Monthly Archives: June 2015

Season 1, Episode 12: Employee of the Week

Writer: Alan Goodman
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: September 29, 1989

12-01-Melody-serves-DannyIn the cold open, Melody is chipper in the morning, but Danny is exhausted.

12-02-Melody-serves-BradSo is Brad.

They go into the main lodge, where Ted already is. Melody greets Ted, and…

12-03-Ted-sleeps-on-MelodyMr. Ernst comes in and is very chipper. Melody nudges Ted awake. Mr. Ernst had everyone get up thirty minutes early this morning, so he could make an important announcement.

12-04-plaqueHe’s starting an “employee of the week” policy. The winner gets her/his name on the plaque. Ted asks about a bonus. Brad asks about more goof-off time (a surprise, coming from her, but I like it). Danny asks about a nice letter home to parents. Melody asks about double desserts. No, the winner will get the “honor and respect” of fellow staff members. No one is enthused. Ted falls asleep on Melody again.

12-05-Brad-Melody-breakfastAfter the credits, Brad joins Melody for breakfast and talks about some dumbass guest on one of her rides. Melody brings up the employee of the week thing. Brad is surprised and claims to not care about it. Apparently, Brad has a lot of friends back home (inviting all of them down would be her idea for winning).

12-06-Brad-cakeBrad’s on a diet, but the sight of Melody’s cake causes Brad to just take some without asking. Well, that was a bitchy thing to do.

Danny arrives and claims to not care about the employee of the week thing. Nevertheless, he has an idea: he could invite his Indian friend, Bob Twilight, to perform tribal dances and tell old stories for the guests.

12-07-Danny-cakeDanny then asks Melody if he can “swipe” some of her icing for his “naked” cake and doesn’t wait for an answer.

Ted comes by and claims to not care about employee of the week, but the girls know better. Ted’s plan is to take inspiration from some guy that he saw on a western once: do knife tricks for the guests.

12-08-Ted-cakeTed asks Melody if she minds of he takes some (or maybe all; it’s really not clear) of her cake and then just takes it without waiting for a response.

12-09-Melody-pissedMelody’s finally had it and lets them know. She also tells them to not put down Mr. Ernst’s idea and not pretend they don’t care. The other three decide to take Melody on in the employee of the week contest.

12-10-Melody-grinsMelody’s terms of competition is being nice. The other three collect the plates (including Melody’s) and leave while trying to out-nice each other with compliments.

12-11-Brad-mailOn another day, Brad sorts the mail, so Mr. Ernst won’t have to do it. However, she doesn’t read the names; in the interest of time, she just gives everyone roughly the same amount with the idea that they’ll trade later. Mr. Ernst has a pretty funny response to this.

12-12-trophyBrad remembers a package came for Mr. Ernst. Noting the kids’ lack of enthusiasm for the contest, Mr. Ernst has decided to “sweeten the deal” by having the winner pose with a bowling trophy. When Brad points out the congratulatory message on the trophy, Mr. Ernst lets it slip that he had ordered it removed but then tries to cover his ass by pretending to be shocked it’s used.

12-13-Melody-hides-cakeLater, Melody hides cake in her drawer when she hears Brad coming into the girls’ bunk house. Brad concedes. She apparently has never bowled, never will bowl, and can’t allow anyone to think she ever would bowl. Okay, so Brad hates bowling. I guess this is supposed to tie into her quasi-snob persona. They discuss the contest for a bit, and Brad observes Melody is beginning to sound like Ted. She wants to “show” him, and she’s signing thank-you cards for the guests.

12-14-Brad-hairdrierBrad borrowed Melody’s hairdrier and drops it in her drawer.

12-15-cake-ruinedWhere will this thrilling subplot lead?! Stay tuned!

12-16-Danny-stallOn another day, Mr. Ernst visits Danny, who’s getting a jump on next week in cleaning the stall.

12-17-tiaraMr. Ernst had ordered a “king-style crown” for the winner to pose with in the picture, but they’re out of stock, so the company sent him a substitution of “beauty queen tiara”. Mr. Ernst decides to roll with it. Danny has a funny “supportive” line. Mr. Ernst goes to call the company and straighten this out.

12-18-Danny-quitsDanny goes to Ted, quits the contest, and tells him about the “girly crown”. Ted says they can talk Mr. Ernst out of it. Danny says competing isn’t good for them and adds it’s even changing Melody. Ted takes delight in the prospect of himself against Melody, but Danny silently disapproves. Ted mounts Sylvester for the afternoon ride and leaves.

12-19-Melody-guestsLater, Melody and some guests return from a hike to Sabino Canyon. She offers to bring them some lemonade on the porch in a few minutes.

12-20-Ted-BillTed and two guests return from a ride, and Ted praises their riding. Ted asks someone named Bill (presumably an employee but probably one of the actual handlers on the series) to take Sylvester up for him.

Suddenly, the recurring, light-hearted music in this episode gets a “dark” treatment worthy of scoring a showdown.

12-21-showdown-1 12-22-showdown-2 12-23-showdown-3 12-24-showdown-4 12-25-showdown-5 12-26-showdown-6 12-27-showdown-7 12-28-showdown-8 12-29-showdown-9As cheesy as this sequence is (these are two teens in a rivalry over an “employee of the week” prize, mind you), I really like the way that it’s shot, edited, and scored.

12-30-shakeThe two engage in a bit of trash talk, and then Ted wants Melody to shake in the name of remaining friends.

12-31-Ted-laughsAs Melody is about to shake his hand, Ted withdraws it and laughs. Fun fact: when we watched this episode back in the day, my now-74-year-old Polish mother gasped – GASPED! – when Ted did that.

12-32-Melody-pissed 12-33-Ted-follows-MelodyAfter the commercial break, on another day, Melody is pissed that Ted is following her and re-cleaning (disinfecting instead of dusting) stuff. They argue over it. Melody tells Ted that being nice means doing something “unexpected” that will “surprise” people and “fill them with warmth and gratitude”.

12-34-Buddy-pissedAs if on cue, Buddy comes in, pissed as all hell and accusing both of them. He calls Cassie over.

12-35-Cassie-ribbonsOne guess as to who did this.

Buddy lets Melody have it over what she did to his “vicious killer”. After Buddy leaves, Melody and Ted talk about it for a bit. Melody has to “run an errand” down at the corral and doesn’t want Ted to go with her. Ted presses her for information, but she refuses to answer.

12-36-Danny-spillsDanny comes in and spills the secret: “someone” put little ribbons in the horses’ manes.

That evening, Ted finds Melody and teases her about the horses incident. They argue for a bit, and then Ted lets on that he did something unexpected for someone.

12-37-Melody-Ted-ErnstMr. Ernst arrives with some bags, and Melody and Ted each offer to help him, but he declines. He says he has two “prime candidates” for employee of the week. He alludes to an old proverb (but most likely the version in the 1980 movie, “The Shining”).

After Mr. Ernst leaves, Melody wonders what Ted is “all smiles about”. Ted reveals he waxed Mr. Ernst’s floor and gives a hilarious play-by-play that ends (unexpectedly for him but totally expectedly for us) with Mr. Ernst slipping and falling.

12-38-Melody-delightedMelody takes perverse delight in this and skips off happily to help Mr. Ernst.

12-39-sunrise 12-40-Melody-hides-chocolateSeemingly the next morning, Melody hides chocolate under Brad’s bed cover.

12-41-Ted-on-bed-1Ted comes in and walks over it.

12-42-Ted-undoes-bedHe undoes Melody’s bed and then uses making it as an example of something nice that he could do.

12-43-Ted-on-bed-2Melody’s chocolate takes another beating.

12-44-Melody-marks-collarMelody says she could clean Ted’s collar, which she then marks up.

12-45-Brad-Danny-overhearTed and Melody threaten each other with physical violence, and Brad and Danny overhear.

Ted finally tells Melody to just “disappear off the face of this Earth forever” and leaves. Melody, surprised, can do nothing except sit down.

12-46-cake-ruined 12-47-Ernst-checksLater, Mr. Ernst is sorting the mail. After verifying no one’s looking, he Brads the rest of it.

12-48-Danny-ErnstDanny comes by and informs him of the situation with Ted and Melody. Mr. Ernst is surprised, because he had created the contest to formally recognize hard work, show his appreciation, and show the guests his pride in his staff. He decides to end the contest. He regrets only that he can’t do anything with the crap that he ordered, but Danny has an idea.

12-49-Ernst-bowls 12-50-Brad-TedLater, Ted’s sitting in the main lodge, and Brad walks by and casually greets him, and he greets her back. I like this. It’s something that’s completely unnecessary, since it has nothing to do with the rest of the scene, but it adds a touch of down-to-Earth realism.

Melody comes by. Ted apologizes. Melody admits what she did without actually apologizing (a recurring thing on this series, it seems) and makes a funny joke about Ted bringing out the worst in her. She tells him to not work so hard at things, especially being nice, because “you’re a pretty nice guy as it is already”. Aaawww. I wonder if this will go anywhere.

Danny summons them to the front desk for the presentation.

12-51-Ted-Melody-make-upMr. Ernst is confused over what’s going on.

12-52-Melody-crowns-ErnstMelody crowns Mr. Ernst “Best Boss of the Decade”.

Mr. Ernst gets some applause, and the kids seemingly ad-lib some lines, which is a nice touch. Also, props to wardrobe for keeping almost everyone in the same clothing throughout the day but changing Ted’s shirt.

12-53-meetingThe pre-credits scene at the end involves Danny pretending to be Mr. Ernst and holding a meeting to give the kids (including Danny) the things that they had asked Mr. Ernst about in the meeting at the beginning of the episode. I hadn’t mentioned it, but Brad and Danny had repeated all of these things as guesses when Mr. Ernst had opened his two packages (yeah, I know, makes no sense), so I guess you could call this a subplot, but that’s only a guess. All of the rewards are hilariously restrictive (except Danny’s, which is just the letter home, albeit Ted cautions him to not go over the top with his reward). Apparently, the ranch has a wishing well. “Mr. Ernst” is a bit mean toward Melody, calling her “largely responsible” for the “nonsense” of this past week.

12-54-Melody-dessertMelody finally gets her double dessert. Aren’t you relieved they didn’t leave us hanging on this point?

12-55-food-fightThis quickly escalates into an all-out food fight.

12-56-Melody-Ted-food-fightSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was nice. We learn some interesting things about the characters. I can’t really relate to the competition aspect, though. I’m naturally non-competitive, so I really wouldn’t care about becoming employee of the week or month or whatever. I just don’t care. I realize there are really competitive people in the workforce, though.

Whether Lucy’s one of them or not is unknown, because she doesn’t show up. It doesn’t matter, though, since the award was seemingly meant for only the four teens.

Here’s a fun drinking game: take a shot whenever anyone says “nice”, “nicer”, or “nicest”.

Season 1, Episode 11: Suspicion

Writer: Clifford Fagan
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: September 22, 1989

11-01-Ted-weightIn the cold open, Ted is pumping iron and lecturing Buddy on doing it to take care of himself and impress girls. Ted seems to indicate he’s from out here instead of “back east” (David Lascher is from Scarsdale, New York).

11-02-Buddy-amusedBuddy, who’s reading Conan the Barbarian #222 (cover-dated September of 1989, so this episode was likely taped in the summer), is amused but otherwise doesn’t give a shit about Ted’s advice.

Ted offers to work out a program for Buddy. Stereotypical oriental music comes on. Buddy, fed up, goes over to a post and does this:

11-03-Buddy-karateHe then calmly returns to reading his comic book but pauses long enough to tell Ted: “Six years, Parkside Dojo, first-degree black belt”. I have no idea if Josh Tygiel actually took karate or not, but this, in my entirely non-expert opinion, looked authentic.

Of course, Buddy did destroy ranch property. Don’t worry, though: there will be no repercussions whatsoever.

11-04-Melody-phoneAfter the credits, Melody answers a phone call. Mr. Ernst is making her answer with “Howdy-doo, this is the Bar None Guest Ranch”. If my employer made me say something like that, I’d refuse to do it. Hell, I’d probably quit. “Hello” is the only acceptable formal greeting for me (“Hi” and “Hey” are the only acceptable informal greetings).

Mr. Ernst is making Melody promise surfing soon. There’s a humorous bit where Melody mistakes the female caller for a man (heavy smoker, I guess). After Melody hangs up, Mr. Ernst lectures her about being positive when speaking to potential guests. Mr. Ernst is looking into getting a wave-making machine for the swimming pool.

Speaking of surfing:

11-05-Ted-surfsMr. Ernst tells Ted to knock that shit off. Melody answers another call, and Ted questions the “Howdy-doo” bullshit. Melody shows off her sense of “humor” for Mr. Ernst, but he doesn’t like it.

The guy on the phone (Mr. Goode) wants to take over the ranch for three days for some sort of conference. Around forty people would be attending. Mr. Ernst agrees to it. Mr. Goode wants to check out to facilities for himself tomorrow before he schedules the conference. Mr. Ernst makes Melody pretend the ranch is full, so Melody bullshits something about a last-minute cancellation. Sheesh, if my boss micro-managed my phone calls like this, I’d walk off the job.

Mr. Ernst is excited for the future of the ranch but then goes to make sure that they got rid of the funny smell at the ice machine.

Ted’s been reading about big criminal organizations that like to have their yearly meetings in cozy, out-of-the-way places with conference facilities. Melody gets in a good putdown in response to this ridiculous line of thinking. Ted suspects Mr. Goode is a gangster. Phew, that was a close one. For a second, I thought this episode was going to be realistic.

11-06-CadillacThe next day, Mr. Goode arrives at the ranch in a Cadillac Eldorado, which he got from Don Mackey Oldsmobile-Cadillac Inc., which is now Royal Automotive Group.

11-07-EddieThis “Miami Vice” reject is Eddie Goode, played by Paul Elia. “Hey Dude” was his first acting gig, and he’s had a very sporadic, almost non-existent career, having only six (or maybe seven) credits spanning 1989-2014. How very odd.

Mr. Ernst, Ted, Melody, Buddy, and Cassie turn out to see him arrive, and Mr. Ernst enthusiastically greets him. Buddy is skeptical of Ted’s suspicion, but Ted points out the way that Eddie is “casing the joint”. Melody tells Ted that he’s been watching too many “Miami Vice” reruns and guesses Mr. Ernst’s desperation is making Mr. Goode nervous and wanting to avoid eye contact. The characters on this series often have a self-awareness regarding the silliness of the plots and the other characters. I really love this. How often do you see a sitcom where the characters analyze so much?

Mr. Ernst calls Ted and Buddy over to give Eddie a hand with his luggage. Eddie will be staying with them for a few days. Ted is suspicious and not friendly to the guy. I actually really love how Ted says his name after Eddie asks it, because it’s right on his fucking badge. I had a badge at work a while ago where the “M” in my name had become slightly destroyed (we used sticky letters). People kept asking if my name was pronounced “NIGH-ark” or “NEE-ark”. I wanted to punch every single one of them in the face.

Eddie pops open the trunk. Ted picks up a suitcase. Eddie warns about the lock, but the case opens, and his clothes spill on the ground.

11-08-open-luggageTed and Mr. Ernst pick them up, and Mr. Ernst apologizes and offers to have them cleaned, but Eddie tells “Benny” to not worry about it, saying “Teddy” is just a little too enthusiastic.

11-09-Eddie-takes-caseEddie is quick to take a suitcase from Buddy.

11-10-Melody-money11-11-group-moneyAfter Eddie is shown to his room, Ted is suspicious of him for tipping him, Melody, and Buddy “thirty bills” to have his luggage hauled twenty yards, especially since Melody didn’t do shit, and Ted got Eddie’s clothes dirty. Melody’s just happy to have the money and lets Ted know, without speaking, he can go and fuck himself with a cattle prod.

Ted believes Eddie wants to buy them off and ties it into his mob theory. Melody hilariously makes Ted think the bills are counterfeit. Ted doesn’t find it amusing and goes off to “save the Bar None from criminal infiltration” himself.

11-12-corral-spyLater, in a pretty funny and imaginative sequence that includes some POV shots, Ted spies on Eddie as he’s checking out the corral. There’s even some light “spy” music playing.

11-13-Ted-BradBrad comes by, wanting to know what Ted’s doing, and Ted gives her a first-hand experience. That oughta teach you for questioning Ted’s insanity, Brad. It’s just like Sheldon, people. You just don’t ask.

Brad gets a hilarious line (which I won’t spoil here) in as Ted explains his theory. During this scene, there’s some weird creaking sound. Odd. After getting another good line in, Brad excuses herself and gets in yet another good line. These last two lines aren’t particularly witty, but they do make me love Brad.

Ted gets out of there when he thinks Eddie spots him.

11-14-meetingLater, Ted, Melody, and Buddy meet up. Brad is giving Eddie “the grand tour”.

11-15-credit-cardBuddy stole his dad’s credit card out of his wallet, and Ted tries to use it to unlock the door to Eddie’s room.

11-16-credit-card-snappedOh, snap!

11-17-Melody-outsmartsMeanwhile, Melody proves she’s smarter by crawling through an open window in the back.

They go inside and look around. A dog barking spooks them (it’s not in the room). Ted looks through the drawers, and Melody looks through a suitcase (and makes a hilarious comment on Eddie’s clothes). Why the hell are they doing this?! They could get fired!

11-18-Melody-vestMelody finds what Ted believes is a bullet-proof vest, which feeds into Ted’s mob theory. Buddy knocks over a radio, which turns on, and loud country muzak starts playing. The three of them try to shut the thing off in a panic until…

11-19-Melody-outsmarts-2Melody, you’re awesome in so many ways. I love you.

11-20-cashBuddy finds a bunch of the fakest-looking money ever (and I actually stopped this review in its tracks to research the history of United States currency on Wikipedia), but Ted’s convinced it’s real.

11-21-Eddie-comes-backOh, shit! Eddie comes back to his room at that moment.

11-22-red-handedWill our heroes get caught red-handed?! Stay tuned!

11-23-lock-troubleAfter the commercial break, Eddie conveniently has lock trouble long enough for the kids to sloppily put everything away. Melody gets out through the window, but Ted and Buddy are seemingly incapable and hide behind the bed instead.

11-24-hiding 11-25-Eddie-phoneEddie’s cell phone rings, and Ted and Buddy listen in on his side of the conversation. Keep in mind that this series started in the same year as “Saved by the Bell”, yet Eddie’s phone looks more portable than Zack’s.

11-26-Eddie-gunAnyway, in sitcom trope #8675309, the heroes misinterpret the phone call, which “Fast Eddie” makes it very easy to do, saying he wants to “shoot him in the corral” tomorrow (while putting a gun-shaped device in his suitcase) and possibly “blow it up”.

11-27-Ted-BuddyAfter Eddie leaves, Ted pushes Buddy out the window and then gets out of there.

11-28-Eddie-returnsEddie hears the disturbance and quickly returns to the room but just misses them.

11-29-Ted-fixes-postThe next day, Ted is fixing the post (wow, I’m pleasantly surprised the episode addressed that) and tells Melody that he’s a dead man. Melody corrects him: “Ted, you’re not a man yet. You’d be a dead boy.” I love Melody’s sense of humor! Sure, her joke to Eddie over the phone sucked ass, but she’s usually pretty funny.

Ted and Melody discuss it for a bit, but Buddy is more concerned about his dad’s credit card. Ted and Melody keep discussing Ted’s impending death.

11-30-Ted-nailedTed, you’re such a dumbass.

11-31-Melody-pulls-BuddyEddie arrives, and there’s a cute moment where Melody grabs Buddy and backs away.

Eddie talks vaguely about wanting to meet with Ted in an hour in the corral to discuss “business”. He has a “proposition” for Ted. Ted agrees.

11-32-Eddie-gunpointBuddy has an idea, which involves Brad.

11-33-confrontationIn an hour, Ted’s waiting in the corral, and Eddie shows up with his case. He tells Ted: “Hold it right there” and “Don’t move”.

11-34-Brad-lasso 11-35-rope-case 11-36-bullshitBrad, through the magic of pre-Internet, hope-no-one-notices trickery, lassos the case away from Eddie (while shouting “Hi-ya!”) – or, at least, I think that’s what’s supposed to be happening. Please don’t tell me that Brad scared Eddie into throwing the case away.

11-37-case-troughThe case lands in the water trough, and the splash spooks the horses.

11-38-surroundedMr. Ernst, Melody, and Buddy arrive, and Mr. Ernst demands to know what the fuck’s going on. So does Eddie. There’s a humorous moment as both Mr. Ernst and Eddie are shocked that Ted and Buddy “were hiding under the bed” (nitpick: they were behind it, not under it). Things get sorted out. Eddie works for a company that’s doing commercials for a new candy bar. The secrecy of it all was dictated by the higher-ups (Eddie admits maybe he was a little too secretive). They needed a ranch setting. Eddie was on the phone with the director. Eddie was referring to blowing up a picture (making it bigger). The “bullet-proof vest” is Eddie’s back brace. The money is “petty cash” or “Monopoly money”(?), because “Guys in this business carry lots of cash.” I’m calling bullshit on this. If I’m wrong, by all means, let me know. Eddie was going to “shoot” pictures of Ted, because they wanted a new face to star in the commercial. Eddie thought Ted had the look.

11-39-Melody-case 11-40-Eddie-wet-case 11-41-ruinedMelody retrieves Eddie’s case from the trough. His camera and light meter (the “gun”) are ruined. How the hell did Melody’s pants get wet between shots? She didn’t actually step into the trough.

Mr. Ernst prompts the kids to apologize to Eddie (promising spankings later on), and he’s particularly disappointed in Brad for being part of this.

After Mr. Ernst and “Mr. Goode” leave, Brad is incredulous that Mr. Ernst is disappointed in her. Well, you did let them talk you into this, Brad.

11-42-Ted-disappontedTed is disappointed in himself and puts himself down, showing a good deal of humility. He then gets upset over losing his shot at stardom. Melody and Brad “shock” Ted “back to reality”:

11-43-girls-throw-Ted 11-44-Ted-troughTed should be used to this by now.

11-45-Buddy-cardOn another day, Buddy comes to his dad’s office to tell him about his credit card.

11-46-Ernst-cardAs luck would have it, Mr. Ernst is opening a letter at that very moment that includes his new credit card and instructions to cut the old card in half. Buddy enthusiastically agrees to do it, silently thanks God, and goes off as Mr. Ernst tells him where (he believes) it is.

On yet another day, Mr. Ernst answers a phone call (“Howdy-doo! Bar None Ranch!”) at the front desk. It’s Mr. Goode. After a bit of talk, Mr. Goode reveals the president of the candy bar company opted for a cruise ship for the commercial, which disappoints Mr. Ernst, but he tries to not let Eddie know.

11-47-Ernst-candyApparently, Eddie left a free sample at the ranch, and the candy bar smells bad. Mr. Ernst calls Cassie (who’s now a “girl”) over.

The pre-credits scene at the end is the resolution of the karate subplot. Wait, that was a subplot?

11-48-Sensei-TedOh, cultural insensitivity, how I’ve missed you so.

11-49-Sensei-Ted-2The stereotypical oriental music is playing again as Master Ted prepares himself.

11-50-Ted-breaks-boardTed breaks a board, which earns him applause. Buddy brings up doing it blindfolded, comparing it to the Jedi powers in “Star Wars” (and does a really bad Obi-Wan impression). Ted decides to try it.

11-51-Ted-blind 11-52-watermelonMelody gets the new board.

11-53-Ted-kicks-watermelonTed shows them “martial arts wizardry”.

11-54-wizardryThat’s how it’s done at the Ted Dojo!

So ends another day at the Bar None.

Lucy and (for the first time) Danny don’t appear in this episode.

This episode was amusing but pretty unrealistic. What teenager would build up this mob fantasy? What friends would go along with it? And Eddie was unrealistically vague (even during a private phone call) and gangster-like. Why didn’t he just talk with Ted in private about the photo shoot?

The episode did give us some nice Melody moments, though, for which I’m grateful.

Season 1, Episode 10: Ted and Brad Get Handcuffed

Writer: Graham Yost
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: September 15, 1989

10-01-Buddy-sawIn the cold open, Buddy is performing a magic show for…just Cassie, and he decides to saw him in half. Mr. Ernst’s reaction to this is pretty funny. After watching The Great Zamboni, a recent guest, Buddy has decided to become a magician. Zamboni had entertained the Young Buckaroos last night, but he’d also racked up a huge bill, which leads into a bit of product placement.

10-02-Ernst-card10-03-Ernst-postcardsMr. Ernst claims to have done some magic tricks in the past.

10-04-Ted-informsTed comes by and informs Mr. Ernst of Zamboni’s “disappearing act” – he tore off without paying his bill.

After the credits, while Mr. Ernst is on the phone, Ted brings Zamboni’s case to the front desk. It has magic tricks inside it, which gets Buddy excited, and the gang farts around with the magic tricks for a while.

10-05-Brad-wandBrad tries to make Ted disappear, which he doesn’t find amusing. Brad and Melody leave to get back to work – but not before Brad gets in a parting shot about Ted working on a disappearing act, which further pisses Ted off.

10-06-Brad-snaps 10-07-Ted-ideaTed looks at the “trick handcuffs” and gets an idea, which Danny doesn’t like. Ted eventually bribes Buddy (taking him into town to see “that new movie” “about the alien and the axe”) into showing him the “trick” (push in instead of pull out) to opening the handcuffs. Ted goes off, and Mr. Ernst comes back and gives an update: Zamboni hasn’t been caught yet, and he’s escaped police custody dozens of times; two days ago, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he slipped out of police custody while still handcuffed behind his back. Mr. Ernst claims he used to be a ropes escape artist. Danny suddenly realizes something, and he and Buddy go after Ted.

10-08-Ted-Brad-cuffedOutside, Brad is pissed at Ted, who can’t get the handcuffs off. Wait, both Buddy and Ted performed the “trick” in the previous scene. Why doesn’t it work now? Danny and Buddy arrive and clue them in to the truth: the cuffs are the property of the Tulsa Police Department. Brad calls out for Lucy and drags Ted along.

10-09-Lucy-inspectsLucy inspects the “serious” handcuffs and apologizes. Brad is calming herself and makes a pretty hilarious comparison to a coyote. Basically, Ted was coyote ugly four years before the first saloon opened and eleven years before the movie came out. Mr. Ernst comes by with good news and bad news: the Tulsa Police department is sending them a key, but it won’t arrive until tomorrow morning. He also relates a humorous reason for why a locksmith won’t arrive until this afternoon. Mr. Ernst tells Brad and Ted to do their chores together and then sends Danny and Melody off to do their own chores, and they get off some parting shots at Ted and Brad as they leave. Lucy tries to tell Brad and Ted about the classic 1958 film, “The Defiant Ones“. Even though Brad hasn’t seen the film, she knows what Lucy’s getting at, but she doesn’t want a moral lesson; she just doesn’t want to commit murder. Brad drags Ted off and rejects Lucy’s advice to hold hands. Slapstick ensues.

10-10-pole 10-11-towelAt lunch, Ted’s idea to ward off the guests’ suspicions is to put a towel over the handcuffs. Brilliant. After some bickering, during which Brad belittles Ted by wanting to pretend he’s her trainee, they try to serve the guests water.

10-12-guest-wetIt doesn’t go well.

Later, Ted is mending a broken chair. Brad tries to tell him something, but he won’t hear it.

10-13-chairYeah, Ted, you’re a dumbass, but so are you, Brad, for not simply blurting out the problem before Ted started the work.

Mr. Ernst comes by with a hilarious continuation of the locksmith subplot, which Ted and Brad don’t find amusing. Basically, the guy won’t make it until tomorrow.

10-14-Lucy-hammerLater, Lucy tries to break the chain but can’t. She shoots down Ted’s idea of using an acetylene torch. Brad complains about Ted and tries to break the chain herself. Ted complains back at Brad. They fall on the ground, and Lucy makes fun of it.

10-15-ground 10-16-meetingAfter the commercial break, they have at meeting in Mr. Ernst’s office to work out sleeping arrangements. Melody claims Ted’s snoring already wakes them up as it is, and he’s in a different building. Danny relates a story of how his sister and her friend once took over his room for the night; the smell lasted for weeks, and he had to stain-clean the carpet.

10-17-Brad-tongueMr. Ernst decides to put the “little chain gang” in what seems to be a bunk room in the main lodge.

After Lucy jokes(?) about frisking them for weapons, she leaves them alone for the night. Brad wants the bottom bunk. However, she has to sleep on her stomach, because she gets leg cramps when she sleeps on her back. Ted sends her to the top bunk, and she makes him “be a gentleman” and help her up. Ted snores, so Brad shakes her arm to wake him up.

10-18-Brad-armAll of the blood rushes to Brad’s hand, causing it to throb. All of the blood is draining out of Ted’s arm. Ted has to “be a gentleman” and help Brad down, so they can switch places. Ted puts the pillows on the opposite side. Guess what happens.

10-19-leg-crampLeg cramp!

10-20-arm-spasmArm spasm!

10-21-pillow-fightPillow fight!

10-22-Lucy-hitLucy comes in, yelling, and gets hit.

10-23-breakfastThe next morning, at breakfast, Ted calls Melody and Danny over to ask Brad for the use of his right hand, so he can eat his cereal. Brad and Ted had agreed to not use the cuffed arms and to pretend the other doesn’t exist. Melody is amused by their fighting. Brad gives Ted thirty seconds. Melody presses Brad for more details, and Brad says Ted insisted they sleep with the lights on, and then, all through the night, he kept calling out “Fluffy!” Brad guesses it’s a stuffed toy that Ted has at home to help him get to sleep at night.

10-24-time-upTime’s up!

10-25-food-fight-1 10-26-food-fight-2 10-27-food-fight-3Food fight!

Mr. Ernst comes over and wants to know what’s going on (especially with the milk), and Ted bullshits his way through it (callback to episode 01?). Mr. Ernst informs them that the keys just came in from Tulsa, and they rush after him, Danny and Melody following.

10-28-Lucy-BradLater, Brad comes over to Lucy, who’s annoyed by the fact that she’s just hanging out. Brad asks her about the ending of the movie and then says Ted’s been crossing his fingers and running away like Brad’s a vampire. Lucy says Brad hurt Ted. They argue over it. Lucy says Ted invites them giving him a hard time, because he’s an easy target, because he’s a good sport, because he knows they don’t mean it. Lucy says, sometimes, she doesn’t think he’s entirely sure about Brad. She thinks Brad pushed it a little too far this time. Lucy suggests apologizing to Ted, and Brad agrees. Lucy gives more “sage advice”: Brad secretly has a crush on Ted. Brad good-naturedly dismisses the idea.

Later, Ted’s fixing the chair. Brad approaches him, and Ted tries to ward her off.

10-29-Ted-crossDumbass.

10-30-Brad-Ted-talkBrad and Ted non-apologize to each other (that seems to be a thing with Brad on this series). We learn Ted’s history teacher, Mr. Garfield, is the most boring man alive, and Brad’s Aunt Trudy is convinced chewing raw garlic keeps her healthy. Oh, they’re discussing who their last choice to be handcuffed to would be. In sixth grade, Ted shared a locker with “the weirdest kid [that he] ever met”; he kept live mice in his clothing, and, all through class, you’d see them popping out of his shirt. Ted went to school with Steve Urkel? Brad then brings up a high school guy that sleeps with the lights on and has a stuffed teddy bear named Fluffy.

10-31-Brad-runsBrad runs off, and Ted gives chase (shaking the camera in the process!), confirming he and Fluffy “go way back”.

10-32-Ernst-tiedThe pre-credits scene at the end has Mr. Ernst having Buddy tie him up, so he can escape. I love how Ted often pets Cassie when he arrives. It’s a subtle, recurring thing, and it’s nice.

Oh, the Scotsdale police picked up Zamboni this morning, but he escaped again this afternoon.

10-33-Ernst-strugglesRealizing Mr. Ernst isn’t going anywhere, Ted and Brad excuse themselves to go and do their chores, and Buddy goes to get a comic book.

10-34-nightHours later, Mr. Ernst finally gets a finger free and calls out to Buddy to grab the stopwatch – to no avail.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was nice. It was good to see the Ted/Brad dynamic explored in detail. The rest of the characters pretty much revolve around them in this episode. What Lucy has to say about Ted and Brad is kind of thought-provoking. We get some interesting details of Ted and Brad’s lives back home. It seems the two of them might – just might – become friends.

I just wish the episode addressed how they went to the restroom.

Season 1, Episode 09: Rainmen

Writer: Mark Cerulli
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: September 8, 1989

Before I begin this review, I need to state I know nothing about Native American culture, so I won’t be able to judge the accuracy of what’s portrayed in this episode.

09-01-Ernst-showerIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst is taking a shower while singing “The Nut Song“, a silly folk song. The water stops running, and Lucy comes over and informs him that, due to the seasonal drought and maximized water usage, they’re out of water.

After the credits, at the front desk, Mr. Ernst is concerned about the 28 guests that are just waking up and wanting cold water to drink. Oh, and also about the ranch not getting a 5-star rating due to this.

09-02-Ernst-Ted-hairTed comes by and makes fun of the shampoo still in Mr. Ernst’s hair (which he should have just wiped off with a towel), so it becomes a recurring gag in this scene that guests stare and laugh at Mr. Ernst’s hair, and he has to hide it with his hat (but also keeps taking it off).

It turns out that Ted just hooked up their reserve water tank of 3,000 gallons, which Lucy claims she’s been trying to tell Mr. Ernst, but there were plenty of opportunities, and she didn’t say anything.

Lucy goes to feed the horses, and Mr. Ernst gets the phone book to look up wells. I like how Ted just smiles in amusement at Mr. Ernst’s hair predicament, which annoys him. Mr. Ernst names Ted “Ranch Water Marshall” until this “crisis” is over, because “the future of the ranch is at stake”. I guess Melody and Brad never informed him of the situation in episode 05. The lesson: don’t put Ted in charge of anything.

Mr. Ernst calls The Happy Water Well Diggers and gets someone to come over to give an estimate for a well extension. While Mr. Ernst is distracted, Ted switches his hat with a fake plant and excuses himself, and…

09-03-Ernst-plant09-04-truck 09-05-Satkina-Ernst-wellMr. Satkina (played by Robert Morningstar in his only role) says it’ll be $5 per foot, and they’d have to go down 500 feet or more.

09-06-Satkina-DannyAs Mr. Ernst gets out an adding machine to run some numbers (which is a nice detail but isn’t necessary for something so simple), Danny comes over, and he and Mr. Satkina talk in some language (Hopi?). I’m afraid that I have no way of figuring out what they’re saying (much like I don’t know if a Native American well-digger would say “coaxing water from Mother Earth”).

Mr. Ernst says it’s not in the budget. When he makes a counter offer of $1 per foot ($500 cash plus lunch), Mr. Satkina gets upset, and he and Danny talk back and forth. Mr. Satkina leaves, and Mr. Ernst doesn’t see what he did wrong. We learn, back in New York, Mr. Ernst’s mother always told him: “Never buy until you bargain.” Danny explains Mr. Satkina thought Mr. Ernst was questioning his price. Apparently, “to an Indian, that’s a major insult”, because it’s like questioning his honesty. Okay, sure, but there’s also the fact that $1 per foot is insultingly low. According to Danny, a hundred years ago, Mr. Satkina would have challenged Mr. Ernst to a fight to the death.

As Brad serves some guests, one of them talks up the breakfast ride to Sabino Canyon (a nice callback to episode 02).

09-07-Ted-takes-waterTed comes by and takes away the guy’s water (Brad violated his “no water” rule), so Brad can serve it to another customer, which Brad rightly says is disgusting. Ted tells her to get smaller cups. Brad brings up the fact that, according to her waterproof watch, Ted allowed her a 2:35 shower this morning before he turned off the water. She tells Ted to lighten up.

09-08-Ted-fills-waterTed, you fucking hypocrite.

09-09-Danny-classLater, Danny is teaching about Native American beliefs to three girls (two of which were two of the people that laughed at Mr. Ernst’s shampoo hair earlier) and Buddy. Melody catches the end of the presentation, which is about kachina dolls being representations of spirits.

09-10-Melody-interested Melody admires it all (including something that Danny’s uncle gave him that’s been in the family for generations), even though she doesn’t know the meaning behind everything.

09-11-Danny-rattle 09-12-Melody-rattleAfter Melody comments that the sound of a rattle (used in ceremonial dances to ward off evil spirits) sounds like raindrops, the Water Marshall gets an idea.

09-13-Ted-ideaBy the way, I like the sign that Ted put up on the board. It’s a subtle furthering of Ted’s subplot, and it shows someone in set design gave a damn.

Ted wants Danny to do a rain dance. Danny dismisses the idea. Danny has seen only one rain dance – on a TV nature show. Ted grabs the rattle and…

09-14-Ted-danceDanny and Melody are pissed. Danny says it’s not the right time of the season; the rain spirits are gone. Ted is persistent in trying to get Danny to do “a little rain dance”, and Danny walks off. Melody points out Ted’s stupidity to him through a hypothetical situation. Ted apologizes, but Melody sends Ted to Danny.

09-15-Brad-laundryBrad arrives with her laundry. She was unable to do it, because Ted turned off the washer, which leaves Melody out of luck as well. Brad is really concerned, because Mr. Ernst and Lucy have been in his office for over two hours, going over budgets.

09-16-Buddy-canBuddy is collecting cans – whether all of the contents have been drunk or not.

09-17-Ted-CassieBack at the boys’ bunk house, Danny isn’t speaking to Ted. Buddy and Cassie come by to collect cans (at 5 cents each, they need 240,000 cans) to save the ranch. This surprises the guys. Buddy says he heard his dad talking. Unless they can come up with $2,500 to make the well deeper, he’s going to have to fire everybody – except Buddy. Okay, but why is Buddy trying to raise $12,000? For $2,500, he should need to collect only 50,000 cans. Ted brings up the rain dance again. Danny and Ted use Buddy to relay messages to each other until Buddy gets sick of it and leaves with Cassie.

09-18-Ted-apologizesTed apologizes to Danny but then tries to get Danny to teach him how to do a rain dance. Danny says you have to be initiated into the kachina way at birth; otherwise, the spirits won’t accept you. Danny also says they’re not on a reservation. Ted is worried about the drought ruining his whole summer. The Water Marshall goes on a “recon mission”, vowing to be tougher.

09-19-signDanny prays to a spirit (I don’t know how to spell it, so I won’t attempt to), never having done so before, and asks for a sign of what to do. The blind that Ted pulled down earlier suddenly goes up. This gives Danny an idea.

09-20-kachinaAfter Danny leaves, the wind blows, I guess signifying the power of the spirit.

After the commercial break, the Water Marshall makes good on his vow.

09-21-sprinkler 09-22-water-reserve 09-23-Cassie-drinks 09-24-Cassie-upset 09-25-Ted-showerLater, Brad is illicitly taking a shower, and Melody is impatiently waiting her turn (listen for Christine Taylor to garble “When’s it my turn?” as “When it’s my turn?”), but the Water Marshall approaches, and there’s this weird bit where Melody tries to cover the illegal showering activity (and the fact that Brad is even in the shower) by spouting a bunch of bullshit about doing “European yoga”, despite the fact that Ted arrived while Brad was still clearly showering. Her bullshitting is kind of funny, but Ted wants to inspect the shower. He sneaks a quick peek under the door and has Melody relay the message to Brad that her next shower is in four days.

09-26-Ernst-chartMr. Ernst and Lucy are still in the meeting. Somehow, a rate increase of 25% (to cover the costs of the new well) leads to both a lower occupancy rate and higher profits. Lucy is against charging the guests any more and pokes holes in Mr. Ernst’s idea to drill for oil. Mr. Ernst is so desperate that he asks if Lucy has a savings account, but Lucy asks if he pays her enough for that.

09-27-Ernst-bottleThings are so bad that even Mr. Ernst’s water cooler is empty.

09-28-Danny-callsDanny calls Mr. Satkina and gets him to come over.

Mr. Satkina didn’t say he’d fix the well, so Danny has a plan to rig up special effects to convince Mr. Satkina that he’s offending nature. The others are naturally dismissive of this plan but go along with it.

09-29-plan-waterMelody hooked up a pipe to the showers and will release some water when Danny gives the signal.

09-30-plan-flowersBrad set up a bunch of fake flowers that will “wither” on Danny’s command.

Ted points out the “cartoon” fakeness of the effects. The debate is cut short as Mr. Satkina arrives. Danny makes a last-second prayer.

Danny “warns” Mr. Satkina about nature and asks if the “natural spirits” have been giving him any signs.

09-31-Cassie 09-32-flowers 09-33-Melody-hits-Buddy 09-34-pipeDespite the others being incompetently late with the effects (Melody even hits Buddy as they bicker) and Danny calling out and giving very obvious signals, Mr. Satkina pretends to fall for it and goes to talk to Mr. Ernst.

09-35-gangThe gang is confused and divisive over what’s going on, but Ted, of all people, seems to convince them of their success.

09-36-Satkina-meetingAt the meeting, Mr. Ernst is appreciative of Mr. Satkina’s return. Mr. Satkina says something moved his spirit, praises the kids, and wants to speak to Danny.

09-37-Danny-summonedOutside, Ted is being all negative (a hilarious contrast to earlier), and Danny being called into Mr. Ernst’s office convinces him that “that’s it”.

09-38-contractMr. Satkina thanks Danny and explains to Mr. Ernst that the contract will allow him to pay what he can when he can; he trusts him. Mr. Ernst goes to make copies.

09-39-Danny-shockedDanny is shocked to learn Mr. Satkina knew it was a ruse all along. Danny, your shit wouldn’t fool anyone. Mr. Satkina explains he saw this kind of thing before in – wait for it – cartoons. He loves cartoons. He was impressed with how much that they love the ranch and the great lengths that they went through to save it. He says, sometimes, when you get older, you forget about things like that. He’ll be back in an hour with his drills.

09-40-Danny-Satkina 09-41-Danny-Satkina-2 09-42-Danny-cheers 09-43-water-stopsThe pre-credits scene at the end has Mr. Ernst taking another shower and singing “The Nut Song” again. The water suddenly stops. Mr. Ernst fiddles with the valve, and it comes off.

09-44-Ted-newsTed comes by and informs Mr. Ernst that the water heater’s broken. Okay, but why did the water stop running? It should just turn cold.

09-45-Ernst-coldSuddenly, the water turns back on. So…the water has good comedic timing?

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was nice, although Danny’s plan made no sense and could have made things worse if Mr. Satkina had decided these kids wasted his time. Ted could have easily been right.

Speaking of Ted, the Water Marshall subplot was funny, but I don’t know if he’d be given that much leeway in real life. He learns a bit about cultural sensitivity, though, which is nice.

I can’t comment on the authenticity of the Native American aspects of this episode, but I’m willing to give them a pass because of this:

09-46-special-thanks