Whoosh! Issue 31 - April 1999
Letters to the Editor


To write to the editor regarding your comments, observations, and questions about Whoosh!, send an e-mail to ktaborn@lightspeed.net and mark the subject "Letter to the Editor". All letters with the subject "Letter to the editor" are subject to publication and may be edited. Due to the volume received, some letters may not be answered individually or receipt acknowledged.




THE AUTOGRAPH CARTEL
CAN YOU SAY ANACHRONISTIC?
CIRRA
COMMENTARIES
PAUL ROBERT COYLE
EDITORIAL ON CONCLUSION JUMPING
FAN-FICTION IN THE 'VERSE
FUTURE INTERVIEWS
HOW DO *YOU* FEEL?
JOXER CORNER
KUDOS
THE LOVE WAR
CHRIS MANHEIM
MENTAL ILLNESS IN THE FURIES
SEASON FOUR
SUBTEXT SCHMUBTEXT
A SWORD IN AN AUCTION
TOO MUCH OCCULTISM
WHY ARE THEY STILL TOGETHER
YOU ARE ALL WHINERS!


Letters To The Editor



THE AUTOGRAPH CARTEL

Date: Tue, 02 Mar 1999
Subject: Letter to Whoosh

Many thanks for your editorial on the difficulties involved in getting affordable autographs of Lucy [Lawless] and Renee [O'Connor]. In trying to get autographed pictures of Lucy for Sword and Staff auctions, I have learned first hand how difficult the process is. Your editorial was absolutely on target. And while in the past I have not had trouble getting autographed Renee items, the demise of the fan club might make that a little more difficult as well, especially if distribution of ROC pictures falls to Creation in the future.

Over the past two years, I have requested autographed pictures or some other items from Creation for auction at Sword and Staff events or for auction on the Sword and Staff site. To date, I have not received one autographed item for any of our charity events from them. I know that Sharon Delaney is the point person for this, but the fact is that she doesn't have a whole lot to distribute. We can't expect blood from a stone. But, frankly, I can't accept this as an excuse because the fact remains that Sharon works for Creation, and Creation has the items to distribute. If Lucy is signing pictures, scripts, and promotional material, then why is none of it, or very little of it, filtering down to the fans unless they can fork over $250-$2500 for a Lucy Lawless autograph? Why isn't some portion of the Creation autographed picture collection allocated to be distributed to fans for fests and other charity events? I know the response is that they do give out autographed items to various groups, but my experience is that if they are, it certainly isn't enough. If over a period of two years an organization like Sword and Staff can't get one autographed picture for a charity auction, what chance does fan X from Idaho have of getting anything? Less than zero, in my opinion.

The items currently being put up for auction on eBay by Creation were traditionally the items we saw auctioned off for charity at Creation conventions. I'm not talking about the merchandise licensed to Creation; they can do what they please with that. I'm talking about one of a kind items such as autographed scripts and media kits that were always moneymakers for the charities. Now the auctions at the conventions are mostly for Creation's own profit (a fact lost on most fans), and items that would normally be auctioned off for charity are showing up on eBay, with no indication that they are for charity. I've been told that "some" of the money raised on eBay is for charity. If it is, the people I've spoken to who have bid on and paid for these items are unaware of it. Aren't they entitled to a tax deduction if it is for charity? Shouldn't they know that they item they are bidding on is for a specific charity? And frankly, if it was for charity, don't you think Creation would be heralding such an announcement with neon lights and trumpets? And wouldn't it be a good idea to tell the people sending the checks?

Fan clubs usually provide the fans with access to affordable autographed pictures from the celebrities they represent. Without an independent group handling such requests for Lucy, any such access is impossible. I have auctioned off many Lucy Lawless pictures on the Sword and Staff site, all of which were donated by fans. The lowest price any one ever brought was $230. They usually go for between $400-$500. Frankly, I'd much rather have stacks of Lucy photographs that I can send out to fans for a $15 donation to charity. It would mean hundreds of times the work for me, but every licked stamp would mean that a fan got a picture without having to give up a week's pay for it. But that isn't likely to happen either. Creation has a total lock on the distribution of the autographed merchandise, and the fact that Lucy's mail is handled through Creation makes the likelihood of any remedy prior to the end of their contract very unlikely.

I'm not sure why this arrangement wasn't viewed as a conflict of interest from the start, but the fact remains that the fans are the ones paying the high price for such shortsightedness. Seems all the business interests involved here are getting rich on the sale of these pictures, while the fans have to sit home and decide, "Do I pay the mortgage, or do I get a picture from Creation?" That this is happening is unconscionable.

Debbie Cassetta
"Mistopholees"
President, Sword and Staff
http://sword-and-staff.com




Date: Thu, 04 Mar 1999
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I am not sure if your editorial will spark a lot of interest or not. I think that it should - primarily because so many of the issues you raised were both relevant and important. One of the best ways for many of the fans of Xena to obtain an autographed picture is to write to either the studio or if the person has a fan club. Usually a quick note to the fan clubs will reveal whether or not it is the policy of the star to sign. My experience has been that almost every single person can be reached for an autograph, with the exception of Lucy Lawless.

I don't think I am alone in thinking that the fact that Creation - which holds the rights to the Official Xena Fan Club - as well as many other product licenses -is also supposed to be the Lucy Lawless Fan Club intermediary as well. Conflicts of interest anyone? The company that sells the autographed pictures is also the fan club. I can understand the Official Fan Club for Xena - the television character that I tune in week after week to watch - getting the Chakram which I will admit is pretty comprehensive and Sharon (Delaney) does a great job of trying to get the questions that fans wonder about asked in her interviews. I don't understand it representing the actress that portrays this character. Lucy's autograph has become a 'false value' in the marketplace. Primarily because the only place to get it is from Creation, there are other 'autograph vendors' on the market who sell items on eBay and other venues - but I often wonder where the autograph was obtained and how.

While I am at it - since I am using the words eBay and Creation in the same paragraph, I want to take this opportunity to ask - since getting a straight answer on this matter is nigh near impossible. These 'rare' items that have recently been on eBay - the autographed script (by Lucy on Adventures in the Sin Trade) and other items - went for some pretty hefty price tags - and the only answer that is coming out of Creation is that 'some of the money' will go to charity. Which charity? How much? Who determines that? And most importantly - are the stars of the show aware that these items which presumably were signed and donated for charity - that instead they were sold to the highest bidder. Period. Not for charity. I would actually like to see the response that Creation comes up with. Perhaps an idea for a future issue would be to interview Gary and Adam of Creation - to see how they feel about the role that they have been cast in. Are there any fans out there who do not view Creation as some sort of necessary evil - and thank the gods for Sharon D and Julie H for being the buffers that Creation has hired for probably not enough money to run interference. How does a company that blatantly treats its income base (the fans of the show) with little more regard than sides of beef with credit cards and disposable income - continue to stay in business? Too bad a boycott wouldn't work because for as many people as would step down in protest - there are those that only want to see the stars or pay the obscene amounts of money for the merchandise.

I think I am done ranting for now ;-)

GeekGrrl
geekgrrl@ix.netcom.com




Date: Wed, 03 Mar 1999
Subject: Autographs

I found your editorial on autographs most interesting. I am fortunate enough to already have both a Lucy and a Renee autograph. I wanted to complete my XENA collection with a photo signed by both, and I have been shopping around for a source. Creation's current $249 and $299 offerings were ridiculously over-priced and far out of the range of my teacher's salary budget. I thought I'd try eBay. I have gotten a couple of nice items for a reasonable price there. Well, not so with XENA items.

I thought you would find it interesting to see exactly what autographed XENA pieces are going for on eBay. Below is a list of items sold by Creation between February 13 and February 25, 1999. The dollar amount is the price the item actually sold for, and there is also a description of the item itself. $611.50 Xena Autographed Chromium Poster (Lucy and Renee's sig.)
$1625 XENA "...Sin Trade" script signed by Lucy
$1875 XENA Season Four Press Kit signed by Lucy
$86 XENA Autograph Set: separate signed pix of Urban, Tydings, Torres, and Tobeck
$142.49 XENA Autograph Set: separate signed pix of Renee and Ted
$810 XENA Plaque Autographed by Lucy
$1000 XENA Chakram and a card signed by Lucy
$103.70 XENA Villains Autograph Set: Separate signed pix of Hudson and Kevin Smith
$515 XENA signed 11X14 photo (Lucy and Renee) with Season Four press kit
$670 XENA Third Season Press Kit signed by Lucy
$107.50 XENA statue and Gabrielle signed photo
$500 XENA Calendar Centerfold signed by Lucy
$2750 HERCULES AND XENA: THE ANIMATED MOVIE press kit signed by Lawless, O'Connor, Sorbo, and Hurst

In your editorial, you speak in terms of fans having to spend a "C-note" for autographed items. Well, in nearly every case listed above, you can see that's it's decidedly MORE than $100 that fans are having to spend for these coveted little trinkets.

Initially, I wasn't certain if it was actually Creation itself who was doing the eBay selling. I couldn't figure out why, for example, an item that listed for $299 on their site had sold for $611.50 on eBay. It looked like a scam to me, so I warned Creation that someone might be using their name to bilk unwary fans. I got word from Creation that it was indeed them and that they were experimenting with eBay. The individual told me they hadn't imagined that the duo signed chromium print would go for so much more than its "retail" price. He said that Creation would contact the highest bidder and everyone else who had bid at or above their "retail" price and offer the item to them for $299. How egalitarian and magnanimous of them. That doesn't account for the fact that $299 is an ASININE price to begin with, and what also wasn't publicized here is that they will make substantially more money selling nine (the number of bidders who bid at or above "retail") items at $299 than they would have selling one for $612.

And then you have items like the signed script and the signed press kits which do not have an official retail price because they're not offered for sale on the Creation site or in catalogs. In these cases, I guess the $1626-$2750 prices those items sold for probably stood. That's a lot of dinars straight into the pockets of Creation for items they paid very little to obtain.

I guess my initial fear about there being some kind of "scam" in operation was, in fact, accurate. Creation, whose definition of "fair profit" differs tremendously from mine, is running a "scam" to divest XENA fans of their dinars. Monopoly, "Cartel", however you want to put it, they hold the cards (in the form of a licensing contract), and fans who desire a simple little "piece" of a show and the stars they love are paying through the nose or going without.

I will just count my blessings that I have two autographs. I got them before the Creation "Cartel" took over the XENA trinket turf. I'm sorry for those who aren't so lucky.

Name Withheld




Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999
Subject: THE AUTOGRAPHED PICTURE CARTEL

I just read your very interesting editorial on "THE AUTOGRAPHED PICTURE CARTEL". I think you are one gutsy person to take on Creation like this, but I support you completely. I believe that Creation's involvement in the Xenaverse has put up a barrier between the fans and the staff of the show. This may be intentional or not, but I believe that it is done in the name of the almighty dollar.

I've voiced my opinion before and have heard the view that "Creation is a business". This is true. However when you look at what Xenadom was in the beginning; look at the current situation; and then look at what Creation has done with other shows like Star Trek and Deep Space Nine, it is plain to see that the prices are going skyward and access to the writers and stars are become more restricted than ever.

I've seen various reports on the latest big Con they had and almost ALL of them say the same thing. The Questions asked by Creation's chosen interviewer were old hat. Access to the stars was extremely restricted and prices are higher than ever.

You wrote: "but the situation for Xena fandom has gotten absurd and the autographed picture market has become way more inflated due to what can be called in the best light as negligent management and distribution."

I'm not sure if this is the reason, though it might be. I do say, however, that it is suspicious. It is my opinion that Creation knew all along what would happen and planned to take control of all merchandise and set the prices as they saw fit. I have read letters where Creation will not allow other merchandising companies to set up their wares at one of their Cons. On the surface, this seems wise on Creation's part. As far as I know, its Creation's con and they don't want competitors in there selling things at a reduced price. However, aren't all the Big Cons sponsored by Creation Entertainment? Do the biggest stars attend these Cons only? It seems that way. And if this is true, the smaller merchant hasn't got a chance to sell its merchandise at one of these events. They cannot use Lucy and Kevin's appearance at a con to sell their wares. This is bad for the fan because it allows Creation to set the prices as they see fit. They can gouge us for our last dollar and make us want to pay more. (If we want that coveted autograph, we have to pay Creation's price or it's "no deal").

What I'm implying is that it "appears" that Creation has successfully squeezed the little man or woman out of the market. It seems that they have successfully created a monopoly. That is, if all I've read is true. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am.

I got a letter the other day from a fan that had read my article. The fan was very nice, but expressed some concern that I might be running the risk of a lawsuit over that article. I thanked them, but then began to wonder if people were truly so afraid of Creation? Should we worry that by writing an article and mentioning them, we run the risk of a lawsuit; even when the article is our own opinions and based on what I've read and events I've seen? If so then each and every fan that goes to a messageboard or chatroom is in real trouble!

Anyway, again I wanted to say I agree with your assessment of the current situation. It is indeed sad when a fan cannot write the studios or the actors and politely ask for an autograph. Countless other stars are more than happy that a fan would ask for their autograph. It is surprisingly easy to get them in many cases (only don't bother Rosie O'Donnell or Bruce Campbell) as they have said in advance why they don't give out these autographs.


CAN YOU SAY ANACHRONISTIC?

Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999
Subject: Letter to the Editor

My question relates more to the overall plots of both Xena and Hercules. How many historians were involved in making the scripts for these? It seems to me that the number equals.... 0. There are more screwed up facts, events, cultural mistakes, you name it, in these episodes than anything that I have ever seen before. Is this what we want children to think about those ancient cultures? That Ares/Mars was a huge, red demon that killed indiscriminately? I won't go on and on, for it would be too easy. Of course, the idea of a woman warrior was absurd in those ancient times... why do you think women such as Medea were considered barbarians? Clytemnestra was despised for her actions, for she acted too much as a "man." I applaud "Xena" for displaying a strong female... but let's try to get the setting right, or at least some of the facts. Oh, and the fighting sequences can be summed up in one word... weak. Although I agree that they should be bloodless, I've been much better fighting sequences in plenty of films, shows, etc.

Waylander
Tenaka@aol.com


CIRRA

From: AdoresXena@aol.com
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
Subject: Cirra was a real place

You folks on Whoosh might have this already, since I didn't check in all the summaries of Callisto episodes, just her first one. It seems Cirra was a real city in ancient Greece and not just a weak village, but one with some military capability. One of my old history books dating to the 60s has this brief reference:

"c. 590 BC The First Sacred War in Greece. Anthela, helped by Athens and other cities, conquers and lays waste Cirrha, which had controlled the shrine of Delphi."

(Recall that Callisto was attacking the oracle of Delphi in her first episode.)

I was unable to find references to Cirrha in any other books or encyclopedias until now, and I found it by accident looking for something else.

The town is spelled "Cirra" in the transcript of "Callisto" but this isn't really a mistake since it's a transliteration from a language written in a different alphabet anyway.

By way of comparison, the historical timeline containing this lists the fall of Troy at 1184 BC and King David of Israel's reign around 1000 BC. And of course, J. Caesar and Cleopatra lived around 44-30 BC. Our heroines certainly get around.

Regards,
AdoresXena


COMMENTARIES

Date: Sun, 07 Feb 1999
From: Anita (terrice@netdoor.com)
Subject: on commentary's of the XWP episodes

I really think it's sad that almost everyone that gives commentaries, seem to continue to have a negative view of the show. It is just a show afterall, and meant to be entertaining not base life on. It's a fairytale, a fable, which means that anything they want to happen can happen. I mean, it was sillier in the beginning, and viewers wanted the characters to grow, and now they don't like the consequences, well that's life, if you really want something to complain about, make it something that makes sense like the government, and the fact that a show has to censor love between characters of the same gender, not that they had to find another way to allow them to grow closer, or farther apart. I love the show, and I don't find where all the anger stems. It wasn't supposed to be a soap opera anyway. Inconsistencies? Hey no one worried that Wonder Woman wore the same business suit when in disguise. I just think people are putting too much strain on the writers of a good show, but that's what happens when something becomes popular, the demand becomes too great, and everyone one loses sight of what made it great in the first place. I have been watching since the beginning of Hercules, (which was mostly because of Tawney) and I have seen the changes, and it happened, when the shows became popular, and the demand grew. These guys were sitting around writing great shows, then someone said "I want this to happen." and now they are complaining. Just enjoy the show and let the writers do their job. Thanks for listening, and I do enjoy reading Whoosh I'm a big Xenite, but I'm a quiet one. I think the show is just giving the people what they asked for. Thanks again.

Terrice,
Jackson, MS


PAUL ROBERT COYLE

From: nball@linkonline.net
Subject: Coyle Interview

I just want to drop a quick note of thanks to you for such a well-developed and much-enjoyed interview. I, too, am a big fan of Mr. Coyle's work and it was such a treat to be able to ingest all the words that he brought forth for us fans. I am truly sad that he will no longer be writing for Hercules, as I am a big fan of this show (as I am Xena). It just seemed like such a wonderful dream that the combination of a favorite writer of mine was creating stories for my favorite show. What really struck me is how down-to-earth Mr. Coyle is. As I read more into the interview, I grew to like him more as a person because he seems to welcome the communication and feedback from the fans. I respect him for this -- a great guy!

Thank you, Bret, for doing such a wonderful job for us loyal fans!!! I look forward to more of your articles in the near future!

Sincerely,
Nida Ball
Nball's Ultimate Sorbo Haze
http://www1.linkonline.net/nball/hfnews.html


Date: Thu, 4 Mar 1999
From: HEO96001@uconnvm.uconn.edu
Subject: Paul Robert Coyle Interview

Hi. I am writing you to complement you on your interview with Mr. Coyle. It was very informative and you asked all the questions I would have asked if I ever got to interview Mr. Coyle.

I was wondering if Mr. Coyle mentioned to you, or if you have heard, if there will be a Hercules or Xena spin-off show that will be paired off with Xena after Hercules ends at the end of next season.

BRET RYAN RUDNICK RESPONDS:

Thank you very much for the kind words. Much appreciated.

No, Mr. Coyle didn't mention anything like that, and I haven't heard anything like that otherwise, sorry.

Thanks again for the nice note and for reading WHOOSH!.


EDITORIAL ON CONCLUSION JUMPING

From: Andjam@geocities.com
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999
Subject: Editorial on conclusion jumping

I feel that the comments are an attack, direct or indirect, on the noble art of dissenting. Saying that people can't talk about an episode before it screens means that people can't criticize. Which is exactly the way TPTB would want things. In an ideal world, they'd have no criticism at all TV would be much easier if it weren't for the viewers. The fact that you "have a double standard here and [you] know it" only drives home the point that it is only complaining about criticism of the show.

Andjam
Andjam@geocities.com
Xena page - http://www.geocities.com/area51/vault/8338/xindex.htm

BETH GAYNOR RESPONDS:

I think you missed the point of the editorial. There's nothing wrong with criticism. Criticism based on fact (I used an example like "I don't care for xxx's story lines, so I'm not looking forward to the next one") is perfectly valid criticism. The criticism I'm speaking out against is knee-jerk reactions based on no information except for a snippet of rumor. There's no base of fact to validate the criticism.

My double standard is that I don't cringe when someone has a positive knee-jerk reaction based on no information. Not because it has any more basis in fact, but just because it doesn't have the harmful potential that the negatives do. It's still not a very worthwhile reaction, but at least it won't do anybody any damage.


FAN-FICTION IN THE 'VERSE

From: XXLBadboy@aol.com
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999
Subject: Letter To The Editor

I just read some letters to the editor (in issue #26) concerning the fan fiction issue (Whoosh Issue #25) and I have a few belated comments (I know, I know, I'm several months late with this response, and I wouldn't blame you if you didn't put it in your letters to the editor section...lol).

Virginia mentioned in her letter that no one covered the topic of Beta Readers for Xena fan fiction and I would like to point out that I mentioned it briefly in my article along with a section concerning Lunacy's "Resources For Xenite Bards." I didn't elaborate too much on any one section in my article because I would have had an article as long as the whole issue itself.

Phil mentioned in his letter that Joxer fiction seems to be largely ignored and that no one mentioned it. Although I didn't mention Joxer stories specifically in my article, I tried to provide generalized samples of what types of Xena fanfiction were available and I did mention that there were many more categories available to read and that a reader should consult the Xena indexes to find those types of stories.

Since I help to manage the Ultimate Xena Fan Fiction Directory with CN Winters and Absinthe, I must point out that we've developed entire sections of our website devoted to specifically listing certain types of stories. We have sections listing Callisto stories, Amazon stories, Uber stories, etc. Although we don't have a specific section for Joxer yet (most of those stories are listed under the General Section), I think it would be a good idea, and I'll look into adding that section some day.

Although I personally don't care for the character of Joxer very much, I would like to point out that my site has two very good Joxer stories by Virginia archived there, and I wouldn't hesitate to archive other Joxer stories if they were submitted. This is because I believe that a writer's stories should be presented and promoted regardless of my opinions of certain characters.

Barry Marshall
XXL's Xena Fan Fic Site
http://members.aol.com/xxlbadboy/main.htm


FUTURE INTERVIEWS

From: jmick@kih.net
Subject: Future Interviews????
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999

Was just wondering if you or any of the other Whoosh staff had plans on doing an interview with Lucy or Renee in the near future? I really enjoy reading your interviews (you ask the questions the fans want answers to) and hope one is planned with both actresses, especially since some much has happened to their characters after the spiritual quest to India. Hopefully one is planned soon and we can read it!

Jan Mick

BRET RYAN RUDNICK RESPONDS:

Thanks for the note and the nice words.

I myself don't have any plans to interview Lucy or Renee. They both seem to get a lot of hefty press coverage as it is, and I'm not sure anything I could do would have any value added to what's already available. Big stars also tend to be very guarded in what they say, no matter who is asking the questions (and I can't blame them). I much prefer to talk to the people we hear from seldom or never otherwise. Similarly, although we've gotten previous approval to do an interview with Bruce Campbell, he seems to have already done a very good job interviewing himself and placing his thoughts on his website. So I wouldn't be able to add any value there, either. If someone else would care to rise to the challenge, more power to 'em.

So for the future, look for more interviews with cast and crew you haven't heard from before, or at least, not too often.




HOW DO *YOU* FEEL?

From: cR@clear.net.nz (Chris Rodliffe)
Subject: Letter to the editor
Date: Mon, 08 Mar 1999

My first reaction on reading "How Do I Feel: Lucy Lawless in Santa Monica" was, 'what a pity they couldn't get a review by someone who _likes_ Xena'.

This is admittedly over-simplified. It's obvious Mr. Evans-Layng is a Lucy fan, equally obvious that he doesn't like the direction the show has gone in (unlike some of us, who do). It's just unfortunate that he lets his feelings about the show overshadow (I would say, spoil) his otherwise interesting reportage of Lucy's stage appearance. Obviously from his account, much of the audience did enjoy it.

I've read that some fans were disconcerted by the questions being stage-managed (Bret Rudnick for one - Whoosh! 29); Mr. Evans-Layng is fair enough to comment that 'inane questions at previous cons' could explain this, but he then in his article raises all sorts of difficult questions which, by implication, he would have liked to see Lucy asked. I have a question: Do people go to conventions to have a good time, or to give the guest speakers a hard time? If the latter, why go at all? I'm not suggesting sweeping hard questions under the carpet, but I'd suggest they're better asked of the producers, not the actors, and where they can make a serious reply, not on stage at conventions.

Mr. Evans-Layng winds up "Apart from just enjoying Lucy's presence and demeanor, I thought her appearance was a colossal waste of time, effort and money". What does he want, escapism _and_ social relevance as well?

Problem is, two legitimate topics - Mr. Evans-Layng's views on the series ('How Do I Feel'), to which he is fully entitled, and straight reportage ('LL in Santa Monica'), at which he is obviously talented, have become entangled, to the detriment of the latter.

Sorry to sound so negative about the article, but that's how I feel. Would Lucy, if she ever reads it, want to appear at another con?

cr


JOXER CORNER

Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999
From: Rebecca Littlehales (esbeckras@yahoo.com)
Subject: To the Editor: More for the Joxer Corner

In her letter last month, Filippa Morgan Flasheart ended with the following statement: "I advise those who want to criticize Joxer and/or his growing numbers of fans to consider all of this the next time they accuse either of being stupid, anti-subtext, bigoted, ignorant, or unrealistic. One should walk a mile in another's shoes before judging him or her."

The irony is that, for GJRs [Gabrielle/Joxer Romantics] in many ways, those who sling insults *have* walked a mile in those hated shoes. But I don't mean this in the way Filippa meant it. Rather, the strongest opposition to the G/J Romantics Society comes from ardent subtexters... Subtexters who seem to have forgotten the anger, rejection, and horror they were met with for implying that two women could be in love in the first place.

The guestbook of the beautifully designed GJRS web page is occasionally spammed with messages telling us that we are, to put it bluntly, wrong. Sometimes we are called stupid, other times we are just ranted at, and sometimes people who seem otherwise perfectly rational tell us that we are crazy. One person wrote, "I am fully aware that everyone has the right to their own opinion, but everything has their limit... This is inappropriate."

Xena and Gabrielle's subtext is now so mainstream that it is, on the internet at least, the "accepted" reality of the show. Episodes like "The Way" created an outrage among Hindus who had not seen it, because it involved their one of their Gods on a "lesbian show". The subtext which was once minority opinion and played for a joke is now apparently majority, so much a part of each episode that TPTB evidently aren't aware that they are creating it anymore (from what Chris Manheim said in her interview with Mr. Rudnick). It's so accepted, so wanted, so NORMAL, that anyone who does NOT acknowledge it leaves themselves open to attack from fans who feel it is their duty to "enlighten" the poor sap.

You subtexters who dislike the GJRS, consider these statements:
"The thought of them as a couple turns my stomach."
"I don't care what they say on that webpage, it's WRONG!"
"Are they even watching the same show as me?! How could they possibly see potential for ROMANCE between them?"
"This is extremely inappropriate."
"This is disgusting."
"This is unnatural."

Do any of these sound familiar? Are these comments that you might have thought while reading a GJR's messages and beliefs? Even perhaps things you've SAID to them?

Or are they things that have been said to YOU, or about people in general who appreciate Xena and Gabrielle's relationship?

Much as it might hurt to be stepped on during the climb to the top, it is easy to forget that pain once you step on someone else.

As Filippa said, before you judge us, please walk a mile in our shoes... or remember the walk you have taken.

Sincerely, Rebecca Littlehales




Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999
From: Loveless (loveless_0@yahoo.com)
Subject: Letter to the Editor

ok, so I understand that we have Joxer coming on Xena again. what is the deal with this character? after so many people complained about him and even one of the producers of the show (R.J. Stewart in a interview for the German Xenafest) admitted that Joxer is overused (WAY overused), he is still here. I still don't understand how all these talented(?) and smart(?) people behind XWP keep not seeing how damaging this character is for the show. aside from proven ratings-killer, Joxer(whose episodes I do NOT watch) is a bumbling idiot, plain and simple, and every show that has an idiot in it, is more or less a show about an idiot. it would be a different story if he was in 1-2 episodes per season, but no, of all the other interesting and somewhat popular character that have appeared on this show at one time or another(Ares, Callisto, Ephiny, Salmoneus, Autolycus etc.), they have chosen the most annoying and unattractive character for the so called "comic" episodes. his not good looking face, his irritating voice and his silly jokes make XWP look bad, it's as simple as that. imagine yourself eating a delicious, hot and spicy chicken soup and suddenly a fly drops into it. well, if XWP is the soup, then Joxer is the fly, he makes the soup uneatable. he simply does not belong there. assuming that XWP is not a show primarily directed to geeks, nerds and losers, I still don't see the reason why Joxer is still there(must be nice to have a brother who is a producer of TV show??). I suppose that the theory about human beings having the ability to self-destroy is correct. well, I hope they will wisen up and give Joxer a permanent leave of absence after season 4.

another thing I want to talk about are the "comic" episodes. I put comic in quotes because they are not comic, they are simply stupid. LL and ROC have proven that they are more than capable of doing comedy by themselves, why do they have to put Joxer's slapstick in there? slapstick is not funny, it's just dumb. except for the 3-5 years old, I don't see who else would find it amusing. something else about the "comic" episodes is that they are just not necessary and what is more, they are a damage to XWP's reputation. why? because once you start a show with some basic concept and ideas and people start watching because of this concept, you don't suddenly change to something completely different. a single show can not be about everything, it can be comedy or adventure or science fiction, but not both. I am not a film producer or a critic, but it does not take a genius to figure that out, and the ratings prove it. let's take some other shows, "Seinfeld" for example, a hugely successful show, was on the air for 9 years and now as a result Jerry Seinfeld is one of the leading men in Hollywood. this show was comedy from the first episode to the last, it never changed its basic concept. what do you think would happen if in some of the episodes Jerry would suddenly stop telling jokes and start investigating crimes, or Kramer suddenly started acting as a normal person and so on, you get the point? well, very simple, Seinfeld wouldn't be Seinfeld any more, the ratings would have dropped instantly, people would not have liked it at all. they did not watch Seinfeld to see crimes and killers, they watched it because it was funny, that's it. the same goes for other shows, "Friends" or "Star Trek" for example, both hugely popular, they never ever in a single episode changed their basic concept. needless to say, "Star Trek" would not be "Star Trek" if suddenly it turned out to be comedy, would it? there is a reason why people say change is bad.

now let's get back to XWP. obviously this is a show about two women, who travel together and happen to love each other a lot, and fight all kinds of evil warlords and monsters, it's an adventure show. it's not a comedy. it's one thing to occasionally make fun of yourself, but it is a very different when you intentionally make your characters look bad. let's take ISAIH for example, the worst episode ever if you ask me. what purpose does making X&G look filthy and not attractive at all serve? that's a mystery to me. and what's with the dirty feet in the face anyway, i don't know what kind of twisted person would find that funny. there is one word for that and it is 'disgusting'. i do not even want to mention Joxer's naked body in FFG, an insult to the eye of the viewer. why after every 4 good episodes we have to see one stupid "comedy" Joxer episode that's obviously a step down? the answer is yet to come.

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