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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Why Lexx Is Personal

Originally posted 3-23-13. If you cannot see the embedded youtubes on your browser or mobile device, please let me know in comments what browser or device you are using so I'll know what iframes won't interface with through blogger. Thanks.

Lexx means a lot of things to a lot of people. At first glance it’s just another space show that’s a little on the raunchy side, but viewers who get caught up enough in Lexx to see more than one season seem to develop much deeper feelings that border on fanaticism. Lexx has its own loyal cosplay fans and collectors, despite the lack of vendor support at conventions and the disappearance of distributor support for several years (thank goodness that last has changed).

Someone on twitter asked me a few months ago which Lexx episode is my favorite, and after a little thought, this is what I wrote back.


After that, I realized I have some pretty deep feelings associated with Lexx that I don’t really talk about. I’ve been called a Lexx super nerd by a number of people and I’ve never said why I’m so attached to this show. So here it is, the way Lexx found and pushed all my buttons and why I think Lexx is good for the world. I don’t like to talk about my ‘stuff’, and I’m sure I’ll come across as a weirdo to some people when I say it. But fans of any show know that the characters and events that happen in a show can become symbolic of personal stuff, and as we displace our emotions into the stories, we unconsciously learn to deal with our own stuff. Stories give us situations to think about, characters give us relationships to relate to. As we become more involved in a show, we become more emotionally invested.

The biggest obvious impact Lexx had on me was near the beginning of season two, during an episode called “Terminal”. In this episode there was a terrible accident when Kai was incorrectly awakened and he automatically braced Stanley right through the heart. Kai and Zev got Stan into the cryopod to put him into stasis before he actually died and found doctors to fix him.



I was completely stunned when that brace hit Stanley’s heart, and very upset, almost wasn’t able to continue with the show. I had been living with a heart condition called superventricular tachycardia since high school until well into my thirties, and by the time I saw this episode, a surgeon had been trying to talk me into surgery for nearly two years already because it was getting worse. My condition was becoming alarming, but I was terrified to have the surgery done since I was told I’d have a one in five chance of dying during surgery. Those are worse odds than Russian Roulette with a six shooter. A 20% chance might not sound like a big deal, but once it’s your turn, that becomes 100%.

As ridiculous as it sounds, just making it through that episode changed everything for me. I held my breath every time they showed Stanley wrapped in plastic, and I was so relieved when his heart got fixed and he was fine. But that wasn’t the end of the show, not by a long shot. Although it was hilarious seeing 790 pilot Stan’s hospital bed with Stan in his underwear, something else terrible was going on. Zev and Kai were taken prisoner for sinister medical experiments, and by the end of the episode Zev gave her life to save Kai and left me curled up bawling my eyes out.

Within days I called my surgeon and set up the surgery. I faced the fact that this could be it and told all my family I love them. When I woke up, still very loopy from the anesthesia, I sang Kai’s “I’m Alive” song to my daughter. I never would have done that if I’d been in my right mind, but drugs have a way of helping us express feelings more easily, and it was a very emotional moment for her, not even 20 years old yet, way too young to lose her mom.



There are other things in Lexx that speak to me deeply every time I see them. In Supernova we learn that Zev was raised in a box by holograms and trained for the wife bank. How many women in Earth’s history have gone through the humiliation and degradation of never being more than that? Or being sex trafficked into slavery? It still goes on, all over the world. Zev is the unloved child that parents gave away, the love slave who actually escaped and wound up with the key to the most powerful weapon of destruction in two universes. She could have run away with a doctor and become a queen of terror, but she chose love and loyalty to Stan and Kai, the first people who ever treated her with kindness, even if it wasn’t perfect. As a person, Zev was pretty clearheaded about reality, where she fit into it, and what she wouldn’t tolerate in an amoralistic society. She could be girly and still command respect.



I grew up in an ultra conservative household where girls could never earn the status boys have just for being born boys. I was never given to feel worth my presence in this world no matter how hard I worked, nor forgiven for being born the way I was (I’m ASD). I grew up emotionally neglected and bizarrely treated, so when I saw Zev, it totally clicked. Many girls grow up feeling ugly or like they can’t earn the love missing when their parents have their priorities mixed up, and then they feel pushed to perform ‘wifely duties’ and other behaviors attempting to earn that love. Growing up with a Mennonite father might be the same as growing up in any religiously repressed household where women have a ‘place’. What very little we see of what happens to Zev in the first and second movies screams loads about third class citizens under the thumb of His Divine Shadow, and speaks loudly to repressed women watching the show. That so much could be implied in so little film time for her character is overwhelmingly poetic. All the sadness she grew up with, I have felt.

I just got this tweet as I was finishing that sentence.



I’m sitting in a public library bawling because of that. Was managing to hold it in till then. No idea if anyone is looking at me, staying focused on my writing.

Moving on.

It’s not real often I run into a show where all the core characters have so much meaning for me. I’m not trying to hog the fan feels, in fact, I’ve kept all this in for many years. This is the first time in the years since Lexx first aired that I’m talking about this next bit to anyone in context of how it affects me personally.

Everybody loves Kai. The girls, the boys, the robot heads- everybody either wants to love Kai or to be Kai. Kai is just that cool. My initial reaction to Kai was repulsion. I couldn’t explain it, still can’t. It has nothing to do with sex or looks or that he was a killer or that he’s dead. None of that. I think it’s his conundrum between being able to intellectually know something and being unable to emotionally feel it. While other fans mooned and anthropomorphized, I just very simply got it. I’m stuck, too. I’ve had a pretty big challenge most of my life making the leap from processing information to feeling something about it, especially to being aware of having feelings and what to do with them. Michael himself has talked about the mandatory autistic nature of his character in interviews, especially during one scene in season three where Kai tried to bury himself and Xev asked him what he’s doing buried in the dirt. I’ve gone weeks and even months not contacting family and feeling very content just to be left alone. It doesn’t mean I don’t like people, I actually like people very much. But I suffer an emotional disconnect that I don’t see demonstrated very well in fictional characters, and I guess this hit pretty close to home for me. So much of my life I have simply just not reacted to people or events happening around me, and I come across to others as strange, cold, or uncaring, when really everything is going through an intellectual filter first. Much of the reactions I’ve learned to mimic are contrived for the sake of not being willing to die alone. I’ve been working very hard on social interaction and communication skills for several years, and I’m getting better and better at it, but in an eyeblink I could just turn into a statue and stare if I weren’t self monitoring. I do a lot of thinking during those moments. I’ve wondered a lot about the reanimated state of Kai’s physical brain, how the protoblood affects his actual synaptic processes, the locality of the ‘me’ point of view still being present either by simple function or by intellectual reaction to self observation. I have a sociology degree and aced classes in social psyche and brain studies, so the whole Kai experience thing really intrigues me. While other fans shipped him into fanfictions, I tore every scrap of that character apart in my mind trying to figure out the meaning behind his being, if there is any, and whether that kind of existence is horrifying. To never be able to turn all your memories off, to know the horrors of your body being severed into pieces and put back together like toys, to live with the idea that your body was raked out and rebuilt with foreign parts- who would want to own that? Would coming back to life somehow bring unbearable pain to all that scar tissue? For the life of me, I could never figure out how in the world people couldn’t see that he had to reach through all that maddening static to interact with the others. To keep it all together in a dead brain and still be a ‘nice guy’ of a sort is a real icon for living with depression, when everyone around you still gets to enjoy food, enjoy sex, enjoy anything. I wonder if that’s why so many fans might be subconsciously attracted to Kai, because in spite of his whole world being utterly black, he still finds a way to make a choice (through others) to do the right thing. *wow* He’s darker than Batman could ever hope to be.




I love Stanley Tweedle. From the first time I saw him, I recognized the whole rebellious wimp thing as my favorite character type, because you never know what guys like that are going to do, and sometimes they pull through in ways you don’t expect in the face of really big crap, and the way they do it may not always be cool, but it becomes cool. Stanley never gave up, even when everything sucked and everyone was against him, and that’s what I’m like when everything sucks, I get cranky and rebellious and turn my crap day into something cool, because I want to. I hate depression. I’ve lived with ridiculous amounts of depression nearly my whole life, and as a way of life I like to twist it into a pretzel and throw it back at the universe. Stanley Tweedle is my all-time favorite scifi character because the twisted irony that swims through spacetime around that guy makes me laugh and want to hug people for all the suckiness they go through, even when I’m feeling crabby. If anyone could finger His Shadow, I’m really glad it was him, because he’s like the rest of us, stumbling through our days and stubbornly hoping for the best even if the only way we can get it is to make it up.




And what about the Lexx itself? It all started for me with the big bug on Showtime. I saw the interview promo about a spaceship designed like a bug, a biomechanoid that was genetically designed and then grown to a monstrous size. As a living ship this space bug could carry a city-sized amount of crew and materials and interact in a simple way to a commander who had direct control over it via a ‘key’. This key was a bio coded interface program that enabled conversation between bug and captain, and that was the cutest thing I ever saw in a space show. I grew up disgusted with bugs but have come to see them differently since I first encountered Lexx. Now I see them as tiny little bio machines that follow simple genetic codes, with simple feelings and thoughts like Lexx had. I don’t know whether that’s true, but I think it’s better than hating bugs just because they’re bugs. Lexx is also terrified of spiders, like I am, but I seem to be dealing with my arachnophobia a little better since my view on bugs has changed.

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I could write a whole book on the characters and stories in Lexx, but this is already pretty long, and all that can go into more posts later. One last thought- Lexx has a real Don’t Fear the Reaper feel to it, and I guess that’s why I love it so much. No matter how awful everything gets, no matter how real and big and dark, the Lexx crew struggle with the real and big and dark and come through intact, themselves, knowing who they are and what they want.

:edit: 5-23-14 Another code integration update during this lengthy Xanga migration to new servers wiped all my videos from my posts, and since I can’t remember the one I had here, I’m replacing it with my two fave Zev/Xev vids. You’re welcome. Carry on.




Find Lexx.
iTunes – TV Shows – Lexx, Season 1
Watch Lexx Online | Netflix
Watch Lexx on Hulu
Watch Lexx Online – TV.com
Echo Bridge Entertainment – Lexx
Amazon.com: lexx: Movies & TV
U.S. Netflix Outside the U.S.

:edit: Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I found this saved on my private blog, must have double posted it. I originally had it posted on my old Lexx fan blog, all that stuff is gone now, including the Xenia picture I used, so it’s now missing from this post. I can’t find it online any more, but it’s an almost identical picture. :edit: 6-26-13 You know what, I found that picture at http://www.norajean.com/Biz-Archive/LEXX-Home/LEXX-001a.htm, huzzah! laughing 

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I have my own little Xev.  She could care less about Lexx and thinks I’m crazy to watch it.  She has no idea who Xenia is.  Xenia has no idea who she is, either, so they’re even.  I just ran into that Xenia picture down there.

 

Ok, this is 2013 again, she’s much older now. I wanted to add this to why Lexx is personal for me, because it’s important.

‘Twink’ (my online nickname for her, after she scolded Scott one day about something, saying before she was even a twinkle in his eye), is my step daughter. I met her before she turned two, married her dad a little before before she turned five, and have pretty much been full time parent for her nearly all her life. Any step parent will appreciate how stressful it got at times since we live next door to her gramma and had somewhat regular contact with her mom. I come from a very different lifestyle background and the first five years in this house were challenging. One of the key things I learned was ‘child first’, and I made it through some tough emotional roller coaster years because I firmly believe in that.

A really eye-opening year was when the third season of Lexx aired. Both Xev and Twink had changed. Twink was just hitting her teens about the time Prince woke Xev up out of the cryopod, and the timing was so perfect for me. When an adolescent not of your own body lives in your house and you feel like the whole world is against you being the parent figure, a marriage can rock completely apart. Ours didn’t. In fact, I suddenly felt a renewed compassion for my Twink, thanx to Xev that year. For one thing, Twink suddenly looked like one of my fave science fiction characters, a strong woman of misfortune, beautiful and committed to finding real love in her life. That character represented so many things I admire in strong women, like solid friendship through thick and thin, not being intimidated by what others think, knowing herself and sticking to her guns. I was able to transfer those feelings onto a step child who really needed a break. Life sucks when you first hit your teens, and you don’t need other people’s emotional baggage dragging you down. Because Xenia played Xev in the third season of Lexx, I was able to love a child through a very difficult year.

I come from people who don’t believe in putting ourselves into spotlights for attention, and think striving to be ‘pretty’ leads to being sinful. I don’t agree with this. I think people need to feel pretty in many ways, because feeling pretty means feeling like someone likes and accepts us. ‘Pretty’ is a metaphor, the opposite of ‘ugly’. We feel ugly when we feel unwanted. The prettiest person in the world feels ugly if something is wrong in their emotional life, and there is nothing you can say to convince them otherwise.

My Twink is a very pretty person, especially on the inside, and I’m very proud of her. Be Lexxy with each other.





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