Whoosh! Issue 33 - 
June 1999
Letters to the Editor

Joxer Corner

Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999
From: Ephiney AmazonBard
Subject: Letter to the editor

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Marah Horton, better known to my cohorts on the GJRS as the fan fiction writer Ephiney: Amazon Bard. First, I am not anti-subtext. Yes, I do see it. Yes, I like it, but I do not see Xena and Gabrielle's feeling for each other as being mutually exclusive of a relationship with Joxer. Can Joxer be annoying? Yes, but then, I have yet to meet a man who isn't occasionally irritating. The slap stick is overdone so that at times Joxer comes off as a fool. But what those who see Joxer as only a threat to the love between Xena and Gabrielle do not see is his understanding of where he stands with the two most important people in his world. He KNOWS that Xena and Gabrielle will always be together. Joxer knows he is the sidekick's sidekick. He stands now at the point Gabrielle started at when XWP began. This is a point from which the writers are poised to bring his character to the next level, perhaps beginning with his first kill. Personally, I don't see either Joxer or Xena with this new Gabrielle. So this entire debate, if it can be called that, may be pointless. Maybe it is time that Joxer and Gabrielle both grew up. Maybe it is time that we all did, or as my sister, Mac, is fond of saying, "To each her own brand of poison."

From: crystal blue
Subject: letter to the editor
Date: Fri, 02 Apr 1999

I'm sure it's no coincidence that the author of a certain letter in April 1999's issue chooses to call herself Loveless - her letter was one of the most venomous responses to Joxer I've ever seen. I'll agree with her as far as my personal opinion that the comic episodes leave something to be desired - but has she not noticed that everyone's pretty unfunny in them lately? That, as a matter of fact, "X:WP" is going more or less to hell in a handcart? The entire show is suffering, and her attempt to blame Joxer for it is clearly misplaced aggression.

Date: Fri, 02 Apr 1999
From: kawcrow
Subject: Letter to the Editor: And yet more for the Joxer Corner

The first episode of "Xena" I ever saw was "Cradle of Hope", during summer reruns. I liked it a lot, but I was watching a movie at the same time, and didn't give the episode my full attention. I never caught another "Xena" ep until "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", again during the summer reruns. Yes, that is a Joxer episode, but I wasn't a rabid Joxerphile from the first moment I saw him; more of a Joxer-tolerator. I enjoyed the talking head of Orpheus, laughed my head off at Joxer making a general fool of himself, and was properly semi-awed at the vampiric Bacchae. And again, I never really watched another entire episode, until out of curiosity (and the fact that I had already seen the currently-shown Movie of the Week on CBS), I tuned into the Joxer-heavy episode, "For Him the Bell Tolls." By the first commercial break, I was hooked. A Xenite for life, and I hadn't even really seen Xena yet! But by the end of the show, I had begun to *feel* for these characters, like I had never done before for a television show. I understood and often shared Gabrielle's frustration with Joxer's near-incompetence, as I have so often been frustrated with people who don't know as much as I, or don't understand or see things like me. I loved her fiery spunk and her intelligence under pressure. I admired Xena for her kindness, compassion, and wisdom--plus I had never seen anyone else who could wear leather and carry it off so well! *g* But somehow, I found myself feeling the most for Joxer. I wanted him to *learn* from his mistakes, humorous or no; I wanted people to laugh *with* him at least some of the time as well as *at* him. I wanted a happy ending for Joxer. Like I want one for me.

I hopped on the Internet to see what I could find out about this strange wonderful show, "Xena", and especially about Joxer. I met creative, wonderful people online, fellow Xenites that also loved Joxer. But I also came in contact with, for me, a less desirable contingent: Joxerphobes. In my time online, as a Joxerite, I have been told that, just because I like Joxer, I'm a homophobic, sexist, stupid pig who wants to sabotage the show and Xena's relationship with Gabrielle in order to have "Joxer: The Legendary Journeys". And that just cracks me up. Homophobic, huh? That's strange, and rather amusing; seeing as my best friend, Natalie, is a lesbian (who wants to be the next Melissa Etheridge--I hope I spelled that right, or she'll kill me :-) I admit, I'm not a rabid subtexter. But that doesn't mean I don't support those who are (GO JESSS!!!!!!), or enjoy the subtexty element of the show (alt-fanfic! YEAH! *g*). The way I see it, Xena and Gabrielle, emotionally, are as close as two people can become in their love. That doesn't mean that they cannot love other people, or that they should and will express their love physically. I love my sister. We fight, but I would die for her in a heartbeat, and she would for me. Even though I love my sister more than life itself, I would *never* have sex with her. (EEEEEWWWWW!!!! What kind of idea IS that?!!! :-p) Even though I love my sister more than life itself, I love other people, too. I love my parents, my family, my friends. Someday, I will love the man I will marry. And loving other people doesn't mean I love my sister any less. That's how I see Joxer's relationship with Gabrielle and Xena. I'm a Gabrielle/Joxer Romantic. Xena and Gabby love each other; Joxer knows it. He would NEVER do anything to interfere with their relationship, and there's nothing he *could* do--NOTHING and NO ONE can interfere with Xena and Gabrielle's love for each other. That's the nature of love. But there is room in Gabrielle's heart for Joxer, if she wants; and if she loves him, she will still love Xena. If Gabrielle never falls in love with Joxer, I won't be heartbroken. I don't believe that she should be forced into anything, let alone love. My status as a GJR means that I would be very pleased if Gabrielle and Joxer end up together--but it's not going to ruin my life if it doesn't happen. And if Gabrielle and Xena end up together, I will be happy too (although not as happy as GJR *g*); because I have online friends who DO want XGR. If it makes them happy, I'm happy for their happiness.

Some people say they hate Joxer because they believe he encourages sexism and male supremacy. I am a feminist, and I pay attention. In the show, Joxer's actions don't support sexism. If anything, Joxer is the exact opposite of sexism: an inept, fumbling male of average appearance and intellect, opposite two beautiful, intelligent, capable women who are fully able to take care of themselves without him, and keep him around not because they need him, but because they like him. If Joxer ever crossed the line, Xena and Gabby would kick him out so fast he'd be a blur; but he's learned what to do and what not to do. That's improved him as a character and as a person. Joxer has been improved by his relationship with X&G, and vice versa.

In a way, Joxer and therefore Ted Raimi have become sort of role models for me. "My *GOD*," you're thinking. "'Joxer' and 'role model' in the same SENTENCE??!!!" :-) Strangely, yes. I have no intentions of becoming a warrior (even a wannabe one); I'm not from Greece; I don't wear a pasta strainer hat; I don't have a campy theme song. (Not one that I sing out loud, anyway. *g*) Joxer is a role model to me not because of WHAT he is, but WHO he is. I look at him and think: "In his world, this guy isn't handsome in the Supermodel sense of the word; he isn't a great athlete, he doesn't have a lot of money, and he doesn't wear trendy clothes. He isn't popular. But he doesn't let it get him down. Every day he tries, just as cheerful as the day before, and every time he fails, he stays cheerful. He doesn't let the world get him down. And he has friends, good friends, that he would give his life for, and that would do the same for him." I wish I had that. I aspire towards that attitude toward the world every day, and often fail--but the thought of Joxer makes me just get up and try again with a smile. And Ted Raimi. Even with all this negative stuff about him--accused of nepotism, sexism, and just about every other 'ism' in the book--he hasn't given up. He could've quit after the first million or so bad comments made about him. But he didn't. He shrugged it off and ignored it, and he kept on. I don't know him as a person, and I don't know Joxer as a person--or Gabrielle, or Xena. Very few of us Xenites do. But their actions and attitudes make me admire them.

Maybe if everyone were a little more like Joxer sometimes, then there wouldn't be people who hate Joxer and everyone else for being what they are. Different.

Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999
From: Margaret Hill
Subject: Letters to the Editor

Oh brother! I've never commented on "Xena" anywhere before, but I gotta respond to that ranting diatribe by the Warlord of all Joxer haters in your last Letters to the Editor. She doesn't like ANY of the comedies? One of the glories of this show is that it can be everything from tragedy to farce. That mixture of genres is one of the things that makes Shakespeare great. I'm a gay woman who loves the Xena/Gabrielle thing and who also adores Joxer. Didn't Lucy Lawless explain once why he's so good for the show? And the actor is a chameleon, he can play anything. They are the artists, they understand this. Ted Raimi, read this. That humorless drone is not typical of all fans, just louder than some of us. Anyone who now wants Joxer in EVERY episode e-mail today. If only to be perverse, please.

From: picard
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999
Subject: My Letter to the Editor

Greetings, fellow Xenaverse dwellers. :-) My name is Scott Hauenstein, otherwise known on the 'net as Sir Joxer. I am a true-blue, die-hard fan of the show, most especially of Gabrielle, despite the disappointing changes they have made to her in the latter half of this season. However, the true issue I wish to discuss here is one I have most often tried to speak out on, and that is the continued abuse of Joxer the Mighty and Ted Raimi by those who are, to put it mildly, not too fond of him.

Though I am one of the co-founders of the GJRS, the Gabrielle/Joxer Romantics Society, I have always considered myself subtext-friendly. I consider the idea of Gabrielle and Xena in a loving relationship one that I could freely accept in every way. However, I will continue to support my theory that their relationship is not so much an intimate one, but one based on emotional closeness, a bond so strong that nothing could ever tear it apart, one that goes beyond the definitions of friendship or sisterhood. Many like to say that position is merely an excuse used for those who do not want to accept the idea of Xena and Gabrielle in an intimate relationship. Not true. I can honestly say that if the writers were to decide to pursue that, I would be 100% behind it. Although I would be disappointed, considering my preference to see Gabrielle and Joxer as a romantic couple, I'd like to consider myself open-minded enough to accept any variable.

With that in mind, some who would say that Xena and Gabrielle's relationship is a romantic one also say that Joxer is considered a threat to that romance, and that his meddling is unwelcome. For this view, the character has paid the price in endless bashing by the Joxerphobes, fans of the show who cannot find it in themselves to see anything redeeming in Joxer, save for when he's being abused in whatever way by the characters. They even go so far as to deride anyone who defends Joxer's characterization and actions on the show. Some have even come right out and said things like "you're a fool if you like Joxer, so there", and what not. A poor argument, to say the least. First of all, any love worth its salt would not be threatened, in any way, by anyone. Nothing...NOTHING would stand in the way of true love. I can attest to this. I love my girlfriend with all my heart and soul. She is my light and my life, the sun that awakens me and the moon I gaze at dreamily. Nothing will ever get in the way of my love for her. No man, woman, or beast would stand in my way. So why must it be believed that Joxer, a man who'd never hurt anyone unless he had to in order to defend himself or those he cares for, would stand in the way of a relationship between Xena and Gabrielle? And, more to the point, why would Joxer want to do such a thing? Though some might argue that his love for Gabrielle would force him to such rash actions, I feel that Joxer is decent enough of a soul to realize that if Gabrielle and Xena truly loved each other and wanted to be together, he'd accept it gracefully, continuing to be their friend and occasional traveling companion.

Yes, Joxer has made some mistakes, most notably for some, when he deliberately retold Xena's tales to put him in a more favorable light with Gabrielle, even convincing her that she was in love with him. Many, many Joxerphobes have stated that this act by him proves his desire to interfere in the Xena/Gabrielle relationship, even stooping so low as to say that he committed an abstract form of rape on her by convincing her that she loved and wanted him. This argument has been one I have gotten particularly heated over, since I completely disagree with this extreme interpretation. While Joxer was much in error for lying to Gabrielle, once his words had worked on her and she threw herself at him, he admitted his wrongdoing, being genuinely sorry for what he had said and done. In my opinion, he realized that her love for him would not be true...it would be based on a bold-faced lie weaved by him. He also realized that lying was simply WRONG. He knew he had no right to change history to gain Gabrielle's love, wanting, rather, to gain it by being true to himself, to Gabrielle, and even to Xena. I do *not* feel that his change of heart was the kind of guilt rapists might feel after they committed their crime. Joxer has never been, is not, and never will be the kind of man to ever harm anyone he cares for, therefore, the "rape" theory simply does not apply.

Unfortunately, Joxer has not always been portrayed in the best of form. Commonly, we see him as the butt of many jokes, pratfalls, and other silly situations. While some can be quite funny , others seem to be merely to up the comedy quotient, something that could be done to much better effect than having Joxer get bashed, beaten, or what not. We rarely get to see the Joxer true fans know is out there, the kind, generous, strong-hearted man who'd do anything for the woman he loves, and even more for his friends. Those moments are rare, so much so that they get overlooked or explained away by the Joxerphobes, who see so much of the jester side of Joxer that they can see nothing else, and base their opinions of him on that lone aspect. It also doesn't help matters when we see Xena and Gabrielle take out their frustrations over him by slapping, hitting, or grabbing at him painfully, or verbally cutting him down. This is not comedy. This is character abuse. And, in a side note, I guess Gabrielle's new way of peace, love, and understanding doesn't apply to Joxer, from what we saw in "The Play's the Thing", huh? I think the writers might want to re-evaluate that.

We are soon to see some strong character development in Joxer in an upcoming episode. I can only hope that this is portrayed in a decent manner, and not downplayed for laughs in order to keep Joxer as the token comedy relief. There's nothing wrong with comic relief, but only when it's not used at the expense of further character development. I am sure the Joxerphobes will continue to spin their web of hatred over Joxer for as long as they can, despite anything his fans might say. I say this because that's all I've seen from Joxerphobes. I have yet to see any valid arguments for their anger over him. When I'm exposed so often to Joxerphobes who call me foolish and stupid for liking Joxer without honestly explaining what's foolish and stupid about it, I have trouble allowing credibility to them. Maybe they will feel my arguments are unsubstantiated and based on what they consider blind faith. Very well, but they are my views, and I can express them in no better way than right out in the open for all to see. If I am to be held accountable for them, so be it.

In closing, my hope is to see a change in people who are so quick to judge Joxer. Give him a chance. Deep inside, he's not the fool that some would take him for. Also, don't consider him a threat to subtext. He's not. Just ask the JESSS (Joxer Enthusiasts Supporting Sapphic Subtext) Joxer's a part of all of us, the person sometimes unsure of himself, bound to goof up now and then, but deep down has a heart of gold and a soul more loving than some ever deserve to know.

From: Kate McLaren
Subject: To the Editor - Joxer
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999

I wish to respond to Loveless and her opinion on Joxer within the Xenaverse. Loveless wrote that Joxer is a proven ratings killer, apparently equating her own watching of the show with its immediate success. Loveless then stated that "every show that has an idiot in it, is more or less a show about an idiot." I would like some examples to prove this. X:WP has yet to change its title to Joxer: Warrior Prince or some other Joxer title. The show is still about the love and friendship of two women.

I must strongly object to Loveless's attack upon Ted Raimi himself. He deserves none of the criticism that Loveless throws at him (eg. "his not good looking face, his irritating voice") Heaven forbid that an "unattractive" person appear on a television show. Is the point of Xena not to break stereotypes? Keep your point to his character, not the actor that plays him.

Perhaps nepotism played a role in Ted Raimi's hiring (re: brother Sam), yet how many other characters have been on simply because they worked for Renaissance before or were friends of TPTB?

Loveless's comments on the comedic aspect of X:WP are accurate to a certain degree. I have been disappointed with a couple of the comedic episodes myself (namely In Sickness and in Hell), but I fail to see how Joxer is the root of the problem. Joxer's role in Sickness was almost non-comedic in that he had a serious task to complete (take down the Scythian army) and did so.

I do not have any problem with X:WP putting in comedic episodes because I think they reflect life a bit. Xena's life isn't all serious, nor is it all a joke. Joxer's introduction in Callisto was hardly a comedic episode, nor was Sacrifice II. Yes, Joxer has been playing the dupe and the idiot, but this does not necessarily imply that he only those things. He isn't.

Loveless criticises Sickness for making X and G looking "filthy and not attractive" (see earlier comment on stereotypes). Although I agree that the show was certainly the weakest one to date, how is this Joxer's fault? If anything, Joxer was portrayed as the only "sane" or "thinking" person. Xena is distraught over her minor scalp irritation and Argo to think clearly and Gabrielle only has scratching on the brain. Joxer hands back the money from the village (yes in a show of puffed up bravado, but this is Joxer) because X and G have taught him to not value money as a reason for doing good.

And again, her comment that "Joxer's naked body in FFG, an insult to the eye of the viewer" again plays on the stereotype that everyone on television must be attractive. Would Loveless have even considered watching X:WP if LL were short and a little dumpy looking? I somehow think not.

The question then becomes why I like Joxer. The reason is simple: because he is a bumbler. I read once that if any of us were to "travel to Xena's time" (whatever that may be exactly), we would behave in roughly a similar manner. I would never be able to hold my own in a fight and would likely be doing everything I could to get a person like Xena to respect me. Maybe I would fall down, maybe I wouldn't. But I believe Loveless is missing an essential element of Joxer: his heart is in the right place. He wants to help his friends, combat evil and be liked. I would wager that many people today still have those same wants.

To the horror of some, I would liken Joxer to Gabrielle from the first season. She was a talkative kid who wanted adventure and action. She received it in loads. With Xena's patience and understanding, Gabrielle was able to grow and mature. Therein lies my problem with the writers of XWP. They have refused to do the same with Joxer. I can only hope that by the end of this season, Joxer will finally learn what being a warrior is truly all about. Perhaps, then, Loveless will be satisfied. Perhaps what she needs to accept Joxer is for him to kill and lose his innocence, a bit of his soul, to like him.

Loveless writes that "a single show can not be about everything". I would disagree simply because Xena is about everything. She not just a warrior, she's a friend, a lover, a do-gooder, serious at times, funny in other times. To make her simply a warrior or simply a friend would severely limit the show's direction. Precisely because Xena is a mix of many things, is the reason why fans such as Loveless and myself are able to watch and enjoy the same show.

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