Animal Frat was the 12th episode of Season 2 of Quantum Leap, also the 21st overall episode in the series. Written by Chris Ruppenthal, the episode, which was directed by Gilbert M. Shilton, first aired on NBC-TV on January 3, 1990.
Sam leaps into hard-partying frat boy Knut Wileton, better known on campus as "Wild Thing." He must stop student and anti-war activist Elisabeth Spokane from planting a bomb on campus as part of a Vietnam War protest. In the original history, someone was inadvertently killed in the explosion, sending Elisabeth into hiding for the rest of her life.
October 19, 1967: After nearly drowning in the Claridge Lake, Sam very nearly drowns again, this time from leaping into the middle of his host’s beer chugging session. Sam has leapt into Knut “Wild Thing” Wileton (the leapee Knut is played by Jeff Benson), the head of the “Tau Kappa Beta” (TKB) fraternity in 1967, during one of their many parties. After immediately being vomited on, Sam finds his room, kicks two sexy ladies out of his bed, and tries to get some sleep.
The next morning, Sam is extremely frustrated, because his frat-mates pass the time by propelling water balloons from the chemistry classroom’s window using a slingshot they made out of surgical tubing. Al arrives and compliments their handiwork, saying it was better than what he used when he was in college, and has fun reminiscing. Outside, a stall has been set up with Vietnam War protesters handing out fliers. Al informs Sam that he is there to help Elizabeth Spokane (Stacy Edwards) – a classmate of Wild Thing’s, one of the protesters and an unfortunate victim of the water balloon slingshot. Al informs Sam that in two night’s time, she sets off a bomb in the chemistry building as an act of protest against the war – the university supports the war effort. The building was supposed to be empty, but a student had snuck in to study and was killed in the blast. Elizabeth spends the rest of her life underground and on the run.
Sam goes down to apologize to Elizabeth for the water balloon and invites her to the TKB luau the next night – by Sam’s logic, Elizabeth can’t set off a bomb if she’s not there. Elizabeth refuses, so Sam offers to help hand out fliers and go to their rally, but is shot down by their leader, Duck (Darren Dalton), who just believes that Sam wants Elizabeth for her body. Sam rebuts by saying that if he was serious about stopping the war, Duck wouldn't be turning away anybody’s help. Duck realizes Sam is right, comments that Wild Thing isn't as dumb as he looks, and that deceptively smart people like him need to have an eye kept on them, which Duck vows to do.
In chemistry class, Elizabeth interrupts the lecturer and starts a debate by asking him to justify the college’s stance supporting an illegal and inhumane war. The lecturer tries to brush off the question, but it is Sam who is able to defuse the debate, by saying that what is important is what the South Vietnamese want, and that America should be taking its cue from them. After class, Sam and Elizabeth have a chat, Elizabeth warms up to Sam and she agrees to go to the luau. That is, until Scooter (Robert Petkoff), a pledge for the TKB frat arrives to show Sam that he was following the TKB initiation instructions Wild Thing set – wearing his underwear on the outside and carrying a lot of hot dog meat to distract the Dean’s dog while he steals the Dean’s prized signed basketball.
Disgusted by Wild Thing’s abuse of Scooter, Elizabeth tries to leave, but Sam tries to reason with her, saying that men have evolved to not have to hunt anymore, but still need a way to let out their excess testosterone. Elizabeth still leaves. Al, having heard Sam, suggests that Sam take his own advice and just try to enjoy himself. Since he can’t stand the childish antics of the fraternity, Sam worries that he doesn't know how to have fun, but Al says that fun is a relative term – calling Sam’s situation “between funs”, so Sam should just go with it and then he’ll leap out and never have to do antics like that again.
Back at the frat house, one of Wild Thing’s friends is making a prank call to campus security about a bomb in the chemistry building. Some of the others are trying to study for a chemistry exam, but come to the conclusion they’re going to fail. Sam, however, solves a difficult problem in his head, which starts a chorus of “Wild Thing, I think I love you!” and they make a plan to just cheat off Sam. Sam refuses, so the boys instead decide to do just something stupid and pointless – flushing cherry bombs in the girls’ toilets. Sam, who has never done anything like this before, because at college he was a “meganerd”, has as much fun as Al who watches, but unfortunately Elizabeth notices him as he escapes.
At the rally, Duck makes a passionate speech about needing to make their voices heard, even if it means taking up arms against the government if they refuse to listen. Sam is the only one unimpressed, and wonders what Elizabeth sees in him. Al thinks it’s partly his silver tongue and partly the collective guilt of the rally for being able to afford college and not have to be on the battlefield. Sam tries to convince Elizabeth that if they use violence then they are just as guilty, and advises using publicity instead, as the pen is mightier than the sword. Duck again tries to get rid of Sam, claiming that Sam doesn't care about stopping the war. This upsets Sam, who reveals that he lost a brother in Vietnam. Elizabeth now feels sorry for Sam and agrees to go to the luau with him.
At the luau, Elizabeth makes a comment about Sam being right about needing to cause publicity, and that the TKB boys blowing up the toilets gave them an idea. Al tells Sam that the bomb still goes off, Elizabeth must have put it on a timer. The boys also tell Sam that since he wouldn't let them cheat off him, they sent Scooter to get the exam. Realizing that Scooter is still in danger, Sam tries to call campus security about the bomb, but they think it’s another prank, so Sam and Elizabeth try to save Scooter themselves. They are followed by the frat boys, having found Scooter who chickened out of trying to get the test.
In the chemistry classroom, Elizabeth shows Sam where she hid the bomb, and Al tells them how to defuse it. They are successful, but Ziggy tells Al that they are still going to die in the blast. They realize there’s a second bomb. Luckily, Duck is nearby, having arrived to view his handiwork. Sam beats Duck up and stops him from leaving. Thinking he was about to die, Duck reveals the location of the second bomb. Without any time to defuse it, Sam has his frat-mates build the slingshot, and propel the bomb out the window, giving a “Bitchin!” explosion in the air and saving everyone in the building.
Back at the luau, Sam comforts Elizabeth, who is distraught from how close her actions came to killing so many people, saying she just went a little overboard and that she shouldn't try so hard to please her parents. Al informs Sam that Elizabeth remains an active protester, and her actions help stop the war. The last thing Sam has to do before leaping is to officially start the TKB luau celebrations, and at the last minute is lifted by a crane to do a dive into the pool. Al tells Sam not to mess up, as in the original history, Wild Thing broke his neck and was left paralyzed. Sam reluctantly jumps, and lands in the pool safely. With a final “TKB is the life for me!” Sam leaps.
- "Louie Louie" (performed by The Kingsmen)
- "Surf City" (performed by Jan & Dean)
- "La Bamba" (performed by Richie Valens)
- "I Can't Help Myself" (performed by The Four Tops)
- "Wild Thing" (performed by The Troggs)