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Series / The Lone Gunmen

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From left: Melvin Frohike, John Fitzgerald Byers, Richard "Ringo" Langly

Short-lived Spin-Off of The X-Files featuring the adventures of Mulder's conspiracy-crazy friends the Lone Gunmen. The series lasted from March to June, 2001.

The show focused on small-time conspiracies rather than mythological beasts and alien invasions, but while it was more plausible than The X-Files it was also more lighthearted. Attempts to create a serious Myth Arc were thwarted when the series was cancelled after only thirteen episodes. The X-Files episode "Jump the Shark" was a Fully Absorbed Finale for the show.

If for nothing else, the show is notable in that its pilot episode "predicted" the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Also noted for predicting what happened after that, too.

This show provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Jimmy to Yves. Or so she claims, anyway.
  • Backup Twin: Kimmy the Geek is played by the same actor as Jimmy the Geek, a hacker friend of the Gunmen who was Killed Off for Real in an episode of The X-Files. Word of God confirms that Kimmy is indeed Jimmy's identical twin brother. It's been pointed out that even though the brothers share their hacking skills and relationship to the Gunmen, it quickly becomes apparent that their personalities are (subtly) very different, surprisingly somewhat averting Suspiciously Similar Substitute.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: The Gunmen and Jimmy in "Three Men and a Smoking Diaper".
  • Berserk Button: Never, ever, make fun of Langly's hair.
  • Consumer Conspiracy: Deconstructed with the twist in "Like Water for Octane". The inventor of the water-powered car realized that it wouldn't be a panacea for peak oil, but would simply make the consumption of every other resource even worse, so he destroyed it himself.
  • Book Dumb: Jimmy. He cleans computer keyboards with soap and water, puts used coffee filters through the shredder, and doesn't know "geography" from "geology", amongst other things. But he's also much more empathetic and in tune with human behaviour than the other Gunmen or even Yves, and sometimes this actually puts him one step ahead of the others.
  • The Cameo: David Duchovny makes one (uncredited) as his X-Files character in the season finale.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Frohike.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Yves Adele Harlow.
  • Cliffhanger: "All About Yves," with the issues resolved on The X-Files "Jump the Shark" episode almost a year later. (Interestingly, the trio appeared a few times there before then - with the Season 9 premiere showing them immediately after their cliffhanger predicament.)
  • Conspiracy Theorist
  • Crossover / Crisis Crossover: In IDW's The X-Files comics, they starred in one of these in 2014. The Lone Gunmen received a cryptic file from the future, a file that could help Mulder and Scully stop a virus from wiping out most of mankind. To look for clues, they investigated a team of con men who claim to deal with the paranormal, giant alien robots, mutant reptiles, and a man who came back from the dead.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Langly, Frohike, and Yves.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Yves. Jimmy does most of the defrosting.
  • Ditzy Genius: Langly, and Frohike to an extent. Byers isn't a ditz, but he and Jimmy are Wide-Eyed Idealist types.
  • Dork Knight: All of them, but Byers and Bond certainly take the cake. Byers being the soft-spoken Phil Coulson type and Bond being the earnest puppy-dog type.
  • Eagleland: Byers is a flaming Type 1. Unfortunately, he's in a show where Type 2 seems a lot more common. Interestingly enough, the three main characters are played by Canadians.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Jimmy's nurse in "Diagnosis: Jimmy" spends a bit of time admiring the view.
  • Mr. Fanservice: One of the reasons Jimmy was introduced, according to Word of God.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: Which doesn't end well for the trio.
  • Genius Ditz: Jimmy, who appears to have zero common sense and the personality of a golden retriever, yet will inevitably shock everyone with a brilliant suggestion.
  • Government Conspiracy: Wouldn't be in the same universe as X-Files without a few. The Gunmen prefer to handle more mundane instances of corruption than their FBI friends, however.
  • Hacker Collective: The trio are all skilled computer hackers. Langley is probably the most skilled in that regard. The other two have talents in social engineering and infiltration that Langley lacks.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The Lone Gunmen seem to do everything together, including living together.
  • Hidden Depths: Who would have thought Frohike was a tango champion?
  • Hollywood Spelling: No one ever asks Yves Adele Harlow just how that's spelled. The Gunmen discovered it was an alias, because it's an anagram of Lee Harvey Oswald. Her name was never spelled out until they made the connection, despite there being at least four different ways to spell the names involved. For one thing, 'Yves' is usually a men's name, and is pronounced exactly like the women's name 'Eve'.
  • Iron Butt-Monkey: Jimmy takes a whole lot of crap, both from the writers and the other characters. He never complains.
  • Jail Bake: Yves smuggles Jimmy an earpiece in prison inside a bag of Cheetos.
  • Information Wants to Be Free: Inverted in the episode "Like Water for Octane". The Gunmen are trying to find an experimental prototype water-powered car before an agent of an oil company, who presumably intends to destroy it. It turns out that the agent wants to see it mass-manufactured, and its original creator hid it away because he realized that freedom from oil would ultimately mean more cars and more consumption-his "miracle" would accelerate corporate devastation of the environment rather than stop it.
    Shelly: It would mean more people driving cars, more people building places for people to go in those cars. More people, more consumption, more trees cut down, more roads laid in, and what do you pave roads with, by the way? Oil. The same oil you use to lubricate a water-powered car. The same oil that goes into all the plastics that make the tail-lights, the bumpers, the tires, just about everything else on the planet these days. And we'd have four hundred million cars on the road instead of two hundred million. Doesn't sound like utopia to me.
    • However, in every other case it's played straight and up to eleven. They are hackers and underground journalists who seek to expose "mundane" conspiracies and wrongdoings.
  • Latex Perfection
  • Little People Are Surreal: Zig-Zagged in "Madam I'm Adam." While a star of female midget wrestling league is certainly out of the ordinary, her role in whole thing turns out to be surprisingly prosaic. The Gunmen's client turns out to be her estranged husband, who underwent a drastic procedure to try and curb his anger management issues, which left him with partial amnesia. While the two were estranged, she had an affair with an obnoxious appliance pitchman. (Both are normal height) The husband apologizes and truly wishes to reconcile, and her lover proves himself a Jerkass by making a creepy and fetishizing comment about her height. The Gunmen, who are used to bizarre cases and situations (remember, they have Mulder as a regular client), react to this situation with barely a raised eyebrow.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: All three of the Gunmen, to Jimmy.
  • "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop
  • Mistaken for Gay: Tends to be a Running Gag.
  • Myth Arc
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: All three of the leading men have clear north-of-the-border accents.
  • Oblivious to Love: In "Diagnosis: Jimmy", Jimmy fails to pick up on his nurse's overt flirting. He's usually the one member of the team to pick up on such things, but he is heavily medicated due to his broken leg...
  • One-Steve Limit: One of the reasons that Jimmy the Geek was renamed Kimmy after Jimmy Bond joined the team. The other being that Jimmy G. was Killed Off for Real in an X-Files episode some time before, and Jim Fyfe's new character was actually his identical twin brother, and never intended to be the same guy at all.
  • Prison Episode: "Maximum Byers," where Byers and Jimmy go undercover as prisoners for a case. The Fridge Logic of this approach was acknowledged In-Universe, as Yves asks why they didn't just dress up as prison guards.
    Langley: (sheepishly) That's not how they did it on The A-Team.
  • "Risky Business" Dance: In "Eine Kleine Frohike".
  • Running Gag: The guys get Mistaken for Gay often. And when people aren't actually mistaking Langly for a girl, they're pretending to as a joke.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Byers.
  • Speculative Fiction Series
  • Spin-Off
  • "Take That!" Kiss: Yves Adele Harlow plans one on Frohike (while disguised as a man) as she steals the computer chip he was trying to steal first right in front of him.
  • Themed Aliases: Yves Adele Harlow's assumed name is an anagram of Lee Harvey Oswald, as are most of her one time only aliases.
  • Three Plus Two: Byers, Frohike, and Langly, plus Jimmy and Yves.
  • The Smurfette Principle
  • Too Dumb to Fool: Jimmy is definitely not the brightest bulb in the box, but he's also completely immune to being misdirected, and surprisingly good at knowing how to read people, meaning he'll see things the more cerebral Gunmen and Yves can't.
  • Too Good for Exploiters: Played with in the episode "Like Water for Octane": the Lone Gunmen seek the episode's MacGuffin, a car fueled by water, with a spy hired by oil companies hot on their heels. The Gunmen assume that the spy is out to destroy the car because it would remove the oil companies' monopoly (thus playing this trope straight), but the spy eventually reveals that he's out to get the car in order to get the water-fuel technology mass produced. Then the son of the inventor explains that even if the water-fuel technology would remove the necessity for cars to use gasoline, they still would depend on such things as lubricants and roads, and the production of these things would just increase to compensate for people driving more — meaning that car-related environmental destruction would just get worse, not better. This is what made the inventor of the technology decide that The World Is Not Ready.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Yves and Jimmy (although a Last Minute Hook Up is sort-of implied at the end of "Jump the Shark", judging by how cuddly they get after the gunmen's funeral).
    • Yves and Frohike-it's clear they have some sort of history, but due to the series' short run it's never made clear what's happened between them.
  • Wild Card: Yves.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: As seen in in their origin episode on The X-Files "The Unusual Suspects," the three of them went into business together after getting tossed in jail during an unsuccessful attempt to expose a plot to test a mind control drug on unsuspecting asthma patients.
  • Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: While talking to Jimmy, one character refers to the Gunmen as "your little mongoloid Girl Scout troop."