Welcome to the recap of season 1 of “Hey Dude”. Here, I’m going to give my thoughts on the season as a whole and the characters, rank the episodes from worst to best, and supply some information that I’d come across.
Christine Taylor did an interview for the the season 1 DVD set in 2011, and it was ported over to the Walmart-exclusive Complete Series set (it’s likely just the same discs). It runs 17 minutes (including quite a few clips from the series, admittedly) and is fairly in-depth (more so than I expected). There’s a feeling of warmth and fondness that Christine exudes. Here are some of the things that she had to say:
- She originally auditioned for Brad, but the producers had found Kelly for the role and asked Christine to read for Melody.
- She was a lifeguard at a country club in suburban Pennsylvania. During the audition process, the actors were asked about their hobbies, and these were used in developing their characters, hence Melody being a lifeguard.
- It was Nickelodeon’s first episodic series, so there was a sense of newness and fun and experimentation and excitement. It wasn’t a long and arduous process.
- She was a senior in high school and 17 years old when she flew out to Arizona to shoot the pilot. There was an upcoming prom, graduation, and other “deal-breakers” in her life that, while taking precedence over the series, fortunately didn’t interfere. The day that she was flying to do the pilot was the day of homecoming (so this means the pilot was taped circa October of 1988), so she went to that and then flew out on the next day.
- They shot the pilot in the real buildings of the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. When the series was picked up, the sets were built. There was also an intact caretaker’s house that they sometimes used.
- The cast and crew stayed in a hotel.
- Christine Taylor and David Lascher, being 17 and thus underage, were assigned guardians, but they weren’t rebellious at all.
- They had rental cars.
- She doesn’t miss Melody’s “look” (her outfits).
- Christine Taylor, David Lascher, and Josh Tygiel, being the only ones still in school, had tutors for set hours during the day. By the time that the series got picked up, Christine was at the end of her senior year and accepted into college. David was at the end of his junior year and had one more year of tutoring.
- Christine could fly back for only one day for graduation, and then she flew back to work.
- They weren’t doing one episode per week like other series (obviously).
- It was a four-camera series.
- They were as close as brothers and sisters, living and eating together.
- There were periods of not standing each other and periods of crushes on each other.
- Frederick King Keller and Ross Bagwell, Jr., had polar opposite directing approaches. Keller took everything seriously and questioned the actors about their characters. Bagwell took a fun, who-cares approach. She learned a lot from both of them.
- She claims the cast of “Hey Dude” presented an award at the first annual Kids Choice Awards. I think she’s got the timeline a bit wrong, because the first one was held on April 18, 1988 – around six months before the pilot was shot.
- She’s proud of the series and says, if she hadn’t done it, her life path might have gone in another direction.
- She says an episode would come on once per week and rerun once or twice per week. She also mistakenly says the series aired for only two years and then stopped. However, I seemingly got into the series in eighth grade (1991-1992 school year), and I remember watching it multiple times per week (probably five days), and I believe I saw it listed in the local TV guide that came with the newspaper for many years afterward. According to Wikipedia, reruns were aired on Nickelodeon until early 1999 and then on TeenNick since late 2011.
- She was at a party in LA when a girl came up to her and was like “Omigod, you’re Melody from ‘Hey Dude’.” Christine was taken aback, asking “Really, you watched ‘Hey Dude’?” The girl said “Yeah, I watched it since I was, like, five.” The girl raved about things that she liked about the series and then walked away. Someone turned to Christine and said “That was Paris Hilton.”
- *After a decade of silence, fans started coming out of the woodwork. She’d encounter them everywhere – even in the grocery store.
On May 14, 2014, HuffPost Live posted a “Hey Dude” mini-reunion on YouTube. It runs a little over 5 minutes long. Enjoy.
There was a “Hey Dude” 25th Year Reunion panel at ATX Television Festival on June 6, 2014. Most of the cast (with the notable exceptions of Kelly Brown (though she appeared in the early HuffPost reunion) and Joe Torres) and crew were in attendance. It runs 29 minutes and is quite fun and informative. Enjoy!
IMDB user Wizzleteats dug up some info on the theme song (thanks for permission to present it here):
Doug Klein can be seen playing with Lionel Cartwright (blue shirt/guitarist) in the 1989 outtakes video on Youtube.
Lionel Cartwright had a few country hits around 1989-1991. Interestingly, Dale Jarvis is credited for “background vocals” on Cartwright’s 1990 album, I Watched It on the Radio, and for playing bass on “Smack Dab in the Middle of Love” from Cartwright’s 1991 album, Chasin’ the Sun.
With those connections in mind, I contacted Lionel Cartwright, and he was nice enough to respond with the proper credits (Thanks, Lionel!):
“The Hey Dude theme got a ton of play in the show and was fun to write and produce. Here’s the details.
Writer: Lionel Cartwright
Lead Vocal: Dale Jarvis
I’m thinking Dale Jarvis may have played bass on that. Not sure who played drums. All other instruments (and low vocal) by Lionel Cartwright.”
Season 1 got things started. These thirteen episodes offer a variety of character spotlights and stories (and story quality).
Mr. Ernst (David Brisbin) appeared in 12 of the episodes. He gets a fair amount to do (mostly the “crazy schemes”) and shines in “Goldilocks”. He also does well in “Perfect Father”.
Brad (Kelly Brown) appeared in all 13 episodes. Her highlights include “The Competition”, “Ted and Brad Get Handcuffed”, and “The Good, the Bad, & the Obnoxious”. I really like her.
The season’s least valuable player has to be Lucy (Debrah Kalman). She appeared in only 6 episodes (less than half) and probably totaled no more than 45 minutes of screen time. Her main functions are to offer sage advice and be a strict authority figure, I guess in contrast to the more easygoing, bumbling Mr. Ernst. However, there’s really no reason that her qualities couldn’t have been given to Mr. Ernst to balance him out. No offense to Debrah Kalman, but Lucy really is unnecessary.
Speaking of Debrah Kalman, I need to make a correction to what I said in my review of the first episode. “Hey Dude” was not her only acting gig. However, it’s quite easy to think it was. The problem is her other credits, under different names, are found on their own IMDb pages (Debbie Kalman and Debi Kalman), which shouldn’t happen. She’s been in about four things. “Hey Dude” was still her first acting gig, though.
Ted (David Lascher) appeared in all 13 episodes. He’s certainly the season’s most memorable character and has a lot to do. He and Brad become friends over the course of the season, despite his attempts to pursue her. How can you not love Ted?
Melody (Christine Taylor) appeared in all 13 episodes. She’s definitely the nicest character. She had originally auditioned for Brad, but TPTB wanted Kelly for the role and asked Christine to try out for Melody. She’s such a perfect fit. Supposedly, Christine is just as nice as Melody. Of course, Melody shows her prankster side as well (a bit of a Ted-ish quality), and she can be a bit inconsiderate. She really shines in “The Competition” and has a nice dramatic moment in “Rehearsal for Romance”.
Danny (Joe Torres) appeared in 12 of the episodes. He comes across as nice and easygoing. He has two big episodes this season. He’s probably no one’s favorite character, but he (mostly) comes across as a nice guy that you could be friends with.
Buddy (Josh Tygiel) appeared in 12 of the episodes. He was great in “Goldilocks” and has a fair amount to do elsewhere in the season. It’s nice to have a slightly younger perspective to contrast with the teens and adults. It’s also nice that the younger kid is treated with respect – in contrast to the dismissive attitude that older teens often take toward kids on other sitcoms.
Cassie appeared in 11 of the episodes, but, let’s face it, she was there for the cuteness factor and nothing more. I can understand why she was dropped, but I wish we were given an explanation for her sudden disappearance.
As a treat, here’s a blooper reel from 1989, provided by executive producer Geoffrey Darby.
That’s it for season 1. Tune in next Wednesday as we head into season 2!