Leila Lee Olesn as Machiko MacKenzie in "The Americanization of Machiko" in Season 2 (ep.#3).
|Ethnicity||Asian / Japanese|
|newly Japanese wife of American GI Dr. Samuel Beckett leaps into, and who's been stationed for the past 4 years in Japan in the U.S. Navy during the KOrean War |
|Spouse(s):||Charlie MacKenzie, (leapee) 1953-present (?)|
|Related to:||Henry MacKenzie (father-in-law) Lenore MacKenzie (mother-in-law)|
Eileen MacKenzie (sister-in-law/deceased, commited suicide) <
|Appeared on:||Quantum Leap (TV series)|
|Episodes appeared in:||"The Americanization of Machiko" (season 2)|
|Character played by:||Leila Lee Olsen|
When Sam leaps into Navy veteran Charlie MacKenzie, who's been stationed for the past four years in Japan during the Korean War, arrives back statside in 1953 in their hometown of Oak Creek, Ohio, with a new Japanese wife, Machiko, Al appears moments later to warn Sam that he is there to ensure that Lenore, who was shocked at the appearance of her son with a Oriental wife, accepts Machiko into the family, as she vows to Sam "That woman will never be a part of our family!" Her new father-in-law Henry, however, who seemed to be much more open minded than his wife at the prospect of their son having an Oriental wife, and they having an Asian daughter-in-law, is pleasently treated by Machiko to a bathing of his feet, which in Japanese custom, is normal for the new daughter in law to do for her new father-in-law, as it further peeves Lenore.
Machiko struggles hard to fit into her new small-town American surroundings, grasp the new customs she is now subjected to, as the very next morning, Machiko attempts to please Lenore by cleaning the floor and cooking rice for breakfast, as Lenore dismisses her, telling her that Americans aren't accustomed to eating rice for breakfast. Machiko tries to bend over backwards to gain acceptance from her new in-laws, particulary Lenore, who was stuck in the attitudes which were prevalent at the time towards ethnic minorities in small Midwestern towns at the time, particularly towards the Japanese, with the U.S. having fought against Japan in WWII and many Japanese-Americans having been held at Internment Camps around the country during and a few years after the end of that war.
Another embarrasing thing happens when Sam and Machiko, who are performing chores at the farm while Lenore and Henry are returing home from church with the church's pastor, Reverend Earl Felcher (Chuck Walling), and his wife, Betty (Marjorie Stapp), where Machiko is out in the yard, putting clothes on the line, topless, as a girl who was an old flame of Charlie's Naomi (Elena Wohl), tries to make a pass at him, as they wind up falling in a pile of hay in the barn, as Charlie's parents and the Felchers drive up in the Felcher's car, with Machiko's breasts exposed to all! Sam has to try to explain to them that in Japanese culture, Japanese women often perform chores topless in hot weather and tells them she did not mean to offend anyone, as the Felchers and Henry forgive her.
Still another embarrassing moment occurs at the church picnic, when Naomi tricks Machiko into calling the town Mayor, Maryor Lionel Ellis (Keith Mills) and his wife "Fat". Realizing that her comments have offended them, Machiko runs off upset, and tells Naomi "she is not a nice person".
In the original events before Sam's leap into the circumstance, Lenore was never willing to accept Machiko as her daughter in-law, largely because of racial prejudices that were prevalent at the time, which was also the sentiments of some of the other townsfolk, including a one named Rusty, an Army veteran who served in the Pacific Theater in WWII, who sees Machiko walking on a nearby road after she's wandered from the MacKenzie farm after an arguement with Lenore, as he drives her to his home, to possibly try to cut off her arm, only for Sam, as Charlie to arrive and the two start fighting and Rusty begins throwing rocks at the two, Sam and Machiko, one of which strikes her in the Mackenzie family truck.
In the hospital, Sam helps Lenore not only come to grips with accepting Machiko, who's still fighting for her life in he hospital room, as well as with the death of her daughter Eileen, Charlie's sister, who faced a similar ostracism from Lenore and gossip of the townspeople because of her becoming pregant out of wedlock, as Machiko, after she recovers and awakes from the coma, finally gains Lenor's acceptance, as Lenore, who vowed not to attend their formal wedding recaption at their church, unexpectedly shows up at the wedding of her son and new daughter-in-law at the local church dressed in full Japanese formal attire, in a beautiful kimono.