Monthly Archives: September 2015

Season 2, Episode 12: Cowboy Ernst

Writer: Dean Young
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: January 19, 1990

Before I start on the episode, I have an interesting note about the writer, Dean Young. This episode of “Hey Dude” was his first writing credit. It was the only episode of the series that he wrote. Nine years later(!) (after doing some producing), he wrote two episodes of “Mad About You” and story-edited another episode. From 2001 to 2003, he wrote six episodes of “King of the Hill”. Twelve years(!) after that, he wrote one episode of “Community”, which he did some producing on. He’s definitely had a very odd, sporadic career, and this is where it all began.

25-01-strollIn the cold open (which starts with Melody speaking, getting us into the story right away), the teens are taking a stroll to the lake, and Melody is having them take a stupid (Brad’s term, but I agree with her) personality test in a teen mag. While Melody adds up the scores, Ted is confident, but Brad says tests like these have no validity. Ted says they’re “completely accurate”. If you’re at all interested, Danny got an 84 (a fun and spirited person), Melody got an 87 (a warm and pleasant personality), Brad got a 98 (a sparkling gem), and Ted got a 65 (the personality of asparagus). Ha.

25-02-asparagus 25-03-corralAfter the credits, Ted jumps the fence of the corral and meets up with Danny and the girls. Danny calls him “Asparagus”, and the girls laugh. Ted claims he was in a bad mood when he took the test and wants Melody to re-test him when he’s in a “really great” mood. Melody agrees, and Brad and Danny continue making fun of Ted.

25-04-surveyorsDanny spots surveyors, and the gang wonders what Mr. Ernst is thinking about building this week. This soon turns to wishes of more stables (Ted), bigger bunk houses (Danny), an Olympic-sized pool (Melody, appropriately), or…

25-05-Brad-daydream…a huge spa with mud baths and Swedish saunas, and facilities for a body rub – a place to get a really good herbal wrap (Brad, in orgasmic bliss, completely missing the point of dude ranches).

Brad decides to go to Mr. Ernst to ask what’s up, and the others follow.

25-06-Ernst-shakesIn his office, Mr. Ernst finishes meeting with a real estate agent. They’ll meet again on Thursday for the signing. The real estate agent is played by Robert Barlow Ramsden. “Hey Dude” was his only acting gig, and this is his first of two appearances, each time playing (presumably) a different character.

After the agent leaves, Mr. Ernst tries on his cowboy hat but says “Never looked right.”

The teens come in, mention the surveyors, and then make the same guesses as to what’s being built as they had in the corral.

25-07-Ernst-considersMr. Ernst is initially surprised at Brad’s spa idea but then actually considers it.

25-08-Brad-justifiedBrad feels justified.

Mr. Ernst tries to ignore their inquiries and instead talks about his days as a college journalist (Scoop Ernst uncovered the big scam in the college cafeteria; they were trying to stretch the meatloaf with sawdust), how cockroaches can live up to 15 years (bullshit; it’s up to a year), and the theoretical lifespan of surveyors. As they make their way to the front desk, the gang figures Mr. Ernst is being evasive.

25-09-surveyorOne of the surveyors shows up and asks Mr. Ernst if they can take a few measurements; this is the only building that isn’t coming down; they’re turning it into an “authentic fritters stand”.

The two surveyors are played by Michael Fleming and Rene Lopez. I assume it’s Fleming in this scene. Fleming had a long career, stretching from 1961 to 1997, playing bit parts. He’s also done theater acting. Lopez doesn’t seem to have an IMDb entry.

Mr. Ernst tells him to come back later and then admits to the teens that he’s selling the Bar None. They’re going to build a mall in its place. Dumbass Melody gets excited until Brad points out that she won’t be here to enjoy it. Mr. Ernst insists it was strictly a business decision, but Brad doesn’t seem to believe him. With the money from the sale, he’s going to finance his new business venture.

25-10-girls-disappointedI love how Melody doesn’t even wait to hear the idea before she reacts appropriately. Brad doesn’t seem any more enthusiastic but asks what it is. Because it’s not patented yet, Mr. Ernst is very secretive about it and keeps it locked up in the safe.

25-11-sodErnst’s Miracle Desert Sod. He wants to grow grass in sand – but hasn’t figured out how yet.

25-12-Melody-faceRalph at the Circle J calls. Both he and the ranch had been mentioned, separately, in “Superstar” (season 2, episode 10), and now it turns out that he’s the owner. Mr. Ernst looks at the teens with suspicion as he takes his sod showpiece away from the desk and into his office. Brad decides to see what Lucy has to say about this, and the others follow.

25-13-Buddy-gunBuddy interrupts his dad’s phone call by squirting him through the window. Buddy overhears his dad admitting money wasn’t his only reason for selling; he loves it here, and he’s always fancied himself a cowboy, but he’s no cowboy; he’s an accountant from New Jersey. Wait. In the series premiere, Buddy said he’s an accountant from New York. Which is it? I guess he could be “from New Jersey”, and he commuted to work in New York. Mr. Ernst fails the see Buddy continually looking through the windows.

25-14-Ernst-shaves-grassMr. Ernst spills his sod idea to Ralph while trimming the grass with an electric razor. Ralph laughs at the idea.

25-15-gang-LucyThe gang catches up with Lucy in the corral. She’s heard the news (Mr. Ernst made her promise to not tell the teens) and isn’t happy about it. This is the third time that she’s been kicked off a ranch, because it was sold to developers. She’d fought it every time, but it never did any good. She says the money that this land is getting these days is too much for ranchers to resist, and she doesn’t see a way to change Mr. Ernst’s mind if money is his only reason.

25-16-Melody-LucyLucy is about to go and look for another job, but Melody asks her why she keeps looking for ranch jobs after being kicked off ranches. Lucy says she’s never thought of doing anything else; this is what she knows and loves; a ranch hand belongs on a ranch. This single-minded focus on ranching isn’t much, but it’s the most characterization that Lucy’s gotten in the series so far.

25-17-Buddy-gateAs Lucy leaves, Buddy swings by (literally). The girls think the ranch being sold is good news for Buddy, because he wanted to move back to New Jersey. Buddy claims his dad is going to make him mow the eventual desert-turned-lawn. Buddy relays what he’d heard his dad say over the phone about not being a cowboy. Ted has a plan: convince Mr. Ernst that he’s a great cowboy, so he won’t leave. We learn Mr. Ernst used to think horses get milked. I wonder if he tried it out. Ted wants to make Mr. Ernst feel like John Wayne, which is a callback to season 1, episode 04 (and perhaps season 1, episode 03, and season 2, episode 03), even though Ted’s already learned John Wayne was an actor that disliked horses in real life. He convinces the others to join in. This starts a recurring “gag” for the rest of the episode, where Buddy asks “My dad? [insert description here]? Are you nuts?” It’s not funny, and even the other characters eventually find it annoying.

25-18-water-gunAfter the commercial break, on another day, Ted fills a squirt gun with water in the corral. The plan is for Ted to have a water duel with Mr. Ernst. However, Buddy says he’s seem his dad do practice draws in the mirror and lose to himself. Just such a thing happened in “Goldilocks” (season 1, episode 03), although Buddy didn’t witness it.

25-19-Ernst-wheelbarrowMr. Ernst comes by with a bunch of sod. Ted makes an appeal to Mr. Ernst’s inner cowboy to have a showdown with him. Mr. Ernst agrees. Ted decides to savor the moment of being in the Wild West.

And then the showdown (which reminds me a bit of the Ted/Melody confrontation in “Employee of the Week” (season 1, episode 12)):

25-20-showdown-1 25-21-showdown-2 25-22-showdown-3 25-23-showdown-4 25-24-showdown-5 25-25-showdown-6 25-26-showdown-7 25-27-showdown-8 25-28-showdown-9 25-29-showdown-10 25-30-showdown-11 25-31-showdown-12 25-32-showdown-13 25-33-showdown-14 25-34-showdown-15 25-35-showdown-16 25-36-showdown-17 25-37-showdown-18 25-38-showdown-19 25-39-showdown-20 25-40-Danny-ropeLater, Brad compliments Danny on roping the stupid haystack bull, and Danny says “It’s all in the wrist.” (callback to season 2, episode 10). Buddy comes by and reports on the gunfight. The backup plan is to have Mr. Ernst throw a lasso. Mr. Ernst comes by with his stupid sod and apologizes for Buddy’s squirt gun, saying they make things so poorly these days. Danny and Brad talk Mr. Ernst into showing them how to throw a lasso, despite him never having done so before. Danny wants to savor the moment.

25-41-Ernst-rope-1 25-42-Ernst-rope-2Following Danny’s earlier instruction, Brad compliments Mr. Ernst’s epic fail. To Mr. Ernst, however, this is definitive proof that he’s not a cowboy.

25-43-meetingLater, Ted convenes a meeting at the boat house, and the girls think so little of it that they play with a beach ball. Danny compares Ted to broccoli, but Brad corrects him. After some banter, Ted reveals his plan is to make Mr. Ernst look like a real wrangler, but Brad has Buddy shoot it down through the use of his catchphrase.

25-44-Ted-snakeTed’s plan is to have Mr. Ernst save a horse-riding Brad from a rubber snake. Ted takes them over to the fence to show them how they’re gonna set it up.

25-45-Ernst-comes-out 25-46-Ernst-thinksUnfortunately, Mr. Ernst wasn’t out in the desert with his sod, as Ted had thought, but in the…boat house…with his sod showpiece. Whaaa…?

25-47-Ernst-sodLater, Mr. Ernst is at the corral with his sod.

25-48-Danny-impressed 25-49-snakeDanny sees a snake on the ground and compliments Ted, despite the fact that this doesn’t look anything like the fake snake that Ted pulled out earlier and is moving its head on its own. Danny quickly gets out of there as Mr. Ernst approaches, but Mr. Ernst sees him and smiles in amusement.

25-50-Buddy-barrel 25-51-Melody-signalsBuddy, hiding in a barrel, signals Melody over a walkie-talkie, and Melody tells Brad to ride.

25-52-Ernst-BradMr. Ernst good-naturedly greets “Bradley”, aware of their plan.

25-53-snake 25-54-horse-scaredThe horse sees the snake footage from earlier and gets scared.

25-55-Brad-horse-scared 25-56-Ernst-readyBrad begs Mr. Ernst to help, and the “cowboy hero” agrees to “save the day”.

25-57-Ernst-snake 25-58-Ted-snakeTed arrives late with “Mr. Snake”. Mr. Ernst, in a nice twist on the squirt gun comment from earlier, says they make these things realistic-feeling nowadays.

25-59-gang-celebratesMr. Ernst admits he’d overheard them. It made him have a change of heart (besides, his sod was turning brown), and he called the real estate agency an hour ago and called off the sale. Even though he’ll never be a cowboy, he’s going to stick with the ranch.

25-60-Ernst-faintsTed calls him a cowboy hero and shows him the rubber snake. Mr. Ernst realizes what he’s holding and faints.

25-61-Danny-snakeDanny notices the lack of a rattle and picks up the snake. He says it’s a bullsnake.

25-62-gang-helps-ErnstThe gang helps Mr. Ernst to his feet, and Ted calls him a real cowboy hero. As they walk away, Buddy says “My dad, a cowboy hero. Of course.” Then he runs to catch up with them.

25-63-gang-sittingThe pre-credits scene at the end has Lucy thanking the gang for saving the ranch – and her job. We also get the resolution of the “personality test” subplot. This time, Ted got a 55 (the personality which makes an onion seem interesting). I know I was on the edge of my seat.

25-64-Ernst-spurs 25-65-Cowboy-BenMr. Ernst shows up in an outfit that makes the one that Doc dressed Marty up in look authentic by comparison. He wants to take Smokey out for a ride and insists on being called “Cowboy Ben” from now on (twenty bucks says it’ll be back to “Mr. Ernst” by the next episode).

25-66-dumbassSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode had some nice moments, but it could have been better if Mr. Ernst had a solid alternative in place to running the ranch. The sod thing was bullshit. Also, it makes Mr. Ernst seem a bit selfish. When you own a business, you have to consider the people in your employment and how it will affect them, not just your own lack of enthusiasm and desire to move on.

Season 2, Episode 11: Bar None Babysitter

Writer: Judy Spencer
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: January 12, 1990

Before I get to this episode, I need to address something that I immediately noticed when watching the previous episode but somehow missed when I was rewatching it as I was writing the review. In the final scene, Brad all but states Ted is 16 years old. Back in “Ted’s Saddle” (season 1, episode 04), Ted refers to himself as 17 to Brad. (David Lascher might have been 16 at the time of taping but was definitely 17 when that episode aired, and he was definitely 17 when this episode was taped and aired.) This is likely an error, but let’s assume Ted was lying about his age earlier to make himself appear more appealing to Brad (a person that he has described as mature). Maybe Brad found out Ted’s real age from Melody or Danny. Anyway, Ted really being 16 during this summer would be of immense help, timeline-wise, but I’ll save the full discussion for the episode when this becomes relevant.

24-01-Buddy-spyIn the cold open, Buddy is playing spy (callback to season 1, episode 07), sneaking around and talking into a walkie-talkie. They’ve got spy music going on.

One thing that bugs me is Buddy keeps referring to his home base as “1-Adam-12”. This comes from “Adam-12“, a 1968-1975 TV series about patrol officers, created by Jack Webb, the creator and star of “Dragnet”. “1-Adam-12” referred to the patrol car, but Buddy is using it to refer to the base. Of course, the “1” in “1-Adam-12” was inaccurate on that series as well, so whatever.

24-02-Buddy-bumps-TedAnyway, Buddy bumps into Ted, causing him to drop his laundry.

24-03-Ted-flirtsTed learns the subject of Buddy’s “case” and goes over to flirt with her. She’s preoccupied and not interested in him. Ted offers to help.

The woman is played by Carolyn Varga. “Hey Dude” was her only acting gig.

24-04-Ted-stuckThe woman dumps her little sister, Noelle, on “Tad” for “a couple hours”. Noelle wants to play tea party. Noelle is played by Stacy Linn Ramsower, who you might remember as Stacy, the girl that Melody saves and teaches to swim in “Our Little Champion” (season 2, episode 03).

24-05-Lucy-Ernst-guestAfter the credits, Lucy and Mr. Ernst see a guest off, expecting to see her at the same time next year.

24-06-Ted-holds-NoelleMeanwhile, Ted’s carrying Noelle and being annoyed by Buddy, who’s keeping up his spy game by talking into the damn walkie-talkie (and telling Ted about his new “detective” kit; he’s still dressed like a spy, not a detective).

Mr. Ernst has been practicing his “western” drawl, and we get a bit of time-wasting on this.

24-07-Ernst-NoelleTed explains the situation with Noelle to Mr. Ernst and tries to get Mr. Ernst to take her off his hands, because babysitting doesn’t go with his “image”, but Mr. Ernst reminds him that he’s in charge of the Young Buckaroos. Translation: “Tough shit.” He also makes Ted “the official Bar None babysitter” over his objection.

24-08-girls-argueMeanwhile, Melody’s upset at Brad, who had gone into town and brought back “boring, unadventurous” vanilla ice cream; Melody prefers almond pistachio or rocky road. I’m with Melody! Hmm, I wonder if her adventurous preference extends to her sex life.

24-09-Brad-NoelleNoelle calls for “Tad” to bring her bag. Brad meets Noelle, who explains the situation (pronouncing Ted’s name correctly).

24-10-Ted-explainsTed brings over Noelle’s bag and tries to contradict Noelle to no avail. Listen for Stacy to nearly mistakenly say “Ted” but quickly “correcting” it to “Tad”.

24-11-Brad-hugs-Ted24-12-Brad-holds-TedBrad is amused and makes fun of “Tad”.

24-13-Noelle-hand-1It’s time for the tea party. Ted wants to take Noelle, but Noelle insists on Ted holding her hand. Brad makes some more fun of “Tad” as they walk off.

24-14-Ernst-summons-BradMr. Ernst pops out of his office and reminds “Bradley” that they’re waiting for her. A scheduled meeting for when Brad returned from town, I guess.

24-15-girls-reactMr. Ernst reveals he’s “just had another Benjamin Ernst brainstorm”, and the girls’ reactions are perfect. They have zero faith in their boss’ ideas and aren’t afraid to show it.

Anyway, if he’s “just had” this “brainstorm”, then was this meeting really scheduled?

24-16-Ted-rocks-NoelleHe talks a bit more about his brain power, and then it fades to Ted rocking Noelle outside pretty abruptly.

24-17-Noelle-sadNoelle is sad that Ted doesn’t want to look after her.

Ted tries to explain that it’s not his style, and then it fades to the cookout area, where Mr. Ernst explains his brainstorm to the girls.

Okay, this is weird. The meeting scene ended without any discussion, then there’s a quick scene with Ted and Noelle, and now Mr. Ernst is explaining his idea in a completely different area (and Danny is absent). Who would do this in real life? I’d be curious to see the script.

24-18-listAnyway, Mr. Ernst wants to make the Bar None stand out by offering more services and pampering the guests. His idea is to provided the guests with pre-written postcards, because “people hate to write postcards”. This is just wrong on so many levels, but Mr. Ernst provides the girls with a box full of blank postcards and a list with 20 of the most popular boys’ and girls’ names…for 400 possible combinations. He expects them to get 50 done…each…by lunchtime. Mr. Ernst gives them two pens out of his pocket protector and says “Have fun.” At this point, any reasonable employee would say “Fuck you. I quit.” To her credit, however, Melody doesn’t even wait until Mr. Ernst is out of earshot before she calls his idea the dopiest thing that she’s ever heard of. Seriously, he’s still in the shot.

24-19-Melody-passion“Vanilla” Brad writes a completely boring, formulaic postcard. Non-vanilla Melody, however, wants “style”, “creativity”, and “passion”. They bicker for a bit, and then Melody writes: “Dearest Raphael, I will never forget when you held my hand on the steps of the coliseum in Venice. Yours always, Alexandria” Brad laughingly corrects Melody’s geographical mistake and says it’s the dopiest thing that she’s ever heard. Melody says “Well, maybe so, but at least it’s not vanilla” and “Some of us just have it”. In other words, “You’re missionary intercourse, and I’m reverse-cowgirl anal, bitch. Guess who gets more enjoyment out of life.” Brad steps up and writes a postcard to “Jean-Pierre”, which Melody encourages.

24-20-Ted-horsesLater, Ted is entertaining Noelle with a pretend horse race.

24-21-Answer-ManMr. Ernst’s habit of waiting until way after the meeting to explain his ideas continues as he makes Danny the “Answer Man” for the guests. Holy shit, a second subplot. Anyway, Mr. Ernst also refers to the “Old West” (as Ted did in the series premiere), which doesn’t make sense.

24-22-Ernst-DannyDanny protests and mentions his lack of knowledge, but Mr. Ernst tries to encourage him.

24-23-rockA guest comes over and asks Danny to identify a rock that he’d just found. Danny identifies it as “arcos” and “red sandstone”, but I can’t find any evidence that red sandstone is called arcos. He gives a few more details, and then the guest tells him that he knows a lot of useless information and thanks him. Jackass.

The “Special Guest” is played by F. Gary Bell. “Hey Dude” was his second of three acting gigs. The first was an episode of “The Young Riders” called “The Keepsake” in 1989, and the third was a short called “Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School” later in 1990.

Anyway, Danny’s encounter with this asshole suddenly gives him confidence to declare with pride that he is the Answer Man and knows all of the answers.

Mr. Ernst wishes Danny good luck and then asks Ted how it’s going. Ted says fine but then tries to pass Noelle off to Danny, because he can’t take anymore abuse from Brad. Ted tries to keep Noelle from doing stuff, and he and Danny banter for a bit to waste some time, but the point is Danny refuses.

24-24-Noelle-hand-2Ted leaves, angry, and wants Noelle to come along, but she again insists on him holding her hand.

24-25-boys-DannyTwo boys, having somehow gotten word of the Answer Man already, decide to test him. Stripes asks Danny a question about cacti, which Danny answers. Cap asks him to name the Seven “Dwarves” [sic]. Danny gets all of them except Doc, so the boys leave, disappointed and insulting Danny.

The two boys are played by Timothy H. Burke and Kevin Joseph Berlat, though I can’t tell who is who. “Hey Dude” was Burke’s only acting gig, but Berlat had previously appeared in a 1983 TV movie called “Little Shots” (“Hey Dude” was his last acting gig). An IMDb comment indicates he is (or was as of 2007) a speech and debate coach.

24-26-Buddy-hay-shackThe spy music kicks back on as Buddy continues his shtick.

24-27-Lucy-BuddyLucy wants to know what the fuck he’s doing. He’s looking out for crime and mystery. She drops a hint for him to get lost.

24-28-Ted-cleans-NoelleTed cleans up Noelle, who’s getting dirty. Buddy, surprisingly, calls in to “Central Dispatch”, getting it right for once.

Ted asks Lucy about Brad. She hasn’t seen her. Ted tries to dump Noelle on Lucy. Lucy refuses, saying she wasn’t hired as a babysitter. Good point. Ted should have brought that up to Mr. Ernst. Noelle says Ted’s her babysitter, but Ted says it’s a misunderstanding. Ted and Noelle talk for a bit, and Noelle gets a funny line in. Lucy takes Ted aside and offers the sage advice of it’s not gonna kill him. Lucy leaves. We learn Ted had a lizard for two years. When Ted looks around, Noelle has disappeared.

24-29-Ted-hay-shackAfter the commercial break, Ted asks Buddy where Noelle is, and Buddy says he doesn’t know. They argue for a while, and Ted searches. Buddy is excited to have his “first case”, which upsets Ted. Buddy insists on helping, but Ted says he can tag along but not get in his way. He leaves. Buddy calls it in on his walkie-talkie. There’s a sound of someone talking or whatever just before it cuts to the next scene. It might be Brad.

24-30-girls-writeThe girls are still writing the postcards. Melody suggests starting to use some of the names on Mr. Ernst’s list, but Brad is having too much fun.

Danny comes by and challenges the girls to name the Seven “Dwarves”. Melody names all of them (including her “personal favorite”, Bashful) except Doc. Brad admits she’s no help to Melody. They think about it for a bit. Melody searches the postcards for the answer and is surprised Brad used “Vlad” as a name. Maybe Brad has a vampire fixation (she does know Universal Horror)? “I vant to suck your tits.” Melody says some of Brad’s names “are really Loony Tunes”. Brad protests. Melody reads off names in Brad’s “Biblical series” (Melody’s term). They go back to trying to figure out the seventh dwarf’s name, which Danny insists ends in a “y”. Um, “Bashful” doesn’t. Danny says he’s not going back there, because those kids are waiting for him. There was no indication that this was a continuous problem. The kids had left after stumping Danny once. Danny offers the Answer Man job to the girls, and Melody accepts in exchange for finishing up the rest of her postcards (she has about 20 left). Brad volunteers to do them, but Melody quickly shoots that down. Danny agrees to write the postcards.

24-31-pronouncementDanny pronounces Melody “the official Answer Person”.

Excited, Melody tells Danny to not let Brad write any more postcards, and then she leaves.

24-32-Buddy-cookout-areaAt the same time, Buddy and Ted arrive, and Buddy calls in their location. Ted is sick of that. Danny and Brad question Ted, who nervously shrugs them off and has Buddy follow him elsewhere.

Brad doesn’t like Danny’s bland, formulaic postcard and brings up style, creativity, and passion, which confuses him. Brad shows him an example of what she wrote (which we don’t get to hear, sadly).

24-33-Buddy-main-lodgeBuddy calls in the location as he and Ted arrive at the main lodge. Ted complains about it again. Melody asks what’s going on. Ted doesn’t really trust Melody to keep a secret but asks if she’s seen a girl and gives a description. She hasn’t.

24-34-boy-MelodyMelody retains the guys for help as Cap comes by and asks her to name the Seven “Dwarves”. Melody names all of them except Doc. Melody stalls for time, and then Buddy very blatantly gives her a clue, so she answers Cap’s question. He has another question, but Ted says Melody is on her own as he and Buddy leave. Cap’s question is “If a flashlight is traveling at the speed of light, how fast does the beam go?” He takes his cap off while asking, so you know he means business. Melody half-heartedly calls after the guys, leaving Cap satisfied. Anyway, anyone know the answer to this question?

24-35-Ernst-postcardsIn his office, Mr. Ernst is disappointed in the postcards and specifically expresses surprise/disgust at “Vlad”.

24-36-Melody-kicks-BradMelody good-naturedly kicks Brad.

Some of the guests have been complaining to Mr. Ernst about the strange answers that they got from the “Answer Lady”. In a second geography fail, Melody had said the capital of North Dakota is North Dakota City. Brad laughs at her, and Melody tries hitting Brad. They discuss the problems for a bit, but Mr. Ernst eventually sees their points that 1) people like to write their own postcards, and 2) you need at least a college degree to be an Answer Person. There’s a funny bit where Mr. Ernst calls himself a “trendsetter”. Yeah, right. The teens go to do their chores.

24-37-Buddy-windowThe spy music kicks back on as Buddy climbs out the window and calls in his and Ted’s location.

24-38-Ted-BuddyTed and Buddy talk for a bit, and Ted gets in a funny/stupid (and completely serious) line about checking another dimension for Noelle later. This kind of reminds me of how he told Buddy that he thought they learned about quantum cell transportation in school in “Ted’s Saddle” (season 1, episode 04).

24-39-Ted-sisterNoelle’s sister comes by and asks “Tad” where she is. Ted has Buddy keep looking while he stalls. He eventually goes to “get her” and takes Buddy along with him.

24-40-Buddy-TedTed is accepting of his impending death. Buddy says Ted should have listened to him. Ted apologizes. Buddy calls himself “the great detective”. Ted calls him “the greatest detective in the West”. Happy, Buddy calls Noelle over the walkie-talkie and gets her to come over. Hehe, they actually had me fooled. Good job. Still, there’s a bit of a goof. You can see Noelle’s knapsack behind Ted just before Buddy calls her, and then she’s standing behind Ted as she says “10-4” in the next shot. They had put her in the scene too early.

Buddy had given Noelle his second walkie-talkie and called in their locations, so she’d be someplace else. Buddy says he outsmarted Ted.

24-41-Noelle-hugs-TedNoelle’s sister comes by, and Noelle feigns innocence. As they leave, Ted corrects them on his name.

Ted and Buddy talk about it. Buddy had been playing detective with Noelle this morning, not shadowing Noelle’s sister. Buddy decided on the trick at the corral to get back at Ted for his “obnoxious” behavior. Um, Ted wasn’t being obnoxious. He was fed up with Buddy doing his spy crap, and he was trying to keep Noelle from playing with stuff and getting dirty. Big difference.

24-42-Ted-chases-BuddyTed chases Buddy, who calls for assistance.

24-43-Ted-Brad-deskThe pre-credits scene at the end has Ted and Brad on desk duty on another day. Brad makes fun of Ted for being tricked, but I was tricked, too.

24-44-Melody-clipboardMelody comes by for the sign-up sheet for the breakfast ride, which Ted gives to her. Brad gives the registration cards to Ted to file alphabetically and then jokes about having Buddy explain it to him. Ted and the girls talk about it for a bit, and then the girls go to get breakfast. Brad asks “Dan” if he’s coming, and Danny says in a minute.

24-45-Danny-pissedDanny comes over and is pissed at Ted for giving Brad proof of female superiority, calling him “an embarrassment to guys everywhere”. He vows to not forget this. Ten bucks says it’s never mentioned again.

24-46-Ernst-kidsMr. Ernst shows up with a surprise for Ted: more kids to babysit.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was nice. The main plot was funny (even if Buddy was an ass), and the subplots were pretty funny, too. All three briefly converged at the cookout area as Ted arrived at the postcard-writing table in search of Noelle as Melody was leaving on her Answer Person duty.

Season 2, Episode 10: Superstar

Writer: Clifford Fagin
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: January 5, 1990

As you can see from the supposed original air date above (and a screencap from the end of the episode below), this episode seemingly aired three weeks after the previous one, being the first episode to air in 1990. We’re in da ’90s, yo! Okay, so this episode was likely taped and edited in 1989, but whatever. It’s Hammer Time!

23-01-guys-paintIn the cold open, Buddy brings a lot of paint to Ted and Danny to paint a bench. Buddy says his dad always says “Better to be safe than sorry.” This leads Danny to quote Mr. Ernst as saying “Safety first.” This is a callback to “Pain in the Neck” (season 1, episode 13), “Loose Lips” (season 2, episode 01), and (even though I didn’t mention it in the review) “Crash Landing” (season 2, episode 05).

23-02-Melody-excitedMelody comes by, excited by the impending arrival of Bobby Rogers, a “big, huge TV star” that is “on that show where he plays America’s first teenage fighter pilot”. That sounds like a delightfully cheesy (in an ’80s sort of way) TV series. (If I had as few entertainment options as I’d had in the ’80s, I’d watch it.) I wish they’d given it a name, though, because Melody’s explanation sounds clunky without one. It’s like an Archie story that I read once, where Archie referred to the “Titanic” stand-in that Betty and Veronica were watching as “that ocean liner disaster movie”.

Anyway, once Melody explains, the guys realize who she’s talking about. Ted refers to him as “that goofy-looking guy with weird hair”. Anyway, Melody has a raging lady-boner for the guy, and she knows he turned 18 on April 10. That would be April 10 of…? Anyway, he’s coming to get riding lessons for a new movie that he’s going to be in, and he’ll be instructed by Brad. Ted takes issue with this, because he’s senior staff. Melody points out that Brad is the riding instructor.

23-03-Danny-paints-TedAfter some time-wasting over horse-riding terminology, Danny accidentally paints Ted’s arm. Ha.

23-04-Ernst-phoneAfter the credits, Mr. Ernst is on the phone with a guy named Ralph. He’s seeking information on someone but can’t get any details. He gives his regards to Alice (presumably Ralph’s wife) and hangs up.

23-05-Brad-bookHe calls Lucy and Brad from the front desk to his office. He shows them the Southwest Dude Ranch Guide. Brad’s parents subscribed to it; that’s how she found out about the job here: an ad that Mr. Ernst had placed in it. Wow, I never expected this detail to be mentioned. Since Mr. Ernst seemingly never visited the ranch before the series premiere, I’m guessing the book contained some New York contact information for him.

Mr. Ernst has just learned there’s a representative from the guide in the area, giving out ratings to all of the local dude ranches. Mr. Ernst is nervous and guesses “he’s” traveling incognito. It’s might not be a guy, Mr. Ernst, as you all but admittedly during the phone call with Ralph. I’m guessing Ralph is the owner of another dude ranch in the area. Lucy and Mr. Ernst argue over the merit of his worry. Brad and Lucy futilely try to cheer him up.

23-06-Ted-BradLater, as Bobby is about to arrive, Ted confronts Brad and accuses her of having a celebrity crush. He has delusions of future fame, which Brad twists into a prediction of future imprisonment. She says she doesn’t care about celebrity, but Ted doesn’t believe her. Brad brings up her position as riding instructor and insults Ted’s riding.

23-07-Bobby-arrivesBobby arrives in a taxi. He and Brad get along, but Ted doesn’t like him because plot. Brad finds Bobby humorous and walks off with him, leaving Ted upset.

Bobby Rogers is played by Paul Whitthorne. He was actually 19, not 18, when this episode was taped. He’s from Tucson. “Hey Dude” was his first acting gig. He didn’t have much of a career, appearing in only four more things, the last being “Critters 4” in 1992.

23-08-Melody-DannyMelody is practically orgasming over Bobby’s arrival and offers to cover the rest of Danny’s desk duty as well as her own if he gets the fuck out now.

23-09-Melody-shoves-DannyDanny agrees, deciding to fertilize his ant farm, and Melody shoves him off.

I need to point out, if this is meant to occur on the same day as the cold open, Danny is the only one wearing the wrong shirt, although he could have changed if he had a painting (or horse-shitting) accident or whatever.

Also, I’d caught it too late to mention it in my review, but the same thing happened in “Treasure Teens” (season 2, episode 08), which occurs over the course of a single day: the girls briefly got different clothes early in the episode before reverting to their previous clothes.

23-10-Melody-meets-BobbyBrad is giving Bobby a tour and brings him to the front desk to register. Melody is high on her own juices and has too many euphoric visions of Bobby fucking her senseless to perform her tasks. She also gets a little stalkery right in front of him and has to be dissuaded by Brad.

23-11-Ernst-meets-BobbyBuddy and Mr. Ernst come over. Buddy is excited to meet Bobby, despite not seeming at all excited in the cold open or even giving any indication that he knew who the guy was. Mr. Ernst makes a Mr. Rogers joke. Melody gives Bobby the key to his room. Brad takes him to show him where it is. Melody gushes over Bobby, but Mr. Ernst suspects he’s a lookalike critic hired by the Southwest Dude Ranch Guide. Buddy, Melody, and the nearby guests are skeptical. We learn both Mr. Ernst’s wife and mother used to say he was too suspicious.

23-12-criticMr. Ernst continues worrying about the critic. A man comes over, needing help in finding his room, and Mr. Ernst directs him to Melody and walks off with Buddy, rambling on about the critic. Yeah, guess where this is going.

The “Special Guest” is played by Paul R. Secrest. “Hey Dude” was his only acting gig. He’ll show up three more times, playing Vic Vleck, but we’ll get to the Vlecks later.

23-13-Melody-card 23-14-Melody-card-2Anyway, Melody has checked out, so she can’t check him in.

23-15-Ted-ropeLater, Ted is practicing his lassoing, er, “roping” (as the cowboys say) and isn’t very good at it. Danny suggests more wrists and less hips. They goof around for a bit. Danny asks Ted about Bobby. Ted complains about “those star types”. Danny brings up Brad, and there’s more banter for a while until Danny falls off the silly haystack bull.

23-16-Danny-fallsOh, and Danny’s other clothes in the lodge were totally a costuming error. He’s back to his clothes from the cold open. Unless he’s got “indoor” and “outdoor” clothes.

Nah, they fucked up.

23-17-Brad-BobbyLater, Brad is getting Bobby’s tack (saddle, bridle, and other leather bits) ready for his first riding lesson. She talks about the relative ease of teaching a noob versus unteaching bad habits. Bobby is genuinely funny and not at all like Ted thinks he is. Brad starts instructing Bobby.

Melody, dressed up nice for Bobby, interrupts, upsetting Brad, but Bobby decides to have a “private moment” with his saddle. Melody wants to offer Bobby swimming lessons. We learn staff members are not supposed to flirt with the guests. Has anyone told Ted this rule? Melody thinks it’s a stupid rule and brings up her “right to flirt”.

23-18-Melody-BobbyAnyway, Melody suggestively brings it up, and Bobby accepts her offer to fuck in the pool, er, work on his backstroke. Melody excitedly cops a feel of Bobby’s (and Brad’s) arm before leaving. I guess they’re “touches of gratitude”. Brad continues with Bobby’s lesson.

23-19-critic-book 23-20-Ernst-lookoutOn another day, Mr. Ernst is on the lookout for the critic and totally misses the critic taking notes. I like the spy/surveillance music that they’ve got going.

Mr. Ernst goes out of his way to be extra-nice to guests at a table, suspecting them all.

23-21-Ernst-criticThe critic comes by and asks Mr. Ernst if there are anymore spare ribs. Mr. Ernst almost dismissively says he doesn’t know and points out the chef.

23-22-Ernst-ketchupMr. Ernst tries to put ketchup on a guest’s food and accidentally gets it all over him. Ha.

As Brad and Bobby walk to a table, Brad takes her hand off Bobby for a moment and does this weird waving motion at a seemingly random person or whatever. Odd.

23-23-Lucy-ErnstMr. Ernst walks over to Lucy, who’s enjoying one of those colas that Ted was deprived of in “Bunkmate Battle”. They talk for a bit about the “rambling critic”. Lucy is “almost positive” that Ted removed the dead skunk from the swimming pool. Ewww…

23-24-Ted-rides-upSuddenly, Ted rides straight over to Brad and Bobby’s table and nearly kills them. He dismounts, says “Hey, dudes”, and volunteers to help with lunch. Brad and Mr. Ernst are pissed.

23-25-Ernst-upsetMr. Ernst chews him out. Ted apologizes to him and goes to park Timber in the corral. Side note: I like how Bobby’s just casually petting Timber.

Mr. Ernst apologizes to Bobby, and he and Brad clean Bobby up. Mr. Ernst leaves, and Brad and Bobby resume their lunch. Brad complains about Ted and calls him a dork. Bobby, speaking from experience, says jealousy can make guys dorky. This is a case where being on Nickelodeon makes the characters talk unlike real teens. In real life, if Ted had pulled this shit, Brad would have called him an asshole. “Dork” isn’t even the right term; “jerk” would be closer.

23-26-Brad-bunsBrad says Ted’s always been “one big pain in the buns”.

23-27-lessonAfter the commercial break (which comes unusually late in this episode), Brad is giving Bobby a riding lesson. They talk for a bit. Bobby’s done some skateboarding.

23-28-Bobby-dirtSuddenly, Bobby takes a spill. Brad rushes over. He’s okay but wants to quit for the day. Brad doesn’t allow him to quit.

23-29-Brad-TedTed comes by and flirts with Brad, and they each get good lines in. After Ted insults Bobby, Brad abruptly ends the lesson and has Bobby dismount.

23-30-Bobby-kisses-BradBobby kisses Brad on the cheek in appreciation, upsetting Ted but delighting Brad, who sneaks a quick peek at Ted’s reaction.

23-31-Ted-upset 23-32-Melody-aweLater, in the girls’ bunk house, Melody is in awe of Brad for having been kissed by Bobby Rogers.

23-33-Melody-pillowReally in awe. Sweet Goddess, this girl is nuts. Make-out-with-a-pillow-and-make-squealing-noises nuts.

For some reason that I don’t understand, Brad is upset at Melody for saying she’s torn between being jealous and proud of her and demands a repetition from Melody. Seriously, I have never understood Brad’s seeming anger at this one moment.

23-34-Melody-touches-BradMelody wants Brad to point out exactly where Bobby’s lips landed. Melody lovingly touches Brad’s cheek and declares herself to be “a fulfilled woman”. This show is dicking with me, isn’t it? The writer was psychic and knew a yuri-loving, lemon-fic-writing guy would be reviewing this series in the future, so he deliberately wrote this moment into this episode.

As it turns out, Melody was hoping her best friend would have a Hollywood wedding. So it was either her or Brad, and she would have been happy with either outcome? Because she would be vicariously fucked nightly through Brad? Brad isn’t in love with Bobby but still has her eye on Tom Cruise. Stay away, Brad! Stay away!

23-35-Melody-whacks-Brad 23-36-magazineLater on, at the lake, Ted is reading one of those teen gossip magazines (probably stolen from Melody), and Bobby’s on the front cover.

Bobby comes by and talks with Ted. Bobby explains he’s never met the girl that’s next to him on the cover; it’s photoshopped. Okay, he doesn’t use that term, and the timeline is a bit early, production-wise, for it to be Photoshop (it existed but wasn’t released yet), but it’s the same basic thing. This makes the title of the magazine, “Splice”, very amusing. Anyway, it doesn’t bother Bobby too much, but it drives his girlfriend crazy. He’s been with Mary Ann since junior high and shows her picture to Ted. Ted doesn’t feel threatened anymore. Bobby talks about how things are done in “the biz”. He and Ted joke around and end up getting along.

23-37-Ted-Bobby 23-38-Melody-BradOn another day, Brad has agreed to let Melody watch Bobby’s riding lesson, and Melody had sent her flowers and a thank-you card in appreciation.

23-39-Bobby-Ted-lassoIt turns out that Ted is giving Bobby lassoing lessons, because Bobby apparently has to do some roping for his upcoming movie. Ted passes along Danny’s “less hip and more wrist” advice from earlier, and Brad gets a good joke in.

23-40-Ted-throws-rope 23-41-Ted-ropes-Ernst 23-42-Ernst-dirtyTed accidentally ropes Mr. Ernst, who’s looking for the critic in the damn corral.

23-43-Bobby-actsMr. Ernst automatically assumes Ted is responsible and screams in rage. I love how Brad silently makes a slicing motion across her throat to indicate Ted’s fucking dead as shit. Bobby, however, steps in and takes the blame through a performance that’s a bit over the top.

23-44-Ted-Bobby-cool Ted thanks Bobby for saving his job, and all is well.

23-45-ovation 23-46-Bobby-kisses-BradThe pre-credits scene at the end has the teen staff (sans Danny, who didn’t have anything to do with Bobby and had to have his screen time cut to make way for him) seeing Bobby off.

23-47-Bobby-kisses-MelodyBobby promises “watersports” with Melody next time and tells her to write him.

23-48-Melody-kisses-BobbyMelody can’t wait to be pissed on and kisses Bobby.

23-49-Ted-rope-BobbyTed makes up with Bobby and gives him a rope to practice. I can’t understand what Bobby calls him.

As Bobby leaves, Mr. Ernst shows up, and we get the culmination of the “critic” subplot. Ted suggests maybe the critic never showed up. Mr. Ernst goes on about him, adding he’s probably wearing a “clever disguise”.

23-50-critic-directionsThe critic comes over and asks Mr. Ernst for directions to the Circle J Dude Ranch. Mr. Ernst gives unhelpful directions to a gas station to get real directions. The critic thanks him and says he had a wonderful stay. Mr. Ernst dismissively says he’s glad to hear it and goes on about the critic to the staff.

23-51-critic-jacket 23-52-gang-laughsThe staff realizes the “clever disguise” is actually a poorly-titled jacket that advertises where the critic is from, and Mr. Ernst completely missed him, so they yuck it up. Hehe.

23-53-1990-copyrightSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was nice. It focused on celebrity crushes and irrational jealousy, and most of the teens had something to do. The subplot with Mr. Ernst was pretty amusing, but I found it hard to believe he’d be so super-nice to all of the guests except the one that he was looking out for. What a wacky coincidence.

Season 2, Episode 09: Dan the Man

Writer: Lisa Melamed
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: December 15, 1989

22-01-pizzaIn the cold open, Ted arrives with pizza for everyone. They think Mr. Ernst called a meeting, but it was Buddy (another “Mr. Ernst”) that sent out the memo. The doctor put Mr. Ernst on a strict diet, and he has to exercise, but he’s terrible about it. He can have only fruits, grains, and lots of water. Buddy needs help from the others, because his dad gets desperate when hungry.

22-02-Ernst-sneaks 22-03-Ernst-sneaks-2 22-04-Ernst-steals-pizza 22-05-Ernst-crazed22-06-Danny-LucyAfter the credits, Lucy comes over and tells Danny that whatever he did caused her corn to grow. Danny claims to have the “greenest thumbs in the west”. His parents taught him everything that he knows – but not everything that they know.

22-07-Ernst-guestAt the front desk, a guest talks to Mr. Ernst about an “amazing” male horse-rider that she saw yesterday. It wasn’t “plain-looking” Ted, though. It was Danny, whose father had him in the saddle before he could walk. After a bit of time-wasting, Danny agrees to have his picture taken with the guest, who asks Ted to take the picture. Ted does it, and his body language is exactly how I’d react if I was pissed, but it would also probably get me a customer complaint to management.

22-08-picture“The Tourist” is played by Charmaine Blakely. “Hey Dude” was her first acting gig, and she acted only once more – in an episode of “The Young Riders” called “Pride and Prejudice” in 1990.

After she burns Ted again, she promises to set Danny up with her niece next time, and then she leaves.

Ted and Danny talk a bit about Danny being “the main attraction”. We learn they had a rename-the-ranch contest (why? and was it official?), and Ted had suggested “Six Flags Over Ted”.

Mr. Ernst calls Ted over to the desk. Ted asks how the diet’s going and points out Mr. Ernst’s pencil-chewing to him. Buddy comes over to get his dad to work out, but Mr. Ernst cites his business. In a wonderful moment, Ted, fully aware of what he’s doing, volunteers to watch the front desk for him. After they leave, Ted enjoys what he did. So…what did Mr. Ernst call Ted over for?

Anyway, we get an unusual scene transition. It looks like a cross between a fade and a wipe.

22-09-Melody-paperAt the corral, Melody reads to Brad about how someone sold one of their original Barbie dolls from the ’50s for thousands of dollars. Brad isn’t impressed and says people will buy anything. This seemingly pointless exchange (and it certainly is in the greater context of the episode) does lead to some childhood backstory. Brad didn’t play with dolls much; she was more of the building-blocks type; she loved building giant castles. She also had a great rocking horse. Melody used to throw her Barbie dolls in the bathtub and then rescue them from drowning.

22-10-Ernst-barMr. Ernst comes by during his workout and tosses his diet bar on the ground. He, ahem, grills Melody for details about her lunch (Brad hasn’t eaten yet). Melody had a medium-well regular burger (no pickles) and fries with ketchup. Mr. Ernst prefers medium-well cheeseburgers with pickles. Melody also had ice cream with multi-colored sprinkles for desert.

22-11-Brad-DannyDanny comes by to take his “favorite horse”, Uncle Albert, out for a spin. Brad warns Danny against it, saying Uncle Albert might have a cold. Citing family history and living on a reservation, Danny tells Brad that, when it comes to horse knowledge, he’s the motherfucking shit. We learn Brad grew up around horses, too, but Danny thinks she means weekend riding. He takes Uncle Albert out against her advice.

22-12-moonThat night, while a coyote or wolf howls under the full moon, passions run wild!

22-13-Ernst-sneaksCase in point, Mr. Ernst sneaks around outside after stealing cookies.

22-14-Ted-swipes-cookiesNot to worry, though: Diet Marshall Ted is on patrol! (Okay, I made the title up. Ted refers to their little group as “Ernstbusters”. Seriously.)

22-15-Ted-eats-cookie 22-16-Ted-asleepThe next morning, the guys are asleep. In a nice bit of continuity, the bag of cookies (and a mostly-drunk glass of milk) are on Ted’s night stand. Props to set design.

22-17-Lucy-worriedLucy comes in, really worried, because Uncle Albert isn’t feeling well. Ted volunteers to call a vet (but wants to change first, even though he sleeps in clothes), and Lucy wants Danny with her to make Uncle Albert comfortable.

22-18-Danny-ashamedDanny knows full well that he’s to blame for this.

22-19-vetLater on, the vet has looked over Uncle Albert (the “doc” isn’t credited). He’ll be okay.

22-20-Buddy-worriedBuddy comes by, worried, because he heard somebody strangled Uncle Albert. Actually, he’s got strangles. Ted gets all dramatic about it, according to Brad, but Ted says he’s just telling it like it is. Lucy threatens them with extra work, which gets Ted and Buddy to leave.

22-21-Danny-BradBrad asks Danny to help her out, because she has too many riding lessons this week, but Danny is all “I am Death incarnate.”

22-22-Danny-Albert 22-23-cardsAfter the commercial break, on another day, the girls and Ted are playing Blackjack in the boys’ bunk house. Ted is grooming himself for his latest guest-crush, who Brad describes as the second coming of Kimberly Carol (okay, she doesn’t mention Kimberly, but it’s the same basic personality). Melody asks about Uncle Albert, and Ted fills her in. Brad shushes them when Danny walks in.

22-24-raincoatsDanny and Buddy are wearing raincoats for whatever reason, even though it’s not raining at all.

Buddy talks about how Mr. Ernst is hiding food everywhere; this morning, Buddy found a pizza in his sock drawer. Buddy asks Danny if he’s going to do patrol tonight. Danny refuses. Buddy says he has to. Brad offers to do it. Buddy still pesters Danny. Brad repeats her offer. Buddy asks Danny if he knows any Indian recipes that might be good for Mr. Ernst. Danny yells he doesn’t know anything, takes his raincoat and hat, and leaves, leaving the others (except Brad) confused. Yeah, I know the feeling. WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH THE RAINCOAT?!

22-25-Ted-BradThat night, Ted decides to relieve Brad, since it wasn’t her turn (legit nice, selfless thing to do). Brad asks if Danny came back. Ted says no and asks if she knows what’s up with him. She nods but refuses to tell him, which leaves him confused.

22-26-Danny-appleDanny is talking to Uncle Albert, lamenting what he did and apologizing.

22-27-Brad-AlbertBrad comes by and says it wasn’t Danny’s fault, but, yeah, it totally was. They talk about it for a bit. Danny’s worried that he might not be an expert in his one certain area of expertise. Brad brings up the academic competitiveness at her school. Danny says his folks – especially his father – expect perfection in everything (no mistakes allowed). Danny describes his father as a man that takes pride in everything concerning himself and feels he let his dad down. Brad suggests calling up his dad and telling him what happened with Uncle Albert. Danny agrees. Brad goes to bed, but Danny decides to keep Uncle Albert company a while longer. Danny thanks her for not saying anything to anybody. Brad says she still likes and respects him, and it wouldn’t matter to anyone else, but she’ll keep it a secret.

22-28-Danny-Albert 22-29-Ernst-Ted-runThe next day, Mr. Ernst and Ted are running. They stop to rest, and there’s a funny exchange between the two of them. Ted’s mention of “you city people” is further circumstantial evidence that Ted is from down here. Ted suggests jumping jacks, which give Mr. Ernst a cramp.

22-30-Melody-danceMelody making a “Hokey Pokey” joke doesn’t help, although it amuses Ted.

Ted then suggests sit-ups and running up and down stairs, neither of which are to Mr. Ernst’s liking.

22-31-Brad-DannyAfter a bit of exercise slapstick (which even Brad gets in on), Danny comes by and informs Brad that he just called his father. Danny’s father is a man of few words, but Danny guesses he sounded disappointed.

22-32-Lucy-ErnstLucy comes by and asks Mr. Ernst about getting an estimate for fence-repair work by the corral, but he doesn’t give a shit and leaves it to her. Lucy threatens Brad and Ted with work (or eternal damnation; it’s not clear which), which gets them to leave.

Lucy lectures Mr. Ernst about feeling sorry for himself being a waste of time. She says he got a warning, whereas lot of other people just collapse and die. She points out his “great kid”, his ranch, and all of them, saying a little fatty food is nothing compared to all of this. She gets some funny lines in during all of this.

22-33-Ernst-excitedMr. Ernst is suddenly enthusiastic about exercise and has Lucy join him.

On another day, Danny and Brad are happy that Uncle Albert is doing much better. Melody comes by with a package for Danny, who has Brad check the letter inside to see who it’s from. Isn’t there an address on the box?

22-34-letter 22-35-beltDanny’s father sent him a letter and a new belt. I give someone on the staff credit for actually writing out the letter. Brad reads it to Danny:

“Dear Danny, The man who has never made a mistake is a liar. The man who hides his mistakes is a fool. But the man who learns and grows from his mistakes is truly wise. You are a wise man, my son, and I am proud of you.”

22-36-Danny-beltBrad asks Danny if she can borrow his new belt, because it’d go great with her new black jeans.

22-37-meal22-38-announcementThe pre-credits scene at the end is the culmination of the “exercise” subplot. Mr. Ernst gathers the teen staff in the main lodge and announces his test results: his cholesterol level has gone down 25 points. As he serves them a tofu-based meal, he announces there will be mandatory exercise sessions at “0700 hours” every morning. Also, all staff meals will come from a health cookbook from now on. I’m pretty sure that all of this is illegal. He also adds homegrown spouts to their meal (he grew it out back, under the staircase).

22-39-Lucy-Ernst-runLucy comes by to lead Mr. Ernst on their five-mile run.

22-40-toxicThe gang gets rid of the herbs of death and decay, and Ted and Melody make plans to order pizza, Danny needlessly adding “We need some pizza.”

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty nice. The Danny/Brad friendship is explored, and we get some nice background information on both of them – as well as good performances from Torres and Brown. The subplot with Mr. Ernst was pretty good, too.

Season 2, Episode 08: Treasure Teens

Writer: Alan Goodman
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: December 8, 1989

Before I get started, I want to make a correction to my review of last week’s episode (“Teacher’s Pest”). Mr. Ernst didn’t stand up and walk around during the confrontation scene. I think I confused him being eye-level with Buddy at one point as him getting out of his chair and kneeling (as he had in “Goldilocks”), but he was really seated in his chair, and his boots were behind his desk until the big reveal. My fault.

21-01-Ernst-paintsIn the cold open, Danny runs by and pauses briefly, wondering what Mr. Ernst is doing. He’s painting a sign to direct the guests to the crafts hut (which we’ve never seen or heard of before). Danny has finished some filing and offers to help with the sign, but Mr. Ernst declines.

21-02-Brad-interruptsBrad interrupts to mention some guests in Bunk H are willing to switch. Mr. Ernst thanks her but is annoyed at the interruption. Brad offers to help, but Mr. Ernst, frustrated, declines. Brad is annoyed at Mr. Ernst’s tone.

21-03-Melody-Ted-interruptMelody and Ted come by, and Melody interrupts. Mr. Ernst goes on a mini-rant about not needing help with his sign. Why didn’t he just paint it in the privacy of his office and then bring it outside? Judging by his “painter” hat, he seems to want the attention – just not the interruptions. Anyway, he apologizes. They needs vases to put flowers into and set on the dining room tables. Mr. Ernst offers to help them go through storage (the first that we hear of it), but they decline and say they’ll find some themselves.

21-04-Melody-flowerMelody gives Mr. Ernst a flower to cheer him up, but then he sneezes at a bad time and messes up his sign. Ha.

21-05-Ted-ballAfter the credits, Ted is dumping some garbage, finds a deflated soccer ball, and goofs around for around forty damn seconds, pretending he’s a sports star. There is one cute moment involving the ball, and even the background music gets in on the gag. Ted’s playing for “Arizona”, which is more insinuation that he’s a native.

21-06-Ted-mapTed finds what seems to be a riddle pointing the way to treasure.

21-07-Ted-LucyTed goes and reads the riddle to Lucy, who shows up after missing the previous episode:

“On Bar None ground, I write these clues. You won’t believe your eyes.
Where many feet travel but no one walks, I’ve hidden a surprise.
When sunrise shines on cactus flat, take steps of even measure.
Start beneath the gilded step, count three, and find my treasure.”

Ted assumes it’s a treasure and jumps to the conclusion that he’s rich. As Lucy works, she and Ted try to decipher the meaning of the clues. Ted is annoyed at Lucy’s lack of enthusiasm. Lucy threatens Ted with potato-scraping duty in the kitchen if he doesn’t make sure that the supplies are ready for the evening cookout. Lucy brings up the possibilities of the treasure being found eons ago, never being found, or being a joke. Lucy wants Ted to forget about it and not mention it to anyone else.

21-08-gang-mapSo of course he does.

By the way, you can see that calendar turned to August in this scene more clearly. It’s definitely a 1990 calendar, but the year is blacked out. I watched “The City on the Edge of Forever” recently, and even “Star Trek” did this crap. WHY PUT A CALENDAR IN A SCENE IF YOU WANT TO KEEP THE TIME PERIOD VAGUE?

Anyway, Danny and Brad are skeptical, but Melody is intrigued, and Danny soon becomes so as well. They spend some time trying to decipher the riddle. Brad makes fun of the whole idea of clues, maps, and burying “perfectly good money” in the first place. Y’know, she has a point. After some haggling over their share, Ted gets Melody and Danny in on the quest, but Brad insists there’s no treasure.

21-09-Brad-digsOne scene change later, and Brad is the most enthusiastic one of the bunch. Ha.

I have a hard time believing even Ted would be this interested in a treasure hunt, let alone all four of them. This sounds like a case of the typical “kids show” trope of having teens be interested in stuff that only little kids would be interested in.

And no one has stopped to consider the oddity of a paper supposedly leading to buried treasure being found among the modern garbage in the garbage heap.

Anyway, we learn Brad has a little, strapless dress.

Everyone else – even Ted – wants to quit.

21-10-Ted-BuddyBuddy shows up and makes a joke about treasure, and Ted shakes him down for information – just like a little kid would. He then makes Buddy keep his mouth shut – but has to cut Buddy in to do so. Buddy is no help in deciphering the riddle. Ted wants to bury Buddy wherever they find the treasure (if they find it), and the girls agree. The teens leave Buddy to fill in all of the holes.

21-11-mysteryAt one point, a crew member’s hand or whatever (it’s too high up to be Brad, who’s sitting) is briefly visible.

21-12-Ernst-playingIn his office, Mr. Ernst is doing the important task of playing with a figure. He’s summoned Ted (or anyone else) to his office and lectures him about hard work (which apparently wasn’t getting done while the teens were digging up the desert).

21-13-Ernst-painterMr. Ernst was waiting to assign Ted to take cartons out to the trash dump before heading out to paint his sign.

21-14-Ted-horseshoeAfter Mr. Ernst leaves, Ted notices Mr. Ernst forgot his paint brush and tries to run it out to him, but he trips and hits the wall. A horseshoe falls off the wall and hits him on the head.

21-15-Ted-revelationBelieving he’s found the “gilded” step and the “cactus flat”, Ted determines the treasure is buried under the floor in Mr. Ernst’s office. He then does a celebratory cheer and dance – just like a little kid.

21-16-Ted-explainsAfter the commercial break, Ted explains everything to the others in the boys’ bunk house. Melody wants to tell Mr. Ernst, but Ted wants them to dig up the treasure themselves. Danny and Brad think it’s wrong, but Ted brings up Mr. Ernst’s desire for publicity and how everyone will want the treasure. We learn Ted’s never been in a museum (not even on a school trip), because he gets carsick riding the school bus (he has a note from his doctor).

21-17-planAfter a bit of arguing, Ted devises a plan: he and Danny will do the digging, and the others will prevent Mr. Ernst from getting into his office.

21-18-Buddy-distractsLater, Mr. Ernst is out of paint and tries to go to his office to get some more, but Buddy intercepts him and stalls him with bullshit about a diseased cactus. Mr. Ernst asks Buddy if he’s been drinking water from the lake again. I’d like to know what’s in that water.

21-19-Brad-distractsBrad then intercepts Mr. Ernst and stalls him with questions about switching chores with Danny, but Mr. Ernst hears sawing.

21-20-Melody-distractsIn the main lodge, Melody intercepts Mr. Ernst and says he can’t go into his office because of poor lighting. Finally, Mr. Ernst hears a loud noise (the not-as-loud noises weren’t strong enough clues that something was amiss) and goes into his office.

21-21-Ted-sawTed, ever the quick thinker, bullshits a story about a lifelong dream of becoming a musical-saw player. Mr. Ernst believes it, thanks to Danny and Melody getting in on the deception. There’s a humorous moment where Melody “recognizes” Ted’s playing as “An American in Paris” by George Gershwin. This indicates Melody is a bit cultured and doesn’t listen to just rap, Bon Jovi, and Guns N’ Roses.

21-22-boxMr. Ernst forgot what he came in here for, so he goes outside to retrace his steps. The others go and take a box out from underneath the floor.

21-23-poetry 21-24-Ernst-catchesThe “treasure” turns out to be a bunch of Mr. Ernst’s poetry (this revelation greatly upsets Buddy, who I guess finds it wimpy). Sometimes, late at night, it calms him to write down his private thoughts. The discarded clues were for somebody to someday read his poetry, but Mr. Ernst had decided it was enough to have written it. Everyone except Buddy (who’s still coping with the poetry revelation) apologizes, which Mr. Ernst accepts. The teens will put the poems back in the hole and destroy the clues. Mr. Ernst wants to send them off, but Ted and Danny are confused over the lack of punishment, which Lucy would have done. Danny brings up scooping up horse poop, and the girls are upset over Danny giving him ideas.

21-25-Ted-worksThe punishment is for Ted to fill up all of the holes while the others write a poem about the West, but they’re stuck. Inspired by a comment from Ted, Melody wants to turn the poetry-writing into something fun. This could be a callback to her rapping “skills” in “The Competition” (season 1, episode 05). They each contribute something to the spontaneous poem. Here it is for your enjoyment(?):

“The way-out West, where the bandits roam, who would gamble, cheat, and wager”

“The greatest thing to be today is an American teenager.”

“We work and we work until we can hardly take one step further”

“But only when we’re not too busy getting away with murder.”

“Your cowboy boots may take you off in many different courses.
Just keep your boots away from stuff that’s from the rear of horses.”

“I used to skateboard every day; it really was my favorite.
This desert would be much better if they’d only come out and pave it.”

21-26-Ernst-watchesMr. Ernst was watching the whole thing and gets some good laughs out of it.

21-27-Ernst-signThe pre-credits scene at the end is the culmination of the “crafts sign” subplot. Mr. Ernst is just about done.

21-28-Lucy-pointsLucy informs him that the sign is pointing the wrong direction. How does one even make a mistake like this?

21-29-Ernst-flips-signJust nail the sign on the other side of the pole, you dumbass.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty childish in that no teens would actually show any interest in “buried treasure” based on a riddle on a note found in the trash heap. “California Dreams” did (er, will do) something similar, and it didn’t work there either. I did like Mr. Ernst talking about why he writes poetry, though.