Back in the 1990s, LGBTQ representation was rare and typically poorly executed; it may seem far away now at a time when an entire generation has been brought up with gay marriage as a normal part of life, but back then, every time someone or something dared to be out and proud, some people really lost their sense of it .
It was also a time when TV producers had even less autonomy when it came to their production and writing decisions than they do today. From the beginning of the series, the network was aware of the possibility that the relationship between Gabby and Xena could be perceived as romantic, so they went out of their way to ban any unique lesbian relationship.
But what about subtitles? As it turns out, the network was fine with LGBTQ subtitles, especially as it became clear pretty quickly that the subtitles were part of what fans kept coming back to see. The result is that the audience ended up with lots of steamy scenes where the heroes bathed together, washed each other’s backs and had heartfelt conversations about how they could not live without each other. For those of us who live to see the super shipping-friendly moments, there are plenty of plausible kisses of denial.
There are goodbye kisses like season 2, episode 5, “The Return of Callisto.” There are replacement body kisses, like when Xena kisses Gabby in Autolycus’ body (Season 2, Episode 13, “The Quest”). There are kisses on the forehead, kind kisses, life-saving kisses and gothy vampire kisses – and every single one of them looks great as smartphone wallpaper.
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