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Then & Now: Xena: Warrior Princess (Lucy Lawless)

Aug. 31, 2012by: Salacious Crumb
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Time: The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole. If some crazy man gave me the keys to a time-traveling Delorean, or offered a ride in the Doctor's TARDIS, there are many hotties I'd like to pay a visit to in their prime. As I go through these women week by week (all of whom are great-looking), I feel like I'm writing the eulogy for some of their careers. So this week I thought I'd focus on someone who, if anything, is making a comeback. You may know her today as Lucretia on Spartacus: Vengeance, but most of us will always have her in our heads, hearts and pants as Xena: Warrior Princess! In honor of the release of LAWLESS, ladies and gents, I bring you Lucy Lawless!

THEN:

Lucy Lawless (or as some now call her "Juicy Flawless") was born in the Aukland suburb of Mount Albert in New Zealand, where she grew up learning to sing and perform. Her family actually originated in County Clare, Ireland, but her grandfather moved the family to New Zealand as a convict. That rebellious behavior ran in the family's blood, apparently. In New Zealander tradition, when Lucy was 18 she had her "OE" (Overseas Experience), traveling through Europe and Australia. That's how she met who would be her future lucky SOB husband, Garth Lawless. In 1988, when Lucy was 19, she became pregnant with his child, and they got married. That's right, this tale has barely begun and Lucy is already a bonafide MILF.

Around that same time, Lucy won the title of "Mrs. New Zealand", which granted her a trip to Las Vegas for the 1989 "Mrs. World" contest. She studied opera for 3 years at the University of Aukland, but didn't want to dedicate herself to the lifestyle, so she ditched that to study jazz and violin. Unlike the other hotties who've made it into this column, Lucy didn't run to Hollywoodland to make her acting dreams come true. She started as a cast-member on a New Zealand sketch-comedy series called Funny Business. From there, she landed a handful of parts in film and television in the next few years, but none of them were as substantial as what was to come.

                     

Lucy didn't enter the cheesy world of Hercules in the form you may think (unless of course you're a hardcore fan of that show). The 1994 made-for-tv movie that became the pilot episode of Hercules, "Hercules and the Amazon Women" featured Lawless as the amazon, man-hating Lysia. After Herc got picked up as a series, she came back to play yet another totally different character by the name of Lyla in the episode "As Darkness Falls". Lysia and Lyla, in one season. What were they thinking? Well, probably not about the possibility of Lucy returning once again as an entirely new character for the episode "The Warrior Princess". This more villainous version of Xena was expected to be portrayed by Vanessa Angel, who would've certainly been incredibly hot, though much different. Angel fell sick and couldn't travel to New Zealand to shoot the episode, so they turned to the sexiest native they could find, which happened to be Lucy Lawless. Since Lucy, a natural "mousy blonde" at the time, had already played the similar character, Lysia, her hair was colored black, and thus, Xena became a reality! She returned a couple more times as Xena in the first season, displaying her transformation from evil to good. Little did Lucy know, Xena's conversion to the light side didn't mean it was time to hang up her shining booby armor for good.  

"In a time of ancient gods, warlords and kings, a land in turmoil cried out for a hero. She was Xena, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle. The power. The passion. The danger. The terrible acting." That opening monologue was like the same movie trailer played before each episode. I was pretty young when Xena: Warrior Princess came on the scene, so I didn't quite understand it's appeal (it was during my Animaniacs phase) and therefore, couldn't appreciate it. I had friends who liked it a lot, and I didn't see why. But now I do, of course. Are you kidding me, a warrior princess?? I recently watched some episodes on Netflix and I am surprised at how slapstick it is, since as a kid I thought it was a serious drama. After the first few times Xena leaps off of her horse and does flippy-dippies in the air with that ululation ("Ayiyyiyiyiyi!") noise, you start to get the gist of it's silliness. I actually found it a very entertaining watch, when keeping in mind how lousy '90's special effects on TV were allowed to be.

                                                                                             Yes, that pterodactyl/bird thing has neck problems, and should consult a doctor.

One thing I noticed about the series this time around is that it was executive produced by Sam Raimi, which I'd never realized. Taking notice in the way it was filmed, and the general direction of Xena, I can see how Raimi had a hand in it. It's sometimes corny for the sake of being corny. Xena's constantly spitting out punchlines when she brutally injures someone or something. In some ways, the look and feel of the show can be compared to ARMY OF DARKNESS, in that it follows a strong protagonist who laughs in the face of wicked danger. The show even guest-stars Sam Raimi regulars Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi.

Of course, there's still the matter of how terrible the acting is from some people. Really, Xena is the one person on the program you don't want to punch in the face. But I'd run a steamroller over her motormouth friend, Gabrielle. Gabby, played by Renee O'Connor, is the dimwitted blondie we meet in the pilot episode who wants to be with Xena. You can pretty much tell from the get-go that she's crushing on Xena, since she's willing to run away from her future husband for her. She flat out says "I'm running away to be a warrior princess" like an ass, to her sister, who now has to tell Gabby's fiancé that she doesn't love him. If that isn't bad enough, she won't keep her mouth shut and keeps spilling out the most unfunny comebacks you've ever heard to everything Xena says or does. It's like nails against a chalkboard! Bottom line is she's obnoxious, annoying, and serves no real purpose to the show! That is until this started happening...

Well, gosh darn it, I completely take back everything I just said about that sweet girl. I guess I had forgotten about the increasing amount of lesbian undertones Xena: Warrior Princess contained. In the episode "The Quest", they sprung everyones spring by introducing the first girl-on-girl kiss on a mythology-based, after-school adventure program. There was a lot of sexuality holding the show in place (remember the Xena magazine that always came with a fold out poster?) but since Gabrielle was hoping for it, it was nice to see them get together. The change in motion most definitely made for some great television.  

While the ratings were viagrating to the top with many men tuning in to see the new love affair, there were many women who were intrigued by the newfound appreciation for strong female characters in the media. Thanks to Xena, there were new grounds set for the use of stuntwomen in TV. It was pretty much a win-win for everyone at the time. As building continued on Lucy Lawless's tower of career success, thanks to her onscreen romance, she was also running into an offscreen romance. In 1995, when Xena first got started, Lucy and her first husband split up. In 1998, she got hitched with Robert Tapert, whom she had two sons with.

Even though she thought she'd left her dreams of singing on stage behind, Lucy performed as Betty Rizzo in the broadway production of Grease. This was the first of many moves she made in her vocal career, and her show was still going strong. It even got the video-game treatment in 1999, thanks to Playstation.

                                                                Some parts of Xena look more rendered than others...

After 134 episodes and 2000 ounces of black hair-dye, it was time for Xena: Warrior Princess to close the deal. It was sad, but she has lived and will live on, through countless parodies, homages, fan art and most importantly, cos-play. Lucy guest-starred on The Simpsons as herself, dressed as Xena. In 2000, her dear old freind Sam Raimi provided her with a cameo appearance in SPIDER-MAN, in which she looks nothing like Xena at all.

                                                             "Guy with 8 hands... sounds hot."

She tried to get another series off the ground starring as Kathleen Clayton in the single season run of Tarzan on WB. Since then she's made a ridiculous amount of appearances on other shows like The X Files, The Bernie Mac Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Flight of the Conchords and Two and a Half Men. Let's not forget she played model Number Three on Battlestar Galactica.

There's a show I've never seen one episode of, but from what I've heard from Dwight Schrute, it's a fantastic watch. Lucy has done a lot to maintain her place on the throne as the sexy queen of the Nerd Kingdom. Still, I'm more interested in knowing what our Lawless Lucy is doing today. 

NOW:

Let's be honest, was anyone expecting a letdown this time around? Here she is supporting Raimi once again at the premiere of THE POSSESSION (which he produced), and yep, I'd still let her tackle my one-eyed monster. If you've seen her in anything from the past 10 years, you know hasn't lost but a pinch of hotness. I would even argue that she looks even better nowadays. Take a look at some more of Lucy's fantastic moments from the past year or so...

Not too shabby! While you might have thought Lucy dissappeared from the scene, that's far from the case. Along with her basket full of TV appearances, she starred in two (pretty awful or awfully good) made-for-tv movies called LOCUSTS and it's sequel, VAMPIRE BATS. She also had parts in EUROTRIP, BOOGEYMAN, BEDTIME STORIES and BITCH SLAP, and on top of all that she's launched a singing career since she showcased her voice on Celebrity Duets. In 2006 she released an album called Come 2 Me (oh, I will) and in 2007 she had her first show at The Roxy in Hollywood, and she continues to put on performances. Get a load of what her shows are like.

That's not very family friendly. While we're here, Lucy also starred on No Ordinary Family, and she's a frequent guest alongside Joel McHale on The Soup. As I said up at the top, I'm aware many of you see the new face of this Irish angel all the time in the Starz network's Spartacus series. Lucy plays a Roman widow named Lucretia whos constantly getting topless, so I hereby inform you to check it out as soon as humanly possible.

Every five years, Lucy Lawless seems to have a different look, and they're all hot. It's like she took on the role of a real warrior princess and went on the quest for eternal youth, and got it. Recently, along with her return to Spartacus: Vengeance, Lucy has signed on for a part in the upcoming season of Parks And Recreation, which should be interesting to see. Lucy is always having fun, trying to find a way to do what she wants the best way possible. She will forever be our nostalgic knight in shining metallic bosoms. Keep being your jaw-dropping self, Juicy Flawless!

Extra Tidbit: Who would you like to see take on the role of Xena? My vote: Jennifer Lawrence.

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+2
1:52AM on 09/01/2012
I still remember going to a Xena Con many years ago in Burbank, CA. We got to see Lucy on stage but we were at the very, very back of the auditorium so we didn't get to see much of her. Still she seemed cool with the utter weirdos that kept rushing the mike to ask her bizarre questions. Also some of the rudest convention attendees I ever saw but that's a different rant...

For the extra tidbit, if they were to cast Xena: The Next Generation, seems clear to me it should be Gina Carano.
I still remember going to a Xena Con many years ago in Burbank, CA. We got to see Lucy on stage but we were at the very, very back of the auditorium so we didn't get to see much of her. Still she seemed cool with the utter weirdos that kept rushing the mike to ask her bizarre questions. Also some of the rudest convention attendees I ever saw but that's a different rant...

For the extra tidbit, if they were to cast Xena: The Next Generation, seems clear to me it should be Gina Carano.
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8:44PM on 08/31/2012
She is such a consummate hottie. Spartacus in itself shows her raw, strong sexuality mixed with a bit of innocence.
She is such a consummate hottie. Spartacus in itself shows her raw, strong sexuality mixed with a bit of innocence.
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+5
4:36PM on 08/31/2012
She was hot as hell as Lucretia in Spartacus. I never really found her attractive as Xena. Just something about her didn't appeal to me, even as a teen. But she somehow got more attractive as she got older and she was smoking in Spartacus.
She was hot as hell as Lucretia in Spartacus. I never really found her attractive as Xena. Just something about her didn't appeal to me, even as a teen. But she somehow got more attractive as she got older and she was smoking in Spartacus.
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4:25PM on 08/31/2012
Oh... Boy. Hot? Very much so!

That bathing picture with Gabrielle (whatshername) and red head pic from Spartacus.... I rest my case.
Oh... Boy. Hot? Very much so!

That bathing picture with Gabrielle (whatshername) and red head pic from Spartacus.... I rest my case.
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+6
12:25PM on 08/31/2012
Holey crap, she's smoking hot as a blonde! Or is that a picture from 1996? :P
Holey crap, she's smoking hot as a blonde! Or is that a picture from 1996? :P
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12:12PM on 08/31/2012

Ultimate MILF!

There's no question that she's gotten hotter with age and SPARTACUS/BATTLESTAR GALACTICA prove it.
There's no question that she's gotten hotter with age and SPARTACUS/BATTLESTAR GALACTICA prove it.
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+4
12:12PM on 08/31/2012
She's still hot. Also its Ted Raimi and not Ivan.
She's still hot. Also its Ted Raimi and not Ivan.
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12:23PM on 08/31/2012
You're absolutely right, fixed it.
You're absolutely right, fixed it.
9:15PM on 08/31/2012
Hahaha Thanks. Sorry if I sounded like a dick but little inaccuracies I have an urge to point out. :)
Hahaha Thanks. Sorry if I sounded like a dick but little inaccuracies I have an urge to point out. :)
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