Season 1, Episode 06: Rehearsal for Romance

Writer: Michael Kaplan
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: August 18, 1989

06-01-Welcome-sign 06-02-meetingThe cold open involves Mr. Ernst assembling the staff (well, except for Lucy, I guess, who’s missing her second episode in a row) for an outdoor meeting.

Mr. Ernst’s latest scheme to publicize the ranch and “make vast amounts of money” is to sell a bunch of Bar None merchandise:

06-03-sauce 06-04-pickles 06-05-mayonaise 06-06-dressing 06-07-polishIf you think these are lame, he then announces a complete line of Bar None fashion accessories:

06-08-Melody-dread 06-09-bowtie 06-10-bowler-hat 06-11-suspenders 06-12-Melody-dread-2 06-13-dress-socksDuring the presentation, Melody does a hand-waving gesture in front of Ted’s face, seemingly trying to snap him out of a trance or revive him to consciousness. It’s kinda weird.

Anyway, Mr. Ernst expects them to sell this merchandise to the guests and to wear it (presumably, he means just the fashion accessories).

06-14-Ted-crowns-Melody 06-15-Melody-crowns-Ted06-16-Melody-deskAfter the credits, Melody is running the front desk (the first that we see of it).

She gets a lady-boner over a guest…

06-17-Melody-gaze 06-18-Melody-tongue 06-19-Bill-smilesand then turns into a nervous klutz around him:

06-20-Bill-concerned 06-21-Melody-down 06-22-bonk-1 06-23-pencils 06-24-bonk-2His name is Bill, and he’s played by Robert Mammana, our first guest star of the series. “Hey Dude” was his first acting gig, and he’s had a very sporadic career since then (most notably an 11-year gap between this role and his next), having only 27 roles to his name, but he continues acting to this day, curiously often playing an officer, agent, detective, or guard of some kind.

Bill’s here with his parents on his first summer vacation of college, and he hates it. After Bill suggests it, Melody says she’d “love you” show him around the lake after dinner. Hurhur. Anyway, it’s a date, which worries Melody.

06-25-Ernst-mirror-1In his office, Mr. Ernst isn’t convinced the bowler hat says Bar None (figuratively), so it’s time for cultural insensitivity!

06-26-Ernst-mirror-2 06-27-Ernst-mirror-3 06-28-Ernst-mirror-4He decides to stick with the bowler.

There’s a knock before the scene ends, which is weird.

06-29-Melody-magazinesMelody is consulting magazines on how to behave on a first date with an older guy at a lake (seriously), and then Brad comes in, horrified over having to wear Mr. Enrst’s crappy fashion accessories.

06-30-Brad-bowlerMelody shares her problem with Brad, and apparently Brad was under the impression that Melody knew everything that there was to know about guys. Melody’s previous dates have consisted of movies and parties and stuff with guys her own age. Brad inadvertently gives Melody the idea to go to Ted for advice. Brad suggests Melody just be herself, but Melody is “desperate” and convinced being herself wouldn’t work.

06-31-Melody-TedMelody comes to Ted while he’s working and calls him out about not wearing his bowler hat. Wait, Melody wasn’t wearing her bowler hat while working the front desk. Did Mr. Ernst get on her case about that between scenes? Anyway, Ted says some tough talk about doing whatever he wants. Ted is happy that Melody came to him with her problem, because he’s “great at solving other people’s problems”. This might be a callback to episode 04. Ted pauses when Melody brings up her date. I wonder if that’s indicative of anything.

06-32-Melody-upsetThere’s a nice moment of effective acting by Christine Taylor when Melody is hurt over Ted inadvertently calling her being herself “a terrible mistake”. Ted says he likes it when Melody’s being herself. Ooh, I wonder if there’s more to this than the episode is letting on. Anyway, Ted gets Melody to “enroll in the Ted School of Romance”. This involves Melody going on a practice date with Ted. Melody is initially hesitant, but Ted convinces her.

06-33-Buddy-CassieBuddy and Cassie show up after missing the previous episode.

06-34-Cassie-collarBuddy is upset that his dad has made Cassie wear an “awful collar”. They all talk about it for a bit, and then Melody warns Ted that “the Mad Merchandiser” approaches.

06-35-Ted-hypocriteTed, you fucking hypocrite.

Melody tells Mr. Ernst that she doesn’t think the bowler hat is her. Mr. Ernst remedies the situation:

06-36-Melody-top-hat 06-37-Ted-WolverineAfter the commercial break, Ted is reading Wolverine #9 (cover-dated July of 1989, which indicates they taped this episode in the spring), probably a hand-me-down from Buddy that Ted will eventually try to sell to a guest. Danny comes in, upset about his “terrible case of hat-head”:

06-38-Danny-hat-headThe girls come in, and Danny rags on Melody a bit regarding her hat. Ted piles on. After a bit more banter, Ted begins Melody’s “lesson in romance” – with Brad here to minimize the damage.

After a bit of banter, everyone gets seated, Danny giving silent indications of who will sit where. I point this out only because it’s something that you don’t really usually see in a series.

They start with conversation. According to Ted, the most important thing to do is act like whatever Bill says is the most interesting thing that she’s ever heard. Brad says that’s the stupidest thing that she’s ever heard, but Melody says there is some sense to it. No, there isn’t, Melody.

Ted goes over the usual getting-to-know-each-other types of questions. After that, he claims guys love it when girls talk about sports. Um, not all guys, Ted. I don’t give a shit about sports, and there’s no guarantee that Bill does either.

We learn Melody loves to watch figure skating, but Danny and Ted disapprove.

06-39-Danny-blehI haven’t seen much figure skating, but it actually sounds kind of nice.

Ted means the typical, macho dudebro sports, though, and suggests Melody bring it up, let Bill talk, and throw in a random “impressive” line. Danny and Brad disapprove.

Ted wants to move on to lesson #2: walking with a guy. They head to the lake, putting on their hats first, lest Mr. Ernst smite them, and they have fun with the absurdity of it all by doing a little dance.

06-40-danceOn the way to the lake, Ted instructs Melody on how to brush against a guy as if by accident.

06-41-Ted-brushes-Melody 06-42-Melody-brushes-TedI REALLY loved the moment in the screencap above back in the day. I thought Melody looked so sensual. I still love it.

06-43-Brad-pushes-DannyBrad doesn’t take well to Danny trying the same shit on her.

At the lake, Ted suggests Melody suggest she and Bill sit on the rock together, and Melody likes the idea.

06-44-Melody-Ted-rockDanny, Melody, and Brad get into it over the merit of Ted’s ideas.

Danny tells “an old Indian fable” about a fox that wanted to catch a deer. I have no idea if it’s a real fable or not, but a few minutes of Googling turned up nothing. Anyway, Ted makes a racist comment as he dismisses the fable.

There’s an odd skip as Melody says “maybe I could come up with a few [skip] ideas of my own”. I wonder if this is a DVD authoring error or a problem with the master tape.

Melody suggests skipping rocks, which Ted dismisses as childish. Danny and Brad have a bit of childish fun by skipping after Ted and Melody.

06-45-skippingI really love this twilight shot:

06-46-twilight06-47-Melody-Brad-talkAs Melody is about to go and meet Bill, she’s nervous, and she and Brad discuss what Melody should do.

06-48-Melody-hugs-BradI love that Melody runs back to hug Brad, probably for emotional support.

06-49-Melody-meets-Bill 06-50-Melody-Bill-walkMelody meets up with Bill, and they head for the lake, talking about college versus high school. Following Ted’s conversation advice doesn’t work.

06-51-Bill-laces 06-52-Melody-fallsNeither does the arm-brushing.

After a bit of awkwardness, they arrive at the lake, and, awww, a deer!

06-53-deer 06-54-Bill-fallsThe rock idea is a bust.

Melody offers the rock to Bill, but Bill says the ground is softer. Melody’s nervousness leads to a hilarious line: “Ground is great that way.”

I dunno. I’ve always thought it was funny.

Melody unintentionally garbles hockey and baseball, so sports talk is a bust.

06-55-Melody-sorryMelody apologizes. Bill notices the rock in her hands and brings up skipping rocks, which he’s never been able to do. Melody offers to teach him.

06-56-Melody-Bill-skip-rocksThey have a great time.

06-57-Melody-excitedMelody comes back from her date and tells the guys how it went – including a dubious compliment to Ted of doing the opposite of everything that he said. She runs off to tell Brad.

06-58-Melody-Bill-exchangeThe pre-credits scene at the end has Melody and Bill exchanging addresses (no phone numbers?). Ah, the days before e-mail. It was the fuckin’ Dark Ages.

Melody had told Bill the fable and apparently let him believe she had come up with it.

Mr. Ernst comes by and says his merchandise just didn’t sell, so…

06-59-Ernst-crowns-MelodyBill “compliments” the gang, and they all yuck it up.

06-60-gang-hatsSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty good. Ted’s advice was bullshit, and Melody should have ignored it, but being yourself is always a good message.

You know who would have been a good choice to go to for advice? Lucy. It’s too bad that she missed this episode.

We’ll never see Bill again, I’m willing to bet we never hear of him again. Long-distance relationships are difficult to make work, especially in the days before instant global communication.

Overall, a nice episode.

2 responses to “Season 1, Episode 06: Rehearsal for Romance

  1. Clearly Lucy had the week off or else she’d have never let Mr. Ernst subject everyone to his latest “brainstorm”. 😛 I can see how having been an accountant for years would allow him to successfully run the ranch without going into the red, but his “entrepreneurial” ideas were always nuts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how Melody looks in this ep, oh my God! I had a major crush on her back then, she was sooo cute!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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