BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
Season 3; episode 2
June 6, 1998
Reviewed by SLK
RATING: 8.5 chakrams.
SCRIBES & SCROLLS:
Written by Hilary J. Bader;
Edited by Robert Field;
Directed by Andrew Merrifield.
Ted Raimi (Joxer);
Joseph Murray (Neron);
Deverik Williams (Tybelus);
Rebekah Davies (Mermia);
John McKee (Lord Menos);
Norman Fairley (Lord Lycost).
STORY SO FAR: Xenas day keeps repeating until she can work out a way to stop both a village from erupting into war and an old man and a young woman from dying.
DISCLAIMER: The rooster was not harmed during the production of this motion picture, although his feathers were severely ruffled. However, a little gel and mousse straightened out the mess.
REWIND FOR: All of it. (I mean it.) Oh and keep your eyes on the slow horse just after Xena runs off to find the small thing shes missing.
Do you know Joxer simply adores you? Hed crawl 15 miles over broken glass just to sweat in your shadow. - Xena to Gabrielle, after Joxer learns the hard way why you should never keep an impatient warrior princess waiting.
Y-you k-killed him? Gabrielle, realising she did like goose eggs after all.
*I* know: what if none of this is really happening and were all in somebody elses head and theyre making *us* up? Joxer, the oracle.
No, no, yes, no, I tried that, yes, both ways, no I dont know, NO again, are there any more questions? Good. - Xena, implementing her new time management skills.
Is that a hickey? Joxer, asking Xena the question nine out of 10 subtexters most want to have answered.
Now here is an episode which is simply bursting with original laughs within a blatantly unoriginal concept, in this case, ripping off the Groundhog Day movie. (I think they also told all the extras they were actually in Romeo and Juliet... will they ever be surprised!) Hilary Bader who *are* you. I dont care, just write some more. Been There Done That shows the incredible potential the Xena mob has whenever they throw away the old, Comedy of Eros-esque recycled gags (which they somehow still seem to make funny, by the way) and go for the jugular with fresh material. Heres an episode that has something for everyone. You love Joxer? Hey, hes in almost every scene. Hate him? Well he wasnt hugging that chakram, folks. You vote for subtext? Check out Joxers hickey line to Xena and how fascinated a normally rabidly curious bard like Gabrielle suddenly seems by the dirt in front of her. Also add her snuggle time on Xenas chest (a beautiful scene however you look at it) when she was upset over Joxers first death. And the guilty sprung look on Xenas and Gabss faces when hugging in the barn. Disagree with subtext? Well... then Xena was only comforting a distressed Gabs and later happy to see her alive. And as for that hickey... shrug, Im sure the dirt *was* more interesting. Yep, this episode is for everyone. Even the rooster (RIP, dear feathered friend) got more than his 15 seconds of fame.
I just love the way they structured this episode. It was actually very clever dealing with the serious side first - Xenas and Gabrielles sadness over Joxers death. This way, it made his subsequent death by chakram seem far less callous - we would have harbored a sneaking suspicion Xena might have secretly meant it rather than was merely choosing to display her copyright to ancient Greeces blackest sense of humor. But her Solan-style hair mussing of Joxer established that she is somewhat fond of the Joxer lad, egg on face and all. Speaking of serious, who couldnt help but feel ill at the look on Xenas face when she saw her dear Argo slaughtered? Now that was acting. Im also guessing Lucy is a big animal lover. Some jewels stand out in this already standout episode, not the least of which being Xenas choreographing of her forthcoming 30 chakram rebounds during a fight. Her upper body strength is not entirely thanks to the stunt doubles judging by the awesome way Lucy herself was hanging onto that whip one-handed for a bit. My favorite rib tickler was Gabrielles calling out for her staff and Xena not really noticing Gabrielles desperate pleas to get it back. Then, when finally Gabrielle has Xenas full attention and whomps her opponents butt, Xenas appreciative good girl is really very sweet - and funny. Come to think of it, Xena doesnt have the luxury of watching Gabrielle fight too often, as shes usually knee-deep in thugs herself, which explains her pleasant surprise at Gabrielles improvement all the more.
Hmm, its an interesting concept, this repeating day business. Those who
watched Groundhog Day will note that the Bill Murray character came out a better man for
it because he realised there was nothing else left for him to do in the end but improve
himself. But think about it a bit more: you no longer have to deal with any repercussions
for anything you do. You dont have to worry about hurting people - either physically
or emotionally. No responsibility and no guilt. This is why Xena was able to cavalierly
tie up Gabs and Joxer (priceless looks from both in very funny scenes, albeit with shots
held a smidgen too long). But by rights Xena should have emerged from her day
blunt to the point of downright rudeness (who cares if they dont understand...) and
with even less patience for the mundane and social niceties than ever before. For
instance, instead of being nice to the old midwife whose muffins go crunch(!) in the
night, a bored Xena mightve been more likely to put the pinch on her and say
tell me who's whose brother NOW. Why not?
Takes less time, gets straight to the point and the nice dear wont remember in the morning.
Wed like to think Xena wouldnt do this - but wheres the incentive not to when your patience is wearing mighty thin? Theoretically at least, by the start of her first new day, Xena would have become a seriously annoying person to be around after having acquired some disturbing, new bad habits for interacting with people. I guess it all depends how many days she endured!
Having thrown that out there for debate, Im not complaining a bit about how the writers made Xena turn out. I really like this new, improved Xena (I hope she pops up now and again in later eps - not all the time) who thinks letting your hair down with Gabrielle and Joxer is a good idea, not cause for bemused eyeball-rolling. I like the Xena who no longer thinks that lifting an amused sardonic eyebrow is necessarily sufficient punctuation for a humorous moment but instead joins in wholeheartedly - even with the ole visual turnip jokes in front of Gabrielle. And she actually *throws back her head* with bwahaha-ing laughter. Yes, you saw it here first, Xena *does* know how to laugh her head off. And that scene alone was well worth the admission price.
Of course, we didnt really need the trite you gotta seize the day moral at the end. We got it already, guys. It showed on everyones faces and in every joyful moment of this episode. In all, what can I say - just keep em coming like that one. It had me superglued to my seat and bwahahaing along with Xena. Encore, maestro, encore.
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