The Joxer/Gabrielle Relationship (01-03)
Joxer as the Anti-Red Shirt (04-07)
Gabrielle's Dilemma (08-11)
The Joxer/Gabrielle Relationship
A curiously Joxer-esque figure tucks in a curiously naked Gabrielle-esque figure in MARRIED WITH FISH STICKS.
 We have seen through past episodes that there is a relationship between Joxer and Gabrielle. Whether it started out as competition for Xena's attention (as this author sees it) or not is immaterial. What is important is that whenever things get a little too real and Joxer confesses his feelings, Gabrielle acts strange. She pushes him away and yet draws him near. She makes a point of telling him that yes, she loves him, but not in "that" way, yet she continues to give him mixed signals.
 Joxer and Gabrielle have a love/hate relationship that, like it or not, weaves through the life and loves of Xena and Gabrielle. In RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205), we see Joxer acting brave and throwing himself into the face of danger for Xena and Gabrielle. Gabrielle is proud that he is willing to be a warrior when the need arises. Nonetheless, he is a fool most of the time, which irritates her, making her treat him like an obnoxious younger brother.
 The Joxer character has been used for comedy relief, plot furtherance, and character analysis. To many, including this author, he is never two-dimensional. Even so, he has managed to do something no other non-divine contemporary male character has been able to in the Xenaverse: he gets away without wearing a red shirt.
Joxer as the Anti-Red Shirt Why does Joxer, after showing affection and regard for Gabrielle, regard has been reciprocated on occasion, continue in the show without getting killed? Why is this man not a red-shirt? Because who could actually consider Joxer a threat to the Xena/Gabrielle relationship? Who could ever really consider him worthy of the bard's interest, love, affection, and loyalty?
 Who, indeed? Why, the fair Gabrielle.
 In FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216) we see a bumbling idiot transformed into something akin to a male Xena. The bard is captivated. When we see Joxer being wooed by Meg, Gabrielle cannot figure it out. What would anyone see in him? When a fellow pays some attention to Gabrielle [BACK IN THE BOTTLE (97/507)], Joxer is jealous. Gabrielle looks equally ill at ease when Joxer is paying attention to another female in LYRE, LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE (100/510).
 Gabrielle wants him, but she does not. Why does she want him or even need him? She already has a friend who embodies everything Gabrielle wants in a mate: strength, fearlessness, trustworthiness, stalwartness, boldness, impetuousness, caring, and the list goes on. This person loves her, needs her, will do anything for her, but this person is Xena, a woman. A man can display some of these characteristics, yet never on purpose. He cuts a dashing figure, knows what is right, and genuinely cares for her, but he's Joxer.
Gabrielle's Dilemma Our bard is stuck in the upbringing she suffered in the small village in which she grew up. A woman's place was in the home, raising children, being a good wife, being a good mother, and having very little inspiration to do more. Even her parents approved of Joxer's attention.
 We have seen a passionate bard. We know she is the type of woman to give her heart, body, and soul to the right person. So is Xena. In A COMEDY OF EROS (46/222) we see how loyal Gabrielle is to Joxer, even in the face of an irritable Xena. Yet we also see just how close Gabrielle came to actually giving her all to Xena. Right place, wrong body. In FINS FEMMES & GEMS (64/318), we see just how real the emotions are between Xena and Gabrielle. They are under a spell, much like inebriation in that it removes their inhibitions and allows both women to express their inner most desires. Even then, though, Gabrielle could not quite spill the beans.
 When Xena came back in the body of Joxer in DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN (90/422), Gabrielle's soul did the two-step. Finally, Xena in a form with which she was content! She could have Xena and enjoy a 'conventional' sex life. Traveling around with a big old woman warrior must be good fodder for the rumor mill. Why has she not settled down? Why would an ex-warlord have her around? Why, indeed? Perhaps our bard really wants to have her cake and eat it too, but she cannot get passed the labels. Of course, we can talk about the lack of labels back in Greek times all we want, but the writers and creators have instilled our characters with 20th century mores, so we have to work with what we see.
 Gabrielle is in love with Xena. Whether it is in the form of a best friend or a soul mate, the pure, strong feeling is there. Whenever a young guy shows up, it seems Gabrielle feels obliged to flirt with him. Why? Because it is expected of her, and although she knows what she wants, she feels she cannot obtain it, and perhaps cannot live with the choice she would have to make.