The Info is (Not) Out There
Date: Sun, 7 May 2000
Subject: Fans' Best Information
I wanted to email you and thank you for the outstanding effort your entire team puts forth every week. I am a real fan of the Xena and Hercules Universe. Your website has always provided outstanding and indepth information on all the shows you review and cover.
It was only this past week that I truly realized how different your website is compared to all those other Fan sites out there on the web. In addition to the Xenaverse, I am also an extreme fan of the X-Files. This past month they had an episode where a movie was made about Mulder and Scully. The episode was funny but I wanted to know more about the background and cast. I went online and tried to find a website that could help me. I gave up after 2 hours. Some had some information but what I was looking for was something like whoosh. A single site that had all the information. From what I saw it isn't out there. Thank you again for taking care of my Xena and Herc needs.
Maybe you could start a website for the X-Files oh and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Roswell and Angel and oh you get the idea.
From: Maria Jose Condesso Martinez Martins
Date: Sat, 06 May 2000
me gustaria hablar de el problema de lo que a sexual sedice de la serie,la verdad no me importa si lo que refleja la serie es el lesbianismo para mi es lo de menos,pienso que la jente que critique la serie por esto esta vacia de sentimiento y de la cabeza,en este mundo estamos acostumbrados a ver con los ojos y no con el corazon y la verdad es lamentable,asi que si lo que refleja es eso no importa por que creo que el amor de gariel y el de xena es mas sincero y mas puro que el de algun hombre y una mujer. Adoro esa serie creo que es una de las pocas cosas que me alegra la vida,por que me identifico mucho con ella y me relaja cuando estoy muy estresada, mi gran sueño es llegar a conocer algun dia a Rene y a Lucy y se que lo voy a lograr asi sea lo ultimo que haga en esta vida. Asi que por favor les pido no hagan caso a estos comentarios y sigan manteniendo la trama de la serie pienso que todo se vasa precisamente en la relacion de xena y de gabriel y tanto rene como lucy lo hacen muy bien.Espero que la opinion de una venezolana de 19 años sea tomada en cuenta. A por sierto me gustaria saber si el final de la serie es cundo xena y gabriel son crucificados por los romanos"por favor diganme que no es asi". Con mucho cariño a todos los que colaboran en esta serie se despide.
I would like to discuss the sexual problem in the series [translators note: I think she just means subtext]. I don't care if the series seems to show lesbianism. I think the people who criticize this have no feelings. In this world we're used to seeing things with our eyes instead of our heart and that's unfortunate. If the series is showing a lesbian relationship that doesn't matter because I think the love between Gabrielle and Xena is more sincere and purer than that between many men and women. I love this series. It is one of the few things that lightens my life and relaxes me. My dream is to someday meet Renee [OConnor] and Lucy and I know I'll someday make that dream come true even if it's the last thing I do in life. So please don't pay attention to people who criticize the series and do maintain this theme in the series. I think the series revolves around the relationship and both Lucy and ROC play their parts very well. Hope the opinion of a 19 yr. old Venezuelan girl counts for something... Lots of thanks to everyone who works on the series,
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Some have been complaining that subtext has been dying or died in Season 5. Perhaps if they mean that there have been fewer one-line comedic references to the subtext, at least in the last several dramatic episodes of the season, they they are correct. However, if they intend to indicate that subtext itself, meaning indications of the emotionally intimate relationship between our girls, is dead... Well then I will say, IMHO, that they are dead wrong. Sleeping for part of the season maybe... resting up for a spell.... but not dead.
So many have complained about the humorous approach to subtext. They felt as if this intended nod of acknowledgment to the gay and lesbian segment of fandom was insulting just because it was humorous in nature. I wonder if they say that about Will and Grace, a show that perpetually makes fun of the stereotypical behavior of gay men?
I for one have always cherished those little moments of recognition... because I certainly haven't seen them, or any depiction of an emotionaly intimate bond between two women of any kind, very often on television. I don't think there has been any intentional slaying of the subtext, I have seen evidence of it's presence here and there throughout the season. But if they had killed it, who could blame them, when what they did do was criticized from here to Tartarus?
Those who have visited CN's Winters, "Save Xena Site", and posted, as I have, you know what the primary requests have been from fans there;1. An increase in "alone time" for the two leads... Time on screen with just the two of them.
2. A return of the emotional intimacy, the bond, the expressions of what these two have meant, and mean, to each other.
3. Less of the Joxer character was yet another request.
4. A return of the characters to their central qualities: Return our Stoic Warrior Princess, and our Peace Loving Bard.
Although I do not believe these requests have been fulfilled completely, I would argue that there have been obvious attempts to address each of them by TPTB. In the very short time frame that became the end of Season 5, it is likely that the biggest portion of work was already, "In the Can" so to speak, before the Save Xena site really found it's voice. At best, TPTB could have had only about 1/3 of the season remaining when they began the all out attempt to repair a severely listing vessel.
I would further make the argument that we could never, and should never, see a full return of the two leads to their early characterizations. Life has happened to them. Good or bad... They are forever changed by it.
*I* remember a Gabrielle who left her little village Wanting to become a warrior... Wanting to be just like Xena... To learn everything Xena knew. She walked a path of less violence then because she knew less violence then. She may yet lay down her sword, or her Sais... Come full circle...or not... But like the rest of us she must struggle to find herself and be at peace with it.
And those that asked for a stoic Xena also asked for a return of the emotional intimacy between the two leads. I would argue that it was in the course of the mid-season abyss that Xena was at her most Stoic and most barbaric... And at her least sensitive and least emotional or caring. The Xena of yesteryear that *I* remember kept a close lock on her emotions, expressed them in stilted words because they were so deep and so potent she seemed to feel that they would swallow her whole if she allowed them purchase. The Xena I remember found one safe harbor for those storms... Gabrielle.
Are are all things *right* with the Xenaverse yet? NO.
Have TPTB been listening? Do we see movements in the right direction? Is subtext alive and evolving? I believe the answer is and unequivocal, "YES".
"Save Xena"... We asked them, and by the Gods, I believe that they are trying. If we care, we who are the recipients, how much more so must the creators? Lack of perfection does not indicate lack of caring or trying.
Encouragement is not something one gives at the end of the journey... It is something one gives along the way.
Congratulations are given at the end of the journey.
My encouragement will be steadfast.
And I have enduring faith that congratulations will be in order in the end.
Perhaps what we are seeing here is a move in some ways toward Subtext as Serious Text. Would we recognize it if we saw it? Have we seen it?
"Even in Death I will never leave you." "We'll be together... forever." "You are my way Gabrielle." "The other half of my soul." Amongst many, many others. And the very last thing they leave us with this season... "We have our daughter back". Hmmm. Sounds serious to me. It also seems a prophecy of sorts for the coming season.
Does it change a difficult season magically into a brilliant one... Of course not. Does it point more clearly another direction? I believe so.
Women who started out the season telling the world they were destined to be together for eternity... Ended the season confirming they were co-parents. These same women, have been paired by TPTB with a Monotheistic God, a God who by modern right wing Christianity's standards rejects just such a relationship. Not only are they accepted by this God for who they are as individuals, but also as a couple, and they have been chosen as guardians of the savior as well. Can you imagine the letters they will be receiving from the right wing conservatives and bible belters, based on that one statement alone?
TPTB at Xena have a history of wanting to push the emotional envelope with the viewers... move them, get them stirred up, conflicting emotions are something they do very well. The "Bard Bonking" was a particularly bad choice this year because they hadn't built up enough emotional clout with we viewers to get away with it.
Do I believe the "Bard Bonking" or the "Gab Drag II" in the Season Finale, Motherhood, were good plot or editing decisions on the part of TPTB... NOPE.
Psychologically speaking, the problem in Season 5 has been in part that they have kept putting Xena in a position to choose between Gabrielle and Eve. We all want Xena to choose Gabrielle always don't we. I certainly do. Why? In part because I want to believe that if it were me, my soul mate would always choose me first too.
The bond they built in former years made it believable that their relationship could survive this kind of event~ intact. Although the final four episodes of the season had more emotional content in the text than we saw in the entire Mid-Season Abyss, overall the bond was fairly scarce in Season 5. And the few preceeding episodes prior to Motherhood in which they resurrected it were NOT enough for us to develop a belief in that bond again yet. The lack of development of appropriate and believable emotional context, prior to and within the episode, was what ultimately offended viewers about the "Bard Bonk" in Motherhood.
Hard to believe Xena when she says in one moment how much Gabrielle means to her, and Wanks her on the head with a leathal wepon the next. No hesitation... no remorse. Now, either that moment met it's death on the cutting room floor or took a back seat to the "action" part of the adventure when shooting schedules got tight. Let's hope it was at least slated at some point in the original planning of the episode.
The female voice seems to have been missing from Xena nearly altogether this season. What I mean by that is that with Steven Sears, (the one man who could write women from the inside out), and Liz Freidman gone, RT and RJ seem to be having a hard time finding that emotional pulse. They can write about women do ing things, but they are still struggling to write about what goes on inside o r between them, if you know what I mean. I personally think they are trying. Have they got it right yet? Not. Pretty darn close sometimes, albiet too far and few between. But I do see efforts to put back in what has been missing.
And I think that they wish to do it right. I still believe that what has happened in this last season was NOT intended, and esp. NOT intended to hurt or reject or disenfranchise any segment of their fandom. *hit happens. This year, *hit happened to them, and by proxy to us.
I think they have heard us.
I think they are trying to fix what is broken.
I think I see the signs and I am going to encourage them.
That is what *I* think.
Trisha Von Doss
The Diverse Nature of the Xenavere
From: Patricia Willenborg
Date: Wed, 10 May 2000
Subject: Letter to the editor - The diverse nature of the Xenaverse
After seeing the article by Nancy Lorenz and the responses you posted in the Letters to the Editor page, I felt compelled to add my 2 dinars. Now, mind you, I don't look for fanfic or attend forums to do so. Reading about the behavior of the people in the fan-fueled Xenaverse didn't surprise me. I just wished that it had. It is sad to see that people will divide along any lines they can possibly forge.
From what I've seen, the Xenaverse is broad enough to encompass just about any viewpoint with ease. That is where the genius of the show and the writers comes in. There's evidence for many different matchings: Xena and Gabrielle, Ares and Xena, Ares and Gabrielle, Joxer and Gabrielle, Joxer and Meg, Xena and Draco, etc., etc. ad infinitum. Some people wish to savour the relationship between the legendary friends, the bard and the warrior, the vine and the sword. That is great. People can pursue fanfic about that and probably find it in abundance. However, *it doesn't stop there.* It doesn't even *begin* to stop there.
I'd like to hear about Lao Ma and Xena. They had such a rich relationship in their short time together. The seeds have been sown for steamy times between Xena and Draco (who I found unbearably yummy). Not to forget Gabrielle, either - her relationship with Eli was phenomenal, and quite inspirational. Not all of meditation is about sitting with your legs crossed. From the lesbian angle, what about Ephiny? She always favored Gabrielle.
The Xenaverse is full of great characters that have fantastic possibilities for fanfic and erotica:Callisto (she was very sensual in her encounters with Xena, and was very taken with the warrior princess, despite her rage),There's far more than I have the time to get into here. Just thinking about these possibilities makes me smile and remember all of the little twists that's made watching Xena so interesting. There's no need to argue, or to turn up one's nose. A little variety won't kill anyone. If people don't wish to read certain materials, they can click other places. Attacking others as homophobic or otherwise just because they don't see your combination as the best and only one is simply unacceptable. Our parents should have taught us all to share by now, and the Xenaverse is indeed something that was designed for sharing.
Hercules (the joining of two heroes, both reportedly with Olympian blood in their veins - not to be missed),
Iolaus (his gentle approach with Gabrielle in The Quest has made me pause more than once),
Aphrodite (it's not hard to imagine the goddess of love having a grand old time with Iolaus, a.k.a. Curly),
Hera (yes, a scary thought, but her dominant and cool presence could inspire some interesting stories, perhaps with more of a BDSM flavor),
Zeus (oh, come on - he was infamous for his infidelities),
Velasca (just what would she have done to Gabrielle if she'd had the time to toy with her?),
Autolycus (he'd be fun for sure, and for some reason Iolaus comes to mind),
Diana & Leah (Xena triplet orgy anyone?),
Cupid (he was hot, and openly kinky),
Caesar (yes, we know about Xena and the emperor, but I can't seem to overlook Gabrielle's initial awe of him),
Cecrops (there's more to do on the open sea than figure out how to break a curse, and he was certainly charming),
Alti (her comment about always wanting to be inside Xena was some of the loudest subtext yet, and could be worked with - with magical ability as an interesting addition), and
Amarice (she was beautiful and loud, but not beyond approach.).
Thanks for your time, and keep up the fabulous work.
Lesbianism in Xena
Subject: Lesbianism in Xena
Date: Sun, 14 May 2000
As once who has watched with curiosity the series "Xena: Warrior Princess" from its conception, I too wish to offer some thoughts concerning this program. In this letter I shall address its ramifications, in specific, to the lesbian issues.
What lesbian issue one may ask? If a new viewer were to tune in today, the said individual would probably never know this series once toyed with an alleged lesbian issue at all. Unless, of course, this person had internet access and/or other media exposures, advertising and promoting Xena as such.
This series, as I understand it, did not originally intend to be a Gay-Lesbian show. And as of this writing, apparently The Powers are most definitely reverting back to what the original intent was for this program.
But sadly, if this intent is purely self-promotional, as in the making of revenues, these are deceptively mistaken. Capitalising upon the interest of many fans who once saw and wanted a lesbian relationship between the two main leads, then to about face on these loyal viewers after much hype and promotions, is bad PR, to say the very least. Furthermore, this series is in your face insulting to the lesbian fans, many of which have indeed fallen by the wayside over the years, and are falling fast now as we speak. These individuals have seen that the alleged lesbianism in Xena: Warrior Princess and all that it entails, as portrayed in this program, is something to be ashamed of, something to be hidden, and most importantly a thing to be discarded and denied when it's purpose has been served.
The Season Two high is now just a memory, a memory of what this series could have become. A memory of how the lesbian viewership was used for promotions. The controversial highly rated Season Three Rift Arc was a subtle, conscious, deliberate attempt to destroy the foundation of this once budding lesbian relationship, though naturally of course it was filled with a deliberate maintext, to hold this same viewership and shed false hopes. One doesn't want drastic changes to come as a sudden deluge, much wiser to desensitise the viewer, leading these along in slow steps, to achieve the desired results. This was the way to gradually distance oneself from becoming an overt lesbian series. Now we are left with the consequences of all this deliberate calculation and manipulation,in this season 5. Irrecognisable are the characters as well, but who really cares any more? T&A is the crowning hallmark, the mass showing of skin without substance,as this phenomenon appears to be the central core of a stereotypical shallowness encompassing this series.
I ask of myself, in good conscience, did I really want this series to be a lesbian one at all, considering The Powers not ever intended this to begin with, or intended to go through with it,much less honor love and lesbianism at all? Another question I ask is this, has the alleged lesbianism in this series as it now stands, done more harm than good, or good than harm?
Who wonders or really cares why the infamous kiss in the Quest have a male character come in, right on cue, to intrude and rape that special intimate moment? What and whose purpose did this serve, and why? On a similar train of thought, this "break the molds" series found it perfectly justifiable and quite acceptable in showing Xena having explicit sexual intercourse with Borias on occasion. Doesn't the public get enough of this bombarded upon us by the mass media on a daily basis? Doesn't the ratings bonanza of Ally McBeal in her infamous uncut uncensored kiss episode with Ling, suggest to anyone listening that there is definite commercial interest in lesbianism? And sadly, yet most importantly to this industry, it will actually truly sell.
The Powers in Xena frankly threw this golden opportunity away. The lesbian viewership has been used, abused, and then discarded like a worn out old shoe. The subtext fans of all sexualities as well have indeed made this show the hit series it has become, and it is not right, nor honorable, to bite the hands that fed you. The floodgates of alt fan fiction are a testament to this, very few seek a heterosexual Xena and Gab, or have interest in this. The true colors of this series and The Powers are showing, as a red flag in the sunset. Another lesson learned.
Australia Misses Xena
From: Elisabeth Crawford
Subject: Xena, we miss you
Date: Fri, 19 May 2000
As you would be aware, Xena has not aired in Australia for over a year. Yes, this is pathetic - and ludicrous, given her support here and her ratings elsewhere. Please help us keep up the 'bombardment' on the Ten network here in Oz to return her to her Rightful Place! She has many skills, and we need them all!
From: Name withheld
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000
I love Xena, but i hate your site. Why don't you update it once in a while. Are you a lesbian? I was. But now i'm not. but i still enjoy Xena. Xena is a wonderful show about two FRIENDS
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