Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 35: Miss Deep South

Sam Leaps Into: 
Darlene Monte, a beauty pageant contestant.

Make sure that Connie, one of the other contestants, doesn't disappear out of shame after being pressured into posing nude.



Memorable Quote:
I'm sorry, I didn't see you there.  I'm sorry.  Oh, watch your head.   ~Sam

A plethora of fun moments to choose from, but I gotta go with the classic Carmen Miranda/Cuanto le Gusta duet with Sam and Al.

The storyline with the pageant director being victimized by the same photographer 12 years ago felt rushed and unnecessary.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • I like the plot wrinkle of Sam still having to do well at the pagaent in order to preserve (or improve upon) the original history where Darlene got third place and went on to be one of the first female cardiologists in the country.
  • The stock footage of people dancing to Sam's grand finale looks more like the 1970's and is more diverse than I'd expect to see at a southern beauty pageant in the 1950's.

  • I also like how Sam is genuinely happy and proud when he wins - he even gets choked up and sheds a tear.

Final Analysis:
A tour de force!  This is everything I want in a Quantum Leap episode -- mostly lighthearted and hilariously funny with a side dish of drama and a little confrontation/beatdown thrown in for dessert. The whole episode is comic genius, from the beginning when Sam gets off the bus to the parasol dance to the Carmen Miranda duet to the Jerry Lee Lewis finale.

This is an episode I saw a lot as a kid and one that I associate with my Mom, especially the part from the memorable quote where he is roughing up the photographer -- that is a scene that we would constantly quote throughout the years (though our quote usually went more like, "Excuse me, pardon me, watch your head").  Ranking this episode at a lofty #4.


  1. This one was pretty enjoyable. I didn't love it the way you did but the pacing was strong and the novelty of Sam learning to do the beauty pageant business on the fly was nicely done. The storyline of the naïve young girl falling for the con by the greasy photographer to pose for nude pics was done more darkly and effectively on "The Equalizer" and "New York Undercover", but they weren't going for tough drama here so it was a different beast. I agree with your downside that the pageant director's history with this same photographer--and Sam's arm-twisting that was needed to get her to empathize with Connie's predicament--wasn't particularly credible. I guess I wasn't alive in the 50s to know how common a practice like this was but I felt a different angle leading to the photographer getting his comeuppance was out there for the picking and would have been preferable. Remember the 1986-87 series "Sidekicks" I told you about that starred Ernie Reyes, Jr., from "Murderers' Sky" as a karate kid adopted by a cop? The pageant director was played by actress Nancy Stafford who was a regular on that series, playing the cop's girlfriend. I believe she also played "Matlock's" daughter.

    I thought it was silly that despite "his" complete lack of feminine grace, fumbling every stage of the contest, that Sam was still in the running for the title and managed to win based on a musical performance that would have been scandalous at the time performed by a young male let alone a female pageant candidate, but it was a fun performance and I liked how Sam teared up when getting the crown. I guess when Sam learned the piano in that episode where he played the blind pianist, he was able to turn into Jerry Lee Lewis even without a lesson in more than a year!!! I guess I'd rank this one between "Genesis" and "Double Identity" in the top half.

    1. Agreed also that the audience footage looked like it came from the 70s rather than the 50s. There's no way--especially in the Deep South--you'd be seeing people of color commingling with whites to that degree in 1959.

    2. I'm impressed you were able to get in an episode of QL while all that convention drama was going on!

    3. I didn't start it until after 11. If it's slow this week at work, I might be able to squeeze some in during work hours. A new MacGyver Podcast every single day forever could complicate those plans too though.