Writer: Michael Kaplan
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: August 18, 1989
Mr. Ernst’s latest scheme to publicize the ranch and “make vast amounts of money” is to sell a bunch of Bar None merchandise:
Anyway, Mr. Ernst expects them to sell this merchandise to the guests and to wear it (presumably, he means just the fashion accessories).
She gets a lady-boner over a guest…
His 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.
There’s a knock before the scene ends, which is weird.
Melody 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.
Melody 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.
There’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.
Melody tells Mr. Ernst that she doesn’t think the bowler hat is her. Mr. Ernst remedies the situation:
After 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”:
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.
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.
At the lake, Ted suggests Melody suggest she and Bill sit on the rock together, and Melody likes the idea.
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.
After a bit of awkwardness, they arrive at the lake, and, awww, a deer!
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.
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…
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.