Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 43: Private Dancer

Sam Leaps Into: 
Rod "the Bod" McCarty, an erotic dancer.

Help a deaf woman find a career in dancing and avoid a future in prostitution.


New York, New York

Memorable Quote:
What are you slapping me for?  ~Sam
For almost letting her get away from me!  ~Joanna

I like when Sam shows Al how to say "Quantum Leap" in sign language.  It's a quick moment and one that is not integral to the plot, but it adds a nice touch and is a memorable part of the episode.  In fact my Mom and I have been known to sign it to each other if QL ever comes up in conversation.

I do wonder if they got the sign for "Quantum" correct -- it seems too simple of a sign for such a uncommon word.

Nothing jumps out at me strongly.  I noticed that it's mentioned for the first time that Al went to M.I.T. (which is also where Sam went).  I'm not sure why it was decided to make him an M.I.T. grad -- in the pilot they say he was an ex-astronaut, but there's no other mention of his engineering background that I can remember.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • The previous episode, Future Boy, also took place on 10/6 (1957).
  • Debbie Allen of Fame fame directs and stars in this episode.  She is also Phylicia Rashad's sister and the showrunner of the Cosby spin-off A Different World, a show that I often watched as a kid.  Who didn't love Dwayne Wayne?
  • Bakula has some nice moves on the dance floor.
  • Excellent performance by Rhondee Beriault as Diana.  She's a great actress and also an outstanding dancer.  Calls to mind another memorable performance by a deaf actress: Mary Beth Mothersell in MacGyver's Silent World.

Final Analysis:
Solid episode.  I'm not a big dance enthusiast, but I liked the story and all of the dance scenes which is a credit to this episode.  There were no big highlights but also no obvious lowlights either. Ranking it 18 out of 43.


  1. ASL user here. There's no really good sign for "quantum." Instead, the show translated it as "magic," which I like!

  2. I'm not at all a dance enthusiast either so I didn't go into this one with high expectations but ended up enjoying it quite a bit. It had a retro 80s vibe to it that I really got into and I always love the "underdog overcomes long odds" stories, in this case made even more real by the lead character's deafness (agreed that her performance was excellent) and the prospect of her slipping into a life of prostitution. I knew about Debbie Allen but never realized she was Phylicia Rashad's sister. She did a great job with the directing here and the actress did an exceptional job with the dancing. Given your taste in TV, I'm a little surprised you used to watch "A Different World" though. I never cared for that one.

    It was a two-hour process over two days and two computers to get through this one based on the unique sets of issues I have with loading commercials on on both my home and work computers. I'm definitely gonna buy season 4 on ebay or Amazon to get away from this frustrating website. I'll rank this one between "Another Mother" and "Camikaze Kid".

    1. I didn't watch Cosby or A Different World consistently but I saw them occasionally. Soon after that was around the time when I stopped watching sitcoms for the most part. I vaguely remember really enjoying one particular episode of A Different World when they were on vacation at a beach house and there were some drug dealers -- that's all I can remember.

      I was surprised that you said that you love "underdog overcomes long odds" plots because I remember you saying before you weren't a fan of "win one at the buzzer" type stories -- maybe because they're too predictable?

    2. Oh more often than not I like "win one at the buzzer" stories if they're done well but I do find they are usually predictable and am more critical of ones like the "MacGyver" episode "Collision Course" where a 15-years-out-of-practice racecar driver MacGyver manages to go from last to first in a field of professional drivers the second he gets behind the wheel again. The template for this "underdog story" episode of "Quantum Leap" was quite a bit different and more believable.