February 06, 2024


Quantum Leap | Interview - Shakina ("The Family Treasure")

Quantum Leap | Interview - Shakina ("The Family Treasure")
Fate's Wide Wheel: A Quantum Leap Podcast
Quantum Leap | Interview - Shakina ("The Family Treasure")

Feb 06 2024 | 01:29:45


Show Notes

In this episode, Sam welcomes writer/producer/director/actor Shakina back to the show to discuss "The Family Treasure" (210).

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The challenges of writing and producing post-strike

The importance of collaboration and working together in the writer's room

The significance of reclaiming trans history and representation

The power of empowering moments and interweaving reactions in storytelling

Oppression takes different forms, and it is important to recognize and support each other's struggles for liberation.

Humor and lightheartedness can provide a balance to the more serious themes in storytelling.

Non-verbal acting can be a powerful tool for conveying emotions and character development.

Breakups can be complex and nuanced, and it is important to avoid villainizing characters in these situations.

The introduction of new characters and plot elements can add depth and intrigue to the overall story.


00:00 Introduction and Season Two Journey

03:00 The Challenges of Writing and Producing Post-Strike

06:00 The Role of a Producer in the Writer's Room

09:00 Creating the Treasure Hunt Storyline

12:00 The Clues and Inheritance in the Story

14:00 The Importance of Family and Working Together

15:00 Exploring the Characters of Sarah and Nadia

19:00 The Naming of the Character Dean

20:00 Handling Dead Naming and Communication

23:00 Reclaiming Trans History in the 1950s Setting

27:00 The Impact of the Coming Out Scene

29:00 Interweaving Reactions and Empowering Characters

34:00 The Journey of Sarah's Character

37:35 Unseen Oppressors and Divisive Narratives

41:38 The Liberation of Sarah and Dean

44:24 Humor and Lightheartedness

47:31 Addison's Journey and Non-Verbal Acting

50:57 Tom's Reaction and Breaking Relationship Tropes

57:49 The Letter and Unfinished Business

01:04:07 The Introduction of Gideon

01:09:15 Maintaining the Overall Shape of the Season

01:12:38 Shadowing the Finale and Non-Spoiler Thoughts

01:13:56 Reviving Quantum Leap with a New Format

01:14:52 Earning the New Format in Season Two

01:15:16 Satisfying Threads in the Season Finale

01:16:21 Excitement for Season Three and Audience Engagement

01:17:46 Remembering Matt Dale and His Impact

01:18:53 The Heart of the Show and Torchbearers

01:19:54 Inspiration and Making the World a Better Place

01:21:58 Recognition and Representation in the Industry

01:23:45 The Impact of Trace Lisette's Work

01:25:22 Finding Satisfaction in Changing the World

01:27:19 Inspiration and Becoming the Person You Dream of Being

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:02] Speaker A: Hello, fellow travelers, and welcome to Fates Wide Wheel. I'm your host, Sam Feyne, and I am so excited to talk about the family treasure with Shakina, the writer of the episode producer on Quantum Leap. Shakina, thank you so much for being here. [00:00:16] Speaker B: I'm so happy to be with you, Sam. [00:00:18] Speaker A: Yay. So this episode is one that I'm excited to talk about for many seasons. The adventure, sort of pulpy adventure aspect of it, obviously, the character of Dean and the importance of their moment, in particular in the episode. But before we actually get to the episode proper, I would just love to take a moment and sort of hear about your feelings on season two as a whole, especially after coming back from the layoff with the strike and getting started. And now this is the second episode produced post strike. So what has that whole journey been like for you? Shooting all of these episodes immediately after season one before the strike and now coming back again? [00:01:04] Speaker B: Well, yeah, starting there, it was wild to not get a break between seasons one and two. We had two weeks off for Christmas and the holidays, and then that was it. It was really like, I just finished last week. We just wrapped the season finale. So I have been working basically nonstop on Quantum Leap, aside from the strike, for a year and three quarters, I guess. I don't know, a long time. But the strike was brutal. I mean, it was really hard to be without our community, without our work and without our connection. So I think everyone was really excited to be back. I was a little intimidated because my episode that I had brought to outline for originally what was going to be episode 209, got tossed when we came back from the strike. So I had literally no time to come up with this episode. They moved me to 210, but I literally had a week in the room and a week to write, basically. And then we had to have a script in order to get the episode shot in time. We were on a really compressed timeline, so it was a really different experience from let them play last year when I also got my episode pushed from 111 to 112. But that was because the studio and network and the showrunners wanted to be so sensitive with the material. We knew we were telling a trans story and it was like our first time out the gate with it. So we ended up taking a lot of time to really massage that story and get clearances on the things we were saying and doing and how and why and getting support from GLAAD. And this time we were like, we have two weeks. We want it to be a treasure hunt, and there's got to be a non binary character. Go. And I was like, yes, crack. Let's get into it. So it was really, I just got to say, big ups to Dean for guiding me through so much of it and doing major rewrites with me on it in the short timeline that we had, and Adrita, who was also producing with me on set and helping me refine as we were going, and Jude Wang, who directed and the cast. There were so many collaborative components to getting this script ready and shot. So I was kind of like. It was one of those writing experiences where the writing is more like shepherding all the good ideas, not just like me alone as my typewriter. Like making something, it was like, okay, everyone's putting in input, and I have to sift and sort and make it happen. And I'm so proud of what we came up with. [00:03:30] Speaker A: Yeah, I love that. The collaboration is one of my favorite things, so hearing about that process is always exciting. I had heard also that in the writers room and just kind of as your duties as a producer, that you've had more of a role as kind of like helping to bring everything together in general, even on episodes that you're not necessarily writing. Can you talk a little bit about your role in that and how that's worked? [00:03:56] Speaker B: Well, yeah, I think probably every writer's room is different depending on how the showrunners like to work with things. And I know in our show there's a lot of shared labor when it comes to breaking story, which I think is so great. So Martin and Dean have been really awesome with the best idea. We'll win, and wherever it comes, we'll come forward, I think from my personal place in the room and in the storytelling. I think on one hand, I think people really lean on me for understanding in and like, a window into a trans point of view that one of our series regulars has in this particular episode and in let them play because of the trans specific themes. I was also given more free rein to weigh in. But what I love about tv writing and producing is that it's all writing. Like, the props are writing, the set pieces are writing, the art direction is writing, the costumes are writing. If it's not in the script, then the designers are coming to you asking for clarification, and then you're working with them to make it true for the script. So it's so much more than like, just putting words on a page. It's actually being able to communicate with every other creative decision maker on set and in the production office about what's needed to bring it to life, and that's so much fun. [00:05:29] Speaker A: Yeah, absolutely. So here's a question. What do you think makes you a good communicator? [00:05:37] Speaker B: Well, I mean, my training, I think I was trained in community organizing and also trained as a director in the theater. So I'm really good at working with lots of different personalities. And also, I think there's nothing more subversive than an artful command of language. So when you need to know how to shift a dynamic, it's really good to be able to meet people where they're at and get people on the same page and rally the troops, so to speak. And that's what so much of this work is. So I don't know if you've heard things about me specifically in the working room, but I definitely am really trying to keep things aspirational. I like working in a good environment. [00:06:32] Speaker A: Well, honestly, even following you on social media and seeing the way that you do try to communicate on everyone's level, even people, that sometimes I think it would be easy to just kind of say, you don't deserve to get that. But it seems like that you are open to being able to communicate. And I think that that's incredibly important for any artist and certainly for anyone who's, like you said, a community organizer and that sort of thing. [00:06:58] Speaker B: Thanks. [00:06:58] Speaker A: Yeah, I don't know. I felt like it might be a fun question to ask and get your take on. And I think that what you said, too, about being a director in theater, it is so incredibly important because you have to be able to unify everything. Otherwise you've got a show where something looks out of place and it can just bring everything down. Just that one thing. [00:07:19] Speaker B: Yeah. Well, there's the aesthetic. Right? And how to achieve the aesthetic. And then there is the community. And how to achieve the community. And because it's a collaborative art form, there needs to be a sense of shared investment in the storytelling. And what I've come to learn from my work in theater and film and television is like, even when the money's great, and the money is not often great, but even when it is, the work is still really hard. And if it's not, like, the only way to will oneself to do this kind of creative work is because there's a love to the making of it, and everyone puts a little bit of themselves in it, literally, from the grips and the dolly operators to the designers to the star actors, everyone is pouring a little bit of their own blood, sweat, and tears into this thing. And so the ways we feel valued matter. And so much of, I think, being a good director or a good producer or a good communicator, whatever, is making sure that not only are people aligned on what we have to achieve in the creative vision, but also that everyone feels valued. And so if there are situations that come up when personalities clash or needs converge or whatever, the real skill set and the conflict management around that is how to get people back on board in a way where everyone still feels like their input matters and is appreciated and appreciation is free. You know what I'm saying? That part is easy. [00:09:01] Speaker A: Absolutely. Yeah. It's funny, I'm understudying a show right now, and I think that that is one of the things that our director has done so successfully in my position. Sometimes it's an unenviable one to be in, quite frankly, and you don't necessarily get that appreciation or that input. But she's done a remarkable job of making me feel included and making me feel like my voice matters, too, when we're doing table work and that sort of stuff. And so it's like, to have that seat at the table is incredibly important and to feel appreciated, like you said, it's a free thing to do. And sometimes people have a really hard time giving it, though, so to speak, a little bit more specifically to the family treasure, knowing that you had a treasure hunt that that was going to be a part of the episode, did you have any influences at all or anything that you drew from that inspired the story? [00:09:49] Speaker B: Yeah. So Dean and Martin pitched me on romancing the stone. They came to me, they said, we want something that's like romancing the stone. We have Mexico town. We can shoot it right on the lot. And ideally, that we'd have, like, a non binary character in it. And I loved romancing the stone. When I was a kid, I watched it a bunch with my family. It was like a classic vhs rental, but my mind went right away to Indiana Jones. Actually, the original title for this episode was. And so I went right there. And also goonies, because I wanted to capture that teen adolescent vibe and then a little bit of adventures in babysitting and honestly finding Ohana, which is so great because Jude Wang ended up directing the episode. And that's like, Jude Wang directed that. I. So I knew that I had, deep in my blood, the reference points for what makes an iconic adolescent aspirational treasure hunt. I was like, cool. I've seen those movies enough, and I love them, and I've lived them, know everything to Nick. And there's just a way that these stories need momentum and clue finding and misdirects and character clashes and all those things. So that was my reference point. And then the first thing that came to me were the clues. Actually, I kind of came up with the. Before I even knew what the story was, I started thinking about the path. Well concealed snakes underground had the shamrock key, a turn for every season of Guadalupe's flower. And I started coming up with this. I don't know why it was St. Patrick, even the cursed treasure of San Patricio, but just this crazy mythology that I wanted to feel so Indiana Jonesy and have these really historically accurate but also totally fantastic reference points. All that came to me first, and I came back to the writer's room after getting the sort of mandate from on high, and I was like, cool. I don't know the story, but here are the clues. And I gave everyone the clues and was like, let's figure out what the story is. [00:12:02] Speaker A: That's awesome. I love it. I think so much of that comes through, and I was definitely thinking of after watching it, the Goonies vibe was certainly one that I picked up on, too, because obviously all the other stuff that you mentioned fits so perfectly, but there was something about it that spoke to me in that same way, I think. And the clues certainly had a lot to do with that as well. Speaking of which, I love the clues so much. I love that they're kind of these bad dad puns in a lot of ways, which works perfectly. I think Shamrock might be my favorite one. Can you talk a little bit about the idea to have those clues hidden in the inheritance that was given to the children? Because I just really loved that aspect of it and the fact that it does kind of come out accidentally. Right. That had bottled up and broken, maybe we wouldn't even know that those clues were there. [00:12:53] Speaker B: Right. I mean, I think the way I imagine the story is that dad knew that dad was going to give this treasure to his kids, but he had to make sure they would use it right? Share it. Right. It was almost like this whole quest is a values test first about working together and making it through this hard journey. And if they could do that, then they would be qualified to receive this inheritance and be trusted to manage it well. And that's sort of like the fantasy that I imagine is like part of the backstory to it. And I love that because it's like we go through these hoops and hurdles in life to sort of prove our worthiness when sometimes it's already there for you? [00:13:45] Speaker A: Yeah, I love that, too. And I think that not to jump around too much, but one of the things that I did love so much is that they go through all of this and then they find the treasure chest and they open it up and it's empty. Well, except for the next clue, really. And that it was about them finding things within themselves and together as opposed to getting rich at the end of the rainbow. And I did enjoy that a lot because I think that we do get so wrapped up, especially in this society, in just kind of, like, grabbing that brass ring and jumping through whatever hoops that we have to to get to that. And so little time is spent on recognizing that all of the work that we do along the way helps to inform who we are and also the people that we choose to call our family. And so I enjoyed that aspect of it a great deal because I think that it didn't make the family aspect of it just feel sort of, like, cliched or saccharine or anything. It was something that you had to work for. And I think that's something that we lose sight of sometimes, is like, family is something that you do have to work for. It's not just something you can take for granted. [00:14:56] Speaker B: Absolutely. Yeah. And it's what you make of. It's like, what you put in is what you get out when it comes to. [00:15:04] Speaker A: Yeah. Yes. Speaking of which, we have three very distinct personalities, and obviously, we don't necessarily get to know Nadia too well, know Ben is there instead. But I do love that we get a lot of information about Nadia through Sarah and Dean as well, which is because it's know, even if the character's not on stage, what people say about that know brings them to kind of when forming this, I had heard that initially there was actually a fourth sister. Is that true? [00:15:37] Speaker B: Yeah. So originally, I wanted to tell a story of these four sisters. It was really a three sister story. And Ben was sort of like witness and guide to these three other characters that we had created. And then in the sort of last minute change, like, really down to the wire night before we started shooting, we had to adjust to make it a two character. But I think it was actually the way it was supposed to be all along. Once we made the edit to the script the night before shooting, it was like, oh, this is great. It works so well. It's so fast, it's so clean. And I loved the sort of ensemble of sisterhood that we had created when we had Ben and two other sisters and a non binary sibling. It really felt know a whole cohort. But when we lost a sibling and we condensed the story, it just allowed us to get deeper and closer to both Dean and Sarah. And Holly and Wilder are like incredible actors and it just was so delicious to get to see them bring the material to life. So it all kind of worked out, but it was definitely like, oh, and honestly, I will say, I mean, I feel really badly for the actor who we had cast to then was no longer able to come in and do the role. But in that last minute, oh, we have 8 hours till we start shooting and we have to completely write the script and cut a character. I was like, I love this shit that is tv making to me. That is what it is. [00:17:08] Speaker A: Were there any other changes that happened along the way? Were you doing any rewrites while the episode was shooting? [00:17:15] Speaker B: Oh, sure, yeah. I mean, so much of the language around Dean's name and identity, we were doing live on set and being like, okay, is this a dead naming moment? Should we name this character correctly? Like what plays, right? Should we shoot it two ways so we can figure out in the edit the whole coming out scene that morning, we had just published the most recent version of it. I was still racking my brain to make sure it was right. And then I sat with Wilder and with Holly and Adrita Mukherjee, who was Ep with me for the episode, producing alongside me. And we walked through it, talked through it line by line and made adjustments to the text then and there right before going to shoot it. So that scene was very much alive until it was captured. Also, I think we were never fully satisfied with the Addison and Tom breakup scene or like wedding postponement scene, if you call. It was one of those ones where it was constantly being rewritten until the morning of because it was so delicate. And actually, Martin was the one who came up with know line. I don't know offhand right now, but you spent so much time in the past that I began to worry about the future. And it was such an iconic quantum leap, so. But that's always how it is. Tv writing is just never done. I mean, maybe it is, but not on the shows that I've worked on. On the shows that I've worked on, you do your best with the script and then you have your sides that morning and then you get there and you're live and things. [00:18:52] Speaker A: Right. I know that one of the things that Dean had mentioned with nomads is that it is kind of heartbreaking for him to not be able to do that for that episode, which I think the episode is great, but I can only imagine to do that work and be prepared to continue that work and then have to stop. I obviously want to talk a lot about Dean, and I think that the character Dean, how intentional was that? By the way, naming the character Dean. [00:19:34] Speaker B: Actually, it changed when we cast Wilder, and we realized that we wanted to have a family that was representative of Wilder's identity. And so Wilder is middle eastern north african Mina. And so we just knew that we were going to have to cast the Sarah and then the Nadia double as also Mina actors. And then we looked for names that would work kind of like an easy gender change name that was still a common Mina name. And so Dina and Dean, they're both like, mina names. And so we were like, oh, this works great. Yeah, it was originally written as Gina and Jean. [00:20:20] Speaker A: Okay. [00:20:21] Speaker B: But then Dean is so cool. It's like James Dean. It's like perfect. And then Dean felt like our showrunner Dean was like, oh, that's kind of cool. [00:20:30] Speaker A: Well, yeah, it definitely plays into that moment, too, when Ben is like, you look badass after he hands leather jacket. I think one of the things that you brought up, too, about the dead naming is that obviously Sarah has a hard time calling Dean by their name. And I know that that is, for me, it's easy, right? Sam is Sam. So I've never had to experience that over the past year and a half or so. And I'm curious as to how you do approach that in a sensitive manner because it can be a very difficult thing and it's not something that you want to just do without a lot of thought. [00:21:07] Speaker B: Yeah. One of the things I wanted to show in this family story was that family fuck up. You know what I mean? We try to get it right, and we don't get it right. I dead name myself sometimes, you know what I mean? So I just wanted to show how it can be both hurtful and not malicious and it can be unintentional, and it can be something that someone's working on and still misfiring, and that we can be gracious with each other and that there's a journey to go on with any time a family member introduces a new name. I want our audience members to be like, cool. I'm going to try really hard to get that name right. And I want someone else in my position to be like, if they mess up my name, I'm going to really try and understand that they're trying just building that bridge a little closer because these things, like, I'm not interested in divisive talking points. I'm interested in helping people get along and preserving family relationships and kinship and community and friendship. There's several things in this episode with the coming out and the naming and the binding, and that I want to empower individuals and families to have more comfortable conversations around these things by kind of seeing them in a disarming way. And so that's what I tried to do with even the dead naming was just like, it happens. It doesn't have to be mean, it doesn't have to be hurtful. It can still be triggering, it can even be traumatic, but it can be worked through from both sides. And so I wanted to show that. [00:22:51] Speaker A: I think you did incredibly. You know, it's interesting because Sarah obviously has no comprehension whatsoever. I think she spends half of the episode just know once she becomes informed and once that bridge is built, it is really wonderful to see her call them Dean. And I think that, again, for me, one of the things that was also so powerful is the fact that this is a story that takes place over 70 years ago. That's right. I think it is incredibly empowering to non binary and trans people, youth perhaps, in particular, quite frankly, to see a story that takes place so long ago and be able to really own that statement that we've always been here. [00:23:45] Speaker B: We've always been here. [00:23:47] Speaker A: Can you talk a little bit about that? And specifically with the episode and setting it in the. [00:23:52] Speaker B: Sometimes it's like, because I came out in the late ninety s, so I've been at it for a minute and I still consider myself pretty young, but I came out real young, but I've been at it for a minute and I came up knowing my queer history, learning my queer history, but having to do that through sifting and sorting through scraps of things that you could find in old bookstores and even before the Internet and nonsense nowadays, I think because there's so much more conversation around trans identity and there's so many more trans people coming out because it's safer to do so when we have the language and we have the visibility and we have the platform and the protection. A lot of people think that we are a new phenomenon when in fact we've been here the whole time. We've just had to go underground and be in the margins and survive on the sidelines. And so part of claiming our space in the present is reclaiming our history and the traces that we left in the past. That's how we get to know ourselves. And I think anyone who might be from a diasporic community might understand the importance of tracing that legacy back. So for trans people and queer people in general, I think it's so important to kind of go back to the archive of history and pull out these examples of who we were. And there's so many records of gender nonconforming people in the were out and living their lives and existing in society and, yeah, breaking laws because you couldn't wear more than three articles of clothing of the opposite gender, and it was illegal to be gay, and you couldn't buy alcohol and all these things. But we were organizing ourselves in societies, in clubs and social networks and relationships, and having wonderful, erotic, and thrilling sex lives and challenging heteronormative patriarchy. And we've been doing that for a really long time, really for hundreds and thousands of years, quite frankly. But this particular sort of James Dean 50s bad boy, the closest sort of archetype that I could think of is the character of anybody's from west side Story or the character of Jess. No, that's not their name. But shoot. There's a book by Les Feinberg called Stone Butch Blues that has, like an iconic sort of like Butch dyke that might now, who knows what they would identify as now? But we don't get a lot of role models, so we got to make some new ones. And I wanted to give that gift of seeing ourselves in the past so we could recognize ourselves in the present. [00:26:47] Speaker A: I love that. I love so much about the way that you articulated. And just for me personally, I've genuinely learned from you, and I appreciate that. I really do. [00:26:58] Speaker B: For sure. [00:27:01] Speaker A: Again, just for me personally, over the past year and a half, getting to learn so much about the history has been such a privilege, and the access is there in a way that it has never been before. I've listened to podcasts. I watch documentaries on streaming. I check out ebooks from the library. It's just so much easier, which I think makes it all the more frustrating and maddening that people choose almost to remain ignorant. [00:27:29] Speaker B: Yeah, but you have to meet people where they're at. And this is one of the things that I learned and why I think this episode is so important, because this is quantum leap. This is, like NBC currently at 10:00 p.m. But whatever, it's NBC Peacock. It's, like, watched by millions of people a week in middle America. And I got to say, I feel like I kind of dupe them with this episode. It's kind of a sneak attack, you know what I mean? And I love that I feel like that's kind of my secret power. But, yeah. Yes, there's all this information. Yes, there's all this literature and resources and stuff, and still there are people in the dark, some willfully and ignorantly, and some who are really trapped and seeking connection. And I hope that this episode pierces the darkness for some people who might not know how to tell their family how they're feeling about their body or their identity, or maybe someone who's not understood, someone trans in their life sees this episode and feels more open to receiving that person in their life as they want to be received. For me, as a trans creator, I have to take every opportunity I am afforded to try and, like, I talk about it as my care Bear stare. I just got to blast it out and hope that it helps every time. [00:28:49] Speaker A: Yeah, I hope so, too. And I think you're absolutely right. I mean, with an episode like this, it's national network television, prime time, and the opportunity for people to see this and to see this scene specifically, I'm grateful that it can exist. One of the things that I love about the scene, and this is kind of a broad question because it goes even beyond the writing, the acting, but just the art of making something like this, I love so much that it's intercut with footage from the project, from HQ, with Ian and Jen's reactions to what's mean. Mason is beyond superb in the. And. And I also love so know what you've given Ben and the way that he's able to almost kind of coach them in a way and kind of say, you know, here's some information. Maybe this will help. And I just loved that so much. And you can kind of see the exhilaration, like Wilder does such a wonderful job of just. Yeah, it's like the light bulb moment. Can you talk a little bit about the creation of the scene and specifically, too, about kind of intercutting, know, back to HQ and getting those. [00:30:12] Speaker B: Yeah, I mean, there's so many dynamics happening at once, and you caught up on all of them. But this idea first that Dean is receiving the gift of language to name themselves, and that is so huge because that's what so many of us lack. And I remember the first time I heard the word trans and what it meant transgender. I was like, 18, and I was like, that is who I am. That's me. So with this non binary, and they then pronounce this new option being delivered to this one person. But really, socially and culturally, what we're all sort of experiencing is just so wonderful to see happening. And then the fact that it's Ben getting to do it as an accomplice, which he learned how to do and be last season and let them play. He learned what accomplished it was, and now he's doing it. We don't need to call Ian in. We don't need Ian to jump into the chamber and solve the trans cris. It's because we have now coached the cis het man here to do the empowerment for this trans person to be there and reflect back their worthiness and offer them the tool of a name. And then for Ian to be sort of, like, freed from that emotional labor allows them to feel both the joy and hope that is seeing this young person have this experience that maybe they didn't have or they'd want everyone to have. And also, there's like, a bittersweet, there's a tenderness, and even, I'll say, a kind of grief in knowing that it didn't work out that way most of the time back then, and that it's still not working out the way we want it to a lot of the time today. And so I think Mason was keenly aware of what my objective here was in terms of reclaiming our stories and our history, and also the need for all of the non binary people who look to them as a leader and a pioneer. It's this complete we see you moment, and we don't get a lot of those. We just don't. Not on network tv, not anywhere, ever. So I think that's, like, all of the dynamics that I was trying to weave together in that scene. [00:32:47] Speaker A: It was incredibly moving to me both times that I watched it, and it was something that I was very grateful for. And I think that having the vocabulary and having the language is something that is so important. And regardless of whether or not there's new words or there's old words made new, or whatever the case may be, sometimes you really do need someone to give that to you before you're able to recognize it. And I know I did. So, yeah, seeing that in action, it was. It was just incredibly touching. And I. And I love the way that the actors handled it. Mean, Ray's phenomenal anyway. I mean, I feel like you give him the phone book and it would be phenomenal. But in this instance in particular, there's just something so beautiful, mean, calling Ian his best friend, the whole finishing school joke that plays over the course of the whole episode. But I love bringing it in here. I love Mason's reaction, because they're loving it, too, which is awesome. But again, something that Wilder does so wonderfully is that they are, again, that exhilaration, that euphoria over kind know, feeling that I thought that they played that so well. Can you talk a little bit about, was there any kind of rehearsal period that you were able to have or any kind know, equivalent of table work or anything? Or was it basically just, we got to go get on. Let's shoot. [00:34:17] Speaker B: You know, I had a lot of conversations with Wilder every day on set before we shot, especially with the scene phone calls about what the character Dean is going through. One thing that we were really so lined up on is that we did not want this to be. I mean, I did not write this to be a trauma know, it is a hero's journey, and it is a adventure story. And what Wilder did instinctively as an actor when they came in with this role is they just brought their unbridled trans joy, like, from the jump. This kid Dean is, like, hip to go on a treasure hunt in their dad's name. And I just think that that's so dope. And to sort of meet this character from the get go as someone who's, like, adventure seeking in their body, like, activated, taking up space, it's so different from the stories that we've seen. Where the trans person is hiding or in secret about who they are and ashamed and they're coming out is a painful confession. And it's like, no, none of that. This character is living their life and their truth to the fullest. And their decision to let their siblings in on what's going on with them and their body, like, while, yeah, it sort of happenstance because of where they're at and the ripped shirt and all that. It is this proclamation of, like, this is who I am. And if you want to come on the journey with me, then let's go. And I just love that. And I want trans people who are on the verge of coming out to feel that kind of power when they invite people in to experience them as their true it. [00:36:20] Speaker A: I love it. So the character of Sarah, I want to talk about her a little bit because she obviously has this journey as well. And I think one of the things that I end up loving about her so much is the sense of humor, because early on, she seems completely devoid of that. She certainly grows into that. And as she's accepting Dean, she has her own moment of, this is who I want to be. And I think it's powerful as well. Talk a little bit about the creation of that character, especially, again, in 1953 and her circumstances and how she has to find a way out, perhaps. [00:37:07] Speaker B: Exactly. Well, nothing aggravates a person more. There is nothing more frustrated than feeling trapped and seeing someone be free. You know what I mean? That's a loaded statement. But in the context of this episode and these dynamics in terms of the patriarchy, what I'm talking about is, like, sometimes when we can't battle our oppressors, we target other folks who are dealing with oppression differently. You know what I mean? And so I think there's this know, maybe nemesis or at least antagonist in Douglas, the husband that we never meet, where we learn a couple times that there is dynamics that are not cool at home, whether or not that's abusive or just unkind or unloving or who knows what. It's not a good home for know and her kids, and she knows that, and she feels trapped there. And I think then seeing Dean's sort of like, what she interprets as wild and fancy free, know only reinforcing how confined and trapped she is. And then she builds up all this resentment toward her sibling because of that, when in, like, she's really struggling with her own liberation, and Dean's liberation becomes a mirror for her own liberation. And I think that's ultimately an allegory I wanted to set up because I feel that tension with my cisgender sisters in terms of feminism, in terms of the movement. And I see so many cis women who feel like trans people or non binary people are potentially stealing women away from feminism or doing something to enforce patriarchal stereotypes on top of liberation, and they create a sort of divisive narrative where trans liberation does not equal feminism. And I'm trying to say, no, my liberation is implicitly and explicitly intertwined with your liberation. And this is true for trans feminine, trans masculine, and nonbinary people and cis women of all types and persuasions, because ultimately, every non heteronormative cis experience is targeted by patriarchy. You know what I mean? Ultimately, I know I'm speaking in broad terms, but what I would try to do was distill it into these very human experiences of a woman trying to get out of an unhappy marriage in a time when that was nearly impossible. And then this young, trans masculine, binary person trying to fully express themselves in a time when that was nearly impossible. And, in fact, both of those struggles are still happening 70 years later, and we lose the battle when we divide ourselves and think of these things as separate struggles. And so that's what I wanted to kind of get at with putting these two stories up next to each other. [00:40:50] Speaker A: Yeah, I'm so glad that we got to go a little deeper into it, because I think as I was watching it and seeing the liberation of these characters, you can't help but think, too. And obviously, it's part of the conceit of the show that we do have characters that are in very interesting situations. Even Ben. Right. Ben is inhabiting this woman's space and interacting with these sisters in her place, basically. And we see the interactions with the patriarchy firsthand, right through Ricardo and through Mr. Wells, the there and Douglas, obviously, the named but not seen character. And I think that the way that those forces kind of know Sarah specifically in and really dictate, she allows it to dictate the place that she's able to occupy and the space that she's able to occupy as opposed to being able to feel that liberation. And really. [00:41:50] Speaker B: Well, I don't think she has the idea that she could even push back until she sees Dean pushing back. It's the same gift of naming, in a way. And I think that's what we need sometimes you have to see it to know it's possible. And so any person can be struggling for whatever it is they need to liberate from or toward. And when we see other people sort of casting off the weight of their own oppression, however that is for them, however they shake that off and find their freedom and learn to express themselves and claim their power, we can either see hope and possibility and find activation through that, or we can sort of shrink deeper and feel more trapped and disempowered. I don't know. I feel like I've seen it so many times in my own life where there's, like, this. Something gets ignited when someone feels emboldened enough to take up their space and be their whole, full self and shine bright and give no fucks. And it's like the people around them either got to get on board or get out. And that's catchy, because then what happens is then you want to be like, I want to know what it tastes like and feels like to be my own fullest. And so we get to see. We get this great double header with Dean kind of coming out to their siblings and then Sarah stepping in this decision that she's going to leave Douglas. And it was so fun. Wilder actually improvised this line at the end of the scene. But when they're walking off together in the sunset, Wilder said, thanks for stealing my moment. And it made it into the cut, and I was like, we have to keep that in because I really believe we can be irreverent and joyful in our liberation. We can have fun and there are tears and it is hard work, but the hope is that it can be exciting and joyful. So we had a little moment to kind of like, we tell aspirational stories on Quantum Leap because we really want the world to be that way. And that's what's so cool about our show. We go back in time and we remake things to fix the past and the present of our show, but we're doing it to reshape the future of our world. [00:44:38] Speaker A: And I love that absolutely well. And I think that this episode does feel very much in line with Deborah Pratt's four H's. Right? Because you've got the heart, you've got the hope, you've got the humor. And the history is there as well, especially in being able to challenge these patriarchal ideas, especially through the lens of the early fifty s with a non binary character and a woman who wants out of an unhealthy marriage and being able to draw those boundaries and say, you know, I'm worth more than what some man thinks I'm worth. In that instance, speaking of the humor, one of the things that I do love, and obviously Wilder's improvised live, fits perfectly with this too, is that there is this sense of humor that plays throughout the episode, and we get it from multiple sources. One of my favorites, and it has a lot to do with her delivery too, is that early on, when they are first kind of figuring out what's going on and Addison has just popped in and is talking to Ben and Caitlin kind of bids down and looks at the doorway and is like, it might be easier to find the treasure. There's something about mean. It had me laughing out loud. [00:45:48] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:45:48] Speaker A: So when you get those moments and you're know something that has the potential to be mean, how does it feel to then see an actor take it and know, even kick it up a notch and make it even more than what you thought it could? [00:46:02] Speaker B: I mean, I wish I could remember the, um, Alicia, RDP and Jude had a name for the way that Caitlin and Ray popped their heads out on the side. The stacked heads thing, I don't remember. We had all these, like Jude kept saying, goony up, like to make a shot look goonies, like get in. But these little comedic beats make the dramatic stuff easier to swallow. I mean, it's a spoonful of it, so it keeps it light hearted. And also you see a sibling rivalry you know what it is? Do you know you're going to get hit with a big trans mass, non binary coming out scene? No, but you know what a sibling rivalry is. You know the tropes, you know the dynamics. So as soon as we sort of call it out and we're like, oh, that's going to be a journey. We know what we're here, know, buckle in, we're gonna get a bumpy ride with these siblings. And so it kind of sets us up for a good time. [00:46:55] Speaker A: Well, I think one of the things, too, that I really loved is the fact that it's clear that there is that sort of lived in experience and there's, like, expectations that these characters have of one another. You see it from Dean to Sarah and Sarah to Nadia all across the board and even stretching out to our main cast and the way that Ben is sort of, know, reading or maybe not reading Addison and can tell that something's up. And Addison's reluctance, of course, to talk about, you know, we've talked a lot about the episode and the guest stars, which is amazing because there's such a wonderful stuff there. But I do certainly want to talk about the regulars a little bit. And I think know, Addison's story over the course of the episode is really wonderful. And one of the things that's so amazing is that so much happens free of dialogue. It's all know in Caitlin's performance. Can you talk a little bit about, I mean, that's you are writing for it, even if she doesn't necessarily have lines for it. [00:47:52] Speaker B: So can you talk a little bit. [00:47:53] Speaker A: About the shape of that? [00:47:55] Speaker B: Yeah. It was so fun and challenging. I mean, look, you know, you get five acts, right? So you have a limited number of opportunities to trace or to track a character journey. And when, you know, you want to start someplace and end someplace, you have to have these pivoting moments where you expose the thought process that builds them to that change and gets them to make that change. And when that's your main story, you can be really explicit with how the character goes through that. And that's what we do every week to week with these guest star arcs. But for something like what Caitlin's going through, what Addison's going through in this episode, it's kind of tertiary to what we are seeing on screen as the big story. So we need to find these subtextual clues that link to what she's going through and how everything that our other characters are experiencing in a physical, acted out reality, she's experiencing in her interiority. And then we're getting glimpses of that through a look and still have to understand that it's affecting her and making her change from this woman who's excited to get eloped tonight to this woman who's like, maybe I made the wrong decision. I need to get out of this relationship before I lock it down. And that's a huge shift, but it's also a very human shift. And we had to sort of chart it through the journeys that are happening with our guest star cast and the lead story. So we knew we had some moments to achieve that with. The letter from dad is a big one at the end because it really tells us your happiness is only valuable if you spend it with the people you love, basically. And seeing Sarah talking about staying in a relationship because she thought that's what she was supposed to do. So all these moments were like, oh, every pop song on the radio is speaking to me. You know what I mean? Like, that Addison is having of. It's all. It's all making, like, rethink myself and no one knows what I'm going through. And that's really juicy stuff, but really hard to script. And Caitlin just know she can just make meat of a scene with her eyes. Like, she can just tell you everything that's going on internally. And it's not easy to do as an actor. She's really great. Really great at that. [00:50:29] Speaker A: Yeah, I completely agree. And I love what you said about the eyes because the story that she tells with her eyes alone, by the time she does go and talk to Tom, it's clear. It's like, yeah, okay. I have a feeling I know where this is heading. Although that said, what I did not expect, and I was really in the most positive and best of ways, did not expect was Tom's reaction. Talk a little bit about that moment and know scripting Tom to react in such a strong way, which feels very real and very honest, but not necessarily what we always see in those moments on television. [00:51:13] Speaker B: Quite. Yeah, listen, there were multiple drafts of that scene and a lot of opinions about how it should go down. And I will say this episode, we were very blessed to have a team of very strong women working on this episode, myself, Adrita and Jude, and Alicia and our ad, Maria. So there were all these women looking at this script of this brutal breakup and wanting to make sure that we protected Tom from becoming a villain. And if he had responded in a way that was more along the lines of an outburst or a sort of masculinist kind of hard aggressive, flippant kind of energy. I feel like that would have really damaged the reputation that we created for the character as a good partner for Addison and as a potential partner for Addison. And that would have also, like, if she broke up with him and he stormed off, then we'd have been like, well, she was know because he's a dick. But the fact that he was like, I'm going to give you space and time and you're going to see that you're actually in love with this other guy. First of all, that takes guts to do. But it's also maybe not what you'd expect, like you said, from a scene like this, but in a way, it kind of twists the knife deeper, too, in terms of Addison's guilt and responsibility versus if he had blown up, then we just would have been like, well, yeah, he's an asshole. So good thing she broke it. Absolutely. Yeah. But we had to really play around with it. [00:53:17] Speaker A: Well, it's a wonderful moment for Peter as well, because when she begins to break the news, the look on his face is just really wonderful. And that hurt and that heartbreak and everything that we've learned about the character, especially being a widower and just what he's brought to the show. And I don't necessarily mean Peter specifically, although obviously he's a part of that, but just the character of know over the past, like four or five episodes specifically, I feel like that moment, it does play so well and it is supported by what we've seen before. It doesn't feel like it betrays that and it doesn't feel like it goes to a place where, like you say, it's like, oh, yeah, she was right. He's a dick. Good riddance. Which I also love because, and I'm not sure how know if at all you pay attention to this, but I know that there's definitely been a lot of chatter on social media and Reddit and that sort of stuff about Tom, this expectation that Tom's a know and. [00:54:13] Speaker B: That obviously Tom's going to turn on. [00:54:15] Speaker A: Everyone and nothing that we have seen supports that. And I love that. I'm happy for that. Let's talk a little bit about the character of Tom and how especially crafting a scene like this that is so important to the fabric of that character, what you do, building off of everything that's come before and seeing that whole shape as opposed to just focusing on your episode. [00:54:41] Speaker B: Yeah, well, I think you have to zoom out to see season two in context with the whole show and what we've set up as a love story through time with Addison. And while that might change and the dynamics might shift and new loves come into their lives, we certainly planted a seed in season one that is like, stick with us for five years and see where we go, you know what I mean? With these lovers lost in time. And so in a way, you sort of understand the audience suspicion of Tom because we hope that people are still ultimately rooting for Addison and know that's what we want people to still. Yes, be happy. Ben find, like. But we hope that the candle is still burning for that ship, you know what? And so that's one to be expected. And then, you know, when thinking about scripting the end of a relationship, and now Tom still has more to do. But this scene is so final in terms of understanding what their dynamic is. And that was actually a big conversation piece in the writers room because in my opinion, I think I wrote a line at one point that was, like, breaking. Are we calling it off or putting it on hold? And then the other person said, is there a difference? And that didn't last, but that idea that once we had this scene, we know where it's going. You know what I mean? And so it was juicy. It's like, for me, we've been following this whole arc, and I get to write the breakup, you know what I mean? It's the kind of fun kind of thing. But, yeah, like I said, you want to deliver the audience in a place where they feel like it was worth going on the ride. And you also hope that by going on this ride that both characters leave the relationship transformed, just like any humans in relationships. You know, for sure we're going to see where this takes, you know, in terms of how this affects Tom moving forward. I mean, that's one of those things with these characters in our show. There's so many people that you meet whose lives are changed, and you have to imagine what happens next because we don't follow them. [00:57:23] Speaker A: Well, I think that that is one of the things, too, is that through the course of this are. It's funny because looking back at let them play, right, you get the big bombshell with Ian having left and what they did and interacting with Dottie and all that sort of stuff. And in this episode, I feel like you get multiple bombshells because you get the Addison and Tom breakup. You get Ben writing the letter, which I definitely would talk about, but you also get the reveal of Gideon, which. [00:57:48] Speaker B: We'Ll get to in a second. [00:57:50] Speaker A: Let's go ahead and go back to the letter real quick. [00:57:53] Speaker B: Yeah, the Doc Brown letter. Yeah. [00:57:55] Speaker A: So when I was speaking to Alex last week for off the cuff and then speaking with, I don't think he'll mind me saying this, speaking with Drew Lindo, off the record about some stuff, one of the things that I was so interested in and intrigued by was the fact that when off the cuff ends and Ben finds out about Josh's untimely demise, that he doesn't get the opportunity to say anything to Hannah. And then knowing that this leap is going to be in 1953, it's like, well, he can't say anything to her because she doesn't even know that he's out there. And then knowing that the next episode, the outsider 211, takes place in the 80s, it's like, well, that's too late. What's he going to do? Can you talk a little bit about the discussions as far as how do we follow up on that and what do we do and where you came with the letter, which I love, it plays into back to the future, but it also echoes the leap back in the original series because that's how the imaging chamber door open. So, yeah, I'd love to hear a little bit about what went into that moment. [00:58:54] Speaker B: Well, it's funny, the letter was the only thing. So I had a whole episode outlined before the strike, and the only thing that carried over was the letter because we changed everything completely. But it was the one plot point of the season that we knew was going to be this anchor point, which was that at one point, Ben was going to intervene in history and take the risk to change things. And then we were going to track what happens with that, which we will do in the following episodes. And I'm, like, super excited by what gets unleashed with that letter and how it works as a plot. So. Yeah. Well, first of all, the idea that Ben is pissed that he didn't get to say anything to Hannah, the start of this episode, he comes into this new situation feeling unresolved about the last situation. And that is unlike most leaps, because most leaps he resolves and then he leaps. And this one, he arrives and is like, there's still unfinished business from that one. So that is like a sort of nagging undercurrent for him, just the way that Addison has this nagging undercurrent the whole episode about telling Ben about what's going on with Tom. So it's cool to see how what happens with Dean and Sarah sort of empower Ben to write this letter and Addison to break up with Tom, the leap needed to happen this way in order for these things to play mean. The, like, it's just the know the payoff is going to come soon. [01:00:43] Speaker A: I have some thoughts. I won't say any of them right now. I'll save that for my solo review. But I definitely have some thoughts. And I thought it was a really cool moment and I was glad that something happened because it did feel like we got this big story in the meantime and so many other things are going know. Obviously the other stuff at HQ is like the threat of Gideon when Rachel calls Ian and all that sort of, oh, my gosh, what's going on? [01:01:06] Speaker B: That. [01:01:07] Speaker A: That moment just felt really nice. And there was this part of me that's just sort of like, oh, my God, he gave that letter to Sarah. Like, is Sarah actually going to. [01:01:16] Speaker B: But what she says is like, you're just like, dad. So again, these siblings went on this whole journey to prove themselves to their dad to get this and got this treasure. And it was like this. Sarah has sort of proven to Ben that she will do this totally ridiculous thing that makes no sense. That is kind of pie in the sky dreamy. So, yeah, mail this letter in 20 years. Okay, she will. They just went on this whole quest. [01:01:45] Speaker A: Yeah, that is a great point. And one of the things that I neglected to mention earlier, and I want to ask you about this, is that it feels like one of the things that I picked up on is that the father is very accepting of his children and to the point that he wants them to be empowered. I don't think he wants Sarah to exist in this marriage. I don't think that he wants Dean to have to exist within the confines of the genders she was assigned. I'm curious as to your take on that and the way that he kind of empowers them to fully realize themselves and their relationships with one another. [01:02:23] Speaker B: I think the whole episode, the whole treasure hunt is a quest and is a challenge laid down by their dad to show up to their go on this journey and become your best self. It's just like a Siddhartha kind of thing. It's like Jonathan living in Siegel. It's like every sort of hero call to action. And the fact that this was like, the know, the idea is that maybe he spent his whole life seeking treasure and realized that the most important thing was the family that he was coming home to. And before he gave them this gift, he wanted them to have that same understanding. I don't know. I love a quest where the real treasure is at home. I mean, it's like never ending story. You know what I mean? It all comes from within. So I just wanted to nod to that archetype. To me, is such a satisfying story arc going on the quest thinking that you failed or that you were unsatisfied, but being transformed and realizing that the transformation that you underwent on the quest was the treasure you were searching for. And then there's the perk of the actual reward that awaits you when you get back home changed. [01:03:55] Speaker A: Well, it definitely feels like a parenting win. And one of the things that I love about it, too, is it's almost as though he's saying, I paid a really high cost to be able to come to this realization, and now I am going to give you the gift of not having to pay that same cost. And it's just really lovely. Thank you. I really liked it. Okay, so let's get to it. [01:04:18] Speaker B: Let's get to Gideon. Yeah. [01:04:20] Speaker A: Okay. First of all, I might have texted some people when I saw James Frane's name in the guest star credits, because I was just like, holy shit, I love that. [01:04:29] Speaker B: Yeah. [01:04:29] Speaker A: Who is he going to be and what's going on here? And then, of course, he shows up, and I'm just sort of like, you are everything I wanted you to be. [01:04:36] Speaker B: And, oh, he does not disappoint. Just you wait. Yeah. [01:04:41] Speaker A: So, yeah, I know you probably can't say much, but what can you tell me about Gideon and about the creation of this character and casting James Frane and getting someone like him? Because, again, he's superb. I've loved him in everything I've seen him in. I was on tour with the children's theater in 2006, 2007, and it was when the tutors premiered, and so we would watch that show that was, like, our obsession towards the very end of the tour, to the point that we would instant message. Because we didn't have smartphones back then, instant message one another on, like, AOL instant message. The tour ended to catch up on the show. I think he's great. I loved know as Sarahk and Star Trek Discovery recently and stuff, so I would love to hear more about getting him. And then, yeah, the creation of Gideon. And as much as you can tell. [01:05:29] Speaker B: Me in terms of, like, we knew that we wanted the role because he's the big bad to be know icon status to sort of fulfill. As soon as you see him, you got to kind of feel in your gut that this is a powerful nemesis, and James just radiates this awesome in this role, kind of smarmy. Zuckerbergian power. But that's laid back and dickish, and even that makes it worse. You know what I do is Chuck Taylor shoes. Exactly. Perfect. And the watch, it's all just like, yeah. You know who you're meeting when you meet I, which I love. James, like I said, does not disappoint. It's really exciting what Gideon's going to bring to the table the next couple of episodes. But in terms of writing the we again, it's like the season dream, right? We start the season and we're like, okay, well, we know we have a big, bad set up. We know that Ian has gotten entangled with something in order to help us keep quantum leap alive these last three years. But who is this person, and how deep does this connection embroil us in the fate of quantum leap? I just think I'm really excited for the fans to. I've already seen a lot of the theories that have been popping up on Reddit and stuff, but I'm really proud of how we strung all this together as a writer's room, and I think it's, like, really real exciting ride. The final third of the season is just, like, such a juggernaut. Like, you're going to have so much fun the next few weeks, but in particular, the role of Gideon. Any time travel show or story in general, you just have to wonder what could happen when the technology gets in the wrong. It's. And so we have the opportunity know, ask that question on our show, and we're doing that with Gideon. [01:07:59] Speaker A: Yeah, I love that it's getting explored in a very different way than, say, the classic series did with the evil leapers or even, like, last season did with Martinez, which was a little bit different because it was like, you can almost ask the questions like, was the technology in the wrong hands? Was it in the right hands but used in the wrong way? Which I think are all interesting questions. [01:08:17] Speaker B: Exactly. [01:08:18] Speaker A: One of the things that I mentioned in my solo review of off the cuff is that as actually, it wasn't a solo review. I'm sorry. JJ Lindell joined me for that one. But one of the things that I mentioned is I feel like as we're getting into these final few episodes, it's becoming increasingly clear that so much of this emotional, character driven narrative that I praised, and I think rightly so early on, has also been setting the stage for all of these big plot driven moments. And I am almost literally chomping at the bit to be able to go back and rewatch the season from the beginning briefly, because I don't want to take up too much more of your time. Can you talk a little bit about how you kind of put all those pieces together? And especially as individual writers working on an episode, and I know it's collaborative, but still, how do you kind of make sure you don't lose sight of that overall shape once you kind of get into the room and plan that out? [01:09:16] Speaker B: I mean, I want to give a shout out to Annelise Medina, our writer's assistant, who also wrote an episode last season. Annalise creates a board for us and manages this board that has all of our season goals and objectives and plot points and story elements. And so in addition to sort of breaking out episode by episode, what's happening as each character progresses and how we sort of structured the act breaks of each episode, we are always revising the mythology that we're creating for ourselves over the course of the season, because you get a really good idea for something in one episode, and then suddenly it changes, like, what's going to happen in sequential episodes, and it's not always planned to a t from the beginning, we have to be able to be responsive to these ideas. So Annalise's tracking of our season arcs is really a gift because we'd be lost without it. What did we decide was going to happen? But then when it comes time for each writer to get sort of their shot at whatever element of the story we're crafting, there's a couple of things that we always have to keep in mInd, which is, like, one, we're developing a SHarEd language for how these characters are talked about and how they speak. And so we all have to kind of vibe together on finding the voices of these characters and watching the show to understand how this character might speak. I needed to watch Tom to learn how he would speak and whatever. So there's sort of like a passing of the baton that happens with the storytelling, but when it comes time to. For these big plot points that are like creating canon in a way where there's a lot of pressure because you know the fans are going to have shit to say no matter what. But also, I don't know, we just sort of nerd out. You can tell when you land on the perfect intersection of drama, action, mythology, comedy, genre, and it's like, there's the idea and let's put a pin in that and make it work. What do we need to do over here to make sure we can get to there? And that's just the messiness of the writer's room. I don't know if that answers your question, but it's so much fun. And then you get these little Nuggets, you know what I mean? We break our leaps and we know, like, okay, this is the story I want to tell in this time period, a to z, whatever. But then what we're doing in HQ, that stuff that we have to kind of dole out over the course of the year, I got some real juicy ones. I was super excited about it. [01:12:11] Speaker A: Yeah, right? Yeah. I think that one of the things that has been remarkable about this season, even more so than last season, is that I feel that the leaps and the HQ stuff has just meshed so well and that the ongoing narrative has been told through these leaps, as opposed to the leaps feeling almost like side stories. Or maybe this is the big focus. The leap is the big focus, and then everything else feels like a side story. Everything feels very intertwined, and it's just made following the story such a know. I've loved it. Speaking of following the story, you get to follow the story in an interesting way for the finale because I heard that you were on set for the finale, shattering Chris Grismr and hanging out with Drew Lindo. I know that there's not much that you can say, but I would love to just kind of hear about your experience and hear your non spoiler thoughts on what might be in store for us with the finale. [01:13:04] Speaker B: Well, the experience was amazing. I mean, Chris Grismr not only directed the episode, but is the producing director of the show. So he knows the language of our show inside and out, and he is the coach of our crew. Basically, the crew respond to him so well, and he knows exactly what we're capable of achieving and how to achieve it. So getting to shadow him as a director was amazing. I came in as a director on let them play kind of happenstance. I didn't get to direct this season because we had a shorter season because of the strike. I really hope I get to direct next season, so I thought shadowing would be a great way to set myself up for that, for sure. So that was just really awesome learning opportunity. Also, it was our last episode of the season, and I didn't want to go home yet. I just wanted to hang out, and I love drew so much, and the episode was such a great episode, and I just wanted to stick around, so I got to hang out for it. It was amazing. The one thing I'll say about without any spoilers is just I feel like last year, everyone was so excited that we found a way to revive Quantum leap, and that was exciting and it was just like, quantum Leap is back and it has so much of the original heart and it's doing what it always wanted to do. But then we had this HQ component and this procedural, real time, week to week continuity that the original didn't have. And I feel like what we do in season two is we earn that in a really cool way. I feel like now people are going to be like, that's why Quantum Leap had to exist this way. We got the how in season one and now we got the why. This is why Quantum Leap needed to come back, and this is why we needed to do it the way we do it. With the multiple timelines happening sequentially. It's just masterfully done. There are so many exciting threads that are woven together and come together for our season finale, and I'm so proud of drew for the episode and I was so happy to get to be a part of. I just. It's very satisfying and I hope that the audiences love it as much as I loved being there. For know, NBC loves to say Ben's journey through time is just beginning and you really feel that? You really feel that. [01:15:19] Speaker A: I am so incredibly excited for it. It's bittersweet in a way, because February 20, it's over for a while, and then there's going to be a while without anything. But I'm very excited. And I just think that what's happened since the show came back after the hiatus already just in two episodes, I think it's incredible what you've been able to do and how the story has been moved forward at this pace that I don't know that anyone was expecting. And it's like those first eight episodes, the story was told and unfolded in this really wonderful way, and now all of a sudden, it's just sort of like, oh, that was just to get you comfy now. [01:16:05] Speaker B: Hold on. Yeah, shit's getting real for these last five. Yeah, for sure. And I just also want to say, yes, there will be some downtime after February 20, but to your listeners, now is the time to beat the drum for season three because this is when the studio and the network are sort of looking at how people are engaging with the show and whether or not there's an appetite for it. So I think we are putting out a real good meal. So hopefully the appetite will be strong and people will be pounding the table for more and we'll get more. [01:16:35] Speaker A: Yeah, that is my hope as well. I encourage people to obviously stream the show on Peacock and watch it as much as they possibly can, and certainly to write those letters. I'm not ready to say save quantum leap yet or anything like that, but certainly let people know how much you love the show and it all. [01:16:52] Speaker B: That's right. [01:16:52] Speaker A: All matters, because I think that's the important thing. So one of the things that I wanted to mention just real quick, because we talked a little bit about it off mic beforehand, is the fact that it has been an incredibly emotional time for a lot of the community since losing Matt Dale. And he's someone that I love dearly. And I've certainly just tried to kind of honor his memory and pay tribute to him through the show and through the podcast. And I know that obviously he's someone that you're super aware of, and it's something that I've talked a little bit about. Can you just talk a little bit about kind of what his presence meant to you and meant to kind of like the crafting of this show and somebody like Matt and their enthusiasm and their passion for the show and what that means to you. [01:17:41] Speaker B: Yeah. Of know, the heart that we're after on this show is bigger than the show itself. And we have this sort of noble quest of trying to capture an ethos of making the world a better place for others and putting that in something that's bite size and deliverable on a weekly basis. But what that really depends on is the torch bearing that happens after the episode airs and the ways that people go out into the world changed by quantum leap and paying it forward in the ways know Sam painted it forward and Ben pays it. So Matt was and is one of those spirits who was a torchbearer, not just for our show, but for that way of being in the know. He picked up and ran with the headphones. You can hear me, right? Yes. Matt picked up and ran with what this show stands. Um, and he inspired people to connect with that and keep the flame lit. Not just week to week, but for all the time that lapsed between the original series and now and onward. For a person to be a mensch, a bodhisattva, committed to making the world a better place, is already such a gift to humanity. And then for that person to be so clearly able to point to a source of inspiration and say, like, this gave me the drive to do that thing is so beautiful, because, again, it gives the language, it gives the naming, and it's such an honor to be a part of the thing that inspired this person to go out and make the world better. And I know that his legacy will continue to pay it forward through this show, through your work, through our show, and through all the lives that he touched. By continuing to tell these kind of stories and amplify the need of walking in another person's shoes. [01:20:13] Speaker A: Yeah, I love that he was. He was an amplifier. That is the perfect way. And he was so kind. I miss him dearly. And so anytime I get the chance to talk a little bit about him or share something, especially with people who are making this show that I know he loves so dearly, it's good. So thank you for that. [01:20:32] Speaker B: Yeah, well, his spirit definitely lives on amongst the writers, and we carry his love for the show in our work and talk about him. And, yeah, I hope that you will feel that when you see what we have coming down the pipe. [01:20:49] Speaker A: I'm sure I will. One last thing. We've read long. I hope you don't mind, but one last thing no talk about is that this episode obviously is so incredibly important for its sense of inclusion and representation and being on network television. That's obviously incredible. And I think we're fortunate, like we mentioned, to live in a time when there are so many stories that are being told and access to those stories is better than it's ever been before. However, sometimes the recognition for those stories is lacking and I think that it's important to recognize that and to talk about it. I often don't necessarily know how to talk about that. So I'm curious to specifically mention someone that you know and someone that you've worked with before. I mean, Trace Lysette was in let them play and she was fantastic in that. Of course, she was also in a film called Monica, which is just a brilliant, brilliant movie. And her performance is incredible. I don't have the superlatives for it, honestly. But it's been a performance that has been largely ignored as we're in know award season. And I know that awards are something that sometimes people are sort of like, well, they're not everything, but I also think that the recognition that they can give and certainly the visibility that they can give to stories that are underserved is incredibly important. Can you talk a little bit about the fact that it has been something that we haven't seen appreciated in the way that I certainly think it should be? [01:22:19] Speaker B: Yeah. It's so hard because you never know if it's like a snub, if it's like ignorance, fear, hatred, if it's changing tastes and mandates like, oh, trans isn't hot right now. Now we want to talk about this underrepresented group, and next year, it'll be that underrepresented group, or we'll be going back to this thing, or maybe trans will be hot again, or who knows what. There's so many ways to be cynical about the industry and its mandates and its reward and compensation systems and recognition systems. But seeing through the noise of that, I would say, first of all, Trace is an incredible actor and should be recognized for her body of work, not just Monica. But Monica is definitely, like the tiara on top of all of it right now. And I hope and know there will be more for her. So if people haven't gotten the chance to see Monica, you should see Monica, because Trace's working. It is astounding. What I will say is that trans people, at least in my business, are no strangers to feeling underappreciated and unrecognized for our work. We are out here because we love our craft and we love telling stories. We also believe in the power of changing the world through the work that we do. And we know that we are shifting culture in a way that is not necessarily going to celebrate us as much as maybe we deserve, but that we are creating these interventions, and I really call them that, because we really are shifting culture in a way that disrupts toxicity and allows for new possibility. And Trace, like I said, has done that in everything that she's put out in her music and in her acting. But, yeah, it can feel a little thankless sometimes. And that's when I'll say that things like messages, dms, tweets, whatever, those things really matter. They really help. When you hear from the fans or you hear from a trans kid somewhere, or a parent of a trans kid somewhere, and you get these messages that this really saved me or changed me or helped me, then it's like, okay, I didn't get the award nomination, but I'm hearing from real people that I made their lives better. That's pretty great. And I know that trace is getting that, and I hope she gets a lot more of that, and I hope she gets the awards and the cash and the jobs and, God willing, me, too. You know what I'm saying? I want all that, too. But in the meantime, what makes me able to get back up and go back to work when I don't get the nod, when I don't get the acclaim, is the satisfaction in knowing that I'm really changing the world, even if it is one life at a time. And oftentimes it's much more than that. That's something I can say. And I'm not a medical doctor. I'm not saving lives in a traditional way, but I am fully aware by the feedback that I get from the people who engage with the things that I create, that I'm making the world a better place for them, and that matters. And so I would say, if Trace has made the world a better place for you, you should let her know, because not enough people are letting her know. And I'll take some of that, too, if you want to send it my way. It's always nice. [01:26:24] Speaker A: What could be more quantum leap than that? Yeah, I love that. Thank you for sharing that, because it was something that I was interested in hearing, and I really appreciate it. And for what it's worth, like I said, you've had an impact on me personally, and I'm grateful for that. And like the sign says, you are magic. You are magic. So thank you. [01:26:47] Speaker B: Thanks, Sam. [01:26:48] Speaker A: And at the risk of being reductive, because I feel like the answer to this exists throughout the last hour plus of conversation we've had. But it's a question I've started asking people. What inspires you? [01:27:11] Speaker B: I am inspired by. I'm inspired by the possibility of becoming the person I've always dreamed of being. And so I chase that dream a lot, because the person I always dreamed of being is someone who helps save the world and has a good time doing it. You know what I mean? And so the inspiration is sort of built into the whole project because it's like I want to be someone who's inspired and who inspires others. So in order to do that, I have to keep doing that, and then it helps feed itself to keep going. I guess. I hope that makes. [01:28:02] Speaker A: Does it does. I appreciate that. Thank you so much. It reminds me of that David Bowie quote. Getting older is the extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been or were always meant to be. Something like that. [01:28:17] Speaker B: Yeah. God bless him. Okay, great. I love that. Yes, David, thank you. I'll take. [01:28:24] Speaker A: Oh, well. Shakina. Thank you. So I really, really can't tell you how much. [01:28:29] Speaker B: Thank you, Sam. [01:28:30] Speaker A: I'm just so thrilled to be able to have this conversation, to have you on the show again, to see your work again. I can't wait to see more. [01:28:37] Speaker B: Thank you. Same. [01:28:39] Speaker A: Whether it's quantum leap or not, whatever you're working on, that's one of the things that I'm so grateful for this show, too, is the fact that I feel like I want the show to last ten years, but whenever that happens, I will certainly be following everyone that's working on it because I just feel like there's been so much wonderful work. And thank you for being a part of that. And thank you for coming on today to talk about the family treasure, for sure. [01:29:05] Speaker B: Sam, thanks for having me. Such a great time with you. [01:29:08] Speaker A: Awesome. Thank you. All right, fellow travelers, I'm going to get out of here, but thank you so much for listening. Make sure you are watching Quantum leap, streaming quantum leap, and write those comments. Send those comments to Shakina, send those comments to trace, send those comments to NBC, to the network, to anyone that's working on this show. Tell them what you think of it and tell them how much it's meant to you because I know it definitely means a lot to me. But in the meantime, take care of yourselves, take care of one another. Stay safe out there, and always, always leap responsibly.

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