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Fins, Femmes And Gems


Teleplay by Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster
Story by Rob Tapert and Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster
Directed by Josh Becker

Writers
deb7
DebR
dumblonde
jkirk
Katrina
Pursh
TZ

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deb7 on Fins, Femmes & Gems:

<tongue-in-cheek>

"Joxer the Plot Device"

Joxer the Plot Device
Seeing him ain't so nice
In fact I want to skin his hide

Tho Gabby is his Fetish
She beats him with her wooden stick
Falling down and acting wrong
Being stupid all day long
He's Joxer, Joxer the Plot Device!

Joxer the Plot Device
White like a grain of rice
Everyone gawks at him
He's so pasty it's a sin.
When things get grim
He'll appeal to his Kin.

If you're inclined to wince
Because of Joxer's presence
Xenastaff aren't convinced
because they think that he's a Prince
Although he's not worth a pence!

His armour's really rusty
His socks are very musty
Plus he can destroy a scene
Look out!
He's lousy!
He's Joxer, Joxer the Plot Device
Joxer, Joxer the Plot Device!

The preceeding tune was brought to you by DeBeers, the diamond people!


INTRO: BE PREPARED TO BE MISLED

Heh..actually I didn't mind Joxer as much as I have at other times. I'm not sure why. Maybe because Josh Becker is pretty durn good at staging an ensemble while keeping the principles the principles and the guest star in his place in the background.

Or it could be that i fell into the trance that both Armus & Foster's script and Becker's direction created: focussing on Gabrielle.

"Well listen to my story 'bout Gabrielle,
A cute LITTLE GAL that's lookin' really swell,
Perfect hair, such a lovely lass
Nice, round breasts and a firm, young --- "

Gabrielle is not only the focus of her own obsession, she also plays a central role in both Joxer's and Xena's obsessions. She's the Gaia figure for the former and the Lyceus figure for the latter. Trippy.

Random quote: "She's come for me. I knew she would. She can't live without me for a minute."

Let me take a moment to characterise obsessions. By defintion, there must be a focal object. The object has both "real" and "symbolic" (fantastical) aspects. All actions revolve around the object and other people become means to an end -- the end being satisfying the obsession.

Key Sequence: Gab climbs out of the lake and begins to interpret Xena's obsession in terms of how it affects her [Gab]. She silences Xena when X tries to argue. Joxer flies in from the trees and (for the 1st time) states his obsession, silencing Gabrielle when she threatens to intrude on the fantasy by calling Joxer by his real name. Finally, when G and J depart Xena mutters, "Finally, some peace and quiet."

In Fins, a rather complex situation is set up. First of all, the story mirrors the dual nature of obsessions: It is both fluffy farce (the "real" or material level) as well as an in-depth character study (the "symbolic" or abstract level). In another way, it's both a blatant ripoff of things that we've seen in other episodes as well as a brilliant display of creativity on the part of all concerned. And even the subtext elements follow this 2-aspect pattern.

Then there's the thematic level. By making Gabrielle the "real" object of her own obsession as well as the combined real & symbolic manifestations of Joxer's and Xena's, she not only serves several different functions in the narrative, she also becomes at once the least sympathetic *and* the most cherished of the characters. There are some Fantastic, "Hello! This is staged!" shots highlighting Gabrielle's attractiveness: These serve to reinforce G's obsession and to draw us into it with her.

THE ABSTRACT

If there's any point to this episode whatsoever, it's to explore the multiple dynamics between Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer. Dynamic #1: X&G. Dynamic #2: G&J. Dynamic #3: The XGJ triad.

There are layers upon layers, for the "symbolic" still has its own special kind of reality.

Xena needs Gabrielle in the Lyceus role, but she also needs her as a "real" person -- in the here-and-now in order to catch the fish (the mundane) and to be Xena's partner and guide (the abstract).

Although she is generally selfless, Gabrielle needs to be appreciated by Xena -- in order to feed her ego-as-object (the surface obsession) *and* to affirm her place in the relationship & the world (the underlying "real" story).

Joxer wants Gabrielle as both his real and fantasy Gaia (the First Goddess). Gabrielle is a necessary element for Joxer to complete his fantasy and, by doing so, she reinforces his position as "lesser than". He is a "lower" primate (Phantasie) and a cared-for but annoying acquaintance (Material).

In terms of the triad, it's here that Becker's direction is key. Joxer the character is Fluff (i.e., relatively insubstantial), but he's obviously also real. X&G care for Joxer but they only let him in so far. So, to depict all of that, Becker had the task of making Joxer (1) always "there", (2) annoying, (3) helpful in a pinch, and yet (4) somehow invisible -- all at once.

The writers laid the foundation by attaching Joxer to Gab, highlighting Gab's obliviousness to the depth of his feelings, making Xena Joxer's rival, rendering Joxer mute *and* noisy, and moving him away from the action so that a "now you see him, now you don't" cycle gets enacted.

The key sequences: First, when the 3 arrive at the lake.

Xena: It's the ultimate fantasy.
Gabr: I am the ultimate fantasy.
Joxr: Uhh.

X&G dominate the screen, and even though they don't seem to be talking about the same thing, they're at least speaking the same language. J is in their world, but just by a thread.

The second key scene is when G and X are sitting on a log and Joxer goes swinging by in the nude.

J: [swings by twice, totally nude]
G: Do you ever get the feeling we're forgetting something really important?
X: That diamond thing.
G: That diamond thing.

What we and they should key on is Joxer and his plight. Instead, X&G remember the diamond and, furthermore, Joxer is shot so that he's basically unrecognisable (dehumanised). Notice also Gab's use of the 1st person plural, rather than the 2nd person (the grammatically correct ending).

Then there's the scene in which Joxer swoops in to show that *he* appreciates Gabrielle even if Xena doesn't, but then Xena swoops in to take Gab back and (in a beverage-spitting turn) emasculates Joxer.

Finally, in the closing scene, X&G contemplate the new constellation (the diamond and Lyceus now "far away" concerns) but the important discussion is about Gab's place in the relationship. Meanwhile, Joxer remains Attis: acknowledged *and* outside the circle of the campfire.

Note about the handling of subtext in this episode. It's long been recognised that there are 2 or 3 "types" of subtext in XWP. There's the self-conscious, inserted subtext -- the fishing scene in Altared States being the prototypical example. Then there's the subtext that flows sort of naturally out of the narrative and can't really be "controlled" -- eps like Dreamworker, Remember Nothing, and A Day in the Life, which revolve around how central X&G are to one another are prototypes. (The "acting level" subtext can be seen either as a separate category or an outgrowth of the 2nd.) Both the conscious and subconscious level subtext figure heavily in this episode. On the one hand you have the fish jokes, X&G getting wet, etc., but on the other you have the examples of X&G remaining surprisingly focussed on one another even within their self-absorption, and of them breaking out of their obsessions (even if only momentarily) *for* one another.

BACK TO THE MUNDANE

LL seemed "off" in the teaser, over-the-top & Meg-ish in the 1st scene, but hit her stride after that. It was when she was at her most understated and "regular" that she was funniest, and when she was "on", she was *really* on. What's interesting is watching LL walk the tightrope between those slap-you-in-the-face subtext moments (as in when Xena listens to Gab after the water rescue: another brilliant blend of inserted & acting level subtext elements) and the cleaner moments when X can't really touch G (in the way that would seem to derive naturally from the subtextual relationship).

Renee. Renee, Renee, Renee. Excellent blend of "dumb blond", "condescending, self-absorbed b*tch", and funny-as-hell. This woman is fast-becoming a comedic actress of the highest calibre.

I'm still trying to total up the number of previously-used elements and in-jokes that get referenced in this episode. Top of the head: Comedy of Eros & Quill's spells, A Day in the Life (the entire damn episode), A Nec. Evil's chakram-induced landslide, Altared States' "getting wet", fish as a sexual metaphor and/or a ref to LL and RT, G and J tied together to a pole (Callisto, Eros), the Thug Leader recycled from Quill.

DESCENT INTO MADNESS

Random quote: "Are you insane? Have you no understanding of absolute, inviolate comeliness?"

Random thought: Do you suppose when Gabrielle smelled her hair she detected hints of citrus and spice?

More subtext trippiness: I believe this was the first time we have seen the Most Often-Recurring X and/or G Gesture in Altfic: The two fingers to the other's lips manoeuvre.

Subtext/Foreshadowing in the Background: Didja notice in the artsy statue-painting things that Gab contemplates in Aphro's temple that the rightmost scene shows a women near a tree or a pole..and the woman has a monkey-thing clinging to her? Aphrodite is an aspect of Gaia...Gabrielle becomes Gaia.

More random subtext of another kind: "You know Xena, I've been thinking of rewriting this scroll. It just doesn't have a point of view."

Ha..in fact, I'm wondering if that line wasn't an in-joke referring to this script? Did this story get heavily re-written and re-worked to make Gabrielle and X&G more central characters? Notice that the episode title was changed from focussing solely on Xena's obsession to incorporating more apsects of the plot -- with "Femmes" being the centre, "fins" being the supposed primary element, and "gems" taking the hindmost place. Yes, there's the mundane reason that DeBeers was a sponsor, but there's also the "higher" reason. Notice also that Xena's pledge to "make sure Gabrielle gets more credit" gets said not once but twice.

Lo Duca gets a smiley for cleverness with a couple of gems: The "River Runs Thru It" inspired melody for the first fishing scene and a new "Lovers on the French Riviera" takeoff for Gab's post-Narcissus moment in the river.

"I could be crazy or this could be Bob" observation: There are 2 morals to this story. There is the mundane, textual level message that Joxer is here to stay but X&G will always undoubtedly be the focus. Then there is the extra- or sub-textual message that "although there's no denying that Lucy and Rob have gotten married and this will most likely have some (unknowable effect), ROC/Gabrielle and X&G will *not* be forgotten or otherwise diminished."

How Does This Tie Into The Rift Observation: Gabrielle & Xena have to be made sympathetic again *while* not undoing the humanising/greying that was done in the Decon Arc. I'd say both were accomplished in this episode. Gabrielle is not as completely selfless as she seems at first blush, and Xena still has to make a conscious effort to openly acknowledge Gab's contributions.

Joxer Growth Watch: Uh.... Seriously though, TR and Josh Becker get lots o' credit from me for keeping Jox-things under control. There *is* an art to physical comedy and it looks like someone "got it" in this ep.

PARTING SHOT

I was only mildly-amused the first time through, at some point figured out there was a lot more going on than i thought at first, loved ROC's performance (in fact howled in a number of places), realise I have written a more serious review than i ever intended, and wonder what will happen when it sinks in that what's looking to be my 3rd-4th favourite comedy was penned by Tapert, Armus & Foster.

c. 1998 deb7
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DebR on Fins, Femmes And Gems :

Ok, I don't know if I should feel guilty about it or not, but I really liked this one. It was funny. The most obvious reason being that Lucy and Renee are a great comedy team. They have such chemistry! And timing! And I have definitely got a THING for Aphrodite. It's only natural.

The main reason I liked it is because I took it to be a wink and nod and good-natured ribbing aimed at the fans and particularly the fan fiction writers. PWP, would have been mandatory in the disclaimer to this one for sure, I agree. (How unfortunate that we didn't get the steam that usually rises off such fanfic!) And the set up was perfect to send up the now formulaic 'first time' stories that have been written by the bushelful (and for which I am a major sucker!). There was pretense at a plot to begin, with the goal of getting Xena and Gabrielle to a beautiful secluded lake for some down time. (All quotes here are paraphrased.)

XENA: "Here it is--the perfect fantasy!"
GABRIELLE: "Yes, I am aren't I."

ROTF!

The subplot continues with Xena, heedless of her exposure, diving effortlessly into the water ready to give Gabrielle the best time of her young life. Once again, though, our fantasy is broken by Gabrielle refusing to join in the fun and ultimately confess her love for Xena while caught in Xena's waterlogged embrace.

XENA: "Gabrielle, come here. I want to show you something."

(SPLASH, THRASH, SPRAY That is the sound of thousands of fans scrambling to do the warlords bidding, but...)

Gabrielle refuses to fish! I'll have to the admit that the fish jokes stunk to high heavens but in a groaner kind of way. I laughed anyway. :) Even the one about... Well the one that proved that Gabrielle's innocence, and possibly her prudery is still intact.

GABRIELLE: "You want me to fist a fish? I can't even say, let alone do it."

The writers (A&F!?) perfectly parody 'the moment' by having Xena rescue Gabrielle so that they are lying on shore, soaked and close, and Gabrielle is in need of some mouth to mouth and... spew, spit, gurgle. Oh gods those women are good! I was rolling. And then the ever hopeful Xena hears the words she's been longing to hear... ('Oh blessed Aphrodite, I thought she didn't even like women!') only to have them crushed by an indifferent egotist. ('Rats! Foiled again!')

They sit on a rock being together, interacting, and Gabrielle brings up that pesky little question:

Gabrielle: "Aren't we forgetting about something?"
Xena: "You mean the plot? Nope, I got it all under control."

She is Xena afterall, in whomever's hand the pen is.

I also loved the lack of resolution bit at the end. Xena has some vague yet somehow profound insight about Lyceus that makes no sense. Aphrodite, having done her duty in the beginning is never seen again. (Though, to be true to the formula, she should have shown up at the end to gloat about her success at getting the reluctantly dense duo to finally acknowledge their hidden love.) Gabrielle realizes that she is underappreciated. Whew! Glad she figured that out!

Then in the end they lie pondering the stars while Xena lets loose with some beautiful NTENDRE2 (where is she?).

XENA: "The only reason I do any good at all in this world is because I do it with you."

Amen, Sister.

------

Now as for Jock Itch.... Was he in this ep? I know there were long periods of time where my eyes glazed over, and I felt searing pain in my head. Oh Goddess! It's coming back to me! He was naked. And rubbing all over Gabrielle. I think I must regurgitate.

So why no resolution for Joxer? Because to end his obssession he would have to admit that he is a knuckle-dragger? That's all. The character was true to form. "Same old torture, every epiosde, every episode." I will say that the accurate portrayal of him as a gorilla did make his presence almost as bearable as nails on a chalkboard. That's an improvement.

c. 1998 DebR
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dumblonde on Fins, Femmes And Gems :

Here goes.
I loved this episode. Besides being so completely filled with subtext, just getting to see my favorite bard and warrior on the screen together is usually enough for me.

Should I start with the quotes I loved?

"Come on Gabrielle, let's get wet."
"She wants me to fist a fish, I can hardly say it much less do it."
"When I look into your eyes, I realize there is only one person in this world for me...me!"
"You go Gabrielle. You're beautiful when you're angry."
"You don't have to say it, but it's nice to know that you feel that way."

How about the scenes?
Gabrielle singing her own praises. Great lyrics too. Xena whistling her own tune. Classic. Xena rescuing Gabrielle from drowning, breasts first. Gabrielle about to shed her clothing, until she realized she had an audience. Gabrielle (the true dumblonde) losing count as she brushed her hair. Xena snatching Gabrielle out of Joxer the Ape Man's clutches.

I suppose I could go on, but I would be reciting the whole episode. As much as I like the serious episodes, the funny ones tend to have more subtext, and give me much more to think about. Did this episode suggest that they are not yet lovers? Maybe. But t hen there will be a lot more "first time" fan fics to read.

Do I think they are lovers? Hades Yes! But to me, being lovers is not about whether they have had sex, it's about whether they love each other or not. It's about what extremes they will go to for each other. It's about anger, jealousy and devotion and com mitment.

This was just a plain, all around, great, (who cares? plotless) episode. Who cares that Joxer was in it at all? I don't. He is becoming the funny looking puppy that they bring out on occasion to make me laugh, and laugh I do. Granted, I don't relish the fact that he has been signed to do 22 episodes next season, but as long as they (the writers) don't screw it up, I won't mind one little bit.

c. 1998 dumblonde
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jkirk on Fins, Femmes And Gems :

Good grief.

Plot? What plot? Why bother with a plot. Is this what we can look forward to seeing in the Joxer intensive, lighter fourth season? UGH! Is there a doctor on the list? I need medication to counteract an overdose of Joxer. Or maybe it would be a better idea to develop an anti-Joxer serum to give to TPTB. It could work in one of two ways: either they would forget about Joxer entirely, or they would killed him off in a very gruesome, horrible manner and HE STAYS DEAD, never to return again, never is even mentioned again. Either way works for me.

Sorry, I know I get a little carried away talking about Joxer, but after FMN my feelings for this character have gone from merely annoyed dislike to hate.

BTW, did anyone else read this little tidbit from the TV Guide website? I stumbled across this a few days ago and it caused my brain to go numb.

Disclaimer: if you feel the same way about Joxer as I do, the following may have the effect of making your brain go numb also.

24 March 1998

SirJoxer: Will there ever be a romance between Joxer and Gabrielle? We see how much he loves her, but will we ever see that love returned?

Raimi: Hail to Thee, Sir Joxer. Yes, there will be more romance between Joxer and Gabrielle. There are scripts in the works for season 4, which I am getting ready to shoot 1 month from now. And Joxer will probably resolve his relationship with Gabrielle by either officially going out with her or terminating the relationship forever. I don't know which. Stay tuned. Good Question!!

Since this interview took place on the 24th of March, I assume this is not an April Fool's joke. I would certainly hope TIIC, (I am sorry if that offends anyone, but in this instance if fits) have the good sense to "terminate the relationship forever". But I remember all too well last summer hoping that they had the good sense not to rape Gabrielle. They didn't. Now, I have little faith in their good sense.

They rape Gabrielle and then maybe pair her off with Joxer. They have no respect for Gabrielle's character whatsoever. I've almost had enough. The events of this season have me more than halfway out the door, possibly 22 eps of Joxer and possibly having him become Gabrielle's love interest have me three-quarters of the way out. I might watch the start of the fourth season before I give up all together, but I am not overly optimistic at this point.

This isn't only about Joxer. I would not be happy even if one of the characters I liked were possibly going to be in all of next season's episodes. Of course if it were Ephiny, I might be a little less upset :) That, however, is not going to happen :( Danielle's last name is not Raimi.

I understand that Xena & Gabrielle need other characters to interact with, it would get pretty boring otherwise. Although I would rather watch an episode of X & G sitting around picking their noses than to see another episode with Joxer in it.

Why not create new characters? TPTB have given us some good characters like Palimon, Cecrops, Lao Ma, and Bodicea. Why not use some other gods? I have seen enough of Ares this season as well. New and different characters please, not the same ones over and over again- especially Joxer.

Oh boy, this was supposed to be a post about the new episode, not another Joxer rant. Point? What point? Why should a post about an episode without a plot have a point?

So, there was one thing I liked very much about this episode- the subtext.

The rest of this post will do what I am going to attempt to do from now on- ignore the hell out of Joxer.

The plot (and believe me, I am using the term loosely) revolves around thugs hired by Aphrodite stealing the Mystic Diamond. This somehow has something to do with the North Star. If it goes out, travelers who rely on it for direction will be lost. In order to keep Xena and her "pesky posse" from pursuing the thugs, Aphrodite casts a spell on them that causes them to be obsessed with whatever they are thinking about at the time the spell is cast.

Gabrielle becomes obsessed with herself.

Xena becomes obsessed with fishing -again. Aphrodite: "You're never getting that smell off your hands now."

I liked Gabrielle's song about herself, sung _very_ roughly to the tune of The Beverly Hillbillies:

Well, listen to my story about Gabrielle,
Cute little gal that's looking really swell.
Perfect hair such a lovely lass,
Nice round breasts and a firm young...(cut off by Xena's hand clamping over Gabrielle's mouth.)
Xena to Gabrielle as she is running for the lake: "This is going to be the best thing of your young life. C'mon Gabrielle, let's get wet!"

Xena's method of fishing is that she dives, wiggles her fingers to attract the fish, and then punches the fish in the face with her fist.

She encourages Gabrielle to try it. Gabrielle: "She wants me to fist a fish?"

As the plot limps lamely along, Gabrielle sees her reflection in the lake and falls in while trying to kiss it. Xena comes to her rescue.

Gabrielle: "Then you... you pulled me up and...(now Xena is beginning to look very interested) I looked into your eyes...(now Xena is engrossed) and Xena I finally realized... there can only be one person for me in my life...(now Xena is really excited) ME!" (now Xena is disappointed and put out)

Xena's obsession with fishing is such that she doesn't go after the diamond herself, but manipulates Gabrielle into going after it. "It's perfect just like you."

Gabrielle catches up with the thugs who have the diamond and takes them on with a vengeance. Xena: "You're beautiful when you're angry."

Gabrielle retrieves the diamond and the chase is on. Gabrielle and the thugs eventually, of course, come to where Xena is fishing. The thugs tie Gabrielle up and the fight is on with Xena. She, naturally, saves the diamond and disposes of the thugs, but in the process Solaris(the fish) gets away.

Xena decides to use the diamond as bait to catch Solaris. She rigs an elaborate rope contraption with the diamond as centerpiece. The fish takes the bait, Xena cuts the rope, and diamond and fish are flung to the heavens. The North Star is saved and that night a new constellation that looks like a fish is in the sky.

Then we have about 2 seconds of plot(?) resolution. Moments of Insight. Although I'm not too sure what Xena's was except that it had something to do with her dead brother.

For Gabrielle it was that "no one gives me credit for anything and everyone thinks I'm a silly sidekick."

Xena, of course, promises to give her more credit and all is well.

The closing scene was reminiscent of the closing scene to ADITL. Xena and Gabrielle are side by side on their bedroll looking at the stars.

G: "It's a good thing that you figured out all of that insight stuff, Xena. Who knows how long we'd be under that spell."

X: "I couldn't have done it without you. The only reason I do any good at all in this world is because I do it with you. You make an important contribution every day. I'm gonna make sure that people know that from now on."

G: "You don't have to do that. But it's nice to be reminded that you feel that way."

They smile at each other and as they fade to black Gabrielle's hand reaches out to rest on Xena's arm.

Good subtext, but unfortunately not much else to recommend this episode. Hopefully if TPTB are truly going to go in a lighter direction next season they can do better than this. Most of this season's comedy has been very heavy-handed and juvenile. That just does not work well for me. The dry and campy humor of the second season works best for this show, IMO.

c. 1998 jkirk
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Katrina on Forget Me Not:

Diamonds are Forever
-------------------------
The diamond was one good aspect of the show. It was large and sparkly, but unfortunately, unweildy as a "plot" device. I liked the idea of it being connected to a "star," but the mythos of it "controlling" the star just didn't feel right, so I didn't really buy the storyline. There was too much of "Well EVERYONE knows that isn't true." The mythic possibility of it "becoming" a star. .Now that was interesting and the flinging of the fish into the skies was an unique way of explaining a constellation. Just shows that Xena really is a DemiGoddess and that obviously she didn't need to have "equipment," to have thrust. She just had to have timing. (Her sword is bigger than their swords. . .

Hello Subtext Moment.

That was sly humor and that I got.

Grunts
--------------------------
The trio of grunts vs Xena? Didn't have a chance. Gabrielle, who looks beautiful when she's angry (Hello Subtext Moment), whooped their butts. Interesting that she totally expected Xena to rescue her. Which she did, using. .other. .resources. . .

Grunting Heman
--------------------------
Well.

Well.

Okay let me think.
I can think of something nice here, I'm sure.

Okay, Ted obviously spent a lot of time studying monkeys. Real thought while he was eating bugs: That catepillar had "danger markings" all over it. Big sign that it was poisonous. Shouldn't have eaten it. . .Second real thought, the bug jokes fell flat for me because I know people eat bugs. Now me, I want them NOT to still be moving when someone's chewing. .but. .yeah, I could picture it without squicking.

The funniest joke had to do with The animals ignoring him. That was. .actually . .funny, because I could relate to it and this was what Xena and Gab should have been doing from the beginning. Good use of stock footage.

As far as Jox/Gab subtext romance. .I think the foreshadowing of Xena swooping in to rescue Gab was pretty. .well. .there (Hello Subtext Moment). Joxer isn't gonna win this "battle" of "xex"

However, this doesn't mean that Xena isn't above taking advantage of Jox's interest to protect her own best interest or agenda.

Bad Deal: Jox carrying away Gabrielle. The problem of Jox, even as Attas the apeman, being unable to hear what Gabs is really saying and ignoring her disinterest is. .well. .that. .a Problem. It makes him seem scary. Not a good place to be if tptb are trying to make the character, "edible."

Good Deal: It is pretty obvious that while Gab is capable of acknowledging Jox as a Man, she's NOT interested (other than in passing.)

Neked
------------------------
Was Neked Joxer funny? hmmm .. .Not as funny as the three neked Gabrielles. . .I dunno. It's not that he's white and skinny. Actually I know some white skinny guys that I find xexxy. It's not that he's male.

They were pushing an envelope with this one (Good Thing) but I just had to question the . .SOCKS. They left the Socks on! and. .while I'm sure that was supposed to be comedic, to show he just. .wasn't all there.. I found it. .annoying. As Attas, the guy shoulda been Neked all the way or Not at all. I mean, I was buying the whole monkey boy routine while Jox was clothed in his regular duds, so I didn't necessarily have to see "nature boy," too.

And the swinging around in Gab's nighty. . .say, who does she wear that for? Certainly Not for Jox. He didn't even know she had it. Hmmm, Hidden Hello Subtext Moment!!!

A sad subby moment
---------------------
Okay, it was obvious.

Xena was listening as Gab was saying something along the lines of "I looked into your eyes and I could see that there's only one person for me, ...Me." Ouch!!!

Now. .I found this disturbing for a couple of reasons. .1. GEEzdang It gave me the impression (for a moment until I remembered that pink dress nighty thing) that they "weren't" lovers. .yet. Dang it CN was right. .2. Then I got to thinking. .well if that just doesn't go and undo HOURS of leading me to think they were. . and putting them on the "first time" basis. 3. .I realized that if they want to bring on Subtext (really strong) but avoid what happens to other series that "couple," their couples, they need to have X&G as lovers already. . .(along the lines of Hart to Hart) . . .which they kind of do but. .this. .wow. .this episode made me realize that they really did make some episodes just to be shown at whatever time. .

The point, well maybe there is none, but. . .Lucy's facial expressions were pretty damn charming. The look of hope and adoration was almost painful, yet very convincing. Gotta congratulate her on that.

Once again, Lucy and ROC demonstrate just how good they are, even when dealing with a Stinkin' script. . ..

Hello Subtext
---------------------
"Come on Gabrielle, Let's get wet!!"

yah, let's do. Xena strips to her shift and Gabby begins undoin the bgsb. ..and it all stops because Joxer is there. DANG!!! it. .Now I remember why the subtexters get annoyed. .I was so looking forward to the sweet view of censored milky white. . ....uhm.

right, anyhow, once again we get chaperoned. .but. the subtext was there. ..

But it was dodging and weaving. Are they aren't they . .if they aren't they should be. . . And how.

Joxer in the middle. .hmmm. .NOT working. .except when he's being left as apeman out at night.

I liked the last scene but wish they hadn't clipped it so tight. I think I do want to see some. .real indication of "completion." If a show could handle it, it would be this one. Kisses, hugs, touching. .Yeah. . it could be done without taking away from adventure, comedy and drama. Yep. . Longtime sweethearts. .Yeah, I don't have to see a "first time," except maybe in retrospect. . .but I'd like to see an "at all. ."

Okay.. done griping. .I should be grateful. This was after all an Armus and Foster and some how SUBTEXT was in there. .so. .okay. .but still. .

=============
Was this a good episode?
---------------

Well, like all the Xena eps, this had its good and bad moments. Some of the comedy was so heavy handed though that I didnt' find it as funny as I could have hoped. The plot was. ..not so good. Not so good. I love Aphrodite, I do want to see more of her, but. .LOVE isn't dumb. .Nor is she . that vengeful ..(IMHO) so. .this was yet another episode that I found hard to "believe."

Lucy and Renee carry their "obsessions," well, but the five minute resolution was kind of..too quick. .it owuld have been nice if Gab, who was smart enough to recognize, even briefly that she was obsessing, could have carried that and if Xena *and* gab could have worked out the differences.

You know, this show has MORE power when it doesn't rely on formulas. When it's not trying to "fit" a heroic mold. When the sidekick is more of a lover/companion than a sidekick (especially in the minds of the writers. . .the fans already see it) The writers give lipservice, but they haven't seemed to have "worked it out," yet.

So. .Ted, Yeah. .I can't really fault the acting. I don't know of anyone who's got a dumber look, except . .for Jim Carey. But that kind of comedy seems to be hit and miss for me. I liked Liar Liar and the Mask, but really didn't go for the humor in Ace Ventura or Dumb and Dumber. And the Dumber Joxer's Humor gets. .the lower my esteem for the character goes. . .

The Joxer/Gab romance thing HAS to go. Must go. Must be tossed, yanked and stomped on until it's fallen into the eternal pit of Tartarus and can't get back up again. IMHO. While we do get to see how "right," Xena is For Gabrielle. .I don't know that I like how it's. .being. .portrayed as a sort of "well anything would be better."

*sigh*

The point. .Not all Geeky guys are dumb and dumb humor only goes so far. If they really want me to find Jox's character palatable, lift him up a bit. Get rid of the romance and start "building," someone a bit more. . .relatable. IMHO.

There were those who panned the Quill is Mightier, but if I had to pick a "worse," for the season. . .This would be it. Not because of the acting, but because of the plotting and the carry through of that plot. The idea of a diamond being linked to a star was a pretty good one, but wow. .some of the plot was really patchy.

------------
This review brought to you by all the early Wednesday morning tornado warnings and the letter X.

c. 1998 Katrina prosper4@ix.netcom.com
Katrina's Xena Fanfiction at: http://bearblue.simplenet.com/xenafic.html

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Pursh on Fins, Femmes & Gems:

FISHIES, EGOS AND CONSTELLATIONS

I loved this ep. Oh who cares about plot. Plot schmlot. With Ellen officially off the air we have to snag and celebrate our televised subby sex wherever we can, and XWP is the reigning subtext queen right now, so take off your gear and get wet. This could be the best television experience of our young lives!

LOVE THAT UBERDITE!

Well Aphrodite is clearly the hippest goddess on the uber block. She watches Seinfeld (yah-dah, yah-dah, yah-dah), she listens to contemporary tunes on a very '90's head-set (whew, uh-huh, uh-huh) and she rebuffs her thugy, sweaty, smelly leader dude thingy with the most up to the minute derisive slang (duuhh).

BATTLE ON JOE

The music in this ep is delightful. It particularly enhances the subtext scenes, which when coupled with Lucy's fantastic facial expressions and ROC's comedic timing, have already become a significant source of rewind inspiration for me.

Plus, I love the music that accompanies the young Xena and Lyceus fishing scene. It's the eighth track, called Homeland, on the second XWP CD, and I was happy to hear a refrain of it in this episode. Ah, and speaking of the youthful Lyceus and Xena, the morph from Xena Adolescent Fish Princess to Xena Warrior Fish Princess has a solid foothold in the cool zone.

Ahhhhh, thank Isis, Demeter, Hera, Hecate, Hestia and whomever else, that the music is back on track again after that dreadful, repetitive, horn heavy hell that haunted and hogged When In Rome.

SWIMS, FEMMES AND GAMS

Fire up those rewind buttons all you leg muscle gals, because this ep has two truly celebratory Xena Leg Muscle Moments. Brava! There hasn't been a hard-core good one since OAAA, but TPTB made up for lost time by giving us two to cherish in this ep. The first occurs after the initial lake arrival fantasy chit-chat, when Xena dives into the water for the first time while delivering her proclamation inviting Our Lady gABrielle to get wet. The next happens when the Without Gear Princess dives in to save Our Lady of the Affectionate Reflection from drowning. Yum.

DROWNS, FEMMES AND GAMES

C'mon Our Lady gABrielle! Where's your manners, girl! Kiss that Breastplate-less Princess! Who cares if she tries to kiss you under the guise of mouth to mouth resuscitation. She's runnin' a smooth game, and after all she just pulled you out of the lake and saved your life, not that that is in any way aberrational. But here the scene is perfectly set for you to show your gratitude, and Mavis, you're worried about the potentiality of chapped lipsies! Girl, you've got some warped priorities, that's all I can say. Xena does everything else right, or damn close, so what makes you think she can't kiss a gal without frying her lips? I bet the big girl is such a good kisser that chap isn't even an option. I'll give ya a ten for nerve, because there's not a gal reading this review who would have rebuffed Xena like that, obsession or not.

SURPRISE! SOCKSTER THE FLIGHTY IS NOT EDIBLE

As fun as fishin' at the lake with Xena is, we of course can't get through a day in the life (pun acutely deliberate) without having our patience tested by Sockster the Flighty. They ought to cast him as an albino primate more often. At least in that role he's actually more funny than brain dead.

I admit that I found monkey boy's conversation with trout brother funny, along with his reference to the Fish Princess as the "great white monkey Xena" But alas, "edible" he is not. (Please hold for just one moment, while I make a quick trip out to the vomitorium for the projectile expulsion of gastronomical debris). "Edible" he will never be. When will they learn? He is not edible naked. He is not edible clothed. He is not edible without the pointy-pan helmet. He is not edible with the pointy-pan helmet. He is not edible in gAB's pink nightie. He is not edible with poofy hair and a Caesar-Cheeser head leaf head band. He is not edible when he's beat up. He is not edible when he is kidnapping gABrielle. He is not edible when he is lying to gABrielle. Why is this so difficult? Insensitive, disrespectful, obstructionist ape men wearing head leaves are not edible. Duh! He is not edible, but he is easily ignored (three cheers for the mute button, and her younger sister, the fast forward button).

NOT TONIGHT HONEY, I HAVE A HEADACHE

Hmmmmm. I guess Xena and gABS won't be doing the big nasty tonight owing to their mutual, and apparently lingering "insight" headaches. This explains why they keep their bodies 10 billion miles apart as they suss out the stars from their prone queen-sized bedroll position. Such a business! Especially considering that the only reason Xena does any good at all in this world is because she DOES IT with gABrielle.

GO FISH

I don't mind the fish jokes. Actually, I'm grateful that Rob Tapert is enamored with fishing and not some other exercise adverse sport like bowling or golf. Just imagine the three-stoogey miasma that Sockster could ferment on a golf course. Aaaaakkkk. I can just see it...

GREENS, IRONS AND TACKY CLOTHES

Xena has just put the pinch on Sockster with a flying nine iron because he laid his mandolin over the 15th hole green, thereby precluding her beautiful chip shot from resulting in par for the hole. Sockster writhes for air as he staggers toward the 16th hole sand trap.

Our Lady gABrielle has recently come from her stylist, where only hours before she had several bent nail wig inserts braided into the crown of her scalp in order to give her ^—do a lift like Xena had in Hooves and Harlots. For the first time during the entire morning Our Lady gABrielle has taken her attention off of her new hair.

OUR LADY gABrielle: Xena, you really need to do something about Sockster.

XENA: Like what?

OUR LADY gABrielle: Take the nine iron pinch off him.

XENA: I'll do no such thing! That silk-nightie wearing Neanderthal ruined my par on the 15th hole.

OUR LADY gABrielle (looking over her shoulder): Xena, we're on the 18th hole now, he's suffered long enough, and besides Macon is getting testy over there.

XENA: Macon was born testy. What's he got to do with this anyway?

OUR LADY gABrielle: He's in the foursome behind us with hAres, Petridese and Mr. Howell.

XENA (as she tees up for the 18th hole): Like I care.

OUR LADY gABrielle: Well, I'm going back to help him.

XENA lets a beauty rip straight down the fairway, and it lands just inches off the green. She heads toward her ball.

XENA: See ya.

Meanwhile, Macon's foursome has come upon Sockster, who has stumbled onto the 16th hole, where he is flopping around in the sand trap, much like a trout brother out of water.

hAres (to Sockster): Move it buddy.

SOCKSTER (as his face turns redder and he points alternatively at his neck and Xena's bent nine iron): Gasp.

MACON: Who is this idiot?

MR. HOWELL: (looking at Sockster's shoeless, sock-clad feet, his head leaves and his pretty nightie): I don't know, but he certainly doesn't know how to dress for a day at the links.

MACON (bending his knee and lifting his leg to reveal his spike-riddled golf shoe): I say we stomp ^—em.

hAres: Sounds good to me.

Macon gets in Sockster's face and flashes his spiked shoes which, but for the spikes, are a hideous waste of leather potential.

MACON: Hey buddy, you're s'pose ta wear these spiked 1940's lookin' type shoes on the golf course...

MR. HOWELL: Yeah, and a 1920's pork pie hat like mine.

hAres: Yeah, and a mismatched plaid leather ensemble with a tiny alligator sewn over the breast like mine.

Sockster continues his irksome plight for air, while Our Lady gABrielle appears on the fairway's horizon. As she rounds the 17th hole walking toward Sockster an errant shot coming from somewhere near the 3rd hole bee-lines straight for her head.

OUR LADY gABrielle (spotting the round white ball projectile thingy coming in her direction): Oh! I don't wanna break a bent nail wig insert! Xena! Xena!

The Warrior Par-tress hears her, but turns away to concentrate on her putt while whistling the XWP main title theme song. The errant 3rd hole ball bonks Our Lady gABrielle on the back of the head. She feels a golf ball sized lump begin to rise there.

OUR LADY gABrielle: Xena! Xena!

Sockster's eyes begin to bulge out of his face and his head looks like a four-square ball, but nonetheless, he begins stumbling toward Our Lady gABrielle, with outstretched arms. She doesn't recognize him with the ball head, and recalling that she left her staff in the club house, she reaches into her trusty fuzzy golf bag, and brings out her two iron. Using it as her staff, she promptly thwacks Sockster about the head and shoulders, inadvertently releasing the nine iron pinch, thereby inciting blood flow to his brain. He gasps for breath, and falls over dead.

OUR LADY gABrielle: Oh well. I guess since he's never had blood flow to his brain before, the rush caused by the inadvertent two iron release was too much for him. Hopefully with blood to his brain for the first time he was able to experience a sentient thought before his demise. gABS picks up Xena's nine iron and notices her reflection on the foot of the club.

OUR LADY gABrielle: Good goddess on high! That lump on my head is pushing up my bent nail wig insets and turning them into an anterior cranial spiky sticker patch! I'm sure that wretched Macon is responsible for this.

MACON (approaching): Hold on there little missy, I saw the whole thing. The errant ball that beaned you came from the foursome behind us.

OUR LADY gABrielle: And who might that be?

hAres: That's Megaera, Tisiphone, Alecto and Discord.

MR. HOWELL: I'm quite certain it was Megaera who hit you.

OUR LADY gABrielle: Well I guess Xena isn't the only one golfing with fury on the course this morning.

OUR LADY gABrielle knows that she's in over her head with the Furies and Discord so she turns to walk back to Xena, who has just sank a birdie putt on the 18th hole.

XENA (looking at Our Lady gABrielle's head): By the goddesses, Our Lady gABrielle, what happened to your new, pretty, poofy 'do?

OUR LADY gABrielle: Megaera put the errant 3rd hole fairway shot hooey on me. I guess she's still holding a grudge from that disagreement we had in the tavern last year.

XENA (putting her arm around Our Lady gABrielle): Well she wouldn't be Megaera, if she didn't hold her grudges.

OUR LADY gABrielle: Yeah, I guess.

XENA: Listen, speaking of taverns why don't we go to the club house for two nice cool nettle beers. We can sit there for hours and get sloshed, which, as near as I can figure, is the whole point of sports like golf and bowling. Then after having exhausted ourselves with non-stop tavern fun, we can watch the sun set over the fairway, after which we can lie in our big ol' bedroll and chat about constellations and insight headaches, by the light of the silver fish...

OUR LADY gABrielle: Oh, Xena, that sounds lovely, except that before Sockster's untimely but much anticipated demise on the 16th hole this afternoon, he ate every silver fish, caterpillar and carpenter ant in the forest so green. Even in death, Xena, he will always foil us.

XENA (pulling the little minx of Poteidaia close): Oh no my dearest, he didn't get the silver fish that I'm thinking of...

OUR LADY gABrielle: Xena, Promise?

XENA: Promise. Now let's go get some ice for your hair, while we enjoy a cool beer...

The camera fades out as our arm in arm gals round the 17th hole water hazard which segues into the 16th hole sand trap.

SOCKSTER THE ALBINO PRIMATE EATS FINS, FEMMES AND GEMS, MISTAKING THE XWP FILM FOR RARE, COILED FLAT BROWN CELLULOID TAPEWORM

The Two Dinars' investigative scribe squad has learned that Sockster accidentally ate this episode while foraging for forest dwelling entomological delicacies. Apparently the prattling, primitive, prehensile bumbler ingested the film, thinking it was the rare, exclusively lake-dwelling coiled flat brown celluloid tapeworm of New Greeceland. Fortunately a quick trip to Purhsy's one-stop vomitorium and herbal emporium resulted in the safe recapture of the episode. A meddling and fertile-minded 2D word dog has taken the liberty to rearranged the episode's actual dialogue, with a gratuitous snip here, and a fleeting addition there, in an effort to enhance an already enchanted day at the lake.

WELCOME TO FANTASY LAKE!

Xena Fish Princess has just pulled the drowning gABrielle and The Four Seasons from Fantasy Lake. gABS and The Four Seasons lies prone on the shore, while Xena Fish Princess leans over her. They look deeply into to each others eyes.

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS: Xena?

XENA FISH PRINCESS: Yes darlin'.

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS: I love it when you leave your hand on my breast way longer than necessary after you save me from drowning in my own reflection.

XENA FISH PRINCESS (smiling and leaning closer to gABrielle and The Four Seasons): Ha, Ha! Gotcha, gotcha, now I'm gonna eat 'cha!

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS (laughing): Oh, you'd like that wouldn't you?

XENA FISH PRINCESS: C'mon gABrielle and The Four Seasons, let's get wet. This could be the best thing of our young lives...

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS (giggling with glee): Oooooooo, has great white monkey Xena come for gABrielle and The Four Seasons?

XENA FISH PRINCESS (feigning as if she were an under-sexed primate) : Ooo! Ooo! She monkey need you!

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS giggles as great white monkey Xena hops around in a she-ape like manner.

XENA FISH PRINCESS: C'mon gABrielle and The Four Seasons, get your gear off, and I will take you to the raging river, where for three moons we will make serious fug fug.

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS: Oh, Xena, not now, I'm as frazzled as a wig on a bent nail, and besides, I have this terrible headache.

XENA FISH PRINCESS: Come to think of it, me too. Fortunately I have the perfect antidote for a frazzled as a wig on a bent nail headache.

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS (ignoring Xena Fish Princess): Oh! Where is my brush!?

XENA FISH PRINCESS (ignoring her back, and becoming somewhat confused by her own verbiage): Baby, I said I have the perfect antidote for a wig on bent nail frazzle headache.

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS (unable to ignore her would-be she-ape mistress any longer): And what is that?

The Fish Princess bends down and moves closer to gABrielle and The Four Seasons, whispering something in her ear that we pathetic fans can't hear.

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS (laughing and rolling over, away from the Fish Princess): Xena, that's not humanly possible.

XENA FISH PRINCESS (with enthusiasm as she moves toward gABrielle and the Four Seasons): Sure it is!

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS (with her back to the Fish Princess): Very funny. Fortunately I have a brilliant sense of humor.

XENA FISH PRINCESS (on the verge of whining): Oh, gABrielle and The Four Seasons, can't we just try it? C'mere, puhleeeeease, I want to show you something.

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS rolls over to discover that her Fish Princess has completed the removal of the rest of her gear.

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS (gleeful and with verve as she looks at Xena and begins to undress, while her headache magically fades away): And who is that I see before my eyes?

XENA FISH PRINCESS (eyeing her little minx with approval): Ummmm, oh yeah, looking good... gABrielle and The Four Seasons (immodestly, but joking): Well, what's not to like?

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS initiates a rather involved kissy-poo, and one thing leads to another, as tends to be the case in these privacy-by-the-lake moments. After the passage of some certain amount of time The Four Seasons and The Fish take note of the night sky, while they maintain the entwined position that only hours before seemed humanly impossible to the Poteidaian lass.

XENA FISH PRINCESS: We have to do that more often. It was just the way I remembered it. Amazing.

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS (looking lovingly at her Fish Princess): It really was. It was just wonderful. It was flawless, like you and your leg muscles. I feel right at home here with you.

XENA FISH PRINCESS (sort of singing): Uh-huh, Uh-huh.

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS: Wow, Xena, you know cutting Sockster out of this regurgitated version really reduced line drag, not to mention knuckle drag.

XENA FISH PRINCESS: Ahhhhhhh. You and me alone, without any interference. This is the ultimate fantasy.

gABrielle AND THE FOUR SEASONS: We are the ultimate fantasy.

The Fin playfully rolls the Femme over on her back and our gals begin another round of the humanly impossible as the sun winks a knowing good-bye from the lake's outer most edge.

c. 1998 Pursh
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TZ on Fins, Femmes And Gems :

This is one show that my son is not allowed to watch. Why, you ask? Well, it would seem to me that TPTB shifted gears to a more mature audience with this little adventure. In my little part of the world, X:WP has been moved to 10:00PM, which is good, because now I can review the episodes before my eight-year-old has a chance to view them. And this one definitely ended up on the "When You Turn Seventeen" list. Needless to say, he wasn't all that happy about it.

I, on the other hand, have had the opportunity to over-indulge my need for tasteless fish jokes. I loved this episode. It will probably be the one that I watch after I cry my way through "Maternal Instincts" just so that I can feel better about things in the Xenaverse.

The humor was definitely adult in nature and subtext was killed. Yes, folks...it's dead. Even the unfortunate clueless should have picked up on things in this one. From the Xena's line "Come on, Gabrielle, let's get wet," to the very obvious loving looks the warrior gave the bard after the water rescue, and Xena's "You're beautiful when you're angry," I was gasping for air. Of course, it took a while to recover my breath from laughing at Gabrielle's little ditty and Xena's response about the fish being armed, so that may have been the cause.

I loved Renee O'Connor in this one, especially her short monologue in regards to Xena's request that she learn how to "fist a fish." Even after watching the ep probably a dozen times, I can't help laughing while trying to repeat the line. Have I mentioned how nice she looks in a wet skirt??

Joxer? Well, I got tired of hearing his ape-talk after a while, but that's why my remote has a fast-forward button. At least our favorite bard got to slug him one. After reading about the rumors, I dread the fourth season.

The editors needed to put in a little more time on this one. Notice during the water rescue how Joxer was without and then suddenly with armor, and then without again? Sloppy work, guys.

The scene at the end was nice. Makes you wonder if with OAAA and the closing scene which takes us back to ADITL, if TPTB are trying to make it up to us for the rift.

c. 1998 Used with permission. TZ
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