brainwashed her into getting herself assassinated.
She doesn’t really get many points for any category except sex appeal, but on the plus side, she’s the only character on this list who didn’t get any Gets on My Goddamn Nerves points, either. Perhaps it takes more than two episodes of flat, personality-less victimhood to become annoying. Or perhaps I just like to see Byers mackin’ on the ladies.
3. Morris Fletcher (“Dreamland,” “Three of a Kind,” “Jump the Shark”)
He’s not scary. His episodes are almost uniformly terrible, minus some classic moments (“I just can’t decide who lights my fire.”), to the point where his appearance on-screen is like the spots in your eyes that let you know you’re about to have a migraine. He’s… okay-looking. He’s annoying as hell. The question is, how is he not the absolute worst recurring character on this list?
The answer: he drives those ‘shippy moments like a nine-iron.
Granted, the above is Morris Fletcher in Mulder’s body, so maybe that doesn’t count. But he does get Scully to look past his Michael McKean-exterior and offer to kiss the nougat-y David Duchovny filling.
For those who stopped watching in season 6, Morris Fletcher is a government worker, some kind of middle manager in Area 51. Mulder and Scully drive on up to the secret military outpost to meet with a source, and an experimental plane flies overhead, causing Mulder and Morris to switch bodies. During his brief time inhabiting Mulder’s life, Morris smacks Scully’s ass, bangs Kersh’s secretary, and buys a waterbed whose sole purpose is to start leaking later in the season.
I feel a little bad listing him here, as generally Michael McKean is a purveyor of quality comedic cinema. But then I remember “Jump the Shark,” and I regain confidence in the sanctity of this process. Onto the next one.
2. Theresa Nemman (“Pilot,” “Requiem,” “This is Not Happening”)
Now that I think about it, forget about the sanctity of this process — there should have been a filter for obscurity.
Theresa Nemman née Hoese is a member of the high school class in Bellefleur, Oregon that keep getting killed in the woods with weird marks on their back. Her dad is the medical examiner, so that’s cool. And she shows up again in seasons 7 and 8, sporting a baby and getting sucked up into the sky at the same time as Mulder.
It’s kind of cute that she gets Mulder to belatedly realize that maybe Scully has given up too much for his quest and should go have a life or something. And she gets points for being a nice-looking lady. On the whole, though, I apologize for the faulty methodology I set up that led to her inclusion here. It won’t happen again.
1. Shannon McMahon (“Nothing Important Happened Today” parts 1 and 2)
In fairness, Shannon McMahon was not meant to be so obscure; actress Lucy Lawless was contracted to play this inexplicable, plot-stretching super soldier for the whole season, but she was sidelined by pregnancy. This reason, and only this reason, is why the mytharc was so convoluted at series end.
I can’t even be bothered to watch this whole 2-episode arc so that I can explain Shannon McMahon in more detail. I suppose I will have to get through season 9 once the #201daysofXFiles and #XFRewatch get there in early January. But until then… just no.