Whoosh! Issue 54 - March 2001
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" to expedite the process. All letters received by the editor are subject to publication and may be edited. Due to the volume received, some letters may not be answered individually or receipt acknowledged and may be published at the editor's discretion. Letters received after the 15th of the month may be reserved for a later issue.

Are Xena and Gabrielle Together: An Issue Bigger Than Two Characters
February Editorial
February Letters
Lao Ma: A Questionable Character
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Sword and Staff Milestone
Happiness is a Warm XENA
Bitterness is a Cold XENA
Joxer Corner

Letters To The Editor

Are Xena and Gabrielle Together: An Issue Bigger Than Two Characters

From: Andrew Shaughnessy
Sent: Monday, February 12, 2001
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Having read Anna Dooland's article, "Are Xena and Gabrielle Together? An Issue Bigger Than Two Characters", I feel a response is in order. Ms. Dooland states that the first episode she watched with any real interest was THE QUEST. On seeing the trailer for the episode, in which Xena leaned forward to kiss Gabrielle, her reaction was, "Wow! Finally a show that has lesbians!" My reaction on being told by my brother about an upcoming show called XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS was, "Wow! An adventure series with a tough female lead!" Which one of us, do you think, grasped the stick by the right end? I watch XWP for what it is, not what I want it to be. It is a fantasy drama series, not a political platform. I cannot help feeling that Ms. Dooland began watching for the wrong reason and, having done so, was bound to be disappointed.

Ms. Dooland states that the scriptwriters, crew and actors "...seem entrenched in their policy of 'neither confirm nor deny' in an effort to keep ratings high and the audience broad". This seems to be at odds with Liz Friedman's comments in Entertainment Weekly (March 1997), "I don't have any interest in saying they're heterosexuals. That's just [sic], and no fun, either." Renee O'Connor, on the other hand, said in Starburst (August 1997), "...we have an honest friendship, and we love each other; that's all there is to it. People just read into it what they choose to see." Both women clearly have strong, and apparently opposite, views on the subtext issue. For me, part of XWP's appeal is that it leaves the viewers free to make up their own minds, instead of ramming one view or another down their throats.

Examination of XWP's ratings shows Ms. Dooland's claim, "Queer subtext has been shown to attract viewers rather than alienate them" to be largely unfounded. While individual episodes such as THE QUEST and A DAY IN THE LIFE had high ratings, the effect of subtext on the series as a whole has been minimal.

Average AA ratings (to the nearest 0.1) for Seasons 1-4 are as follows:

Season 1: 5.1
Season 2: 6.1
Season 3: 6.0 (pre-Rift), 5.2 (post-Rift)
Season 4: 4.2

The relatively subtext-heavy Season 4 saw a huge drop in average ratings of 1.0 from the later episodes of Season 3 (which had clearly been damaged by The Rift), and almost 2.0 from the heady days of Season 2 and pre-Rift Season 3. No episode in Season 4 achieved a rating of 5.0, and many later episodes dipped below 4.0, apparently due to the India Trilogy and Gabrielle's subsequent behaviour. It seems viewers were concerned less with the presence or absence of subtext than with their heroines acting totally out of character in order to fit grandiose story arcs. Season 5's record low ratings were due not to the virtual absence of subtext, as Ms. Dooland implies, but to the abysmal quality of many of the stories - does MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS ring any bells?

I do not, personally, believe Xena and Gabrielle are lovers. This does not make me a homophobe, whatever Ms. Dooland may think. It simply means I have a mind of my own, and I have interpreted the subtext in my own way. I see Xena as a bisexual woman, in love with her best friend yet unable to say so for fear of driving her away. Does that make my view any less valid than the next person's? I think not.

Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001
From: Bram Reichbaum
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I cannot believe that a longtime XENA viewer like Anna Dooland can continue to be frustrated by ignorance of whether or not Xena and Gabrielle are lovers, and cannot fathom why she chooses to take such a pessimistic view of the producers' policy of "neither confirm nor deny".

Obviously, any decisions by the execs of any program are made with the intention of maximizing ratings. And I certainly don't wish to argue the point that there is still a lot of ugly homophobia in our society. However, the homophobe demographic hardly ever constituted even a peripheral portion of XENA fandom -- it never took a rocket scientist or scholar of latin to notice "subtext" (especially not in this Season 6, in which it hits viewers over the head like a well-thrown bass fish). "Neither confirm nor deny" maximizes ratings because:

A) It is funny. Or at least the writers assume that loading every script with double-entendres and sight-gags, allowing viewers to congratulate themselves on being savvy enough to "pick up" the subtext, is funny. And also...

B) If the quesiton were ever settled, viewers like Ms. Doolan who continue to tune in, at least in part, in order to assemble clues and gather evidence to support their own position, would lose interest. In a fantasy genre in which we all know good will triumph over evil and the chakram will return to Xena's hand, "Are they or aren't they" is the only kind of suspense we are likely to enjoy.

Season One, as it stood alone, had not even the faintest suggestion of such a romance. It is more fair to ask whether or not the producers *later* began catering to homophobic strains in the audience by titillating straight male viewers with suggestions of naughty, surreptitious off-camera trysts between the two female protagonists, "the love that dare not speak its name." I know it worked on me.

Bram Reichbaum

[Editor Kym Taborn's note: The fact that the "theory" of subtext was formed by the fans no later than the middle of the first season and was even "homaged" in the show in ALTARED STATES (20/120), establishes that season one, definitely standing alone, did not show "not even the faintest suggestion of such a romance". On the contrary, the earliest inklings of what was to become full blown-out subtext was picked up by the fans as early as November 1995, maybe even sooner by others. How do I know? I was there on the lists and actually joking about it with people. And it was this joking and discussion that led the show to write in the first "subtext" joke in ALTARED STATES, another 1st season episode. The subtext latent in the show was way out by the time the writers were adding it into the show.]

From: Suzett Perry
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2001
Subject: letter to the editor

I am writing this letter in reference to the article by Anna Dooland entitled "Are Xena & Gabrielle Together? An Issue Bigger Than Two Characters". Let me start out by saying....


XWP is perpetually in this position because the closet door is wide open and we can see Xena and Gabrielle standing there - they just need to take a step out!

The author is correct in stating that it has nothing (or very little) to do with the numbers. If people examined their own hypocrisy, we wouldn't have a need for such an article or nonstop discussion. I personally am tired of seeing the creators of the show pander to the homophobic "majority" by adding plot inconsistencies such as Xena/Ares subtext. It is very clearly out of place. The first few episodes of season six further pandered to the rabble by having Xena fight practically naked. It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen from this show (besides Married with Fishschticks).

The actors themselves have also been guilty of making "awkward" statements regarding X\G's relationship. I do feel that their hearts are in the right place (based on their actions in the gay community), but I attribute the clumsy interviews to what is true of most of the world - lack of real cultural knowledge. In other words, what is the situation from the particular group's perspective? Why are certain words, or lack thereof, considered offensive? This not only applies to non-heterosexual people, but of course, to most minority groups. People, in general, do not take the time to become truly culturally aware, as this often involves the painful process of rejecting universally-accepted cultural norms.

However, to their credit, most of the episodes in this season have been EXCELLENT, and after reading the interview you featured with Rob Tapert, I can see the situation from his perspective and how he has been pressured from sponsors. In many ways they HAVE taken a stand against the stereotypes, and that is why I keep watching. Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor have created BEAUTIFUL characters. They are breaking new ground all over the place, even if they haven't quite come all the way.

Suzett Perry

From: LeedsBard
Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2001
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Homophobia in the Xenaverse? Did I miss something? A response to Anna Dooland's article ARE XENA AND GABRIELLE TOGETHER...? in last month's Whoosh....

As a subtext supporter and (very) queer viewer of XWP, I read the above article with interest and, it has to be said, increasing disbelief. Having been a victim of homophobia myself, I would never deny that it is a pernicious evil that ruins lives and has a devastating effect on its victims. However I would totally refute the idea that the makers of XWP are themselves intrinsically homophobic and are (increasingly) pandering to the whims of a homophobic audience.

Firstly, I was intrigued by the idea that XWP was a programme about lesbians - since when? Did I miss the announcement while I was out partying in some seedy dive? Last time I looked it was a (fairly unconventional, it's true) action adventure show. Although I can see that if you started watching around about The Quest, you'd have a very different impression from those of us who've been around since the first season (or earlier) when the focus was much more on Xena's intense relationships with men - Iolaus, Hercules, Marcus, Ares....and I for one wouldn't have it any other way. The show would be much less without all the charismatic and talented male performers it's had over the years, from Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hurst to Jay Laga'aia, Bobby Hosea, Tony Todd, Marton Csokas, the ever-wonderful Bruce Campbell, the totally gorgeous, if I was straight I'd be drooling, Kevin Smith - oh, and someone called Ted Raimi!

As far as The Relationship goes - well, as I've said before, I am a subtext supporter - but I'm quite willing to admit that there are other ways of seeing it. (At this point, I'd also like to point out that we haven't seen any of Season Six of XWP in England yet, so I'm only commenting on Seasons One through Five....) As Queer viewers we have a long history of reading ostensibly 'straight' materiaI through different eyes - from Garbo in Queen Christina to Sigourney Weaver in various Alien encounters and beyond, but we should admit that ours is only one of a number of possible viewpoints.

I was reminded of all this the other day, when my best friend (who happens to be straight) said to me '"What we have is deeper than sex - I can be myself when I'm with you", and that's kind of how I see Xena and Gabrielle too. The sex is a nice idea (!) but at the end of the day it really doesn't matter - the closeness of the friendship is in itself a radical departure for mainstream TV.

(That said, can't we lighten up a bit too - I see the subtext because I ENJOY reading the programme in that way - if I'm being teased - well, so what? It's fun! I certainly don't do it because I need XWP to validate my own sexual identity - puhlease! I've already made my choices - I know who I am - and no TV programme (no matter how good) is going to change that!)

One further point - did it ever occur to you that Season 5 got low ratings because it actually wasn't very good?! (Subtext or no subtext.)

But, on a more serious note: for me, the key aspect of XWP (both the programmes themselves and the underlying ideology) has been Tolerance. (Rob Tapert has said this himself on a number of occasions when interviewed.) Tolerance in the Xenaverse means respect for others' viewpoints, cultures, lifestyles and experiences, and includes their sexual preferences. As a fan, for me this means tolerance for both sides of the subtext debate, tolerance for Joxer fans and detractors, tolerance for Xena/Ares supporters etc. The Xenaverse is big enough for all of us, and no one group 'owns' the show more than another. We are ourselves guilty of discriminatory behaviour if we resort to calling each other names without good cause, and this kind of thinking can be dangerous. Why else is Lucy sent death threats for wanting to attend Renee's wedding? How scary is that - and what does it say about the nature of Queer obsession?

I would argue that what we are seeing with XWP is almost the exact opposite of what Anna Dooland has expressed in her article. I genuinely believe that XWP has done more than any other mainstream TV programme to combat homophobia. And it has done this by choosing to have (and to keep) the subtext, by the cast and crew refusing to deny the possibility of a sexual relationship between Xena and Gabrielle, and by emphasising the importance of tolerance of other cultures, viewpoints and lifestyles. And I for one am proud to identify myself as a fan of a show that does all that.


February's Editorial

From: Judy Parry
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 04:03:30 EST
Subject: One Tree Hill

I just read your article about cutting down the tree. I have only been to Auckland a couple times but I could never forget that famous landmark. I am glad I have photos to remember it too. It did remind me of Xena. Always unique. Always standing above the rest.

Judy Parry

February Letters

Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2001

From: Peter Norrish
Subject: Letters to the Editor - Decline of Xena

Having just sat through the final abomination of series 5 - "Motherhood" - I can only agree with Andrew Shaughnessy ("Whoosh" letter to the editor, February 2001) and wonder how such a great show can get it so wrong in just a couple of years.

Make no mistake, "Motherhood" summed up all that has become rotten in "XWP" over the past two seasons. I argue strongly that the warning signs were there, not long after "The Bitter Suite". Ludicrous plots, inconsistent characterisations (particularly with the total destruction of Callisto as a credible character), and proof - example after example - that the writers had run out of ideas. Worse than that, they got really sloppy, not even bothering to explain major events on the show. Examples: what happened to Gabrielle in "Sacrifice"? How come Callisto finished up in Hell? What happened to Tardrus? Why was Eve conceived? How come gods can't kill mortals anymore (Ares' attempts to kill Eli were literally laughable).

It just got worse and worse as the series progressed. After all that incredibly tedious (and greatly overused) ploy of flashbacks to Xena's past, and the timid Christian/Eli parallel through series 4, one could only hope things could not get any worse in Series 5. But they did. From the mess that was "Fallen Angel" - really, angels and demons in swordfights?? - the writers' desperation became more and more acute, as they struggled to give some meaning to Eve's arrival on the scene. They couldn't. Without any purpose or rationale, Eve was a mistake, and one could see the writers and producers, panic stricken, clutching at anything to keep the series alive, but only to find themselves sinking faster than Callisto in quicksand. I mean, really, killing gods??

I had very bad feelings about XWP from the first episode after "The Bitter Suite", "One Against An Army"' when for really the first time , Xena's evident invincibility destroyed any sense of suspense, and therefore interest. In that episode, she single handedly fought off dozens of attackers. It was absurd. Once she had done this, one knew she would never be injured or killed. And when she did die, "hey, we'll bring her back to life!" - as you knew she would. And so, all suspense and interest in the series was gone. This philosphy continued throughout series 3 and 4.

Series 5 was literally too embarrassing to watch at times, culminating in "Motherhood" which - incredibly - had me hoping like crazy that the gods or Gabrielle would finish off Eve, and if necessary, Xena. I doubt if I will be able to bring myself to watch Series 6, if and when it comes to Australia.

Mr.Shaughnessy is correct in lying the blame for a great show's slow pitiful decline at the feet of Rob Tapert. As EP, it was his responsibility to maintain character and plot integrity, and he failed miserably. The tarnished memory of XWP is his fault.

At the start of each episode, we get the intoduction: "In an time of ancient gods, warlords and kings...". It's been so long since XWP operated within those simple, fascinating and appropriate parameters, that it's difficult now to recall just what was the attraction and affection we all had for this show.

Xena, I hope you do ultimately rest in peace.

Peter Norrish
Melbourne, Australia

Lao Ma: A Questionable Character

From: Melody Chartier
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2001

Response to Virginia Carper:

Yes, the series plays fast and loose with everything (hence, the ever ubiquitous YAXIs in our midst) but I think this fact is irrelevant to Ms. Carper's argument that Lao Ma is a "questionable character". I was not suggesting that the author shed her western sensibilities but instead to understand why some other fans may not share her view. Although the excerpts from the Debt II that Ms. Carper quotes can possibly be interpreted as she does, I don't think that's any proof that Lao Ma is a questionable character. In fact, we don't know what state Lao Tzu was in before he was in the vegetative state. Ms. Carper seems to suggest that it was Lao Ma's pressure points only that keeps him comatose. We don't know what his health was before that though.

I don't think anyone is either good or evil--aren't we all a little of both? Lao Ma as a character was not perfect but I don't think she was the "immoral" embodiment of "bad mother". This interpretation of the character, in my opinon, only serves to perpetuate the stereotype of the "Asian despot" (i.e. Ming from Flash Gordon, etc.) and to demonize a very worthy character in the Xenaverse.

Melody S. Chartier
Director of Affinity and Multicultural Programs
Alumni Relations
Brown University
Providence, RI

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2001
Subject: letter to editor/WHOOSH
From: Deborah Monroy

Re: "The Gift":

Yes, it is a gift--go see it now. This movie poses as a suspense film but it is really a love story, and a very good one, showing screenwriter Billy Bob Thornton's thorough reverence and love for the Southern woman struggling to raise sons alone in the face of male violence. It is sweet sweet sweet: Cate Blanchett is shown as a plain woman, sometimes plainly beautiful, sometimes just plain beat-up by the violence all around her. The camera never loses its devotion to portraying this woman with reverence in close-up after close-up. Among the requisite suspenseful gory details there are quiet moments where the camera dwells on the omninous portent of a pencil rolling off the edge of a desk, or the simple sheen on the table where that deck of cards is shuffled. Many beautiful portraits of trees too.

This is a film which should be seen more than once, and not for the suspenseful parts.

Sword and Staff Milestone

From: Mist
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2001
Subject: Sword and Staff Milestone

Total Donations: $200,000
Total Rainforest Acreage Preserved: 472 acres

I just opened this morning's Sword and Staff mail, and I am happy to announce that as of today we have topped $200,000 in donations. To all of you from around the world who have organized regional fundraisers or who have participated in Sword and Staff sponsored events, you have my thanks, admiration, and congratulations. Your contributions and efforts have done some amazing things and what has been done by groups participating in Sword and Staff activities stands as a testament to the generosity and determination of Xena fans.

Sword and Staff is a fan run organization. It has no affiliation with Universal Studios, StudiosUSA, Creation Entertainment, Fandom.com, Renaissance Pictures, Lucy Lawless, Renee O'Connor, or any other person or entity associated with the television program Xena: Warrior Princess.

All the best,

Happiness is a Warm XENA

From: amicus3
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2001
Subject: What is it about Xena - The Musings of a Fan

A recent conversation with a new Xena friend, had me giving some serious thought or rather had me trying to put into words, what it is about the series Xena: Warrior Princess that has me feeling the way I do about it - loving it, and in some ways living it. The first would be easy enough to comprehend, although the limits or degrees of this will vary from person to person. The second is a little harder for me to explain, and to be honest, I'm not even quite sure what I mean by it. All I know is that this show makes people of all ages and backgrounds, including myself, want to write about it, talk about it, make music about it, and more. And if delving into this series to that extent isn't "living it", at least to some degree, then I don't know what is.

I am happy to say that these feelings are, by no means, limited to myself. And in light of the series' ending, I would like to give tribute to one of the best, if not THE best series I have ever seen and daresay will ever see in television. If one thinks bestowing that placement is biased, well to some extent, it is very true. I am after all, a fan. However, it is not an exaggeration to say that it has been (and I feel will always be) the only series that has touched me so, that I am here writing about it right now, trying hard to explain what is in some ways, inexplicable...being so much more grounded in feelings and not words.

It would be untrue to say there have not been shows that I have liked and respected, but they are extremely few. Much fewer are the shows that have a depth to their characters and story that can cause me to feel a whole gamut of emotions. Xena is the only show, in my history, that truly far surpassed anything that I have ever watched. Non-fans may label or ask if I am obsessed? And I must admit that I shy away from that description. Of course, it can be meant in a friendly manner and if that is the case, then I would have to chuckle and agree with it. However in an unfriendly context, obsession would seem to indicate that my feelings are unsound, without sane reason, and basically unfounded. My feelings are most certainly none of those. My feelings are sound, with reason, and are founded. Those baffled by this would most likely sigh in exasperation and exclaim that it is "just" a show on television. And although I will readily acknowledge that it is a show, I can never truly concede that it is "just" a show. From what I have heard and read, Xena has affected far too many lives in so many ways... that in can never be just a show. A simple show could never evoke in me feelings that at times have clenched my heart or made it soar. A simple show could never provoke thoughts that teach me and remind me of the truths of life and living. A simple show could never hold my attention let alone cause me to laugh and cry and yes, even to scratch my head at times and groan. These emotions come to me because there is something in the show that touches some part in me. And, it touches it enough to cause me to feel... which in itself, is an awesome task and, a special gift...for I feel there is nothing more profound than to be able to touch someone's heart, and soul.

The characters and the lives they live, touch a part of me that I can not fully explain. Perhaps it is the quest for redemption that both Xena and Gabrielle find themselves striving for; perhaps it is the friendship and love between them. Perhaps it is the theme of good versus evil; perhaps it is their living and the happiness and pains that come with it. Perhaps it's knowing that through the worst of what life has to offer, you are never truly alone... and then again, maybe it's all of these things combined. But perhaps, there is something more...something that, try as we may, words will always fail to convey...

And so with that, I find that I am at the end of my little musings. I suppose I could go on, but I doubt it would bring me any closer to putting into words 'exactly' what it is about Xena that affects me so. The only conclusion I can come to is that I find it is all of these things, and this ineffable quality that is as personal and specific to each person, as one's soul is, that so characterizes my relationship to the Warrior Princess and her faithful friend and bard. And although I may have ended up being just as ambiguous as I started, I find I am grateful, because if for anything else, my journey down this lane was a wonderful one!

Bitterness is a Cold XENA

From: T223jgj
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2001
Subject: Letter to the Editor

What has happened to the great production team that made Xena one of the best shows to happen in many years? My guess is the crew from Hercules, who ruined that show during the last 2 years, simply moved over to Xena, and brought their low production values with them. This is evident by looking at the credits, and seeing names that used to appear on Hercules for all phases, including writing, directing and editing. All you have to do is watch reruns of their later shows they did to see what was done to a good show.

Unfortunately, that seems to be the fate of most long-running shows. The writers and actors start to treat their characters as caricatures, and the spark and freshness that made the show popular becomes hard to find. Many of the good ones did that, so I guess it was inevitable that Xena would go this way.

It is a true shame that we fans couldn't be treated to a feast of great Xena episodes during their last year. But instead we get sophomoric writing, stilted acting, and simplified scenes. Not what we have been graced with for the first 4 or 5 years. The trend started last year, and has only grown worse. While it is impossible to influence the producers to change their evil ways before the last episode finishes shooting, I am glad I have a Xena-stack of videos to be able to see again the terrific writing, acting, directing, scenery, story lines, character development, and all the elements that made Xena one of the true bright spots in television.

Joxer Corner

Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001
From: Rob Lent
Subject: Why did we like this Joxer person anyways?

Why *did* we Joxer fans like him? Clearly, the reaction to Joxer spanned a wide range, from those who adored him to those who despised him. While I cannot speak for all Joxer fans, at least some of my thoughts are shared by many of us.

As others have stated before, Joxer is us. We aren't superheroes, and most of us aren't going to be. But he kept on trying where others would have long since given up. I find this to be an admirable quality in a world where being number one is everything, and being number two is almost seen as a disgrace. I see Joxer as being quite similar to Don Quixote

He also was willing to re-assess long-time strongly held values. He was often rather obtuse, and didn't learn all of his lessons at once, or even have all of his lessons sink in at first. But he progressed. His attitude towards women changed, since the time we first met him in Callisto. From thinking that he, as a man, naturally should be in authority over women, he changed into someone who accepted women in positions of authority.

He also was able to re-assess his goals in life. When we first meet him, he thinks that what he ought to be is a ruthless warlord. He has obviously been raised with these values. But he is able to realize that maybe there are better ways to live his life. His model changes from the warlord model he was raised with to being a hero like Xena. However, he still had difficulty completely overcoming all of his upbringing. When Jett is introduced, Joxer clearly still feels inferior to Jett, and feels he has to justify himself towards his brother.

While Joxer can be boorish at times, it usually is out insecurity or ignorance, but not out of malice. While when we first met him, Joxer would have been elated at getting his first kill, by the time he does kill, it brings him no joy.

And I can understand why some people disliked Joxer. While I liked him because he is us, others may dislike him for that same reason. I can understand wanting to immerse onesself in an hour of fantasy without being reminded that we aren't like the object of our fantasy. And, while I do think that Joxer developed over the years, I would agree that there wasn't enough development in Joxer. TPTB missed many opportunities.

One of the opportunites that I think would have been a prime area to explore was Joxer's musical abilities. I think that this would have been an excellent way to develop the charcter. If Joxer could have chosen to embrace a talent that he posessed, and realize it was a worthy pursuit, this would have been an excellent development. However, it would have us deal with Joxer putting Gabrielle's scroll to music. ;-) Would we have heard a line like this: "In the frozen land of Nador, they were forced to eat Xena's minstel. And there was much rejoicing." (to mis-paraphrase Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

I never thought of Joxer as being the hero of the show, Xena and Gabrielle were clearly the heroes of the show. I was satisfied with the amount of episodes Joxer was in, although I do admit that I wouldn't have minded some more. I thought of Joxer as being the sidekick. What I mean by this was that Gabrielle ceased being a sidekick. A sidekick is an inferior or junior hero. As Gabrielle became more of a hero in her own right, Joxer became more of a sidekick to both Xena and Gabrielle.

Gabrielle's adventures parallel Joxer's to an extent, in that both start out small, but they are two sides of the same coin. While Gabrielle goes on to greatness, Joxer doesn't. Joxer does, however, keep on trying, and does have his moments. An old Chinese proverb states "It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop." Both Gabrielle and Joxer achieve what they are capable of achieving. While is is wonderful to be in first place, it is no shame to finish second, third or tenth. If Joxer did nothing but fetch firewood for Xena, that is still an accomplishment.

I was at a karate tournament, and a child was crying because he only got second place. I can only hope that he will learn that doing your best is something worthwhile, even if you don't get all the accolades. There are many epitaths that we could give to Joxer. The one that I might use was "He kept trying".

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