Whoosh! Issue 63 - December 2001


By Edward Mazzeri
Content copyright © 2001 held by author
WHOOSH! edition copyright © 2001 held by Whoosh!
14314 words

Page Five


Tree ferns near Auckland
The waves of the sea
Green moss on the trees
Cyane's rock
I am far from Hercules, Xena, and thee.[Note 50]

[121] It is memorable that as the series has progressed, Xena has been drawing away from the ways of Ares, while, in a yin-yang way, almost unnoticed, like a rose flowering, Gabrielle and Aphrodite have been getting closer. The war/warrior princess node is a conscious construct, whereas the peasant-girl/love-goddess node looks like a subconscious development: it sneaks slowly up on you, like the incoming tide, until, like the tide, there comes a point where you consciously realize, with a surprise, how overwhelming and majestic and inevitable it is.

Memorable is about mythos. The characters in fiction we remember are the ones around whom we build our ideas of the world. No amount of political analysis will force people to believe in an idea they cannot imagine, or a character in which they cannot see themselves or someone they love[Note 51].

A work of literature is very much like a labyrinth; it offers the reader examples of others who have gone on the adventure before... When we come to the real center of our lives, we shall find not only a god but a goddess as well[Note 52].

[122] Xena is Gabrielle's guardian angel, muse, Valkyrie, protector, her own personal T0 Terminator, in a word, friend:

"Gabrielle, I'll always be here."
--Xena, THE QUEST (37/213)
[123] Traditionally, the teaser and trailer (if I can call it that) of each episode provided occasions for the writers to speak directly to the fans, but the following remark seems somewhat out of place (or, at least, its meaning is obscure):
"Xena-- life is eternal. It has no beginning and no end. The loving friends we meet on our journey-- return to us-- time after time. We never die-- because we were never really born."
--Gabrielle's Voice, DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN (90/422)

[124] Unless we consider that all the world's a stage, and everyone merely players, or as Joxer conjectures:

"Oh, oh! I know. I know. Wait a minute. What if none of this really is happening-- and, like, we are all in somebody else's head, and they are making us up?" Joxer, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT (48/302)

[125] Batman explained something similar to Robin while they were both tied up, of all places, in a giant advertising teacup underneath a giant spout. They have been there and done that.

[126] Xena is ultimately about Gabrielle, Xena as seen by Gabrielle

"You are the gate-- the way-- the spring."
--Brown Banshee, GABRIELLE'S HOPE (51/305)

[127] Xena is about Gabrielle as spring, but whether bedspring, wellspring, or the Spring that follows the Winter, is left up to the viewer.

[128] And at a script meeting to choose a director:

"I'm a true believer of the auteur theory. You are the creator, the writer. I cannot allow someone else to interpret your vision. Therefore, I want you to also be the director."
--Zera, THE PLAY'S THE THING (85/417)

"Care to test that theory?"
--Xena, BACK IN THE BOTTLE (97/507)

[129] Ideas workshop:

"I have a theory about fish."
--Gabrielle, THE PRICE (44/220)

[130] I have a theory, too: if the writers can talk to the audience through the scripts, then the audience can talk about the show the same way (in converse).

"How in the name of Zeus, did you ever come up with such a lame theory?"
--Cecrops, LOST MARINER (45/221)

"Although, you have to admit, it is an interesting theory. How's the head?"
--Xena, ALTARED STATES (19/119)

[131] For example, this is how the writers responded when the fans began noticing that Gabrielle had not been shown "scrolling" for a while:

"Ugh! Something keeps telling me that I have to start writing again."
--Gabrielle, PUNCH LINES (101/511)

[132] Here is how the audience is discussed at a regular script meeting:

If the audience really is only seeing one in every six episodes, then long story arcs are not practical, and in fact, the reality is that:

"I don't usually have an audience."
--Xena, THE PATH NOT TAKEN (05/105)

"Oh, no, no, no, no. I'm going to make a grand show of your death. And I'll need an audience who will truly appreciate it."
--Callisto, RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205)

"With respect-- I tend to work better without an audience."
--Xena, A TALE OF TWO MUSES (74/406)

"Doesn't matter, anyway. I know who my audience is."
--Gabrielle, THE PLAY'S THE THING (85/417)

"Oh, good. I really did want an audience, Gabrielle. Someone should witness the birth of a god."
--Velasca, THE QUEST (37/213)

"This will be much more effective with an audience."
--Livia's Voice, EVE (111/521)

"I didn't care whether the audience liked it-- only whether I did."

[133] In addition, season six developments for an actor:

"I'm sick and tired of being the nice girl."
--Gabrielle, WHO'S GURKHAN? (116/604)

[134] It is a writer's life:

But the paperwork!

"Writing is gonna be big one of these days, believe me. So, what do you think? I envision a series of scrolls called-- the Black Wolf chronicles. I'll draw up the paperwork, and all the Wolves will sign releases. Hmm?"
--Salmoneus, THE BLACK WOLF (11/111)

[135] It is a memorabilia trader's life, too. In addition, do not forget the serendipity:

"In it, you said you wanted help translating ancient writings, and here I am!"
--Melinda, THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210)

[136] Where do the story ideas come from? Isn't it boring?

"Don't you ever get tired of just writing down what I do? Why don't you create new characters? New images?"
--Xena, THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER (56/310)

"I, um, I'm not really good at writing action."
--Gabrielle, THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER (56/310)

[137] "Action" is code for "subtext":

"What? You follow Xena around-- you-- you follow Xena around all day-- you write stories about her. How do you do this without writing action?"
--Ares, THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER (56/310)

"You know, Xena? I've been thinking of rewriting the scroll."
--Gabrielle, FINS, FEMMES AND GEMS (64/318)

[138] On Fan Fiction (and its writers):

"My writing has allowed me to express my most inner feelings."
--Gabrielle, A TALE OF TWO MUSES (74/406)

"So, let me ask you this-- isn't all this story-telling an _awful_ lot like writing?"
--Aphrodite, PUNCH LINES (101/511)

"I can't pretend to be Xena without your giving me a few pointers. I haven't been out of the castle in years. I got lost three times on the way here, and I'm missing my father already. And now, you don't even believe I'm me. You think I'm Xena. Well, I can't be Xena, 'Cause, I'm _not_ Xena!"
--Diana, WARRIOR...PRINCESS (15/115)

[139] Gabrielle's contribution cannot be underestimated:

"I couldn't have done it without you, Gabrielle."
--Phyleus, THE TITANS (07/107)

"You're Gabrielle-- bard, Amazon Princess-- best friend. Nobody made you who you are-- it was already there. The question is, who would I be without you?"
--Xena, THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN (49/303)

"I couldn't have done it without you. The only reason I do any good at all in this world is because I do it with you. You make an important contribution every day. I'm gonna make sure that people know that from now on."
--Xena, FINS, FEMMES AND GEMS (64/318)

"I couldn't do it without you. But you're gonna have to rest up for a while."

"Thanks, I couldn't have done it without you. Can you help me get her up here? Please?"
--Gabrielle, LITTLE PROBLEMS (98/508)

[140] Overheard at another script meeting called by the scroll-copiers, after a vigorous discussion about who did what:

"Other than the fact that no one gives me credit for anything, and everyone thinks I'm a silly sidekick? Now, I've got this headache."
--Gabrielle, FINS, FEMMES AND GEMS (64/318)

"Well, you're back to normal, now. Gabrielle, from now on, I'm gonna make sure you get a lot more credit for the things you do. That's a promise."
--Xena, FINS, FEMMES AND GEMS (64/318)

"Listen, who cares who gets the credit? Why don't we pick up these little pieces of paper and get out of here?"
--Jacques, THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210)

[141] Look at how many little round circles are on these bits of paper! They are all along the trail to the local dinar storage barn.

[142] After all, it is only a television show. In addition, the Borg component of The Franchise, while taking our dinars, does not expect us to

respond emotionally to persons and events that we know are not real[Note 53].
Tell that to Shakespeare[Note 54].

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