The Price He's Willing To PayDate: Wed, 06 Jan 1999
Subject: Letter to the Editor
I really enjoyed Lance Whitney's article "The Price: Xena and Gabrielle in War and Peace" in Issue 28. Beyond picking the many facets of the episode apart in observant detail, I believe Mr. Whitney pinpointed its ultimate strength. As he puts it, "the episode avoids taking sides. Both Xena and Gabrielle are justified [in their actions] in some ways, while misguided in others." Xena and Gabrielle are at odds for much of The Price, highlighting their innate differences; Xena is a fighter, while Gabrielle is a healer. The duo is strongest, however, when the tendencies to which each woman leans are merged. The bard's insight opens the door and the warrior's fighting prowess allows them to walk through it.
For these reasons, The Price is usually the episode cassette for which I first reach when I'm trying to bring an "outsider" into the Xena fold. It presents the characters with their most basic emotions in control for a time, has them at odds, allows them to sort out their differences, and finally has them emerge with a greater commitment to each other through a deeper mutual understanding. It forcefully demonstrates the innate courage of both women and their commitment to the greater good (though by often different means). Throw in a few moments of subtext and some sweet dialogue during the episode's "apology" phase and it can truthfully be said that the writer/director team of Sears and Sassone produced a gem. Thanks to Mr. Whitney for pointing this out.
Matthew C. Maxwell
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Dragging GabrielleDate: Thursday, January 14, 1999
Subject: Re: The Drag
I enjoyed [Bob Schultz's] article on "The Gab Drag" and thoroughly agree that it was the 'logical' development of the story line. I have just a couple of thoughts...it seems that Gabrielle is always seen as, well, perfect. Making 'innocent' mistakes. Xena...evil Xena and her beast, nothing innocent about that. However, in the Debt, Gabrielle uses ARES of all people to betray Xena (for her own good of course - except that Gab DOES admit jealousy had something to do with it). When people refer to the Gabdrag as so horrendous an act, I am still reminded of Xena with a freaking door for a necklace as Gabrielle SLAPS her in an attempt to force her to promise NOT to kill Ming Tien. Why do we forget that before the Gabdrag, Gabrielle was more than willing to pummel her 'partner'. In addition, she just sort of stood by while Xena was about to get a Chinese lobotomy (Xena would have kicked some butt if that had been Gabrielle about to get diced). And Xena 'lied' about killing Ming Tien. Golly, I wonder why? It was clear Gab did not 'get it'. Xena had just been betrayed (but willing to forgive...i.e. 'scratch my nose') but she KNEW her Debt to Lao Ma.
Anyway, I just think that the interpretations of Gabrielle's actions are sometimes, well a tad to idealistic. I believe it takes away from the 3 dimensional quality of the character (she isn't always perfect and her motives are not always pure) and also makes Xena the 'bad guy', when in some cases...well, I might just take Gab for a drag myself. Cheers, and keep up the great writing!
Transcripts AppreciatedSubject: Thank YOU
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999
I'm Paula Araujo (33), from Lisbon, Portugal.
I'm a big fan of Xena and I'd like to thank you for all your work with the episode guide and transcript. It is really great.
Unfortunately I only get to see the episodes of Xena (now the 3rd season) in RTL television once that in Portugal they finished in the 2nd season and I only understand a few words in German so the transcripts of the episodes you do are very useful.
Thank you very much for all your work.
I wish you all at Whoosh a Happy New Year.
Meeting Renee O'ConnorDate: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 11:01:43 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Renee Interview
I am a Xena newbie and caught [Bret Rudnick's] article about meeting Renee [O'Connor] at the Whoosh website. First of all, let me say that I enjoyed reading about your experience and secondly, how much would it cost me to learn the secret of how you got on the set? (Just kidding!) Seriously, I really enjoyed the article and thought it was very informative. It's nice to know that Renee is very attentive to her fans. I am sure it was a wonderful experience. Hopefully you will have the opportunity to do it again sometime. Just wanted to say "thanks" for sharing with the other fans. You did a great job!
New Book OutDate: Fri, 4 Dec 1998
I enjoyed your Xena website, and I wanted to bring your attention to a new book that might interest you and other Xena fans (since the book has an entire chapter devoted to Xena's exploits).
I am delighted to announce the publication (this month!) of my new book for 1999:Tough Girls: Women Warriors and Wonder Women in Popular Culture (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999).
This book explores the changing representations of tough women in all forms of popular media and what these representations suggest about shifting social mores. Covering The Avengers, Charlie's Angels, The Bionic Woman, Aliens, The X-Files, Xena: Warrior Princess, and many other media texts, this book examines how toughness is constituted in popular culture through a myriad of sources, including television shows, films, women's magazines, and comic books.ISBN 0-8122-1673-3 paper 19.95
ISBN 0-8122-3466-9 cloth $47.50
University of Pennsylvania Press
P.O Box 4836
Baltimore, MD 21211
toll free 800-445-9880
Sherrie A. Inness
Department of English
Love That Third SeasonSubject: Your Whoosh! Contribution - Jan 1999
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 09:46:19 -0500
I just wanted to say thanks [to email@example.com] for the great article ["If It Doesn't Kill Us, It Will Make Us Stronger: A Study in Friendship"]. I was getting tired of all the criticism of season 3. Your article expressed a lot of the same things I thought, but never organized in writing. I, too, appreciate that the show depicts the strength of the friendship between Xena and Gabrielle in the face of all kinds of circumstances, some tragic. Yes, it was difficult to watch some things, but that doesn't mean that they weren't compelling and interesting. And it was great to see them ultimately rise above what was thrown at them. Thanks again for the balanced article.
Xenites Love Those CrowdsDate: Fri, 08 Jan 1999
Subject: Herc fans vs. HCNBs
I just reread your editorial from the 25th issue of Whoosh. I would like to note one more interesting fan comparison. I checked the Creation event schedule on the Web yesterday and for the New York convention the original Sunday allotment of tickets is sold out. Kevin Sorbo appears on Saturday; Lucy Lawless appears on Sundays. I suspect that HCNBs and other Xena fans have a higher tolerance for crowds! ;-)
From editor, Bret Rudnick:
I suspect you meant Santa Monica rather than New York. Last time I checked, the guest list for New York hadn't even been finalised yet. But yes, it's something of a tradition to date that at the big annual con, XENA day is sold out while there are still "good seats available" on HERC days. I think this has to do with a more active XENA fandom. The audience is roughly the same, numerically. Plus women tend to be more active in fandom generally than men, and XENA is very popular with women.
Those Wacky Gals!Subject: Xena question
Date: Sun, 3 Jan 1999
I enjoyed reading your commentary [XWP in WHOOSH].
After 3+ years of viewing Xena my question is, After everything these girls have gone through and after Bitter Suite where all is forgiven, and then of course with Gab giving her self to save Xena etc. Why is it that these two cannot now have a more even relationship? Why, all the (I going to leave you no I'm going to leave you) stuff. I thought I read some where that this season was going to be more of a less friction between Gab and Xena. Let them go through all the stuff the writers want but knowing that their friendship is not a question would be nice.
I am not a writer and I have never responded to any one before so please bare with me.
These girls have spent almost every minute together for the last 3+ some years, where is the communication. They have gone through so much together I don't understand why the writers seem it necessary to continue to keep trying to tear them apart. I wouldn't care if it was for marriage or go their separate ways leaving the relationship on friendly bases but come on.
Crusader was the worst episode I have watch, due to the fact of the pain those two were going through and how easy it was for Gab to not even question leaving Xena after so long, she was willing to just toss her away like an old dishrag. If Xena really cares about Gab first she wouldn't just leave without saying good bye to her and she would tell her about her vision, I mean after all people keep treating Gab as if she is a child when I believe it has been proven she is far from that.
They talk about the changing of a Destiny, well if Gab knew about the vision maybe she would be the one whom would change it by choosing to leave, who knows.
We know that for the show to stay as successful as it is they will not separate these two, can you imagine the fall out from that one.
I guess I feel that after all they both have put up with each other for so long and if their relationship, communication is still this bad then they are either the dumbest women in the world, or they just have absolutely no clue when it comes to being friends and should go there own ways.
In today's world all the TV shows seem to be filled of violence and strife, hate and hating, abuse and distrust, I wish I guess that for once there could be a show where those things existed but let the relationship between the two gals be come stable and leave it at that. Unrealistic expectations on my part.
The sad thing is that I don't enjoy watching it any more.
From Editor Bret Rudnick:
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.
You make several interesting points, and it's difficult to work out a response in an organised fashion, but I'll try.
What I say here are simply my thoughts in response to yours, not a declaration of "right" or "wrong".
I think your observation of a lack of equality in the characters of Xena and Gabrielle is an astute one. Even thought it's "Xena's" show, the series is as about Gabrielle if not more so. It is virtually impossible to imagine one character without the other's company for a protracted period of time. It is their friendship that touches most of us.
As to the nature of their friendship and its steadiness, there are two very compelling versions of that. Yes, it was very reassuring to have them always side by side early on. But after two seasons of that, it had to be decided whether to continue that trend at the risk of stagnation or break new ground by challenging the foundation of that friendship. Some might say that the choice to do the latter was ill-advised, since the ratings have declined a bit, but since we can't prove a negative, we can't say leaving it the same would make it fare any better statistically.
Regarding the issue of who does what and when, I will say that it is my observation that some TV relationship issues are like TV pregnancies -- things have to be speeded up to fit in the time allowed. I too doubt that, especially in CRUSADER, Gabrielle would be so quick to do what she did, but I find myself thinking that given a little more time to think things over, and given Xena's reluctance to talk about mushy stuff, Gabrielle could well have reached the same conclusion in days rather than minutes.
As to the issue of communication, there are certainly enough examples to show they haven't kept up on their chats as well as they might have. You cited an example from CRUSADER about Xena not sharing her vision with Gabrielle. You will see that she finally does so in PAST IMPERFECT, the first new episode to be broadcast after CRUSADER and also a good fit in the timeline. It is heartening to see that at least in this instance, Xena has *learned* to finally share some of her thoughts rather than internalise them, which contributed to their Season Three troubles.
To me, this points to a trend of improvement both in the relationship between the two as well as the show in general. At the risk of jinxing things, we may well be on the road to XENA more like it used to be. On the other hand, I am mystified that many people enjoyed IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL, and stupefied that A GOOD DAY did not receive higher ratings.
For all their closeness, Xena and Gabrielle are still two very different people with different backgrounds. Xena still tends to smash first, ask questions later. Gabrielle still tends to take a "Shirley Temple" attitude to conflict. But Xena is becoming more able to share and display her feelings, while Gabrielle is learning that the world isn't populated solely by fluffy bunnies, rainbows, and lollipops.
And after all, how many really close relationships between disparate people are completely free of conflict, argument, and dissent? In the end, perhaps our willingness to work through these difficult periods rather than give up or resign ourselves to an unrealistic Prozac-like constancy shows us *our* strength of character, and thereby gives us *all* hope for better relationships and a better future. The fact that Xena and Gabrielle, even after all they've been through, haven't given up yet makes me think that perhaps I shouldn't either.
Subtext Makes The Show UniqueSubject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999
I like your site and I visit it on a daily basis. I am a big fan of the TV show XWP and Whoosh is my favorite Xena web site. Actually, I am a fun of the Subtext. The Xena & Gabrielle loving/romantic relationship is, in fact, the only reason for me to watch that show. I do not know how many people out there realize it, but it is the Subtext what made XWP the unique and so appealing show that it is today. Without it, XWP would be just another B or C average TV show with nothing to remember. And again, I think that exactly more Subtext/Maintext is what the show needs right now in order to overcome the low ratings. It is a fact that during Season 2, twice more people watched the show compared to the number of people who tune in for Xena right now.
And to those who think that it is not appropriate for a TV show to display a same sex relationship, if it is OK for us to see a full blown lesbian relationship(just for the record, I am not homosexual), even lesbian marriage, on Friends, and two women kiss and express their love for each other on Star Trek: Deep Space 9, I don't see any reason why we should not see the same on XWP.
Another reason why XWP is getting closer to the category of B average shows is the Joxer character and his extremely annoying presence in this show. The truth is that I force my self to watch the episodes with Joxer, I do not enjoy them. He simply does not belong there, Young Hercules or HTLJ would be much better place for him. The reason why is because he does not bring anything to the show, on the contrary, he just distracts the attention from established issues, namely the subtext, and as such is doing nothing but to drug XWP quality and ratings down. This is a serious show about two women who happen to love each other to death and that love is the magnet for all these viewers, who made XWP number 1 (well, at least it was NO 1). The sooner they get rid of Joxer, the better. Of course, there will be those, who will say '..but he is so funny'. Common people, Lucy and Renne are more than capable of doing funny episodes by themselves and besides only children find slapstick amusing, I am sure it will be better for everyone if the kiddies tune in for YH or The Simpsons.
Thank You for Your time.
Seventh Heaven ConnectionDate: Wed, 27 Jan 1999
Subject: Xena/7th Heaven
I know there are lots of Xena fans and I know there are lots of active Xena fans. What I want to know is who is the Xena fan who works on 7th Heaven. If you watch the show regularly you know Ruthie is a fan. You have also seen Hudson Leick and Sheeri Rappaport (ok that was before she was Otere). The most recent episode (01-25-99) pays homage to Xena in two different ways. At one time one of the parishioners is over and watches some TV while waiting. When we come back to here we hear the Xena theme as she clicks off the TV then she says "Boy, that Xena is quite the tumbler. Isn't she?". Another story line has Ruthie in an escalating battle my older sibling can beat up your older sibling with a neighbor kid. The final scene is four Camden kids fighting four from the neighbors family with the Xena theme as soundtrack. LOL
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