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Okay, let me take the easy, scattershot approach and list all things I liked first:
Overall, Hilary Bader's script worked very well-I thought this episode was in some ways funnier than 'Been There, Done That' , blew 'Warrior...Priestess...Tramp' out of the water and contained a few knowing winks as well a few knowing barbs at the bards who produce X&G fanfiction.
Bader's proved she can write good comedy-now let's see her tackle a serious theme.
Renee O'Connor was just _GREAT_ in this ep-it was _SO_ good to see Gabrielle happy and smiling again, full of her wonderful idealism for peace and love.
And it was also nice to see TPTB finally return to acknowledging her talents as a bard; to see her thinking as bard. This Gabrielle was smart and quick and full of energy and life:)
Major kudos to Kevin Smith's Ares and Alexandra Tydings' Aphrodite-wonderful performances and interactions from them both!
What a "kick" to see Gabrielle doing Xena's gravity defying, improvisational fighting stunts and taking out "the barbarians" at the beginning of the ep-delightful:)
The "Gab's Abs Of Steel" bit was cute, too;-)!
As for Allison Wall's Minya-what a neat way to bring back a funny, likeable character. Loved her "Who's the stud, the dork, and the bottled blonde" line:)!
The whole "Gabrielle awoke with a jerk" running gag, and Joxer's inability to "get it" until the very end was very amusing.
And yes, I even found that ever so rare season three element in this ep-X&G subtext that arises from a positive origin-I found it funny and somehow touching to see that it took their mutual deep "interest" in Xena for Ares and Gabrielle to find some common ground to "bond" upon;-)
More positive X&G subtext-when Xena says she visited almost everyone who ever meant anything to her-except Gabrielle:)
When Xena looked at Gabrielle as she spoke those words, there was, for a fleeting moment, an exchange of those wonderful, patented "X&G special emotional glances" that eloquently speak volumes for us pro-subtexters.
And if that wasn't enough, even Aphrodite as much as "confirmed" the truth of that X&G moment by saying she hated to break up "like, a major love fest".
And Xena didn't seem displeased at all when she mentioned seeing "three naked Gabrielles.";-)
Forgive me for gushing so, it's just been such a long, dry spell since I've seen anything like that in this third season.
And now, the bad stuff-and if you're a Joxer fan, you might want to stop reading here-and anyway, remember the following is just IMO:
Bader didn't "handle" Joxer's character nearly as well as she did in 'BTDT'.
We saw far too much of the "hot & horny", sexist Joxer that we were "treated" to last week in 'WPT2'.
What can you say about someone ready to jump on the bones of two Sisters of Gaea?
And when he took the enchanted scroll to write down a poem about his-UGH:(-"love" for Gabrielle, we see his juvenile mind comes up instead with three-count em'-three Gabrielles, all of em' in the buff and "go-go" dancing for him to boot. (Benny Hill lives!)
Gee, what masturbatory, Gabrielle centered fanatsy will TPTB "thrill" us with next time ;-/ ?
Should Renee start practicing lap dancing, perhaps:(?
Even worse, TPTB and sadly, Bader tried to evoke the same "let's all empathize and feel sorry for Joxer" routine we saw at the end of 'Comedy of Eros' by showing him selling his "prized" scabbard to buy Gabrielle the necklace.
And just like at the end of 'CoE' I felt my emotions being blatantly manipulated in an attempt to generate sympathy for a generally-IMO-unsympathetic character.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: If TPTB think brewing up a god-awful Joxer/Gabrielle romance is going to make him more "human" or win over people who don't like him, they're sadly mistaken.
Gabrielle + Joxer = matter meeting anti-matter: life as we know it comes to an end;-)
Joxer + Meg, Minya, or _anyone_ else = happy days are here again;-)!
Okay, enough about Joxer-the other things I disliked included the distasteful "feminine hygiene" joke about Aphrodite, Ares sideburns;-), the "over the top" battle waged with seafood at the end when Xena basically reprised the opening fight scene from 'Altared States', and most of all the fact that Gabrielle had to rely on Xena to "save the day"-yet again.
I mean, come on, PTB-if Gabrielle was a good enough bard to hold her own at the Athens Academy, why couldn't she have figured a way out of the scroll's spell herself?
I'd _love_ to see a return of the strong, smart Gabrielle whose quick thinking Xena so admired in 'The Quest', but I'm not holding my breath.
So overall, I'd rate 'The Quill..." as a good, funny episode that with one exception-Joxer- outclassed 'WPT2' by leagues and was much needed considering we're back to "Nightmare Alley" starting next week:(
Just IMO, of course:)
c. 1997 EmperorPenguin
more by EmperorPenguin
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The Quill was good. It is my second favorite of this season. Second to BTDT, which was also written by Hilary Bader. Not as much subtext in this one, but at least it was there. And there in a context that was reassuring rather than unsettling as has been the case in most of the rest of the eps.
BTW, what is the name of the movie that this ep is paying homage to/ripping off/referencing (take your pick). It starred John Candy and Mariel Hemingway. John Candy was a writer of a soap opera who awoke one day to find himself living in the soap. Everything he typed came true. I have been trying since I first heard about this ep to think of the name of this movie and haven't come up with it yet.
c. 1998 jkirk
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1. I liked Ares in this one. He seemed more. . .knowledgable. .Godlike. .even when he was being mortal. .But then, he's had some experience being mortal hasn't he. So. .Good character development that way.
2. I liked Aphrodite in this one, especially the part when she got so upset at those upstarts who painted her temple and was listening and plotting during Gab and Xena's conversation. Tyldings (is that how you spell her last name) can definitely act her way out of a paper bag and a pink little froo froo thing. .LOL.
My only quibble was with the handling of the character. To imply that the Goddess of Love wouldn't know how to bathe. ..I don't thinks so...I figure the Goddess invented bathing. It's much too hedonistic not to be hers. . . LOL
(but then again, from a fun poking point of view it makes sense for the Goddess of Love to be written out of character)
3. The looks that passed between Xena and Gabrielle, especially towards the end there. Looks of affection and understanding. I thought that worked.
4. I liked the fishfight scene. I loved hearing Ares describe the "truth" and hence, involve himself in the creative process. I liked Aphrodite zapping Joxer and Minya to check out her powers. I liked Minya and her raging hormones. .*crack that whip grrl!!*
5. I liked some of the goofier puns (like drinks on the house).
6. I liked the notion of three naked gabbies. .I think, if Gabrielle had been clever she could have really used them. I tend to think of Gabrielle's character being much smarter than she's been presented as (at least lately) so to see her missing out on opportunities and only half using what's available. .I dunno. . I mean, she could have written up another scroll if she'd needed to. . .The problem solving in this ep. .welll wasn't much. LOL, but that may have been the point.
They had to be making fun of . .us. .the writers, the readers of fan fic. . .
The question, are we making our own problems?
And can we solve them?
c. 1998 Katrina
Katrina's Xena Fanfiction at: http://bearblue.simplenet.com/xenafic.html
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