Casey Martinson is a writer from Ithaca, NY, currently enrolled in the Stonecoast MFA program at University of Southern Maine. He holds a BA in English Literature from Oberlin College. Check out his tumblr page here.
We’ll Always Have Potedaia
by Casey Martinson
I don’t remember our first time watching Xena: Warrior Princess but I’m sure it happened by accident, early senior year, 1998. The day’s classes behind us, I can imagine myself absently channel surfing on our thrift store couch as you prepared the afternoon tea. (For legal reasons, I’m going to say it was tea.) Probably, there wasn’t much on.
I’m sure we watched ironically at first, smirking at the low production values of an early episode: the amusing twang of a bit character’s New Zealand accent, a CGI monster that looked about as life-like as the stop-motion Gorgon from Clash of the Titans, Xena’s lamentably trampish Season One make-up, designed no doubt to entice straight, adolescent males.
Yet, as September died into October, we progressed from watching accidentally to tuning in on purpose when the opportunity presented itself to recording every glorious minute on VHS: Monday through Friday afternoon re-runs, and once a week, the newest episode in Season Four.
I still remember the evening I came home at the appointed time to find that another of our housemates had already claimed the television to watch Party of Five. When she refused to cede control of the remote, I stormed off to my room and fantasized about Xena murdering all the Salinger siblings in a berserker rage. That’s when I knew: I had reached a new level of fandom.
We seemed to have discovered the Warrior Princess at the very height of her cultural impact. Lucy Lawless hosting Saturday Night Live joined our collection of tapes. Then Lawless on the Today Show. We did not go home for Thanksgiving, but stayed in our drab little house on Pleasant Street to watch the all-day Xena marathon on USA. My mother drove from three hours away to make sure we had a proper dinner. (more…)