1211 It's a Wonderful Life?

What is your opinion of this story?

  • 5 ? This is an excellent episode! One of my personal favorites!

    Votes: 2 25.0%
  • 4 ? This episode was great! I will definitely tell others about it.

    Votes: 5 62.5%
  • 3 ? This episode was good. It was worth reading.

    Votes: 1 12.5%
  • 2 ? This episode was like the neutral zone ? I am indifferent.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1 ? Bellisario would be rolling in his grave if he had one.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


It's a Wonderful Life?

(Leap date: unknown / Present day)
"Timed Perks" inter-point haven / Cambridge, Massachusetts

Sam looks for answers to his questions concerning leaps and finds some in a strange leap.

Written by: Helen Gerhard

TVS Team
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Our rating system this season consists of six raters and three back-up raters! We took the average of six raters and came up with an average for that episode. Based on ratings of 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, the average of this episode was: 8.83

Please be aware that some reviews may contain spoilers! Some of the comments given were:

Seeker said:
This was a good story, a unique twist on Frank Capra?s Christmas classic, thought-provoking and well written. Nicely done.



Xanadu said:
This was a wonderful story. It just made sense for Sam to need this type of help. The way that you worked in all the problems that he's had... very well done indeed. Thank you, Helen.



Sporty said:
I really liked this story. Having Sam see what might have happened if things had not gone the way they did, was great. And having someone other than Al the bartender be Sam's guide. Great story!



Mystery Rater (Ruby Slippers) said:
Though not strictly a Christmas story as such, by the author?s own admission, this one had just the right feel for the season.

With the talk of other Leapers, ones who had ?passed beyond the mortal plane of existence?, I was put in mind of the coffee shop gatherings of George and her friends in ?Dead Like Me?, which in turn had echoes of Daniel in Stargate, when he ascended. So Helen is in illustrious company.

I loved the way the ?what if Sam never Leaped? dealt with the ramifications for Sam himself, rather than those he has helped, so that he came to realize his altruism also works to his own benefit.

A very different story, even among the essentially Leapless ones we have been treated to in the past, but nonetheless an excellent first foray for our newest writer.

Well done, Helen!



Vince Beckett said:
This is an excellent story. We get to see what Sam's life would have been like if he had never leaped around through time. It's obvious that his life is so much better as a leaper.



Gooshie said:
It's nice to see a new writer on The Virtual Seasons and what a great debut! I enjoyed the "spoof" of It's a Wonderul Life, although I was expecting a Christmas episode. Seeing Sam's alternate life was very interesting, as was the new locale (a coffee shop instead of a bar). The Frasier reference was fun, too.



Now, it's your opportunity to rate this particular story. Let the author(s) know how you rate this story. If you'd like to give feedback, please go ahead and leave a reply!

The Virtual Seasons Team
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I have tried to talk to you in the chatroom about your story, but I haven't gotton the chance yet. But I have to tell you again that I really enjoyed your story.

I have always been a fan of It's a Wonderful Life, and to see your take on it, with a litle twist. It was great.

It's a Wonderful Life has always shown what life would be like if someone had never been born has been done a bunch of times, and I enjoy every one of them. But to do a slightly different take on it and show what Sam's life would have been like if he had never leaped, It's brilliant.

I enjoyed the fact that you put one of Al's helpers in the Cafe and had her be a Phyciatrist. At this point, I think Sam could really use that Conversation with Bena, and you found him a way to have the next best thing.

The life Sam would have lived had he not stepped into the Accelorator would have been a lonley one at best, At least he still had Al.

It would deffenatly not be the life I would have chose. Stephen, Donna, Sammie Jo, Beth, they have all become so ingrained into the stories, that it is hard to imagine QL without them.

It was nice to see Sam take a different viewpoint of leaping too. It's good to see him looking at leaping like it gave hima life of his own rather than taking it away.

Overall, very well done.

Thanks Tom


Thank you! As this was my first foray into TVS I've been on pins and needles about the story. I truly appreciate your providing the feedback. I'm looking forward to your upcoming series. I'm sure it will be as great as it's author.

I've really enjoyed getting to know you better during the chats the last few days. I hope that you enjoyed your day off and that the weather gets MUCH better for you. Those student drivers are lucky to have you as their instructor!


I found it, Helen! I found the area when I can post my review on your excellent story! Along with Tom, I love the story "It's a Wonderful Life", and this adaptation was just as wonderful. I loved the "bartenders" aspect of it with skinny Al and Esther, she was such a sweet, consoling person. I have to admit, I was a little confused throughout it but that was only because this was the first story of TVS I have read so any references to past stories (Sam killing the person by suicide, etc.) kinda went over my head. Anytime you write any more stories, please be sure to let me know. If they are anything like this, they will be a joy to read.

Our talks in the chatroom have been great for me as well, I look forward to going in every night so I can talk with you, Tom, and SBF. I couldn't help but giggle everytime you asked me where I was when I was reading it. You asked me every 5 minutes, lol. You get an A+!

Samantha Beckett

P.S. Talk to you tonight, hopefully!:D
Origionally posted by asearcher

Thank you! As this was my first foray into TVS I've been on pins and needles about the story. I truly appreciate your providing the feedback. I'm looking forward to your upcoming series. I'm sure it will be as great as it's author.

I've really enjoyed getting to know you better during the chats the last few days. I hope that you enjoyed your day off and that the weather gets MUCH better for you. Those student drivers are lucky to have you as their instructor!



Helen, You are a sweetheart. Thank you. Your post made my day.

I enjoy the chats too. It's fun getting to know you guys better.
Okay, finally got to read this in the dentist's waiting room today (a full day ahead of expectation due to a cancellation).


Another landmark story.

It was really great to have Sam given a new perspective on Leaping by showing him what his life would have been like if he hadn't stepped into the Accelerator. He could have been reminded how much worse off the Leapees would have been without his intervention, but this personal approach was so much more powerful.

I hope this will give him strength and comfort in the coming Leaps, as the last encounter will have given him spiritual support.

A great first story, Helen, looking forward to the next one.
Thank you and Author Explanation


I thank those who have been writing to provide their feedback. I look forward to further constructive feedback. I did want to address an issue that has been stated though...that this is not a Christmas Episode.

It is not specifically so. The story could have taken place at any time. However, the Christmas theme is implied in the title and the story's nod to the movie (with a twist). It would have been possible to put it into a more Christmas setting by describing decorations or having Al's tie have Santa's or Christmas Tree's on it. I could have even had Al wearing one of those flashy Chrismas pins. I didn't purely because I felt that would have distracted from the story. I wanted to be more subtle than that. Additionally, since I didn't know originally when MJ would air this, I felt it was better to have the story fit into her needs rather than do a story that was absolutely Christmas themed.

As was pointed out by Dickens in "A Christmas Carol"...keeping Christmas is not just at one time of year. It is a way of life. This story addressed how the soul of a mortal man must come to grips with the decisions that are made during that life and the fact that we have choices and must accept that there are consequences to those choices. Those choices span the year(s)...they are not just present during the Christmas season.

Also...from the standpoint of choices...Sam did not know when he stepped into the Accelerator what choices that path would lead to. That is...due to that choice, all of the other choices that timeline presented (what we know of the TV show and any stories written since) were there for him to make...including the ones he made in "Star-Crossed," "Trilogy," and Mirror Image. Without stepping into the accelerator, he would not have had those choices to make. (note...Clarence sort of addresses this in the original movie when he tells George that all the men on the transport are dead...Harry wasn't there to save them since George wasn't there to save Harry.)

Nor, at the time he stepped into the Accelerator, would he have foreknowledge of what those choices would be (e.g. supposedly he would just be observing and NOT interacting with history). At that point, the only choice he had was whether to take a leap of faith and figure that even though it wasn't ready, everything would work out OR not to step into the accelerator and risk the funding cut, playing it safe due to the malfunctioning retrieval program.

I have chosen to do a variation on a theme. That theme, the movie It's a Wonderful Life itself, only had Christmas as the backdrop for the final issues that George Bailey faced. It could have been anytime of year when the events that threatened to overwhelm him took place. Because Christmas was chosen as the backdrop, we now associate the story as a Christmas one. However, Its a Wonderful Life has a message in it that transcends a single season. It is a measure of a man's life...the fact that what we do in our lives matters to ourselves (certainly) but also (and perhaps more importantly) in how our interactions with other people creates the tapastry of the lives we live. "Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends." The message that Sam takes with him is "Remember, Sam: no man is a failure who has a life he wants to return to."

I hope this explanation of my motivations and thoughts is helpful.
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I not only finally got a chance to read it but finally also had a chance to respond to it. :) Sorry it has taken me so long but as you know, my schedule is brutal right now.

I really enjoyed it. It was a great foray into what Sam's life could have been like. I loved the bit with Frasier and Niles at the beginning....so subtle...and in that limbo state of Al's Place---it could have been the Cafe Nervosa, who knows what intersections are possible? LOL (Yes, I'm a closet Frasier fan <g>)

I thought that the alternate way Sam's life could have turned out was genius, and as others have commented, I'm glad that Al was still a part of it. Your characterizations were terrific and your original character of Esther was great as well.

I couldn't help thinking as Esther talked with Sam about her name...and the correlation in the book of Esther as Mordecai tells Queen Esther that she may have been put in her place (a Jewish woman taken by the Persian king to be Queen) "for such a time as this"....and how that corresponds to Sam and his Project being seized. As the lyrics to a Wayne Watson song say, "For such a time as this, I was placed upon the Earth, to haer the Voice of God and do His will, whatever it is. For such a time as this, for now and all the days He gives, I am here, I am here, and I am His, for such a time as this." Assuming, as I at least do, that it is God in the GFTW Leaping Sam about, the idea that He was waiting for Sam's Project to bring Sam aboard as you posit in your story, I have to wonder if Esther's choice of name was intentional for the correlations above or have I just stumbled upon a happy coincidence?

On the whole, I say Well done! :hurray:
This was a great story, Helen! I also got the chance to read it during my brief free time in December and enjoyed it... as a fan of "Frasier", it was cool to see Frasier and Niles in the caf?, even though they weren't identified by name. :b Also, I'm assuming that the name Esther was supposed to represent the mother of the Crane boys, whose name was Hester. Very cool link. <G> I also like the level of detail about which one followed Jung or Freud.

Anyway, onto the QL part of the episode, seeing Sam's alternate future was pretty interesting, especially with Al still being in his life no matter what. What was it, his eighth wife he was on? hahaha...

I gave this episode a 4. Well done! Hope to see more stories from you in the future.

... Mike. ^_^
(post #38 )
Poor Sam, he just can't win either way can he. Reading this story made me feel grateful that I watched Mirror Image the other day for the first time. Before watching that episode I always thought the name "Al's place". Had to do with the Al used in the whole TV series.