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Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 5 Episode 11

Punch Lines

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Jan 24, 2000 on
out of 10
User Rating
66 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Suffering from writer's block, Gabrielle tells Aphrodite about her day in which a depressed God shrunk her and Argo and how she attempted to correct the situation before a very moody Xena caught on. Meanwhile, Xena tries to control her hormone-induced temper to win a bet with Gabrielle.


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  • A totally successful clip-show-comedic-filler, with a joke to suit any taste!

    It is hard not to enjoy this episode. As far as comedic fillers go, it is spot on, quite reminiscent of the great fillers of the second season. It also achieves what no episode to date has managed – to be an enjoyable and well-put-together clip show! I think the key to its success as a clip show stems from its location within the series; by mid-season 5 there is so much material to choose from that the writers could really have a field day. The problem with the earlier episodes was definitely the fact that they were made far too early in the series.

    This is a simple episode, really a Gabrielle Show, which is fine because she is very good. I have to say, however, that I thought the star in this one was really Joxer! I have mentioned it briefly before, but in season 5 Joxer suddenly seemed to find his niche; he was still the dorky, uncoordinated, lovable goof that he had always been, but his character just seemed a little more centred. In season 5 he is funnier, sweeter and just more lovable than ever before.

    As has been commented on several times, one of the really nice aspects of Season 5 was the strong bond that was formed between Gabrielle and Aphrodite. There is something very sweet and touching about Aphrodite watching over Gabrielle, keeping her company when she can't sleep, listening to her problems, sharing her everyday activities. I think that it is probably a little more complex a relationship than it seems on the surface, however. Since Xena became pregnant, her priorities have changed significantly. Where she and Gabrielle were once inseparable, and were able to share every thought and experience, I would imagine that Xena has a lot less time and energy these days for Gabrielle and her problems. Thus, Gabrielle has found a new confidant in Aphrodite. It reminds me of a woman having her husband, but also needing her girlfriends and her girly, coffee time. Xena is like her husband, and Aphrodite is her coffee and gossip friend.

    I have two favourite moments in this episode. The first is Joxer and Xena going grocery shopping. Clichéd as it is, it is cute as a button and great fun. The second is a very brief moment at the conclusion of the pie-fight. The camera pans to the drunken thug who had been harassing Xena all episode. He is covered head-to-toe in pie and gives a little shrug and a grin. It probably not scripted, but it is just a really great little moment that sums the episode up in one.

    Wow – who would have thought I could find so much in this episode to talk about! I will leave it there, and taking into consideration the fact that this IS just a comedic filler, it gets a well-deserved 7 out of 10.moreless
  • Punch Me....PLEASE!

    Punch Lines-Suffering from writer's block, Gabrielle tells Aphrodite about her day in which a depressed god shrunk her and Argo and how she attempted to correct the situation before a very moody Xena catches on. Meanwhile, Xena tries to control her hormone-induced temper but to no avail. One of the worst Xena episode ever!!! The storyline was so stupid and uninteresting!!! Looks like the Gabrielle wasn't the only one with writer's block!!! The Gabrielle and Argo getting shrunk was sooooooooo boring, the Joxer and Xena scenes were even more booooooooooooorrrring!!! The pie scene was kind of funny and Xena getting hit in the face at the end was too, but a little to late for that!! God, I know Lucy's pregnant, but the writers should do better than this. I mean, even Aphrodite couldn't save this episode. Just forget this one, folks!!!moreless
  • Gabrielle, suffering writer's block, tells Aphrodite about her day in which she made a bet that Xena couldn't help lose her temper, but then had to hide the fact that Argo had been shrunk in size by Lachrymose, the God of Despair. An enjoyable clip show..moreless

    This episode is strange in that it is an episode within an episode. The story of Gabrielle's day is told in flashback, as she describes it all to Aphrodite. It almost felt to me that the Aphrodite scenes were added later to bump up the running time.

    And then, with the flashback to Gabby's day featuring clips from previous episodes, it's flashbacks within flashbacks!

    As clip shows go, this was a fairly enjoyable one. The clips were mostly funny and well selected, and – most importantly – were brief. Far too many clip shows suffer from clips that drag on and on.

    As with many episodes this season, with Lucy Lawless working shorter hours due to being pregnant in real life, the emphasis was mostly on Gabrielle – which is fine with me, as she's my favourite character!

    As seen a few episodes previously in 'Little Problems', Aphrodite and Gabrielle have a great chemistry on-screen, and work really well together.

    I also liked Joxer's interaction with Xena in this episode; it seems that the writers have really got a handle on the character this season.

    The main story, with Argo and later Gabrielle being shrunk down by Lachrymose, is silly, but hard not completely dislike.

    I like the shopping scene, with Gabby first trying to hunt down Argo, and then being shrunk down to a tiny size herself. Joxer's reactions and ideas when he found her were funny, and slightly dark. But hey, who wouldn't like their own miniature Gabrielle in their pocket?!

    For a clip show, I personally didn't mind this one at all, and actually quite liked it. It's certainly better than several other of the show's clip shows, such as the first season's dull and way-too-early 'Athens City Academy Of The Performing Bards', and last season's well-conceived but ultimately shaky 'Déjà vu All Over Again'.

    Even with this being a clip show, this season has yet to offer up a real dud in my opinion (yes, even allowing for 'Little Problems'!).moreless
John Gadsby

John Gadsby


Guest Star

Tony Forster

Tony Forster


Guest Star

Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan


Guest Star

Ted Raimi

Ted Raimi


Recurring Role

Alexandra Tydings

Alexandra Tydings


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Aphrodite: Patient is hostile and insecure, possibly masking some latent tendencies.
      Gabrielle: This is stupid.
      Aphrodite: No, I'm sorry. Look, no more scroll, all right?
      Gabrielle: 'Latent tendencies?' Where did you learn to talk like that?
      Aphrodite: Honey, don't let the blond hair fool you. Although bombastic forms of circumlocution should be generally avoided, one mustn't shy away from big words in the right context.
      Gabrielle: What?
      Aphrodite: Nothing. Please, continue.

    • Aphrodite: So... what did Xena do when she found out about the horse.
      Gabrielle: Xena and I are best friends, there aren't any secrets between us.
      Aphrodite: You stalled, huh?
      Gabrielle: Exactly.

    • Xena: Joxer, never pie a pregnant woman.

    • Aphrodite: So, you shrunk her horse! Big deal! Everybody shrinks as they get older. That's why old people are so short.

    • Joxer: Oh! Pregnant woman's hungry. There's news. Oh!
      Gabrielle: And cranky.

    • Gabrielle: How 'bout the name, `Rochelle?'
      Xena: And have her called `Roach' for short?! I don't like that.

    • Aphrodite: Pregnant girl needs her rest, huh? I remember when Cupid was on his way...
      Gabrielle: Ah, doesn't a God of your obvious stature have anything better to do than hang out here in the middle of the night?
      Aphrodite: Oweeee! What's with the attitude?! I let you sleep in my temple, I show real concern for your insomnia, and you treat me like I'm a rash where the sun don't shine.

    • Xena: You know, I gotta tell ya, I am feeling a whole lot better. I mean, life's pretty sweet for me right now. I've got no cooking, no cleaning and backrubs for a month.
      Gabrielle: Technically, you didn't lose your temper. But Xena, I saw you throwing pies in a less than loving manner.
      Joxer: Much less.

    • Joker: I guess she's Lachrymose intolerant!

  • NOTES (3)

    • Lachrymose is not a real Greek god, but the word itself means "mournful" or "tearful".

    • Renee O'Connor got a black eye from one that hit her. The pies were made of mashed potatoes and a crusty bit hit her and left a mark. They made the pies out of mashed potatoes because whipped cream doesn't wash off easily between all the many takes they needed to get the scene perfect.

    • DISCLAIMER: Gabrielle and Argo were Shrunk and Permanently Pressed during the production of this motion picture.


    • The pie fight is a nod to The Three Stooges. Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, and Bruce Campbell often include Stooges references in their various projects. There are a few direct references in this pie fight. Joxer laughs and says, "You forgot to duck!" and Gabrielle replies, "So did you!" and clobbers him with a pie. Another reference is the pie that hits Xena at the end and Xena's angry question "Who threw that pie?" There was a particular Stooges short in which a hysterically laughing (and unseen) pie-thrower was always waiting in the wings.

    • The footage used to illustrate Joxer's sad life was from D.W. Griffith's 1916 silent film Intolerance.