THE WEAKEST LINK
Disclaimer: The characters are borrowed from the producers of Xena: Warrior Princess. Those producers have treated X &G rather badly of late -namely "FIN II"- and thus deserve to let some others of us play with the dynamic duo. No copyright infringement is intended. I also apologize in advance for manhandling (womanhandling?) Mr. Tapert. If you like Mr. Tapert then rest assured I am actually talking about 'another' Rob Tapert. If you are offended by sarcasm, lesbians, bad language, double entendres or poor jokes you have my sympathy (your life will be long) and my recommendation not to read this story. Comments: Maryeic@aol.com
SCENE: The set of the hit television program: The Weakest Link
CHARACTERS: Anne (the game show host),
Alti, resplendent in full body leather
Callisto, seductive and catlike in her minimalist black leather warrior duds
Ares, decked out in god 'o war black tights
Aphrodite, almost wearing a pink negligee
Rob Tapert, in dockers and sweater
Fanny, the ultimate fan with X:WP t-shirt and jeans
Gabrielle, in sexy brown outfit and completely buffed out bod
A small black pot.
TIME: Summer 2001 when all is gloom and sadness. Xena is well missed. To offset some of the depression, the Xenaverse offers up a few of its citizens to a heartsick public. The producers of a hit TV program seize the offered stars hoping to capitalize on the sentiment about a series' conclusion. The result: The Weakest Link does X:WP.
ANNE: (Reducing her lips to a smirk as she surveys the participants) Well, this is the least cerebral group we have had the dubious privilege of sharing a stage with. However, I'll wager that voting people off proves to be your one true skill.
Audience: Collective chortle.
ANNE: Ready then, let's play theweakestlink. Start the clock. Alti
ALTI: You say that as if it were one word -- theweakestlink.
ANNE: (Frowning) You are not the dominatrix here, Alti.
ALTI: Want to bet?
ANNE: No, I want to ask you a question.
ALTI: And I'd like to kick your ass.
ANNE: Your question is 'Who was the Greek god of the underworld?'
ANNE: No, the correct answer is Hades.
ALTI: Bite me.
ANNE: Not without a tetanus shot. (Turns to the next contestant.) Callisto
CALLISTO: (Wrapping herself around the podium like a sleepy cat and ogling Alti.) Ooh, sounds like fun.
ANNE: Try to focus on the question momentarily. You two can be alone later.
CALLISTO: Don't try to be a better bitch than me, sweetie. I have the bitch resume tattooed on my
ANNE: Your question is 'Who is the Warrior Princess?'
CALLISTO: Oh who cares. I'm the Warrior Queen.
ANNE: No, the correct answer is Xena.
CALLISTO: You sound just like Gabrielle. Xena this, Xena that, Xena is the best
ANNE: (Turning to the next contestant) Ares, your quest
ARES: (Laughing as he nods to Callisto) Well they are both irritating blondes.
ANNE: I am a redhead.
GABRIELLE: So am I .oops. Well I was until the second season anyway.
ANNE: Ares, your question is 'What was the preferred method of Roman execution?'
ARES: Watching Hercules reruns.
ANNE: No, the correct answer is crucifixion.
APHRODITE: (Snorts.) Heh, heh, heh, even I knew that.
ANNE: Let's see if you know anything else. 'What is the square root of an isosceles triangle?'
APHRODITE: I don't know from square, honey.
ANNE: You don't know jack. Are you certain that you are a goddess?
APHRODITE: I do so know Jack .known all of them actually. And they'll tell you what a goddess of love I am.
ANNE: Spare me.
APHRODITE: Duh! Wouldn't touch you.
ANNE: I'll take that as a promise. (Turning to next contestant) Rob, your question is 'What fan community made Xena: Warrior Princess a mega hit by launching thousands of supportive web sites?'
TAPERT: I have no idea.
Audience: No kidding!
ANNE: Still in denial I see. The correct answer is the lesbian community.
Audience: Cheering and catcalls.
ANNE: (Moves to face the next contestant.) Fanny, 'What is the name given to hapless males who became short lived love interests for either Xena or Gabrielle.'
FANNY: Red shirts! Xena rocks! Tapert sucks!
ANNE: Correct! (Facing Gabrielle.) Gabrielle, 'Why in heavens name did you marry Perdicus?'
GABRIELLE: It was in the script. And it was a clever way to get a kiss from Xena on camera.
Audience: (Rafter shattering cheering.)
ANNE: Correct. (Turns to the small black pot perched on the podium.) Xena, 'What was the official TPTB response regarding the nature of the Xena /Gabrielle relationship.
ANNE: Silence is the correct answer. (Swings to the beginning contestant.) Alti, 'Who was the all time favorite, sexy, witty villainess to face Xena?'
ANNE: No, the correct answer is Callisto. Although your cabaret performance in Pasadena did a great deal to enhance your standing.
CALLISTO: (Leering at Alti.) Can I bite you now?
A bell sounds ending the round.
ANNE: We have come to the end of that round, contestants. And out of a possible $125,000 you banked zero. Nothing. Not a single dinar. What a dismal performance and you call yourselves professionals. Without further comment then, it is time to decide which player's contract needn't be renewed. Whose chest size greatly exceeds their IQ? Vote now for theweakestlink.
ALTI: She did it again. I hate that. Enunciate woman.
Anne returns a withering stare and Alti crosses her arms menacingly across her chest.
The studio lights flash and voting time is over.
(Amazingly enough, there are no commercials to suffer through in tonight's "The Weakest Link.")
ANNE: Ready then. It's time to count the votes and discover who is theweakestlink.
ALTI: You, Anne, you evil-wanna-be. I voted for you. You are the-weak-est-link.
ANNE: Please try to contain yourself, Alti. All this attention and you are just not my type.
CALLISTO: I voted for Gabrielle. I have wanted her out of the way for seasons and seasons.
ARES: I voted for Gabrielle also. Same reason.
ANNE: But you wrote down Alti's name.
ARES: Yeah, well, I've changed my mind.
ANNE: What mind? At any rate, Alti stands as the vote you cast.
APHRODITE: The Pot.
ANNE: You voted for the pot? The pot got an answer correct which was more than you could accomplish.
APHRODITE: I prefer Gabrielle. The pot is just in the way.
ANNE: Again a vote for someone who answered correctly. Don't you grasp the concept here, Rob. How could you vote against an ardent fan?
TAPERT: I don't care that she's 'an ardent fan.'
Audience: (Sustained booing.)
ANNE: Well, I guess we already knew that, now, didn't we.
ANNE: May I ask why?
FANNY: He got the ending wrong. The son of a .
Audience drowns out the rest of Fanny's sentence with their foot stomping and yelling. With a sympathetic look, Anne waits for order to return and turns to Gabrielle.
GABRIELLE: Ares. It has to do with that whole Hope and Dahak story line.
ANNE: Understandable. (She turns to the pot in time to see Gabrielle reach over and write something.) And whom does the pot vote for -- or against as may be more accurate.
GABRIELLE: She votes for Ares.
ANNE: Are you sure?
GABRIELLE: Positive. They have issues.
ANNE: Reasonable, I must say. All right then. Ares, with two votes you are theweakestlink. G'by.
Ares glares in Gab's direction, then disappears in a clap of thunder.
ANNE: Not that we'd be inclined to miss most of you, but he certainly won't be missed and his exits were always his best performances anyway. Now it's time once again to play theweakestlink. We begin with the strongest link from last round, which we will determine is the pot in homage to the strong silent type. Start the clock. (Swinging about to face the pot.) Xena, 'What was the best explanation given for how Gabrielle escaped a fiery death in Sacrifice II?'
ANNE: Correct. There never was a rational explanation for that plot twist. (Turning to Alti.) Alti, 'When you were clever enough to clone Xena in Soul Possession why were you so stupid as to clone Gabrielle as well?'
ALTI: Er, um you are really getting on my nerves.
ANNE: That may be, dearie. But the correct answer is because you have been theweakestlink for lifetimes. Theweakestlink. Theweakestlink. Nyah, nyah, nyah.
ALTI: Go to hell.
ANNE: Only if you promise to show me around. (Turning to Callisto.) Callisto, 'Aren't you ashamed of yourself for doing the nasty with Ares while in Xena's body?'
CALLISTO: Can't say that I am.
ANNE: Wrong! The correct answer is "Yes, Xena please forgive me."
CALLISTO: Well, you wouldn't expect me to sleep with him in my own body would you. He's a pig!
Thunder rolls through the studio.
ANNE: Wish I could give you credit for that one. But rules are rules even if he is a pig. Aphrodite, 'What is the meaning of E=MC2?'
APHRODITE: (Pouting) Hey, chicky-baby, I am the goddess of love here. Like, what is with these questions? E=MC2 ? Is it Erotic equals Muscular and Cute? What's with the 'C square'? Twins?
ANNE: Wrong. The correct answer is .oh, why bother. (Turns to Rob Tapert.) Rob, 'Define the word subtext.'
TAPERT: Never heard of it. And no, Liz Friedman never mentioned it.
ANNE: Wrong. The correct answer is: subtext means X/G's relationship, the whole series is about the RELATIONSHIP. Is the relationship, stupid! This is getting weary. (Turns to Fanny.) 'How many fan fiction stories does the average X:WP fan read in a week?'
ANNE: Correct. We are finally on a roll. Gabrielle, 'What happened to Gabrielle's outfits as the seasons progressed?'
GABRIELLE: They got skimpier.
ANNE: And skimpier. Correct. (Turns to the pot.) Xena
VOICE (sounding exactly like Gabrielle): Bank!
ANNE: Good thinking, Xena. Now your question, 'What is Joxer's greatest skill?'
ANNE: Correct. He doesn't have one.
The bell sounds ending the round and Anne draws a long, loud disapproving breath.
ANNE: Thanks to Xena: Warrior Pot you managed to bank a ridiculous $3,500.00 that round out of a possible quarter of a million so far. I can only hope that your syndication royalties are doing better. Although I doubt it after the main character was stupidly killed off. Well, without further consternation, it is time to vote off what Alti loves to have me call theweakestlink. Ready? Vote for the player whose sword doesn't go all the way to the hilt.
A few moments of dancing studios lights finds the participants pen in hand, head down, scribbling.
The lights come up and the moderator asks for their votes.
ALTI: Anne. I'm sticking with my original vote. I'll take you out myself if I have to. Why not spare yourself the pain, Anne. Say The Weakest Link using three separate words.
CALLISTO: Alti. Enough with the whining. I thought you were a super bad girl. Did you ever hear 'sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me.' Getoverit. (Growls at Alti.)
APHRODITE: Alti. Like, I can't stand people who make fun of how someone totally talks.
TAPERT: Alti. I was gonna vote for Aphrodite 'cause she is stupid, but I'm beginning to get the idea that Alti may be openly gay or whatchamacallit? 'by-sexual' or something and I can't tolerate that sort of open thing not on camera, anyway.
A tomato flies out of the audience and hits him square on the cheek to the delight of all those present.
ANNE: Not to get upset, Rob. They threw it straight.
FANNY: Rob. Because he got the ending wrong. He ruined it. He ignored us. He is a son of a
ANNE: (Interrupts her.) I remember your previous reasons.
GABRIELLE: Alti. It was either Alti or Callisto, but I know that Callisto turns out good in the end.
CALLISTO: (Wiggling her butt.) What end is that, Gab?
POT: 'Alti.' (In Gabrielle's handwriting.)
ANNE: It pains me not to say to you, Alti, you are theweakestlink. G'bye.
ALTI: At least I don't have to hear that ever again. Goodbye to you. See the rest of you at the Triple XXX rated revue in Cherry Hill, NJ. In fact here's a sample. (She flips over Callisto, lands beside Aphrodite and embracing her tightly, plants a long passionate kiss on the goddess of love.)
ANNE: Well, you two got that right! Someone pick up Rob, I believe he's fainted.
As Aphrodite revives from her swoon and Rob picks himself off the floor, Anne begins the third round of play once the audience calms down enough for voices to be heard.
ANNE: It's time to play theweakestlink. We begin with the strongest play of the last round and once again that is the pot. Xena, 'Give me one good reason why Xena should have died at the end of the final episode.'
ANNE: Correct. There is no intelligent answer to one of the dumbest conclusions ever written, directed or produced. Bless you for being so tactful about it. (Turning to Callisto) Callisto, 'When you impregnated Xena did that make you Eve, Eve's father, a sperm donor, or a family friend?'
CALLISTO: May I use a lifeline? I'd like either a 50-50 or to call a friend, namely Michael the Archangel.
ANNE: Wrong program. What is your answer?
CALLISTO: I guess that made me Eve's father.
ANNE: Oh sorry, incorrect. The correct answer was all four. How do you do those marvelous witty adlibs when you are so unfamiliar with the script.
CALLISTO: (Screaming in that so Callisto fashion.) HOW'D YOU LIKE TO SPEND ETERNITY IN FIVE PIECES?
ANNE: See, there you go again. That was Xena's line, not yours. (Turns to the next contestant.) Aphrodite, I will try to speak slowly so that you can understand. Take your time. 'What was the subject of the emancipation proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln?'
APHRODITE: At last, an easy one. That was all about free love! Or was it about love slaves? (Confused look.)
ANNE: Wrong. The emancipation proclamation freed slaves.
APHRODITE: Major bummer.
TAPERT: Major blonde!
ANNE: She is exactly the way your vision created her. Now for your question, 'Name three ways to bring Xena back to life."
TAPERT: Sorry, no can do. Show is over. Revenge was necessary. My vision is fulfilled.
ANNE: Wrong. The correct answers are: 1) Have Gabrielle kiss her, 2) Feed her ambrosia, and 3) DUMP HER ASHES IN THE WELL OF STRENGTH. (The audience chants the third one along with the moderator. At the end, Fanny reaches over and clocks Rob in the jaw knocking him to the stage.)
ANNE: Fanny, 'What do the Tin Man, Dick Cheney and Rob Tapert have in common?'
FANNY: None of them have a heart.
ANNE: Correct. Next, Gabrielle, 'What does BGSB stand for?'
GABRIELLE: Oh yes, that was a bard convention of the early fan fic era that means bilious green sports bra.
ANNE: Correct. Xena, 'What did Marcel Marseau say to his fans?'
ANNE: Correct. He is a mime and never says a word. Callisto, 'Name three uses for Ambrosia?'
CALLISTO: It can make you a god, heal wounds, and makes a lovely chip dip when mixed with mayonnaise.
ANNE: Correct. I guess that blonde hair really does have brown roots. And speaking of blondes, Aphrodite
APHRODITE: Levy! Savings and Loan! Credit Union!
ANNE: I think you mean bank.
ANNE: We'll count it. (Bell ends the round.) And that gives you the fantastic total of $13,500.00 after three rounds. Impressive, not a bit. Surprising, well, frankly yes at this point. Time to vote off theweakestlink. Who's run out of reincarnations? Who's so brain dead even Eli couldn't save them? Vote now.
The studio lights come up and the participant's heads go down as they make their choices.
ANNE: All right then. Let's tally the votes.
The participant's small screens display who they voted for.
CALLISTO: 'Aphrodite' I've got to vote for the poster child for dumb. Don't need love in my life anyway.
APHRODITE: 'Callisto' Even a goddess couldn't get someone to love you, sister. And I am not dumb, I can see very well thank you.
TAPERT: 'Callisto' It's time for you to go. Killed you off several times, but no, you had to keep coming back. Well this time, gone for good. Got that?
FANNY: 'Rob' Because he RUINED it! I hate him. I HATE HIM. He's a son of a
ANNE: Got it! Gabrielle, who did you vote for?
GABRIELLE: Aphrodite. Sorry, 'Dite. I think you should get back to your goddess' work for which you are superbly suited. This is no place for a nice girl like you.
POT: 'Rob' (Once again the handwriting is suspicious but Gabrielle merely looks guilty and admits nothing.)
ANNE: Well it looks like Xena voted for alter ego Lucy's husband, producer, and father of her child Rob. Hummm, must have lost her head --- (audience groans). Ordinarily in a tie, which is what we have here, the strongest link gets to choose, but today I have a better idea. You all three can go. PLEASE. You three are theweakestlinks. G'bye. G'bye. G'bye.
With a pounce worthy of a lioness, Callisto exits the stage. Aphrodite blows Gabrielle a kiss and disappears in a pink flash. Rob Tapert steps around his podium and meanders to the side of the stage.
ANNE: So we are down to three. One of you will take home all the money - assuming you manage to actually win any money other than the paltry $13,500.00 banked so far. The other two will leave with nothing. Well, Gabrielle will have her pot in any event. So let's play theweakestlink! We begin with the strongest link from the last round and that could be any one of you, let's make it Fanny. Start the clock. Fanny, 'Who is the biggest horse's ass of 2001? Is it a) George W, b) Scalia, or c) Rob Tapert?'
FANNY: The answer is c) Rob Tapert.
ANNE: Correct. (Turning.) Gabrielle, 'What color is your little black pot?'
GABRIELLE: Ah, a trick question. My little pot is actually brown, it just looks black on television. Sort of like a certain heroine's leathers and boots. Sniffle. (Her hand caresses the little black, er brown, pot.)
ANNE: Correct. (Stifles a sob.) Xena, 'What is in a vacuum?"
ANNE: Correct. Absolutely nothing. Truly astonishing this woman's wisdom. (Turning). Fanny, 'What promise did Rob Tapert make in January 2001 regarding the show's finale?'
FANNY: That he wouldn't kill them again.
ANNE: Correct. Gabrielle, 'Did Xena earn redemption long before the events in Japan and was her death and decision to stay dead completely unnecessary?'
GABRIELLE: Absolutely. There were so many holes in that story line you could drive a fleet of Hondas through it. Whatever a Honda is.
ANNE: Correct. Xena, 'How would you describe the center of a chakram?"
ANNE: Correct. There is nothing in it. Brilliant. (Turning.) Fanny
ANNE: Whew, just in the knick of time. You banked $50,000 dollars but since we compressed three rounds into one we are going to make that $150,000.00 for a total thus far of $163,500.00. Excellent work. But now a truly difficult decision. One of you must leave with nothing. So, I ask you, who is
FANNY: Wait. Listen I know that neither Xena nor Gabrielle would ever vote against a fan and I can't possibly vote against either of them so I volunteer to step aside. They are a team, they belong together. I'm gonna sit in the audience and watch. Goodbye and thank you. I had a lovely time.
Big round of applause from the audience, who don't seem to care that Anne appears to be bending the rules tonight. (A dominatrix is supposed to bend the rules, is she not?)
ANNE: Well, why not. Meets the objective, moves the show along and doesn't annoy the fans. Tapert can't say that, you know. So in the spirit of cooperation you have shown, Fanny, I will not call you theweakestlink. I will merely say g'bye.
The stage crew reposition Gabrielle and the pot together directly in front of the moderator. Anne, straight as a razor in her black long coat and slacks. Gabrielle, clean cut and toned in her brown skirt and battle bra. And the pot -- stoic, poised, confident, with soulmate Gabrielle at her side. The audience was excited yet hushed with anticipation.
ANNE: Well, what an extraordinary evening we have had. I must confess that at the beginning of this game I saw only arrogance and self-interest. But what we have come down to in the end is a righteous couple with skill and virtue. Getting rid of Alti and Tapert did it for me. The others were just gravy. But here you are, the two finalist and one of you will leave with all the money. The other with nothing.
GABRIELLE: Actually both Xena and I are playing for our favorite charity so the money goes there no matter what and I will leave with Xena. And she with me.
ANNE: How touching, but let's not ruin my show with another bad ending so let's play theweakestlink to it expected conclusion, okay? Okay! I will ask you each five questions and who ever gets the most right wins the money. Xena, we will begin with you. 'What do most men do around the house?'
ANNE: Correct. Not a damn thing. Now Gabrielle to you. 'What is the nature of your relationship with Xena?'
GABRIELLE: We are soulmates.
ANNE: Correct. Xena, 'What is it that you wouldn't do for Gabrielle?'
ANNE: Right again! There is nothing that you wouldn't do for Gabrielle, nor I take it that she wouldn't do for you. Gabrielle, your third question, 'Who invented the medical procedures of caesarian delivery, tracheotomy and CPR?'
GABRIELLE: Why, Xena, of course.
ANNE: Correct. Xena, 'Who among currently living personages, besides Gabrielle, knows the art of throwing the chakram and the technique known as the pinch?'
ANNE: Totally amazing! She is correct yet again. No others on earth know these skills. Alright then, on to question four for Gabrielle. Can she maintain the pace? Is she the match for Xena? Well, obviously she is, but what I mean is. Oh, never mind. Gabrielle, your next question, 'Who defeated the entire invading Persian army?'
GABRIELLE: Xena, as related in my scroll "One Against an Army."
ANNE: Correct! How utterly exciting. I am aghast. How shall we ever determine a winner? One more question for each of you and then if still tied we will have to play, pardon the expression, sudden death.
ANNE: Perhaps we should break the tension a bit. How about a bit of chitchat. Gabrielle what do you and Xena do with your time now? I mean things are probably a little different what with her being in a pot and all.
GABRIELLE: It did take a bit of getting used to. I can see her sometimes and talk to her and I do hear her voice in my head and see her face everywhere really. It is hardest in the evenings, I think. When all the chores are completed and there is nothing to distract me from the thought of her. If I close my eyes I can hear her sharpening stone against the blade of her sword. Often I will catch a shadow moving lithely exactly like Xena at practice.
ANNE: (Sobbing). How do you cope?
GABRIELLE: Well sometimes we play charades, the pot and I.
GABRIELLE: Yes. Xena does a very effective Mt. St. Helen's, or "I'm a Little Tea Pot" or even a very clever Potpourri. She keeps me guessing. It took me nearly forever to get it when she was lip synching "I ain't got no body."
ANNE: (Coughs). That's all I can take. Let's complete the game so I can schedule my therapist. Question five and if either of you miss it, the game is ended. Xena, 'What is the longitude and latitude of the North Pole?'
ANNE: Correct. They are both zero. What an incredible display of knowledge, Xena. Let's see if Gabrielle is up to the challenge. Gabrielle, 'What is the original definition of xenophobia?'
GABRIELLE: In the original Greek, it means 'fear of getting your ass kicked by the warrior princess."
ANNE: Correct. Utterly amazing. You two are a perfectly matched pair. There is no way to break the bond, er tie. But for the sake of our program, we go now to 'sudden death'.
The studio takes on a strange golden glow and the sound of wind fills it for a dozen seconds then subsides. The audience is left huddling in fear and wonder. The moderator, her hands white knuckled as she clings to the podium in front of her, wears a crooked smile beneath wide-open eyes. She looks, well, butch. As the lights return sufficiently for people to see again, a collective gasp occurs. There is a woman standing were moments before there had been only a little black, er brown pot. The woman as determined by the love light in Gabrielle's face is Xena.
XENA: I've had more than enough of death, Anne. Sudden or otherwise. Let's play sudden life instead.
ANNE: But, but .how?
XENA: Is that my question? (Anne nods, speechless.) Then Gabrielle wins because I do not know precisely how. I know that it didn't involved Eli, Michael, Aphrodite and others. It was the energy in the collective will of the fans in whose minds and hearts the real Xena always did live and lives still. I am here because of them.
GABRIELLE: (Joy dripping in her voice.) They are the reason we are together, Xena. I knew you would be back!
XENA: How could I stay away?
GABRIELLE: Is that my question?
ANNE: Uh um, no. No more questions. You win. You both win. The relationship wins. The fans win. Okay, one last question. What charity do I send the money to?
G&X: (In unison.) Why the Society for a Season Seven, of course.
Of course! And the audience drying its eyes filed out of the studio knowing that season seven had begun with scores of new stories and great adventures for the warrior and her bard who as everyone knows will live forever or as long as there is a single bard left. Which ever comes first.
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