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View Poll Results: Private Dancer
Excellent 13 52.00%
Good 8 32.00%
Average 3 12.00%
Fair 1 4.00%
Poor 0 0%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-04-2013, 03:33 AM   #26
Donofrio_QLTD
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Okay, so it's been a while since I don't write a review for the very next episode and since I've seen them all so many times my goal is to review them all, so I'll just keep going...

"Private Dancer" is yet another mixer of feelings, in my opinion...

Things I disliked: Too much disco music (Paul seems to really love it) and too many dancing sequences (to consume time, in my opinion). The "romance" aspect of the story: I don't know why Paul Brown almost always tried to romanticise Sam to a certain point (the certain point being Sam kissing and "touching the girls", to keep it clean, and then leaving them with the feeling that they just were best friends). That never gave me a good impression of Sam. In fact I always thought it was kind of an unnecessary character flaw and, in the case of Paul Brawn, a device to move the story forward. Another thing, all the Rod-The-Bod/Chippendale background. It kind of wants to throw a morality point about those sort of places being toxic and probably not holding a good atmosphere for anyone, but does not quite succeed in that. It even sort of accepts it as something normal and what's worse it glamourizes it (Sam dancing with Debbie Allen at the beginning and later on making excuses to himself and to the deaf girl about his work, etc.). Paul handles the danger and the horrible aspects of such places with just a little scratch at their reality. And last but not least, the characters: Again, very one-sided, very black-this/white-that. The guy who ran the place was nothing but a pimp. The bad, careless guy who just wants to take some girl to his room. The rough and dumb, yet funny, harmless and not bad-intentioned bartender with a moustache. The secretary/administrator of the place who becomes a bit of a bad person because she has a hidden past on the same steps she wanted the deaf girl to follow. The black dance instructor with a gym/aerobics vibe to it. And finally the deaf girl with an attitude. She was angry with the world not because she was poor but only because she was deaf and everyone else wanted to hurt her/take advantage of her and that was the only side of life she saw and kept rejoicing on her own misery, always being the "victim".

Things I liked: The very core of the topic. The message on always trying to at least go one step further to overcome the fears on what you want to do. If you succeed or not you will never know unless you do try it. That judging in advance will never help anybody, least of all you. That, if you really want it, the opportunity to make your mark in the world will always be there. Another thing: The uplifting aspect of the episode. It was not there all the time, but whenever it appeared, like for example on that scene where he follows her and then they buy a hot dog and there is a shot of the whole city, or when she just lies down inside her Van and sees the stars, those little moments evoked a great feeling, like when you take a deep breath (by the way, the character of the guy who sold the hot dogs made me smile, I liked him a lot for some weird reason). Another one: The fact that Sam learns to speak the language of deaf people. And the last thing: Yeah, I mentioned before that I disliked many of the dancing/musical sequences, but I must admit that the last sequence, with the deaf girl dancing, was quite good. Very uplifting as well, for some reason, and then the leap-out.

For these very reasons, I give this episode...

My rating: Average. Not the worst one by P. Brawn. Not by a long shot.
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:30 PM   #27
blue enigma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donofrio_QLTD View Post
Paul handles the danger and the horrible aspects of such places with just a little scratch at their reality. And last but not least, the characters: Again, very one-sided, very black-this/white-that. The guy who ran the place was nothing but a pimp. The bad, careless guy who just wants to take some girl to his room. The rough and dumb, yet funny, harmless and not bad-intentioned bartender with a moustache. The secretary/administrator of the place who becomes a bit of a bad person because she has a hidden past on the same steps she wanted the deaf girl to follow. The black dance instructor with a gym/aerobics vibe to it. And finally the deaf girl with an attitude. She was angry with the world not because she was poor but only because she was deaf and everyone else wanted to hurt her/take advantage of her and that was the only side of life she saw and kept rejoicing on her own misery, always being the "victim".
I agree that it only barely scratches the reality, but that's unfortunately a problem with trying to deal with more serious topics in such a short amount of time. Creating black and white characters, particuarly black and white villains, is a device that's frequently used as a way to accomplish that, especially by writers who are less experienced or less adept and it's often not effective in my opinion.

This is not a favorite episode but I did enjoy it. I also like Sam learning sign language. Sam teaching Al how to sign 'quantum leap' was a nice touch.
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Old 10-04-2013, 05:25 PM   #28
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I found this episode to be pretty sweet. The character of Diana though accurately described by Donofrio as victimizing herself, was I felt still a pretty strong character who represented independence and not allowing even a unique obstacle keep you from pursing your dreams. I absolutely adore her monologue about how the stars, wind and such are music to her.
Though she wasn't completely in the right to never gave anyone a real chance to respond either way to her deafness before accusing them of judging her based on it, she wasn't in the wrong to feel wary and desire to hide it. Unfortunately even today there tends to be a deaf/hearing civil rights issue somewhat like white skin vs. black skin in the mid 50's.

It's true that the subject is only scratched at the surface here. If you've ever watched the ABCFamily show 'Switched At Birth' or Ion's 'Cold Case' (specifically an episode which investigates the murder of a deaf teenage boy who had a hearing girlfriend and wanted to get a cochlear implant) you'd get a much deeper and darker perspective of the world of the deaf vs. hearing.
The lack of such a perspective here is at least in part what gives Diana's character her kind of brat image because you are not really given much of an understanding.

I agree that from the moment Sam kissed Diana they needed to elaborate on the relationship. It's true that was awkward and didn't fit with the mere friendly atmosphere of the rest of their interactions. As Al reads the outcome at the end I keep wondering what happened between Diana and the real Rod. Did they stay friends, begin to date, get married or go their separate ways and never see each other again? That is something that needed closure.

One thing that never gets old is the scene in which Al walks in on Sam learning sign language and thinks he picking his nose and then tries to correct the sign for "Quantum Leap" as the 'Eensy weensey spider'. XD
The language is really fascinating and I know several signs including some that aren't shown here but would love to know more.

Speaking of which in case anyone was wondering what Diana was saying in sign language when she was making a point of Sam's not being able to understand her; Via my book 'Another Time, Another Place':
"Don't bother. I've been on my own since I was seven. I can do it myself. I want to do it on my own."

The avoidance of the stripper/hooker life also sent a positive message in the process of which a good contrast was made between performing legally, cleanly and in what appears to be a harmless fun environment(Rod, who by no suggestion hooks in addition) as opposed to just performing any form of the service which pays well regardless of environment or safety (Diana). It may seem counterproductive and inappropriate that Sam would be leaped into an identity which makes his assignment with Diana hypocrisy but perhaps part of the message lay within that.
"You strip!"
"There's a difference"
"I don't see it."
"Neither do I but..."

Perhaps if Sam weren't a bit on the anxious side and if the audience really paid attention they could get from that scene the message: 'Thats me, it doesn't have to be you!'

Beginning with this episode I have begun to notice as well how Al quite a few times throughout the series stresses the importance of completing school which is also a well done positive message. It gets me interested in how Al would have performed this leap given that his priority with Diana would have been getting her to finish high school before dancing.

In addition to has to be one of the most hilarious leaps in. When this random woman shouts "Don't cover it up Rod!" as Sam is positioning his Zorro hat over his thing, LOL. Poor modest Sam. XD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donofrio_QLTD
Sam dancing with Debbie Allen at the beginning and later on making excuses to himself and to the deaf girl about his work, etc.
You know I have recently come to notice something about that dance, as he begins to move he gets this expression on his face as though he's wondering what the hell his body is doing. That paired with the excuse for it he gives Joanna has me wondering if that was in fact Rod doing those "bumps and grinds", they are certainly more his style than Sam's.
Mind merging isn't introduced until season 4 but prior in 8 1/2 Months we're hinted at the companion to it, psychical or like a muscle memory merging.

We see this as well in The Leap Back where Sam and Al had received a piece of each other during a simo-leap. One thing Al received from Sam was some of his martial arts. Martial arts is contained in something called 'Muscle Memory' which is something that can still be retained even in a state of total amnesia.

Dancing is a bit of a combination of brain and muscle memory. The routine transitions from knowledge of the steps to automatic performance of them as the brain maps out every step creating a shorter route between the thinking and the doing.
(paraphrase from: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/28/ar...anted=all&_r=0 which contains more information on the process)

So it makes sense that those bumps and grinds could be a vague introduction to mind-merging in which it could be subtle enough that Sam wouldn't feel it so much and thus be unaware that it's occurring. Especially in comparison to when it severely makes it's presence known in Dreams. Plus remember Sam hates Disco, otherwise he also would have been boogying at will in Disco Inferno.

Over all this is one of my top favorite episodes.
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Last edited by Sam Beckett Fan; 10-04-2013 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:12 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan View Post
It's true that the subject is only scratched at the surface here. If you've ever watched the ABCFamily show 'Switched At Birth' or Ion's 'Cold Case' (specifically an episode which investigates the murder of a deaf teenage boy who had a hearing girlfriend and wanted to get a cochlear implant) you'd get a much deeper and darker perspective of the world of the deaf vs. hearing.
I've never seen 'Switched at Birth' yet. I know very little about the show and didn't realize it dealt with the world of the deaf vs. hearing. 'Cold Case' is a really good show with some very interesting stories.

I was referring more to Donofrio's comment about the fact that this episode seemed to be trying to make a point about other issues, like Chippendale's type clubs, the type of people that were in the club, etc., that they just scratched the surface with regard to that -- and maybe they weren't trying to make a point about those things particularly. It's a lot to try to cover in a 45-minute or so episode. The whole Rod-the-Bod/Chippendale's thing just seemed to me like something they used for an easy laugh being such a drastic contrast to Sam's shyness and prince-of-prudishness.
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:28 PM   #30
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Well the chippndales wasn't important to the story, all that mattered in that area was keeping Diana out of that type of environment. And I put in my two cents on the choice of leapee.
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:33 PM   #31
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Well the chippndales wasn't important to the story, all that mattered in that area was keeping Diana out of that type of environment.
Yeah, it was the background of it that mattered.
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Old 10-18-2015, 08:18 PM   #32
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Excusing the late addition of this response, you also make a valid point that the theme of the leapee was probably in part for the sake of a humorous leap in but I still also stand by it making a statement of 'just because I chose this lifestyle and am comfortable in it doesn't mean it's right for you'.
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