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Season 4, episode 08
Series 408
1st release: 11-17-97
2nd release: 06-01-98
3rd release: 12-28-98
1st USA strip release: Pending
2nd USA strip release:
3rd USA strip release:
Production number: --
Approximate shooting dates: --
Last update: 02-06-99

SYNOPSIS by Liz Sheppard

Willa O'Neill (Althea)
Stuart Devenie (Magistrate)
Jay Saussey (Ocea)
Edith Sidebottom [aka Michael Hurst] (Widow Twanky)

Stuart Devenie (Asterius)
Geoff Snell (Elis)
Geoff Dolan (Henchman)
Raechel Murgatroyd (young Althea)
Emily Jackson (young Ocea)
Andrew Jolli (Travoltus)
Stephen Wynn (Partner #1)

Edited by Steve Polivka
Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
Directed by Michael Hurst

(A shirtless Hercules moves logs. Althea watches him)
Magistrate: "You really are a...hero"
(Hercules dances with Althea)
Widow Twanky: "To feel the beat"
(More dancing)
(Dancing and fighting)
Hercules and Althea: "Sure"
Twanky: "You are a natural".
Hercules: "Pardon me?"
(Hercules in weird outfit)

Herc steps lively in a whimsical spoof of the movie "Strictly Ballroom." Upon entering the town of Rhumba, "the dance capital of Greece," Our Hero meets a forlorn woman who's desperate to enter a ballroom-dancing contest but doesn't have a partner. Ever the gentleman, Herc obliges her. That doesn't sit well with the town's evil magistrate, whose niece has won three years in a row---and whose henchmen usually keep things going his way. While Herc handles the goons, there's another problem: he can't dance. Michael Hurst dons a dress to play Herc's dance teacher, the flamboyant Widow Twanky.

Herc volunteers his terpischorean services to a young woman in need of a dance partner in a sendup of the movie "Strictly Ballroom."

Hercules enters a dance competition with a wallflower who really, really wants to win.

Hercules two-steps his way into the Panathenaia to help a teenager fulfill her dream of winning the cutthroat dance competition.

1st RELEASE: 11-17-97
An AA average of 6.4
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 4th at 7.5 (06/106 "Shadows")
(2) HERCULES 8th at 6.4
(3) XENA 9th at 6.3 (54/308 "King of Assassins")
(4) STAR TREK DS9/WALKER tied 18th at 5.2 (608 "Resurrection")
(5) NYPD BLUE 25th at 4.2

2nd release: 06-01-98
An AA average of 4.2
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 8th with 5.2
(2) XENA 12th with 4.4
(3) HERCULES 14th with 4.2
(4) STAR TREK DS9 17th with 3.8
(5) WALKER TR 24th with 3.5

3rd release: 12-28-98
An AA average of ??
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES/ER 11th with 5.1
(2) STAR TREK: DS9 19th with 4.3
(3) XENA ??? unknown
(4) HERCULES ??? unknown


Synopsis by Liz Sheppard

A young girl (with the strangest hair style I have EVER seen) is watching a dance contest. Some snotty blonde girl picks on her, telling her that she could never dance in the contest because no guy would ever be dumb enough to be her partner.

Later in life, Althea (the girl with the weird hair) bumps into Herc and drops her necklace. He finds her among a group of people signing up for the dance competition. She, once again, gets picked on by the blonde. Ocea (that's the blonde) says that no one's crazy enough to dance with her. Then Herc comes by and says that he will be her partner. The magistrate (who is Ocea's uncle) comes by and is glad to see that Hercules has entered his contest, simply because he knows they don't stand a chance.

While walking along, Herc returns Althea's necklace to her. It belonged to her mother before she died. They go to her house, and her father is not exactly thrilled to see Herc. He puts Herc to work for payment to stay in the barn. Althea watches a topless Herc move logs around. She feeds him lemonade and watches him drink. Hey, I watched him drink too, it was great. They discuss why she lied to her father about the contest and she promises him to tell her father the real reason why Herc's there before the contest.

While in the barn, Althea shows Herc some really scary dance moves and they figure out they need some help. Ocea whines to her uncle about him letting Herc and Althea in the contest. She thinks that even though she has won for three years, that she can't win now. He tells her that Herc can't learn how to dance because he told all the dance teachers not to teach him. Herc and Althea search for a teacher, but can't find one. Then they run into Widow Twanky, their new dance teacher. Twanky starts singing about dancing (kind of scary).

Twanky puts Althea's hand to Herc's heart to feel its beat (but I think she was more interested in his chest). They search for beats in everyday life and start dancing. Bad people peek through the window and see this.

The magistrate and Herc have a little talk about him becoming a judge, but Herc still wants to dance. The magistrate is concerned for Althea's "well being" but Herc still wants to dance. Dance baby, dance. Back in the barn, Althea confesses her love for the big guy, but he tells her that it isn't love she's feeling.

On a bridge, thugs from the magistrate cut the rope to the bridge, but Herc and Althea escape. This adventure makes them late to Widow Twanky's place, and she's not happy about it. She admires Herc's biceps, so they're off the hook. She teaches them to twirl. Eventually, Althea gets it, but Herc refuses to twirl. Twanky "pretends" to be Iolaus (hmm, no comment) and they start fighting while dancing and twirling and flying and good stuff like that. Herc and Althea then, kind of, get married and learn the "Twanky Twittle" and other various dance moves.

Althea feels that dancing isn't in her, and Twanky tells her that her mother was a dancer. Twanky taught her mother and her father an illegal move that got them kicked out of the contest forever. Althea runs to her father and confronts him with his lies. He refuses to let Althea dance because he feels that her mother died of a broken heart.

She runs back to Twanky's place, and finds her tied up. The magistrates thugs show up and tries to give her some good luck (break a leg). Of course, Herc the Hero saves the day and throws the bad guys out the window. They untie Twanky and she dresses them in funky clothes.

At the contest, the father wishes Althea good luck. Herc and Althea show up, quite dramatically in fact, and do their dance thing. The magistrate tries to stop them by sending thugs to get rid of them, but Herc beats them up while dancing (and without a hair getting out of place). They win the contest, naturally. The magistrate still tries to cheat, but Herc tells him otherwise. Everybody dances. Happy ending.

I feel like watching Dirty Dancing. I wonder why...


01-14-99. From the WHOOSH #26 (11/98) interview with Eric Gruendemann. "I'll tell you one I loved on HERCULES is one that Michael Hurst directed called AND FANCY FREE (67/408), the dance episode. I like the shows that break new ground and I will say this, it took me about two years of solid convincing to get Rob Tapert to agree to put Michael Hurst in drag on our show. I feel it's one of my personal triumphs that we were actually able to do that. Keep an eye out because Widow Twanky will be back this season. I particularly liked that episode and I thought Kevin was marvelous."

01-14-99. From Bret: The wig Lucy wears in the dance scene between her and Ares in THE BITTER SUITE looks remarkably like (if not identical to) the same wig Willa O'Neill wore when she danced with HERC in ...AND FANCY FREE.

01-14-99. From KSZoneW. Atlantis: Cassandra's house was the same one shown in sevral episodes. In HTLJ's "Judgement Day" it was Serenas house. In XWP's "Destiny" it was Niklios Healing House. It was also in HTLJ's "Beanstalks and Bad Eggs" as the house of Alyssa. It was also used in HTLJ's "And Fancy Free" as the house of the digruntled father of Althea.

01-14-99. The following is from a transcript of the Hollywood Spotlight chat on 12/09/98 with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci

Storm1 asks "what was your favorite episodes on Herc so far??"

Alex/Bob says "I think Fancy Free. I have to say that Faith & Resurrection turned out to be episodes we were pretty proud of."

02-01-98. At the Burbank II Con (01-17-98), Brad Carpenter (out-going Director of Marketing), stated that the Widow Twankey was adapted from Michael Hurst's mother who has a Northern English accent.

01-09-98. The pantomime that Michael Hurst created The Widow Twanky in was in a production of Pinnochio.

11-16-97. From Marilyn Beck's column from 11-12-97: "TRIPPING THE LIGHT FANTASTIC: Michael Hurst, who plays Kevin Sorbo's sidekick, Iolaus, on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, has previously directed episodes of that show as well as Xena: Warrior Princes. Still, he says helming the special segment airing the week of Nov. 17 was, well, a Herculean effort. The episode, titled 'And Fancy Free,' is like an homage to Strictly Ballroom, with Hercules et al dancing -- instead of fighting -- to save the heroine 'Dancing takes up such a lot of time to film,' says Hurst. 'Also, we did a big production number and spent three days just on that sequence.' Hurst is also playing Twanky, Hercules' dance teacher, in the episode. 'My makeup was a big deal, so I had to be there two hours before shooting, plus directing. . . . It was exhausting, but exhilarating!'"

11-11-97. Sharon Delaney at the Valley Forge Convention (10-04-97) said that "And Fancy Free" had Herk ballroom dancing, Michael Hurst's role was one that he did while in NZ for a kid's show, and a young teenage girl has a BIG crush on Herk.


Click here to read a transcript of ...AND FANCY FREE.


The Widow Twanky, once again, on top of the dance world with the success of the Hercules Hustle, was not harmed or tripped during the production of this motion picture.

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