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In the eleventh season of Fox’s “The X-Files,” fans of the unique bond between FBI agents Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) were privy to a unique moment in the show’s history — a scene in the episode “Plus One” that contained too much evidence to dispute that at least in this one instance, the erstwhile partners enjoyed a physical interlude beyond their previously established platonic state. Within those hundreds of hours, there are plenty of instances where a workplace relationship or a relationship between two people on unequal footing might have crossed into inappropriate territory (take the tempestuous nature of Olitz on “Scandal” as just one massive example). Rhimes doesn’t think that the topic, at least as her shows explore it, is really that tricky to decipher. And when it doesn’t happen, we don’t,” she told reporters at the Television Critics Association Winter press tour.After over 200 episodes, two movies, and giving birth to a child who they certainly think is theirs biologically (yeah yeah, hush up about the Season 11 premiere, at least for the moment) the question of whether or not Mulder and Scully have ever (to use a phrase only someone crass and tasteless would use) “gone to Pound Town” now seems relatively moot. “The exposition versus the exploitation of power, I think we deal with it. You are watching people deal with those relationships.(That’s a common pilot trope, also seen on shows like “Quantico.”) As fans of the series know, the story doesn’t end there, but the show openly acknowledges the problematic aspects of their relationship right from the beginning. The ultimate takeaway is that the ongoing relationship Mulder and Scully share might have had its ups and downs, but while their personal and professional relationships did get tangled, the show did acknowledge those moments at times, especially when Scully’s health was on the line or Mulder’s own romantic past raised its Mimi Rogers-shaped head.Here’s a bit of banter from Season 1, Episode 2, as an example: Meredith: I’m not going out with you. Those episodes, airing in the late ’90s, perhaps represented a dramatic peak for “The X-Files,” one which I personally ate up at the time.While every company’s HR policies may vary, for the most part workplace romances are often permissible, as long as they’ve been properly disclosed and don’t take place between a direct supervisor and subordinate.Oh, and most importantly: As long as both parties are on board.
In Shondaland, the relationships between men and women might be complicated, but the romances we root for don’t bear much resemblance to that of people exercising their power in the workplace to force others into doing things they don’t want to do.Of course, if you’re a character on a show produced by Shonda Rhimes, the likelihood that you’ll meet your partner through your job shoots up to like 110 percent — Rhimes’s shows have always blended sex and work, beginning back in 2005 with “Grey’s Anatomy.” Right away, the very first episode of the epic-running ABC medical drama introduces the off-again, on-again relationship between fledgling surgical resident Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), which begins as a one-night stand before Meredith finds out that he’s an attending physician at her hospital… Scully’s reply is wry, seemingly unoffended: “Anti-gravity is right.” But it’s only one instance of potential line-crossing that was played lightly at the time, and in fact pointed to as a sign that Mulder and Scully were far more than professional colleagues, comfortable with bantering together about sex and other personal matters.at which point she tells him it’s inappropriate for them to date. That all happened with the actual nature of their relationship going seemingly undefined, though certainly by the end of the first season, they clearly have a personal connection, evidenced by them continuing to find ways to connect despite being separated as partners — not to mention the fact that when Scully gets abducted in Season 2, Mulder’s reaction cannot be described as that of losing a work colleague.Whether a show like “Grey’s” chooses to engage with this as a storyline, or a show like “The X-Files” very slowly but surely lets its central couple fall into bed together, the point remains that sexual harassment has nothing to do with romance, and those who equate the two have a poor understanding of one, the other, or both.Love is never easy, especially when you’re balancing it with life on the job.