Who Loves Whom (01)
She Loves Her (02-07)
He Loves Her (08-09)
A Lesson to Go Home With (10-11)
THE USE OF CHARACTER RELATIONSHIPS ON TV:
HOW WRITERS USE CHARACTER RELATIONSHIPS TO KEEP AN AUDIENCE HOOKED
Who Loves Whom?
 Playing around with character relationships on television shows is common. It is all about keeping the audience guessing, seeing what faction wins out, and prolonging decisive choices as long as possible. For those people who like romance, the question is, 'how long can the audience be pulled before they demand definite character relationship pairings?' Examples can be found in Xena: Warrior Princess and Star Trek: Voyager.
She Loves Her?
 An aspect of humor for Xena: Warrior Princess was the question of Xena's sexuality. At first, she was seen with many men, including Ares. As the fandom grew, one faction, the self-proclaimed 'subtexters', began to see a possible relationship between Xena and travel partner and virtual sister, Gabrielle, in a homosexual manner. The writers and the production team of Xena: Warrior Princess saw this as a significant sector of their audience. They began to insert more material interpreted henceforth as 'subtext'. They did not use this material to immediately change the show, as its appeal would lose its horoscope-like accuracy (Horoscopes are written as general as possible to increase the probability of being accurate for a wider population of people).
 Eventually, episodes sea-sawed between Xena having a relationship between Gabrielle, Ares, or someone else. I wonder if certain writers had a pull to a particular point of view, and that is why they were different? More likely, the executives chose the fluctuation to appeal to the broadest base of fans. Her first known relationship within the Xena series (not inclusive of the Hercules "Xena Trilogy") was with Draco, a former soldier of hers. Concurrent with the pattern of sexual behavior during wartime, she had relations with many of her soldiers and used her sexual prowess to manipulate their actions. She used this same technique during the Xena Trilogy to pit Iolaus against Hercules.
 Upon receiving her own show, the writers revealed other relationships, both past and new. After Draco, the audience meets Marcus in THE PATH NOT TAKEN. He later returns in MORTAL BELOVED, where they revisit and explore new aspects of their love. The audience's introduction to Ares, Xena's predominant male lover through out the series, begins in THE RECKONING. Ares appears in many other episodes throughout the series. His relationship with Xena allows him to examine the qualities of immortality (in TEN LITTLE WARLORDS, Ares is temporarily mortal) and ultimately reform into a better man, er, god. He shows evidence of this in MOTHERHOOD, where he severs any loyalty to his family and sacrifices his immortality to save Xena.
 For anyone who has watched at least half of the Xena episodes, there is one relationship that cannot be ignored. This is the relationship, which exists between Xena and Gabrielle. Starting with SINS OF THE PAST, the writers introduce Gabrielle, a girl who is not afraid to say that slavery is wrong, but is out of place for an Ancient Greek female who is not an Amazon. She yearns for someone to accept her. Xena also does not fit the typical female mold of the time. From that alone, Gabrielle takes her side, hoping to befriend her and to find someone who might understand her. Gabrielle has a good heart, and idealistically believes that people can change their ways. She leaves with Xena, and looks up to her as a role model and a sister.
 For a large part of the series, the great device concerning the strife of Gabrielle is her blood innocence. In this way, she is completely opposite of Xena, and Xena wishes for her to maintain that innocence. The audience first witnesses this in DREAMWORKER, where Morpheus, god of dreams, would claim Gabrielle as his own if she would kill.
 Some of the Xena fans preferred a romantic relationship between the duo. Inferences to this as a possibility began in GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN, but Xena generally maintained loving Gabrielle as a family member (sister) more than a lover.
He Loves Her?
 The example in Star Trek: Voyager revolves around First Officer Chakotay's choice of mate. I have watched season seven, some of seasons five and six, and have read up on some of the earlier episodes. For a while, it seemed like the staff was pairing him with Captain Janeway. In "Muse", the thespian aliens portrayed Janeway and Chakotay together. In "Shattered", individuals from the different time zones inferred upon Chakotay's relationship with then Season One Janeway. Even she asked him how far they get in those seven years.
 Suddenly, after Borg refugee Seven of Nine experiments with her humanity in "Human Error," she and (the real) Chakotay begin seeing each other. I witnessed no transition from Chakotay adoring Janeway to him doting on Seven by the time of the series finale.
They Love Them All
 This manipulation of characters may seem benign, but they have very real results. However, it is clear that relationships of characters are easily changed to keep an audience hooked. Or at least what the producers think will keep viewers hooked.
 Ultimately, fans in different relationship sectors end up at each other's throats due to this manipulation. However, if people follow Xena's lesson of "a greater good," everyone can get along maturely as human beings.
Eugena Moulton is a college student who is studying Technical Writing. She has completed one novel and is working on several others. In the Xenaverse, she writes Ares and Xena stories.
Favorite episodes: TEN LITTLE WARLORDS, MOTHERHOOD
Favorite line: I gave up my immortality to save them ... I'm sorry, but I got a thing for her." - Ares, MOTHERHOOD
First episode seen: SINS OF THE PAST
Least favorite episode: Many of them, once TPTB tossed mythology