Writer: Clifford Fagan
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: September 22, 1989
In 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).
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:
He 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.
After 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:
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.
The 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.
This “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.
After 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.
Brad 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.
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!
Melody 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…
After 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.
Eddie’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.
Anyway, 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”.
The 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.
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.
Brad, 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.
Mr. 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.
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.
As 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.
The pre-credits scene at the end is the resolution of the karate subplot. Wait, that was a subplot?
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.