Writer: Judy Spencer
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: April 13, 1990
Two things before I start this review:
1) I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to get this review up, because my computer froze this evening and wouldn’t restart for a while, and I was worried that it had crashed. This had happened earlier in the year as well with no long-term problems. My point is don’t be surprised if I happen to miss a week at some point, because it’s always possible that my comp could crash. If anyone wants me to set up an emergency notification system and has a suggestion, please let me know.
2) Go and see “Jem and the Holograms”. Immediately. Support it. Fucking seriously. This is an awesome, fun, feel-good movie.
This is a first: Ted (David Lascher) isn’t in this episode (neither is Lucy, but that’s no surprise). I’ll speculate why in the next episode.
As Mr. Ernst explains, Mrs. Edith Hilliard is the President of the Daughters of the Pioneers of the Eastern States. She and her son, Richard, should be here in a couple of hours. Brad explains it’s a bunch of partying, gossiping rich ladies that get together once per year. Melody doesn’t seem to like that. Mrs. Hilliard said she might be willing to hold the annual dinner dance right here at the ranch. Mr. Ernst is trying to make it happen, because it would “put [them] on the map with the society crowd”. Why a dude ranch would want to attract snooty (Brad’s word) women (and why Mr. Ernst thinks it would be a good fit at all) is beyond me. The teens quickly excuse themselves.
After the credits, the girls are doing stereotypically girly shit. Melody is making a big fuss over the visiting Hilliards, supposedly because Mr. Ernst told them to. Brad doesn’t see the point in making a fuss over “a couple of visiting D.O.P.E.S.”. Melody is interested in the potentially gorgeous Richard Hilliard (the son). Brad met him once when he was 12 and she was 11. The Hilliards came to Grosse Pointe for some kind of charity thing, and Brad’s family gave them a ride back to their hotel. Brad says Richard was “an obnoxious little creep”: he tore her favorite party dress, spilled orange soda in her hair, and then threw up on the chauffeur. Melody tries to dismiss it, but Brad claims Richard did it out of spite.
Melody sees the Hilliards’ arrival through the window and gets a lady-boner for Richard. Brad has zero interest. Melody can’t find her earrings, so Brad loans her family heirlooms (her mother would kill her if she lost them). Melody asks if Brad has any cheap, fake ones, and Brad feels a bit insulted. Melody refuses the earrings, but Brad insists. Melody excitedly runs outside.
Later, Mr. Ernst is giving Mrs. Hilliard a very detailed tour of the ranch. Look for Danny, someone that’s not meant to be Melody, and Buddy carrying a boat behind them and Danny and Buddy doing some other work in silence during this scene. Nice touch.
Mrs. Hilliard is played by Glenda Erzen. “Hey Dude” was her only acting gig.
Mrs. Hilliard isn’t convinced yet. Mr. Ernst tries to convince her but insults her when he calls them “D.O.P.E.S.”. He apologizes. She says he has three days to impress her. She calls him Benjamin but doesn’t want him to call her Edith. Yeah, she’s the stereotypical rich, snooty, older woman. She has Mr. Ernst take down “that dreadful sign” over the entry. She calls for her son, Richard, who doesn’t want to come over right away.
Richard Hilliard is played by Joseph Richard Romanov. “Hey Dude” was his first acting gig. He’s had a very sporadic career, acting in only nine things (the last being a short in 2012).
Melody suddenly comes up behind Richard and growls “Don’t move!” She explains she lost an earring, which she describes as a family heirloom. Ah, I get it. This is one of those “misunderstanding” romance episodes.
Melody is happy when Richard finds “[her] earring”. There’s a funny background gag that I just noticed where the banner is too much for Mr. Ernst to handle. Richard wants Melody’s name, and Melody says “Melody Hanson”, which is about the only truthful thing that she tells him, because she proceeds to lie her ass off for most of the rest of the episode. She mentions orange soda and calls his mother “the head D.O.P.E.”, which he’s fine with. He asks if there are any D.O.P.E.S. in her family.
The “nice” one, ladies and gentlemen.
Richard completely misses Melody’s rudeness and thinks her mother is the Daughter of an Industrial Prince. Ha. Richard is impressed, and Melody lets him be impressed. When he asks where she’s from, Melody pauses so long that suspicions should be raised (but they’re not), and then she says Grosse Pointe. She then excuses herself and runs away.
This random, never-before-seen female staff member that Danny is giving instructions to is named Betty. She’s here for only a few seconds and then is neither seen nor mentioned again, but, unlike the extras in “Take Me to Your Leader”, she at least gets a first name and a line (but the actor isn’t credited). Maybe she’s the one that was seen carrying the boat with Danny and Buddy earlier. I appreciate the effort in showing there are more people keeping the ranch running than just the main characters. I wonder where in the girls’ bunk house that they’re supposed to be sleeping, though. Maybe there’s another room and a back entrance?
Richard comes over and asks Danny if he works here. I fucking hate when people do this! Two responses that Danny could give if he wasn’t worried about his job: “No, I wear this badge for fun.” “Yes. I work here. You dumb fuck.”
Anyway, Richard’s upset that there’s no ice in his room (room 6). He finds the ice machine right outside his door to be unacceptable and demands Danny gets the ice. Yeah, Brad’s right about him. Amazing that it’s revealed when Melody isn’t around.
The next day (I guess), at the corral, Melody is asking Brad about her school history and taking notes on her left palm, which isn’t odd at all. Brad does ask, and Melody simply says it’s interesting to her. She also says they’ve been bunkmates for “such a long time”, and there’s still so much that they don’t even know about each other. This might be an indication that this scene occurs in the next summer after the previous two seasons, but I’ll save my speculation for a later review.
Anyway, we learn some more of Brad’s background. She went to equestrian school (the Clairewood Academy, spelling uncertain; it doesn’t seem to exist) until the sixth grade. Then she went to boarding school (the Madison School; there are a few Madison schools in Michigan but none in Grosse Pointe, and they don’t seem to be boarding schools; the middle school is called Wilkinson), which she hated, but she got to do a lot of riding, and they also went on a lot of “really neat” school trips, such as to Switzerland for a ski weekend. Once, Melody went on a school trip to Washington, DC, which Brad has never been to (I went on a six-day school trip there in June of 1992, right after 8th grade ended and before I started high school). Brad doesn’t know foreign languages. She can say “Paris is great” in French, and she can say her name in seven languages.
Brad asks about the ink all over Melody’s hands, but Melody is dismissive of it and gets Brad to let her borrow one of her sweaters. Brad tries to give Melody her name tag back, but Melody puts it off. What? It’s another day (I think). She forgot it again?
Another interesting background detail is in this scene: Danny and Buddy are seen working. After Brad asks about Richard, and Melody compliments him and walks off, Danny and Buddy come over, and Danny doesn’t even wait until Melody is out of earshot before insulting Richard. Buddy tells Danny that he (Danny) should have punched Richard. Brad feels justified in her earlier description of Richard but, for whatever reason, doesn’t go and tell her best friend.
Later, Melody and Richard have taken a boat out on the lake, and Melody is passing off Brad’s history as her own. For some reason, Richard is familiar with a teacher at the Clairewood Academy, even though Brad gave the impression earlier that Richard isn’t from Grosse Pointe. Anyway, Melody somehow bullshits her way through it.
Later, Mr. Ernst and Mrs. Hilliard are discussing dinner. Mr. Ernst suggests chili. Mrs. Hilliard wants cracked crab. Buddy calculates (nice touch) the per-person price difference, and Mr. Ernst tries to push chili.
They cross paths with Melody and Richard. In real life, this would be where Melody’s not-so-elaborate deception is exposed, but we’re not even at the commercial break yet, so Mr. Ernst doesn’t rat Melody out in order to keep Mrs. Hilliard impressed with the “decent clientele”.
Danny passes along a note from “that rich jerk” to “the girl from Grosse Pointe”. Of note, Brad often seems to call Danny “Dan”. Anyway, without addressing Melody by name, Richard wants her to meet him at the “love swing”. Um, interesting name for it. It was just a swing as far as I could tell. Anyway, Brad is confused, apparently not putting Melody’s crush and personal questions together.
After the commercial break, Brad meets Richard at the “love swing”. Richard is confused, and they get into an argument. Richard seems to recognize Brad, but Brad pretends she doesn’t know him or Melody. She seems convinced he likes Melody and gives him the letter to get to her.
There’s something odd on the left side of the screen just before the scene ends – as if they had tried one type of scene transition before deciding on another.
Later, Brad catches Melody, who has decided to borrow more of Brad’s clothes and necklace. Despite Brad saying “Feel free to borrow whatever” in the series premiere, Melody is nervous, so Brad has to reiterate it. Melody is getting ready to go out with Richard. When Brad asks what they talk about, Melody basically removes all doubt that this is a retread of “Rehearsal for Romance” (season 1, episode 06). As Melody is leaving, Brad confronts her about her lies but is vague about whether she told Richard the truth or not (at least, it’s vague to me). Melody tries to explain. We learn Brad’s mother is a D.I.P. (Brad, while claiming to not care, says the D.I.P.S. blow the D.O.P.E.S. out of the water). Brad says Richard will freak upon learning the truth. Melody says she won’t tell him; he’s here for only one more day, and then she’ll think of something else. Great plan, Melody. Brad says she never lied (like this) to impress a guy. Brad convinces Melody to tell Richard the truth and says, if he likes her, it wont matter. Brad tosses Melody’s name tag to her, but Melody doesn’t put it on right away.
Outside, Richard and his mother are being snooty about the ranch. Mr. Ernst and Buddy come over. Their dinner solution is “pre-fab crab”, “an incredible crab-like substance”. Mrs. Hilliard takes Mr. Ernst to guide him, and Buddy goes along.
Melody finds Richard and nervously tries to tell him the truth but is interrupted by Danny regarding her table duties at lunch. Somehow, Richard doesn’t learn the truth right here and now, and Melody has Danny fuck off.
Richard initially gets the wrong idea and gets jealous of Danny. Melody has Richard promise nothing will change, no matter what. After he promises, Melody tells him the entire truth, and then the asshole suspects her of golddigging, dumps her ass, and says his room needs towels.
Later, while Brad cleans a room, Danny insults Richard. Buddy explains Danny waited on the Hilliards at lunch today, and they sent everything back. Danny says they did it twice. Buddy reiterates Danny should have punched Richard. Danny ponders a way to get back at them without losing their jobs but is dismissive of Buddy’s question of a “weird Indian curse”. Brad ponders a way as well. Melody arrives and apologizes for being late. Brad sends the guys off to vacuum. In other words, “Fuck off. Girl talk.” Melody relates what happened and blames herself for lying, which greatly angers Brad. She tries to make Melody see what Richard really is and calls him a moron. Richard had been vague to Melody about how his family had made his family fortune, so Brad clears it up.
While Brad’s alone, Richard comes over to talk to her, having finally remembered her. We learn Bradley’s last name is Taylor (at least, this is the first time that I can recall them mentioning it). After some unpleasant small talk, he gives her his phone number. He’s leaving today and says “people like [them]” “belong together”. Brad calls him out on his treatment of Melody. He says Melody is “N.O.K.” (“Not Our Kind”). Brad is embarrassed to say she’s used the expression once or twice, but she says that was a long time ago, and she’s not that person anymore. She lets Richard have it. Melody comes back and is delighted at what her friend did. She insults Richard. Richard tells Brad to call him and walks off. Melody is angry and wants to get back at him.
The pre-credits scene at the end, on the next day (I guess; I thought Richard was leaving yesterday), has Danny bringing bags for the Hilliards’ chauffeur to load into the trunk while the girls laugh in amusement.
Mr. Ernst is happy that he and Mrs. Hilliard have come to an agreement. He pushes her to sign the agreement, but she’s reading it and has Richard check to make sure that they’re loading the trunk correctly.
Brad flirts with Richard, claiming to have changed her mind and requesting his phone number, and he gives her a prewritten paper. I bet she’s going to call him to laugh and make fun of him. You’ll see why.
Mrs. Hilliard signs the contract to Mr. Ernst’s delight but then expects him to “get rid of these horrid little teenagers”.
What’s up with the shadowy dog in the shot? Has Cassie returned?!
The wolf/coyote howl at the end of the closing credits is back to normal.
This episode was a bit mixed. Melody seems like an idiot that forgot her lesson from “Rehearsal for Romance” and had to relearn it. Still, we got some nice background details on Brad, which fleshes her out a bit more, and it’s nice that she’s portrayed as a person that grew up in a snobby environment but, for the most part (lack of cheap, fake earrings notwithstanding), managed to overcome it and grow into a decent human being that stands up for her friends.