So I was saying that comedy Xena is a million, billion times better than angsty Xena. Here’s more wonderfully fun evidence. This time out, it’s a hilariously fractured fairy tale. While escorting a very ugly warlord to whatever local assizes is in charge of justice in this land, Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer pick up a runaway seven year-old who doesn’t like her evil stepmother and has found refuge with Aphrodite, who claims to be the little girl’s fairy godsmother. So now they have two charges in tow and pass the time telling the kid some slightly off-kilter versions of Cinderella.
This is one of the goofiest hours of anything we’ve watched, and we all chuckled throughout. The story is a complete scream, with ridiculous costumes and accents, gender-flipping depending on who’s doing the telling, three incredibly ugly men becoming even more incredibly ugly stepsisters, and Ted Raimi and his remarkably obvious double doing some kind of Saturday Night Fever-Vogue dance at the ball with some anachronistic sound effects.
So yes, I enjoyed this one tremendously. I liked it even before they started storytelling, because it harkens back to season two’s triumphant “A Day in the Life” with Xena thoughtlessly destroying Gabrielle’s things and taking her for granted and putting them in a bad mood. This time out, Xena can’t find a rope to tie up and gag the warlord, and Gabrielle’s having a shower, so the warrior princess just takes Gabrielle’s green top and shreds it for binding.
I don’t know why I enjoy it so much when these two forget how much they love each other and get petty, but I really do. Later on, Gabrielle uses her story to punctuate that somebody uses this casual theft as a defense mechanism to avoid talking about intimacy, which is wonderful. Later still, the warlords, now stepbrothers, are made to say “Check out his social skills!” which is even more wonderful. It’s a fine, fine hour of TV. And they all lived happily ever after.
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