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Joxer, the Mighty Unappreciated

January 16, 2005

I became a Xena: Warrior Princess fan pretty late. When it was on the air, I refused to watch it because it just sounded so silly to me and I didn’t ‘get’ action shows.

I used to be very hard on anything that sounded silly to me. Before I met my husband, I didn’t have much of a sense of humour or any appreciation for the kitchy or absurd. I also didn’t like action movies or telelvision very much. By all reports, this was Xena in a nutshell.

My husband bought season one of Xena when it was released on DVD and he asked me to at least give it a chance. I told him I would but I didn’t expect to like it at all.

I think he might regret introducing me to the show because while he’s always been very appreciative of the show, I’ve become a huge fan. When we get a new Xena box set, I’m more than happy to just sit and watch all 20 – 24 episodes in a row, non-stop.

I wasn’t ‘there’ when it was on the air, but it is my understanding that many Xena fans hated the character of Joxer. I know why but I find the reasoning behind this sometimes rabid hatred to be extremely flawed.

Joxer wasn’t a superflous character. He was part of Xena and Gabrielle’s world and a very close friend, but he was never really totally accepted into their very tight family of two. Being a more ‘outside’ observor of the Xena/Gabrielle relationship, his position often gave him the benefit of being able to see a different to side to problems that neither of the other two characters would even consider. I can’t think of a specific example, but I do remember that sometimes a simple, sometimes silly sounding statement from Joxer would get Xena’s brain working on a new solution to a problem.

Joxer was a bumbler and oftentimes an idiot, but he was no coward and his devotion never wavered. My only complaint with Joxer is that the writers never let his character develop. Xena and Gabrielle changed and grew over the course of the series, but Joxer never really became more competent or sure-footed. He was always the ‘same ol’ Joxer.’ If the writers had allowed the character out of that box, I think maybe those hate-filled Xena fans would have tolerated him better.

*SPOILER ALERT: Season 5 (V) spoilers ahead*

I did, however, love how his death was handled. I just watched this episode (Eve) yesterday, and was completely shocked. I have avoided reading spoilers online and had no idea that he was going to die at all. I was curious as to how they were going to handle having ‘old Joxer’ around, and this certainly took care of that dilema.

While I was shocked and I cried quite a bit, I think it was the perfect end to Joxer’s character. He died fighting with his friends and, more importantly, he died saving the one woman he had always loved. So many times over the course of the series he had tried to save or even just help Gabrielle, only to slip and fall, or be knocked out or just make things worse. This time, he saved her. He didn’t slip, he didn’t fall. He did what he set out to do while still staying in character.

I’m kind of dreading the last season of Xena because I feel that a bit of the heart of the show died with Joxer and most certainly quite a bit of the humour.

Despite what many of the more narrow-minded fans may have thought, I truly believe that Joxer was a Mighty character and I will very much miss him as we watch the last season.

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Be sure to check out TedRaimi.com, homepage of Ted Raimi who portrayed Joxer, plus his two identical brothers, Jet and Jace.

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