Whoosh! Issue 50 - November 2000


WHOOSH Readers Ponder Fandom
Page 5


Memories Of The Last 50 Months Of XENA by Kelly M. Rathka
Comments, Concerns, And Thoughts Regarding XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS by Cheryl L. Perry
XENA Acres by Deborah Monroy



MEMORIES OF THE LAST 5O MONTHS OF XENA
By Kelly M. Rathka
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
1538 words




Memories (01)
The Internet and a XenaFest (02-06)
Fan Interaction and the Show (07-13)
Another Fest and a Convention (14-17)
Watching More XENA (18-22)
Exposing My Family to XENA (23-24)
Biography



MEMORIES OF THE LAST 50 MONTHS OF XENA




Memories

Ares takes up pottery

Gabrielle tried to deep six her memories in FORGET ME NOT (63/317), but thankfully was unsuccessful.


[01] Memories? Yes, I have many XENA memories from the last 50 months of my life. I have listed some of them below. They are not in any particular order of importance or impact.




The Internet and a XenaFest

[02] (1) Finding thousands of other fans on the Internet, with the same passion for the show as I had.

[03] After watching XENA for a month or two, I finally logged onto the Internet and did a search. Happily I found quite a few websites dedicated to the show and its actors. I then found a few chat rooms, mailing lists, and news groups. I got lost in the frenzy of it all, and loved every second of it.

[04] (2) Going to my first XenaFest, and not sleeping the whole weekend.

[05] It was in December of 1996, Winter Park, Florida. My friend and I drove 12 hours to get there, and not much sleep was had by either of us. Upon arrival, we checked in, looked at our room, dropped our bags, and headed off to find the others. Only finding out about the Fest two weeks before, I did not know anyone that was attending. Never fearful of new experiences, I walked into the "Gathering" room and announced my arrival in a bold voice. "Hey all, you don't know me, but by the end of this weekend you will never forget me!" This was the start of a most wonderful weekend. I befriended about 20 strangers in less than an hour. Most of them I still have contact with.

[06] We watched A SOLSTICE CAROL (33/209) about 15 times. We had a Joxer pi¤ata, which was dealt some serious blows. Prizes were had by all. A dance with the devil (okay, it was a skeleton) was video taped. A trip to Universal Studios turned into a recon mission to steal the giant poster of Xena that graced the wall in the parking lot. We could have gotten away with it, if the parking lot attendant had not started eyeing us. We watched a new relationship develop between two of the guests. We tossed back a few shots of Jose, or was it aftershock? We let loose with a bag of Hershey Mini's. At 59 dollars a day, I would say it was a very expensive locker room, since changing and showering was the only thing done in my room.




Fan Interaction and the Show

[07] (3) Hearing the XENA Theme song playing on a friend's answering machine for the first time.

[08] While in Army basic training, and feeling a little home sick, I called a friend. To my amazement, the XENA theme song started to play on the machine. I did not get to talk to my friend, but that song lifted my spirits like I never thought it could. It was the little bit of home I needed at the time.

[09] (4) The first time I heard DESTINY (36/212), THE QUEST (37/213), A DAY IN THE LIFE (38/214), and A NECESSARY EVIL (39/215).

[10] It was 3 months after the shows aired, and still another 3 months before I could actually view the episodes on tape. I joined the military and was scheduled to ship off to basic training on the day DESTINY was to air in my area. Bummed me out too, because the previews looked so good! Three months into basic training, we were finally allowed a few privileges. No TV, but Walkmen were allowed. I promptly requested that an audiotape of DESTINY and THE QUEST be sent to me. My friend did that as well as audio taped the other episodes as a surprise.

[11] I must have played those tapes a hundred times. By the time I got home to view the episodes I could recite the lines. I was so happy to finally see what actions were being done along with the dialog and music.

[12] (5) Watching BITTER SUITE (58/312) for the first time, and actually enjoying it (all but the Gab-Drag).

[13] From the minute I found out the producers were thinking of doing a musical on XENA, I freaked! I like musicals, but I really was not ready for them to make one out of my favorite show. I watched in horror as the episode started, the whole Gab-Drag was NOT what I had expected at all. Then finally the music started, and to my surprise, it was done quite well. I do not think Gabrielle and Xena could have gotten through the rift without that episode, and the way it was done.




Another Fest and a Convention

A pup tent.

Sleep is a rare state to achieve at Xena Conventions or Fests.


[14] (6) Attending my second XenaFest, and not sleeping the whole weekend, again!

[15] This was quite a bit like the first one, only this one was in Myrtle Beach and I knew quite a few people that attended. I had a blast, and saved a lot of money by sharing a room with 2 VCR's, a TV, and doing all the dubbing that weekend. Again, neither many others nor I had much sleep.

[16] (7) Attending my first Xena Convention in Santa Monica (I slept, but not all that much).

[17] January 1999 was a blast. I spent a lot of time at the XENA convention and lucky for me I attended the Missy (Good) Con as well. I was not happy with traveling from Pasadena to get to the Missy con, but the traffic jams were well worth the whole weekend's experiences.




Watching More XENA

[18] (8) Watching IDES OF MARCH (89/421) in total shock and amazement.

[19] A friend of mine gets the Wild Feed on her satellite, so she gets to see the episodes before I do. After she watched IDES OF MARCH, she sent off an email to us Xenuts, telling us not to watch the episode alone. I just waved it off as Uni getting melodramatic. Not heeding her word, I watched alone. But not for long, since I called Uni the second it faded from XENA falling to her knees to commercial. I was shocked and had to talk to someone who had seen the episode. To my horror, Uni told me to wait until the show came back on, then to call her. What the h*ll was she thinking? I needed counseling NOW!

[20] I did what she said and called back when the episode ended. I could not believe what I had seen and needed to share with someone. She was not being melodramatic like I had thought; it was an episode that you needed a friend around to rant to during the commercials.

[21] (9) Watching the premiere episode of season 5 on Wild Feed, with a bunch of Xenites.

[22] The Xenut gang arrived in South Carolina and merged on Uni's house. The event was the season premiere of Season 5. Wild Feed means 8:40 am Sunday morning and I am not a morning person. Bright and early, everyone was up by 7 am sitting around drinking coffee and eating cereal. When the show started, you could have heard a pin drop. The first run of the episode was in silence, as agreed upon beforehand. The second, third, and seventh showings were up for discussion. Man did we rip parts of that episode apart.




Exposing My Family to XENA

[23] (10) Taking my 3 day old daughter home in her "Mama's Little Xenite" outfit.

[24] During the weekend above, the Xenuts also had a baby shower for me. I was five months pregnant. A few months later I brought my daughter home from the hospital. We had tons of clothes to put the child in, but I insisted that it be one of the onesies Uni had made for her. Not only did she wear Xenaish clothing, but she is also named after an Uber Fan Fiction character. Kerrison was born February 24, 2000, black hair and blue eyes. Missy Good was a tad shocked that she was named after one of her characters.





Biography

Kelly M. Rathka Kelly M. Rathka
Hi, I am a 31-year-old, married, stay at home Mom. I have one daughter, and one cat. I just recently retired from the U.S. Army as a Military Police Officer. I have enjoyed Xena from the get go. Will watch until the last episode airs, regardless if it is not such a good episode. (Not to say I will watch it twice.) :o)
Favorite episode:IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE, DEBT 1&2, BITTER SUITE, and IDES OF MARCH
Favorite line:Xena: "Take the village!" TIES THAT BIND; Xena: "I have many skills." Many episodes
First episode seen:WARRIOR PRINCESS (Hercules series)
Least favorite episode:MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS






COMMENTS, CONCERNS, AND THOUGHTS REGARDING XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS
By Cheryl L. Perry
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
1092 words




A Happy Accident (01-02)
Something About XENA (03-06)
Boredom? Shmoredom! (07-10)
Biography



COMMENTS, CONCERNS, AND THOUGHTS REGARDING XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS




A Happy Accident

I'm not giving her back until you buy her another outfit!!!

Eve was a kinda sorta "happy accident".


[01] My discovery of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS was an accident. My husband Chris and I had just returned from almost 5 years of living overseas (Japan and Italy), so we were positively clueless as to what was going on in the land of television. One evening while I was diligently unpacking boxes, my husband flipped on the TV to see just how bad network television had gotten during our absence. Neither one of us was disappointed: the network fare was truly pathetic. We had not missed much by not watching television while we were out of the USA.

[02] Thoroughly disgusted, Chris began channel hopping and stopped when he saw what appeared to be a tremendous sword battle between one woman and a gang of armor-clad thugs. I was completely oblivious until I heard Chris exclaiming, "Whoa! Cheryl, you have got to see this!" I dropped what I was doing and joined my husband in watching XENA for the very first time. The episode was REMEMBER NOTHING (26/202), and at that moment both Chris and I were hooked.




Something About XENA

[03] Almost four years have passed since that happy accident and we are still hooked. What was it about XENA that we liked? For starters, here was a show carried by a woman, who was not afraid to kick men upside the head when necessary. Having received a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice, I truly appreciated the depiction of a strong female character that was not subservient to men. A true female law enforcement hero! Xena was in many ways superior to many of the men she encountered. She was a flawed hero, having to deal with her own "issues", yet not afraid to face her own imperfections while attempting to atone for her violent past and to help others.

[04] In addition, Chris and I especially enjoyed the Hong Kong style martial arts and action sequences. Our two-year stint living in Japan introduced us to Hong Kong martial art movies. We became huge fans of Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Jet Li, Cynthia Rothrock, and Michelle Yeoh just to name a few. It was refreshing to see this type of action on American television. Frankly, it was about time!

[05] Combining mythology, history, and martial arts was, in our opinion, pure genius! Better yet, they took mythology and history and then rewrote it! Amazing! There was nothing like it on television! It was refreshingly different! It also helped that both Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor proved to be exceptional actors. My husband remarked that it did not hurt that both female leads were pleasing to look at.

[06] Anyway, we found ourselves laughing and crying right along with the characters. We tuned in week after week just to see what they were going to do next. What would the writers come up with this week? Would it be a drama, a comedy, or a musical? The fact that we never knew what to expect from one week to the next was extremely appealing. The writers were not afraid to take risks or push the boundaries of their imaginations.




Boredom? Shmoredom!

[07] Still, the most important attraction that this show has held for me is this: I have never, ever been bored while watching XENA, and I have always been entertained. Yes, I have my personal favorites. I also have some "not so favorite" episodes. However, I applaud the creators' and writers' willingness to take risks and try different things. Those not willing to take risks and make changes often find their creations becoming a monotonous, stagnating, and unimaginative mess. We have plenty of examples of current network fare that have fallen into that category.

[08] For this reason I must say that I find it disturbing when some people choose to be so negative when commenting on certain aspects of the show. Yes, sometimes the jokes fall flat. Sometimes a particular plot device does not work as well as one might have hoped. One person's distaste is another person's delight. At least an attempt is made to do something different, to keep fans on their toes. I recognize that this show is not MY vision. This vision is that of Robert Tapert and Sam Raimi. Let us be thankful that they are willing to risk being criticized (or praised) by choosing to share that vision with us.

[09] As I said before, this show has always left me feeling that I have been entertained. That for me is the most important reason to watch. For one hour a week, I can totally forget about my bad day at the office. I can totally let go of all the problems going on around me. It is a television show, not a cure for cancer. It will not create world peace. It will, if we allow it to, give us some enjoyment and pleasure so that we might have a little less stress in our lives. That is what entertainment is all about!

Are you a bad boy, because I only date bad boys...

Remember, it's just a TV show!


[10] Congratulations to WHOOSH on your 50th issue! Thank you for providing a forum for me to share my thoughts regarding XENA. Battle On!





Biography

Cheryl L. Perry Cheryl L. Perry
Born: 1965 in Quantico, Virginia. Raised in Southern California. Graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a BA in Criminal Justice and a Minor in Music (Voice). Did television work in college. Happily married since 1990 to a US Naval Officer (now retired). I have lived in Japan and Italy and have visited Australia, Hong Kong, Germany, Austria, England, Spain, and Mexico. I am an amateur photographer and have sold my photographs overseas. I also record my own CDs. I have a blue belt in Taekwondo, but stopped after I had my 2nd knee surgery. Thus, I have become quite the walker and stationary biker! My husband and I love attending various conventions including XENA, STAR TREK, or anything else that looks interesting! I currently work in the retail industry where I am seldom bored and usually entertained!
Favorite episode:CHAKRAM
Favorite line:Xena to Discord: "You gave me until sunrise to jerk you around." TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE
First episode seen:REMEMBER ME
Least favorite episode:IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL






XENA ACRES
By Deborah Monroy
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
1378 words



Author's Note:

This story is dedicated to my friend Joan Karpeles who first lured me into the Xenaverse with a book.




We Have Issues (03-05)
A Fly in the Ointment and Other Silly Things (06-13)
Meanwhile, Back at the Tangent (14)
More Issues (15-19)
Biography



XENA ACRES



Amphipolis is the place to be... --

Green Acres is near Hooterville. Xena Acres could be Hooterville.


[01] In the beginning, Xena and Gabrielle could be distinguished by observing "one kicks *ss and the other doesn't". Over five seasons though, Gabrielle became increasingly militant. Also, there was a subtext raging through many viewer's minds: Are they lovers? In the maintext, they obviously were not. When the mood moved her, Xena tossed some male on his back. Gabrielle, while sponsored by the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love, never seemed able to take sex seriously. Gabrielle suffered from SADD: Sexual Attentiveness Deficit Disorder. Even Iolaus' kiss only inspired her to giggle.

[02] Fans fantasize, and you know who you are, not-so-gentle reader, peruser of kinktext and extreme Xena, but Gabrielle and Xena are not lovers. These women have work to do. Together.




We have Issues

Balcony hanging is the life for me... --

Like Xena, Lisa Douglas at first had a lot of issues, but she eventually got over them.


[03] There are serious issues in XENA, issues of friendship and death. The opening episode of season five, FALLEN ANGEL (91/501), embodied theology, mythology, religion, and epic fantasy. It is that connection, the absolute bond shared by Xena and Gabrielle, which was highlighted and threatened in every scene in FALLEN ANGEL. The two women were crucified. They died and went to heaven. They stood together wearing long white gowns. Each was the bride of the other. Then they went to hell, but not at the same time. They kept missing each other. One was above, then one fell below.

[04] Xena, fallen into hell, the darker sister among other angels, became a most effective demon. In warrior-conquest mode, she led the brothers and sinners in an attempt to take over heaven. Xena in the sky with demon wings was unstoppable. Gabrielle could not deter her from battling to take over heaven and slaughter the good spirits.

Xena: Gabrielle, the love that we have, it's stronger than Heaven or Hell. It transcends good or evil. It's an end in itself! Our souls are destined to be together. Gabrielle, you can't let me walk through Hell alone.

[05] XENA is all about the greatest love story ever told. The story happens to be about two women who are not lovers. How egregiously they are not.




A Fly in the Ointment and Other Silly Things

Hercules? Are you a pig again? --

There are sillier things than a pig out on a date. How about a pig in the pokey?


[06] What is that Joxer guy doing among these two effective women? He is worse than silly at best, a cross between a jester and buffoon. He lusts after Gabrielle. This may be why she does not seem to show any interest in sex, although her costume becomes more provocative each season.

[07] There are sillier issues in XENA. Here is one take on this issue, in the form of a lyric called "Xena Acres". I made up some of the words but the tune should be familiar to you:

Xena Acres is the place to be
Amazon livin' is the life for me
Subtext spreadin' out so far and wide
Toss that chakram give me that Argo ride

[08] A chakram is the round weapon Xena slings. Argo is the name of her horse. Some may substitute "Gabrielle" for "Argo" but this is just fantasy.

[09] Xena grew up battling between two brothers. Gabrielle only had a younger sister as her sibling. Our early childhood experiences influence our preferences as adults. That Xena and Gabrielle have different philosophies was spelled out in the sauna scene in KINDRED SPIRITS (107/517):

Amazon: What makes a man a good lover? If he's gentle and kind?
Xena: Noooo!!!
Gabrielle: Yes.

[10] Why are they not lovers? Because it is written in the Chronicles of Consternation that if the jackhammer and the cupcake lie down together nothing erotic will survive. I made up this source, but you can see from the text above how my position is supported. Perhaps.

[11] There was a hand holding scene near the end of FALLEN ANGEL (91/501) when Xena and Gabrielle rejoined the living. Reaching for Xena's hand is Gabrielle's first reflex. However, before this, Gabrielle wound up in Xena's arms. Xena-the-demon was enthusiastic about returning to hell yet only if Gabrielle resided there as well. She cradled Gabrielle in her arms as she leapt off the precipice at heaven's edge. Xena had forgotten all about the battle to take over the celestial kingdom. Archangel Michael grappled with Xena in an effort to stop their descent. Falling, he was unable to save anyone.

[12] Gabrielle did not hesitate to engage Xena in hand-to-hand combat yet Xena had enough firepower to beat her friend any day of the week and, most likely, twice on Sunday. Gabrielle was a good soldier but Xena truly went berserk. Heaven was no match for her. She beat the daylights out of Gabrielle. Gabrielle was lying at Xena's feet, bleeding in her shadow.

[13] Everyone was going to hell when Callisto, Xena's arch-evil enemy, had a change of heart. She rescued them from death itself. Mythology, religion, fantasy, and science fiction: out of the FALLEN ANGEL (91/501) tale Xena emerged pregnant. Somehow, Callisto was the other progenitor. This raised family issues.




Meanwhile, Back at the Tangent

Then, the phone rang and she had to climb up the pole... --

No hot tubs at Green Acres, but there is a shower!


[14] Somewhere, some time ago, I heard about kiwi wine. Like XENA, this wine is another New Zealand creation. Yet even in the Mother Country, Bay Area California, I have been unable to track it down. I cannot hold it in my hand. Is this wine a myth? I am still searching. Kiwi fruit are abundant in American markets as are the New Zealand sister produce, Braeburn apples. Perhaps it is this quest for kiwi wine, for kiwi spirits, which threw me into the arms of XENA.




More Issues

I want a chin THIS big! --

Everyone has issues at Green Acres, just like in the Xenaverse!


[15] This recalls family issues. In reality, my sister emerges as the hero of this story. Planted valiantly on the couch between us she kept my brother-in-law at bay while I watched those first episodes of XENA at their house. "Why is this show always about women beating up men?" he finally asked me. "Because it's fiction", I answered. In reality Xena is an equal opportunity warrior princess who beats up women and men, as necessary for the greater good.

[16] My sister for all her watchfulness did not seem to enjoy the show. However, she made sure no one changed the channel. She compounded her redemption by giving me a XENA action-figure for my birthday. How alike we are, my sister and me, and how different. She is nine years younger. Why is she wiser than I?

[17] Xena is always more wise than Gabrielle. Xena is more than a warrior who defends the defenseless. She is also a healer, a mother, and a murderer. As a healer, pressure points ("Xena: Warrior Chiropractor") and radical surgery are her specialties. During many episodes, she must battle with death.

[18] My battle is to make sense of the silliness, the slapstick, and the mythical splendor that designs XENA. The trowel and the hand-rake I battle with make satisfying XENA sword-sounds when they bash each other in the course of redeeming roses from the militant earth. The rose warrior, I am still stumbling in the garden, lacerations daily. It is best to weigh myth when working close to the earth, grappling with green villains in the garden.

[19] Xena and Gabrielle: Briefly Gabrielle holds Xena's hand as they return to earthly life in FALLEN ANGEL (91/501). These women have work to do, together. There is that act of contact, contact lucid beyond disguise.





Biography

Deborah Monroy Deborah Monroy
I am a theology student at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. My field of study is myth and religion. I am on the "Myth and Religion" panel for the spring Popular Culture Association conference, where I will present my paper entitled "Planning's the Thing: Acts of Theology in the World of 'Xena: Warrior Princess'".
Favorite episode:FALLEN ANGEL
Favorite line:Xena: "Who threw that pie?!" PUNCHLINE
First episode seen:THE BITTER SUITE
Least favorite episode:MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS





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