YMMV: Quantum Leap

  • Badass Decay: Sam undergoes some of this in Season 5. From Seasons One to Four, he was the quintessential action hero, going up against a wide array of foes, including mobsters, professional boxers, biker gang leaders, corrupt cops, rapists, and a wide array of criminals and dangerous ruffians, and beat them all. Come Season Five, however, Sam noticeably gets beaten around and roughed up much more. The season debut saw him get beaten down so badly by Lee Harvey Oswald's commanding officer in a bar fight that Sam had to resort to pulling a gun on the man in order to save himself. The Evil Leaper episodes also saw him repeatedly get pushed around, first having trouble fighting against a college frat boy and then getting kicked around mercilessly in a women's prison. Also, when he leaped into Elvis, Sam got into a fight with a woman's jealous fiancee, in what would be his final fight for the series, and got beat down in a humiliating fashion(even though he had proven quite capable of defeating jealous boyfriend/ex-husband/fiancee types in past episodes). While it is conceivable that the Swiss Cheese Effect had denied him a lot of his martial arts abilities in many of these episodes, his portrayal in Season 5 is still somewhat jarring compared to the badass action hero he was in the first four seasons.
  • Bellisario's Maxim: While the show is the trope namer, there's probably no better explanation than the Maxim for why Al is occasionally able to do things he really shouldn't be able to as a hologram (things like riding in a car or walking up stairs).
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The show's Theme song.
  • Dry Docking: Sam did not have a wife waiting for him in the event that he ever returned home. No, he didn't!
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The Executive Meddling-born ending.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The series was very popular in Mexico, partly due to the premise and also because of the really good voice acting of the Mexican dub.
  • Growing the Beard: "The Color Of Truth" is widely considered the point where the show really began to hit its stride, especially by the cast. It's notable that it's the first episode to use the full leaping effect, as opposed to a simple blueing of the screen used for the earliest episodes.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In "Permanent Wave," Sam has to save a boy that witnessed a man being shot to death in a matter involving drugs. The character's name was Phil Hartman. It wasn't too many years later when actor Phil Hartman was himself shot to death by his wife, who had a drug problem.
    • In "Jimmy," Sam and Al both freely use the word "retarded" to describe the titular leapee, who appears to have Down Syndrome.
    • The already heavy episode "Raped" in which Sam leaps into a rape victim who's both slut shamed and blamed for her assault, while her attacker is defended and given sympathy becomes harsher and more poignant today where rape culture has become much more apparent especially cases such as Steubenville.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Weathers Farrington's (played by J.G. Hertzler) contemptuous "What do you know of honor Dumont" is absolutely hilarious when you know that he went on to play the Klingon general Martok in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
    • Doubly funny as he's saying this to Sam. A few years after Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ended, Hertzler appeared in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Judgment," where his character and Archer discussed honor and Archer helped him rediscover his own sense of honor.
    • In "All Americans", Al mentions that he's watching Super Bowl XXX and that the Pittsburgh Steelers are trailing by three points. Jump head six years to the real Super Bowl XXX, where the Steelers were playing and did trail by three points until a miraculous comeback in the final minutes.
  • It Was His Sled: Al being the one that Beth leaves for another man in "M.I.A.". It's such common knowledge among fans that you'd forget that the way the episode is structured, it's supposed to be a twist - with Sam stumbling upon a picture of young Al in Beth's home about halfway through.
    • Actually, the audience is informed of this before Sam is with Beth introducing herself to Dirk as Beth Calavicci early on.
  • Marty Stu: Sometimes Sam's absolute purity of heart and expert knowledge in everything from music to martial arts to several branches of science put him into this category.
  • Narm: When Lee Harvey Oswald sees his face in the Waiting Room (actually Sam's face), he understandably freaks out... but we cut to Sam, mouth open, with Oswald's slightly-deadpan scream pouring out.
  • Retroactive Recognition: The youngest daughter in "Another Mother" (and Bellisario's real-life daughter) later became Spencer Hastings.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: On the DVD releases, a large number of the original songs were changed for copyright reasons (the songs were usually well known songs from the time period that a particular episode is set it), which caused a HUGE backlash from fans. In particular, the last episode of the second season, "M.I.A.", removed Ray Charles' "Georgia On My Mind" with some generic muzak, ruining what many thought was the best moment of the entire series (Al, in hologram form, dancing with his first wife who left him while he was a POW in Vietnam). This is definitely a instance in which Tropes Are Not Bad.
    • The Season 5 theme song, meanwhile, wasn't very well-received by fans.
  • The Woobie: Sam and Al so much, at least in their original backstories:
    • Sam loses his father and brother when he's in his late teens and his sister marries an abusive husband. His fiancée leaves him at the altar on his wedding day. And thanks to Chronic Hero Syndrome, he's left bouncing around in time.
    • Al's mother leaves him at a young age and his father is forced to emigrate to find work, leaving Al in and out of an orphanage. His younger sister dies in an institution and he loses his father. After joining the Navy, he ends up missing in action and his first wife, Beth, assumes him dead and marries someone else, leaving Al spending the rest of his life attempting to fill the void.
  • Writer on Board: "Lee Harvey Oswald" was entirely constructed as Bellisario's rebuttal to the various conspiracy theories around the JFK assassination. He had served with Oswald in the Marines and believed him fully capable of committing the act on his own.