Monthly Archives: April 2015

Season 1, Episode 04: Ted’s Saddle

Writer: Alan Goodman
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: August 4, 1989

04-01-Ernst-golf-1The cold open involves Mr. Ernst trying to practice his golf swing (with Cassie in attendance) with Danny constantly interrupting him.

Mr. Ernst’s plan is to build a golf course on the ranch to draw his New York accounting clients out here.

Danny says he doesn’t know anything about golf. Mr. Ernst admits he doesn’t either but believes it’s not that hard. He also makes a funny joke that I won’t spoil here.

He accidentally throws the club, and we hear the off-screen sound effects of something breaking, a cow mooing, and chickens clucking. Danny seems very excited about golf now, but I think he’s probably poking fun at the damage and emotional trauma that Mr. Ernst caused.

04-02-Brad-bedAfter the credits, Brad comes into the girls’ bunk house, exhausted over hearing Ted constantly read a newspaper ad about a saddle for sale. Melody has been the victim of this as well.

04-03-Ted-LucyTed gets on Lucy’s nerves by reading the ad while she’s working. The main selling point, it seems, is the saddle was once owned by John Wayne, who, according to Ted, was “the greatest cowboy that ever lived”. Lucy points out that John Wayne was a movie star, and, in real life, he disliked horses. This doesn’t dissuade Ted. Lucy looks at the ad and says it costs too much. Ted still wants it and comes up with the idea, unintentionally from Lucy, to get another job to earn the money. Ted wants to get lots of other jobs – part-time stuff doing little odds and ends for the guests. Lucy initially says no, because he’s “a lazy bum who never gets his work done anyway”, but she eventually gives in after Ted’s pleading. There’s a cute moment where Ted tries to kiss Lucy in appreciation, and she blocks it.

04-04-Ted-Lucy-no-kissTed tells Lucy that he’s going into it with his eyes open. Guess what happens next.

04-05-Ted-treeYeah, he reads the stupid ad again and walks right into a tree. Hilarious.

04-06-Danny-exhaustedDanny walks into the boys’ bunk house, exhausted. Ted says “Hey, dude”, which is cute. Ted’s working on polishing boots for the guests, and he accidentally left the buckles and spurs on Danny’s bed.

04-07-Danny-spursTed has started Ted’s Polishing Service…

04-08-Ted-flyerand a money jar.

04-09-Ted-jar-1It’s 2:30, which means it’s time for Ted to get down to the kitchen and scrape vegetables for dinner, but he successfully uses blatantly apparent reverse psychology to get Danny to volunteer to do it for him, so he can continue polishing boots.

04-10-Ted-pleads04-11-Ted-Buddy-CassieLater, Ted finds Buddy and Cassie. Buddy’s mom had sent a new batch of comics. They talk about a particular sci-fi series (it’s probably made up), and there’s a cute moment where Ted offhandedly says he thinks they learned about quantum cell transportation in school. Ted says it’s a shame that they don’t have comic book stores around here. He asks Buddy what he does with them when he’s done. Buddy says he used to save them, but he had so many that his mom said she was gonna move out if he didn’t get rid of them, so now he just tosses them. I think his mom was joking. A typical mom would have thrown the comics out. Heck, my mom once threatened to burn my comics if I didn’t sell them.

04-12-Buddy-comicTed decides to sell Buddy’s used comics to the guests, and, when Ted doesn’t give an answer regarding sharing the money, Buddy gives chase.

04-13-Buddy-runs04-14-Ernst-shhhMr. Ernst’s golf subplot continues, and he demands silence from Danny.

04-15-Ernst-hits-dirt04-16-Danny-ballThe gag is Mr. Ernst can’t hit the ball. Ha, ha. He blames the “very different from New York” sunlight out here. After Danny offers a comment about speeding up the game, Mr. Ernst sends him off to work. Then this happens:

04-17-dog-ball04-18-Ernst-clubs04-19-Melody-listSome time later, Melody is trying to come up with new ways to entertain the guests for an entire afternoon and needs Danny’s help. Melody is confused that Danny is tending horses today. It turns out that they’re both doing Ted’s assignments. Also, Brad is doing his yard clean-up. Also, Melody told him that she’d lead the teenage kids on a survival hike. There’s also fence-mending and bunk-cleaning. Melody wonders when they’re supposed to get their stuff done. Regarding the side jobs to earn money for the saddle, Danny says he’s never seen Ted work so hard in his life. Ted soon comes by with his stupid money jar and is surprised and upset when this happens:

04-20-Ted-jar-2What did you expect, Ted?

Anyway, I really like this shot:

04-21-sunriseAs Ted comes into the boys’ bunk house at the crack of dawn, exhausted from doing side jobs all night, and collapses on his bunk, Danny and another staff member wake up, refreshed and ready to work.

04-22-Danny-wakes04-23-butt-scratchThis is the first that we’ve seen of there being another male staff member, but I like that there is. We never see his face or learn his name or anything else about him, but the fact that he’s there adds a touch of realism. Maintaining a ranch requires more than just six people.

04-24-flyersAfter the commercial break, Brad is reading off the four different flyers that Ted had posted on the board to Melody. A strange thing that I noticed is Brad mispronounces “available” as “avalable”.

The girls discuss Ted’s behavior and apparent lack of awareness regarding it – as well as how the other is agreeing to do his shit for him. Melody says Ted has “some sort of weird power”, and Brad is understandably disbelieving, but Melody makes a good (non-supernatural) argument for it. Brad has an idea and takes Ted’s personal advice flyer.

Brad comes to Ted to pay for his personal advice, and Ted carefully clears the table of the guests’ stuff.

04-25-Ted-clears-tableAs Ted flirts with Brad, we learn he’s 17 years old. Brad makes up a female friend that’s being treated like crap by a guy, and she describes the exact current situation between her and Ted. There’s an unintelligible male voice briefly audible while she’s talking. The same thing had happened in the first episode. Anyway, Ted, apparently completely oblivious to the blatantly obvious, tells Brad that her friend needs to tell this guy about his behavior before he winds up with no friends. How can anyone be this dense?! Before Brad can spell things out for Ted, he rushes out on his side-job business – but not before trying to flirt with Brad again…

04-26-Ted-whistle04-27-Brad-polishes-TedAnd Ted is still oblivious.

On the survival hike, one of the teen girls yells at the “slowpoke” to hurry it up.

04-28-Melody-packMelody unfastens the pack to rest for a moment and…

04-29-Melody-loses-pack04-30-pack-rolls04-31-Melody-reaches04-32-pack-lake04-33-Melody-sighsTed comes over to Danny and talks to him about Brad’s recent puzzling behavior (she ran away) toward him down by the well.

04-34-Melody-pissedMelody storms over, pissed at Ted, and lets him have it. She’s on the verge of crying. She owes $88 for the pack. Ted is “sorry” for her “tough break”, which enrages Melody. After yelling at Ted, she heads for the pool to get her own work done.

Ted speaks, ostensibly to Danny, about Melody trying to blame him. Danny sets Ted straight, and Ted repeats to “Dan” what Lucy had said about John Wayne not liking horses. Danny gives Ted the idea of sneaking over to the girls’ bunk house.

At the office, Melody has reported the money (found under her pillow) to Mr. Ernst. Interestingly, Melody says she’s “asked Brad and all the other girls in the bunk house”, and it’s not their money. I guess Melody and Brad have unseen female staff members (perhaps even Lucy) living with them.

04-35-Ernst-cleans-clubMr. Ernst is cleaning one of his golf clubs and practicing his putt while talking, which is a nice way of continuing his subplot while still keeping the main plot going.

Mr. Ernst has asked all of the guests, but no one is missing any money. He’s questioned the entire staff, too, except for one. If the money’s not his, Mr. Ernst is inclined to let Melody keep it.

Ted comes in. Melody and Mr. Ernst question him, Mr. Ernst specifically bringing up Ted’s saddle fund and asking if any of that money is missing. Ted feigns innocence and then meaningfully tells Melody that the money must be hers. Melody calls Ted “a pretty terrific guy”, stands up, and gives the money to Mr. Ernst.

04-36-Melody-kisses-TedI just noticed someone moving behind the slightly-open office door. At first, I thought it was a reflection of someone raising a hand to indicate to Christine Taylor when to stand up, but now I’m not sure. S/he can briefly be seen before Melody leaves the office.

04-37-Ted-wipesTed does a weird wiping-away or scratching thing as Melody leaves – but not where Melody kissed him. Why would he wipe away a kiss from Melody, anyway?

When Mr. Ernst asks how Ted’s saddle fund is coming, Ted says he’s going to save for something a little less frivolous. Mr. Ernst tries to offer Ted all sorts of odd jobs.

04-38-Ernst-listTed quickly excuses himself, citing his chores, and is so nervous that he checks his nonexistent watch for the time:

04-39-Ted-no-watchThe pre-credits scene at the end is the culmination of Mr. Ernst’s golf subplot.

Mr. Ernst can’t hit the ball. After he and Danny debate golf for a while, Mr. Ernst wants Danny to try hitting the ball while Mr. Ernst comes up behind him, talking loudly and trying to distract him.

04-40-Danny-hits-ballDanny is successful, and Mr. Ernst gives up on golf.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

The subplot for this episode was silly, but it’s good, silly fun.

The main plot was okay, and Ted did learn a lesson about friendship, but he had to be made unrealistically stupid and selfish in order to learn that lesson. The one thing that it did prove was Ted really can be a hard worker when he’s properly motivated (although this is the first indication that we get that he’s usually a “lazy bum”).

I did, however, find Christine Taylor’s performance as Melody wonderful here. She runs the gamut of emotions from frustration to sadness to anger to happiness.

Overall, not the best episode, but it has its moments.

Season 1, Episode 03: Goldilocks

Writer: Judy Spencer
Director: Fred C. Keller
Original air date: July 28, 1989

03-01-Ernst-gun-1Mr. Ernst is pretending to be a gunslinger in the mirror while doing a bad John Wayne impersonation. He gets a little too into it.

03-02-Ernst-gun-2If you look closely at his name badge (which I don’t think he wore in the first episode), we learn his first name is Ben.

There’s a knock on his office door, which disrupts him.

03-03-Ernst-gun-3Brad and Melody come in, and Brad immediately apologizes. She was waiting tables at breakfast and accidentally spilled some stuff on an entire family. Okay, but how did she manage to get food on her head?

03-04-Brad-messThe family had gotten upset and cranky, even though Brad had apologized. We learn, when Mr. Ernst hired her, Brad had told him that she had experience waiting tables. This isn’t elaborated on, but we can assume they had met sometime prior to the beginning of the series.

Mr. Ernst asks “Bradley” if she’d lied. Melody tries to cover for her, but Brad admits to lying, because she didn’t think it would be this hard. Melody personally guarantees, by tomorrow morning, she’ll turn Brad into the best waitress that Mr. Ernst ever saw. Brad enthusiastically agrees, knocking Mr. Ernst’s coffee cup into his lap.

03-05-Brad-cupAfter the credits, Mr. Ernst is looking over some blueprints when Buddy knocks something over while skateboarding in the lobby. Wait, did Mr. Ernst’s office end up being in the main lodge? I admit I’m not exactly sure, but it seems like it.

03-06-Buddy-skateboardBuddy is upset at the lack of any place on the ranch for skateboarding. Mr. Ernst suggests riding or swimming. Buddy suggests going to the mall and playing video games, but Mr. Ernst dismisses that. Mr. Ernst is planning some improvements to the ranch and thinking of building a tennis court, but money is an issue. He wants to make the Bar None a success.

We learn they’re from New Jersey. Wait, in episode 01, Buddy described Mr. Ernst as an accountant from New York, and Buddy is now wearing a Yankees cap.

03-07-Buddy-capHmm, maybe they lived in New Jersey, but Mr. Ernst commuted to New York City to work. That’s pretty common.

Mr. Ernst senses Buddy is unhappy here and lets him know he doesn’t have to stay. Buddy lies and says he’s happy and loves the ranch.

Here’s something that I just noticed. When Buddy says Cassie is happy, there are some dubbed-in sad dog sounds – while Cassie is panting. Nice audio work, editors.

03-08-Ted-brushesTed is brushing a horse while Danny holds the saddle. Melody wants Ted’s help in training Brad, but he’s busy today. Fearing the wrath of Lord Ernst, Melody appeals to Ted’s penis on Brad’s behalf (way to whore out your friend, Melody). Danny tells Ted to step it up, because his arms are getting tired, and, y’know, he can’t just set the stupid saddle down. Ted agrees to be a pretend customer for Brad to practice on at lunch time, but then he remembers he has garbage detail. I like this. Work plays into the plot instead of being swept aside by it. Ted suggests Danny. Danny suggests Melody, who has to “supervise”. After Ted promises to do Danny’s next two garbage details, Danny reluctantly agrees and tells Ted to hurry up with the brushing, so he can put the saddle down, because he can’t just put it down now. That’d be crazy.

Melody leaves for lifeguard duty. Mr. Ernst arrives (with Buddy) to talk with Ted. Danny gives up and throws the saddle down in frustration. So ends that thrilling subplot.

03-09-Danny-saddle03-10-congratsMr. Ernst “congratulates” Ted on his “promotion” (with no raise but more responsibility): head of the new Young Buckaroo program (for guests 16 and under). Translation: find something for Buddy to do. Once Mr. Ernst comes clean, Ted agrees to it.

03-11-Ernst-calculatorAs Mr. Ernst leaves, he takes out a calculator. I like this little detail. It’s unneeded and goes unexplained, but it’s likely a continuation of the ranch-improvement plans; he’s probably budgeting, which is something that an accountant would do.

Ted tries to get Buddy interested in riding horses and eventually shows him “this year’s model”, a pony named Goldilocks. Buddy immediately falls in love with her.

03-12-Buddy-rubs-GoldilocksTed shows Buddy how to ride Goldilocks, go faster, and stop. It’s a really sweet scene. Buddy has a great time.

03-13-Buddy-gets-on-Goldilocks03-14-Buddy-rides-Goldilocks03-15-Buddy-thanks-GoldilocksAt the picnic area (the first that we see of it), Melody prepares the food for Brad to practice with.

03-16-Melody-prepares-foodDanny arrives late. Melody finishes preparing chili, cream corn, spaghetti, pea soup, and (melted) ice cream. Melody takes Danny’s hat off, because “nobody wears a hat at the table”, but he puts it back on. Brad is nervous, but Melody tells her to not be. Melody gives her the tray and tells her to remember balance, poise, smile, and waitress attitude. Melody loads Brad’s tray but then makes her nervous over remembering everything and…

03-17-Brad-spills-food-1Brad apologizes and tries to help Danny clean up. Buddy arrives, having looked all over for Cassie. Melody picks up the box of dog food and says they bribed “him”. Wait, so Cassie is a guy? Anyway, it’s cute that Cassie was brought in for moral support, but why go through the trouble? I doubt Brad would have cared.

Buddy excitedly relates his riding of Goldilocks and says they even went out on the trail. Danny wants to clean up, but Melody tells him, much to his surprise and dismay, to be back at 4:30 for another go. Upon learning the identity of the horse, Danny breaks the news to Buddy, who wants to ask his dad for Goldilocks to be his horse, that Mr. Ernst sold her this morning.

Buddy comes into his dad’s office and confronts him, being unreasonably upset, considering Mr. Ernst didn’t know they knew each other. Buddy argues about it, and his dad tries to calm him down and explain his reasoning. Buddy yells that he hates “this stupid ranch” and that he’s going back to New Jersey. He runs off, upset.

03-18-Buddy-runs-offAt the corral, Buddy vows to Goldilocks to not let anyone take her away. He takes her to “hide out for a couple days until they forget all about” them. Yeah, great plan, Buddy.

03-19-Buddy-takes-Goldilocks03-20-skullAfter the commercial break, Buddy stops and checks his supplies: comics, a plastic Slinky, and lunch (a sandwich for him and Cassie, canned cream corn for Goldilocks – but no can opener).

03-21-Slinky03-22-Cassie-sniffs-Goldilocks03-23-Goldilocks-sniffs-sandwichBuddy believes there are no snakes out here, but then he hears a coyote howl and decides to get out of there.

Back at the ranch, Danny is prepared for attempt #2:

03-24-Danny-preparedMelody is frustrated at Brad’s defeatist attitude. Mr. Ernst comes by and asks if they’ve seen Buddy. He relates the argument. Melody tells Mr. Ernst to not worry. Mr. Ernst asks about Danny’s get-up, because “it never rains here”. Danny says he did a rain dance this morning. Mr. Ernst asks if that works. Danny says it never fails, and it should start raining “any second now”. Mr. Ernst seems to buy into it, walking off.

03-25-Ernst-weatherMelody disapproves, but Danny says he couldn’t resist. Melody tries to remind Brad of what to do, but Brad doesn’t want to hear it, because it’s making her nervous. Yeah, Melody, shut up. Anyway, it’s Danny, for whatever goddamn reason, that yells out, making Brad nervous and…

03-26-Brad-spills-food-2What the fuck, Danny?

Brad believes she’s hopeless and goes to pack. Melody goes after her.

Ted shows up, doing garbage detail.

03-27-Ted-cleans-DannyTed feels awful, because he just found out that Mr. Ernst sold Goldilocks. He never would have put Buddy on her if he’d known. Danny tries to cheer Ted up. Ted wants to talk to Buddy, and Danny fills Ted in. Ted gets worried.

03-28-Buddy-lostBuddy is having second thoughts and considers going back, but he’s lost.

03-29-Brad-Melody-talkMelody catches up with Brad, and they talk. Brad believes she’s just a klutz, but Melody disputes that, saying Brad rides “like a dream”. We learn Brad took ballet for seven years. There’s a funny bit where Melody tells Brad to search her feelings and “dig deep inside”, and Brad blurts out “I hate waiting tables! I hate serving people!”

I can so relate to this. I work in retail as a cashier, and it has made me hate humanity in a way that I’d never before thought possible. From what I hear, female cashiers have it even worse, being the targets of inappropriate and uncomfortable comments from men. I imagine working as a waitress is just as bad – if not more so. The issue isn’t explored in the episode, but I can totally guess why Brad would feel as she does.

Brad goes on about how horrible that the job is and how she vows to treat other waitresses well, and I really feel for her. Finally, she asks if that makes her a snob. Melody doesn’t really answer her, but I’d say no. Holding the average redneck, dudebro dumbass and nosey, talkative bitch to a standard of politeness and decency is not snobbery.

Anyway, Melody suggests Brad pretends she does something that she enjoys – something that requires class and skill: figure-skating, riding, ballet, or shopping for clothes. Brad starts to cheer up a little.

03-30-Buddy-hotThe heat is wearing Buddy down, but he presses on.

03-31-coyoteThis seems like a good place to say I really love the visuals of the desert in this episode: the cacti, the hot sun, the coyote, and so on – as well as the accompanying music. It really goes a long way to adding flavor to these scenes.

03-32-Ernst-phoneMr. Ernst is on the phone with the kitchen, but Buddy isn’t there.

Ted comes in. Mr. Ernst was hoping Buddy would be with him, and Ted is surprised that Mr. Ernst hasn’t found him yet. Mr. Ernst has checked everywhere, but no one has seen him since this morning. They talk about it for a while, and Ted says they’ll look for him.

03-33-Ernst-Ted03-34-Ted-worried03-35-Ernst-worriedWhen Ted leaves the office, he asks Brad and Melody if they’ve seen Buddy. Melody is surprised. Danny runs over and asks if one of the guests took Goldilocks out. The others immediately figure out that it was Buddy. Brad, knowing Danny grew up out here, asks how much trouble that Buddy could get into. Danny says a lot. He also says Goldilocks, having spent her whole life on this ranch, knows the one trail that they take the beginners on; however, Buddy could have turned off the trail. Melody suggests telling Mr. Ernst to call the park rangers, and Danny goes with her. Ted decides to go out to the trail, and Brad goes with him on the chance that Buddy is hurt; one of them can go back for help, and the other one can stay with him.

03-36-Ted-Brad-horses03-37-Buddy-hopelessBuddy has lost hope.

03-38-cactus-sun03-39-Brad-Ted-searchBrad and Ted search.

03-40-Ernst-phone-rangersMr. Ernst gives a description to the park rangers. We learn Buddy is 11 years old and has brown hair and brown eyes. Melody tries to be optimistic.

03-41-Brad-spots-BuddyBrad finds Buddy sleeping under a tree.

03-42-Buddy-tree03-43-Buddy-rescuedWhen Brad asks Buddy why he ran away, Buddy says because his dad sold Goldilocks, but Ted doesn’t really believe it. Buddy admits he doesn’t like the ranch like his dad does. He misses all of his friends, and he has nothing to do here. Brad tries to empathize with Buddy, saying they’re the new kids. She talks to Buddy for a bit, and there’s a humorous moment where Ted picks up on an indirect compliment of him. Brad convinces Buddy to come back to the ranch and give it another try. Ted and Brad list things that Buddy can do – all chores.

03-44-Ernst-waitsMr. Ernst waits outside for Ted and Brad to get back. Soon after Danny comes outside, a familiar bark is heard. Melody runs out in excitement, and the three of them are happy to see Buddy.

03-45-reunitedFather and son talk about what happened and the reason for it. Buddy wants to stick around here to not miss his dad. Interestingly, he says “When I’m in New Jersey, I miss you.” Maybe Mr. Ernst had moved to New York after the divorce or separation, or maybe his wife had moved with Buddy to New Jersey.

We learn Buddy’s real name is Benjamin. That would make him Benjamin Ernst, Jr. The two of them haggle over the punishment, which ends up being horse poop detail for four days.

03-46-handshake03-47-hugThe pre-credits scene at the end is the culmination of Brad’s waitressing subplot.

Melody tells Mr. Ernst to prepare himself for “the waitressing experience of a lifetime”.

I’m not making this shit up. Melody leads the gang in a kazoo performance of “The Blue Danube Waltz” while Brad waltz-waits on Mr. Ernst.

03-48-waltz-103-49-waltz-203-50-waltz-303-51-waltz-403-52-waltz-5Somehow, it works.

03-53-waltz-603-54-waltz-7So ends another day at the Bar None.

The credits are back up to around a minute. I guess they’ll vary, depending on how much that the episode falls short.

Lucy doesn’t appear in this episode.

The subplot for this episode was potentially interesting, but it got corny at the end.

The main plot, however, was handled very well. Josh Tygiel convincingly plays an angry kid that makes a rash decision and comes to regret it. David Brisbin is great here, portraying a parent worried about his child. Even David Lascher gets to show another side of Ted – one that doesn’t make you want to roll your eyes.

This is a great episode, everyone!

Season 1, Episode 02: Battle of the Sexes

Writer: Michael B. Kaplan
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: July 21, 1989

Okay, it looks like “Hey Dude” has resorted to a tired sitcom trope with its second episode. I swear I saw the same type of plot on both “Saved by the Bell” and “Family Matters”. Well, let’s see how it’s handled.

02-01-Brad's-Breakfast-RideBrad is taking some guests on Brad’s Breakfast Ride to Sabino Canyon. Sabino Canyon is a natural desert oasis located in Tucson’s Coronado National Forest. I like when little details like this are added. Danny and Melody observe Brad and discuss how much that they like her.

Danny asks when Brad’s birthday is, but Melody doesn’t know. She asks why, and Danny says it’s just nice to know when people’s birthdays are. We learn Melody’s birthday is in September. Ted comes by, and we learn his birthday is in March. Danny goes on about birthdays, which Ted says are lame, disappointing Danny. After Danny leaves, Melody asks what’s up, and Ted says Danny’s been hinting about birthdays all week, because tomorrow is his birthday. Ted has been pretending to not notice, but he’s actually planning a surprise party (which he invites Melody and Brad to) in the bunk. Ted gets Melody to “not notice” Danny’s hints. Danny gets more upset over their reactions.

02-02-Ted-Melody-laugh02-03-Ted-Brad-bedAfter the credits, Ted and Brad are cleaning a guest room (the first time that we see one), and they get into it over the proper way to make a bed and the need for dusting.

02-04-Ted-dustsThis devolves into Ted insisting guys are “infinitely superior to girls” and Brad countering. Brad actually cleverly stumps Ted when she challenges him to figure out why all of the best students at her schools are girls: because she goes to an all-girl school.

02-05-Brad-sprays-Ted02-06-Danny-horoscopeBack at the boys’ bunk house, Danny drops another hint by supposedly reading his horoscope. We learn Danny is a Cancer, and his birthday is in July. It is? Just how much time is supposed to have passed between this episode and the previous one? I know my school had let out in late May or early June and started back up in August. Either a lot of time passed between episodes 1 and 2, or the teen staff got off to a late start this summer.

Ted says he doesn’t believe in horoscopes and tells Danny to lay off. When asked what’s eating him, Ted relates his argument with Brad. Danny agrees with Ted on male superiority. Ted wants to put Brad in her place, and Danny suggests the two of them challenge Brad and Melody to a competition. Ted agrees.

02-07-challengeBrad and Melody come in, more trash-talking occurs, and then Brad makes a battle-of-the-sexes challenge. The guys insist they came up with the idea first, but Brad busts them when they exaggerate how much earlier. Vague, unspecified things will have to be done by the losers for the winners. They don’t even discuss what, exactly, the competition will be yet. Regardless, it’s on!

02-08-challenge-202-09-guys-hayWhile Ted and Danny feed the horses, they think of ideas for the competition: asking out girls (to which Ted makes an uncomfortably-close-to-homophobic comment), head shaving (Danny rejects it and all but calls bald girls ugly), and swimsuits (Ted says they’ll lose).

Brad and Melody arrive. The girls have decided on a riding race: Brad against Ted. Ted doesn’t answer, and then Danny says everyone knows Brad is a better rider than Ted, upsetting Ted and pleasing the girls. Ted accepts the challenge. Brad says, when they win, the guys will do their stall-cleaning detail for a week. Ted struggles to come up with something, but he finally decides, when they win, the girls will do their duties in guest room-cleaning for a week. Melody says they’ll start tomorrow after morning chores. Now, it’s definitely on!

02-10-Ted-Brad-shake-hands02-11-Ted-SylvesterThe next day, Ted pep-talks his horse, Sylvester, against Brad and her horse, Pepper. He even bribes Sylvester with an extra bale of hay if he wins.

02-12-Danny-creamDanny arrives late, because he went to buy some shaving cream in an unfunny continuation of the head-shaving bit from yesterday.

Ted acknowledges Brad is a better rider but starts talking about how he’s got precedent in his favor: all of the greatest winners in the world have been men (according to him). To illustrate, he names various real and fictional males. I just want to point out that you can hear Ted’s echo while he’s talking, which is a nice bit of outdoor realism. I won’t mention it again, but it’s a frequent occurrence.

Brad and Melody arrive late. Melody wants them to hurry, because she and Brad just finished their chores and don’t have much time before they have to get back. I like this. The plot is progressing between the work that these characters are logically expected to do instead of simply brushing the work aside.

Ted explains the race course, which includes going around the barrel in the fork in the road. Before they start, Ted takes Danny aside to do a macho “Guys!” cheer:

02-13-guys-102-14-guys-202-15-guys-302-16-guys-402-17-guys-502-18-guys-6Not to be outdone, Melody takes Brad aside to do a “Girls!” cheer.

02-19-girls-1 02-20-girls-2 02-21-girls-3 02-22-girls-4 02-23-girls-5 02-24-girls-6 02-25-girls-7I find it improbable that they came up with these on the spot. Did they develop these earlier?

At least, it’s not “We bad!” bad.

02-26-Ted-Brad-readyTed and Brad get on their horses.

Danny says “Hi-ho, Sylvester.” Cute. 🙂

02-27-Melody-starterMelody is the starter.

02-28-Ted-Brad--startAnd they’re off!

After the commercial break, the (uncredited) stuntpeople take over for most of the actual race – until Brad makes a certain decision:

02-29-Brad--barrel-1 02-30-Brad--barrel-2Brad claims victory, but Ted disputes it on account of Brad didn’t complete the course (she didn’t go around the barrel), never mind the fact that she was ahead of him and, according to her, slowed down so he could catch up. Melody proposes calling it a draw, but both Brad and Ted oppose this.

Brad says they need another event. Melody proposes a cooking competition. Danny’s upset. Brad asks if he’s chicken. Danny says he doesn’t like chicken and suggests a dessert. Ted is confident that they’ll win, because “the world’s best chefs are men”.

Brad suggests raising the stakes, which Ted agrees to. The girls would have to do the guys’ duties for a week and then clean their bunks for a week. The guys would have to clean the girls’ rooms for a week and serve them breakfast in bed every morning, so they can sleep late.

Ted doesn’t know how to cook but is confident, because “it’s all in the cookbook”.

Some time later in the day, in the kitchen (the first that we see of it), which I assume is in the main lodge, the guys are guessing their way through it in the foreground, including making “brown sugar”…

02-31-chef-dudesand toweling it off…

02-32-towel-offHow can anyone be this stupid?

Meanwhile, the girls are working on their own dessert in the background and having a good laugh at the guys:

02-33-Melody-Brad-laughTed adds way too much flour…

02-34-Ted-flourand turns on the blender. I wonder if this was caused by a DVD authoring error, damage on the master tape, or the blender during the taping of the scene:

02-35-damageAnyway, they cause a big mess:

02-36-blender-102-37-blender-2Danny guesses the mixer is broken and suggests mixing it by hand:

02-38-hand-mix02-39-Melody-Brad-happyBuddy is the judge:

02-40-Judge-BuddyBuddy compares Ted and Danny’s cupcake to his science project from school: a fungus mold.

02-41-cupcakeCassie ain’t havin’ none of that shit:

02-42-Cassie-noBuddy is, but he ain’t keepin’ it:

02-43-Buddy-napkinHe says it didn’t taste nearly as good as his science project, and I can’t tell if he’s being serious or not, but Buddy eating fungus mold is a pretty disturbing thought.

02-44-casseroleThe girls’ desert is tuna casserole, which Buddy can’t eat, because he’s allergic to tuna. Even upon learning that, Brad wants him to have “just a little bite”, but Buddy is adamantly opposed to it.

This leads to another dispute between Ted and Brad. Ted tries the tuna casserole and is seemingly repulsed by it (or maybe he’s just acting, but the “bad” music that played during the cupcake portion plays here as well). Danny agrees, but I love his understated, matter-of-fact reaction: “Yep, definitely lethal.”

Melody again proposes calling it a draw, but Brad and Ted again refuse. Brad says they need another event. Ted proposes swimming, knowing Brad is afraid of the water. Melody proposes fishing, which they agree to.

Ted proposes raising the stakes again, and Brad agrees. The losers have to be the winners’ slaves for a week and do whatever they want. Whoever gets the most fish in two hours “wins it all”.

Right before the scene changes, as they’re cleaning up, Ted sarcastically says “Good goin’, Bud-man”. I like it when little things like this are included. It’s not something that’s really needed, but it makes things feel unscripted, even if it is scripted.

At the lake (the first that we see of it), Danny’s being mopey about his birthday, and Ted has fun in coming to the wrong conclusion from the hint.

Ted says he’s always forgetting things and claims, when he was a little kid, he used to forget where he lived, so he came home to a new home every night; to this day, his mom still puts his name and address in his shirt collars. I have no idea if he’s being serious or not, but that’s hilarious.

02-45-Danny-fishDanny gets a fish, which isn’t as big as they’d hoped, but Ted tells him to put it with the others.

02-46-girls-fishThe girls catch what Ted estimates is their fifth big fish.

With time almost up, Ted asks if Danny has any “Indian tricks” for catching fish. Danny mentions a “special thing” that they did on the reservation when they wanted fish: they went to the store and bought it. Ted initially is upset at Danny’s humor, but then he realizes “there is much wisdom to your native customs”. They pack up and get out of there.

Before I move on to the next scene, I just want to note how it’s a nice touch that each event gets its own unique music.

02-47-girls-fish-2Brad and Melody got six fish.

02-48-guys-fishTed and Danny got seven fish.

Yes, they bought them.

But it’s brilliant. The winner is whoever gets the most fish, not whoever catches the most. Ted would make a great lawyer. However, he slightly ruins it by adding they paid for them. Paying for something is not a condition of getting it.

Brad calls bullshit, and she and Ted argue over it. Danny yells at them to be quiet, and Melody begs them to call it a draw. Danny agrees and asks for a truce. Brad and Ted agree.

02-49-truceThe guys learn of the girls’ hatred of stall-cleaning, and the girls learn of the guys’ hatred of guest room-cleaning. Brad proposes they do each others’ chores, and the others agree. This agreement would have had more impact if the opening scenes showed the girls cleaning the stalls and the guys cleaning the guest rooms (although, to be fair, they had briefly mentioned earlier that they had to do those chores).

Ted and Brad compliment each other on the fight that their teams put up, and they all head off to, I assume, catch up on the afternoon chores that they’d been putting off.

02-50-Brad-hugs-TedThe pre-credits scene at the end is Danny’s surprise birthday party.

02-51-surprise-102-52-surprise-202-53-blow-candleTed brought the cupcakes that they’d made earlier (yeah, there were more than one), because, with all of the activity today, Ted didn’t have time to buy Danny a real cake as he’d planned. It was either the cupcakes or the fish. Danny believes the fish would have been better and asks Ted for his opinion:

02-54-Danny-cakes-TedTed seems to like the cupcakes and asks Danny for his opinion:

02-55-Ted-cakes-DannyAfter Melody calls for civility, Danny calls for sharing:

02-56-guys-cake-girlsSo ends another day at the Bar None.

It’s neat that the girls’ playful yells extend into the closing credits for a bit. The credits last around 40 seconds now, even though the overall episode length is still 24 minutes. The familiar wolf/coyote howl sound is now added to the copyright screen (it was absent in episode 01).

Okay, so this episode wasn’t that great. It made the guys seem really stupid, and it made everyone seem really petty. Maybe teens really get into stupid arguments and competitions like this, but I can’t relate to it. I’m naturally non-competitive, meek, and non-macho, and most of the few online friends that I talk with on a semi-regular basis are female. My reaction to a challenge to my non-existent feeling of male superiority? Whatever.

Besides, I know enough about cooking to not add cola to sugar. I sometimes add sugar to cola, but that’s beside the point.

Neither Mr. Ernst nor Lucy appeared in this episode, because they had nothing to add to the story, so more screen time is given to the kids. In a way, this is realistic, because you might not necessarily see your bosses every day.

But I’d like to think they contributed to the plot off-screen by allowing the riding race, use of the kitchen, and fishing time.

It seems Mr. Ernst’s first meetings with Lucy and Brad occurred off-screen as well.

This episode, like the first one, moves at a relaxed pace. There’s a lot of joking, insulting, and basic, general lines that I didn’t summarize above. It feels real.

Also, at least the characters develop some respect for each other. It’s best that it comes this early on in the series’ run.

Season 1, Episode 01: Day One at the Bar None

Writer: Alan Goodman
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: July 14, 1989

Before I get started, thanks goes to Chris the Geek at “Saved by the Bell…Reviewed!” for linking to and promoting this blog and for creating the banner art. Thanks, man!

01-01-first-shotThe series premiere opens with Ted (David Lascher) arriving at the Bar None Dude Ranch for the summer. He thanks Mr. Wilson for the lift. Mr. Wilson tells Ted to have a good summer. Ted tells Mr. Wilson to watch out for Dennis the Menace.

Ted picks up a paper off the bulletin board and yells to “Joe” that he’s back. Ted reads the paper, realizes he’s been made senior staff, and believes his hard-working days are over.

01-02-Brad-Ted-meetJust then, a limo arrives, and a girl gets out. Ted gets a boner and wants to handle her bags, but she wants to handle her own bags thankyouverymuch. Ted brags about how he’s senior staff and, when asked to explain what that is, bullshits his way through it and hypes it up as more than it probably is. Notably, the girl has a reaction when Ted mentions riding lessons. Ted is so eager to impress that he doesn’t look where he’s going and falls into the watering trough.

01-03-Ted-troughThe opening theme song (which lasts a bit less than a minute), sung by Dale Jarvis, starts, and I like how it’s done. The series’ logo appears over the end of the cold open, and then each actor is credited in turn as a horseshoe flips. This is followed by the series’ logo again, and then the sequence fades out.

01-04-theme-101-05-theme-2I like the theme song. It’s a catchy country-western song about life on the range. But I think it’s making the series sound way more “western” and adventurous than it’ll end up being.

Anyway, let’s meet the characters that we’ll be spending the next year-plus with:

01-06-BrisbinDavid Brisbin was in about eleven different things and acting for four years prior to landing the role of Mr. Ernst, the ranch owner, on “Hey Dude”. He has since had many other roles (including a stint as a doctor on “ER”) and continues acting to this day.

01-07-BrownKelly Brown was a model for four years in the U.S. and Europe, appearing on the covers of “Young Miss” and “Seventeen” magazines, prior to landing the role of Brad. “Hey Dude” was her only acting gig. She is now a successful business owner.

01-08-KalmanLucy on “Hey Dude” was Debrah Kalman’s only acting gig. She was a full-time teacher but then retired in June of 2014 and had a demo reel put together in a desire to get back into acting. I wish her success.

01-09-LascherDavid Lascher was in a TV movie in 1988 before landing the role of Ted on “Hey Dude”. He was on a short-lived sitcom called “A Family for Joe” (which I have vague memories of watching) in 1990, during the run of “Hey Dude”. After “Hey Dude”, he’s been in a shit-ton of other stuff (including substantial roles on “Blossom”, “Clueless”, and “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”) and even got a handful of writing, directing, and producing credits in. He’s busy with acting work to this day.

01-10-TaylorMelody on “Hey Dude” was Christine Taylor’s first role. She has since been in many other things (including playing Marcia Brady in the two theatrical Brady Bunch movies), beating David Lascher in roles but not sheer content. She is married to Ben Stiller.

01-11-TorresDanny on “Hey Dude” was Joe Torres’ only acting gig. It’s unknown what became of him. It’s been suggested on his IMDb page that he works as a sales consultant for Toyota of Runnemede in New Jersey. However, someone else cast doubt that it’s really him on the site and said Joe has tattoos now and looks like Danny Trejo. Someone else mentioned seeing him in a dive bar in Tuscon. A blogger showed a picture of himself with (presumably) Joe (he doesn’t looks like Danny Trejo), explicitly said he doesn’t sell cars, and said Joe is not online.

01-12-TygielJosh Tygiel was one of 120 Tuscon-area boys that auditioned for the role of Buddy on “Hey Dude”. It was his only acting gig. He made the decision in college to not pursue acting. He prefers to live a quiet life.

Cassie was provided by Critters Of The Cinema, the same group that provided Louie, who portrayed Duke in the live-action sequence on “Captain N: The Game Master”.

01-13-theme-3Danny comes into the boys’ bunk house and meets up with Ted. They do…this:

01-14-handshake-101-15-handshake-201-16-handshake-3Some kind of handshake. I dunno. The dialogue leads us to believe it’s from last summer. Danny brings Ted some fry bread (old family recipe). We learn Danny is Hopi. After a bit of casual banter, Ted brings up Brad and also the senior staff thing. Danny asks what that is. Ted bullshits about it.

Melody arrives, asking if everyone is decent. Ted tells Melody to hold on, hides behind the door, and tells her to come in. Um,…what? Melody comes in, and Danny and Ted close in on her, saying “Sandwich!” Melody laughs it off, saying they’re not going through another summer of that. Considering Melody’s earlier question about decency, I wonder if we’re watching merely the G-rated version of the “Melody sandwich” that they engaged in last year.

01-17-sandwichDanny brings up the senior staff thing. Melody asks what it is. I guess this is the running joke for this episode.

There’s some commotion outside, and they go to check it out, but Ted switches his and Danny’s pillows on the bunk beds before he goes out. I like that. It’s a fun, unimportant detail, but it makes things feel a bit less scripted, even if it is scripted.

01-18-wranglersOutside, they witness wranglers breaking in a wild horse. Ted takes an intense interest in it. Lucy, the ranch hand, greets her “teen titans”, Danny and Melody, but she knows what Ted’s thinking and threatens him – twice. We learn Ted’s last name is McGriff.

Ted takes issue with the new owner’s strict rule, per Lucy’s suggestion, of hiring wranglers to break in horses. I don’t see what Ted’s problem is. That seems like a pretty damn good idea. How did the old owner do things? Did he let the teen staff break in horses? That would’ve been a lawsuit waiting to happen.

01-19-Ernst-arrivesThe new owner, Mr. Ernst, and his son, Buddy, arrive. Mr. Ernst’s “western” attire is slightly more authentic than what Marty wore (sorry, will wear) at the beginning of “Back to the Future, Part III”.

There’s a humorous bit where Mr. Ernst keeps insisting the place is beautiful but also keeps thinking of negative things to say as well.

01-20-skateboardBuddy is a skateboarder and protests the lack of sidewalks. Mr. Ernst notes his boots are tight but believes he just has to get used to them. Mr. Ernst asks Buddy for a suggestion for their first night here. Buddy asks about a video store, because he wants to rent something really bloody. I like Buddy.

01-21-Melody-Brad-meetMelody comes into the girls’ bunk house and meets Brad. She – as Ted apparently did – believes Brad is a guest, but she’s actually a staff member. We learn Brad’s name is really Bradley. Brad seems to have brought designer clothes to the ranch, and Melody finds them “unranchy”. As they unpack Brad’s stuff, Melody learns of Brad’s run-in with Ted. Melody takes a liking to Brad’s clothes, and Brad allows her to borrow whatever. Melody offers the same, but Brad, perhaps channeling her inner Veronica, declines. Melody seems to be a bit of a slob.

Mr. Ernst is embarrassed that he can’t find his own office. He meets Melody, and we learn she teaches swimming and is a lifeguard.

01-22-Ernst-Melody-meetThere’s something odd when Mr. Ernst tries to verify all of the buildings. While he’s talking, an unintelligible male voice is briefly heard. I have no idea what the deal with this is. Maybe it was a crew member talking during the take? It briefly happens again when Melody is describing the office.

We learn there’s a girls’ bunkhouse, boys’ bunkhouse, guest houses, main lodge, and Mr. Ernst’s office. Melody heads to the pool to check on some supplies, and Mr. Ernst is either incapable of asking or too embarrassed to ask where his office is. He’s more determined than ever to find it, though, because Melody mentioned the sweet, blessed air conditioning.

Then, overcome with a sense of adventure, he pets a cactus and gets what anyone else would expect.

01-23-Ernst-cactusTed and Danny have shown Buddy the ranch, and we meet Buddy’s dog, Cassie (where was she when they arrived?). I swear, even when she’s not in the shot, you can hear her pant. Maybe she’s all hot and bothered after passing through the Tunnel of Ted.

01-24-boys-tourWe learn Buddy doesn’t really like it out here, and we learn a bit about Mr. Ernst. It’s not mentioned outright, but he and Buddy’s mom seem to be divorced (or separated), and Buddy lives with her. Mr. Ernst tries really hard, but buying this ranch in Arizona is apparently one of the “crazy schemes” that he sometimes gets. He’s an accountant from New York. His apartment had cockroaches.

Ted sees Brad and ditches Buddy. Danny observes while Ted makes his move. After a bit of banter, Danny comes over, and he and Brad meet.

01-25-Danny-Brad-meetTed wants to show Brad “real western riding” and picks out a “tough hombre”, but Brad challenges Ted to ride Rocket, the unbroken horse from earlier. After a moment of hesitation, the thought of possibly parking his horse in Brad’s stable later on overrides Ted’s better judgment (assuming he has any), and he goes into the corral. It’s a fairly well-done action sequence. It’s not David Lascher in some of the shots (a male and female stuntperson are credited in the closing credits), but you really can’t tell. It freeze-frames just before it goes to commercial break, which is a nice touch.

01-26-Ted-Rocket01-27-Ted-dirt01-28-Rocket01-29-Ted-freeze-frameDanny goes in and rescues Ted, and Brad shoos away Rocket.

01-30-Danny-saves-Ted01-31-Brad-shoos01-32-Danny-pissedDanny is rightly pissed at Ted and slaps him, but Ted hasn’t learned his lesson just yet, because he vows to try again.

01-33-boys-meet-ErnstMr. Ernst comes over and meets them. He asks Ted about his dirty clothes. Danny bullshits an explanation about Ted “breaking in” his clothes by getting them dirty. Danny proceeds to demonstrate.

01-34-breaking-in-1Despite Ted’s nervousness and Danny obviously making this up on the spot (even flubbing “Old West”, which doesn’t even make sense when said correctly, because they’re not in the Old West), Mr. Ernst seems to fall for it. He tells the boys to stop by his office when they can, because he’s posting a new duty roster outside, which they’ll check daily for their work assignments. After trying to allow them to reveal where his office is, he finally asks them. They’re amused but decide to show him.

Mr. Ernst’s feet hurt, and Danny recommends he take his boots off and get used to them gradually, but Mr. Ernst insists on looking authentic for the guests.

Buddy is trying to train Cassie to yawn, so he can convince his dad that she’s bored out here. When he demonstrates, Melody drops some popcorn in his mouth, which isn’t dangerous at all.

01-35-Melody-BuddyMelody admits she gets bored around here. She and Buddy have some things in common, such as a secret language and a love of eating contests. Buddy says he and his friends go cutting through other people’s backyards, break things and try to fix them, and sneak up on each other and do surprises. All of this is normal kid stuff; it’s not particularly interesting, but it gives these characters a bit of…ordinariness, which I like.

01-36-Ted-Melody-ropeTed comes by and wants Melody to hold a rope while Danny holds another rope. When Melody learns Ted wants to try riding Rocket again, they fight over it, and Buddy gets in on it as well. Melody and Buddy suddenly decide to let go of the rope, and…

01-37-Ted-trough-2Ted: 0, Trough: 2

Melody tiredly agrees to help Ted. When Ted’s trying to get Danny to help, there’s some kind of noise that, I swear, sounds kind of like a pig. Anyway, Danny agrees to help Ted. Mr. Ernst comes by and notices Ted’s wet. Danny continues the bullshit “breaking in his clothes” explanation and, once again, is all too eager to demonstrate:

01-38-breaking-in-2When questioned about the rope, Ted ties it into the “breaking in” ritual – laying the clothes in the sun and beating them with the rope. This whole “subplot” is the one really weak aspect of this episode, because Mr. Ernst actually falls for it completely instead of calling them out on it. It makes him look like a big idiot.

The scene ends with a gag of Mr. Ernst resting his aching foot on the trough, dropping his hat on the ground, and accidentally stepping into the trough. Haha, stupid city folk, get it?

01-39-Ernst-troughActually, that’s one of the historic definitions of “dude” – a city person pretending to be country but sticking out. It could be that the series’ title is specifically referring to Mr. Ernst.

01-40-Danny-RocketMelody decides against helping after all, leaving Danny to do all of the work. Brad apologizes to Ted in the hope of getting him to change his mind, but Ted won’t have it and gets on Rocket.

01-41-Ted-RocketRocket won’t have it and throws Ted off.

01-42-Ted-groundHe’s then polite enough to not try trampling Ted again, so Ted can be laughed at. Ted and Brad get into it again, and then Brad goes and shows Ted how it’s done:

01-43-Brad-Rocket-101-44-Brad-Rocket-201-45-Brad-Rocket-301-46-Brad-Rocket-401-47-Ted-amazed01-48-Brad-Rocket-501-49-Brad-Rocket-601-50-Brad-Rocket-701-51-Ted-amazed-2Ted asks Brad about it, and Brad introduces herself and explains she’s the new riding instructor. Ted asks Brad to help him up, and then…

01-52-Ted-Brad-ground01-53-Lucy-pissedLucy comes in, pissed as all hell, and busts all of them. She won’t tell Mr. Ernst, picking out a special punishment for them. Ted asks for preferential treatment for being senior staff (we still don’t know what that is), which Lucy agrees to.

01-54-punishmentYep, Ted’s on shit duty (or is that doody?) as they clean the stall. Ted and Brad get into it over whose fault that it is, and I give this show credit for actually calling attention to the lack of communication, although Brad should have just said “I’m a riding instructor, dumbass” before Ted even got on the horse for the first time.

Ted is then given the respect that he deserves:

01-55-respect01-56-Ernst-boots-offThe pre-credits scene at the end wraps up Mr. Ernst’s “aching feet” subplot. He’s finally had enough and wants to try hoof dressing on his feet. Danny advises against it, but Mr. Ernst tries it anyway and…

01-57-Ernst-burnedSo ends day one at the Bar None.

The scene fades to the closing credits (I don’t think I’ve ever seen that done elsewhere), which last around a minute. An instrumental version of the theme plays while credits scroll (I don’t think I’ve ever seen closing credits on a TV series) over screenshots from the episode.

01-58-credits-1Funny story: back in the day, I told my little niece that I worked on this series and showed her “my” name in the closing credits as “proof”.

01-59-credits-2So what are my impressions so far? I like this episode. It serves as a good introduction to the characters, and it’s neat that some have a history while others are newbies. It’s interesting that Mr. Ernst shares no screen time with Lucy or Brad.

I’m just pissed that we never learned who Joe is. At first, I thought Ted thought the old owner was still there, and that was his name, but we soon learn Ted knows there’s a new owner. Maybe Joe was an early or placeholder name for Danny (played by Joe Torres), and they didn’t change it. Or maybe David Lascher accidentally called “Joe” when he was supposed to call “Danny”, and they didn’t change it. Who knows?

Then again, it’s possible that “Joe” is just someone that works/worked on the ranch that Ted knew from the previous summer. We see various people handling horses throughout the episode (probably the actual handlers for the series). I like this little detail. It shows there’s more going on “behind the scenes” in keeping the ranch going than just the main characters.

The episode (including themes) is 24 minutes long, which is about normal for a series of its time, but it feels leisurely paced. The characters rib each other a bit and just shoot the shit – like normal teens do. The dialogue isn’t obviously scripted. There are hardly any “zingers”. I think most of the cast having little-to-no acting experience at this point is a strength. It adds to the realistic, down-to-earth feel. These could be your high school friends. I understand this style might not be for everyone, but I like it.

So how does this series compare to that teen juggernaut that started at roughly the same time, “Saved by the Bell”? Well, from what I’ve seen so far, “Hey Dude” (a few audio glitches and tropes aside) is more competently written, directed, and shot. More atmosphere. Less cartoony. Not a boom mic to be seen. This is good, everyone. Sure, it might not be as well-remembered, but I’d sooner hang out with these characters than the Bayside gang.