COMEDY OF EROS
Reviewed by: Sheryl-Lee Kerr
Season 2, Episode 22
30 May 1998
RATING: 6 chakrams
SCRIBES & SCROLLS: Written by Chris Manheim; Edited by Robert Field; Directed by Charles Siebert.
PASSING PARADE: Ted Raimi (Joxer); Jay Lagaaia (Draco); Karl Urban (Cupid); Cameron Russell (Bliss); Anthony Ray Park (Pinullus); Barry Te Hira (Priestess); plus assorted virgins...
STORY SO FAR: Cupids arrows go awry and soon its Xena loves the warlord Draco (whos intent on capturing the Hestian virgins); Draco loves Gabrielle who, in turn, loves Joxer.
DISCLAIMER: No cherries were harmed in the making of this motion picture.
REWIND FOR: Draco who, after swordfighting with Xena early on, sheaths his sword in what should be a very painful manner - down through his encircled fingers; Xena cooling off after feeling a little too lusty for Draco; Xena hysterically funny in her horror at calling Draco sweetheart and "cute"; and Xenas lovely gesture to a heartbroken Joxer at the fire.
QUOTABLE: Just between you and me, being chaste can be real hard - Gabrielle, failing an attempt at girl talk with Xena. Round up those virgins - Draco, somehow keeping a straight face. HEY! Youre talking about my man, Gabrielle, also keeping a straight face.
Cliche, I know thy name. Trite and tacky, predictable as they come, but still you cant help but smile and even laugh aloud on occasion during Comedy of Eros. After the first five blatantly obvious cliches, I just gave up noticing and hunkered down to watch the worst menage a trois (well actually it was four, but same deal) ever conceived in the history of television. Now thats saying something - afterall, anything that bad *has* to be redeeming. And it was. Everyone was having the time of their lives - even the Hestian virgins by the looks of things; although one freaked out bovine may yet need therapy.
The plot, what there was of it, was threadbare at best so all the marks earned go for the comedic value. Still, there were a few inconsistencies that are hard to go past. Clearly Cupids arrows work on line-of-sight, rather than who you are thinking about at the time. This is why, when Gabrielle is shot with an arrow - despite, for some reason, instantly thinking of Xena in her initial love-sickness (subtexters eat your hearts out) - it was Joxer she laid eyes on first and fell for.
So why was it that Hestian virgins shot with arrows, and had other virgins directly in front of them and around them, should suddenly run out of the cave looking for Dracos warriors to fall in love with? Like the hapless bloke in the village who fell for a bloke near him when an arrow struck, they logically should have had virgins chasing virgins - not unlike the blind leading the blind...
And on that note, have you ever heard of any bloodthirsty warrior types running *away* from scantily clad virgins with the lovin' look in their eye? I thought this was the whole premise of almost every baddy on Xena - the acquisition of women for not so nice purposes (and Im not talking getting them to do the ironing either). But, perhaps, as a friend suggested, the look in their eye was the one thing that could scare off even hardened warriors: commitment!
On a subtext note, check out the scene where Draco promises to burn down the temple with his dear Gabrielle in it. You would kill the woman you love? asks an incredulous Xena. The question is, would YOU? he replies. The look on her face says it all, a weary capitulation. No, Draco confirms smugly. So, seemingly even when Xena loves Draco, her love for Gabrielle is still very much obvious even to passing thuggish warlords. Although, admittedly, Draco was the same warlord Xena asked to spare Gabrielles home town of Potodeia in Sins of the Past. But its unlikely Draco ever sat down over cordial and cherry cupcakes with the bard and asked So wherere ya from? How do you know Xena?
One of the finest moments in this would-be thighslapper ep came without any words or witty repartee at all. Its the last scene, where Gabrielle is joking at the absurdity of her loving Joxer and vice versa with the poor guy. Even the most ardent I Hate Joxerites will melt a little here, because it was just so honest. The look on his face while having his feelings mocked by the woman he loves shows Ted Raimi can probably act if given half a chance. (Im not necessarily saying he should be given the chance though, in this role.) And then there was Xena, perceptive as ever, who puts a knowing hand on his shoulder and simply...looks... at him. He slides his eyes up (actually not high enough to see her eyes, but he was kind of restricted by all his mashed hubcap armour etc at the time) and realises she knows/ He sort of accepts this latest blow sadly and attempts to hide his emotions once more. It is a well-done moment.
In summary, it is obvious that the cast of Xena love to do comedy. They are good at it, but I cant help but wonder how much better it would have been if they had dispensed with a few obvious cliches (eg; like opening and shutting doors in the Keystone Kops routine at the end; the strewn armour leading to...armwrestling; etc). Imagine if all those fine writers neurones had just upped the ante a smidge and aimed for only original gags; it would have the hallmarks of a classic like A Day In The Life.
Even so, Comedy of Eros was by no means bad and the younger fans especially would have had great fun with it. Not to mention a few oldies.
*Montage by Mary Draganis
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