Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 7: Camikazi Kid

Sam Leaps Into: 
Cameron Wilson, a 17 year-old kid.

Stop his older sister Cheryl from marrying Bob, an abusive boyfriend who is lying about his plans to join the Peace Corps with her.  Get together with Jill, a girl who has a crush on him.



Memorable Quote:
Leaping about in time, I've suffered some humiliation and abuse.  But I can't recall anything as horrible as being forced to sit at the children's table.  ~Sam

I love the escalating confrontations between Sam and Bob -- first in the front yard of Sam's house, then at the wedding rehearsal dinner, and finally at the street race.  Electric stuff, and outstanding performances in this episode from Kevin Spirtas (Bob) and Romy Windsor (Cheryl).

I get that Al is a lover of all women, but sometimes they take that story line too far like when Al says he showed up for Cheryl's lingerie party and watched her try everything on.  Even if Cheryl is old enough to get married, she looks to be in her late teens and Al seems to be in his 50's, so it comes off as creepy.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • This is the first "oh boy" heard at the beginning of a leap.  I'd love to know how that line first came about because it's a great and consistent way to start each show. Hopefully at some point I can get an answer from somebody involved with the series.
  • The MacGyver guest star streak is alive and well with Holly Fields (Runners) and Jason Priestly (Blood Brothers).  This episode aired right after Runners, so we can resurrect the discussion in that post about Holly Fields being 12 years old per IMDB when these episodes were filmed.  Her character in this episode (a geeky girl) was less risque than her character on MacGyver (a prostitute), but she still seems older than 12 (her character is supposed to be 16 because at one point it's noted that she's a year younger than 17 year-old Cam).  And then at the end she kisses the 34 year-old Scott Bakula on the mouth a few times.  If that happened today (a 34 year-old kissing a 12 year-old on a network show), I think twitter would explode.
  • The writers begin to plant the seed involving Sam's sister and her future abusive husband.  I think this comes up again later in the series though I don't remember exactly how.
  • I like Sam's toast: pointing out that he will get to watch the tv that Bob just gifted to Cheryl because they will be in Tonga.  It's subtle, clever, and mocks Bob all in one fell swoop.
  • I also like the Michael Jackson bathroom scene (that sounds awkward out of context) -- it's a totally random and fun moment of comedy.
  • After Bob loses the car race, his girl, his crew, and his pride, Jill decides to provide the finishing touch by smiling at him and dropping the pink slip to the ground.  Let's just say it hasn't been a good day for Bob.

Final Analysis:
Great episode!  Lots of fun from beginning to end, and the Sam/Bob scenes are tremendous.  It's close between this one and Double Identity but I'm putting this one just a hair above into the #1 slot.


  1. I agree with you that they sometimes went a little too far into 'creepy land' with Al's obsession with women. I love the character, but some of his traits make you want to roll your eyes.

    I vaguely recall this episode - and Holly and Jason. And the little 'stab' at the abusive boyfriend guy. =)

  2. This one wasn't bad. Sam's scenes with Bob were very well played around as you said and the entire culture was conveyed pretty well. Bob came off as pretty sleazy all around and it was good to see him get rebuffed at the end--by Cheryl and even Jason Priestley!--and for Sam to land the punch.

    I'm assuming Sam's car got the boost of acceleration that powered him to victory via laughing gas (i.e. nitrous oxide) just as Visser's car did at the end of "Collision Course" on "MacGyver", meaning "Quantum Leap" seemed to be borrowing more from "MacGyver" than just his guest stars. Priestley didn't stand out in this episode but I definitely Holly Fields, only two months after her role as a prostitute on "MacGyver". I would have sworn she was 16 when on "MacGyver", and even here she looks more along the lines of 14 than 12(!!!). Comparatively, Sam always struck me as pushing 40, especially with that patch of gray in his hair, so I'm also a little surprised that Bakula was only 34 when playing this role. Particularly knowing that Holly Fields was only 12, the open-mouth kiss at the end struck me as pretty icky, creepier than Al's forays into misogynistic comments.

    I also enjoyed the Michael Jackson bathroom bit. There seems to be a scene like this in most of the episodes, at least the early ones, and I'm curious to see if they'll continue as the show progresses. His "swiss cheese" memory is not working as well for me and seems as though it serves more for narrative convenience than anything else, such as MacGyver having "amnesia" but still remembering how he fixed his bike when having to repair young Jason's in "DOA: MacGyver". Good episode though...I think I'll rank it #2 ahead of the Pilot.

    1. I wouldn't say that Collision Course is the exclusive source of inspiration for all "nitrous oxide in the car" plot lines, but I suppose it's possible the writer was aware of the episode. I also thought Bakula looked older than 34. And I agree that the kiss at the end would be the creepiest moment of the episode if she really was 12, but I still don't believe she was (I'm like the Trump to her Obama).

    2. And yes, I just compared myself to Donald Trump.

    3. That's true about the nitrous oxide. They used the same trick in one of the episodes of the "A-Team" I watched on DVD in April from 1983-84. But since the "MacGyver" episode with nitrous oxide aired only a few months before this episode I like to think it was the most contemporary source of inspiration for better or for worse. Bakula's face doesn't really look that old but between the gray patch and just the way he carries himself he comes across more middle-aged. I'm 38 and have a baby face so I get mistaken for mid-20s quite a bit, which wasn't much fun back in the day but I like it more and more as I approach over-the-hill status!

      Perhaps Wikipedia has the wrong age for Holly Fields but you'd think there'd be some indication somewhere if the age number listed was wrong. She was extremely mature for 12 if true, but back in the 80s young girls went out of their way to look like adults. During her rehab stint Drew Barrymore was only 14 but looked about 23 as one example.

      I was just thinking you're getting to be more like Trump every day. :)

    4. His gray patch is interesting and distinctive and I believe completely natural. That's interesting that you get mistaken for mid-20s -- you're the anti-Holly Fields. I don't think it's that wikipedia is wrong on what's in the public record -- I think if she really wasn't 12 it was probably incorrectly reported on originally or falsely given by her. And I don't mean to impugn her integrity -- she could very well just be very mature and older-looking for her age.

      Now that you're almost a full season (albeit a short one) into the show, would you say you're looking forward to continuing the series or have you been disappointed?

    5. I'm starting to get some laugh lines around the eyes so my age is showing a bit, but my friends all still marvel at how I look so young and in the rare occasion that I end up in a bar (not my scene!) some 21-year-old will invariably approach me and ask my age, inquiring since I'm in the midst of friends who very much look their age. Just last week I was on jury duty and got hit on by this girl half my age. She'd probably have freaked out if she knew I was old enough to be her father.

      For now I'm looking forward to continuing the series as I remember they had some good storytelling in a number of them, but I will say the show doesn't hit me on a gut level very often, at least in the 7 1/2 episodes I've reviewed so far. And when the show is cold for me it's ice cold like "How The Tess Was Won". But I've certainly enjoyed it enough to keep going into season 2. I might struggle to rank the episodes though as we get 50+ episodes in. I was able to rank the MacGyver episodes only due to repeated viewings over the years.

    6. That's good, I'm glad you like it enough to keep going with it. And don't feel like you have to rank the episodes -- you can stop whenever you want to.

    Buddy Holly's song, "Oh, Boy" is perfect for QL.
    Everly Brother's, "Let it be Me."
    Dion's, "The Wanderer" [Nick, this is one of Dad's favorite songs!]

    Jason Priestly was in Beverly Hills 90210, but before that he was in "Teen Angel Returns. It first aired in 1989 on the "All New Mickey Mouse Club," which your sisters faithfully watched. The music for that show was "Teen Angel" by Mark Dinning in 1960.

    When we moved into our house that was built in the 1950's, there
    was a phone shelf in the living room. We did remove it, but it was quite common for the phone to be front and center in the living room. No privacy at all!

    The wedding dress, belonging to Cheryl's future mother-in-law, was probably made in the 1940's. It did not have a zipper down the back. It had a series tiny, cloth covered button [from the same satin as the dress] with little tiny loops. My mother had dresses like this. It was impossible to get dressed by yourself. You always needed someone to "button you up."
    Fuzzy Dice hanging from the rear view mirror and the car hop, where food was delivered [often times by young girls on roller skates] and attached to the driver's window.

    "Let It to Beaver" was on television. This was a not to be missed show. Without recording devices and very few reruns, either be home when it aired or miss it.

    The reference to Bonanza and watching color TV goes back to my previous comment in "How the Tess was Won."

    Having a bridal shower in the family living room and only three days before the wedding was very common. This predated wedding commercialization and wedding planners.

    Driving in Diners were very popular. Often food was delivered to your car window by roller skating teenagers. The food was hamburgers, milkshakes, and fries. Sometimes, my parents would take us to eat at one. I always loved it.

    Fuzzy Dice hanging on the rear view mirror was very 'fashionable' only to be surpassed by baby booties or baby shoes. Don't ask my why...I don't know.