The X-Files

Season 5 Episode 5

The Post-Modern Prometheus

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Nov 30, 1997 on FOX



  • Trivia

    • The University of Ingolstadt, where Dr Pollidori is to deliver his lecture, was disbanded in 1800. The university is frequently mentioned in The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.

    • When Scully picks up the paper that reads "FBI Hunts Hometown Monster", outside JJ's Country Diner. If you pause and look closely at the small print of the article, it repeats itself 3 times, making the 3 columns of the article.

  • Quotes

    • Mulder: The victims, they had their frying pans violated.

    • Pollidori: Do you want children or a Nobel Prize?

    • Shaineh Berkowitz: Hey! Hey, that's it! That's the song that was playing when I got knocked up!

    • Scully: Mulder, I'm alarmed that you would reduce this man to a literary stereotype. A mad scientist.

    • Mulder: It's alive!

    • Mulder: I'm alarmed that you would reduce these people to a cultural stereotype. Not everybody dreams to get on Jerry Springer.

    • Scully: Peanut butter sandwiches?
      Mulder: You think baloney would be more effective?

    • Mulder: This fly has legs....
      Scully: ... growing out of his mouth.
      Mulder: Why you would do that?
      Pollidori: Because I can.

    • The Great Mutato: I learned of a mother's love I'll never know. Cher loved that boy so much.
      Izzy: Hey, he's no monster.

    • Mulder: This is all wrong, Scully. This is not how the story's supposed to end.
      Scully: What do you mean?
      Mulder: Dr. Frankenstein pays for his evil ambitions, yes. But the monster is supposed to escape, to go search for his bride.
      Scully: There's not going to be any bride, Mulder. Not in this story.
      Mulder: Well, where's the writer? I want to speak to the writer.

    • Mulder: Good night, Doctor Frankenstein.

    • Mulder: Scully, do you think it's too soon for me to get my own 1-900 number?

    • Scully: But common sense alone will tell you that these legends, these unverified rumors are ridiculous.
      Mulder: But nonetheless, unverifiable, and therefore true in the sense that they're believed to be true.
      Scully: Is there anything that you don't believe in, Mulder?

  • Notes

    • Mulder and Scully were originally supposed to kiss as they dance at the end of this episode. However, Chris Carter thought it was too much, so he cut it.

    • Three songs by Cher are heard in this episode, "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" during the teaser scene, "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" when Mulder and Scully arrive at the fumigated house and "Walking in Memphis" at the end of this episode (during the famous dance scene).

    • Doctor Pollidori shows Mulder and Scully the image of a fruit fly with legs growing out of its mouth, claiming that he created the mutant by genetic manipulation. In actual fact, it is a random mutation that does occur in nature without human intervention. Another type, Antennapedia, has legs growing where antenna should be. There are many similar variations.

    • Jerry Springer makes a cameo playing himself.

    • Chris Carter asked the hairstylist Anji Bemben to make certain people look like certain animals. The newspaper reporter had to look like a chicken, another one had to look like a goat, and yet another one like a pig.

    • The role of Cher was written for Cher herself, a major X-Files fan. She declined at the time as she thought that her appearance would be a bit tacky. She regretted this decision after viewing the episode when it aired.

    • An ad lib by David Duchovny was cut from the final version. After the waitress at J.J.'s County Dinner dumps coffee in his lap, he complains: "Why'd you go and do that for? Now my crotch is going to be up all night!".

    • Chris Owens, who plays the great Mutato in this episode, goes on to play the recurring character of Agent Spender in the series.

    • 'The Post-Modern Prometheus' was nominated for seven Emmy awards in 1998; Outstanding Writing, Directing, Art Direction, Cinematography, Single-Picture Editing, Makeup and Music Composition.
      Graeme Murray, Greg Lowren and Shirley Inget walked away with the award for Outstanding Art Direction.

    • The role of Shaineh Berkowitz was originally written for, and offered to, comedienne and actress Roseanne but she turned down the offer.

    • This episode was filmed between the 'Emily' 2 parter because David Duchovny was scheduled to be away from Vancouver while promoting his movie Playing God.

  • Allusions

    • Name: Shaineh Berkowitz
      Shaineh Berkowitz was probably named after the serial killer David Berkowitz.
      David Richard Berkowitz (born June 1, 1953), also known as Son of Sam and the .44 Caliber Killer, is an American serial killer and arsonist whose crimes terrorized New York City from July 1976 until his arrest in August 1977.
      Shortly after his arrest in August 1977, Berkowitz confessed to killing six people and wounding seven others in the course of eight shootings in New York between 1976 and 1977; he has been imprisoned for these crimes since 1977. Berkowitz subsequently claimed that he was commanded to kill by a demon who possessed his neighbor's dog.

    • Movie Connection: Mulder: It's Alive
      This is a reference to a popular 1974 horror film of the same title, which became a popular catchphrase during the 1970s.
      Given the Frankenstein allusions throughout, it's also an obvious reference to the famous 1931 film directed by James Whale, in which Dr Frankenstein, on seeing his creation come to life, exclaims 'It's Alive!' eight times in a row.

    • Visual: Mask
      Mutato watches the 1985 movie Mask starring Cher. It is also another reference to Frankenstein, where the monster studied and related to John Milton's Paradise Lost, Mutato here can relate to the boy in the movie.

    • Literary Connection: Frankenstein
      Dr. Pollidori had to leave so he could deliver an address at the University of Ingolstadt. The Ingolstadt University is the institution where medical student Victor Frankenstein first had the idea of 'creating' a human.

    • Name: Elizabeth Pollidori
      Dr. Pollidori's wife, Elizabeth, was probably so-named because the infamous Dr. Frankenstein's wife was also named Elizabeth.

    • Name: Dr. Pollidori
      Dr. Pollidori was named for physician Dr. John Pollidori, who was the personal physician of Lord Byron. Lord Byron is the man who suggested the ghost story competition that inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein.

    • Title: The Post-Modern Prometheus
      The title is a homage to Mary Shelley's famous book Frankenstein - which is actually titled Frankenstein: Or the Modern Prometheus.
      From Greek mythology, Prometheus was a demi-god who made men out of clay, and is probably best remembered as being the one who stole fire from Olympus and taught mortal men how to use it - an act that got him punished by Zeus. His punishment was to be chained to a rock and to have an eagle eat his liver every day.

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