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View Poll Results: Goodbye, Norma Jean
Excellent 4 15.38%
Good 11 42.31%
Average 8 30.77%
Fair 0 0%
Poor 3 11.54%
Voters: 26. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-18-2003, 03:17 PM   #1
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Default 517 Goodbye, Norma Jean

Goodbye, Norma Jean
April 4, 1960


Hollywood, California


In a fourth leap directly involving a celebrity, Sam leaps into Marilyn Monroe's chauffeur. Al says he must prevent her from overdosing on pills and alcohol. He also has to uncover the mystery behind her new assistant's past.


Written by: Richard C. Okie
Directed by: Christopher Hibler


Rate and comment on this episode!
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Old 10-06-2005, 07:44 PM   #2
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This was good. Sam saves Marilyn Monroe just so she could make one last movie. He can never change major events.
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Old 01-03-2007, 05:39 AM   #3
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I noticed that when Sam is upstairs at the party when he asks that one person what he gave Marilyn you can see Sam's shadow instead of the leapee's. I'm not sure the same rule applies to shadows as it does with reflections.
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:00 AM   #4
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For some reason I really didn't liked this episode. I think i can say for sure,that so far,I really didn't like all the episodes that were based on real people(LHO,Dr. Ruth, Marilyn Monroe's). I just can't "relate" to those episodes of QL.It,just,too surreal to me.
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Old 09-08-2007, 05:28 PM   #5
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There were parts of this episode I liked, as with all of them.

However, it is certainly down near the bottom when I'm rating them for personal enjoyment. I don't on the whole like the 'real people' leaps, and preferred it when they stuck to the original format.

I appreciate that they can't radically change the way things actually happened (all the more reason to leave such stories alone) but this one was not even true to it's own 'altered history'.
With LHO, they took the premise that Sam saved Jackie, who they claimed originally died. Fair enough as a way to get around why Sam was there, I could buy into that.

In this story though, they suggest that originally Marilyn died at the party but Sam rushed in and saved her. He then has a discussion with Al, which suggests he saved her for 'one last film'. The film which turns out to be the one she renames "The Misfits" in honor of something he said.
Which would be fine, except that when Barbara is trying to wheedle her way in and take Marilyn's place, Al tells Sam "Originally Marilyn finished this movie, but unless you get her to rehearsals pronto, Barbara is gonna star instead" (Not the exact words, but that is the gist of it).
So which is it? Did she "originally" die before that film? Or did she "originally' finish it, and Sam's intervention by bringing Barbara into the house jeopardized it, so that in fact his Leaping in made things worse?
It niggles me, and that spoils the story for me.
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Old 09-08-2007, 07:36 PM   #6
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This one does have a serious plot problem or two, as Helen just pointed out. It's hampered by the fact that they can't really change anything for Marilyn. But I was pleasantly surprised by how sensitively written and well acted it was. I thought the actress playing Marilyn did a terrific job in an extremely difficult part--Marilyn Monroe is a legend, and there's no way any other actress can live up to it. The story gave her excellent opportunities to present her point of view. And I love that scene when Marilyn throws herself at Sam, he refuses, and Al says, "You're a stronger man than I am."
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:02 PM   #7
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I agree that that there are unresolved plot holes which keep this episode from being excellent. But. This episode really gets to me on the level of the performances. I had only remembered seeing the chopped up syndicated version and so when I watched the DVD, I was blown away. The actress playing Monroe was phenomenal. Her Monroe was deeply layered, flawed, and heartbreakingly lonely. She had completely bought into the idea that the only thing anyone could possibly want her for was the myth of Marilyn Monroe. Over the years I've seen a lot of Monroe character performances (biographies and so on), but this one is one of the few Marilyn-as-three-dimensional-person stories I can recall. This episode leaves me feeling so sad for this woman - like Sam, I just want to hug her and be her friend - so I consider it a success.

Unfortunately, I think people get caught up in the idea that it's a "gimmick" episode, hating it on principle, and overlook the exquisite performances.
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Old 09-10-2007, 02:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedana
Unfortunately, I think people get caught up in the idea that it's a "gimmick" episode, hating it on principle, and overlook the exquisite performances.
Point conceded. I certainly dont 'hate it on principle'. As I said, there are elements of the episode that I like tremendously. I agree that the acting is excellent.

To my mind, even the episodes I have reservations about such as this one have something about them that make them special - I've said before, even the worst episode of Quantum Leap is better than the best episode of some series out there!
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Old 09-10-2007, 03:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leaper1
Point conceded. I certainly dont 'hate it on principle'. As I said, there are elements of the episode that I like tremendously. I agree that the acting is excellent.

To my mind, even the episodes I have reservations about such as this one have something about them that make them special - I've said before, even the worst episode of Quantum Leap is better than the best episode of some series out there!
I wasn't singling you out, Helen, or really anybody on this board. Over the years, I've read tons of dismissive viewer comments declaring that this episode or that one "jumped the shark" (which is a huge pet peeve of mine because most people don't even know what that phrase originally meant!), because it was a "celebrity" episode, blah, blah, blah. Nothing even as cogent as your problem with the ep, which is an actual plot hole.

People can like or dislike an episode for whatever reason; I just think it's shortsighted for people (in general) to dismiss Goodbye, Norma Jean completely as a gimmick, ratings-grab episode, because they will miss a lovely nuanced performance by the guest actress.
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Old 09-10-2007, 04:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedana
I wasn't singling you out, Helen, or really anybody on this board. Over the years, I've read tons of dismissive viewer comments declaring that this episode or that one "jumped the shark" (which is a huge pet peeve of mine because most people don't even know what that phrase originally meant!), because it was a "celebrity" episode, blah, blah, blah. Nothing even as cogent as your problem with the ep, which is an actual plot hole.

People can like or dislike an episode for whatever reason; I just think it's shortsighted for people (in general) to dismiss Goodbye, Norma Jean completely as a gimmick, ratings-grab episode, because they will miss a lovely nuanced performance by the guest actress.
No worries, I wasn't feeling singled out, or got at.
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:13 PM   #11
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I do NOT like this episode and so far it wins the award for absolute only episode that my second chance method did not work on. As many people said above serious plot problems because I could not see what Sam's purpose there was, I think it was mentioned that it was something about her last movie but I could swear Sam had said in his narroration that he had seen it so it obviously got made without his help.

I also did not like that chick that tried to be Marylin Monroe, I have no idea what her name is as I don't watch this ep anymore but she pretends to want hire as Monroe's assistant or something but she really wants to BE her. She just annoyed the bajeebers out of me.

Another thing I disliked was the scene where he has to make her walk with him because she's crashing from an overdose of alcohol. I really liked that scene when he did it with Edie in One Strobe Over the Line and it was well done but It felt to me like they were slacking off when they decided to repeat that concept; I found it to be very unecessary. I think they slacked off writing this whole episode.

The last thing I dislike is this being a celebirty episode. the new NBC guy needed ratings so bad that he stooped to breaking Don's rules. And I think the celebrity leaps are just corny, lack the QL feel goodness that the first, second, and third seasons and ok most of the fourth even possesed and have no purpose except as a cry for ratings.

One thing I actually liked about this ep and was the entire reason I even gave it a second chance in the first place was the scene were Al yells for Sam to come and Sam thinking its an emergency comes running out in nothing but boxers(RAWR! ) but all Al wanted was for Sam to see Monroe Naked in her pool. Hahah Poor Sam.

Overall though this episode is on my least favorite list.

BTW - after reading some previous comments here, I am very Sorry Dana I believe I brutually attacked your pet peeve here but I can't change how I feel just for that purpose.

If it makes you feel better this is the only celebrity ep I attack, I love Dr. Ruth and Memphis Melody is ok, I mostly just like the beginning but Scott is one hell of a sexy Elvis.
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan
I do NOT like this episode and so far it wins the award for absolute only episode that my second chance method did not work on. As many people said above serious plot problems because I could not see what Sam's purpose there was, I think it was mentioned that it was something about her last movie but I could swear Sam had said in his narroration that he had seen it so it obviously got made without his help.
This has come up before. The Monroe movie that Sam mentions is "Some Like It Hot" (1959). The last movie Marilyn Monroe completed (the one she is shooting in this episode) is "The Misfits" (1961).

I believe that the purpose of Sam's leap is to ensure that that movie is made and that Marilyn stars in it. It might not seem like such a big deal but "The Misfits" was the last movie that not only Marilyn Monroe completed but also Clark Gable who died two weeks after completion of "The Misfits". Both Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable are American movie icons. Gable was Monroe's childhood movie star hero. The fact that they completed this movie together is a "big" thing. As a matter of fact, it's the only Marilyn Monroe movie I own (though I've yet to watch it).

There were, however, some real "liberties" taken with this episode that are hard to reconcile with actual events. First, "The Misfits" was filmed in Nevada (and the cast stayed in Nevada during the filming), not California.

Secondly, at the time of the leap, April 1960, Marilyn was still married to playwrite Arthur Miller although their marriage has fallen apart and would lead to divorce (January 1961). However, no mention of Arthur Miller or their marriage is made (to my knowledge). Incidentally, "The Misfits" was written by Arthur Miller as a Valentine gift for his wife.
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Old 09-11-2007, 02:03 AM   #13
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I never meant that it's not a big thing, I am sure it was but I mean that I thought Sam mentioned recalling the movie meaning it was made without his help, but I don't watch this ep anymore so I suppose I am remembering wrong.
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan
I never meant that it's not a big thing, I am sure it was but I mean that I thought Sam mentioned recalling the movie meaning it was made without his help, but I don't watch this ep anymore so I suppose I am remembering wrong.
Yes, you are remembering wrong. Like I said, the movie that Sam mentions is "Some Like It Hot" which premiered in 1959. He never mentions "The Misfits". The title "The Misfits" is not mentioned until the last scene of the episode when Al tells Sam that that's what Marilyn asks that the movie be renamed. It's only Al who seems to have any recollection of it and that's only at the end after history has been changed. One can assume that in the changed history Al saw the movie and his "memories" of it fill in right away.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoniz
There were, however, some real "liberties" taken with this episode that are hard to reconcile with actual events. First, "The Misfits" was filmed in Nevada (and the cast stayed in Nevada during the filming), not California.

Secondly, at the time of the leap, April 1960, Marilyn was still married to playwrite Arthur Miller although their marriage has fallen apart and would lead to divorce (January 1961). However, no mention of Arthur Miller or their marriage is made (to my knowledge).
I think they had just started rehearsals for "The Misfits" in the episode. Perhaps they did some rehearsing in California before they went on location. Having cast and crew on location is expensive, and studios generally want to minimize the time they spend there.

It's a little harder to see how they get around mentioning Arthur Miller, but if he and Marilyn were separated, I can imagine that she might not mention him at all, and she wouldn't want to discuss it with her chauffeur or her new assistant. Sam would probably forget that detail, and Al has chosen not to bring it up.

See, we can explain it all away.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:39 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snish
I think they had just started rehearsals for "The Misfits" in the episode. Perhaps they did some rehearsing in California before they went on location. Having cast and crew on location is expensive, and studios generally want to minimize the time they spend there.
I just did a little more research and found out that pricipal production on "The Misfits" began in July 1960. However, beginning in mid-February 1960 Marilyn began production of the movie "Let's Make Love". Production of this movie was delayed due to strikes by SAG and then the Screen Writer's Guild.

The SAG strike begin on March 9 and ended on April 9. The time frame of "Goodbye Norma Jean" would fall in this period. I don't believe any kind of production of a movie would have been undertaken (which would explain why "Let's Make Love" isn't mentioned).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snish
It's a little harder to see how they get around mentioning Arthur Miller, but if he and Marilyn were separated, I can imagine that she might not mention him at all, and she wouldn't want to discuss it with her chauffeur or her new assistant. Sam would probably forget that detail, and Al has chosen not to bring it up.

See, we can explain it all away.
Arthur Miller was living on the east coast at this point but they really weren't "separated". The other thing that's hard to get around was that during the filming of "Let's Make Love", Marilyn had an affair with her co-star Yves Montand. The affair lasted until after the completion of "Let's Make Love" when Montand broke it off. Since production of "Let's Make Love" was interrupted by the SAG strike that didn't end until April 9, Marilyn would have still been involved in her affiar with Montand at this point. Again, something she probably wouldn't discuss with her chauffer but Montand would have been a person showing up in her life in the time period the episode covers.

Oddly, despite these plot holes and not adhering history I do enjoy this episode for the reasons Bluedana has pointed out. The script does a fine job of showing the human side of Marilyn Monroe instead of just the Hollywood starlet, sex symbol that she's usually portrayed as.
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoniz
Yes, you are remembering wrong. Like I said, the movie that Sam mentions is "Some Like It Hot" which premiered in 1959. He never mentions "The Misfits". The title "The Misfits" is not mentioned until the last scene of the episode when Al tells Sam that that's what Marilyn asks that the movie be renamed. It's only Al who seems to have any recollection of it and that's only at the end after history has been changed. One can assume that in the changed history Al saw the movie and his "memories" of it fill in right away.
OK so he did mention it. He still could have seen the movie even if it was not The Misfits in the original history. Its the same movie. I see where you are coming from though and I trust you since I have no recollection of my own.
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Old 09-11-2007, 04:13 PM   #18
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No, it's not the same movie. "Some Like It Hot" premiered in 1959. In addition to Marilyn Monroe it starred Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon and was a comedy. "The Misfits" premiered in 1961. In addition to Marilyn Monroe it starred Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift and was more of a drama. Their two different movies.

In the universe of "Quantum Leap", Marilyn Monroe would not have been in the movie "The Misfits" without the intevention of Sam.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:06 PM   #19
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Oh I see now. But wait I thought you said Misfits was a name change that Sam contributed to by some comment he made? I thought Some Like it Hot was the Original title, but I guess it was something else. But I see now, you cleared that up for me.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:44 PM   #20
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"Some Like It Hot" was filmed in 1958 and released in 1959 - a year before this episode takes place. It has nothing to do with the movie that Marilyn was getting ready to make in "Goodbye Norma Jean". The original title that movie is never given. All we know is that at the end Al tells Sam that at Marilyn's request the title was changed to "The Misfits". In the second to last scene when Sam is in the kitchen with Marilyn convincing her to go to the rehearsal he describes her as a "brash, beautiful, glorious, untameable misfit" which is where we are led to believe she got the inspiration for the name change. In reality, the movie was named "The Misfits" right from the start when Arthur Miller wrote it.

Interesting little thing I just caught while rewatching it, when Sam helps Barbara to her room she mentions seeing every movie that Marilyn ever made including "Let's Make Love". The only problem with that is, like I said above, it would have still been in production at the time of this episode. It wasn't released until September 1960 - 5 months after this episode. Someone didn't do a very good job of research.
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Old 09-12-2007, 01:20 AM   #21
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Thanx for the info Julia.
Going back to my dislking this ep discussion I just remembered something else I hated.
I don't remember exact lines but Sam told Marlyn that he can't be around to love her the way she wants and needs which I thought was a really stupid and mean thing to say because I know Sam hates lying even if it means being a little too Sam, but in this case he really should have said he loved her to speak for Dennis. Cuz surely Dennis will be around since he's the assistant or whatever he is.
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:50 AM   #22
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Sam didn't mean being around in a physical sense. He meant being around in an emotional sense. Who knows how Dennis felt about her. He might have taken her up on the offer just to say he'd slept with Marilyn Monroe but not given a care about her on an emotional level. It would have been cruel of Sam to start anything with her on a romantic level - to offer her what she seemed to need the most - only for it to be snatched away from her.

It also wouldn't have been fair to Dennis to leave him involved in a relationship that was other than what he remembered and leave him to pick up the pieces.
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Old 09-12-2007, 11:18 PM   #23
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That's true I suppose, I didn't think of it that way.
I am sure Dennis is not a jerk but, Maryln Monroe being who she is I would not be surprised if he would have let a chance to get some "royal" attention cloud his better judgment. A chance to be hit by a ray of spotlight often blinds people as is shown in the movie version of The Princess Diaries when the popular boy took her out just to have some of her fame rub off on him.
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Old 11-30-2013, 07:21 PM   #24
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For your viewing pleasure...This episode came up in the LHO thread and I was feeling mischievous.
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:34 AM   #25
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There were parts of this episode I liked, as with all of them.

However, it is certainly down near the bottom when I'm rating them for personal enjoyment. I don't on the whole like the 'real people' leaps, and preferred it when they stuck to the original format.

I appreciate that they can't radically change the way things actually happened (all the more reason to leave such stories alone) but this one was not even true to it's own 'altered history'.
With LHO, they took the premise that Sam saved Jackie, who they claimed originally died. Fair enough as a way to get around why Sam was there, I could buy into that.

In this story though, they suggest that originally Marilyn died at the party but Sam rushed in and saved her. He then has a discussion with Al, which suggests he saved her for 'one last film'. The film which turns out to be the one she renames "The Misfits" in honor of something he said.
Which would be fine, except that when Barbara is trying to wheedle her way in and take Marilyn's place, Al tells Sam "Originally Marilyn finished this movie, but unless you get her to rehearsals pronto, Barbara is gonna star instead" (Not the exact words, but that is the gist of it).
So which is it? Did she "originally" die before that film? Or did she "originally' finish it, and Sam's intervention by bringing Barbara into the house jeopardized it, so that in fact his Leaping in made things worse?
It niggles me, and that spoils the story for me.
I'd just like to point out that this is not actually a mistake. We have seen in The Leap Home Part 2, when Sam asked the journalist to go with them so that there'd be documentation of what happened in the mission, that the effects of what Sam does to make a change in history can be tracked by Ziggy (unfortunately though, this resulted in her death) so that they can figure out the best course of action to take. We also saw in A Leap For Lisa that should Sam do something to change history in a way that GFTW doesn't want, such as telling Lisa not to testify and thereby ensuring Al's execution, that he will be given the chance to fix his mistake.

So in this case, Sam originally saves Marilyn from the drug overdose, Ziggy notices that history has changed and has Al tell Sam that she now stars in another movie. Something happens to prevent Marilyn from going to the audition, Ziggy notices the change and tells Al that Barbara is going to star in it now instead. Sam gets Marilyn to the audition, and GFTW's original plan for Marilyn to star in the final movie is fixed.

Mechanically, the course of events might be difficult to follow, but it still works.
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