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Season 4, episode 12
Series 412
1st release: 01/25/99
2nd release: 06/14/99
Production number: V0619
Approximate shooting dates: December 1998
Last update: 02-15-01

SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 by Beth Gaynor
COMMENTARY 4 by Videntur

Ted Raimi (Joxer/Messenger/Tyro/Prince)
Alexandra Tydings (Aphrodite/Pelia/Sidero)

Olivia Tennet (Alesia)
Chris Ryan (Zantar/Evil Stepfather)
Ted Clarke (Brother #1)
Douglas Kamo (Brother #2)
Alistair Browning (King Melos)
Sally Spencer-Harris (Queen Mistria)
Rene O'Connor (Tyrella/Princess)
Lucy Lawless (Sidero/Pelia/Harmonia/Tyrella)
Hilary Cleary (Old Woman - 'Dite in Disguise)

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

[Xena magically gets a dress. Gabrielle is a fairy with wing.]
[Joxer dances. Xena is a fairy.]
Joxer: Would you care to try it on?
[A big ugly foot. Joxer screams.]

(Xena magically changes into Tyrella.)
(Gabrielle [as Harmonia] moves in a circle.)
Gabrielle [as Tyrella]: I'm so excited!
(Zantar in drag [as Sidero], and Xena [as Tyrella], Gabrielle [as
Harmonia], and Joxer [as Prince] look shocked.
Alesia: You're evil.
Aphrodite: Dear child, do these features look evil?!
(Joxer [as Tyro] dances.)
(Joxer tries to show his martial arts skills.)
Joxer: W-kah!
(Xena hisses at Joxer.)
(Joxer [as Tyro] drops Gabrielle [as Princess].)
Gabrielle [as Princess]: Wait! Wait!
(Joxer [as Tyro] runs off with fallen pants.)
Gabrielle [as Princess]: My shoe!
Xena [as Sidero]: Get over it!
Joxer [as Prince]: Would you care to try it on?
(Xena [as Sidero], presents a big, ugly foot.)
(Joxer screams.)
Aphrodite: What a riot!

Gabrielle, Xena, Joxer and Aphrodite use storytelling to help a runaway princess realize the importance of home

Through imaginative storytelling, Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer and Aphrodite help the young runaway Princess Alesia realize there's no place like home.

Storytellers Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer and Aphrodite educate a runaway princess.

Xena and Aphrodite vie to be "Fairy Godsmother" to a little girl who has run away from home, but Aphrodite doesn't fight fair.

The runaway princess Alesia must be returned home, but she is afraid of her new stepmother. As Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer, and Aphrodite all try to help get the girl back home, they tell contrasting stories about a young girl and her evil stepmother and stepsisters, and the eventual happy ending that she will find at the prince’s ball. Yes, this is indeed a Xena-take on the Cinderella story. [from Mania.com]

1st RELEASE: 01-25-99
An AA average of 4.3
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) (13) XFiles 5.1
(2) (15) ER 4.6
(3) (18) Xena/Hercules 4.3
(4) Star Trek Deep Space Nine 3.6
(5) Stargate 3.0
(6) Crow/Outer Limits 2.5
(7) Earth Final Conflict 2.4
(8) Nightman/Mortal Kombat 2.3

2nd RELEASE: 06-14-99
An AA average of 3.5
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) (11) XFiles 4.4
(2) (13) ER 3.9
(3) (18) Xena 3.5
(4) (21) Walker Texas Ranger 3.4
(5) (24) Hercules 3.2


This synopsis is by Bluesong.

Gabrielle takes a shower, using a pot with holes in it, which allows the water to drain on her. She doesn't wake Xena, and this frustrates the Warrior Princess when she does wake up. Xena talks to herself and the sleeping Joxer about a warlord named Zantar that she wants to catch. Gabrielle's top disappears from the bush while she baths. Xena attacks Zantar and catches him. She returns to camp with him, to find Gabrielle wearing a sack because Xena has stolen her top and used it to tie up Zantar. Xena throws water on Joxer to wake him. The three, with the captive warlord, travel past a temple; there is an explosion.

They run into the temple to find Aphrodite fussing at someone. The child hears Xena's name, and runs to her. Her name is Alicia, and Xena knows her parents (royalty). Alicia says that Aphrodite is an evil fairy gods mother. Alicia leaves with Xena.

Xena tries to talk to the girl, and tells her she had a step father and didn't appreciate him. Gabrielle is rather confused about this, since it's the first she's heard of it. Xena brushes her off and leaves to go beat up the warlord's men, who are tailing them. She tells Gabrielle to tell Alicia a story.

Gabrielle begins the story of Tyronella, who keeps a cheerful face despite her evil step-mother and step-sister. The story, illustrated by parties on the show, has (in this version), Xena as the step-mother and Gabrielle as Tyronella. The step-mother has really ugly, big feet.

Back at the temple, Aphrodite has a conversation with herself. She decides she misses Alicia and wants her back.

Gabrielle begins the story again, and Aphrodite interrupts. She tells the story, with herself as the way cool step-mom, Xena as the vampy step-sister, and Gabrielle as Tyronella, but way ugly. Xena interrupts that story.

Aphrodite visits the warlord's men, and tells them she'll help them out if they'll get the girl back for her.

At camp, Joxer takes up the story while Xena goes to beat up the warlord's men, except the hero in Joxer's story is "Tyrone" who wants to be a prince. Xena is the fairy gods mother, and she sends him to the royal party with instructions to be home when the sand runs out of his "watch". At the party, he spies a beautiful girl (Gabrielle) and they dance. Then Tyrone (Joxer) does a disco. Then Tyrone (Joxer) and the girl sing a duet. Tyrone's watch runs out of sand, and he dashes away with the girl's slipper.

Xena returns to find that Alicia has run off while Joxer is telling the story and Gabrielle is cooking. Xena and Gabrielle argue because Xena says it's Gabrielle's fault Alicia is gone, because Gabrielle was left in charge. Xena goes to look for Alicia. Aphrodite, disguised as an old woman, tricks Gabrielle into leaving the camp. Aphrodite and Zantar the warlord talk. Xena searches for Alicia, who hangs on a vine over a cliff. Xena saves her and they return to camp to find Joxer tied up and the warlord gone.

Xena takes up the fairy tale. Her Tyronella uses a sword and isn't scared of anyone, evil step-mothers included. Joxer the Prince shows up with the slipper. Tyronella (Xena) says she doesn't need anyone to make a happy ending. Then her "fairy gods sister" shows up, and Tyronella tells her she doesn't need her, so she can just do the dishes.

Gabrielle interrupts the story. She is angry because all Xena thinks is that Gabrielle is the "fairy gods sister of dishes" and not useful. Gabrielle storms off, saying she's had enough and she isn't coming back. "This isn't going to have a happy ending, is it?" Alicia asks.

Xena takes Alicia to her parents, who are tied up in the castle because the warlord is robbing them. She frees them and then locks the step-mother Queen and Alicia in a room so they can talk. Gabrielle goes to see Aphrodite, and tells her to leave Alicia alone. Xena tells Joxer to stay at the castle in case Zantar the warlord returns. Alicia and her step-mother Queen talk.

Xena fights Zantar's men. Gabrielle shows up and helps her out. Xena finishes the story (it's all interspersed; Tyronella and Xena beating people up). Back at the castle again, Aphrodite tells Alicia that her step-mother Queen loves her. Xena and Gabrielle talk. Gabrielle says she came back because Xena said they were family.


Commentary Beth Gaynor.

This episode may be the most direct attempt at another "Day in the Life" that I've seen yet. Running jokes thread through the episode, Xena and Gabrielle are bickeringly cutely with each other (and taking potshots at Joxer along the way), and... well, ONE of them hits the water, anyways. This episode has a strong dash of the farce side in it, too, with the goofball costumes and storylines of the ongoing tale to Alesia mixing it up with the real events. It was crazed, it was bizarre, it made very little sense, and I was chuckling my way through most of it. Hey, it worked for me.

Now THERE'S an opening sequence that'll stop channel-surfers in their tracks. Gabrielle, what fine back muscles you have! All the better to shower with, my dear!

The big question of the episode: Is this the end of the Bilious Green Sports Bra? Or will it make as speedy a comeback as Xena's whip did after A Day in the Life?

Speaking of the BGSB, it looks like we have the reason for Gabrielle's ever-shrinking clothing; Gab doesn't stop whittling at her new top for the entire episode. First the sack shows off more shoulder, then cleavage, then leg, and then... yes! The abs are back! Gabrielle must be getting quicker with her tailoring: it took her two and a half seasons to do that much with her last outfit.

I must state it for the record: this plot made NO sense. First the bad guys were after their leader/brother Zantar. Then they were after the kid for Aphrodite (who couldn't grab her herself, goddess-that-she-is?). Then they were after the crown jewels, and Zantar was after the kid. Which was forgotten almost immediately. To use an Aphrodite-ism, WHAT-ever. Just go back to the dueling Cinderella stories so I can hear the bad guys scream in drag.

Nice strike-a-pose from Aphrodite with her question "Do these features look evil?" Raise your hand if you think she's referring to her face. Anyone? Anyone?

What's up with Xena's story about a stepfather? Check out her eyeroll when she tells Gabrielle she's trying to help Alesia; methinks the warrior princess is winging it.

Argo continues to be a horse of many skills! "Head for the river and make sure they see you"? Wow, that horse understands a pretty complex set of commands.

I got a kick out of each character's versions of the Cinderella story.

Gabrielle: Positive enlightenment
Aphrodite: 70s go-go sexpot
Xena: Mega-empowerment
Joxer: Loser-boy-dream-come-true (which, sadly enough, is closest to the real thing)

Listen to the line Gabrielle gives to Tyrella about how the wicked stepmother's "mistreatment of me AND MY BELONGINGS is your way of avoiding intimacy." Still getting your digs in on the Warrior Princess, Gab?

Xena gets a dance to the Go-Go-Gabby music! And is it just me, or was her dance a near-duplicate of the one Lucy Lawless did for the bailiff in the Saturday Night Live Judge Judy skit?

Insult piled upon insult! Poor Gabrielle is NOT having a good day. First her shirt is stolen by a "fashionable beaver," only to find out it's being used as a gag rag by Xena. Then her staff is also abducted to tie up the bad guy. She dives from a tree (why WAS she so eager to scout ahead, anyway?). She gets charged with baby-sitting duty, then fish frying, then chastised by both Xena AND Joxer when Alesia wanders away from Joxer's story and Aphrodite disguises herself. And finally is relegated to helium-sucking fairy godsister dishwashing status. No wonder the poor bard took off in a huff!

Listen to Gabrielle's line as she and Xena fight over a very familiar-looking frying pan: "Give me the pan before you hurt someone with it." Some shades of Day in the Life will NEVER die.

The whole dance sequence was ridiculous and took too long. But I kind of liked it. I especially loved the words to the song Tyro and the Princess lip-synch. "My palms perspire," "my stomach churns." How romantic!

Did the stunt dancer for Tyro come from the fairy godsmother, too?

Impressive method Aphrodite uses to put Joxer out of commission. What a price to pay, though!

Gabrielle's smashup of the Aphrodite's glade was highly reminiscent of the way she got Aphrodite's attention in For Him the Bell Tolls.

Joxer's attempt at sidekicking was pretty vicious salt in the "bard-has-bugged-out" wound for Xena. Suddenly her day isn't looking so hot, either.

I realize it's silly to take anything in that final fight seriously, but I really liked Xena's move when she leaped off one baddie's back to kick the other's head. Cool!

After all that goofiness, did we really need that much corn at the end? Gag. But wow, watch Gabrielle LIFT Xena. You go, buff chick!

HIGHLIGHTS: Xena takes a close second for Line of the Episode when Gabrielle asks if she wants to attack the baddies with her underwear: "Oh no, that would be too cruel." OH! Score one for the warrior. But the grand prize gets stolen away by the kid with the disgustingly cutesy voice for the entire dialogue:

"Why did you run away?"
"Have you ever heard Joxer tell a story?"
"Well, that's a good point, but all fairy tales have a purpose, and even when Joxer tells them there's a message there."
"Yeah... run!"


Commentary Xorys.

Well, well, well... I actually quite liked If The Shoe Fits after all. I really was a bit nervous, after In Sickness And In Health - which was definitely my least favourite XWP comedy ever. After all, If The Shoe Fits was produced by exactly the same team as ISAIH - Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster writing, and Josh Becker directing. But this one was definitely worth seeing - it avoided the worst sins of ISAIH, on the whole, even maybe captured a little of that old A Day In The Life magic now and then, and managed to be quite entertaining. Indeed, come to think of it, it was the best comedy ep so far this season, I'd say (not that the competition is exactly fierce...)

I've seen complaints from some fans that our gorgeous heroines were often made to look pretty ghastly in the "fairy tale" sections. Well of course, it's fair enough if you don't like to see that... but making people look grotesque on purpose is part of the English pantomime tradition (also practised in NZ), which this ep was clearly drawing heavily on. Actually, it's been used quite a bit before in the Xenaverse (e.g. Michael Hurst's Widow Twanky character is straight out of pantomime, including the name). It's supposed to be funny, not to make the actors look glamorous. Given that North American audiences will, on the whole, be totally unfamiliar with pantomime (also called "panto" for short), there may be quite a lot of viewers who basically don't "get" it... Indeed I slightly wonder who is responsible for the panto influence on XWP - Armus & Foster and Becker are all Americans, I believe(?) We don't really have pantomimes here in Canada, where I live, either... but I grew up in England, and got taken to the panto most Christmases when I was little, which is why I'm familiar with it. Actually, come to think of it, XWP has even more in common with panto than I first thought! Consider the conventions of pantomime:

  • It's a performance based on classic tales, ostensibly aimed mainly at children... but racy double entendres etc. are routinely included, presumably on the basis that the kids won't notice them, and they'll help the parents make it through the show.

  • The story is always told in a broad, self-mocking, even "campy" way, with audience participation strongly encouraged - e.g. hissing when the villain enters, or joining in shouted contradiction matches between characters: "Oh... yes it is!" "Oh... no it isn't!"

  • There is always a character called the "dame", who is an older comic female character, played by a male actor, often called Widow Twanky (although Widow Twanky herself is the obvious Xenaverse dame, she's actually a bit more dignified than the average panto dame, and Zantar as the evil stepmother in ITSF is probably closer to the paradigm; and although that ep is chiefly a homage to Some Like It Hot, Salmonella in Men In Pink definitely has something of the dame about her too...)

  • The star, the central protagonist, of a panto is always a male character, played by a female actor. This character is known as the "principle boy". She often flies about the stage with the aid of a harness and wires...
  • Oh well, enough of this tendentious waffling... let's have a wander through If The Shoe Fits!

    There are definitely worse ways to start an ep than with Gab having a shower. But that was sure a darned high-capacity pot she was using - a sort of widow's cruse of a pot... no matter how much ran out of it, it never seemed to empty. And where do they fit *that* thing into Argo's saddlebags?!

    The idea of the ever alert warrior snoring away obliviously as the day went on around her seemed a bit inappropriate to me - being a deep sleeper is not a survival trait in her line of work... I always assumed Xena was like some people I've known - always instantly awake when anything irregular happened in her vicinity, no matter what the circumstances... after all, remember how many eps we've seen where Xena and Gab have been attacked in their camp (and no, actually I don't have a count of the top of my head - but quite a few!) This is typical of the kind of little things that often niggle me about Armus & Foster's eps... but fortunately there weren't too many this time.

    The distance shots of Gab showering were probably a body-double, but the closer shot, that started from behind and panned round, wasn't - and check out those upper arm and shoulder muscles! ROC has one tough, fit bod! But then she does workout, kick-box, etc. Makes me ashamed! (I'm rather a "computer-potato".)

    I assume it crossed other people's minds as well as mine that we were heading for a Norman Bates moment as the camera closed in from behind on Gab showering - I assume it was meant to! I certainly didn't guess who the BGSB-napper was...

    So now we've had a shower scene. Perhaps this will placate people who thought there really should have been one in LUATD!

    Zantar has just got out of jail, and he says he's going to be smart this time, and no way is he going back - and then Xena 'arrests' him, before he's actually had time to do anything... So what is she going to charge him with - conspiracy? Or perhaps he actually had broken out of jail, rather than being released... in which case, I suppose she was just capturing a fugitive at large... It still seems slightly minor business for the Warrior Princess.

    Zantar said he was going to head "east to Lamaria". The only place called Lamaria I can find is in Syria, and I can't really find out anything much about it... there is apparently also a goddess called Lamaria who is associated with cows - but I don't know whence she originates.

    Gab says her 'shirt' might have been stolen by a "fashionable beaver" - LOL! To tell the truth, I thought beavers were new world animals - but they're not, apparently: the word is derived from the Old English "beofor", and various species used to hang out in Europe...

    "It's the only shirt that goes with this skirt, Xena!" Aha - so *that's* why she's been wearing it every day for nearly three years! But wait - then why has she been wearing the same skirt every day??

    The "we had no rope" excuse seemed a bit feeble - surely Xena wasn't just getting back at Gab for not waking her... that would be rather petty!

    The first time the child said "fairy godsmother" I thought she was just perpetrating a cute malapropism... but since *all* the characters used it consistently, I assume it was meant as a concession to the polytheistic circumstances...

    When 'Dite said "Dear child, do these features *look* evil?" it looked from her pose rather more as if she were drawing attention to her assets than to her features... if you see what I mean...

    So this is Alesia, Princess of Syra... and Xena and her father have been "friends for years"? As someone remarked recently, for a ruthless, slaughtering Destroyer of Nations, Xena seems to have made an awful lot of 'friends' in her warlord days!

    Very "Brit" accent the king had - sort of "refugee from Masterpiece theatre" stuff. (Ok, ok - I know my own is almost as bad!) Quite a change from the Irish brogue he was sporting last time he appeared in the 'verse! Does he only do "old country" voices?

    Why is Gab falling out of trees now - is Joxer's problem catching?

    And what was with Xena starting on about a stepfather? I don't think Cyrene ever remarried... I guess Xena was just making it up, trying to communicate with Alesia by example.

    "Stay here with Gabrielle - she's gonna tell you a story!" "I will?" "Yes, you will - you're good at them!" ... I loved this - but it was really the delivery that made it, more than the lines themselves!

    And we got to see whole pages of that strange writing this time... I'm pretty sure it's not any kind of real writing at all - but I'd be delighted to hear from anyone who can contradict me, and say what it is.

    *Very* competitive story telling they indulged in, with everyone projecting their own interpretation, with themselves as the protagonist! Gab starts by making 'her' character invincibly sweet (almost reminiscent of Sunny Day on the recent HTLJ ep For Those Of You Just Joining Us) and Xena and Aphrodite's characters horrible and hideous...

    What *is* it with these people and feet?! Especially thrusting filthy, diseased feet into people's faces?! Did they think this was such a *great* gag in ISAIH that they just *had* to do it again? Oh well - at least they didn't thrust any more infected body parts at us in this ep...

    I thought having 'Dite talk to herself in the mirror seem a bit strained - I guess they felt the need to develop and make explicit where she was coming from, without having her soliloquize... but I think finding another character for her to talk to would have been a better move.

    Xena is giving Argo verbal instructions now?? And why did she say "head for the river, make sure they see you"? Why would having the pursuing warriors see a riderless horse help? And anyway, it didn't appear that the pursuers *did* see Argo (maybe Argo changed the plan for the better on her own initiative... now *that's* horse sense!)

    Vertical leaps up onto high tree branches seem to be a standard Xena trick these days - I wonder how the stuntees do them... This one looked as if it might have been the old "jump *off* the branch and then play the film backwards" trick.

    That child seemed pretty keen on beating people up, stabbing them, etc... I liked Gab's "more positive way" of dealing with the problem: "Your anger is misplaced. It's a convenient way to avoid your deeper emotions. The same way that your mistreatment of me and my belongings is your way to avoid intimacy. You both need to get in touch with your inner child." Lawks! Watch out Xena - you could be eclipsed by Gabrielle, Warrior New Age Therapist!

    I rather wish they'd lay off using bad teeth to mark people as stupid or villainous (as witness Gab's awful teeth in Dite's version of the story, and also the dreadful choppers on the villain in this week's HTLJ). I thought ROC did the naive grotesque very effectively though... and I like Lucy's bit as a high-school princess too: "Uh! Loser!" Although I did have some difficulty seeing Alexandra as Lucy's mother...

    I liked Gab's progressive tailoring of the sack - it looked quite good eventually... maybe she has a future designing sportswear for the sidekick on the go.

    And is she going to be wearing the tailored sack *next* time we see her? (What? I'm asking for ep to ep consistency here??)

    So Gab keeps the frying pan in her pack now? Well out of Xena's way, I guess. At least they're consistent about Xena's inability to cook.

    I actually liked Joxer's segment of the story best... but this didn't sit well with the fact it was supposed to be so bad that Alesia ran away from it.

    Nice seeing Gab telling Xena to move: "I'm more a woman of action." "Then take action, and get some water!" Definite echoes of A Day In The Life again, but with a rather more mature Gabrielle now.

    Somebody said they thought Lucy was using her natural Kiwi accent when she did her "Harmonia, fairy godsmother, at your service" bit... actually I think she was aiming for a sort of upper class Brit accent - kind of like Leah, but without the lisp.

    And Harmonia gives Joxer "many skills", indeed! And a "wrist hourglass"! About as much use as a pocket sundial...

    "Waddya want from me? My skirt? My boots? My underwear?" "No - that would be too cruel!" LOL! One has to sort of wonder, quite apart from what ROC actually wears to play the role, what fictional underwear does Gabrielle wear? Probably Fruit of the Loom (because *you're* the one who has to fight in them...") Although after that "Fredericks of Athens" nightie she loaned to Joxer, I don't know...

    The smoke-belching organ makes another appearance. That's one thing about TPTB, they never leave a good prop idle. But they didn't bring over the guy who usually plays it on HTLJ (And Fancy Free..., Men In Pink) - this fellow didn't show quite the same eccentric enthusiasm for his art.

    I just *loved* the dialogue: "Who's the new guy?" "I dunno. But check out his social skills!" - that had me giggling all the way through the rest of the ballroom scene! 'Zantar' was quite an effective verbal comic actor - although I wasn't so keen on his drag act.

    I kept hoping that Gab was actually going to *do* something during Joxer's disco dancing turn, rather than just stand watching... but no such luck!

    And Joxer's "firing the pistols and blowing off the smoke" hand motions have to take some sort of prize in the "most egregious anachronism" category!!

    What was with the sudden switch to a sort of "Noel Coward era" song? More Brit accents! I think Ted did his own singing again, but Gab's singing voice seemed extraordinarily incongruous - she's not really the "anyone for tennis" type...

    I still liked this section best - maybe I'm just a sucker for song and dance (and humour and romance - heck Ken Russell's The Boyfriend is one of my all time favourite movies... and there were more than slight echoes of that here, come to think of it).

    However, clearly Alesia didn't share my views - since she ran away from Joxer's story-telling and jumped off a cliff!

    "I left you in charge!" Hmm....

    So now Gab is actually running off to deal with bands of heavily armed men on her own! (Even when Xena has specifically told her to stay put...)

    Err... wasn't the whole "kid hanging off the cliff" thing a bit gratuitous and pointless? And why didn't the kid call for help when Xena first went by?

    *Really* tough ropes - er... I mean "conveniently placed creepers" they have in those parts - it didn't even *occur* to Xena that it might not stand the weight of both her and the kid. Maybe Xena should have used one of *those* to tie up Zantar, rather than stealing the BGSB!

    "If Tyrella's a girl, isn't she supposed to have a step *mother*?" Excuse me... I don't follow the logic in that at all....

    I thought Xena's ending to the fairytale was quite appropriate: "I don't need you, or a fairy godsmother, or anyone else to give me a happy ending. That's something that I'll get, or I won't get, all by my own self." As someone said in *last* week's ep, "Words to live by"! And I enjoyed Joxer's parting remark too: "Get *out* of my royal bottom!"

    "After *all* that we've been through, *that's* what you think of me? The fairy godsister of dishes?!" Hmm... many a great romance has stumbled over a pile of dishes! And who *does* scrub out that frying pan every time after it's used??

    When did Gabrielle acquire that neat little leather pack she was using in this ep? And if it's *her* pack (as she said when Xena asked where the frying pan was kept), why did she shove it into Xena's hands when she stormed off and left? Has she never heard of "community property"? Why, she's probably entitled to an interest in Argo as well!

    I'm not entirely sure about Xena's "lock 'em up in a room together" solution to domestic misunderstandings - but hey, it *might* work, I guess...

    That outdoor shrine to Aphrodite that Gab arrived at looked *most* unconvincing - it just didn't look as if it could have lasted from one day to the next, what with the weather, and animals (hey, even a fashionable beaver's got to eat...) More like a picnic than a shrine, basically...

    So Gab went off to find Dite and lecture her? Was that her plan, then, even when she first stormed off? Or did she calm down and come up with it afterwards?

    Joxer wants to be Xena's "wing man"? Is he sure he wouldn't rather be her tailgunner?

    At least Joxer seems to be catching on a bit quicker when people try to get rid of him.

    I'm not quite sure about jumping the final fight scene back and forth between Xena and Tyrella - after all, this pretty much abandoned the whole "story-telling" convention, since no one was *telling* this bit of the story - and no, the Queen saying to Alesia "I'm sure Tyrella would do just what Xena would" doesn't count... in fact it makes *no* *sense* at all! I do wish they'd be just a bit more consistent about following conventions when they've established them.

    And the "It's a man!" thing when the "stepmother's" wig fell off was *really* stupid and pointless... sort of pointlessness squared - an element which is totally pointless within a scene that it rather pointless in the first place. I can't believe that they left that in! Am I missing something here...?

    At least at the end they do re-establish the story-telling convention, with Xena finishing off the tale for Alesia. And the heroine doesn't marry the prince. "But she and her fairy godsister did make a pact - from now on they would help one another be all that they could be."

    "I realised that every family has their problems. But what's important is that we stay together and work it out."

    And now Gab is going to write Pinocchio??


    Commentary Videntur.

    Definitely a fun episode with a good deal of “down to earth” interaction between Xena and Gabrielle. Even the presence of Joxer was tolerable in this episode. I must note - since Joxer’s character has matured he has become much more tolerable in the fourth season episodes.

    The best way to approach a commentary on this episode is to compare each person’s story with their character. Let’s start with the first story told by Gabrielle. In Gabrielle’s story, Xena is the evil stepmother and Aphrodite is the evil stepsister. Gabrielle (who at the beginning of this episode had her top taken by Xena) definitely built Xena’s lack of respect for her belongings into her story. This is shown when Gabrielle states to her evil stepmother and stepsister: “You’re anger is misplaced -its a convenient way to avoid your deeper emotions - the same way that your mistreatment of me and my belongings is a way to avoid intimacy - you both need to get in touch with your inner child.” In this statement Gabrielle has touched upon Xena’s inner anger and disrespect of her (Gabrielle’s) property. Evidently Xena did not learn her lesson well in “A day in the Life” when she used Gabrielle’s scrolls resulting in Gabrielle selling her whip for a frying pan.

    The next story was told by Aphrodite - it reflected everything she stood for. In her story she is surrounded by men - thus the goddess of love. Also notice in her story no one can be as beautiful as she is - thus we have a homely Xena and a b*tt ugly Gabrielle. This shows that Aphrodite who feels she is the only perfect woman definitely shows it in everything, including her storytelling.

    Joxer’s story portrayed Xena as the beautiful fairy godmother and Gabrielle as the beautiful princess with himself mistreated at the beginning until his fairy godmother comes along. This definitely paralleled Joxer’s real life. He is constantly abused and considered stupid by most people he meets; however, whenever he is in trouble (like in the episode King Con) Xena comes to his rescue. Also, the woman who he feels is beautiful and who he would like to marry (Gabrielle) is portrayed as the princess. Joxer’s story shows that he finds beauty in both women and needs both of them in his life.

    Xena’s story definitely portrayed her own personality. A very strong woman who even in a fairytale was not bullied by her stepmother. Just as in her life she helped save innocent people and performed good deeds - so she did in her stories. She stated that she was strong enough to believe that she molded her own destiny (note: I think Xena’s mental strength is fantastic!). Her one mistake in her story - portraying Gabrielle as a silly fairy godsister who served no other purpose than to do the dishes. Gabrielle became very upset over this but was she being fair? Not totally. In the first place Xena could have became angry when she portrayed her as an ugly fairy stepmother - but she did not. Also, Xena has previously told Gabrielle that she definitely thinks of her as more than just a sidekick. An example of this was in the episode: “Fins, Femmes and Gems” when Xena told Gabrielle at the end that the good that she performs is due to Gabrielle and that she will definitely see that people are aware of this fact. I think Xena was telling Gabrielle the truth when she said: “It’s only a story.” Also, when Xena told Gabrielle to do the dishes, it paralleled real life where Xena will sometimes try to give Gabrielle something else to do to keep her busy and out of trouble (ex: the episode “Past Imperfect” where Xena tried to get Gabrielle to stay behind to tend to the sick - to which Gabrielle refused). However, in this current episode, Gabrielle has made Xena realize that she has a need for Xena to never think of her as just a stupid sidekick at anytime even if it is said in something as silly as a child’s fairytale. Xena does realize her mistake and changes the ending of her story to state that, her (Xena’s) character would help her fairystepsister be all that she could be.

    The episode itself showed that our two characters have a down to earth relationship with each other. Who else could throw a watersack at Xena and get away with it. In the first Xena episode, Gabrielle would have never thought of throwing anything at Xena, yet here we don’t even give it a second glance. Good character development on the part of the writers for both Xena and Gabrielle. I also liked the strong theme of family that ran throughout the entire episode. The strength of the family and Gabrielle stating at the end that “I realize that every family has their problems but what’s important is that we stay together and work it out.” This statement showed just how strong the bond between Xena and Gabrielle has become.

    The episode had some very funny moments: The part where Xena stole Gabrielle’s top and was trying to hide it as she brought the prisoner back. Meanwhile Gabrielle almost elated to think that her top was so cool that it must have been taken by some “fashionable beaver”. Another funny scene was when Gabrielle fell out of the tree mainly because she was stunned that Xena had revealed some part of herself that she knew nothing about (the revelation of a stepfather). The one thing I found strange was at the beginning when Gabrielle acted surprised when Xena asked her to tell the young princess a story - usually this is something Gabrielle is good at and loves to do - her hesitation to do so seemed a bit out of character. My favorite action scene was Xena using her whip to capture the prisoner and then going back up the tree. It was great when the prisoner’s brother stated: “Oh, she’s good!” All in all it was a good episode and very entertaining.


    Turns out that Xena and Gabrielle have started to go to a couples counselor and we have been leaked some of report written up by the therapist. Read at your own risk. Thanks to Susan Mullarky for her connections!


    I was asked to do a psychological evaluation of Xena and Gabrielle for each episode. I decided that a more interesting way to do this was to have couples counseling revolving around each episode. I am a Systems Therapist. In order not to confuse you with other type of systems analysis, I am called a Marriage and Family therapist. This means that I consider a person in and of themsself, in relation to their family of origin (The one they grew up in. That could be a foster home, the streets, a prison etc.), and in relation to their culture/country. It is my belief that all these things have influenced a person. That to fully understand how someone behaves it is necessary to consider this variety of influences.

    My training was with remarkable therapists in the fields of Structural and Strategic Family Therapy and Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. I have a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology. I teach Human Sexuality and Psychology class at the college level. I am in private practice. I have been practicing my craft for 20+ years.

    Finally it needs to be noted that these sessions of couple's counseling are done as an interesting and thought provoking inquiry. They need to be taken with a large grain of salt as they are a figment of my imagination.

    First Session: "If The Shoe Fits"

    As a therapist, I start by taking down a "history." This is the client's life story as seen from his/her perspective. Sometimes a little specific prodding is needed to establish: familyrelationships, histories of sexual or physical abuse, religious belief, drug abuse, career history, what they want out of their marriage/relationship and what they want from life themselves. This is the only session when I deliberately collect background data. I file this information and then let the client bring in the material for each following session. Everything they say in a session has some relevance to their pain and their problem. I let them tell it in a way that is safe for them.

    "If The Shoe Fits"

    There were several themes dealt within this session. Gabrielle is unable to grasp that humans are capable of both good and bad actions, including herself. She believes she accepts this concept but her behaviour indicates otherwise. She tends to sort people into a good or bad category. By keeping these designations seperate she is unable to see that she herself is both good and bad. She saw her role with Xena as providing the light (good) and when that light goes out (bad), as a result of the events involving Chin, Hope, and Solon, she was lost. If she is bad, how can she now be important to Xena? I see this as one of the reasons she struggles so hard to become good again. She is trying to reestablish her role in their relationship. She also does not believe she is worthy of love. The Tirella metaphor addresses this issue. You have evil sisters and their stepmother and a good Tirella. Only with magic can Tirella be transformed into a beautiful princess (good) again and be worthy of the princess's (WP) everlasting love.

    Xena brought in several themes too. Xena sees herself as dark and needing Gabrielle to provide the light. Xena's actions often make this a self-fulfilling prophecy. By acting like a jerk, Xena maintains her dark self concept. We in turn feel sorry for Gabrielle, the abused "good" woman. Xena's actions maintain her concept of her and Gabrielle's roles. Xena sets herself up over and over again to fulfill her poor concept of herself. (Couples do this a lot. By acting 'bad' the other person is seen as'good'. It is a move in a couples relationship to protect a partner) Xena plays the role of the strong one in their relationship. In actuality, she is the vulnerable one in the couple's dance of intimacy.

    In her role as Gabrielle's lover, she feels totally inept. In her version of the Tirella story, she starts out as a warrior but ends up in a kind of frilly dress. (A closet femme?) She's rough, tough and hard to bluff but how then does she show a softer side to her lover? By slaying the bad guys? Again this is a couple's issue of role expectation. What would Gabrielle think of she knew a part of Xena was a mushball?

    She has a strong sense of self as a warrior but not as a companion. She does not get it that wars can be fought for good and so she sees her warrior's skills as reflecting her darkness. She needs to learn that her warrior's skills are as important in the fight against evil. Xena rescues the little girl (Gabrielle) hanging from the vine but can't accept that without her being a skilled warrior the little girl (Gabrielle) would die.

    Both families have a history of alcohol and physical abuse. So it is easy for them not to trust that the person who loves them will not hurt them. In both families too, they did not fit into the accepted female role of the society. Culturally, they were only property, first owned by parents and then to be a possession of a husband. There was, in their youth, a relentless message that women are only seen as valuable as breeders and servants. Therefore, there is something "wrong" with them for wanting something different. In order to be who they really were/are they had to both leave their families. Both families were angered/hurt by this choice and continue to pressure them to "fit in." These messages are internalized. They are usually outside a person's awareness but can have a powerful effect in negative ways in a couple's relationship.

    I did one intervention to start ending the rigidity of the good/bad roles.

    Gabrielle was asked to practice swearing. Each night after dinner, she was to get up and scream at the top of her lungs at least ten different swear words. She was to use ten different words each day. After the third day, Xena could help.

    Xena was asked to tell a story of how as a little girl she had helped someone. If she couldn't remember any real happenings, she could invent a story. It did not have to be a long story. Gabrielle could not help. If she attempted to help, she had to add two more swear words.

    I never explain my interventions but you can postulate as to why these exercises were assigned!<

    End of session report.

    NOTE: These reports will vary in length. They will not cover all the issues as it is a one hour session. Important issues that are not resolved will re-appear as needed. Eventually all the important issues will be addressed.


    By Xorys.

    So who was who in If The Shoe Fits?

    Well probably the number one "why does he look so familiar?" candidate was the King, Melos, played by Alistair Browning... if you only watch XWP, you wouldn't know him at all, but if you watch HTLJ as well you were probably remembering him as Bronagh, the Irish chieftain, in Resurrection, Render Unto Caesar, and Darkness Rising. He also played Meniskos in Two Men And A Baby (remembering my high-school physics vaguely - isn't Meniskos the skin on the surface of water of something?)

    And then Chris Ryan, who played Zantar, doubling as the Evil (cross-dressing) Stepfather, probably looked familiar too. He should have, if you know all your XWP eps - he played Virgilius, the biggest and hairiest of the warlords, in Ten Little Warlords. As a point of curiosity, Marshall, the spaced out ex-husband on Absolutely Fabulous (love that show) is played by Chris Ryan - but that is an entirely different Chris Ryan.

    Altogether, they were a familiar family... the two sons of the Evil Stepfather were played by Ted Clarke, who has previously been seen as Thoracles in Warrior...Priestess...Tramp and as a "Young Man" in the HTLJ ep Reunions, and Douglas Kamo, who should be particularly recognisable from his role as Dorian, the "Spartan" in One Against An Army, and who also played Sullus in The Execution.

    Hilary Cleary, who played the Old Woman (Dite in disguise... now why does that make me think of an *old* song?) has never been credited on X:WP before, but she appeared in Hercules in the Underworld as the Gryphon Elder.

    Olivia Tennet, who played Alesia, the little girl, appears to be new to the Xenaverse (perhaps not surprisingly ).

    Sally Spencer-Harris who played Queen Mistria (Alesia's stepmother) is also new to the 'verse. She can be seen as Sharon in the movie Crimetime, which is a thriller starring Stephen, the "other" Baldwin.

    And just a word about the familiar co-stars...

    Ted Raimi, much featured in this ep as Joxer/Messenger/Tyro/Prince, has an extensive filmography, with roles that range from starring parts to walk-ons (or perhaps more aptly "die-ons"). As a minor tidbit, he voiced the Titan Crius in the Hercules And Xena animated movie. As of course is well known, he had a prominent role in the series SeaQuest DSV. Here is a partial list of his other roles: Art Gallery Manager in For Love Of The Game, Ed Finney in Wes Craven's Wishmaster, The Workaholic in Pathos, Steve Bales in Apollo 11 (TV movie), Detective Corelli in The Shot, Hal in Stuart Saves His Family (an SNL spinoff movie), Dennis Skinner in Skinner (Ted stars as a serial killer, along with Traci Lords as a resistant potential victim... I'm afraid it's fairly bad - much of it seems to consist of shots of people walking along empty sidewalks), Satellite Analyst in Clear and Present Danger (Ted seems to have made something of a specialty of playing techno-geeks), Salesman in Floundering, Man on the Street in Hard Target (the Jean-Claude Van-Damme action film), Cynthia's Assistant in Born Yesterday (with Melanie Griffiths - Cynthia was not a really major character), Pit Troll in Army of Darkness (the third episode in brother Sam's Evil Dead opus), Scooter in Eddie Presley, CIA Technician in Patriot Games (with Harrison Ford), Billy in Candyman (with Tony Todd, known to us as Cecrops and Gilgamesh), TV Reporter in Maniac Cop 3, Hank Stone in Lunatics: A Love Story (directed by Josh Becker, who directed If The Shoe Fits), Rick in Darkman (another of Sam's films), Pac Man in Shocker, Possessed Henrietta in Evil Dead II (yes, Ted played the girlfriend, when she turned into a zombie), Waiter in Crimewave.... and how could we omit, Fake Shemp in the original The Evil Dead!

    And Alexandra Tydings, well known to us as the lovely Aphrodite, to say nothing of the fetching Katherine the Pig (about the only saving grace of One Fowl Day, for me), can also be seen as Victoria Reynolds in The Sunchaser, and in an ep of The Red Shoe Diaries entitled Burning Up (where, I should perhaps caution you, even more of her is seen than in her role as 'Dite).

    If The Shoe Fits was penned by the writing team of Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster, who have done much work on XWP... they wrote Chariots of War (Teleplay), Death In Chains (with Babs Greyhosky), Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts (Teleplay), Ties That Bind, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, The Xena Scrolls (Teleplay), For Him the Bell Tolls, Blind Faith, The King of Assassins, Warrior...Priestess...Tramp, Fins, Femmes and Gems (with Rob Tapert), and In Sickness And In Hell - a record which, for me at least, shows quite a range from its highs to its lows...

    The ep was directed by Josh Becker, whose first contact with XWP was as the Story Writer for Chariots of War. He then went on to direct A Fistful of Dinars, Warrior...Princess...Tramp, For Him the Bell Tolls, Blind Faith, Fins, Femmes and Gems, and In Sickness And In Hell (the last four teamed up, as in If The Shoe Fits, with Armus & Foster). He also co-wrote the story for Locked Up And Tied Down (with Rob Tapert), and directed the TV movie Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur (which was sort of a clip-show of the previous four Hercules TV movies).


    03-12-00. Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor appeared at the The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras of February 1999, and Lawless wore the gown Miss Amphipolis wore in HERE SHE COMES, and O'Connor wore the gown she wore as Tyrella in IF THE SHOE FITS, including tiara! To see before and after pictures, CLICK HERE to visit MaryD's site.

    12-21-98. From Josh Becker's site: "If the Shoe Fits... This is the episode Josh just finished shooting. This episode is the story of Cinderella (now Tyrella) retold differently to a 7-year old runaway princess by: Gabrielle, Aphrodite, Joxer and Xena."

    12-21-98. From the Ted Raimi Fan Club, "The story is that a little Princess named Elisia needs to be entertained so Gabrielle tells her the story of Cinderella (with Gab as Cinderella), though Ted says they don't actually call her Cinderella. Joxer keeps interupting with his own version, though in Joxer's version HE'S Cinderella. There is a ballroom scene with a waltz and a disco."

    12-15-98. Latest from the Josh Becker website! Renee O'Connor and Ted Raimi not only cut a rug together in IF THE SHOW FITS, but also get to sing a song. Let's hope it is NOT Joxer the Mighty.

    11-24-98. On or about 09/27/98, Josh Becker mentioned on his web page that this episode is a variation on the Cinderella theme.


    These things are by Beth Gaynor.

    Listen to the popping sound as Tyro uncranks his wedgie. Ee-yew!

    Watch as the whole party is on the road back to Alesia's castle; Gab and Joxer are playing rock-scissors-paper in the background. And at least ONE thing does go Gab's way today - she gets to give Joxer a whack.

    Watch during the final scene as Alesia is standing in front of Xena and Joxer to talk to Aphrodite: for one shot there's a pudgy, old hand resting on Alesia's left shoulder. Whose hand is THAT?


    02-15-01. From Richard. At the end of If The Shoe Fits... when Gabrielle is explaining why she came back, something moves on top of the hill just above her head, it looks like a vehicle moving along a road.

    03-12-00. From Deb7. In the camp scene when Joxer is telling his story and Xena is sitting on her *ss, look at Gabrielle in the background as she rummages around looking for the oil. She's got the STUNT DOUBLE HAIR! It's not there before that and it goes away in the very next scene! [Followup: As I suspected, according to Josh Becker, that bit was filmed after ROC got her haircut.]

    02-05-99. From Marc MacKay. Listen carefully when Alicia is doing the stabbing motions of Tyrella stabbing the evil stepmother. The music is the "screaming violins" from the film "Phycho".

    02-05-99. From Virginia V Kelly. Joxer's dance scene in The Shoe Fits may be almost dance move per dance move from the big solo dance scene in Saturday Night Fever. If not all, then humongous chunks of it.

    02-01-99. From Candi. Cinderella is the fairy/folk tale extraordinare. There are more recorded versions of it than any other tale (some do have boys as as the main character). The story appears in more cultures than any other single story. The oldest written version of a fairy tale is a Chinese Cinderella from the 9th century. Because of these things it is highly studied by folklorists. In it's many forms, Cinderella is much more interesting than the soft, fluffy versions (Golden Books and Disney) most of us grew up with.

    01-31-99. From Dina Marks. The disco scene is the same place as the dance contest in HTLJ's "...And Fancy Free" episode with the Widow Twanky. You might also recognize the organ that shoots out steam.

    01-31-99. From Dina Marks. Xena steals Gabrielle's top because she has no rope (which was fun because Gabrielle altered it to make it more "sexy". We can see that she only has about a foot of rope left. Later, however, she attacks Zantar and his brothers by coming down and up a tree (with Zantar in tow) using a rope.


    Click here to read a transcript of IF THE SHOE FITS .


    No Fractured Fables were harmed in the production of this motion picture.

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