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Season 2, episode 16
Series 216
1st release: 02-24-97
2nd release: 07-28-97
1st strip release: 09-24-98
2nd strip release: 12-28-98
Production number: V0220
Script number: 212
Approximate shooting dates: October 1996
Last update: 12-26-00

SYNOPSIS by Diane Silver

Ted Raimi (Joxer)

Mandie Gillette (Ileandra)
Craig Parker (Sarpedon)
Karl Urban (Cupid)
Alexandra Tydings (Aphrodite)
Ross Jolly (Barus)
Craig Walsh-Wrightson (Lynaeus)
Rachale Davies (Aria)

Written by Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster
Edited by Jim Prior
Directed by Josh Becker

(Joxer with sword meets Aphrodite with bell)
(Joxer removing armor and fighting)
Ileandra: You saved us!
Illeandra: You set me on fire
Joxer: I know. (kisses her)
Joxer: A man must do what a man must do.
Gabrielle: Take off the spell.
Aphrodite: Dream on!
(Aphrodite ringing bell and Joxer faints)
Joxer: I have a last request.
King: Denyed!
(Joxer getting ready to have his head chopped off)
Joxer: Gabrielle! Where are you?!

While engaged in a battle of wills with her son, Cupid, Aphrodite turns Joxer into a dashing war hero tasked with stealing a princess's heart away from her betrothed.

1st RELEASE: 02-14-97
An AA average of 6.3
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) XENA 8th with 6.3
(2) HERCULES 11th with 5.8
(3) STAR TREK DS9 12th with 5.6
(4) BAYWATCH 19th with 4.3

2nd RELEASE: 07-28-97
An AA average of 5.4
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) XENA 8th with 5.4
(2) HERCULES 10th with 4.5
(3) STAR TREK DS9/BAYWATCH 17th with 3.9


This synopsis is by Diane Silver, who synopsized this episode under complete and total duress. She claims a gun was involved.

Xena and Gabrielle are riding on Argo and talking. Argo stops, Xena lets Gabrielle off and tells her that she has to go on alone because King Lias (probably the same King Lias who is Princess Diana's father] has sent for her and needs her immediately, apparently to provide security at some important ceremonial function. Xena says she has to get there as soon as possible. The implication is that Argo could not carry both of them that far that fast. Xena rides off.

Aphrodite and Cupid are shown having an argument. Aphrodite is angry because Cupid has made a prince and princess fall in love. When the two are married, their two kingdoms will be united, and the kings plan to knock done Aphrodite's temples, in part, because one of them blocks the view of the river. This does not please Aphrodite. She tells Cupid that she will break up the romance and that she can do it by turning even the dumbest jerk into a hero. Eventually, Aphrodite tells Cupid that she will work her magic on anyone Cupid names.

Gabrielle meets Joxer, who wants Gabrielle to be his sidekick. She is not thrilled with the idea, but decides to travel with him. She convinces him that it's the heroes job to guard her rear and suggests that he walk far behind her to do it. While he's trailing far behind Gabrielle, Joxer meets up with Aphrodite, who puts a spell on Joxer. Whenever a bell rings he will change. First, he will change into a hero. Later, he will change back to himself, and he will change each time a bell rings. Aphrodite then gives Joxer a necklace with a bell and tells him that he must deliver it to the princess. Aphrodite rings the bell. Joxer changes into a hero and runs off to find the princess.

Gabrielle finds a group of women who are being attacked by a group of men. She rushes into help and starts whacking the guys with her staff. She does a good job of taking out several of them, but eventually they knock her down. At this moment, Joxer the Hero flies through the air (think Xena flips) and lands in the middle of the fight. He takes on the bad guys and easily dispatches them. When the fight is over, we learn that the group of women includes the princess and her ladies in waiting. Joxer the Hero then presents her with the necklace and charms her, but in the middle of their talk, the bell rings and he turns into Joxer the Nerd, confusing everyone.

The princess and her group are traveling to meet the prince so the two can elope. The princess asks for protection and Gabrielle agrees. Gabrielle very much acts like the hero here and is clearly in charge. She has to talk Joxer the Nerd into going along. Eventually, they meet the prince who has arranged for a wedding ceremony on the spot. But a bell rings. Joxer the Hero appears and sweet talks the princess who is googo eyed over him. Joxer the Hero and the prince fight. Joxer the Hero wins. Prince leaves. Bell rings again. Joxer the Nerd returns.

The two kings are not pleased. They send out an army to find Joxer. Eventually, Joxer, Gabrielle and the princess are captured. They are held in a barn or something like it. The two talk. Gabrielle tells Joxer that he is changing whenever a bell rings and she suggests that the whole thing might have been caused by Aphrodite. Gabrielle kicks two boards out of the back wall of the barnlike structure and runs off to find Aphrodite to get her to take off the spell. Joxer sings his I Am A Mighty Warrior song.

Gabrielle finds Aphrodite in a nearby temple and talks to her and Cupid. Aphrodite refuses to take the spell off and Cupid says he doesn't have the power to help. Gabrielle asks Cupid if he can put everything back the way it was before, if she can get Aphrodite to take the spell off. Cupid says he can.

Gabrielle returns just as Joxer in nerd form is being taken to be executed. Gabrielle saves the day by throwing a rock, banking it off many things (think chakram cam) and ringing a bell. Joxer the Hero beats up all the bad guys at the same time that he romances the women watching the fight. The women, including the princess, are all clearly under some kind of spell and swoon at the sight of him. The princess even makes her father get out of the way so that she can see Joxer.

At one point, Joxer the Hero grabs Gabrielle, dips her and gives her a passionate kiss. At first, Gabrielle seems to swoon like the other women, but quickly she slaps herself (several times), shudders and says, "yuck!" In the entire episode, Gabrielle is the only woman who shakes herself out of the spell surrounding Joxer the Hero. After the kiss, Gabrielle urges Joxer the Hero to take the fight into Aphrodite's temple. As Joxer the Hero and the various bad guys, trash Aphrodite's temple, Gabrielle keeps telling Aphrodite that she can end the destruction of her temple if she will only take the spell off Joxer. Eventually, Aphrodite does just that. The prince and princess get back together again.

Joxer is back in his old nerd form and he tells Gabrielle that he has been a fool and that even he knows that Gabrielle is the real hero.

Final scene. Joxer is sitting and looking depressed. Xena walks up and sits down. She says Gabrielle told her what happened. Joxer says he feels like a fool because it was all a spell. Xena says that isn't true. She says the gods can only make us into something if part of that something is already inside of us. He still seems unhappy. She walks away and joins Gabrielle, who says that perhaps Joxer had learned his lesson and won't be such a fool anymore. However, at the very end, Joxer runs up to them singing his song and looking every bit as silly as he always has.


12-26-00. Robert Tapert, in an interview with WHOOSH to be released January 1, 2001 (#52), stated the original airing order of the episodes after DESTINY (36/212) were to be EXECUTION (41/217), BLIND FAITH (42/218), and then A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215). Because of Lucy Lawless' accident on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the producers retooled or recast some shows in the can and wrote a couple more shows to cover for Ms. Lawless' incapacity. The resultant airing order was INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207) [retooled to keep Xena in Callisto's body], TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208) [retooled and re-cast Xena with Hudson Leick], SOLSTICE CAROL (33/209) [not changed], THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210) [not changed], HERE SHE COMES...MIS AMPHIPOLIS (35/211) [not changed], DESTINY (36/212) [retooled to have Xena remain dead], THE QUEST (37/213) [new show], A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214) [new show], A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215) [not changed], FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216) [new show], EXECUTION (41/217) [no change], and BLIND FAITH (42/218) [no change].

07-13-00. Ted Raimi at DragonCon 2000 in Atlanta on the wekeend of July 1, 2000, stated that FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS was his favorite XENA episode.

04-18-00. Ted Raimi did an interview with IGN.COM's Sarah Kuhn on April 14, 2000. An excerpt from the interview follows:

IGN Sci-Fi: Now I heard you were trying to think of a new song. Any luck with that?
Ted: Yeah, I did a couple versions. But you know, the problem is that that joke is unfortunately so stale in our heads. I know fans watch it, and it's not stale in their heads, because they watch it once a week, and so th at's OK. But for us, every single day on the set, it's like "OK, we got this joke a few years ago!" There's new Joxer gags and recurring stuff, but it's amazing how much that song has frigging got the public attention. It was a little thing I made up on the set one day. And it was like, "OK, this is kind of funny, let's have him sing a stupid ****in' song. And Renee [O'Connor] thought it was funny and I thought it was funny, so we went ah ead and did it, and you know, darned if the writers went, "Oh, there's a funny gag!" and put it in every single episode. And then I had to sort of put my foot down, and go "I'm not doing this song. There will be no more versions of this song, ever again." It was fun to do, I loved doing it, I thought it was a good bit, but it's sort of past its prime now. Time for new jokes!
IGN Sci-Fi: Well, it did seem like it would be fun the first million times or so...
Ted: [laughing] Yeah! The first million was good. After that, it's all downhill.

12-16-98. On August 19, 1998, at his website, director Josh Becker gave his version of how the "Joxer the Mighty" song was created. "I directed the Xena episode starring Joxer called FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS, which is where the Joxer theme first appears. As I was planning my shots, it occured to me that Joxer ought to have a song to sing, so I wrote the first verse. I gave this to Ted Raimi and he added several more verses. Then I asked the show's composer, Joe LoDuca, to use the song over the end titles and he added even more verses. Somehow in the credits, the song was then attributed to Joe and Ted and not me. C'est la vie. I've added yet another verse in the episode I'm directing now, which is called IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL."

12-16-98. At the Creation Valley Forge Con (10-04-97), a little girl asked Ted Raimi to sing the Joxer the Mighty theme song. He couldn't remember the words but someone from the audience provided him with a lyrics sheet. Being a good sport, he did sing the song, complete with audience participation. He confirmed that he was in fact the composer of that tune. At the time, Josh Becker, director of FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS, told him "We need something that's going to annoy Gabrielle." While they were thinking of what to do 15 minutes before the scene was shot, Ted started humming a nonsense tune. Josh Becker said "Stop humming that stupid song!" Ted's eyes lit up and he said "Hey!", recognizing that was just what they needed. He said it was his favourite Joxer episode, too.

12-16-98. At the Creation Detroit Con (08-17-97), a young woman asked Ted to sing the "Joxer the Mighty" song, and he enlisted the audience to sing along with him. He told how the song came about and that there was even a song in the first place. The director, Josh Becker, said they needed to come up with something that would really annoy Gabby, so Ted went to his trailer and wrote the thing in about 10 minutes.


03-11-00. From Ove Ruben R Olsen. Some parts of this show is a direct rip-off from the motion-picture and the book "The Princess Bride" (by S. Morgenstern) (one of the best - if not THE best fantasy movie out there).

1) When the "other" Joxer is having a sword-fight with King Linium he exclaim the following: "You're right. You're able to-- parry anything I-- throw at you-- with my left hand. But I'm right-handed, you see. Well-- this makes it interesting. Missed me! Hah-hah!" The switch from left to the right-hand is taken from the best sword-figthing sceene ever to be created on the movie-screen :-) when one of the hero´s sidekick (Indigo Montaya) fights the bad guy Dread Pirate Roberts.

2) When Joxer says to Gabby: "As you wish". In The Princess Bridge the hero (Westley) always said "as you wish" to the Princess (Buttercup) when he really meant "I love you".

For more information on The Princess Birde the following link to the Internet Movie Database may help: http://uk.imdb.com/Title?0093779.


Click here to read a transcript of FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS.


The producers wish to acknowledge the inspiration of Danny Kaye and pay tribute to the classic motion picture "Court Jester"

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