Whoosh! Issue 71 - August 2002

By John Vasser
Content © 2002 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2002 held by Whoosh!
1252 words

THE LAST DANCE Videotape (01-03)
The Critique (04-14)



'I'm a little bit country'...'and I'm a little bit rock and roll...'

Doing the last dance
(Pasadena, May 2001)

[01] I thought I had missed something by not going to Pasadena and the big convention in May 2001 that featured two hours of Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor. But friends who did go assured me that I had not. One of my friends gave me the tape of THE LAST DANCE from Creation Entertainment. Just before Christmas, I had a chance to quietly watch it.

[02] The following is NOT a review. Others can give you the "she said" and then "she said" blow-by-blow that I find tiresome to read and tiresome to write. Rather, this is a critique. Some of you may NOT want to read what I have to say, so just click the back button and I will be out of here.

[03] I understand that this may have been an event where many would say, "you had to have been there" to appreciate how great it was. Of course, I understand how being in a crowd of Xena "shippers" and "subbers" [Note 01], one would get a sense of high enthusiasm. I watched the tape with several years of built up reverence and enjoyment for the series, which for me ended with the episode, MANY HAPPY RETURNS. Therefore, I was in a very positive frame of mind, eager to watch my two heroes almost in the flesh, as it were.

The Critique

[04] I will not beat around the bush; it was disappointing in many ways. I was aghast at the setting, a huge dirty, dingy stage. How could they use my favorite people like this? Perhaps that is all they had to accommodate the great number of fans. Nonetheless, it was awful to put these two special people on with no props and have them walk around and answer questions and keep up enough energy so they would appear to be having a great time.

[05] The camera angle was abysmal. Most of the time, it framed one or both of the women with a background of their crotches. The crotches came from a projection of them on a huge screen hanging behind them. Not everyone in the audience could see Lucy Lawless or Renee O'Connor, so the screen served a good purpose at the live event. In the tape, however, it was a distraction. Sometimes the background was the wings or sides of the stage, which appeared to be piled high with assorted junk or trash.

[06] These two people deserved better treatment as they struggled and strained to be spontaneous while they answered questions from Sharon Delaney's occasionally seen head. It was great to watch Lawless and O'Connor move around and parry the questions off one another. Only two of the questions interested me and mostly that was because their replies were so opposite from each other.

[07] One question was on "subtext." They appeared comfortable with it -- obviously they both are liberals -- and they agreed that the series Xena: Warrior Princess was a love story. There! I really wanted that because it was what I felt so strongly. As for the "sub" or "shipper" question, they agreed that it was up to the viewer to see what each wanted. Great again. It showed they realized how it appealed to a large segment of humanity.

[08] Then they were asked what they thought of the ending. Here, of course, they had to prevaricate since it had not yet been screened. I sensed and felt a complete departure from what they had emphasized in their other answers. Their body language telegraphed their discomfort. Not that they were lying, but more that they had learned a script to answer with and they really did not FEEL it -- certainly not when surrounded by dedicated, loving fans.

[09] Therefore, that was a downer. Love story or not, there was no doubt that it was going to end badly and sadly, and in rivers and oceans of tears. The sadness jumped right out of the tape with the collective groan of the audience. LAST DANCE was aptly named.

[10] Positive moments were watching them move as I have already mentioned, and they sang one song but that was not nearly enough. Lucy Lawless should have had a solo near the beginning when her voice was fresh. Will she please do a CD for us soon? As we have seen in countless episodes, Lawless and O'Connor complimented each other and their friendship was palpable and comforting. Lawless was, as always, the class clown, and O'Connor wore her five-month pregnancy like a Girl Scout badge. But for two hours?

[11] "Help them! Put out a couple of chairs or a table or even a lamp to knock over." I kept yelling at the screen but to no avail. I really thought that those who staged this were imbeciles and should be kicked.

[12] Another thing of interest -- I have heard Lucy Lawless mention in interviews that she has never seen complete or finished episodes in the series. Both women on the tape seemed surprised to hear of things that happened to them in some episodes. Yet, following the screening of FRIEND IN NEED, we are told that Lawless accused Rob Tapert of "outing her character." Was O'Connor's character outed as well? When? What is going on here?

[13] To clarify my question -- did O'Connor also see her character as being "outed" in FRIEND IN NEED? Certainly there were several previous episodes that could give credence to that relationship, so why was Lawless so surprised by the last episode? My thought was that she may have been uncomfortable and found it difficult to cope with her character's choosing Akemi over Gabrielle.

[14] I predict that years from now, a gray haired lady will tell some great tales of the time when she played the part of Xena, Warrior Princess and the mystery will be solved. Until then, there are reruns on Oxygen, tapes and the many, still vital Xena: Warrior Princess lists where our fellow Xenites hang. If we are lucky, very lucky, Lawless will record some of her favorite songs for us in that lovely voice we have all come to love.


Note 01

In the Xenaverse, the terms "shippers" and "subbers" are loosely used to differentiate between the fans who prefer to see Xena and Gabrielle in a somewhat exclusive relationship ("subbers") and those who see Xena and Gabrielle in other relationships ("shippers"). "Subbers" is derived from "subtexters" that refers to the word "subtext" and that refers to the belief that there is a subtext to the show Xena: Warrior Princess, where Xena and Gabrielle are carrying on some sort of romantic relationship. "Shippers" is derived from "relationshippers" that refers to the word "relationship" and that refers to any romantic relationship that Xena and Gabrielle have, other than each other ("subtext" is reserved for that).

Return to article


John Vasser John Vasser
Teacher, writer, gardener and proud associate of many wild and domestic furs, fins, and feathered friends - some of whom are named after a Xena: Warrior Princess cast member.

Favorite episodes: THE RECKONING; THE FURIES
Favorite line: Xena: "Gabrielle, you are a gift" A SOLSTICE CAROL
First episode seen: SINS OF THE PAST
Least favorite episode: A FRIEND IN NEED



Return to Top Return to Index