Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Titans (107)

This episode is the second where we see that there’s a certain type of guy who falls for Gabrielle. Gabrielle certainly has a type. That is before the power lesbians come into the picture. But, that comes much later. For now, you have dough-eyed, emo, sweet and sensitive guys who get googly-eyed over Gabrielle. The first would be in Chariots of War (Episode #102). Where the Warlord’s son kind of has a thing for Gabrielle after she smooches him.

This would be the second episode with a love interest for Gabrielle. Xena attracts bad boys wearing leather. Gabrielle attracts young men who want to read her poetry and sing songs of love to her in meadows. Oh, the wonderful and humorous contrast!!

The other best part is that Xena and Gabrielle are unable to save the day without the help of each other. Xena could not have single-handedly defeated the Titans and neither could Gabrielle. But, together, they kicked ass!! Here, what wins the day is again, smarts! I like it. Thus the metaphor, two hot women together rule and kick ass!!

Xena is a tad less robotic. She expresses some kind of affection towards Gabrielle, in stating that their friends and nothing will ever come between them at the end of the episode. Nice. I know where this is heading.

Which brings us to a moment of subtext? Perhaps? The thing about this show is at times the audience is left to interpret facial expressions or even ambiguous dialogue. It is a specific choice by the editor or somebody to show Xena’s reaction when she sees Gabrielle cuddling in bed with Emo-Sensitive-Dude. Also, we don’t know if Gabrielle has knocked boots with Emo-Sensitive-Dude. Xena’s jealous!! But, why? Because, Xena loves Gabrielle. Xena kind of tells Gabrielle that, at the end of the episode. Xena at least indicates that the friendship has meaning for Xena to Gabrielle. Work it, Xena, work it!

If Xena wants to get together with Gabrielle, she’s going to have to take some notes from the guys that Gabrielle falls for. I think it’s hilarious that Xena’s butcher and tougher than the male love interests of Gabrielle. At this point, romantically speaking, Xena is not Gabrielle’s type at all. Xena’s going to have to memorize some poetry or work on her cuddling skills, in order to get Miss Gabrielle interested. I’m just saying.

Lame moment of the episode: When the priest runs away like a punk, leaving the children to fend for themselves! Against Titans! What a horrible priest!!!

Favorite Quotes:

“Which one of you is the liberator of the Titans?” Titan

“This virgin.” Priest pointing at Gabrielle

“We honor all friends of the virgin goddess.” Titan

“You know…I’d…I’d rather you not tell everybody I’m a virgin.” Gabrielle

“She may appear sweet, but who knows what destructive powers she may possess?” Titan about Gabrielle

Cut to Gabrielle unable to break open a walnut.

“If anyone can do it, it’s her. She has the aura of a Goddess.” Young Man in love with Gabrielle

“Let’s just say I’m the sacred one’s protector.” Xena about Gabrielle (it’s so freaking hot when Xena gets all defensive of Gabrielle)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Reckoning (106)

Check it out! It’s Ares! He’s sexy! Ares likes Xena! Ares and Xena sitting in a tree! This would be another example of a dark and twisty dude totally in love with Xena because she’s (by the gods) beautiful. Oh, yeah and she killed a bunch of people and totally enjoyed it (back in the day). Ares is impressed. Works for me.

There are three moments in the Xena series that I protest against. One of those moments happens in this episode. As far as I’m concerned, these three moments are edited out of my head; the mythology of Xena and Gabrielle in my head does not include these three moments.

The moment in this episode is when Xena hits Gabrielle so hard that Gabrielle falls to the ground. Xena is so overcome by her rage she’s almost drunk. It’s a rage that is infused by Ares, granted. Xena, in her rage, attacks the villagers keeping her captive. Gabrielle comes into the barn and then Xena sees her and then punches her in the face and knocks her down for no apparent reason at all. I guess Xena just hates having friends. Once Xena hits Gabrielle and sees Gabrielle’s shock. Then, Xena sobers up and feels bad.

Hmmm. Not a great metaphor there. I get that for writing purposes it might make for good story telling. However, I don’t like it.

Let’s step into the real world for a second. Violence is bad. Any kind of domestic violence is bad. When a friend punches another friend in the face; that’s bad. When a lover punches a lover in the face; that’s bad and really unacceptable. Are we all clear on that? Great!

The other thing that I don’t like is that technically Xena never apologizes. She says to Gabrielle, “How can you come back after I did that?” Then, at the end, she thanks Gabrielle for coming back after Xena punches Gabrielle and tells her that she owes Gabrielle. I guess that’s her way of saying sorry. We, the audience, do see that Xena feels genuine remorse over what she’s done. That’s something. As far as I’m concerned, this episode didn’t happen.

The Ares storyline was cool. Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, since I am executive producer of this blog. The punch in the face didn’t happen. Seeing Gabrielle play lawyer was cool too.

Favorite quotes;

“Come on in, the stream is great.” Gabrielle to Xena ;)

“I understand you may be feeling a little negative at the moment.” Gabrielle to Xena who’s tied up in chains in a barn.

“Truly, I say, she is the very soul of goodness. And we thank her with all our hearts.” Rescued villager to Xena

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Path Not Taken (105)

Interracial dating!!! Yay!!! This is a show that aired in 1995. It’s very progressive that they would show interracial dating. Both couples! Marcus and Xena and the little Romeo and Juliet couple, both interracial! Score one for Xena! Which reminds me, although the main cast, made up of two people (Xena and Gabrielle, eventually Joxer), is predominantly Caucasian; this show did do a good job of having people of color in it.

Episode One we had Draco (bad guy) who has the hots for Xena. First of all, Draco is very yummy and very cute. Second of all, it’s refreshing that he’s a person of color. It’s refreshing that we do get to see some color up in this show. Although, it’s not tons, it helps.

My favorite part of this episode has to be Gabrielle with her head and hands stuck in the stocks, confidently talking about how she’s still going to get her and Romeo out of the situation. I love her confidence through out this entire episode even though we don’t see much of her. She’s so confident that she can just simply talk the King out of the war. I love her belief in diplomacy and her belief in herself! Wonderful!

The Juliet character’s name is Jana which sounds like ‘Gina. So, it sounds like there saying, “You must save my vagina!” “I will! I will save your vagina!” I’m just saying.

The story of Marcus is a beautiful story. Great acting! Seeing him struggle with choosing to be good rather than bad in his life was quite compelling. I like Xena’s speech about starting with one good deed for the sake of doing good. Marcus takes that deed by dying to save another. Really, beautiful.

I know that I keep talking about the good stuff about this show. Trust me, I will have my complaints later on. But, Season 1 is a happy season for me!

Favorite Quotes:

“Did you ever notice that we never have trouble getting a table?” Gabrielle to Xena

“That’s if you’re for hire.” Dude puts money on table.

“Hey!” Gabrielle

“Not that kind of hire, Gabrielle.” Xena

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cradle of Hope (104)

Oh, the camp! God bless the camp! Best part of this episode? The part where Xena and Gabrielle have to throw the baby back in forth while fighting thugs who are trying to kill the baby! The wonderful music that accompanies the baby throwing makes it equally just as comical. I love that the baby is laughing the entire time, quite the daredevil, that baby.

I think or hope it’s clear that Xena hearts Gabrielle by now. The fact that Xena asked the baby to be named Gabriel is a sure indication that Xena likes Gabrielle ;). Little miss Gabrielle is growing on Xena. They’ll be bathing together in no time! I love the clever writers who invent plot devices that require Xena to be in pretty outfits in order to achieve some objective. Here, we have it in this episode.

Which leads me to comment on the Xena’s Warrior outfit; her heart is completely exposed! Completely! I wonder why someone doesn’t just stab her in the chest because there’s no protection there. Sure, her boobs are protected by her breastplate but not necessarily her heart, which is located a little bit above her boobs. So, her boobs (which are important) are protected, yet the most important muscle (heart) in her body is completely exposed? Huh? I’m just saying.

What’s more important boobs or hearts? According, to Xena’s personal stylist, boobs. Oh, the world we live in. :)

I get it; I get it; the outfit is sexy. Sexiness helps people watch the show. Works for me. I just wonder how practical the outfit can be. Although, what do I know? Maybe, it’s the most comfortable outfit in the world! Her outfit is a tiny bit ridiculous; sexy (if you’re into that) and ridiculous. I say that with love of course.

Speaking of women in ridiculous outfits. Are we the audience supposed to objectify Xena when we see her in skimpy outfits? This episode is the first glimpse (besides Xena’s regular outfit) in which we see a bit of sexuality. This brings up stuff I think about sometimes. My definition of objectification is when you look at someone and see an object rather than a human being. The reason why I feel comfortable with Xena the show is because we know Xena and Gabrielle as people so that when we see them do sexy things (not necessarily with each other, although sometimes (eventually) with each other; but also in general) we still see two human beings who we know are expressing their sexuality; in all their sexiness; we still see humans. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I hope so. I wasn’t the costume designer on the show :)!

Whatever your opinions are of the ridiculous outfits, over all, I do really enjoy the playful attitude that this show has towards sexuality. I’ll talk about that later when it comes up in later episodes. This episode just showed a saucy dance from Xena who’s really just trying to get Pandora’s box. It’s only a glimpse of what’s to come, although, a very lovely glimpse.

Favorite lines:

“You know, Gabriel’s a nice name. Then, of course, Xenos is good, too.” Gabrielle (talking about the baby they found.)

“Why is he crying? You holding him wrong, or something?” Xena, talking about baby

“You spoke of pleasure.” Dude massaging Xena’s shoulders

“And, you spoke of pain.” Xena knocks out Dude.

“Name him Gabriel.” Xena

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dreamworker (103)

Gabrielle is a little na├»ve at this point. It’s all still a grand adventure to her so far. I find that endearing. I believe that this is pretty much the attitude that Gabrielle has through out the first season. She’s just having a good time being out on her own for the first time with her super cool Warrior friend.

Even though, her life was threatened in episode one. This the first time that Gabrielle’s life is seriously threatened. This is a chance to see slightly that Xena cares about Gabrielle; although, Xena would probably have gone through the Dreamscape for anyone. Doesn’t hurt; that it’s Gabrielle.

This episode is such a celebration of wit. The action is exciting to watch. However, the wit is just as exciting. It’s again; a celebration of wisdom versus violence; which is refreshing on an action show. We already know that Gabrielle can talk herself out of anything. Seeing her talk herself out getting killed (again); is awesome.

I’m a huge fan of comedy. I think that might be why I gravitate towards Gabrielle more; because she’s more the comedic character. Rightfully, so…it’s going to take Xena a while to warm up to Gabrielle and just to loosen up a bit in general. Xena is still transitioning into her new life as a hero rather than a horrible villain.

Xena even is steering Gabrielle away from violence. Violence seems almost romantic or adventurous to Gabrielle. She still hasn’t quite grasped the horror of violence; the horrible things you can do with a sword; as in kill someone. It’s still just all a fun game for Gabrielle. Even, when Gabrielle is playing with Xena’s sword; she just looks like she is playing pretend. It’s all funny to me. Makes me laugh. She goes to buy a sword; it’s like shopping for a handbag to her; very funny.

She’s so proud of her breast dagger once she has it. I don’t think Gabrielle quite comprehends the weight that Xena carries. Yes, Xena is super cool with all her leather and fighting skills. She gained all this form a sordid and painful past. I’d hate to see Gabrielle go through those sorts of things in order to be like Xena. I love how Xena does fight to protect Gabrielle’s blood innocence (innocence in general). It’s important to Xena that Gabrielle sticks to her ideals and that Gabrielle never has to experience the things that Xena has experienced. Xena is protective of Gabrielle and it’s cool.

Here’s the part I love about the episode. Gabrielle won’t let Xena be less of who she is. Gabrielle won’t let Xena hate herself. At the lake, Xena says a person is forever changed after killing someone. The pain of that is always there. Gabrielle says that Xena still deserves peace and forgiveness even after all the horrible things that Xena has done. It’s said much more poetically (or cheesily) depending on what your cup of tea is. I find the kindness that Gabrielle offers Xena very powerful.

Who is the stronger of the two at this point? Xena, the Warrior or Gabrielle the Bard? It’s not really a competition. These two women are definitely equals even in episode three. They are both traveling and discovering and figuring out who they are. I love that they find who they are in each other. It’s quite a compliment to anyone involved with this show, that Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship will stay interesting, endearing and powerful enough to maintain an audience for six years. This earlier episode is a testament to that.

Favorite lines:

“First mistake? Well, that’s your first mistake, waiting for my mistake! Cause I don’t make mistakes!” Gabrielle

“You’re lucky the tree was unarmed. You could’ve been hurt.” Xena

“Ah! You must be experienced then.” Salesperson

“Yeah! I mean, I’ve had experiences.” Gabrielle

“You don’t look like a fighter. Sure, that’s your strength. Like the beautiful seed hidden in an eagle’s dung.” Salesperson

“Nice image.” Gabrielle

“I had six toes on my right foot when I was born. Don’t look! It’s gone now!” Gabrielle

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chariots of War (102)

Again, we have an episode where Gabrielle and Xena reject traditional (male) suitors and walk off into the sunset together. Ok, I seriously, need to get use to this, because there will be a lot of this. If either of them settles down with anyone, it’s the end of the show. We still have a bunch of episodes and seasons to go. I know it’s a plot devise in order to continue the show, but what a wonderful plot devise!!

This episode also touches on themes of violence versus nonviolence. The clever writers of this show have created countless warlords who can countlessly ravage any number of villages whenever they want. Thus, providing an infinite number of plot devices for our heroines and their story. I do think this is quite clever, because once Xena stops fighting, than no more show. We need Xena to fight for our own entertainment value. Violence is necessary for the continuation of this show. Any good story must have conflict, in this show, conflict usually means straight up violence.

How does this play into the thematic elements of the show? Which is better violence or non-violence? I always will say non-violence. There are the historical examples of non-violence that were successful such as Martin Luther King, Jr and Gandhi.

The thing about this show is that the writers have created circumstances where Xena has to be violent. My philosophy is violence (the idea, concept and reality) is bad. Defense sometimes is necessary. Xena’s actions at all times are acts of defense (in this episode). The Warlord (I didn’t catch his name) is evil. He will kill the villagers; hands down for no good reason (in fact, I didn’t quite catch the reason,). So, Xena must save the villagers as an act of defense. Works for me.

What I do like about this episode is that it does demonstrate violence for the sake of defense while still respecting peaceful ways of solving problems as well.

Xena wants to fight against evil Warlords. Warlord’s son wants to follow in the footsteps of peace and has no desire to kill villagers. Guess who talks the son into straying away from his Warlord father’s influence? You’ll never guess. Gabrielle! I love this celebration of peaceful methods as well. Once, Xena slice and dices the Warlord (she kills him). Everyone else can live peacefully, including, the warlord’s son. Defense helps lead to peace.

Which brings me to the anxiety that I sometimes feel about this show. It’s just a show. I know that. Indulge me. Xena’s a killer. She kills people. Granted in this episode, she killed a 2-dimensional evil warlord to save innocent villagers. But, she’s a killer. Gabrielle will have or already has (depending on what fan you talk to) the hots for a killer. We know that Xena has a past and that it involves hurting and killing people. For all intents and purposes, shouldn’t Xena be in jail or shouldn’t some kind of justice be served for the fact she killed a bunch of people in her past?

I know. I know. There’s no show if that happens. I like Xena! I really do! Lucy Lawless plays her splendidly. It’s just, you know, she killed people . I do wonder what drove her to do such horrible things? Obviously, this is the journey of her character. Xena is trying to make up for all the hurt and pain she has caused in her past. She has to confront all the things she has done. Her way of serving justice is to save as many people and lives as she can. Gabrielle sees the good in her. The Dude-of-the-week-who-wants-to-bang/marry-Xena this episode sees the good in her. We, the audience, see the good in her. It makes for a very interesting/compelling character.

The tiny country church (yes, I grew up going to church) I grew up in had several war veterans who attended. Some were World War II veterans. One man told me about being in the airplanes and dropping bombs in Europe. These men were just good old country boys when they had to go off to Europe. War World II was an honest war. There was an evil man hurting innocent people for his own political gain. These young country farmers did have to hurt and harm and kill other young men in order to preserve and save the lives of innocent people. Sometimes, defense is necessary. Violence, in real life, versus a show, can be (is) so tragic.

Favorite lines:

“I believe everyone will find their tree in the forest some day. Even you.” Gabrielle to Xena (little does Gabrielle know, that Gabrielle is Xena’s tree)

“You mean, you tickled his foot with a feather?” Kid

“Well, not just a feather. See, you gotta remember, these giants have really big feet. I used the whole goose.” Xena

“Is that a yes?” Man hitting on Gabrielle

“Not in the customary sense of the word.” Gabrielle

“I know these people. I was these people.” Xena

“Do you ever miss your family?” Xena

“Sometimes, but not as much when I’m with you.” Gabrielle

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sins of the Past (101)

Gabrielle got Xena to smile! Imagine that! Xena is an actual human being with actual emotions! Awesome! Season 1 is the season of Xena speaking very monotone and stoically. Every once in a while we see some emotion but for the most part this season is robot Xena. But, let’s start with the first episode.

I am overwhelmed by the coolness (gayness) of this show. What happens by the end of this show? Both protagonists reject traditional roles and traditional (potential) lovers (men) and walk off into the sunset together. It’s quite beautiful. It’s also not forced. It’s the most natural thing in the world for these two human beings.

Gabrielle craves adventure and finds it in Xena. Xena craves family (though she doesn’t know it or can’t ask for it) and finds it in Gabrielle. Two people who eventually find themselves and better themselves through each other. Hmm. It’s almost as if that’s what human relationships are about.

I love the celebration of wit, in this episode and season for that matter. I find Gabrielle absolutely charming. She’s written charming and she’s played charming by Renee O’Connor. I love the idea that Gabrielle can talk her way out of anything. As someone who does believe in non-violence, it’s refreshing.

We see both Xena and Gabrielle’s strengths and how they use those strengths to save each other and to love (too soon?) each other in this episode. Xena uses brawn to save Gabrielle; very impressive brawn, along with a wonderful war cry. Gabrielle talks an entire village out of murdering Xena; also just as impressive.

Day one, they’re both saving each other, literally and metaphorically. Gabrielle recognizes a human being in Xena (despite her robot talking) who is trying to redeem her past and do well. Gabrielle sees Xena’s soul where at first Xena’s Mom can’t even see that at first. Xena finds a bonified friend; even a Warrior Princess needs friends or you know, human connection.

Xena says at the end, “It’s not easy proving you’re a different person.” Thus, the thesis of the entire series! Xena and Gabrielle proving that their different people than what their hometowns or pasts or people think.

Thus the metaphor, for us viewers, that in any kind relationship (romantic or agape) that we have it’s an opportunity to truly learn who we are from each other. We human beings despite our own stoicism and robot talk desperately need each other in our lives. Through, each other, is where we can see reflections of ourselves.

Favorite lines:

“I got to admit, this village makes tough women.” Warlord

“She’d never let a man get close enough to do her… But, a young innocent looking girl like me…” Gabrielle

“It’s hard to be alone.” Xena
“You’re not alone.” Gabrielle

“I was not cut out to do this village life. I was born to do so much more.” Gabrielle

“You know I’m different from everybody else in this town…Call it whatever you like, the point is I don’t fit in here.” Gabrielle

"I feel we're bonded in our hate for this she-demon." Gabrielle

"Take your revenge. It's true what they say, it's sweet." Xena

"Mother, forgive me please." Xena

Monday, September 13, 2010

Xena Rules!!!!!

A couple of years ago, I watched two or three episodes of Xena: The Warrior Princess. Afterward, I felt indifferent. I thought to myself, “Eh.” I can explain. I didn’t want woman-loving subtext. I wanted context! I wanted blatant text! I needed something to take the edge off of being alive in a cruel, cruel world. I was unhappy at the time and feeling lost. Xena: The Warrior Princess didn’t quite cut the mustard for me.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago. I saw Xena The Warrior Princess: Season 1 on sale for the very reasonable price of $19.95 for 23 episodes. I thought, “Holy crap! That’s less than a dollar for an episode! This puppy is coming home with me!” When I revisited the show I was in a much happier place and I came to be completely charmed by the show.

As I continued in watching the rest of the seasons streaming on Netflix; I saw blatancy!! In some episodes it was subtle and other episodes it was extremely obvious, but in essence this show was about two women who loved the crap out of each other. I found that Xena: The Warrior Princess did indeed take the edge off of being alive in a cruel, cruel world.

What changed from two years ago to a couple of months ago?

There is a formula of putting two attractive women together in a sex scene that is sure to satisfy many people, at a time, myself included. The L Word used this formula well. However, these scenes would leave me feeling dissatisfied. I wanted to see emotional intimacy. I wanted to know that the two women would go to the end of the earth for each other. I wanted to feel that the sex between the two women had meaning. A lot of times, it felt shallow. Where was the poetry?

When it comes to love or matters of the heart, the stakes are extremely high. This is what I like about science fiction, fantasy or larger-than-life entertainment. I may never have to jump into a lava pit to save a person I love. However, the times I have been in love, I know I would have done anything to make my exes happy. At times, it certainly felt like I was jumping into lava pits to make them happy. But, I digress.

The L Word, a long with other entertainment, gave me the blatancy that I wanted. Apparently, it wasn’t the blatancy that I was looking for.

I want to feel alive all the time. I feel alive when I ride my bicycle really fast. I feel alive when I move across the country seeking a better life. I feel alive when I cook something really good for myself. I feel alive when I wake up from a really great nap. I feel alive when I watch Xena: The Warrior Princess.

The reason why I write this blog is because I need an excuse to watch the entire series over again. I have devoured the entire series. I have tattooed the faces of Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer, Calisto and Ares to my back (kidding). I have read the articles and recaps. I have seen the youtube Xena and Gabrielle videos online. I have even looked into going to the Xena Convention in 2011 (we’ll see if that happens). I have run out of ways to indulge my fandom. It’s getting out of hand.

I need something somewhat practical to come out of my silliness. My ridiculousness is your benefit, readers! I am going to write commentary on each episode. I’m not recapping because this show has been off the air for nearly ten years, so recaps are unnecessary. My sole purpose in writing these commentaries is to entertain you and to give you an excuse to re watch this amazing series!

Your welcome, readers. So, sit back, relax and enjoy this amazing show accompanied by my own commentary. I promise to be as funny, witty and entertaining as I possibly can for the enjoyment of you, readers. You lucky-son-of-a-guns!