Leaping Through a Glass Darkly
When did Dr. Samuel Beckett NOT have tits?
I am in one of those rare moods. It is a dumb, dumb rage that destroys one’s tolerance for the perception of every single molecule of one’s current existence. In this particular instance, it is caused by not having cone wrenches to fix a bike wheel. And the immediate object of my intolerance is the classic television series, Quantum Leap. I love that show – like crazy – but, with my emotions as they are, I have lost all ability to suspend my disbelief, no longer ignoring plot contrivances or gleefully enduring campy comedy.
For those who care and don’t already know, here is the plot of the show as summarized as it almost always was in the opening narration:
“Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished… He woke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.”
As I started watching the series again, my brain began to hemorrhage partway into the original intro. The classic intro, quoted in the preceding paragraph, utilizing a soft feminine narration detailing Dr. Samuel Beckett’s predicament was apparently not used in the first season. Instead we get Scott Bakula crapping out a summary that sounds more like an intro to SOAP and probably should have been further accompanied by a fart horn and canned laughter…and maybe a banjo. One grins and bears it until you hear the scientific explanation, “…things went kaka.”
Eventually, my aneurysms subsiding, the joy I remembered as a kid returned and I was actually pleased to find an episode I did not remember. Sam leaps into the body of a man who has just won 3 million dollars in the lottery, is engaged to his high school sweetheart, and is on the verge of curing cancer. Things are all rosy until Al slides in and informs Sam that none of this is supposed to happen. Instead, this man is supposed to be brutally raped with a broken beer bottle, breaking his will and spirit forever. “Ziggy says there is…a 100% chance that is why you are here. Sorry Sam.”
Afterwards, bleeding and sobbing uncontrollably, it is revealed that all he really had to do was turn on the air conditioner.
That is a hard, hard leap.
The brain hemorrhaging – mine, for those keeping score at home – returns at the beginning of the 5th season. Some great mind behind the series decided it was time to hippify the previously gently rolling theme music with SYNTH DRUMS! Yeah Baby! I likes my sci-fi dramas with a beat I can almost spastically dance to if I remove all of my dignity. The series was canceled after the fifth season, due to the theme music and theme music alone…obviously.
Somewhere in time, a haggard and soulless Dr. Samuel Beckett continues to leap from life to life, no longer with any hope to return home, hoping instead that his next leap will take him to the birthplace of horrible, cheesy synth-pop.
Now, years after its demise, I am revamping the series for a new pilot. So far, this is what I have for the intro:
SOFT FEMININE NARRATOR
“Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished… He woke to find himself with his legs over his head and his balls resting on the bridge of his nose.”
CLOSE-UP SAM BECKETT, his life and other things hanging in the balance.
SAM (joyously muffled)
Surely, today’s brave, modern, and learned television audiences will be gripped from the very beginning of this hour-long, single shot, unedited sci-fi documentation of one man’s struggle with the pleasure and perils of self-fellatio. Pure gold. From there…not even the sky is a limit.
I’m Thomas K…and I’m not