Writer: Michael B. Kaplan
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: October 13, 1989
Welcome to season 2. Precisely what defines a “season” on this series is a little confusing (and perhaps a little strange). 65 episodes aired over the course of a little more than two years. These episodes are divided into five seasons of 13 episodes each.
Normally, a television series takes a break between seasons (both in production and in airing). This allows the cast and crew time to absorb what had come up to that point and to plan things going forward. There are some clues in this episode that this is what happened here, and I’ll point them out as we get to them. However, if the original air dates are accurate, “season 2” started one week after “season one” ended.
One more thing that I want to point out before we get into the episode is the running time has increased this season by twenty seconds.
Mr. Ernst shows off the volume control and then demonstrates the “songs” function. A very annoying instrumental of “Jingle Bells” (just the first line) starts playing, and Mr. Ernst can’t shut it off.
Danny and Buddy (and Brad, barely visible) come over to see what the commotion’s about. A small crowd gathers, and Mr. Ernst covers the bullhorn with his hat to slightly muffle the sound and excuses himself.
The first indication that some sort of break occurred is the decision to drop Cassie. If they had already decided to do this while season 1 was in production, I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t address it. Then again, I can’t imagine why they didn’t address it after the fact either.
Melody is obnoxiously persistent in trying to get a look at the pictures, but Brad adamantly refuses to show her. Brad distracts Melody with the potential image of a pantsless Danny and runs into the girls’ bunk house.
Melody finds the pictures and, again, is obnoxiously persistent. If I was Brad, I would have told her to fuck off. Brad eventually relents, releasing the photos and letting Melody fall backwards on the bed.
The pictures turn out to be of Brad wearing a chicken costume. Brad says it’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to her. She makes Melody promise to not tell anyone. Last year, she went to a costume party at school, so she rented the chicken costume – only it wasn’t a costume party. Everyone stopped dancing to stare at Brad. How is such a mistake even made? Was there some kind of miscommunication? Did someone pull a prank on Brad? (Kimberly, maybe?) We don’t get anymore info. Brad can’t believe her mother sent them to her or even had them developed. Brad again makes Melody promise to not tell anyone. Brad takes the pictures to destroy them. The scene ends with a cute moment between the girls where they have an agreement on the nature of mothers.
Later, at the corral, Melody informs Ted that Brad is going to be late for work, and they might as well get started. Ted gets pissed, seemingly thinking Brad is snobby and can decide her own work schedule. Melody says Brad just has a few extra tables to clear in the dining room. Ted insists Brad has an attitude problem. Where is this reaction coming from? There’s no reason for it except to get around to Melody revealing the existence of Brad’s secret to Ted. The entire exchange feels pretty forced.
Ted makes fun of Brad, and Brad gets pissed at Melody for blabbing. Melody gets pissed at Ted, but Brad tells her to leave Ted alone (but does tell Ted to shut up). Brad is surprised that Melody didn’t show him the pictures. Wait, what happened to destroying them?
Danny arrives on Sylvester, and Ted immediately tells Danny Brad’s secret. Meanwhile, Brad lightly punches/shoves/whatever Melody. Danny wants to know if the pictures are in color (ah, the ’80s), Ted asks Melody, and Brad tells Danny about Melody’s betrayal. There’s a lot of arguing over who’s at fault (Melody or Ted). Melody lets out that Ted had blabbed about Danny overflowing Mr. Ernst’s toilet (I would have liked to have seen that). Danny is shocked to find out that Ted told Melody that Danny “overflooded” (as opposed to flooded just enough?) Mr. Ernst’s office. There’s a lot more arguing, which Mr. Ernst interrupts using his bullhorn, telling them to get back to work. Then a tune starts playing, and Mr. Ernst can’t shut it off. Ha. The teens walk off.
Ted apologizes to Danny, but…
We do learn Melody is one of Ted’s best friends, and Ted considers Brad to be mature.
The bell tower seems to be something new this season as well. I really like this shot. You can see the ranch’s sign below – as well as Ted and Melody walking away.
Anyway, Danny feels they let Ted and Melody off too easy, they haven’t learned their lesson, and they’ll just do it again. Danny and Brad concoct a plan where Brad tells one of Melody’s secrets to Danny to tell to Ted, and Danny tells one of Ted’s secrets to Brad to tell to Melody, so both Ted and Melody will be embarrassed when they blab to each other.
After the commercial break, on the next day, Danny tempts “the new Ted” with a secret. They’re gonna banter for a bit, so I’ll take the opportunity to point out that the guys redecorated their room as well. Notice the Sports Illustrated José Canseco poster.
Anyway, the secret is “one of the female staff members” has a secret crush on Eddie Hammerfink, a “muscle beach type” that’s sometimes at the ranch (Danny earlier said he “walks into walls”; I guess Eddie’s an idiot). Ted has to restrain his impulse to tell Melody. Danny withholds the identity of the crusher. Ted leaves for work.
Later, the girls are walking, and Brad tempts Melody with a secret. They’re gonna banter for a bit (surely, this episode is not padded in the slightest), so I’m just gonna suppose Brad is on a break, because she’s not wearing her name badge.
Anyway, the secret is Brad glanced at something (I can’t understand what she said) in Mr. Ernst’s office and noticed one of the staff member’s middle names is Aloysius.
As an aside, I love the background detail of Mr. Ernst working on the loudspeaker system that’s soon to come into play.
Mr. Ernst had returned the bullhorn to the store and gotten a loudspeaker system that the guy sold him. Mr. Ernst was “too smart” to buy $300 worth of cable, opting instead to hook up the loudspeakers to the telephone lines that run all over the ranch. The result: a gag where they hear, over the loudspeaker, a guy at the front desk answering a call and the female caller complaining about the “bad connection”. Ha. Oh, there’s also a cute gag where they girls have a laugh over Mr. Ernst lightly hitting his head (he talks of safety as in the previous episode). Mr. Ernst vows he’s never going back to that store again. The girls smile over his incompetence and run away.
Later, in the main lodge, Melody and Ted catch up on their friendship statuses. They learn of the existence of secrets that the other received. After some banter about learning their lesson, Ted suggests circumventing the “not to tell” secrets promise by having Melody guess the secret, and Melody suggests acting it out.
What follows is a minute and 32 seconds of charades with a few amusing guesses by Melody. Melody finally guesses “Someone has a crush on Eddie Hammerfink!” and is excited but then gets upset when she realizes Brad blabbed her secret. Ted is initially amused but then gets a bad feeling and has Melody tell him the secret that she learned. She tells him. Ted gets pissed. Melody is surprised and amused. So that’s the official confirmation: Theodore Aloysius McGriff. Ted realizes they were set up. After a bit of discussion, Melody and Ted go to “do a duet” by killing their respective roommates.
As the scene changes, you can hear a bird chirping, which is nice.
Danny and Brad are hanging out outside, and Ted and Melody confront them. They talk about it for a bit, and Brad declares they’re even. There’s a cute moment where Brad holds out her hand, and Danny gives Brad five. It’s just some extra “action” while Melody’s talking. I like it when stuff like that occurs. After a bit more discussion, Melody has them take an oath:
The pre-credits scene at the end is the culmination of the “communication” subplot.
Mr. Ernst got a great deal on a pair of used walkie-talkies that a guy sold to him off the back of his truck. Yeah, guess where this is going.
Officer Duncan of the state police notifies Mr. Ernst that he’s on a police frequency and threatens him with arrest unless he gets the fuck off this channel.
Lucy didn’t show up, and Buddy was relegated to a non-speaking cameo at the beginning.
This episode was okay, but it makes everyone (especially Melody) into gossips. Even Danny and Brad. Yeah, they blabbed to teach Ted and Melody a lesson, but they still blabbed.
There are some cute Melody moments, though, and I’m amused by the fact that she’s so embarrassed that everyone knows about her crush. Eddie Hammerfink must be a joke.