Quantum Weep

Quantum WeepQuantum Leap Title

Quantum Leap - Tess
Tess and Dad­dy, at the meat market…

This is the plot to the Quan­tum Leap episode “How the Tess Was Won,” (a delight­ful pun on the phrase “How the Wess Was Won.”): Quan­tum (I’m assum­ing that’s his name. Mr. Quan­tum Leaper­son.) goes back in time to 1956 and finds him­self in the body of an ani­mal doc­tor on a dude ranch in rur­al Texas. On the ranch, a cow­girl (Tess) is hav­ing an argu­ment with her dad­dy, who owns the prop­er­ty. The father wants her to get mar­ried and set­tle down, but she won’t cot­ton to the idea. No siree! She says that she’ll only mar­ry some­one who’s a bet­ter cow­boy than she is, and since she’s the best cow­boy around, she won’t mar­ry any­body. They have a con­test. If some­one can beat her in cow­boy­ing (note: cow­boy is a verb), she’ll have to mar­ry him. She agrees, with the stip­u­la­tion that she gets to choose who she cow­boys against. She choos­es the ani­mal vet, know­ing that he’s an awful cow­boy. (Per­son­al note: I imme­di­ate­ly lost respect for her.  This is like Michael Jor­don, claim­ing to be the great­est bas­ket­ball play­er of all time, and prov­ing it by beat­ing a five-year old in a game of one-on-one.)


Quan­tum goes back to his house (with a pig), where some kid is on his stoop for no rea­son, play­ing a ter­ri­ble song on his gui­tar about farm ani­mals. Quan­tum goes into some inner mono­logue about how hard it is to go back in time, because he nev­er knows any­one’s name. So, when he and the kid speak, it goes like this:

Kid: I fixed your fence while you were out, doc.

Quan­tum: Thanks… you kid.

Obvi­ous­ly, I feel for Quan­tum. Hav­ing a one-on-one con­ver­sa­tion with some­one with­out using his or her name at the end of every sen­tence is very awk­ward, read­er of this review. How will that per­son know that he or she is the one being spo­ken to, read­er of this review?

Any­way, inside the house (specif­i­cal­ly, in the room where the vet seems to tor­ture rac­coons), Quan­tum meets up with his friend, Mr. Cig­ar, who plays around with his beep-boop machine and tells him that he was prob­a­bly sent back in time so the vet and Tess will mar­ry. And with that, Quan­tum goes back to the ranch and accepts Tess’s challenge.

So, they do cow­boy stuff. First, they do horse­back rid­ing. Quan­tum gets thrown off a buck­ing bron­co, and every­body laughs at him. Sure­ly, he knows that nobody but Tess can ride on Wid­ow­mak­er! Quan­tum could have point­ed out that if Tess was the only per­son who can ride the orner­i­est horse, then she is auto­mat­i­cal­ly the bet­ter rid­er and they don’t need to have a con­test, but he keeps his mouth shut. Then, they do a cat­tle-rop­ing con­test. Tess ropes her cow with no prob­lem, and Quan­tum asks some douchy-look­ing ranch­er for advice. The ranch­er tells him to rope a cow in a way that will get Quantum’s thumb ripped off (he leaves the last part out). Quan­tum ropes his cow and imme­di­ate­ly clutch­es his hand and howls in hor­ri­ble pain. Every­one rush­es to him, and he reveals that he was only kid­ding around. Even though fak­ing injuries is always hilar­i­ous, some­how, he los­es this con­test too.

The next round of the cow­boy con­test is play­ing pok­er, obvi­ous­ly. Mr. Cig­ar shows up (note: Mr. Cig­ar is a ghost or some­thing, ‘cuz Quan­tum is the only per­son that can see him) and assures Quan­tum that the douchy-look­ing ranch­er is cheat­ing. Quan­tum calls the Douchy on it. He says, “I know that you’re cheat­ing, because I know your cards are aces and eights!” Some­how, every­one at the table thinks that this is great proof that Douchy is cheat­ing. (Per­son­al­ly, if some­one knew some­one else’s cards before the hands were shown, I’d accuse that per­son of cheat­ing, but what­ev­er… ). The only prob­lem is, Douchy’s hands weren’t aces an eights! They were… oth­er cards! So, Quan­tum looks like a fool. Every­one else leaves the table, allow­ing Quan­tum and Mr. Cig­ar to look at Tess’s cards too. She had the aces and eights, and Douchy, who was deal­ing the cards, was cheat­ing for her. At this point, it’s unclear as to whether Douchy is in love with Tess, or, if like most of us, he just real­ly loves cockblocking …

Quantum and Piggy
Pray all you want, but God’s obvi­ous­ly not listening…

The most impor­tant part of the con­test is next – dig­ging holes! Now, as we all know, men are sim­ply bet­ter at dig­ging holes than women. It’s sim­ply a fact of nature. Women are bet­ter at giv­ing birth, doing dish­es and eat­ing frozen yogurt, and men are bet­ter at dig­ging holes. Peri­od. But Tess, being a tomboy, refus­es to accept defeat. Quan­tum offers her some water, but she refus­es. “T’ain’t thirsty!” she says, before she col­laps­es from heat exhaus­tion, caused by dig­ging inad­e­quate holes (I hon­est­ly have no idea how this con­test was judged). Quan­tum car­ries her to his home, again run­ning into the gui­tar-play­ing kid.

What’s wrong with her?” he asks.

She’s suf­fer­ing from heat exhaus­tion… you fel­low, you.”

Quan­tum pro­ceeds to rip off Tess’s clothes. This part was pret­ty cool…

When Tess comes to and sees that Quan­tum undressed her, she gets all fussy, but Quan­tum is all like, “it’s okay, I’m a vet!” and things calm down.

Tess tells Quan­tum that the only way she’ll even think about mar­ry­ing him now is if he suc­cess­ful­ly rides Wid­ow­mak­er. The next day, Quan­tum shows up to the ranch with a plan! Quan­tum will ride the horse, while Mr. Cig­ar tells him what to do. I’m not exact­ly sure how this will work (Mr. Cig­ar: “Stay on the horse! Don’t fall off!”), but it doesn’t mat­ter, because as soon as Quan­tum gets on the horse, Mr. Cig­ar gets a phone call and leaves. Quan­tum is on his own! Wid­ow­mak­er starts buck­ing around like crazy, but this time Quan­tum stays on. How does he do it? He does it by try­ing it a sec­ond time! It’s a good les­son. Stink at foot­ball? Try it a sec­ond time and you’ll be a pro! Awful at singing? Try it a sec­ond time and you’ll put Aretha Franklin to shame!

So, any­way, Quan­tum and Tess talk about whether or not to get mar­ried, when Douchy shows up. He con­fess­es that he loves Tess too. (Well, to be fair, Quan­tum nev­er con­fessed that he loved her. He wants to get mar­ried because that will mag­i­cal­ly send him away from there. I real­ly like this con­cept. Quan­tum does all this stuff to get the vet and Tess mar­ried, and then leaves the vet’s body. Sud­den­ly, the vet is mar­ried to some­one and has no idea how it hap­pened, and we, as audi­ence mem­bers, have no idea if he cares for her at all, or even knows who she is.) Tess doesn’t know what to do. Then she does. She decides to have a dance con­test! She slow dances with Quan­tum and slow dances with Douchy. Even though Quan­tum was a bet­ter slow dance shuf­fler, she decides to mar­ry Douchy, mak­ing the dance con­test total­ly unnec­es­sary (which, in a way, offers a nice glimpse to the theme of the episode).

So, the day of the wed­ding arrives, and Quan­tum is talk­ing to Mr. Cig­ar, as they get ready to go to the cer­e­mo­ny. Quan­tum asks Mr. Cig­ar why he hasn’t left this body yet. Mr. Cig­ar tells him that it’s because he hasn’t done what­ev­er he was sent out to do. Quan­tum doesn’t under­stand. Aren’t Tess and Douchy get­ting mar­ried? Isn’t that what he was sent back for? (I like this a lot too. Quan­tum spent the entire episode try­ing to get Tess to mar­ry the ani­mal doc­tor, but he failed. Then he’s all like, “I don’t under­stand! I failed at what I sent out to do. Where is my reward?”)

Buddy Fucking Holly...
Pig­gy swee/Piggy swee/I love ani­mal husbandry

Quan­tum sud­den­ly remem­bers to bring the pig back to the ranch, but the pig escapes. Quan­tum starts call­ing for the pig. “Here, pig­gy! Pig­gy! Swee! Pig­gy Swee!” The boy whose name he doesn’t know starts play­ing gui­tar, and singing. “Pig­gy swee/Piggy swee/pretty, pret­ty, pret­ty, pret­ty pig­gy swee…” Quan­tum and Mr. Cig­ar look at each oth­er. They know who the kid is. Bud­dy Fuck­ing Hol­ly! Quan­tum tells Bud­dy, “Hey, try ‘Peg­gy Sue’ instead.” Bud­dy does, and sud­den­ly Quan­tum mag­i­cal­ly leaves the body, his mis­sion com­plete. Mean­ing that absolute­ly every­thing he did in the episode, was 100% point­less, from rid­ing Wid­ow­mak­er to… rid­ing Wid­ow­mak­er again. His mis­sion was to tell Bud­dy Hol­ly to quit being such a fuck­ing moron and stop writ­ing songs about lov­ing farm animals!

Need­less to say, I loved this show…


2 thoughts on “Quantum Weep

  1. howd they get a young bud­dy hol­ly if this show was real­ly filmed in the late 80s or ear­ly 90s?


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