The “Ethnic” Female Oz Type: Effie

Effie Stephanidis (Mary Coustas), a greek-australian woman starring in the show Acropolis Now (1989-1992), is one of the first attempts of Australian TV to introduce the diversity of females in Australia. In the show she represents the generation of airheads- she has a crazy Australian accent, wild hair, and an annoying gum chewing habit. In Outrageous Characters, a commentator said, “I’d just look at her and I’d start Laughing!” Although, Effie’s ethnic character type is different than the typical “white australian,” the show uses her ethnicity to create comedy and turn the female in the “ditz” and ¬†stereotypes Greek-Australians as lower class and uneducated. Part of the comedy came from Effie’s misuse of the English language. for example, she would say “O how embarrassment” instead of “how embarrassing.” It seems as though Aussie female types such as Effie and Kath and Kim are characterized by their Butchering of the “english” language.

As an American, I couldn’t help but see a resemblance to Fran (Fran Drescher) from the show The Nanny. Interestingly, The Nanny tv series began in 1993, a year after Acropolis Now stopped production. It could be possible that the producers of the show used some of Effie’s characteristics such as her hair and laugh to influence the character of Fran.

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