From the Graphics Editor:
The Night Of The Opportune Apology
From the Graphics Editor:
THE NIGHT OF THE OPPORTUNE APOLOGY
There isn't much in the way of Xena news these days. The show is dead, relegated to reruns Stateside on a network many people don't have access to. There is a greater chance of the Cubs winning the World Series than there is for a Xena film to be made within the next ten years. Pacific Renaissance Pictures personnel have moved on to other jobs or unemployment, as have almost all of the Renaissance Pictures personnel here in the USA. So when a former star of Xena makes a comment regarding the show, that does indeed become Xena news.
In an article for "Entertainment News Daily", Lucy Lawless initially spoke of her upcoming appearance on X-FILES (you can read the full article at: http://18.104.22.168/contWriter/endnews2/2001/10/11/enter/3487-0050-pat_nytimes.html or some suitably archived location). Since she could not divulge details of the upcoming episode, the astute interviewer Ian Spelling asked about the overwhelming negative reaction to A FRIEND IN NEED (FIN), the Xena finale that was met with less than unbridled enthusiasm by the majority of fans who registered an opinion about it.
The gloss of that section of the interview is this: Lucy Lawless was, some months later, recognising the impact of the finale on viewers. She could understand the strong negative reaction to it after realising that, over several seasons, the show focused on the "soul mate" concept and in the end the show separated those soul mates from each other. Such an action had a strong "resonance" with fans. "For that I am really sorry," she was quoted.
The article will no doubt inspire questions from several of those who loathed FIN, those who loved it, and those in between. Why make these comments now, on the eve of an appearance on another show, rather than months ago when such apologetic words would have seemed more heartfelt? Why did it take so long to come to a realisation that was more than evident to the viewing public hours after the finale was initially broadcast? Why was the reaction to the finale such a shock since some people who worked on the finale expressed a private dislike for it while it was being made? Why an apology now, when before most of the viewers even saw the finale, Lucy Lawless commented during a radio appearance that disappointed fans should "cut the cord". Why even mention it at all?
The most obvious answer: because someone asked. Because sometimes it does indeed take a little while for reality to catch up to fantasy. Because as insulated as celebrities can be, the truth can't be kept locked outside forever. Because when given enough information, an honest opinion will be formed.
Consider that during the finale "media blitz" there was little time to do much more than promote. It is not politically wise to discourage viewers during such a time, and if your people tell you that negative opinion is isolated and rare, you may well be inclined to believe it. After the finale, it was break time. For the first time in years there was an opportunity for sustained relaxation. Time to learn to breathe once more. But also time for the truth of the matter to filter in. It's simply a fact that most people who gave an opinion of FIN didn't like the outcome. Sure there may be thousands of people who did like it. But many, many more did not.
Some people would not be satisfied by any words from a star of the show, no matter the quality or quantity of those words. Some people would be satisfied with any words at all. There are always those who seek to find data to support a particular agenda or viewpoint and they will twist or interpret accordingly, say that daytime is night or the sun is the moon, depending on the needs of their premise.
Lucy Lawless' words have not changed my opinion of the finale or anything else connected to Xena. That opinion was formed when I saw the finished product and my opinion of the show evolved (and changed) over the course of the entire series. But it is nice to see that even after this much time has passed since the finale has aired someone closely connected to The Powers That Be acknowledged the negative impact it had.
FIN hurt a lot of people. And someone important noticed.
Hermosa Beach, California
17 October 2001