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.

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