Sam (Scott Bakula) gets to be a DJ this week, in a riff on Good Morning, Vietnam. Written by Chris Ruppenthal with an airdate of of 8 November, 1989, Good Morning, Peoria, finds Sam leaping into radio personality Chick Howell on 9 September, 1959, in the small town of Peoria.
Broadcasting from WOF, Sam learns from Al (Dean Stockwell) that he’s there to keep them on the air, talk about the freedom provided by the first amendment, and broadcast rock and roll, despite the fact that those in power in the town don’t want it to be played, they’ll pull their advertising, even cut the station’s power, and trash the place any way they can. They feel it undermines family values, and provides the wrong influences on the young.
Sam and station manager Rachel Porter (Patricia Richardson) barricade themselves in the station, and do everything they can to stay on the air. There’s a spark between Sam/Chick and Rachel which plays out nicely, as it appears to be one of the reasons he’s there.
Once Sam gets into the swing of things, he has a lot of fun on the radio, and you can see how Good Morning, Vietnam influenced the script.
During the course of the episode Sam has a bit of a brush with history, and gets Chubby Checker’s (played by himself) new song on The Twist, on the radio, and shows him how to do it.
This one is fun, and has lots of classic rock’n’roll.
Thou Shalt Not was penned by Tammy Ader, and aired on 15 November, 1989. Sam finds himself leaping into Rabbi David Bosch, and finds himself in a heartbreaking family situation, as David’s sister-in-law Irene (Terri Hanaeur) is about to have an extra-marital affair that will ruin her family, and destroy her daughter, Karen (Lindsay Fisher).
The man she is about to have an affair with, Bert Glasserman (Russ Tamblyn) a sleazy author, preys on women, all for a book he wants to publish.
Bert poses as a widower to elicit empathy, and tends to target women who are suffering loss and are grieving in some way. Irene is unhappy because of a secret pain hanging between her and her husband, David’s brother, Joe (James Sutorius) – the death of a son.
Karen is trying to connect with her father, but can’t because he keeps her at a distance because of the loss. The relationship between Joe and Irene is crumbling, and Sam needs to find a way to keep them together, and keep Irene away from Bert until the author can be exposed for what he really is.
The script deals with the loss of the son, Danny, very well, showing the impact that it has on the family, and how it can undo all that the marriage has been. This one is honest, gentle, quiet, and wonderfully put together, and sets up a beautiful scene in the next episode, when Al mentions his sister, Ruthie, for the first time.
The episode ends with Sam leaping into one of the most iconic moments of the show, and one of its best episodes, as he becomes the mentally challenged, Jimmy.