Thursday, June 9, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 12: What Price Gloria?

Sam Leaps Into: 
Samantha Stormer, a secretary in a workplace overflowing with sexual harrassment.

Stop Gloria, Samantha's co-worker and roommate, from committing suicide after being rejected by her married boss. 


Detroit, Michigan

Memorable Quote:
I've come to the conclusion that women are part masochist.  It's like someone designed a modern day torture rack you can wear, from the bra to the stockings to the tight skirts...and the shoes from Hell.  ~Sam

Classic moment from the opening theme when Sam's blind date grabs his leg in the restaurant and then Sam whacks him with his purse.

The ending where Sam gets even with Buddy in his office fell flat.  Sam starts out by faux-seducing Buddy, and then he tells Buddy that he (or she) is really a man.  And then he knocks Buddy unconscious.  The whole scene is odd, and even though it must have made Sam feel good to deck Buddy, Samantha will surely get fired after he leaps out (though I suppose that's not such a bad thing).

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • This is Sam's first episode as a woman.  These are always fun.
  • After opening with 7 straight episodes with MacGyver guest stars, we're now up to 5 straight episodes without.  That's a little cray-cray.
  • Great scene when Sam speaks up in the business meeting to the dismay of Buddy, and then another fun moment later when Sam is aghast at the thought of going on a "girls shopping day out" with Gloria.
  • An emphatic shake by Sam after punching out Buddy.

I reached out to writer/producer Deborah Pratt (who wrote this episode) to ask her what she remembered about it.  She said:

"What Price Gloria" was the first time I wrote Sam as a woman. I wanted to comment on chauvinism from the perspective of life in the sixties (well before "Mad Men") as viewed by men who lived in the 90's. And from the perspective of a man who had never been subjugated to what most women, even today, have to deal with.  The last scene where Sam tells his/her boss he "is a man" was tricky since I'd never been a man.  I went to the male writers on the show and asked them to share with me a list of what life events made them realize things were different. We laughed until we cried as I listened to their stories (many are in that last scene).

Final Analysis:
Strong episode here.  It was a great idea and well executed from Deborah Pratt and with a good mix of humor and drama.  And of course Bakula always does a great job of playing a woman. For now I'm placing it 3rd in the rankings.


  1. I really liked this one. I'd say it's my new #1. I remember watching this one in the summer of 1990 and liking it as well. And although Al's fawning over any and all women gets annoying and in this case very creepy, I will say he has good taste with "Samantha". Anyway, the story was strong, the atmosphere seemed authentic, and the relationship with Gloria was believable. I actually liked the closing scene with Sam's faux seduction quite a bit too and I thought it was amusing the way he creeped out Buddy. I will say, however, that I became uncomfortable rewatching that scene because of my memories of June 1990 when my dad was sitting there watching that scene with me. He was laughing at it but, wow, wildly uncomfortable watching a scene like that with your dad back when I was 12 years old....especially in my Scandinavian family.

    Good story and good characters though. My new favorite.

  2. *The first time Sam is a woman has got to be in my A+ list. Initially, he feels very awkward as a woman, especially with Al leering at him.
    *The music playing in the beginning of the show was Frankie Avalon's Venus. It was #1 for five weeks in 1959.
    *I love watching Sam adjusting to women's clothing: high heels, girdle, stocking (or not...running barefoot to the bus), putting on lipstick and when she was irritable, asked if it was "her time of the month."
    *Sam having to deal with men who thought any woman was fair game and it was open season. Locking office doors, hand on her backside as she boards the bus, footsie under the table, hand on the knee on the double date, and being told to get the coffee. As Ms. Pratt said in the conversation with Nick, women still have to deal with this behavior.
    *I always like when Sam interweaves 1990 words into his current predicament: light beer, microwave popcorn, TV and VCR, and President's Day. In 1961, we celebrated Washington's birthday and Lincoln's birthday as two separated holidays. We missed two days of school and it was wherever it fell on the calendar. None of this 'holidays on a Monday' stuff.
    *Items from the 1960's that brought back memories: wonder bread with the colorful circles on the white bag, and big cars with big fins that got 7 mpg with gas being about $0.25 per gallon.
    *Another plus to this episode is that it is on my birthday, October 16!
    *Favorite lines:
    -- When talking to God, Sam says, "You have a wonderful sense of humor."
    --Sam says, " 'I Enjoy Being a Girl' was not written by me" The song, "I Enjoy Being a Girl," from Broadway's "Flower Drum Song," was not written be a girl. He was correct; it was written in 1958 by Rodgers and Hammerstein. It was made popular by Peggy Lee and Doris Day.
    *Finally, revenge is sweet. Because Sam did not leap, it seems that God is okay with getting even. So much for turning the other cheek. I like the last scene but I don't know what is going to happen to Samantha after Sam leaps out. Will the entire office believe she is a man? What does Gloria think about this after having shared an apartment with her? Too many loose ends.
    I do give this an A+ because it was the first time as a woman and it made me laugh out loud.