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.

One response to “Season 1, Episode 02: Battle of the Sexes

  1. When I was growing up and watching Hey Dude, Salute Your Shorts, etc. I wouldn’t think about production, budget, etc., to me it felt like TV shows were portals into different worlds. They would form the basis for how I related to other stuff I encountered in the future (Like encountering a Simpsons reference of a famous movie before actually seeing the famous movie in question). When I look back on episodes of TV like this, I realize how “lo-fi” everything seems (Only five actors appeared in the whole episode), but in a good way. I know this kind of battle of the sexes is a cliche, but I don’t mind it as much here.

    Liked by 1 person

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