Monday, December 19, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 84: Dr. Ruth


Sam Leaps Into:
Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a sex therapist and radio host.

Objective:
Assist one of his callers who is being sexually harassed by her boss.  Help his two bickering producers resolve their relationship differences.

Date:
4-25-85

Location:
New York, New York

Memorable Quote:
We're going to discuss a lot of things that I'm sure will be very stimulating...uh, uplifting...interesting. ~Sam

Highlight:
I was hoping that Dr. Ruth would get a chance to do some martial arts and was glad to see that come to fruition at the end.

Lowlight:
Weird how at certain random points throughout the episode Sam starts talking like Dr. Ruth.  At one point Al says his mind is merging with Dr. Ruth -- the same thing happened in the Lee Harvey Oswald episode and I didn't like it there either).  In this case there's no real point to it other than the humor of hearing Sam talk like Dr. Ruth (and he does do a good impression).  

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • 11:40 mark -- there's a kid in the background wearing a "Champion" sweatshirt.  I used to have several of these in junior high.

  • I saw Robyn Lively once in Disney World when I was a kid -- I knew her from Teen Angel Returns (a feature on the Mickey Mouse Club) and Karate Kid 3.  She's also Blake Lively's half sister.  
  • 28:00 -- A woman overhears Sam saying, "But someday someone's not going to roll over that easily." Another woman asks her to get on the elevator and calls her Anita. Presumably this is Anita Hill, and overhearing this one random comment apparently gave her all the strength she needed to testify against Clarence Thomas.
  • I don't know that much about Dr. Ruth but she seems like a nice lady.          

Final Analysis:
Despite being mildly entertaining, this episode had a jump-the-shark, beginning-of-the-end feel to it between the disjointed plot, Sam intermittently talking like Dr. Ruth, the producers' overly childish antics, Dr. Ruth counseling Al in the waiting room, and the odd Anita Hill reference. And it was unnecessary to proclaim that the whole purpose of the leap was for Al's benefit. Ranking it 12th from the bottom.

4 comments:

  1. Garbage....absolute garbage. I'm so thankful "MacGyver" never lasted long enough to put out an hour this irredeemably loathsome. The only examples I can think of where a quality show has sunk this low are the final season of "Roseanne" and some of those slapsticky Season 4 episodes of "Miami Vice" where James Brown guest-starred as a UFO, cryonegic pop star corpses were floating in the ocean, and Crockett and Tubbs were chasing after a jar of bull semen. Even Boy George guest-starring on "The A-Team" wasn't THIS bad!

    There was a potentially interesting subplot here and a good actress in Robyn Lively that might have made for a compelling episode. The sleazy boss did a convincing job of making himself seem like Mr. Innocent, the victim of a mentally ill employee and even made me wonder if that's the direction the story was going. A full hour dedicated to this theme, without the entire misguided Dr. Ruth shtick, could have made for an excellent episode.....reminiscent of one of my favorite episodes of "The Equalizer" where even the good-judge-of-character protagonist was thrown off by someone pathological. But they wasted that momentum by drowning it out amidst pointless stupidity.

    I'll admit I fast-forwarded through a few of the moments where Dr. Ruth was counseling Al and when Sam was counseling the bickering producers, intermittently breaking into Dr. Ruth voice, presumably because the viewers were supposed to be falling out of their chair in laughter over Bakula imitating Ruth's accent despite its detachment from the fundamental premise of the series. It was just too excruciating to sit through and I would have rather been doing just about anything with my life than suffer through it. I'm turning 40 soon and will have to get a colonoscopy....and I found myself looking forward to it.....it's still gotta be easier to endure than this steaming pile of manure was.

    Your final analysis mostly summed up, in a massively understated way, everything that was wrong with this episode, except for the neck-snapping final sentence where you ended up ranking this one ahead of "Trilogy" and even "Liberation", the latter of which seemed like freaking "Citizen Kane" next to this soiled toilet paper. I figured given the nature of this series' anthology format, and the hit or miss trappings of that genre within a weekly TV show lineup, that there would come a time when "A Portrait of Troian" would bested (or "worsted"?) and this episode just pulled it off in spectacular style. I certainly hope it doesn't get worse from here in any of the nine remaining episodes.

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    Replies
    1. I enjoyed your passionate takedown of this episode. I also wondered if the boss was telling the truth because he seemed pretty convincing.

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    2. Were you expecting I'd go nuclear on this one?

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    3. Not necessarily, I haven't always been good at predicting your reactions to these QL episodes.

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