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YMMV / Quantum Leap

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Was Angelita's angelic status Real After All? She says people will forget her once her job is done, and indeed, Sam claims he has no idea what Al is talking about when the latter asks him about her. However, since Al remembers her just fine, one wonders if Sam does remember her and is just trolling his friend.
  • Ass Pull: In "Deliver Us From Evil", the Evil Leapers came closer to undoing Sam's hard work than just about anyone else. And towards the end, Alia had almost completely destroyed the La Motta family, with Frank having an affair with a co-worker, Jimmy being falsely accused of rape, and almost no hopes of Sam being able to save the day. Despite all of that, however, Sam manages to give Alia a speech on duality and the two of them being counterparts and somehow manages to save the day and undo all the damage the the Evil Leapers have caused with some kind of time warp. Considering how Quantum Leap has never relied upon Deux ex Machina endings in the past and the fact that there was absolutely no realistic way for Sam to reverse all the damage Alia had done, Sam giving a rambling incoherent speech on duality to Alia hardly seems like a believable way to resolve everything and give the La Mottas their happy ending back.
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  • Award Snub: Neither Dean Stockwell nor Scott Bakula ever won Emmys for their work (in all fairness, they picked up a decent amount of other awards and nominations).
  • Awesome Music: The show's theme song, especially the season 5 remix.
  • 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 multitude 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 Presley, 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.
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  • 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).
  • Broken Base: Bellisario has said that, based on the responses he saw, half the fans loved "Mirror Image" and half hated it.
  • Catharsis Factor: Sam beating down the man who raped his current leapee, Katie McBain, in the episode "Raped" is one of the most satisfying moments of OOC Is Serious Business in the whole show.
  • Complete Monster: Sam Beckett and Al Calavicci have faced various evil people throughout their time travel adventures, but these are the worst:
    • "Unchained": Boss Cooley runs Talawaga prison in the cruelest ways. Keeping the prisoners in subhuman conditions, with beatings and forced labor on the chain gang, Cooley punishes any who resist in the sweltering Punishment Pit, with the option of murdering any who still trouble him. When Sam, in the body of a prisoner named Cole, and his friend, wrongfully accused prisoner Jazz, draw Cooley's ire, it is revealed Cooley is involved in a string of robberies that Jazz is accused for. Cooley murders the robber to cover his tracks and then reveals he regularly hosts "cockfights", where prisoners are forced to fight for the death. When Sam and Jazz survive this, Cooley intends to hunt them down and kill them himself.
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    • "Killin' Time": Leon Randolph Stiles is the single most evil leapee Sam Beckett ever leaps into. An illiterate drifter and murderous hick, Stiles is a Serial Killer who lured and brutally murdered prostitutes to sate his urges, with no compunction about killing anyone else in the way as he murdered the daughter of the sheriff pursuing him. Sam leaps into Stiles as he's bartering with the lives of an innocent woman and her young daughter, while Stiles himself breaks out of custody by threatening to gun down everyone in his way while immediately trying to resume his killing spree in the futuristic city outside.
    • "Evil Leaper trilogy": Alia's hologram, Zoey, is far worse than her sympathetic compatriot and one of the most monstrous adversaries Sam ever meets. Zoey, in her service to the malicious A.I. Lothos, steers Alia to leap from person to person across time, utterly ruining their lives and stringing countless bodies behind them, while Zoey does her best to break and utterly corrupt Alia all the while. Zoey is first met trying to frame a mentally impaired man for rape to have him committed while urging Alia to murder Sam when they cross paths, later seen trying to have a reckless student killed in a chicken race and vowing to kill Alia herself when she reneges with Sam. In the final episode of the trilogy, Zoey takes over the body of a corrupt warden to find Alia and Sam, coldly ordering a trembling, claustrophobic woman (inhabited by an amnesiac Alia, unbeknownst to Zoey) tossed into solitary confinement and indicates she's going to use her male body's "equipment" to rape Sam's leapee herself.
  • Dry Docking: Sam did not have a wife waiting for him in the event that he ever returned home. No, he didn't!
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • Sam's leaps post-finale, and Al's role in them now that he's married to Beth.
    • Alia's life as a leaper after escaping Lothos at the end of "Revenge" and whether or not she encounters Sam (or Zoey) again.
    • The premise behind the proposed "Bold Leap Forward" spinoff, which would have seen Sammie Jo Fuller becoming a leaper to find Sam.
    • Any information behind the evil leaping project, including who they were and why they were evil.
  • Fanon:
    • Given that the show ended without tying up certain loose ends, the show has steadily built some fanon over the years, some of which has made its way onto the Quantum Leap Wikia for whatever reason (mostly because there is very little canon info available).
    • Gushie's real name was never revealed on the show, but a fanfic named him "Dr. Irving Gushman" and the fandom adopted it.
    • There's a lot of fanon about the evil leaping project.
      • For instance, there's a "picture" of Lothos circulating the Internet that is actually a picture of Ziggy from "The Leap Back", except tinted red. Lothos was never actually seen on the show, but given that he's Ziggy's Evil Counterpart, he should look something like her, right?
      • There's also a widely accepted theory (again, from a fanfic series) that Lothos is actually a mad scientist in the British Isles who did some Brain Uploading into a supercomputer.
    • In fact, a lot of fanon that is (incorrectly) claimed as canon comes from the more fanfic-y elements of the "Al's Place" fansite, which was the only fansite for Quantum Leap for several years.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The Executive Meddling-born ending. "Sam Becket (sic) never made it home." I don't know who he is, but Sam Beckett did!
  • 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. Seven years later in 1998, 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. At the time, "retarded" actually was the clinical terminology for a person with Down Syndrome, and was actually considered a P.C alternative, especially when compared to words like "moron" or "imbecile". But nowadays, like the aforementioned "moron" and "imbecile" it became exclusively insulting over time. In this case, "retarded" is only ever treated as insulting depending on the context it's used in.
    • 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.
    • "A Little Miracle" is Yet Another Christmas Carol, with Sam and Al trying to reform one Michael Blake (Charles Rocket). The Christmas Future part of their attempt involves convincing Blake that he committed suicide. During his Heel Realization, Blake openly laments the thought of dying alone. In 2005, Rocket was found dead in a field, and it was ruled a suicide.
    • "The Boogieman" is an All Just a Dream episode where Sam faces Satan. "Mirror Image" casts a new light on the exchange after Satan asks Sam why he keeps putting right what was made wrong.
      Sam: I'm just trying to get home.
      Satan: Well, it looks like you're not going to make it.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In "Sea Bride", 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 played another Klingon in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Judgment", where his character, Kolos, and Archer discussed honor and Archer helped him rediscover his own sense of honor.
      • It's also pretty funny to think that the entire series consists of Captain Archer teaming up with a Cylon.
    • 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.
    • In "Killing Time", the lawman in charge of bringing Leon Styles (Sam's current leapee) to justice is named Sheriff Hoyt.
    • In the Pilot Movie, the swiss-cheesed Sam initially thinks his experiences are a dream of some kind. In his narration, he remarks he's just waiting for a boogieman of some kind to pop out to scare him and end the dream. That's pretty much what happens in the Halloween Episode.
    • In "Stand Up" Sam has to do a comedy double act with a partner played by Bob Saget, in the midst of his Full House fame. Saget gets into an argument with his love interest over sex jokes, she balks at it but he is enthusiastic about being more risque. In later years Saget famously shredded his family friendly image with quite profane material.
    • In "Moments to Live", Sam is currently being held hostage when his two captors leave the room to fight. Upon being told by Al to "use his head" in order to escape, we hard cut to Sam leaping out of a window head first. Or, in other words, a hostage situation results in a literal interpretation of "Use your head!".
  • 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. (Beth actually introduces herself to Dirk as Beth Calavicci early on, but since Al's last name had not yet been revealed at that point, viewers may be forgiven for missing the connection until it's pointed out.)
    • The same thing occurs in "Deliver Us From Evil." It's common knowledge that this is the episode that introduces Alia the Evil Leaper, yet the way it's structured, it starts off looking like a sequel to the episode "Jimmy" (with an added mystery about the good history somehow being rewritten). Even Zoey's first appearance simply looks like Connie Lamotta is talking to a friend or neighbor instead of a hologram.
  • Narm:
    • In the climax of "Justice", Sam speaks directly to the leapee's son as he's prepairing to get hung along with Nathaniel. However, one of the Klan members has the hilt of his weapon directly in front of the kid's line of sight, and you can very clearly tell the actor was told off screen to lift it up mid-scene.
    • 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.
  • Older Than They Think: In the second season finale, "M.I.A.", the tearjerker ending has Al sitting with his wife, who thinks him dead, as she listens to "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers. She then switches to "Georgia On My Mind" by Ray Charles, and begins dancing alone, and Al joins her as best he can in his hologram form. Briefly, just as the leap occurs, she senses him with her. This scene, particularly with the use of "Unchained Melody", may seem to have been heavily inspired by Ghost but in fact aired May 9, 1990, 2 months before Ghost's July 1990 release.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • The radio station owner in "Good Morning, Peoria" is played by Patricia Richardson. She was less than two years away from being Jill Taylor from Home Improvement.
    • The youngest daughter in "Another Mother" (and Bellisario's real-life daughter) later became Spencer Hastings.
    • One of the Frat Boys in Animal Frat is played by Raphael Sbarge, the future voice of Carth Onasi and Kaidan Alenko.
    • Teri Hatcher appeared in the first season episode "Star-Crossed".
    • Anna Gunn appeared in the fourth season episode "The Play's the Thing".
    • Yes, that's Dr. Peter Benton as a sleazy music producer in "A Song For The Soul".
    • A young Jennifer Aniston is a hospital aide who assists Sam in "Nowhere to Run".
    • Gregory Itzin appears in the show's penultimate episode, "Memphis Melody," best known now for his Emmy-nominated role as the villainous Charles Logan on 24.
    • Mary Elizabeth McGlynn also prominently appears in "Memphis Melody." So yes, Sam helped Major Kusanagi out.
    • Carla Gugino in "Ghost Ship."
    • Sam's leapee's mirror image in Camikazi Kid is played by a young Scott Menville. Ironically, despite having no spoken lines, he would later become prominent as a voice actor.
  • 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). Mill Creek, to their credit, did their best to restore the rights to as many songs as they could for the Complete Series set once they got the home video rights, which did include the famous "Georgia On My Mind" sequence.
    • The Season 5 arrangement of the theme song, meanwhile, wasn't very well-received by fans (Universal brought back the original version for "Mirror Image").
  • Values Dissonance: The "kiss with history" bits would never be able to include black people like Michael Jackson and Chubby Checker today, with the implications that they needed a genius white guy to show them the thing that made them famous.
    • Even with how good the show usually was with gender issues, there were some incredibly cringeworthy things. When Al rather than Sam did a leap, he and a woman who believed he was an old flame were implied to have sex, except, this would have been rape by deception on his part. In another instance, Sam leapt right in as the leapee was having sex with his fiancee. This was in no way Sam's fault, but with the implication God was controlling the leaps, there's three victims, including Sam himself, right there. Making all this either better or worse, in a later episode, Sam refused to have sex with Alia due to the fact they were both in a leap, and her response was to make it seem as if his leapee, a man with Down's syndrome, had sexually assaulted her leapee, the man's sister-in-law.
    • Sam's first reaction at seeing his reflection inside a man with Down's Syndrome is "I'm a retard." Just imagine that being used today.


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