Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Quantum Leap Rewatch (Episodes 37-42)

Episodes (31-36)  (43-48)

At some point here in the middle of the series, Quantum Leap seems to settle. It isn‘t so much addressing challenging topics of its day, but just hitting all the pet topics of its generation. Things that had already become non-issues or were things everybody was well aware of. The “Baby Boomer” hit list.

Episode 37: Miss Deep South 

As soon as you meet the camera man in this story, you know where things are headed. It all seems a little naïve, but it is refreshing to think that a story from the eighties could still muster up shame over a woman posing naked. I remember that it was around the time of this show that “feminists” started trying to make the argument that porn could be an empowering thing for women. How silly they sound today with the awareness of human trafficking and the way the porn industry destroys lives. There are still people holding on to the attempt to make porn an issue of choice, but it really isn’t.

Episode 38: Black on White on Fire 

In an unusual move for the series, they try to simply tell the story of an historical event. It makes for some really powerful performances, but doesn’t really challenge the audience to face any blind spots they may have.

Episode 39: The Great Spontini 

There is a refreshing moment at the end of this story, after Sam has done all the stuff we knew he was going to do, after the cardboard antagonist is put in his place, after the dad gets to remain a part of his daughter’s life… Sam doesn’t settle for the almost happy ending. He makes a move to save a marriage that no one thought was a part of his mission. The conventional wisdom today tells us that some people simply can’t make it work, that the best thing for some families is for mom and dad to be separated. The truth is that marriage is hard work, and it does work if people are willing to give the effort.

Episode 40: Rebel without a Clue 

This is a great alternate title for the film that typifies its generation. The mentality of the Baby Boomers—the people behind Quantum Leap’s whole mission statement—is that things are bad and should be changed. Actually, that is the mantra of every generation of humanity. Boomers changed things by believing they were the first ever generation to see the need for change and the only generation capable of doing anything. But with such a generational identity, sometime they feel a need to rebel and revolt for the sake of rebelling and revolting. In this story, Sam helps a young boomer accept the fact that life can be lived without having to constantly be “on the edge,” on the move. Oh, and he helps the girl also overcome that cliché that persists because it is true, where women defend their abusers.

Episode 41: A Little Miracle 

Just in time for a Christmas episode, Sam encounters someone with nearly the same brain patterns. That enables them to see and hear Al, which in turn enables them to do a “Christmas Carol.”

Episode 42: Runaway 

In another refreshing defense of the nuclear family, the show manages to show the need for feminism without destroying men of marriage in the process. There is a lot to say against “The Feminine Mystique.” Mostly that it was a slanted, biased piece of crunching the numbers to fit an agenda, rather than an objective study of the issue. This story manages a more balance approach. It is one thing to say people need to have a life. It is quite another to say that family isn’t a part of it.

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