Oh boy! With it being Television Thursday and the dreaded letter Q, of course today’s post is about the sci-fi dramedy Quantum Leap. Although I don’t know if dramedy was an actual term when it aired in the early 90’s, it’s an apt way to describe this show’s perfect mix of laughs and serious issues. If you’re unfamiliar with Quantum Leap, the show’s opening does a perfect job of explaining the premise:
Scott Bakula was perfectly cast as time-jumping Sam Beckett. He was slightly bumbling, always earnest, and had a warmth and charm that allowed him to slip into people’s lives in order to right the wrongs. And Dean Stockwell as the Exposition Fairy, uh, I mean Al, was such a quirky, fun character who delivered his weekly info dumps in an entertaining way.
Besides Al’s antics, a lot of the humor came from Sam leaping into a new body each episode, since it never happened while that person was asleep, but at the most inconvenient time for Sam to be trying to figure out who the heck he was now inhabiting. At the end of each episode, after Sam and Al had solved the problem in his current body’s life, he would leap into another body and deliver the infamous, “Oh boy!” line.
Because of the humorous setups, it would be easy to blow Quantum Leap off as a silly little show, but there was plenty of drama since Sam only jumped into the lives of people who were in trouble in some way. And since the time jumping only occurred within the span of Sam’s life (1953 forward), there was a lot of sociological and political unrest to drive the stories. For example, there were plenty of giggles seeing Scott Bakula wobbling around in a dress and heels the first time he jumped into a woman, but the episode addressed the emotional impact of sexual harassment.
Since I’m such a sap, I often teared up at the ends of episodes as Sam finally fixed the people’s lives. It was always such a heartwarming moment, but kind of heartbreaking, too, since Sam never got to stick around and savor the happiness of the people he’d helped. As soon as he fixed the problem, he immediately leaped into the next problem. But as bad as that was for Sam, it was great for the audience. If you’ve never watched Quantum Leap, you should check it out on Netflix.
Did you watch Sam Beckett leap through time? How would you like to jump into people’s lives to fix them? How Quaint is Lily with her Q?