Whoosh! Issue 22 - July 1998
Letters to the Editor

To write to the editor regarding your comments, observations, and questions about Whoosh!, send an e-mail to ktaborn@lightspeed.net and mark the subject "Letter to the Editor". All letters notated "to the editor" are subject to publication and may be edited for brevity and or clarity.

All-Gabrielle Issue
Bye Bye Callisto
Gabrielle Crossed The Line
Who Is Gabrielle?
Xena & Gabrielle: Classic Greek Heroes?
One Is The Loneliest Number
Regression Schmegression
Bitter "Bitter Suite" Memories
Hey! It's Joxer Time!
Shelley Sullivan: Agent Of Evil?
Shelley Sullivan: Agent Of Good?
Not Evil, Not Good, Just Got It Wrong
The Joxer Wars

Letters To The Editor

All-Gabrielle Issue

Mon, 01 Jun 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor

The writers at Whoosh! have done it again! Yet another mind blowing issue, this time focusing on the greatness that is Gab (that and the development of her, whether good or bad). I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the articles and compliment all the writers on a job well done. From the humorous Joxer Syndrome article (which now that I think about it does put things into perspective), to the in depth look at Gabrielle's actions throughout the seasons in many of the "evolution of..." themed articles, to the behind the scenes look at Renee O'Connor, I was completely blown away and truly inspired by the excellent work everyone puts into all of Xenadom, from fandom to stardom. Great job folks and keep up the good work!

Courtney Sorensen

Mon, 01 Jun 1998
Subject: To The Editor: Gabrielle and the disappointing Third Season

Thank you for the Gabrielle issue which explores her heroism and the positive aspects of her character. I have despaired of the third season and through your excellent issue finally realized why: The sense of empowerment is missing.

The third season, in my opinion, was about sex and abuse. The references to 'rutting weasels', 'petting zoos', and other double entrendres was too much and too out-of-context for me. The many of the comedy episodes were to me had a smutty undertone. The dramatic episodes were abusive. There was no sense of people dealing with life and overcoming their despair. Those episodes seemed to me one long descent into 'demon tragedy' and 'how much can we disgust our viewers.'

Your editorial listing of how Gabrielle was handled in the third season pin-pointed my growing dissatisfaction with the series. My personal belief is that the story telling degenerated into formula -- the demon child plot, the 'coming end times' plot, the 'giving all for the greater good' plot has been done by other shows and movies. The comedies reminded me of those tired jokes that boys tell about sex, and was done better by MARRIED WITH CHILDREN.

As the series progressed, Xena became more godlike in her skills. Apparently, gambling was the only thing she had to be taught. The Rift Saga, to me, was forced -- both the rift set-up and the rift patch-up. THE DELIVERER concentrated so much on Xena, that Gabrielle's story was hurried into the last fifteen minutes. BITTER SUITE just skated on the surface of reconciliation. The Hope-Dahak-sacrifice saga centered on 'how Xena goes, so goes the world' and focused on her as the center of the universe. Why? What happened to a more evenhanded approach of 'the world is all of us'? What happened to empowerment? Was the third season an experiment? Were the writers concerned that they were rehashing old plots? What was the reason for Gabrielle's abuse? I am curious as to why was Gabrielle's and Xena's characters were changed so radically?

Thank you for another excellent issue and for a forum for in-depth discussion of issues pertaining to the show.

Virginia Carper

Bye Bye Callisto

Fri, 5 Jun 1998
Subject: Callisto's gone--boo hoo

I feel a real pain and sadness at the thought of Callisto's (and of course Hudson Leick's) departure from the show. My only hope is that Hudson gets snapped up quickly by either another television show, or the movies. She is just too much of a talent to go to waste. Psycho Barbie will live in my heart--and in my new 12 inch "Callisto" dollie I got along with "Xena" and "Gabby". Good luck in the future Hudson! PS: I wonder if "Star Trek--Voyager" is looking for a new cast member...


Editor Responded:
Hudson Leick has been signed to reprise her role as Hercules/Xena Producer Liz Friedman in a 5th season Hercules episode.

Wed, 10 Jun 1998
Subject: Letters to the editor

I couldn't agree more with Bret Rudnick in his "The Night of our Departed Callisto" in Whoosh! 21.

So far I've yet to find one person who thought Callisto being killed off was a good idea (except for those who thought she'd been written for so badly recently that it was better to put her out of her misery now then prolong her agony). What's annoying is that not only was she killed off (assuming the producers don't relent and restore her) in the same episode as Gabrielle, thus making her death more or less meaningless, but that there was no need for it.

One of the world's worst TV programmes was War of the Worlds. It's one redeeming feature was that at the end of every episode, the aliens were never defeated: they only suffered a minor setback. As long as the writers are obsessed with Xena as the incarnation of good, Callisto as the incarnation of evil and evil having to defeat good every time, absolutely, every episode, they'll only end up with poor characterisation and poor plots.

Imagine a Maternal Instincts without Hope in which Callisto frees herself from the lava (she is a goddess after all), finds out about Solon, then turns him against Xena by telling him all about her 'bad' past. Then she leaves. Next episode, she does something similar. No getting trapped under rocks, or in caves.

No-one's quite sure what Callisto was the goddess of. She could have been like Loki, the god of mischief, in the Norse myths: just doing things to keep herself entertained. Some could be malicious, some could be neutral or even good. Don't gods move in mysterious ways?

For hundreds of years, literature revolved around humanity's relationship with the gods. Mythologies revolved around this struggle. Yet the producers can't cope with more than three stories with Callisto as a goddess before giving up.

And who will they replace Callisto with? Caesar? Ares again? Pass me the remote control before I fall asleep please.

Sure it's just a TV show. It just annoys me that people are getting paid a lot of money to write plots when they show so little imagination. There's plenty of fan fiction out there that's a lot better than this.

Of course, if it is all just a publicity stunt, I'll stand corrected :-)

Robert Buckley

Gabrielle Crossed The Line

Mon, 01 Jun 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I just read several essays regarding Gabby's character development. There seems to be quite a bit of Dissatisfaction with G's development as a fatally flawed human being. I have a few comments to make about that.

At first, it was easy for her to be "innocent" because she never had to make any difficult moral choices. That kind of innocence is immature because it's untried and untested. I don't consider her reactions to Dahak's carefully planned manipulations as really losing her innocence. She was completely duped and acted under duress in those circumstances. She was pushed into a quandary. In the Dahak/Hope episodes, G was a victim of circumstance and of her own gullibility. Re: the movie Sophie's Choice.

Nope, G crossed that line when she let jealousy push her into betraying Xena under the self-delusion of helping her. G made a deliberate choice to violate her loyalty to X. Granted Ares provided the opportunity, but he still left the choice up to her. Remember, the gods could only make her do what was already in her heart. I think her heart was full of jealousy and a touch of hubris.

One thing I've never liked about G as a character was her smugness about her blood innocence. X did G's dirty work. X avenged G when she allowed Callisto to drown in quicksand. Now G wanted C dead; she had every reason to. She just couldn't do the deed herself. Whether G knew X would literally take up the sword on her behalf is unknown, but I suspect G had a pretty good idea what would happen when X caught up with C in the chariot chase. If G really wanted C spared, why didn't she beg X to let C go? I don't remember that she did.

Am I being hard on G? Perhaps. But she redeemed herself in the end. She killed Hope because she finally realized she misjudged the depth of her child's evil. G's misjudgment nearly cost the known world its collective soul. She killed Hope (again!) and Sacrificed herself because she needed to prove her loyalty to X once and for all. Gabrielle, the Angel of Innocence, has had her wings clipped. She's fallen, but that doesn't mean she's evil. She's simply become fallibly human and a more deserving hero because she overcame her limitations.


Who Is Gabrielle?

Wed, 3 Jun 1998
Subject: Re: Comments on June Issue

Heartfelt praise for a job well done. After the way this season has gone I was wondering if anyone could still remember that there was a Gabrielle character! I think the core of the problem where this character is concerned is that TPTB have no idea who she is! Steve Sears (usually) writes her and strong and together. RJ Stewart writes her as petty and nagging. The comedy writers portray her as vapid and childlike. With this lack of character definition is it any wonder that she was cast as a plot device rather than a person this season?

RJ Stewart needs Gabrielle to betray Xena in The Debt, so he just writes it in. Later, when people question the myriad of problems that it creates, they have Hilary Bader pen Forget Me Not to explain it. Why don't I believe they didn't plan it all along? Well, aside from the general seat of their pants plotting TPTB have done,

Quoted from an interview with LL in The Chakram Newsletter #2:

[On the betrayal of Xena by Gab in The Debt:]

"And would Lucy have betrayed Xena?"
"'No, I don't think any of us would have. I though that was the weak point of the story, actually...'"

But still, it was needed to move the plot along so no matter how strange it seemed, Gabrielle was forced to do it. And that's been, pretty much, the way Gabrielle has been used throughout the season.

I recall the question to RJ Stewart that the Burbank II convention about how he saw Gab's character. His basic answer was that she had a lot to learn about the world, a tabula rasa of sorts. That may have been a good description in the first season, but after The Quest? This makes me strongly doubt that the creative team has ever just gotten together and written Gabrielle a character description. Heck, I wonder sometimes if they even watch one another's episodes in an attempt to keep the character constant. The image that Gab has to her fans is very clear, but TPTB seem content to treat her character as an after thought at best.

I could go on with some more quotes from TPTB that show a real disinterest in Gabrielle as a character, but I think the point has been made.


Xena & Gabrielle: Classic Greek Heroes?

Tue, 16 Jun 1998
Subject: Letter To the Editor

Regarding the article "Deconstructing Gabrielle", I disagree with some points, although I can understand them.

I do not see Xena as a saint. In the classic Greek conception of a hero, the hero is far from always assumed to be right. If you read the original legends of Hercules, you will see that he is making mistakes quite often. I look at Xena in that regard. She is a hero, but she is allowed to make mistakes. Therefore, I do not assume that any action that Xena takes is the correct one.

It is our modern conception of the hero which makes the assumption that they are always right, that they are perfect. However, I see this as being a serious flaw in the hero archetype. It tends to leave us with cardboard cutouts who can do no wrong, who in addition to having great abilities, have infinite wisdom.

Xena has great abilities, no doubt. And her judgement is acute. However, she is human. She is capable of allowing her emotions to cloud her judgement. Her great abilities can make her dangerous when her judgement is clouded, much like Hercules in the original legends.

Looking at Xena from the classical Greek archetype of the hero, I can see the rift as being mutual, requiring equal forgiveness on both sides. Xena and Gabrielle are both heroes. And our heroes can make mistakes. And we can forgive them.

Rob Lent

One Is The Loneliest Number

Wed, 03 Jun 1998
Subject: Gabrielle and horses Am I the only one on the planet who noticed that Gabrielle rode a horse in "Gabrielle's Hope"? And ONE-HANDED too, as she had to carry her little bundle of joy. I mention this only because I've noticed (not just in Kim Robinson's article) that this event goes almost wholly unremarked upon.


Regression Schmegression

Wed, 27 May 1998
Subject: letter to the editor...

I`ve said it before, but I`ve gotta say it again... thanks to the Whoosh! staff... I love visiting your sites...

Now, the other issue to be addressed: I don`t believe, as I have been hearing suggested, that Xena killing Callisto was a regression in Xena`s character.... I think it`s right in keeping with everything that we have seen to date... shall we take a quick look at Xena`s track record? and then decide? Lyceus dies... warlord Xena kills half of Greece, M`lila dies... renegade Xena kills half of Chin, Lao Ma dies.... Xena kills Ming Tien, Solan dies.... Xena tries to kill the Gabster, the Gabster dies.... you knew someone had to pay.... Callisto was the only one stupid enough to stand that close, and taunt her....

I have to say I really like Xena, but please, can we not pretend she`s all warm and fuzzy? I like the character best because she responds on a primal level to her feelings, when she finally caves into them... I think most viewers agree that Xena would do ANYTHING to protect Gabrielle, her emotional center. I also believe that when Xena lost Gabrielle, most viewers could have guessed she would strike out again.

D. Simmons

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