"Greece Is Burning"
by Michelle Erica Green

I'm Too Sexy For This Show

"Greece Is Burning" Plot Summary:

At a fashion show in Trendopolis, Althea - the wanna-be dancer from "And Fancy Free" - works backstage to display her designs, while her nemesis Edwina schemes to impress Count Von Verminhaven, who makes all final decisions about fashion in the big city. Though Althea is ridiculed and arrested by the fashion police for wearing a fruit motif on a cloudy day, Hercules rescues her and offers to help her put on her own fashion show when he learns that the Count has refused to let Althea display at the annual Fashion Follies. The pair approach the Widow Twanky for assistance, but her studio has been boarded up and she has been reduced to hanging out in seedy bars; she sings sadly to Hercules that she'll put out for anyone, a dinar a dance. "The lead's gone right out of the pencil," she laments.

While Wina pretends to be Althea's friend so her goons can break into the younger woman's home and steal her designs, Hercules is arrested for wearing leather in the summer. The Count offers to be magnanimous, but Hercules tells the foppish Von Verminhaven that Greece is a free society which should invite individual expression rather than one man's dress code. Rebutting that he assures equality by making sure nobody stands out, the Count ignores Hercules threats to put him out of style and celebrates designer monopolies and eating disorders with Wina, who has had Althea's home burned down while the two women had makeovers.

Hercules saves Althea from the fire but the girl will not listen to his warnings about Wina, who scoffs at the girl she knew back home in Rhumba when Althea realizes that her designs have been stolen. However, after an altercation in the bar where she punched out a lecher, Twanky has decided to regain her self-respect by helping with the fashion show. She makes Hercules build a stage (and drools over his muscles), but the fashion police set it afire. Undaunted, Twanky moves the troupe to the bar she used to frequent, where they build a runway on the dance floor and put on a fashion show full of fruit-colored dresses.

Dressed to the nines in a red wig, Twanky plays M.C. until the Count and his goons enter; she tearfully confesses that he was the man who ruined her reputation. Hercules insists that she can't let Verminhaven win and offers to go onstage himself in a lion-print sleeveless shirt if she'll get back onstage. He struts his stuff to the tune of "Too Sexy For My Shirt," beats up the fashion police in time to the runway music, and yodels like Xena. When the Count demands Althea's arrest for breaking fashion protocol, Hercules reminds the crowd that they all have the right to their own style. The successful show goes on as the music plays, "I'm too sexy for this song..."


Like all Widow Twanky episodes, this one was hardly enlightening but very, very funny. Based very very loosely on Paris Is Burning, a film about drag queen beauty shows, "Greece Is Burning" took full advantage of the humor of having the man who plays Iolaus portraying the Widow Twanky, whose lust for Hercules knows no bounds (this episode featured a takeoff on the Diet Coke commercials where a shirtless Hercules was persuaded by the Widow to pour a bucket of water all over his manly physique). Twanky, the overt drag queen, was the Good Transvestite, while the swishy, long-fingernailed, lipsticked Count was the Bad Transvestite who did not even seem to appreciate his own ironic Bad Taste. Althea's was worse, actually, but the sight of all those prostitutes dressed as fruit did have a funny appeal.

There was lots of silliness like Twanky explaining in Michael Hurst's falsetto that Lord Longfellow, whom she called Dick and everyone else called "Three-Legged Willie," almost ruined her when he wanted her to give him an heir and (s)he refused. It's unclear whether we are meant to take Twanky seriously as a woman or whether we and Hercules are supposed to take it for granted that she's really a man in the context of the series, but it hardly matters, since nice guy Hercules is willing to indulge her mostly-tame fantasies about him, either way.

I left out of the plot summary an entirely gratuitous sidebar about a guy with a crush on Althea, I guess to show us that she's not a total loser who depends on visions of Hercules for her jollies. The performances were all witty bordering on slapstick except for him. One of Kevin Sorbo's greatest skills is keeping a straight face in the middle of ridiculous situations, but of course he probably didn't actually have to hear a female singing voice come out of the Widow Twanky's mouth after the gravelly speaking voice. I loved his breakdancing.

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