Old 06-20-2022, 05:15 PM   #1
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Default Deborah Vs. Don's Writing

This is not to imply there was a competition (although I seem to remember a rumor that their divorce was going on and that is why Sam never reconnected with Donna and ended up having a lovechild), but I wanted to highlight my impressions of Don and Deborah's writing approaches.

It always appeared to me that Don was more interested in writing stories about people, and was less focused on technical aspects of the stories. It seemed to me that he was relying on those as just a vague backdrop. As he said himself, "Don't think about this too closely." I personally find that frustrating because I like the technical aspects to be more defined or make more sense.

In Deborah's cases, I had the strong sense that she was much more cerebral and interested in psychology ("Shock Theatre" to be exact) and making the technical aspects of the technology more precise. More or less, she appeared to be more interested in connecting dots.

The episodes that really give me this impression are the Evil Leaper episodes (Deborah) and "The Leap Back," and "Mirror Image" (Don). In regards to "The Leap Back," to me I feel like Don sacrificed making sense of what would have happened with the "simo-leap" for the sake of writing an entertaining episode. For example, why and how would a lightning bolt strike Al, who was never actually there; why would the Handlink travel with Al to the past instead of remaining in the Imaging Chamber with Sam; and why wouldn't Sam revert back to wearing his Fermi Suit, just as every leapee wore it? The answer, of course, is because he wanted the plot to unfold a specific way and the audience was never supposed to ask these questions.

I could also throw in "Lee Harvey Oswald" for good measure, where apparently Sam's mind was merged with Oswald's and they were trying to reconnect throughout the episode, which is the only time I believe this ever occurred. Interesting but just vague enough. The details of things like continuity of the present also seemed to not make much difference to Don (in "Shock Theatre" the present was in 1997, in "The Leap Back" the present was 9/18/1999, in "Lee Harvey Oswald" the present was 2/14/1999, and in "Star Light, Star Bright," the present was 5/1/1999).

In "Mirror Image," well...the episode speaks for itself and just ignores almost everything .

"Shock Theatre," on the other hand, got into specifics on how Al could bring in the image of anything with him in the Imaging Chamber via skin contact, however no sound would come in. (It is a contradiction how the patients could hear the Alphabet Rap beat, by the way, but not Dr. Beeks' voice.) I would have to guess there must have been collaboration with Don for the nonsensical lightning bolt leap-out at the end. I would chalk this up to a combination of a minor oversight and collaboration for the sake of the following premiere episode.

The Evil Leaper episodes seemed to have some specific details. For instance when Sam and Alia make physical contact, it creates a quantum disturbance which allows them to see themselves for who they are. Or in the 2-parter episodes where Zo explains she has a 48-hour window to get back home with a dropping percentage with every subsequent leap. And then some apparent omitted details like the leapers being from the year 2020.

What do you think? Any other glaring examples or am I way off?
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Old 06-22-2022, 12:45 PM   #2
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Has anyone ever answered the question of just what do the people in the waiting room remember when they leap back into their own existence? Sam sets many things "right" but what does the gangster remember when he gets back into his body? Does he still forgive the guy who took his girlfriend or does he want him to sleep with the fishes?
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Old 06-25-2022, 07:53 AM   #3
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Has anyone ever answered the question of just what do the people in the waiting room remember when they leap back into their own existence? Sam sets many things "right" but what does the gangster remember when he gets back into his body? Does he still forgive the guy who took his girlfriend or does he want him to sleep with the fishes?
I believe we will finally see some of this in the new series with the character of Herbert Williams.
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Old 06-25-2022, 11:07 AM   #4
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Good point... he was "inhabited" by Sam in the episode where Sam saved his brother but left Al in captivity for another five years. Should be interesting to see what Magic remembers.
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Old 06-25-2022, 05:50 PM   #5
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I have to admit i always enjoyed the episodes Don had written then Deborah's(Except the Lee Harvey Oswald's one).
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Old 06-27-2022, 11:55 PM   #6
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Has anyone ever answered the question of just what do the people in the waiting room remember when they leap back into their own existence? Sam sets many things "right" but what does the gangster remember when he gets back into his body? Does he still forgive the guy who took his girlfriend or does he want him to sleep with the fishes?
I kind of always felt this was indirectly answered with the Swiss-cheese effect. Or to be more exact, a reverse Swiss-cheese effect. In some cases it could be a matter of simple disorientation and becoming re-acclimated to the surroundings. To everyone besides the leapee, it would appear like a momentary bout of amnesia. Certainly wouldn't be any more awkward than when Sam arrives having no clue of his surroundings and all the weirdness that brings in and of itself.

To support this, we can see what happens to Sam himself in "The Leap Back," where he begins to get his memory back slowly. Then there is the mind-merging effect which is debatable as to whether it always existed or was a result of "Shock Theatre" and beyond, but that would be a 2-way street. Sam could remember being on a leap and vice versa, but the memories and experiences could transfer back possibly.

In "Double Identity" it appeared that the Swiss-cheese effect simply wiped out memories of the Waiting Room altogether. Now, as to what the leapees do in the Waiting Room can vary. For instance, Arnold from "Return" ("Evil Leaper I") was consoled by Al. The Project had a psychiatrist onsite to no doubt deal with any potential trauma. In "Killin' Time," Leon the leapee actually knocked out an onsite Marine and escaped altogether. Would those memories slowly become erased once he leaped back to 1958? I would say probably so. He was a psychopathic killer and so upon his return any lunacy would've been expected and dismissed anyway. GFTW wouldn't have Sam bouncing around in time just for his work to be undone by people's memory issues.

It really has to be the case that there is either amnesia or a reverse Swiss-cheese effect. How else would the new and improved timelines prosper if not? The new series will no doubt address this with "Magic," and so there could be Door #3: Sometimes the leapees remember everything?
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