The Play's the Thing
The following report contains spoiler information on ‘The Play’s the Thing’. Please read no further if you do not wish to know any info on this ep.
Did you know that Minya (from ADITL) has been harboring a deep secret desire, which is brought out by a new female friend? Did you know that Joxer actually has ‘people’ skills (Oh heck! Even one skill is a shock I know (G))? Did you know that Xena is so whipped that she’s willing to do yoga now? Are the answers to these questions ‘no’? Then please. . .by all means. . . read on (G).
Xena and Gabby are standing in a field doing yoga. Seems Gabby’s talked the warrior into doing that ‘strange stuff’ after all (G). Wonder how that happened, um? Could it be because of the flexibility that Gabby has now thanks to yoga? That’s just a (naughty) thought, I know(VBG).
Anyway, Gabby just can’t get into it and says she can’t get over losing her ‘BTL’ scroll because (as Xena finishes her sentence) ‘it’s a more intimate examination of our relationship and on and on’. (Xena’s such a smooth talker(G) and you know it’s love when you can finish the other persons sentences(VBG)).
Xena needs to help a king so she tells Gabby to go back to Perais and they’ll meet up later. Gabby thanks her and Xena tells her not to mention it. Gabby says okay and leaves. Xena starts to pout since Gabby just kinda walked away without a backward glance (which Xena mentions aloud to Argo). People might bitch but I like seeing this kinda ‘insecure/romantic’ side to Xena.
Once in town, Joxer falls in front of Gabby’s feet outside a tavern. He bumbles his way upright and tells her he likes the new hair, the new clothes; the tattoos. She talks about her missing scroll and her love of the works of Sophicles. A woman over hears them and walks up. She has Gabby’s scroll and wants to make it a play. Gabby is reluctant at first. Why? Because of Xena of course. Can’t keep her warrior waiting now can she? Finally she agrees. As Joxer and Gabby leave we see Zara, the producer and her husband Milo are plotting something.
Zara, Joxer and Gabby meet again at a rundown theater ‘The Apollo’. I’m not sure if you see the significance to that but the ‘Apollo’ in Harlem was prosperous and became run down, only to be rebuilt in recent years. Like I said in my teaser this week, you have to watch this show more than once to get all the references to the show itself, theater has an art, different performers, etc. etc.
Anyway at the theater Zara thinks Joxer should be Gabby’s assistant and she agrees. Gabby does the casting and directing too. She finds a woman with a sultry voice and the ability to do back flips and names her as her Xena. Suddenly a capped, masked woman jumps on the stage. It’s Minya! She wants to play Xena, of course, but Gabby says the parts been cast. She does however offer to write Minya a part as a villain. Minya likes this, of course, cause then she can use her Xena ‘darkside’.
Moments later a centaur comes to the stage – Dustinus Huffus. He wants a role too and since centaurs don’t do theater Gabby agrees to make a part for him as well. He informs her that he is an actor and doesn’t play centaurs on the grounds that he refuses to limit himself as a performer. This poses a bit of a problem but Gabby agrees to work around it (later he becomes a king on horseback. See? The bard still has brains(G)).
Gabby finds out that Sophicles is opening a play the same night as hers and gets concerned but Joxer talks to her and puts her mind at ease. Meanwhile, Zara and Milo are collecting money from two warlords, promising each one of them a 75% return on profits. Zara and Milo are counting on the play to fail so they can take the money and run, leaving Gabby to deal with the angry warlords. (Yeah it’s another rip off – I mean HOMAGE, to Mel Brooks’ movie "The Producers". Cute movie by the way. Check it out if you haven’t).
Anyway, Zara names Joxer as producer insuring the thing will fail with a buffoon behind the helm. Joxer on the other hand feels that he’ll turn the play into what he wants because he’s the ‘common man’ and is in touch with the audience.
At the dress rehearsal, Gab announces she’s playing herself since no one fit the part. After a reading however the cast finds it boring and preachy and they want to ‘spice it up’ with ‘blood, guts and babes’. Gabby gets pissed and leaves to do some yoga – doesn’t look like it’s working but soon she mellows out and returns.
She apologizes for losing control. They start rehearsing again. Xena walks out in a bikini. Gabby is a little unsure but goes with it for now. The king enters stage left carrying a head on a stick. Gabby gets upset at this point with Joxer's ‘common man’ changes and announces that a writer writes for no one but himself or herself. Gabby resents the fact everyone wants to change the play and she goes to talk with Sophicles about artist integrity. Once there she sees that even he uses the things Joxer and the cast is pushing.
Gabby goes back to the theater where Joxer has rounded up the cast. They apologize and agree to do things her way but Gabby stops them. She wants more skin, more blood, etc. etc. Gabby is trying to teach Paulina (her Xena) how to say ‘Kill ‘em all!!!!’ the way Xena does but Minya just laughs. Soon a fight erupts between Paulina and Minya when Zara approaches Gabby. Gabby tells her she needs more money and Zara better cough it up or they’ll just close the production now.
Zara and Milo then go to see ANOTHER warlord, Cleous, because they don’t want to give up their profits. They offer him a 75% take, as well as secrets to defeating Xena. He agrees because ‘if anyone can get to Xena, it’s Gabrielle’. Back in the theater Gabby wants the ‘Hot Tub center stage’ and she teaches Paula how to ‘grin wildly’ before she hacks off someone’s head. She starts to second-guess herself and she wonders if ‘all the sex, blood and violence’ has made her ‘sell out’. (Now here’s the thing – where’s the sex? I mean, the play is called ‘Gabrielle and Xena’ so where’s the sex part come in? They are just ‘friends’ after all right?(wink)). Anyway, Gabby wonders if she’s given into the lowest common dominator but when Joxer said they just ‘sold out’ the first nights performance Gabby is convinced that her message of peace will come through despite the violent means.
The rehearsal starts again with ‘Xena’ and Gabby in the hot tub giggling (even as I write this I’m laughing). Paulina says, "Wow. I’m really wet!’ as to which Gabby replies with an enthusiastic, "Me too!!". I was rolling on the floor – there are NO sacred cows in this ep let me tell (LOL) no subtext. . . I mean subject (g) of ‘Xena:Warrior Princess’ is left un-mocked. Again, stage left, Dustinus enters as the King and a ‘dummy’ (no not Joxer but a real dummy(G)) pops up out of the tub. Gabby shirks and cries ‘Save me Xena’ and ‘Xena/Paulina’ proceeds to chop his head off.
The warlords have been spying on the dress rehearsal. All the skin, ‘sex’ (LOL), and blood are just want they want in a theater production. They LOVE the production and see it as money well spent. Zara realizes that Joxer isn’t as much of an idiot as they though. They decide the ‘old play’ was better for their purposes and they tell Gabby how much the warlords love it. They want their whole armies to see it to inspire them when they attack a neighboring town. Gabby is devastated. She wanted them to see it to learn peace not mutilation and decides to go back to the original format, much to Zara and Milo’s delight.
On opening night, Joxer peeks out from the curtain and he sees a critic in the front row. He tells Gabby not to worry. They’ll love the play and she kisses him on the cheek before leaving (Ahhhh. . . Isn’t that sweet? . . . Joxer doesn’t have a prayer (VBG) but you still gotta throw those non-subtexters a bone now and then I guess.). He gets all starry eyed, like usual, until one of the warlords knocks him out trying to steal Gabby. Gabby however makes it to the stage and they start the production.
Joxer comes flying through the set and the warlord soon follows grabbing Gabrielle. Cleous announces that if he can’t get Xena’s secrets he’ll take Gabby instead. Xena steps out from the shadows but Cleous isn’t convinced telling Xena she’s a poor excuse for an actress (See? Even LL isn’t sacred(LOL)). Xena proceeds to kick butt. The warlords join in as well as the cast. Everyone is dukin’ it out on stage when Milo and Zara decide to slip away. Gabby yells for someone to stop them (since she’s the peace-loving hippie now). When no one moves to help she thinks a moment and yells ‘interactive theater! Everyone join in!’ The audience rushes Zara and Milo as Minya and ‘Xena/Paulina’ take on a warlord together. It’s nice to see a little of first season Gabby there – brain over brawn (G).
The critics are watching this display and remarking how the woman playing Xena (whom actually is Xena) is very unconvincing in the role. They mention that they should go across the street and see ‘Buffus the Bacchae Slayer’ instead (ROTFLMAO) [Looks like TPTB check out the forum from time to time(VBG)]. After the warlords are defeated, the curtain closes and X and G get a standing ovation.
Later we see Xena giving the warlords an option of giving the money they gave Zara to charity, which they wisely take. And as for Zara she decides to become a legit businessperson working as an agent. The first client she has is Dustinus as they discuss his desire to ‘direct’ instead of act (A little jab to ROC if figured(BG)).
Xena and Gabby leave the theater and Gab tells Xena that she just wanted to touch someone with her work. Minya and Paulina come running out soon after. Minya says: "Gabrielle I wanted to thank you. I never would have met Paulina if it wasn’t for you. In fact the TWO of you made me realize something deep down about myself that. . .I guess I always knew. . .but just didn’t DARE admit. . .yes. . .I’m a. . .thespian." Xena gives a little ‘Oh is that so’ sigh and Gabby licks her lips before putting her tongue in her cheek, literally. Minya and Paulina run away hand in hand.
Xena turns to Gabby and says it looks like she touched someone with her play. They start to walk away - backs to the camera. Gabby says that wasn’t what she intended. Gabby says: "I wanted to change violent people into people of peace, not actors. That IS what she said ISN’T IT? Deep down she said thespian?" Xena answers, "Yeah. . .(thoughtful pause (VBG). . .I mean. . .that’s what she . . .uh. . .said. Yeah. Why what did you think?". Gabby replies, "Thespian. Yeah." Their voices get mumbled as we fade to black.
I really liked this ep because there are a lot of inside jokes, tongue in cheek jokes and on and one. Things that I didn’t even discuss! Just see if you can catch them. I liked watching X:WP poke fun at itself. You can say a lot about TPTB. One is that these folks certainly have a sense of humor about it all. . .especially themselves (VBG).
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