If The Shoe Fits
Through imaginative storytelling, Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer and Aphrodite help the young runaway Princess Alesia realize there's no place like home.
- Adaptation Decay: Invoked. The different storytellers openly disagree with each other over how to tell the story and make changes.
- Adaptational Badass: Xena does this to Tyrella.
- Adaptational Heroism: Aphrodite does this to Tyrella's stepmother.
- Armor-Piercing Question:Aphrodite: I just wanted a happy ending for her.
Gabrielle: No, you just want your happy ending, regardless of her. Tell me, Miss Expert, is that what you call love?
- Author Avatar: Invoked for most of the episode. Gabrielle, Joxer, and Xena each take turns telling Alesia the Tyrella fairy tale—causing the main character to adopt their characteristics and issues. Aphrodite's version of the story leaves her as the stepmother, but the character is suddenly portrayed as sexy and adored, while Tyrella is homely and deservedly hated. Queen Mistria averts this trope overall, though, when she concludes the tale.
- Batman Gambit: Gabrielle stumbles upon a public altar for Aphrodite. She gets the goddess to appear by "accidentally" breaking things with her staff.
- Breather Episode: Enjoy this comedy episode. It'll be a few before you see another one.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Gabrielle has this chip on her shoulder for much of the episode. When Xena tells the fairy tale, Gabrielle is cast as "fairy godssister" and tasked with cleaning the dishes. The bard overhears that and is offended.Gabrielle: After all we've been through, that's what you think of me? The fairy godssister of dishes? Xena, that's my only use to you?
Xena: Oh, come on. It was just a story. I just meant we were like family, and in a family—
Gabrielle: You have no idea how useful I am. I'm out of here, that's it. I need space.
- Empty Nest: Aphrodite realizes this is why she was attached to Alesia. She's lonely now that Cupid has grown up and started his own family.
- Fairy Godmother: Harmonia in the fairy tale. Due to the Ancient Greece setting, she's referred to as either a godsmother or a godssister.
- Gender Flip: For most of the episode, it's the story of Tyrella, her stepmother, her stepsister (Pelia), and a prince. When Joxer tells the story, it's changed to Tyro, a stepfather, a stepbrother (Pelio), and a princess. Averted with the fairy godmother character.
- Happily Ever After: The running theme. Alesia wants a happy ending, but the only place she's going to get it is with her father and stepmother.
- It's All My Fault: Alesia says her running away led to the villains robbing the castle treasury and Gabrielle leaving Xena.
- Jerkass Façade: When it's all over, Aphrodite insists she never really cared about Alesia. Xena's not fooled, though.
- Missing Mom: Alesia's mother died sometime prior to the episode.
- Parental Bonus: The oldest known version of Cinderella is a Greek story.
- Parental Substitute: Both Aphrodite and Mistria want to be this for Alesia, but both are rejected by her—the former for being selfish about it and the latter for not being her mother.
- Pet the Dog: Aphrodite tells Alesia that Mistria does love her like her own child.Aphrodite: Take it from me. I know about things.
- Round Robin: Played for laughs, as it's how the fairy tale is told to Alesia. Gabrielle starts it off—painting Tyrella as talkative like herself. Aphrodite interrupts to critique and offers her own unique spin. When Gabrielle has to help Xena cook, Joxer takes over, but he bores the kid with Tyro's problems and self-pity. Xena gives things a much more action-oriented take. Mistria finally wraps it all up, while trying to cheer up Alesia.
- Story-Breaker Power: At the end of the episode, Xena lampshades this—saying Aphrodite could've easily just put a spell on Alesia to make her stay. Aphrodite says if she did that, then she never would've known if Alesia really wanted to stay with her or not.
- Whole Plot Reference: To Cinderella. More the fairy tale than other versions up to this point.
- Wicked Stepmother: Played straight with the fairy tale. Subverted with Mistria.