That Time Xena Was Directed by Potsie From Happy Days

In a time of historic gods, warlords, and kings, a land in turmoil cried out for a hero. However they received a Potsie. Hey sunshine, goodbye rain. Xena: The Warrior Princess, in its second season, was already on the forefront of progressive heroics, and its star Lucy Lawless embodied the ability of the female mystique. Xena was solid within the warmth of battle, with the ability, ardour, and braveness to vary the world. And he or she had many items. Anson Williams, who originated the function of Warren “Potsie” Weber on the community TV hit Glad Days, helped wrap a pivotal episode, “Keep in mind Nothing.”

Xena: The Warrior Princess is a spin-off of the tv sequence Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, however Xena and Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor) are not any Laverne and Shirley. Xena was a visitor character on three episodes of Hercules in an arc which was supposed to depart her useless. However she was too widespread to go and not using a combat. The primary season of Xena established it as a rising cult favourite, and by its second season it reached the top slot for weekly syndicated hour long drama. A number of this needed to do with the truth that “Women Simply Wanna Have Enjoyable,” each the identify of a sequence’ favourite, their vampire episode, and the general enthusiasm of the forged and artistic crew.

Xena met her son and spared him the load of her previous within the first episode of the second season, “Orphan of Conflict.” The next installment finds her eager for a extra harmless time. “Keep in mind Nothing” pays tribute to Frank Capra’s wishfully pondering 1946 Hollywood traditional It’s a Great Life, and to convey again the nostalgia, the producers introduced on an alumnus of Glad Days to direct. The traditional comedy sequence rode in on the wave of golden goldies retrofits like Grease and Lords of Flatbush to whitewash the period of early rock and roll for mainstream TV. The switchblades of latest Fifties movies like Blackboard Jungle have been changed by flip-combs, and the worst trash discuss you have been allowed was to inform somebody to “sit on it.”

“I want I’d by no means adopted the sword within the first place,” Xena says in “Keep in mind Nothing,” and it was Anson Williams’ job to disarm her. The primary-time Xena director additionally directed two 1996 episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, “Mummy Dearest” and “King for a Day.”

The premise of the episode is fascinating. Battle fury causes Xena to kill a younger soldier whereas defending the temple of the Fates. “Title your reward. If it’s ours to bestow, it’s yours,” the Crone guarantees in gratitude. “Reward,” a guilt-filled Xena asks in disgrace. “For what? For killing a boy barely out of his childhood? I don’t desire a reward; I need that boy’s life again.”

The Three Fates don’t have that energy, however as an alternative spin again time. Permitting Xena to decide on a warrior path or stay in an alternate actuality the place her youngest brother remains to be alive, and she or he’s engaged to a younger man named Maphias (Robert Harte), who’s liable to surrender on her, “in ten or fifteen years.” Her mom, sadly, she has to forfeit, as she died within the combat which was erased together with the Xena Mythology. She will get to maintain the straightforward village life, until she takes a life, even for a simply trigger.

However the unique idea was simply as tantalizing. “We have been kidding round someday, saying, ‘In our fifth season, we’ll need to do the blind amnesia present,’” the episode’s storywriter Steven L. Sears recalled in a January 1998 interview with Starlog Journal. “However then I assumed, ‘How do you do an amnesia present that hasn’t been carried out? What I got here up with was that Xena doesn’t overlook who she is, the remainder of the world forgets her.” The storyline modified by the point the finished script was written. “Although I’ve co-story credit score on it, Chris [Manheim] deserves all of the credit score,” Sears stated. “She modified it considerably and did an exquisite job; she discovered ranges there that I didn’t. I used to be thrilled.”

Like lots of the younger actors on Glad Days, Williams discovered the best way to angle the cameras. He went on to direct episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep House 9, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Beverly Hills, 90210, Charmed, and The Secret Lifetime of the American Teenager. Earlier than Williams made his prime-time directorial debut on a 1987 episode of L.A. Legislation, he directed afterschool specials and a TV film a couple of pre-teen mayor. He anticipated loads from his younger expertise. Possibly a bit of an excessive amount of.

“‘Potsie Weber’ directed [this] episode, and I bear in mind him yelling like loopy on the boy who performed my brother, Aaron Devitt, attempting to wring a great efficiency out of him,” Lawless recalled in Robert Weisbrot’s 1998 ebook The Official Information to The Xenaverse. “Anson was simply ragging on him, attempting to get some Methody-type efficiency out of him, which was ridiculous as a result of the boy was untrained. He had all of the uncooked materials and no kind of craft.”

Lyceus, the brother, is central to the arc of the story. The episode begins when Xena and Gabrielle go to a temple of the Fates on the anniversary of his dying. Defending the temple is the explanation Xena is granted a second probability. Her brother is the start and the top of that probability. It’s a variety of strain for a younger actor.

“It occurs with younger males, normally, that you would be able to solely yell at them so lengthy they usually come to a bit of disaster level,” Xena recalled in Weisbrot’s ebook. “They are saying, ‘That is ridiculous., this can’t be occurring to me.’ And he simply began to chortle. And so, I went out the again with Aaron and we talked about appearing and I attempted to get him to loosen up and have some enjoyable with me and simply hear and ‘convey me in.’ And I believe he did have extra enjoyable but it surely gave him a horrible shock about appearing. He stated he’d by no means do one other half with out going away to drama college. Sure, Aaron was very very similar to my [real] brother Daniel.”

“Typically I believe our actors get nervous working with Lucy as a result of she’s the star,” teleplay author Chris Manheim informed Whoosh! in its February 1999 challenge. “Keep in mind Nothing” was her first script as a part of the full-time employees. She additionally felt a reference to the Lyceus character. Manheim wrote scenes for the brother and fiancé to construct the characters outdoors of the principle stars’ gravity.

“I assumed it crammed it out properly and gave you a shot at seeing who that youthful brother of hers was,” Manheim informed Whoosh!. “I had misplaced my very own youthful brother and that was one other factor that made the episode so particular to me. It made me actual tenacious about hanging on to the truth that this is a gigantic, momentous determination for her. She will be able to’t blithely say, ‘Effectively I’ll sacrifice my brother as a result of I like Gabrielle.’ I simply couldn’t, it doesn’t matter what, make it that cavalier a call. To me, that was a very powerful, pivotal second. She needed to perceive what she was doing for her brother’s good in addition to Gabrielle’s and for the Higher Good below all circumstances.”

Williams could have discovered loads about directing whereas on the set of Glad Days, however he utterly missed the ability of the Fonz. The largest change to Xena’s character is that she’s not carrying leather-based. She spends the episode in village garments. It’s like these scenes within the early Glad Days when Fonzie (Henry Winkler) is carrying the tan fabric jacket. Suzi Quatro could have pulled off the warrior princess look if “Leather-based” Tuscadero reunited the Suedes for a 90s tour. Now, I perceive Xena isn’t Hercules, she didn’t undergo your entire season in a single pair of tattered pants, however nonetheless. It ought to be famous.

Xena: The Warrior Princess has a robust feminist overtone and two sturdy feminine leads, however only a few of the sequence’ six season run of 134 episodes have been directed by ladies. Whereas this will likely not have altered the present’s midriff fetish, it may need been extra cinematically revealing. The manufacturing had sure guidelines for taking pictures with a view to keep serial consistency. Visually, it seems Williams deviated from a number of the commonplace dynamics. Whereas he maintained cameras at eye-level, which was a norm for the present to maintain the viewers within the warmth of battle, a few of his motion sequences are extra ensemble-based than Xena-centric.

Which brings us to Gabrielle. She shouldn’t be forgotten in “Keep in mind Nothing.” The episode reinforces the preordained nature of the mythic teaming. No matter circumstances, timelines or various universes, Xena and Gabrielle are certain by destiny. The historic displacement leaves Gabrielle as a bitter slave to the abusive warlord Mezentius (Stephen Tozer). Her cynicism is palpable, and she or he wears world-weariness below her very pores and skin. “I assumed Renee was sensible,” Lawless stated in Weisbrot’s ebook. “I assumed she was actually nice [playing] such an terrible little tramp.”

Whereas Xena doesn’t rack up a lot of a kill-count within the episode. Gabrielle guts her vicious grasp, getting her first kill of the sequence. “However on this timeline is it the identical Gabrielle?” Sears requested rhetorically throughout his July 1998 interview with Whoosh!. “It was not simply the killing, it was the look on Gabrielle’s face. No second considered it, this was justice so far as she was involved.”  

The kill in the end doesn’t rely, as a result of that is an alternate actuality, and first kills are a giant factor on Xena: The Warrior Princess. The jokey disclaimer tagged on on the finish of the credit promised “Xena’s reminiscence was not broken or ….. what was I saying?” However there was no collateral fallout. “Keep in mind Nothing” was filmed from Might 8 by Might 16, 1996. It aired on Oct. 7, 1996, to an appreciative viewers which remembers it fairly fondly.

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