Saturday, July 2, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 22: All-Americans

Sam Leaps Into: 
Eddie Vega, a high school quarterback.

Convince his best friend and wide receiver not to throw the championship game.


Los Angeles, California

Memorable Quote:
Chuey can sleep in my room.  Celia can sleep with my dad.  ~Sam

One word:  Lobo!  Richard Coca, who plays Chuey, also starred in MacGyver's Off The Wall as Lobo the graffiti artist.  I love him in both episodes -- just a super likable, fun, charismatic guy.  He makes the episode for me.  What a talent.

I have some issues with the football coach.
  • So it's the practice before the biggest game of the coach's life and he decides to prove a point by making his star QB (Sam) run 35 laps around the track, not only tiring Sam out but also taking practice reps away from him.  Not smart, coach.
  • When the coach sees Ruben (the slumlord gambler) in the locker room he doesn't know who he is (despite the fact that the coach has been around for years -- he said so -- and Ruben is an alumni of the school).  And high school sports is a small world -- wouldn't you hear about an someone who is in your stands betting thousands of dollars?
  • Why doesn't the coach (or anyone else) wonder how Chuey was able to miraculously recover and suddenly get back in the game?

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • This isn't the only time that Scott Bakula has played a quarterback.  There's a movie called Necessary Roughness which I only know about because I saw part of it once a long time ago when flipping channels.  It came out in '91 so right in the middle of Quantum Leap.
  • This episode was directed by John Cullum who we saw in Catch a Falling Star.
  • Is that who I think it is?  Hold on, let's check IMDB......yes!  It's Ruth Britt, aka Lisa, the uzi wielding, purple jacket wearing tough gal from Easy Target!  Ruben would have thought twice about messing with Lisa.
  • Once again we have Al venturing into Creepsville by ogling at the high school cheerleaders. And it's a little odd that just one episode after we're imparted with the message that it's ok to wait a bit before losing one's virginity, Al indignantly scoffs at Sam for speculating that it took him until age 16 to lose his.
  • I'm not a partier, but that nighttime block party looks like a ton of fun.  Just people of all ages hanging out by the taco stand, dancing, socializing, and having a blast.  That whole scene is actually one of the highlights of the episode for me because it feels so pleasant.
  • It's not very smart of Ruben to bet a massive amount of money based on one wide receiver, no matter how good he is.  It would take multiple players throwing a football game to be assured of its outcome.
  • The football game scenes clearly have some stock footage, but the splicing is reasonably well done.
  • Amazing fact -- in 1996 (long after this episode was filmed) the Steelers did play in Super Bowl 30 and did trail by 3 at one point, just like Al said.
  • So if the Jaguars lost the game, does that mean that Sam would never leap and spend the rest of his life as Eddie?  That puts a lot of pressure on him for the final play.

Final Analysis:
Another day, another new number one episode!  I'm guessing I'll be by myself on this one since it doesn't have a real wow factor, but it appeals to me on a number of levels including Lobo, the fun block party scenes, and the immersion into Mexican-American culture -- there's a high rewatchability factor here.


  1. Yup - you may be on your own with putting this one ahead of the previous episode. And even "What Price Gloria" - which I like for the parts with Sam not taking any of the crap thrown at him and getting a good hearty sexual harassment lesson (That Al needs to learn in a bad way *eyeroll*).

    Maybe it's just me, but I don't groove much with these TV episodes that insist on going the 'pick a character to throw the big game, then have them change their mind at the last minute and do the right thing'. Mostly b/c I can't think of a single time when the character didn't have a change of heart. The character never says 'screw you, i'm getting a big [something] here, so i'm going to throw this game/match/etc' then everyone has to deal with the fallout from that.

    re: "Necessary Roughness" - skip it. It's dreadful. I'm sorry I ever saw it, Bakula or no.

    1. I don't remember Necessary Roughness except for thinking that Bakula was much older than all the other players kind of like this episode. Based on your recommendation (or lack thereof) I won't cue it up anytime soon.

  2. Ugh....I brought the "Quantum Leap" DVD home to my folks' this weekend and was just now popping this in the DVD player to watch it...only to find out I left the DVD with this episode inside my player back at Des Moines. Looks like I won't be back with a review of this episode for a few days will instead just be checking out what's on the fourth DVD of this set tonight.

    1. I guess now that you've gotten a taste of the DVDs there's no going back to

    2. Not on my folks' computer at midnight. When I've tried to watch it on their computer in the past, the connection gets cut at some point during the show and I have to restart it, then sit through at least five minutes of commercials before I can (maybe) get back to the spot where I left off. It's pretty rare I'm able to get back to it at all. Not sure why my folks' internet service does that but it makes's difficult site that much more difficult. I'll just have to work from behind on episodes 22-24 starting next week.

  3. This one wasn't bad. The primary story was a bit of a cliché as Highlander said but the immersion into Mexican-American culture was interesting. Now I love Richard Coca and thought he was an effervescent presence here just as he was as Lobo on "Off the Wall", but casting him as a football star is a bit of a stretch! The guy is what....5'6" and maybe 140 pounds soaking wet?? Ruben was pretty solid as a villain and I loved when Sam/Eddie started sassing off to him after he threatened Lisa from "Easy Target". It was pretty clear nobody had ever spoken to Ruben like that, especially a high school kid.

    We had mostly similar impressions beyond that. The coach was a complete caricature and dumb as an ox. He reminded me of the blustering coach on "Legend of the Holy Rose" whose football field was dug up by Zoe Ryan's archeological students. And what was up with 50-something Al creeping on high school cheerleaders? The writers really needed to rein him in on that stuff. It seems insanely inappropriate today and I can't imagine it was that much less inappropriate in 1990. The stock footage was spliced nicely...this wasn't the "MacGyver" episode "Eagles" by any means. I sort of saw it coming that Eddie's dad would marry Chuey's mom to keep her from being deported but it was well executed.

    This episode is on a similar template with me as the MacGyver episode "Split Decision", which of dealt with similar subject matter. It was entertaining enough but definitely no "wow" factor for me. I'd probably put it right around #9 or #10 thus far.

    1. Impressive investigation by the way to figure out that Al was right about Super Bowl 30 and the Steelers at one point being behind by 3.

    2. Haha, yeah I'm not sure Chuey has the size to be an elite wide receiver at the next level. :)