Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Season 4 Episode 15

Yes, Virginia, There is a Hercules

Aired Monday 5:00 PM Feb 23, 1998 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
50 votes

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Episode Summary

Yes, Virginia, There is a Hercules
After an earthquake shook Los Angeles, the writers and producers of Hercules discovered their star, Kevin Sorbo, had disappeared. An emergency staff meeting was called in the show's production offices. Many solutions to the problem were suggested and rejected. Unable to find a suitable replacement to play Hercules, the writers and producers get into a brawl. Then Ares and Strife appear, pleased at the pandemonium their earthquake had caused. Just before the show could be cancelled, Kevin Sorbo shows up, fresh from rescuing people throughout the area. Sorbo was in fact Hercules, just pretending to be a mortal actor.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Probably the best clip show ever written.

    A hysterical re-enactment of (one would assume) the actual dilemma faced by the Hercules production team: How do you keep making a weekly tv series when your star is "missing" (the problem created by series star Kevin Sorbo's illness)? The often-maligned Hercules season 4 is how the actual production team dealt with the question; Yes, Virginia, There is a Hercules is how the fictional team did it.

    This is a clip show where you barely notice the clips. Not only were they well-chosen and well-integrated into what was going on, but also the original material was so funny, it didn't matter that some of it wasn't new.

    The caricatures of the production staff provides interesting (but far-fetched) glimpses into the actual personalities of the people behind the scenes, and it's such fun watching the actors doing them! The "porcelain chorus" scene has to be one of the funniest in television, with the final fight scene close behind. I love the frozen moment when Ares stops time in order to talk to Hercules, rearranging the people in the scene to cause the most damage when time resumes. This episode marks Sorbo's return to the series following his illness, and in the dvd episode commentaries, they talk about what an emotional moment it was for everybody that he was back and able to appear, at least briefly.moreless
  • In modern day Los Angeles, producers and writers (all played by familiar faces) gather in a panic when, after a severe earthquake, series star Kevin Sorbo has disappeared. How can the series continue without him? A classic if very different episode...moreless

    This review contains moderate spoilers.

    This episode was hurriedly written when Kevin Sorbo fell badly ill and was unable to continue with filming. The idea is used in this episode, when, after a severe earthquake, Sorbo goes missing, and the producers and writers hurriedly gather to consider the future of the series without Sorbo.

    The characters are all played by faces familiar to the 'Hercules' and 'Xena' universe(s), and offer up some hilarious performances. The best of the bunch, in my opinion, are the late Kevin Smith as head writer Jerry Patrick Brown, played as a tough army type, and Michael Hurst as writer Paul Robert Coyle, played to be a lewd, womanizing gambler. Hurst in particular has a number of really funny lines.

    This episode will play well for the more casual viewers who have seen a sprinkling of episodes, and they will enjoy a lot of the goofiness. But for the more hardcore fans, there are tones of in-jokes that they will really enjoy. There are nice touches, such as Rob Tapert's obsession with fishing (Tapert in real life is indeed a keen fisherman).

    The episode surely boasts one of the best ever assembled casts for a single episode, with only 'Xena: Warrior Princess' stars Lucy Lawless and Renée O'Connor not being featured. Alexandra Tydings (Aphrodite) and maybe Meighan Desmond (Discord) are the only other regular stars that I can think of that are not featured. Not bad for a last minute knocked together episode.

    The best scene of the episode, nay one of the best of the series, is undoubtedly the urinal scene, where Paul Glover and Ted Raimi (Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, writers), Michael Hurst and Kevin Smith all stand at the urinals and recite the Hercules theme tune, starting off quietly and building to a grand crescendo. This is essentially a clip show, but there are actually only a few brief clips interspread here and there, unlike some earlier clip shows of both 'Hercules' and 'Xena' which were pretty much just written around recycling old clips.

    The writers also go through a number of far fetched ideas of how to continue with the series without Sorbo, such as 'Chimpules – The Legendary Monkey'. Sadly, such daft ideas aren't that far from some of the depths the series would sink to on some forthcoming episodes!

    There is a nice twist at the end of the episode when Ares and Strife appear in a freeze frame of the ruckus in the Renaissance offices, and reveal that it was they who caused the earthquake. It turns out that Hercules is still alive, and in modern times posing as actor Kevin Sorbo! (Only thing is, wasn't Strife killed off two episodes ago in 'Armageddon Now'?!) When Sorbo finally appears at the end, when in the know of how dangerously ill he had been, it is quite a touching scene, and good to see him back.

    All-in-all, especially when considering the rushed nature of this episode, this is one of the very best clip shows from either 'Hercules' or 'Xena', and one I can watch again and again.moreless
  • Set in modern times the crews responsible for making the television show Hercules: Legendary Journeys find themselves without the star Kevin Sorbo and try desperately to find a way to continue the show and more importantly their jobs.moreless

    This is without a doubt one of my favorite episodes in the entire Hercules series. This episode is unique in the series because it’s not even set in the same time period as the rest of the series, this time it’s set in modern times where Hercules: Legendary Journeys is a television show and the crew that makes the show (Played by characters of the show) try to figure out ways that the show can work without it’s star Kevin Sorbo who has gone missing.

    No matter if you’re a fan of the show or not this episode will make you laugh a number of times and the actors in the episode all manage to capture their roles perfectly but the ones that steal the show for me have to be Bruce Campbell who plays Robert Tapert, Kevin Smith as Jerry Patrick Brown who has the funniest accent in this episode talking like a military officer is great, and finally Michael Hurst who played the drunk Paul Coyle are my favorites but they all do an incredible job of making this episode a real entertaining experience.

    So if you want to see a truly funny episode than you can’t get much better than this episode I highly recommend it.moreless
  • The writers behind the show contemplate a future without Kevin Sorbo to star as Hercules.

    For an episode to stray so far from the actual premise of the show, this episode ranks up there as one of my favorites. Perhaps its because of the familiar actors who play the writers or just the funny dialogue, but this episode just seems appealing. For anyone who watches Hercules or Xena, Rob Tapert is an important name, and to see Bruce Campbell as Rob makes the episode just that much more enjoyable. Not to mention a uncharacteristic change for Hudson Leick who normally plays the cold-hearted Callisto. Hudson shows off her comedic side, which is very fun to watch. Plus Kevin Smith gives an unforgettable performance, considering he will always be remembered as Ares on the show. Even if you don't watch Hercules, I recommend this episode for the unusual idea it presents.moreless
Hudson Leick

Hudson Leick

Liz Friedman/Callisto

Guest Star

Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell

Rob Tapert

Guest Star

Joel Tobeck

Joel Tobeck

David Scott Pollison/Strife

Guest Star

Kevin Smith (II)

Kevin Smith (II)

Jerry Patrick Brown/Ares

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Rob: You guys sit there like VEGETABLES for six months and the first idea you come up with is Chimpules?!
      Alex: Well, we were saving it for the right time.
      B.S. Hollinsfoffer: How the f*** did they get these jobs?!

    • Paul: Hey, Melissa? There's something I've always wanted to ask you. Do you sleep on your stomach?
      Melissa: No.
      Paul: Can I?

    • Jerry: Back in Korea, we had a saying: you never leave a man behind.
      Liz: When were you in Korea?
      Jerry: I was there for the Olympics, missy! It was hell.

    • Paul: Say, I've forgotten my phone number. Can I use yours?

    • Melissa: (after Paul tries out a pick-up line on her) Paul, I'm wasting my life in a dead-end job while I watch the rest of the world pass me by. Now, why would I want to make things worse by dating you?
      Paul: I know you don't mean that, baby! Hey, why don't you let me take you to Vegas? I can teach you how to play roulette.
      Melissa: Make it Russian Roulette, you got yourself a deal.

    • Beth: (looking Jerry up and down) Oo, tall, dark, and handsome. I miss you Jer. A hard man is good to find these days.
      Jerry: Well, I told you Beth, relationships are for the weak.
      Beth: A week, a day, I'll take an hour. Truth is, I only need a few minutes. (looking at his package) How is Captain Hap-py?
      Jerry: (turning pale and hurrying away) Have mercy!

    • Beth: (on the phone, trying to recast Hercules) What?! Bernie, speak English! Are you telling me he'd rather do a hemorrhoids commercial?! Fine! Fine, then I'm sure he'll enjoy sticking it where the sun don't shine! (hangs up the phone) Don Knotts won't do it.

    • Ares: This is not over, Hercules! We'll meet again.
      Hercules: (as Kevin Sorbo) Hm. Have your people call my people. We'll do lunch.

    • Rob: Oh no, I'm blind! (begins praying) I swear from now on I'll sing in the shower.

    • Rob: Is he insane, or am I crazy?
      Liz: Which question would you like me to answer first?

    • Ares: I can't believe you have these mortals convinced that you're this 'Kevin Sorbo' character.
      Hercules: Some people just aren't ready for the truth.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Producer Eric Gruendemann was the only crew member who got to choose the actor to play him. Liz Friedman was unhappy with how she was portrayed, but admitted she liked having Hudson "be" her. And of course, as lifelong friends, there was never any question whether Bruce Campbell would be playing Rob Tapert or not!

    • The joke is that they have to replace Kevin Sorbo, who has gone missing in an earthquake. But this actually happened, when Kevin suffered an extremely serious brain aneurysm, and almost died. They had to scramble to make the show without Kevin, or with as little of him as possible once he was recovered enough to work limited hours.

    • Bob (Roberto) Orci and Melissa Blake met while working for Rob at Renaissance, and later married.

    • Disclaimer: Any resemblance between the Hercules cast and the Renaissance staff is purely intentional.


    • Liz: I wonder if Sinbad's hiring.
      The Adventures of Sinbad was a short-lived syndicated series that competed with Hercules and Xena.

    • Melissa: (referring to her proposed "Young Hercules" series) It would be just like The Wonder Years, but with big snakes.

      She is referring to the hit comedy show The Wonder Years, which was the narrated reminisces of a grown man about his youth.

    • Ares: Soon my brother's 'Legendary Journeys' will be but a distant memory, and I'll be able to watch Millenium in peace.
      Strife: I miss Cop Rock.

      Millenium was a Chris Carter sci-fi/thriller show which followed an FBI profiler who could read the mind of serial killers. Cop Rock was a cop show that used a musical format to tell the stories, but only lasted one season.

    • Title: Yes Virginia, There is a Hercules

      The title comes from the famous editorial from the September 21, 1897 edition of the New York Sun. A girl named Virginia O'Hanlon had been told by her schoolmates that there was no Santa. Her father told her that the Sun only printed the truth, so the girl wrote to paper for an answer. Editor Francis Church answered all over the front page with the title "Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus."