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!

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4 responses to “Season 1, Episode 03: Goldilocks

  1. I figured Buddy lived with his mother in New Jersey, but his parents agreed he should spend the summer with his father. Maybe she didn’t want Buddy unsupervised all the time while she was at work(possibly because that was exactly the life her ex-nephew Jake led until he also came to the ranch, and we see first-hand how much time Jake spends inside his own head).
    Speaking of which, I’m really looking forward to when you get to the episodes with Jake in them. He’s definitely my favorite character.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. NOT
    A
    YANKEES
    CAP!

    and new jerseyans are notorious for loving the mets and despising the Yankees.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I was younger, it always felt like a big deal when something I knew was referenced in a TV show or something because there was such a scarcity when it came to media (No internet, youtube, etc.), but it’s interesting watching this now when Buddy mentioned the various comic books he brought with him. I don’t think twice now about any of the referenced things. Good episode overall, and it’s now much more obvious to me that Nickelodeon’s main shtick for lots of their shows was “stuff falls on someone and they get messy”, which made a lot of sense to me as a kid.

    Liked by 1 person

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