Season 3, Episode 01: Inmates Run the Asylum

Writer: Graham Yost
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: April 6, 1990

Welcome to season 3. I’m guessing there was some kind of break in production, during which season 2 was assessed, and things were tweaked. There’s little evidence of that here, though; the episode comes across as just another episode that could have occurred immediately after “Take Me to Your Leader”. If the original air dates are to be believed, this episode aired a little over two months after that one (the season 2 premiere supposedly aired one week after the season 1 finale), but that’s the only indication of a new season.

27-01-Jeep 27-02-gangIn the cold open (where we first see the new Jeep, which is the only indication in this episode of a change), Mr. Ernst has called a meeting of the teen staff.

27-03-Buddy-tripsMeanwhile, Buddy is clumsy. This is going to be a recurring subplot in this episode. Buddy is convinced he’s turning into his dad, inheriting his clumsiness, bad ideas, and mannerisms.

Ted and Danny make fun of Buddy, but Brad tells them to get a life. Brad is already my favorite character this season.

Anyway, they try to assure Buddy that it’s just a coincidence until…

27-04-Ernst-trips 27-05-Ernst-groundThe opening credits remain the same as in season 2.

After the credits, the gang has helped Mr. Ernst to his feet. He’s going to be gone for the entire day. He’s on his way to Redington to look at some new horses. Redington is a ghost town, the remnants of which are located on a ranch, around 42 miles (a 90-minute drive) from Tucson. I’m not sure why he’s going there to look at horses for the ranch. Surely, there are closer places that sell horses.

Brad asks Mr. Ernst if he’s ever bought horses before. He hasn’t, but he has computer printouts with everything that he needs to know. I’m guessing he printed the information from a program, because the World Wide Web was still in the development stage at this point and not up and running.

Brad wants “one of [them]” (meaning herself) to go with Mr. Ernst, but he shoots it down and says Lucy is already over there, scouting things out; she had insisted on going. In other words, Lucy’s not appearing in this episode.

27-06-keysTed asks who will be in charge in Mr. Ernst’s absence. Mr. Ernst doesn’t see the need, but Ted convinces him. Brad and Ted each argue for the keys. Mr. Ernst wants to give the keys to Danny, but Brad and Ted object. Mr. Ernst wants the two of them to decide, but Melody and Danny object.

27-07-Ted-in-chargeAfter some arguing and time wasting, Mr. Ernst’s coin toss declares Ted to be in charge. Mr. Ernst has reservations, and Ted has to pry the keys from his hand.

Why is this even a plot? Why didn’t Mr. Ernst already leave the keys with someone? And why wasn’t it an adult staff member (they exist; we sometimes see them in the background)?

Before he leaves, Mr. Ernst reminds Ted to fix the gate on the main corral, because the horses almost got out last night.

As soon as Mr. Ernst drives off, Ted calls a mandatory meeting in “[his] office” in fifteen minutes and then has Buddy follow him. Brad is in disbelief and says this is gonna be a nightmare, but Danny calls it an opportunity, comparing Ted to a substitute teacher. He and the girls start hatching ideas as they go off to look at Danny’s squirt gun collection. Yeah…

Better yet, just ignore Ted and go and do your chores.

27-08-badgeWhen the fuck did Ted have time to make this badge?

27-09-meetingThe others arrive. Ted says they’re four minutes late, so they each get four “demerits”, but knocks it down to two, because they’re “not used to the new system”.

27-10-deputyTed has his “deputy” help to explain how discipline under him differs from the “old regime”.

27-11-gold-star 27-12-gold-stars 27-13-demerit 27-14-Danny-gunRather than, y’know, just leaving, the gang annoys Ted by humming and squirting water at him. He picks up on the substitute teacher thing, he apparently being the worst offender in his school. Ted confiscates Danny’s squirt gun.

27-15-citationIn Ted’s mind, Danny’s already over ten demerits, which means a “citation”, which is worth “one free hour of labor”. Brad can’t believe this. Me neither. Ted expresses his disappointment in Danny and warns the girls before leaving to “tend to the guests” and having Buddy follow him.

27-16-Brad-gunBrad wants to shoot Ted, but Melody, for whatever reason, dissuades her and says they just have to wait until Mr. Ernst returns.

27-17-Brad-rips-citationDanny, for whatever goddamn reason, is upset at getting a citation, but Brad rightly rips it up. Ted then returns and gives everyone citations. WHY THE FUCK ARE THEY PUTTING UP WITH THIS?! JUST IGNORE HIM!

27-18-hay-shackLater, Brad meets Danny at the hay shack and asks if he’s seen Ted. He has, and he’s got the citations to prove it. Ted had given Brad a citation for not rolling up Melody’s tube of toothpaste (yes, it’s covered in the demerit system). That’s…frightening. What’s Ted doing in the bathroom with them?

27-19-eye-chartBrad has “Dan” go over to Ted’s “deputy” with her. Buddy is worried that he’s going blind (as well as bald). Brad asks for Ted’s location. He’s down at the lake with Melody. The phone rings…out by the corral (that’s one loud ringer). Brad has Buddy go to answer it and has Danny come with her.

27-20-Melody-rips-citationAt the lake, Ted and Melody are going through a write-and-rip routine. Why is she putting up with this?! Brad confronts Ted. Ted wants Brad and Danny to get in the lake, so he can test Melody’s life-saving skills. Brad and Danny want to push Ted into the lake. Melody wants them to stand Ted until Mr. Ernst returns. Buddy comes by. Mr. Ernst had called. He ran out of gas. He’s at the gas station, which is closed (at this time?!). He won’t be able to get any gas until tomorrow. Buddy leaves. Ted is overjoyed, but the others are upset.

27-21-Ted-falls 27-22-Melody-bookAfter Ted is deposited in the lake, the others run off, Melody gleefully stealing Ted’s citation pad.

27-23-Ted-wetTed calls them traitors just before the fade to commercial.

27-24-gang-worksAfter the commercial break, the gang is working in the main lodge.

27-25-Ted-confrontsTed comes in and confronts them (specifically Brad). You know what would solve this, Brad? A punch to the motherfucking face. Why don’t you do it? Instead, Brad tries to get the guests to ignore Ted. Ted summarily “fires” Brad, Melody, and Danny. Brad says Ted was kicked in the head by a horse, forgot to take his medication, and has “terrible delusions”. Ted gets insane (if he wasn’t there already), and Brad suggests going into Mr. Ernst’s office to come up with a “fair solution”.

27-26-Ted-lockedYep, that’s a fair solution. Not as fair as homegrown gang violence but fair.

Brad sends Danny to nail the window (or windows) shut. Ted begs the guests to call the police, but they ignore him.

27-27-Buddy-carrotEven Buddy has apparently turned on Ted. He offers Ted a carrot, but Brad has a rule against “feeding the animals”. Did I mention Brad is my favorite character so far this season?

27-28-girlsBrad wants Melody to take care of her stuff around here, so Brad can “concentrate on running things”. I take it back, Brad. The girls argue for a bit. Ted calls the front desk. Melody answers and passes the call to Brad. Ted insults Brad over the phone. Wait, so they didn’t recognize Ted’s voice over the phone or see him calling?

27-29-Ted-panelTed has found the main switching panel for the entire ranch and proceeds to dick with the phone system and the power for the main lodge, and he shuts off the power to the boys’ and girls’ bunk houses.

27-30-Ted-keysBrad can’t find the keys (I guess she’d taken them off Ted earlier), and Ted reveals he has them, courtesy of his “faithful deputy”.

27-31-Buddy-moneyYeah, Ted gave Buddy five bucks.

Brad tries to get into the office, but Melody and Danny get her away from the door.


Ted has Buddy let him out of the office.

27-32-Ted-Buddy-spyThat evening (wow, that’s a rather large time jump), Ted and Buddy spy on the others.

27-33-Brad-planBrad is going over the plan to “take back control of the ranch at all costs”. Fuck this show…

Anyway, the plan is they attack through a window, Melody and Danny distract Ted with the squirt guns, and Brad gets the keys. For some reason, they know what Ted does whenever he gets a set of keys (which I guess is a common occurrence): carelessly flings them about, leaves them hanging around, and loses them. Ted makes a noise, and Brad almost catches him and Buddy.

Melody asks why they’re doing this (which is what I’ve been asking all along), but Brad says “this is about fighting for what’s right, this is about freedom…

27-34-Brad-liberty-1 27-35-Brad-liberty-2…this is about liberty.” FUCK YOU.

Danny and Melody are sick of this shit. Brad declares they attack tomorrow at dawn. Ted and Buddy leave. Brad goes over the plan again.

27-36-Brad-gunThe next day, FUUUUUUCK…

27-37-assaultDespite the fact that Ted was last seen with the keys and his “loyal deputy”, Brad believes the stuff under the blanket on the couch is Ted, asleep.

27-38-Ted-Buddy-hoseIt isn’t.

27-39-gang-hosed 27-40-Melody-gun 27-41-gang-runsSuddenly, some added sound effects let the gang know the horses have escaped from the corral, because Ted didn’t fix the gate. Danny suggests two of them gather up the horses while the other two fix the gate. Melody assigns herself and Danny to fixing the gate and Ted and Brad to getting the horses. Brad and Ted are upset at her assuming authority, but Melody and Danny yell at them. As they go off, Buddy says “Those kids…” and walks off.

27-42-gang-doneLater, Danny gets the last horse back into the corral. Ted and Brad have been talking, and Brad apologizes to Melody and Danny for both of them. Danny and Melody accept. Brad says, next time, they vote on who’s in charge, and Ted agrees. Melody suddenly wonders who’s been running the ranch this whole time (well, really, just while they were rounding up the horses, not during all of the other screwing around), and they run off to the main lodge.

27-43-Buddy-clothesBuddy has completed the transformation into his father, clothes, pocket protector, and answering the phone with “Howdy-doo” (callback to “Suspicion” (season 1, episode 11)).

The gang comes by, proud but also somewhat amused. Buddy wants to take care of the business that will be sending him to college and expresses pride in his dad.

27-44-Buddy-hatDanny completes the outfit, and Buddy orders them back to work. They obey “Mr. Ernst”.

The pre-credits scene at the end has Mr. Ernst arriving back at the ranch. They got some nice horses, and Lucy will be bringing them in later on this afternoon (after the episode ends, so they don’t have to pay her).

27-45-guestsTwo guests pass by, remarking about “the loony one” and asking about his medication. The guests (I assume it’s them and not any of the other speaking guests in this episode) are played by Ron Ford (or Don Ford) and Vicki Kinney. “Hey Dude” was their only acting gig.

Mr. Ernst questions the teens about these things, but they’re nervously dismissive of it and get away as fast as possible.

27-46-Ernst-Buddy-1 27-47-Ernst-Buddy-2“Those kids…”

27-48-Ernst-Buddy-3 27-49-Ernst-Buddy-4So ends another day at the Bar None.

The wolf/coyote howl at the end of the closing credits is different. I like the older one better.

This episode was so over the top, much like “Take Me to Your Leader”. This really should have been a non-issue from the start. That said, it’s kind of funny in a ludicrous way.

2 responses to “Season 3, Episode 01: Inmates Run the Asylum

  1. Did you ever see the Hey Dude bloopers on youtube? There is one from this episode, a practical joke on David while he’s “locked in the office” and I guess they hid someone under a blanket on the couch to scare him when he walked to the window. Would have been funnier if the camera had actually shown David’s reaction instead of lingering on Kelly, Christine and the others waiting for his reaction. But David laughed about it.

    What I can’t get away from is how especially Ernst is in this not realizing he needed someone in charge. I did like Buddy’s concern about becoming his dad and then just accepting it.

    Liked by 1 person

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