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.

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