9 June 2001
X Things We'll Miss About Xena
As Our Favorite Butt-Kicking Warrior Princess Lays Down Her Sword, We Take A Look Back At Her Six-Season Magical Mythical Tour.
The toga party to end all toga parties, Xena: Warrior Princess, will conclude its six-year syndicated run this month in a two-part finale with an epic battle between good and evil on Japan's Mount Fuji (check TV Guide listings). How much will we miss this show and its amazing, Amazonian star Lucy Lawless? Let us count the ways.
I. THE GRRRL POWER
We don't mean to bash Buffy or alien-ate Scully, but Xena puts every other sci-fi-fantasy dame to shame. Think about it: Xena has battled cannibals, vampires and killer Valkyries, survived shipwrecks and tsunamis, fought as a gladiator at the Colosseum, kicked Caligula's keister in a chariot race and single-handedly defeated the entire Persian army. Oh, and in what surely was a first for a TV drama queen, she also contracted head lice.
II THE STUNTS
So what was all that fuss about the aerodynamic, sword-swinging acrobatics in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"? Puh-leez. Xena has been doing that for years.
III THE FASHIONS
We were always a sucker for a gal in a wrought-iron bra.
IV THE BLOOD! THE GUTS!
Tony Soprano has nothing on Xena, who has personally whacked thousands and, in the finale, will be found responsible for the deaths of 40,000 more. And she herself has died more times than we can remember. Our favorite Xena demise: the time she was crucified by Julius Caesar, went to heaven and became an archangel (we're not making this up).
V THE SUBVERSITY
You have to admire a show that plays so fast and loose with history (didn't you know it was Xena who killed Cleopatra's lover Marc Antony?) and the Bible (which seems to have left out the part where Xena helped David slay Goliath). Anything goes in the Xena-verse.
VI THE CAST
That oh-so-kinky breastplate isn't the only thing supporting la Lawless. She is backed by the stellar Ted Raimi as the bumbling, fumbling Joxer, Hudson Leick as the witch Callisto and Renee O'Connor as Xena's bosom buddy, Gabrielle, whose costumes got skimpier with each passing season.
VII THE CHEESE FACTOR
Even bad Xena is good Xena, though the all-musical episode, "Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire," did put our loyalty to the test. Draco (Jay Laga'aia) and his army do a water ballet. Xena sings "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves." Joxer's flamingly gay brother Jace (also Raimi) does a disco version of 'Dancing in the Moonlight." The episode ends with Lawlesswho at the time was so pregnant she couldn't see her feetdancing in a bare-midriff go-go outfit. Oh, baby.
VIII THE MESSAGE
The show's plea for tolerance and its timeless advicebe true to yourselfare the ultimate in cool.
IX THE LESBIAN SUBTEXT
Does Xena have a thing for Gabrielle? Yes, claim legions of lesbian fans, who have launched a massive mail campaign begging he producers to let our warrior princess lay a big, sloppy, soulful kiss on Gabby before the saga comes to an end. Xena execs have played up the speculation, titillating the 'believers" with double entendres, meaningful glances and an all-girl hot-tub scene. And Lawless has publicly credited the lesbian community with putting her show on the map. Will she, as rumor has it, finally give these loyal fans their just deserts in the series finale? Don't ask, and we won't tell!
X THE STAR
As a rule, women who cross swords don't cross paths with Emmy, but make no mistake: Lawless is a true contender,, an actress of great depth and humor and a classic beauty who proves indisputably that blondness is way overrated. But why go on and on when three words say it all? We Love Lucy.
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