PRINT December 1995

Mark Van de Walle


After almost a year of indulging in a kind of semisolitary vice, I’m finally ready to come clean: for my money, HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS, the latest in a line of Hercules vehicles dating back to the ’50s, is the best rush on television. Certainly, it’s the finest example of queso currently available for regular public consumption.

The current series has everything you want from a Hercules vehicle: scantily clad bimbos of both genders (you pretty much know why everybody in the leather loincloths and chain-mail thong bikinis got the job); excellent computer-generated monsters; and gods and goddesses (most notably Zeus). Herc also has friends: Iolaus, the five-foot-six kung fu warrior; Xena, the Warrior Princess (who has her own spin-off series); and my personal favorite, Salmoneus, inventor of things like the celebrity biography and PR flack.

Of course, one of the best things about the show is Kevin Sorbo’s brilliant portrayal of Herc. Sorbo, who looks like Fabio with shorter hair, plays Hercules as the ultimate nice guy, the kind every woman in the ancient world wants to bring home. Herc is way too nice to go home with anybody, though (at least anybody he’s not really in love with), and his vague and persistent embarrassment about stuff like that is the real key to his charm. Sam Raimi, executive producer of this cheez-fest, who already proved he understands queso as well as anyone in his masterpieces The Evil Dead I and II, has created another great vehicle in his ongoing exploration of an underappreciated esthetic.


I suspect that the success of FRIENDS and its seemingly endless rip-offs about cute-young-singles-living-in-NY is the real reason rents are going up all over town again. Because now every twentynothing in the country is moving to the city to lie around in coffee shops all day just like the morons on these shows. Thereby making life hell for the rest of us who actually want and/or have jobs and still can’t afford to loaf around in coffee shops all day.

Mark Van de Walle is a writer living in New York.