How it All Began (01-07)
The Signs of Dependence (08-19)
The 12-Step Program (20-32)
Xena herself is a little nutty after an encounter with THE FURIES.
How it All Began The first time that I saw Xena: Warrior Princess, forgive me, hardcore nutballers everywhere, I thought it was probably the most juvenile show I had seen since The Greatest American Hero (TV, 1981-83). I have a degree in dramatic arts, and, with the usual arrogance of someone who actually only knows a little but thinks she knows a lot, I quickly came to a conclusion. My conclusion was that the acting was poor, set work and costumes were poor, and the writing was even poorer, not to mention the annoying habit of "Grecian" extras who continually pronounced the word "been" as "bean". I was proud of myself that I was able to glean all of this pertinent information from one ten-minute clip.
 I could not imagine why anyone would watch such a "B" show, especially with a lead no-name called Lucy Lawless. I thought to myself, "Who is this woman and how pretentious can you get with a stage name"? I had a friend, who shall remain nameless, who changed her rather unique first name to Fiona, but left her common last name the same. At the time I thought that was strange, but this seemed much odder. However, I concluded that Ms. Lawless was trying to reflect her New Zealand heritage (okay, I was stretching there). To me, Lucy Lawless sounded almost as bad as Neil Diamond did.
 Something possessed me about a year later, it was called the "Extreme Boredom: Let's Watch TV Syndrome" (or EBLWTVS as I like to call it). I tirelessly flipped to the only thing playing on eight stations at two in the morning. You guessed it, Xena: Warrior Princess. My husband had been trying to get me to watch the show for months, trying to win me over by playing up the "bond between women" aspect. I tried diligently to get the real answer out of him as to why he watched it. I knew it could not be the acting or writing. According to him, it was the fight scenes. I still think it was the short skirts. However, I digress. At two in the morning, I was quite bleary-eyed, but managed to stay awake through one solid hour of Xena.
 Well, you know, I discovered something. I was loath to admit it to myself, to anybody, really. I liked Xena. No, to be honest, I loved it. As momentous as this occasion was, I do not even remember which episode won me over. It could have been GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (28/204) or THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210). I only remember from that moment on I was enraptured with the show.
 It was then that my superior dramatic intellect (BA in Drama, remember) recognized that the choreography, writing, and acting were meant to be melodramatic and campy. Who would've "thunk" it, you know? I saw that the acting was actually quite good. I mean, extras anywhere will be extras. The characters were realized and had a depth to them I had not noticed before. In all fairness, I had to concede that the show was well written, well executed, and funny as all get out. I will say, however, in all fairness to my superior dramatic intellect, hereafter referred to as SDI, a first season episode I saw just recently reminded me of the very first time I had seen the show. Once again, my apologies to the Xenites, but I chalk it up to the poor writing and lack of character development. I was asleep in five minutes.
 To date I have seen 75% of the second season, the entire third season more than once, the animated movie, and, of course, enjoyed a fun-filled weekend for two in NYC where I had the privilege, no sarcasm this time, to see Ms. Lawless in GREASE! Sounds like a hardcore nutball, right?
 My biggest concern as a cynic with SDI is that I have noticed an increased dependence upon the show that affects me and people I know and read about. The safest thing for everyone at this point is to create a 12-Step Recovery program. As with any addiction, the first step is to admit you have a problem. To determine that, I have written a small list called "Signs of Dependence".
The Signs of Dependence
 This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it should get you started if you still have doubts as to your own obsessive status. Next, we work on overcoming the addiction. Outlined below is my plan for a 12-Step Recovery Program. This may get you on the road to recovery. Or at least on the trail to the road.
-  You put your life on hold to see Xena: Warrior Princess.
-  You exercise at least two hours a day to have rock hard abs like Renee O'Connor.
-  You buy a palomino.
-  You spend an ungodly amount of money on a car and insist it must be blue.
-  You buy peaches out of season.
-  You send gifts and money to people you do not even know -- namely actresses.
-  Need I say endless paraphernalia?
-  You buy every book known to God and man about New Zealand.
-  You actually try to fit historical fact into the Xenaverse: square peg, round hole.
-  You prepare for board meetings by chanting "Ai, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi" (I apologize. Ms. Lawless says it is not spelled that way, but I have no idea how it is spelled. Phonetics, ya know?)
-  You not only know the correct words to the theme song of Xena, but can also translate them into English.
The 12-Step Program
 There you have it, folks. Just a little something to guide you on your way. Live long and prosper. Sorry. Wrong show.
-  Admit you have a problem.
-  Begin a slow weaning by first reducing the number of hours a day you watch Xena by half: i.e., from eight hours to four. (Withdrawal will be tough at first, but you can do it!)
-  Make a friend who cares nothing at all about Xena, Lucy Lawless, Renee O'Connor, or the Xenaverse.
-  Be accountable to your non-Xenite friend. (See number 3).
-  Plant flowers. Get out of the house. Ride your palomino. Drive your blue car. (For Gaia's sake, stay away from your TV, your computer, oh, and, uh, vague mythology references).
-  Do not indulge in US magazine, Entertainment Weekly, People, TV Guide, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and, well, you get the picture.
-  Stay away from late night television.
-  Do not under any circumstances accept a package from a Xenite friend. It may contain (*gasp*) paraphernalia.
-  Do not watch old episodes of Wonder Woman (TV, 1976-79).
-  Do not watch any Danielle Steele movies - for you hardcore nutballs out there, you know what I mean.
-  A daisy is just another flower. A daisy is just another flower. A daisy is just another...
-  And, finally, in times of desperation, ask yourself: What is a hardcore nutball, anyway?
BiographyStephanie W. Smith
I play an accountant by day and a hopefully burgeoning writer by night. I like to spend time with my three kids - I'm married with two cats - and my music. I enjoy all kinds of music, but I'm mostly drawn to jazz, folk, and gospel. I continue to be a hardcore nutball much to the dismay of my relatively sane friends and family.
Favorite episode: BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
Favorite line: Ephiny: "Come. Now". Gabrielle: "I'm sorry. You must have me mistaken for a pet". HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110)
First episode seen: THE PRICE (44/220)
Least favorite episode: THE PRICE (44/220)