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Xena: Warrior Princess

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This is my favorite TV show. I've noticed that many people on this board seem to be fans of shows that had some overlap with the Xena fandom (like BtVS, which I also love). Any other Xena watchers out there? Anyone want to discuss some of the philosophical implications of this show? Some things that have intrigued me about it include the discussion of "the greater good" and self-sacrifice. Although I don't care for the terminology at some points, I've always tended to read "fighting for the greater good" as "fighting to uphold universal values common to everyone and necessary for life". I have always enjoyed the fact that the characters use their minds to solve problems instead of just smashing straight through and asking questions later (Hercules, I'm looking your way...), and that mental acuity is regarded as valuable. I also look at the friendship between Xena and Gabrielle and like to analyze it through the framework of the Aristotelian "virtue friendship", if anyone is familiar with that concept. (It's a pretty big theme in Nichomachean Ethics).

And for anyone on here who thinks Xena isn't worth discussing from an Objectivist standpoint, you should post too, as I think I can prove you wrong! Though I have to say that if it becomes patently obvious that you've never WATCHED the show then I don't see much purpose in continuing the discussion...

The Kat

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It's been a while since I watched the show, so I don't remember a lot of plot specifics that might prove useful debating points, but what I do remember is that it was basically viewed as a vehicle of feminist/lesbian propaganda, and I eventually grew to dislike it for that reason and the fact that it was more than a little stupid.

(Actually, that latter reason is why I don't watch T.V. any more, period.)

Was there a major male protagonist anywhere in that series except maybe Hercules? He only did cameos, IIRC. I will say that Lucy Lawless kicks butt, though. :)

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It's been a while since I watched the show, so I don't remember a lot of plot specifics that might prove useful debating points, but what I do remember is that it was basically viewed as a vehicle of feminist/lesbian propaganda, and I eventually grew to dislike it for that reason and the fact that it was more than a little stupid.

(Actually, that latter reason is why I don't watch T.V. any more, period.)

Was there a major male protagonist anywhere in that series except maybe Hercules? He only did cameos, IIRC. I will say that Lucy Lawless kicks butt, though. :)

Lucy does, in fact, kick butt. I love the fact that, especially early in the series, she did a lot of her own stunts including the fire-spitting and most of the horse tricks. I can't say as there were too many major male protagonists, aside from Hercules, who I don't care for, mostly because of the stupidity and one-dimensionality. There were good male protagonists on an episode-by-episode basis, sort of like Bond girls except as boys. On the other hand, there were absolutely fantastic recurring male villains, many of whom proved formidable and complex. I'm thinking specifically of Ares, but there was also Caesar and the enigmatic Borias, who ended up being a good person by the time he died. Joxer was the show's punching bag, but though he was used mostly for slapstick, Xena and Gabrielle did care for him deeply and trusted him with quite a lot. Joxer is cool because even though he wasn't strong or skilled on the level of Xena and Gabrielle he was still courageous and did what he could to protect what he valued.

As to being a vehicle of propaganda, you would have to make a reference to a particular event or episode for me to intelligently comment on that. To my way of thinking, the most egregious, odious, and simpleminded message found in feminist propaganda is simply "men bad, women good". I don't think you see too much of that in Xena, as there were many villainous, evil women (Callisto, Alti, Hope), including one who could be said to embody altruism of the worst sort (Najara). One thing that made Xena special, to me at least, was that the majority of the characters, good and bad, were women, and where do you ever see that in a show that's not a soap or a romantic comedy? It's like, hey, women exist, women do stuff.

I don't think it's possible to talk about Xena without talking about "the question": are they or aren't they? I know the producers, actors, and such intended to keep it ambiguous, which says to me it could be read either way. Personally, I do not see them that way. I have no problem with "the subtexters" who want to read lesbianism into Xena and Gabrielle's friendship until they tell me I'm wrong to view it as nonsexual. I see Xena and Gabrielle as the dearest of friends who deeply love each other but are not snogging when the sun goes down, if you know what I mean. I think that a friendship can work this way. As I mentioned before I like to hold the friendship up to a comparison with an Aristotelian "virtue friendship" and see if or how well they match. The idea of the virtue friendship has always intrigued me and I'm interested to see if an ideal friendship (if there even is such a thing) works that way.

To your last point, sure, some people will say it's dumb. I don't think you can enjoy Xena if you dislike fantasy, camp, or a baseline degree of silliness in a show. And hey, that's fine. To each their own.

One MAJOR problem I did have with the show, though, is that I pretty much had to disown the last two seasons (jury's still out on season 6, as I haven't seen them all). The show began to have strong Christian overtones and also just make idiotic story choices. But focusing on the earlier seasons it still brings me great joy even though it's been off the air since 2001.

Kat

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It sounds like your view of the show is similar to mine: I didn't get the feminist/lesbian angle until I heard some of the fan comments. I've never been the type to assume weird things because people have same-sex friends.

I've enjoyed many of the episodes I did see, but I haven't watched more than a few hours of TV a month for years and years so I missed a LOT of them. Xena was approx. equivalent to more current shows like SG-1, IIRC.

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