OBSESSION, THY NAME IS XENAMANIA
By Bret Ryan Rudnick (penandswrd@aol.com)
Content © 1997 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 1997 held by Whoosh!
440 words


It starts slowly, like most latent addictions. One day you're channel surfing and you pause at the station that's airing a programme about a woman in metal-bound leather and her trusty sidekick, righting wrongs, defending truth, justice, and some sort of decent Way. From there you make it a habit to tune in every week, sometimes twice a week, local programming permitting. You find out about that "other" show, and make it a point to tune in the "other" show if there are any character cross-overs you're interested in. Then you start taping the shows. Then you watch them again. And again. And some scenes get fairly worn out from watching repeatedly (not that I do that, of course).

Perhaps it's sleep deprivation, perhaps I just need more things to do, but I couldn't help noticing...

Yes, we're bound to have words reused by characters in the show from time to time. I mean, you *have* to reuse words like "the" and "a" and names and such.

It goes beyond a single character repeating lines a lot -- like how Xena says to Gabrielle every other episode: "Wait here." There's more to it than looking forward to repeated catchphrases like "irritating blonde" or "I have many skills" or "that round killing thing."

But now I'm seeing entire lines cross character boundaries. Consider:

In SURPRISE (HTLJ #49), Callisto says to Herc "Are we having fun yet?" In HERE SHE COMES... MISS AMPHIPOLIS (#35), Xena says to the "neutral" warlord (as she whoops the tar out of him) "Are we having fun yet?"

In RETURN OF CALLISTO (#29), Callisto says to the unfortunate guard, "Here, piggy, piggy, piggy, piggy!" In SURPRISE, Falafel says to Herc's half-brother, "Here, piggy, piggy, piggy!" in quite a similar psychotic fashion.

Callisto says to Herc (in SURPRISE) "We'd make an unstoppable team." Xena says to Caesar, Julius Caesar (in DESTINY, #36), "We'd make an unstoppable team."

What's worse is I notice these lines with Callisto more than with anyone else -- I am getting *very* concerned. What next? Will Xena and Callisto share hair care products? Makeup? Clothing? Weapons? Boyfriends/ Girlfriends? Will they pretend to be each other on the phone? Will there be slumber parties for the Amazons as they sit around doing their nails (or driving them into passing centaurs), or guys night out for Joxer and Autolycus? Will Argo get a few lines ala "Mr. Ed" (or in Argo's case, "Ms. Ed")?

Nah, it's definitely lack of sleep.

I gotta get me a life. That or professional help. Sheesh!


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