Whoosh! Issue 51 - December 2000

WORD COUNT AND MEANING IN
XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS: SEASON TWO

By Edward Mazzeri
Content copyright (c) 2000 held by author
Edition copyright (c) 2000 held by Whoosh!
1109 words



INTRODUCTION (01)
PRELIMINARY (02-06)
WHO SAID THAT? (07-09)
PLACES, PLEASE! (10-11)
A WORD OF ADVICE (12)
THE INDEX (13)
OVERALL (14)
BIOGRAPHY



Word Count and Meaning in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, Season Two




Introduction

[1] Season Two was noticeable to the outside world for having some external factors, namely Lucy Lawless' fractured pelvis, which ought to have become a large part of the XENA landscape. However, the internal dynamics of the season were able to mask these potential problems effectively.

Preliminary

Speeches

[2] Continuing and consolidating the patterns of Season 1, Season 2 has Xena with a quarter of the speeches and words, with Gabrielle just slightly less. The words per speech ratio has become almost identical for both of them.

Season Two Xena   Gabrielle Others
% turns speaking so far 24% 21% 55%
% words spoken so far 23% 19% 58%
words : speech ratio 10:9 10:6 12:1

Words

[3] Now to the words.

I thought it was a PICTURE that was worth a thousand words..?

Ups and downs

[4] Counting Janice and Mel as the Gabrielle and Xena characters in THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210), we have:

—The fewest words are spoken in RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205) and DESTINY (36/212).
—The wordiest episodes are, in order, INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207), THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210), FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216), LOST MARINER (45/221) and A COMEDY OF EROS (46/222).

[5] Overall, Season 2 looks as if it slightly increased the word-count per episode, pushing aside time for fight scenes and riding/walking across the landscape.

[6] Counting Xena-in-Xena in the body-swapping episodes and Xena-as-Xena in the lookalike, impersonation, and undercover ones, and over-looking all the other Xena flavors, we have:

"MAXIMA" AND "MINIMA"

Gabrielle talks most:

TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208)
A SOLSTICE CAROL (33/209)
A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215)
FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216)
Gabrielle talks least:

INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207)
DESTINY (36/212)
A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214)
Xena talks most:

ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201)
INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207)
A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215)
THE PRICE (44/220)
Xena (body and spirit) talks least:

TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208)
HERE SHE COMES...MISS AMPHIPOLIS (35/211)
THE QUEST (37/213)
FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216)


I don't know what this means, but it's pretty!

Who Said That?

[7] More sudden and abrupt changes in the word load. The horse-fall incident was masked very well by the storyline at the time, swapping bodies with Callisto in INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207) and extended slightly into TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208).

[8] There is an impression, from the above graph, that there is a lurching from one extreme to the other, and back again, almost like a tug-of-war of ideas. The only episodes with an approximately equal load were GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (28/204), A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215), and THE PRICE (44/220). All the others were swinging wildly and widely, perhaps in anticipation of Alti - or Attis the Apeman—in the treetops?

[9] Trends: Both are trending slightly upwards over the season. Xena has slightly more words than Gabrielle, but Gabrielle, interestingly, is running parallel to Xena.

Where's a good speaker when you need one?

Places, Please!

[10] A SOLSTICE CAROL (33/209) had the most, including a carol-singing choir, and A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215) the least.

[11] In a number of the episodes, Lucy Lawless was playing more than one character, and, contrariwise, several actors got to play "Xena," which means that the correlation between the number of actors and the number of speaking parts is not necessarily one-to-one.

This is what is known as extreme anal retention

A Word of Advice

[12] INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207) and LOST MARINER (45/221) had many words for the other speakers, and DESTINY (36/212) had the least. Or, in other words, as your agent would say, anything with Callisto or boats is talky, especially if you are Callisto, and, anything with Julius Caesar is taciturn and grunty.

To talk or not to talk; that is the question...

The Index

[13] About half the episodes were centered, with the rest doing wildly swinging experimental forays into uncharted regions.

The X/G Index Example
(0% means they get an equal share)

Highly negative (Gabrielle talks more): TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208)
THE QUEST (37/213)
FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216)
Highly positive (Xena talks more): REMEMBER NOTHING (26/202)
INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207)
DESTINY (36/212)
A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214)
THE PRICE (44/220)
Equal: THE GIANT KILLER (27/203)
GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (28/204)
RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205)
WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP (30/206)
A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215)
THE EXECUTION (41/217)
BLIND FAITH (42/218)
LOST MARINER (45/221)
A COMEDY OF EROS (46/222)

Overall

[14] Season 2, in summary, continued with The Formula, but was not afraid to experiment with new things.



Biography

mazzeriEdward Mazzeri (epam2@hotmail.com)

Living on the bed of an old, long-gone Gondwana river, just across the Strymon from New Xenaland, and now at the same distance from (but on the other side of) the equator as southern Japan, northern Africa and, by an interesting coincidence, Los Angeles, he currently works in a city office where he can look at the time on a Xena clock. Interest 1: "If Tapert's old enough to make 'em, I'm old enough to watch 'em." Interest 2: Recent news that the nail- tailed wallabies are (feebly) bouncing back in numbers (with a little bit of help) has stirred up thoughts of starting a Sugarglider or Feathertail page—not to mention one for bilbies, numbats, wombats, koalas, the various rock wallabies, bunyips and for things with no name (such as the onychophorans, the turpentines of the shale country, Angophora costata, that flower at the start of KING CON (61/315), the banksias and boronias, the just-rediscovered giant roughy, and even Wolf 359...)...

Favorite episode: Some are like video clips, others like lyric poems, some are like epics—interwoven with tragedy, comedy, tragi-comedy, and the visuals, soundtrack, the scenery, the actors, the directors, the props, the enthusiasm. So, which dish at the yumcha banquet is the dishiest? All episodes make some contribution of 'delicious wit' (David Martindale, "Xena: TV's Warrior Princess," Biography magazine, April 1999) to the feast. Amazed by the examples of synchronicity arising from the show. For example, IF THE SHOE FITS... (80/412) aired the same might as the serio-comic Twanky double-episode of THE BILL, and the next night, there was the talking mirror scene on THE NANNY. Arranging such coincidences deliberately would be almost impossible if consciously attempted.
Favorite line: Gabrielle: "Just because someone wrote that on a piece of parchment doesn't make it true. Tell him, Xena."LOCKED UP AND TIED DOWN (75/407); Gabrielle: "Xena!" Various episodes; Xena: "Gabrielle!" Various episodes.
First episode seen: DREAMWORKER (03/103)
Least favorite episode: None

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