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Fins, Femmes and Gems Reviewed

Early word on this episode was not promising, but in this topsy turvy season, FFG stands out as one of the funniest comedy episodes. Playful and full of in-jokes, this one is rather reminiscent of S2`s A Day in the Life, with many memorable scenes and quotable lines.

Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer are on the trail of thieves who stole a special gem for the goddess Aphrodite who wants it for her constellation. However it is the North star - essential for travellers everywhere. A trip to Aphrodite`s temple leads to her slowing them down by casting a special spell. Whatever the person is looking at when the perfume ("Obsession"- what else?) they become obsessed with. Joxer is looking at a picture of Attis the ape man, Gabrielle is looking in a mirror, and Xena at some fish. Before you know it Xena is fishing at the lake, Gabrielle is primping and preening, and Joxer is grunting and swinging from the trees. Naturally they still manage to take care of business - eventually - and discover a solution to Aphrodite`s spell.

This thoroughly enjoyable piece of fluff features much to enjoy. Many of the best laughs are courtesy of Renee O`Connor as a Gabrielle we have never seen; vain and self absorbed and with one heck of a catchy little theme tune! I wondered whether the `goddess Gabrielle` routine was in response to some of the Gab-worship on the net and in the newsgroups. Renee excels at comedy and is hilarious. Lucy Lawless also seems to enjoy the comedy episodes, although I am not sure if we have seen a bit too much of Xena`s comic side lately. However, she balances an awful lot of fishing jokes with some very un-Xena like behaviour pretty well. Yet again we have Xena getting wet - and we nearly get to see what Gab wears under her mini-BGSB! Swimming and water play a large part.

Another regular displaying more than before is Ted Raimi as Joxer who goes native in more ways than one. However his white and hairless weedy body(he even shaves under his arms!) is rather horrid in my opinion! Joxer`s ape man antics were the least funny for me, although his vision of Gabrielle as his ideal partner, complete with Renee O`Connor joining in the ape talk was quite amusing. Funny voices and the usual array of prat falls didn`t appeal to me.

Like A Day in the Life, this episode was a feast for subtext fans- all sorts of innuendo - and stronger than ever ones at that. This episode also saw the appearance of a young Xena and Lyceus as Xena remembers how they used to go fishing together. A very witty script also has a great opening scene for the lovely Alexandra Tydings, and some rather funny thugs - the lead one was one of the barbarians from The Quill is Mightier. Slightly less successful for me was the resolution about how the spell could be broken - it looked like they had difficulty coming up with an ending as the explanation given was weak. However, a very nice stargazing scene to finish almost made up for it.

A great fun episode. Scenes to look out for- Aphrodite`s headphones, her rather saucy dialogue with Maccenus the head thug, Gabrielle`s admiration of herself in Xena`s shiny sword, THAT theme song, Xena`s fish thumping, Gabrielle`s near drowning and Xena saving her, the whole "not the lips" dialogue where Gabrielle reveals that there can be only one person in her life, the switch from young Xena to OUR Xena, Xena whistling her own theme tune, Gabrielle`s recovery of the missing gem - who needs Xena! The stargazing. Like Been There, Done That, no one would claim this episode has the greatest of plots, but a fairly simple idea is executed very nicely by all concerned - good writing(although according to director Josh Becker, very heavy re-writes were going on right up til the night before), excellent acting and a great big hoot all round!

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