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aka Married with Fishshticks

Season 5, episode 15
Series 515
1st release: 02/21/00
2nd release: 07/03/00
3rd release: 12/25/00
Production number: V0914
Approximate shooting dates: September 1999
Last update: 11-18-01

SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 4 BY Beth the Cavert

Ted Raimi (Joxer/Hagar)
Alexandra Tydings (Aphrodite/Crabella)

Meighan Desmond (Discord/Sturgina)
Joseph Main (Urchin)
Rupert Simmonds (Flipper)
Steve Cleary (Swimming instructor)

Written by Kevin Maynard
Directed by Paul Grinder

(Xena with Eve; Aphrodite snaps her fingers; a ricocheting bolt; Gab gets bonked with a pot, falls underwater and sinks)
Xena: You sure you're all right?
(Hagar looks on)
Crustacea: Who are you?
Hagar: I'm your husband.
(Crustacea avoids Hagar like the plague)
Sturgina: Who does that cheap piece o' tail think she is?!
(Crustacea with a lollipop)
(Flipper and Urchin; Hagar hands Crustacea a mop)
Crustacea: Did we have a happy marriage?
Hagar: Happy as clams!
(Hagar slaps Crustacea on the butt)
(A squid tentacle appears)
Sturgina: I got the feeling something terrible might happen to her!
(The squid knocks Crustacea underwater)


When Gabrielle is knocked unconscious into the sea, a merman convinces her that she is his wife and the mother of three. LogLine

Gabrielle suffers from amnesia and thinks she is a mermaid, who has fallen in love with Joxer.

A merman convinces an injured Gabrielle that she is his wife and the mother of his children.

1st RELEASE: 02/21/00
An AA average of 3.5
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:

X-Files  3.9
3rd Rock  3.8
Stargate SG-1  3.7
Xena  3.5
Back2Back Action  2.5
Profiler  2.4
Earth: Final Conflict  2.3
The Lost World  2.3
Beastmaster  2.2
The Outer Limits  2.0


This synopsis is by Bluesong.

Gabrielle finds she has little patience with a crying baby. She seems a wee bit jealous when Xena can immediately console Eve, but hey, she's the mom. Joxer shows up with baby back ribs to feed Eve, who, Gabrielle points out, has no teeth. Gabrielle and Joxer leave to do something.

Aphrodite and Discord have words because Aphrodite has made one of Discord's favorite bad pirate guys fall in love and smell flowers. They start throwing fireballs at each other. Gabrielle and Joxer walk onto a dock in the midst of the fireballs. They exchange barbs, and show themselves to Gabrielle and Joxer. They start tossing fireballs again. One of them goes astray and knocks something into something else and Gabrielle falls into the water.

While in the water, Gabrielle has a dream. She dreams she wakes up with amnesia. She also is a mermaid when she's in the water. She has legs when she's on dry land. She is married to a man named Hagar (Joxer), and they have three children. One looks to be about 12 and is a cross between a seal, flipper, and the Planet of the Apes. Another, named Urchin, is about 9 and looks like a fishy porcupine. The third is a little squid or something. Hagar gives Gabrielle some elixir and tells her she'll feel better soon. Later he answers the door and two bimbo women, aka Aphrodite and Discord, show up with more elixir. The elixir is to keep Gabrielle (now called Crustacea) amnesiac because she is an exact double of Hagar's real wife who walked out him. Hagar is running for President and needs a mother for his children.

Crustacea bumbles about and the children terrorize her (which includes hanging her upside down a lot) and the two women pretend to be her friends and take her to The Club. They try to talk Crustacea into leaving Hagar because they want him, but Crustacea says she should stay and try to straighten out the kids. Crustacea finally gets her act together and makes the kids shape up. She also makes Hagar shape up and tells him that keeping his house clean is no easy task. At the Club again, the two "friends" dupe Crustacea into falling into the pool, where an evil octopus lies in wait, and Crustacea kills the octopus to much applause from the onlooking Club visitors. She returns home to Hagar, to find he has fixed hamburgers and is trying to please her. He takes her to the coral gardens and proposes marriage to her again. They decide to renew their vows at the Club. The two "friends" have stopped giving Hagar the elixir, however, and while Crustacea and Hagar are starting to exchange vows, Crustacea sees an ornament that looks like Xena's new chakram. She begins to remember Xena. Finally she sees Xena call her name, and realizes she is not Crustacea, she is Gabrielle. The two "friends" want Hagar to marry one of them, and they get into a fight, and then they get into a fight with Gabrielle, who beats them both up. Then Gabrielle tells the children goodbye, and tells Hagar to go find his wife and make up with her.

Gabrielle, back in the real world, wakes to find Joxer giving her mouth-to-mouth, he having pulled her from the deep blue sea and saved her life. She punches him out for kissing her. Aphrodite says Gabrielle was out for about a minute. Xena comes up with Eve and asks Gabrielle if there is something she wants to tell her. Then Eve cries. Gabrielle says let me hold her. Xena looks skeptical, then asks Gabrielle if she is okay. Gabrielle says she's better than ever. She holds Eve and Eve stops crying. They walk off, with Joxer trailing behind.


This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.

I've been stunned speechless. In every episode, the ones I love and the ones I'm not thrilled with, I try to point out the good as well as the bad. But I'm stumped. The closest I can come to good things to say is that a) Discord doesn't do a bad Fran Drescher impersonation (talk about a left-handed compliment), and b) I liked some of the insults Aphrodite and Discord traded at the beginning and the end.

That's it. I'm sure this episode was supposed to be a comedy, but I spent the whole time waiting for something make me smile, let alone laugh. Nothing even outraged me like In Sickness and In Hell. I was just bored.

The episode was patterned after the movie Overboard. Not a piece of filmmaking genius, but I at least liked it for its heart and the warmth of the characters. The episode took the plot ideas but left out the heart. Other than a little bit of Roe, when did Gabrielle win over the kids? Or Hagar? Why would she come to like the place or decide to stick around past the first five minutes? Was this a dream (hence the horrid hair) or an actual underwater world (hence all the "going back" and memory business)? And when was it going to get funny?

Orci and Kurtzman have had the reins of Xena for a half-season now, and have blatantly proved that they don't have the foggiest idea what the show is about. This was an appropriate final act for them. May your keyboards rest in Tartarus, O&K. Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

I'm going to go watch Aphipolis Under Siege again.


Can't think of a one.


This commentary is by Beboman.

* I don't think this is going to be a very long or extensive commentary. On a scale (no pun intended) from 10 - 1 with one being the worst, this episode ranks -25. Once again on a scale from 10 - 1 with one still being the lowest point, this episode ranks about -25 on the "tie me up, gag me and force me to watch" scale. I was sure that sooner or later the writers of the show were going to send us something not really worth watching. I just never thought it would be this bad. This one was worse than "In Sickness and in Hell" and that was a really bad episode. Another thing about this episode was that it was out of order, meaning last week we had Xena in her leathers and this week she is still in her pregnant attire. What's up with that? With this said, I will move on.

* The very poor imitations of Fran Drescher in "The Nanny" done by Aphrodite and Discord were worse than the real "Nanny" accent, and that really was unnerving. It was like someone scraping their fingernails across a chalkboard. Many times they could not hold the accent and it was obvious that they were going in and out of it. I lived in New York City for a while and I KNOW there really are people who sound like what Alexandra and Meighan tried to sound like, but it didn't work for them at all.

* The idea of "Overboard" (a Goldie Hawn movie) meets "The Nanny" did not work. To start with, "Overboard" was not one of Goldie Hawn's best movies and, as comediennes go, she is one of the best (once again, this is my opinion). "The Nanny", in my opinion, was not a show worth watching.

* I feel bad that this show was used as a forum to showcase ROC's comedic abilities, which are normally very good. We have seen her in some really good stuff over the years and I think she deserved something much better than this show. The same goes for Ted and Alexandra. All are very good actors who have shown how far they can stretch and they have done excellent things in the past. Also some of the slapstick from the show was old and used before. I also felt that, in some cases, ROC did not feel comfortable with some of the things she was required to do.

* I understand that it was necessary to give LL a break after her pregnancy, but I have seen some really good "Xena Light" episodes and people, this was not one of them at all. Sorry to say it.

* The only good thing about this show was the fact that Gabrielle with (once again) the help from Aphrodite was able to realize that she has what it takes to be a good mother. This question is probably something that still lingers in Gabrielle's mind, especially after all that happened with Hope and now helping Xena with Eve.

* Another interesting thing about the show were the flashbacks that Gabrielle had about Xena when she began to recover her memory and the signs that helped her recover her memory. They were interesting and well selected.

* With this said, I think this is my cue to exit stage right. Like my mother always said, "If you have nothing good to say, better not say anything at all." I have probably said all the good things I had to say. So in the words of a great philosopher, I say "Hasta la vista, baby" and "May the force be with you." Oh sorry, wrong shows.

* By the way, I couldn't even get a good quote from this show. Anyway, later.


This commentary is by Stryper.


Firstly, I have to say, what a silly episode this was, okay, "THIS WAS A SILLY EPISODE"... lol But did I like it..., hum..., well, the jury is still out on that one, but there are a few things that made me go, HUH?

For starters, I'm really getting tired of poor Joxer's handling by our once so sensitive little bard. I mean, the poor, lovesick guy, risks his life to jump into the water and pull her out after one of Discord and Aphrodite's little "spat bolts" caused her to get knocked out and tossed into the drink, and as he's trying in desperation to give her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (getting no pleasure out of it, as you can see how distraught he is) she suddenly comes to, thinking that he's someone else (her under the sea hubby) and SHE kisses him passionately. Well, to our poor, lovesick Joxer, this is his dream come true, so he lets her kiss him (and that's about all he's guilty of, letting her kiss him) but she suddenly fully wakes up, and sees Joxer, then proceeds to hit him, knocking him to the floor. Okay, I realize that there is a LOT of people who object to the incidents of Joxer in their fantasy world, but come on, I really don't think he disserved to get knocked out for trying to save her (which he did, as no one else was around to try). I mean funny is funny, but I'm getting a little annoyed with this Joxer bashing stuff by Gabrielle and Co.

The next thing to make me go, HUH? was the kids... Okay, let me get this straight, Gabrielle's a mermaid (suddenly), Joxer is human (well, I guess that depends on your point of view... lol) so then, why is it that their kids look like a fish science project go awry??? I shudder to think of what it must have been like to have passed that spiky headed kid out, during birth... OUCH!!! lol

I guess someone at Renpic (Renee O'Conner Pictures? lol) must have a fetish for old Goldie Hawn and Kirt Russell films (either that, or they had just seen the movie "OVERBOARD" the night before a writing deadline, and though a little plagiarism was in order, to keep their jobs intacked... lol)

Also, what was with Aphrodite's hair??? Man, that had to be the worst wig that the costume department has ever concocted... I mean, it looked like streaky cotton baton and was about as natural looking as a mop would have been. Discord's hair was livable, and even Gabby's long, but unnatural looking trusses were tolerable, but Aphrodite's hair hasn't looked that bad since "If The Shoe Fits...", last season's bit of silliness (um, I believe it was from last season, anyway... lol). The wig in that ep was quite ragged, and looked like the "Stunt" wig was being used while the "Hero" wig was in the shop for repairs. But that wig was a billion times better in comparison to that dead cat that she had on in this episode...

Another thing is that this episode was definitely shown out of order, as Xena was in her maternity costume again, when we seen in the episode before this, "AMPHOPOLIS UNDER SEIGE" that she was back into her trade mark fighting gear (and none to soon for this Xenite, let me tell you... lol) but I guess the powers that be decided to get all of the dramatic ep's out of the way, so that they could end this block of new ep's on a lighter note, as the reruns seem to be starting off on another dramatic note, what with the Alti ep being shown next week.

And really, how original was that ending??? NOT!!! (lol) I mean, come on people, work with me here, if you're going to do that "DID-IT-REALLY-HAPPEN-OR-WAS-IT-JUST-A-DREAM?" thingy (which is getting quite over used, I may add) then at least do it right, as Gabrielle never even noticed the ring on her finger, and it made it's camera appearance in such a shabbily fast way, that it was almost missed completely.

I guess in the end, it was an okay episode, but not one of their best writing efforts, and definitely, not one of my favorites...

Or is it just me?


This commentary is by Beth Cavert.

Script writer #1: OK, we have to give Lucy some time off to nurse Little Caesar, I mean, Julius, err .... Julian/Eve. Anybody got a story line we can throw in here?

Script Writer #2: We could have Gabrielle enter the virtual world of a computer game and ....

Script writer #1: Been there done that, remember Illusia?

Script writer #2: Oh yeah. And hey, speaking of Ilusia, how did Solon, a mere mortal child, create Illusia from inside his Tartar cocoon? Tell me that.

Script writer #1: Creative license, I think.

Script writer #2 (staring at writer #1's soft drink): How about this? Joxer, a mere mortal, creates his own Illusia -- let's call it Fruitopia -- lots of color, meandering story line and costuming , goddesses at play, water, wierd children .....

(he throws all the ideas in a blender with some paper and paste and pulls out the finished script)

"There we go. 'Synopsis: Gabrielle, unsure about her parenting skills, enters a universe of Joxer's imagination wherein she tests her patience with children -- seal boy, urchin boy, squid boy and Joxer boy. Armed with a sense of self-confidence, Gabrielle returns to the real Known World ready to help care for and nurture Xena's son, Eve.'"



This commentary is by Philip Teo.

Before I get down to the actual comment on the episode, I would like to say that this was a lousy excuse to let Lucy had time off for filming. Lucy sure got it off easy this episode. She appeared briefly in the teaser and in the ending sequence. At least she appeared more in "Little Problems". And why is she wearing that maternity costume again? Wasn't she back in her brown leather suit just the previous episode? They should really watch the airing of the episodes.

Having said all that, let me go into detail about the episode. Seeing Aphrodite and Discord hurling abuses and fighting each other brings back some memories. They had their first fight in a Hercules episode, 'Love On The Rocks'. Once again, Discord was doing the fire ball throwing and Aphrodite was doing the deflecting. This time around, Aphrodite appeared to be enjoying the fight and the two goddess never got into a physical battle.

When Gabrielle fell into the water and sank, the music that aired was the exact one in "The Bitter Suite", nice.

The setting for Gabrielle's dream world was rather confusing. I was trying to decide whether it was a modern century era or was it still in backwards time? The little baby squid Gabrielle had for a kid was rather cute and I think it was most loyal to Gabrielle.

I have to comment on Meighan Desmond for her acting in this episode. After seeing her as Discord for so long, it was refreshing to see her playing another role as the bitchy Sturgina, and I have to say, Meighan was rather convincing as that role.

The Club and Hagar's house were beautiful and I have to commend the props staff for their effort in creating this setting. It was truly admirable and convincing of this make belief world.

I am a bit confused as to Gabrielle regaining her memory. So, if she is truly Gabrielle in her own dream, then does that world she was in exist at all? Where was Xena then if she was really Gabrielle? Does such a world exist even in those times?

And isn't it convenient that Gabrielle woke up just as her dream came to a sweet ending, and according to Aphrodite, she was only out for a minute. In a minute, Gabrielle sure had lived another life-time. It doesn't take long for Xena to drive away the two goddess, doesn't it? One word about hurling her new chakram and the two goddess decided to settle their dispute somewhere else. What were they so afraid of? Xena's chakram couldn't possibly do them much harm, could it?

Other than the few nick picks about how this episode evolved, it was enjoyable watching it and gave Renee and Ted the limelight they deserved.


This commentary is by Les Rankins.

If the infamous and much reviled 'Married With Fishsticks' is viewed solely as an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess the only thing I have to say about it is 'What drugs where the writers on and were do I get me some.' But if it is viewed as a manifestation of Gabrielle's subconscious fears and desires it becomes a fascinating exploration of the psyche of our beloved bard.

In the opening sequence Gabrielle expresses to Xena her doubts about her ability to care properly for Eve. She calls herself Auntie Gabrielle but in the context of their family unit she is in fact a primary caregiver and will be one of the two major parental influences on the child Eve as she grows up.

In the dream sequence she is thrust into the roll of parent against her will, this is a direct manifestation of the fear she has already expressed. In this case the children she must raise are 'monsters' both behaviorally and in their physical appearance. This represents the self-perceived failure of her first attempt at being a parent. The child Hope was to outward appearances a normal child but was in fact a monster of the most literal kind. Gabrielle still sees this as her failure; the monster children of her dream represent her fear that she may fail again in her efforts with Eve thereby creating another monster.

When the children capture her in the noose trap the first time this represents her feelings of being trapped by the responsibilities of parenthood when she does not feel adequate to the task. By the time of her second capture she has started to deal with her feelings of inadequacy and is able to exert parental authority over the children. That she can now release herself from the trap by her own efforts represents the fact that since the traumatic days of her first attempt at parenthood she has become a much more mature and self actualized person. It represents a realization on her part that she has grown and is now able to take control of the fears that plague her.

There are indications that this episode was shown out of sequence so I'll discuss the Joxer aspects of the dream as if MWF were shown before Eternal Bonds.

The Hagar character represents Joxer and the path of the dream shows Gabrielle's ambivalent feelings towards him. She obviously has feelings for Joxer and on some level may even wish that her relationship with him could advance past the 'just friends' stage but his character flaws preclude this from ever happening. Hagar is an idealized Joxer. One who, though he has many faults to begin with, is able to learn from his interaction with Gabrielle and become someone worthy of her attentions.

In the dream she is about to marry Hagar before he has shown that he has fully evolved past the chauvinism he originally displays. It is at this point, when she is about to face what many of you gentle readers would consider a fate worse than death, that images of Xena come to her. This is a return to self from the dream persona of Crustacia and the fact that Xena is catalyst for this change indicates that Gabrielle's feelings for Xena are one of the rocks on which her personality is based.

So in conclusion Gabrielle wakes from her dream with a renewed confidence in her abilities to be a good parent to Eve. And in the episode Eternal Bonds she is able to resolve her relationship with Joxer.


09-02-00. In the June 2000 issue of Chakram (#11), the newsletter of the Official Xena Fan Club, executive producer Robert Tapert said "You know what, I will freely cop to [Fishsticks] because we had to do a totally Lucy-free episode or only use her half a day, and I wanted to try, as the basis for another show, the concept of a Simpson's in an underwater Jetson's-like environment, South Florida kitsch, mermaids and all that stuff in a live action format. And it didn't work."

02-02-00. The bright side about this episode is that Josh Becker DID NOT direct it.

02-02-00. Kevin Maynard wrote this baby (shocking that it is not Armus & Foster, eh?), and he also wrote LOVE AMONG THE ROCKS for HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS which also used mermaids to the hilt. It is also a homage both to the Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell film OVERBOARD (1987, Garry Marshall) and the Fox TV show, MARRIED WITH CHILDREN (TV, 1987-1997).

01-26-00. Robert Tapert in an interview in January 2000 stated that "I pitched a show to Renee and Ted [Raimi, who plays Joxer,] about them as a couple. A silly comedy. And they laughed, but that was more of an off-the-cuff thing.". At an earlier convention Ted Raimi mentioned that this "pitch" had been filmed. Turns out that it is this very episode, MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS. Amazing, eh?

12-05-99. In a comic book store in Santa Barbara, CA, Alexandra Tydings mentioned she had just filmed an episode of XENA where she played a mermaid! Such excitement folks. What new comedic heights will this season of XENA bring???

11-14-99. They can't seem to make up their minds...is it FISHSTICKS or FISHSHTICKS? The difference between "fishstick" (a ground up remolded processed fish food fed to powerless elementary school children) and "fishshtick" (some type of vaudeville routine involving a fish) is not subtle. As they go back and forth, we await with great anticipation. For those of you who are historically minded, there was similar hullabaloo over the third season episode FISHSTICKS, which was also named for awhile FISHSHTICKS. The final solution was to name the episode FINS FEMMES AND GEMS, thus making the "to aspirate or not to aspirate that t" moot. And a tangent, while we are at it, has anyone else noticed that XENA's dramas tend to be garbled but clearly Catholic-induced mindgames while the comedies tend to be Borscht-belt wannabes? Do you think the producers are fighting some type of unnatural New York City urge?

10-01-99. The masses have been heard and TPTB (the powers that be) have answered! YES! The long awaited sequel to FINS FEMMES AND GEMS just wrapped 2nd unit filming. This is a cause for great celebration and merry noise-making.


These things are by Beth Gaynor.

Can't think of a one.


11-18-01. From B'tal. Gabrielle's close-up with the heart sunglasses and lollipop is an homage to the 1962 Kubirck film Lolita.

04-12-00. From Freya Lorelei. When the Discord and 'Dite characters motion for the painter to come do Crustacea's portrait at poolside, he's in the middle of another picture, and the three women he's painting are all in the classic "Charlie's Angels" pose, the gun-toting Vogue image (you know the one). It was a rare funny moment in the episode, and a cute homage. Blink and you miss sort of thing.

03-26-00. From Amberzon. This is a really MAJOR point about "Married with fishticks" which bothered me (as compared to all the other things in that awful episode that bothered me): Again, it's continuity and where the heck this episode falls into place. Xena and Gabrielle are on the run from the Greek Gods who are out to kill them because Eve will be their downfall. So who do they run into? Two Greek Goddesses who seem to have no clue that they are about to hit their Twilight and are too busy squabbling to even care. Okay, granted you could say that Aphrodite and Discord aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer, but you'd think they might have read their celestial e-mail and at least be aware of the Impending Doom. I can't imagine Ares didn't tell Discord about all this considering his involvement in the situation and one would think that Aphrodite would actually have some concern, if only because this would seriously impede her ability to accessorize.

Of course, I have personal theories on why Aphrodite (and Ares) may yet survive this mess which have to do with universality (this is the Twilight of the Greek Gods but if someone worships Aphrodite under a different name, does this keep her grounded to this realm of existance?) but that's another story.

03-06-00. From Rohan. In the final scenes where Gabrielle is being resuscitated by Joxer, notice her hair. It is almost back to Second season red! Is this the harbinger of Clairol? Also, when Gabrielle is facing Xena as she asks to hold Eve, look closely at her back. There is a tan line where the leather halter top normally ties. Either the make-up department is paying more than the usual attention to detail or ROC is spending more time out in the Kiwi sun.


Click here to read a transcript of MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS .


No Sea Nymphs or other Denizens of the Deep were harmed during the production of this motion picture.


A commercial POSITIVE review! By Michelle Green at AnotherUniverse.

A commmercial NEGATIVE review! By Jeff Lundrigan at IGN.com.

Another NEGATIVE review! By Photon Leer at Sixsiders.com.

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