Monthly Archives: November 2015

Season 3, Episode 06: Superstition

Writer: Graham Yost
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: May 11, 1990

32-01-girls-relaxIn the cold open, Melody joins Brad for some sunbathing by the lake after hard work (at least, on Brad’s part).

32-02-girls-attackedAfter some banter, they realize they’re not alone.

32-03-guys-attackThe guys are attacking them with water balloons from the dock.

32-04-girls-run32-05-Buddy-DannyAfter the credits, Buddy is trying to tell Danny something, but Danny is too busy air-guitaring to “I am a Viking“, which I’d never heard of outside this episode, but…what an interesting thing to reference.

Buddy shuts Danny’s portable cassette player off and informs him that the newspaper says “Brainbusters”, the (made-up) national TV game show, is coming to Tucson to look for contestants. This is the first mention of Tucson on the series. After some humorous arguing, Buddy gives Danny two test questions to determine if he could be a contestant, both of which he doesn’t know the answer to. Danny says his knowledge is mostly limited to local nature. We learn the host of “Brainbusters” is Wink Wellman, and there’s also a woman named Tawny Dawn, who Buddy has a crush on. They’ll be giving out autographed pictures of Tawny at the tryouts.

32-06-Jake-sodaJake arrives with snacks and sodas. He’s unfamiliar with “Brainbusters”, so Buddy explains it. He asks Jake the same two questions, both of which Jake answers correctly. Danny and Buddy want to train Jake for the tryouts next week, but Jake doesn’t want to do it. He spots a heads-up penny and takes it as a sign of good luck, so he agrees to train for “Brainbusters”.

32-07-lightning-roundLater, in the boys’ bunk house, Buddy and Danny are quizzing Jake in a “lightning round”.

32-08-calendarWe get the clearest view yet of the Calendar of Hell.

Buddy reminds Jake that Buddy gets Jake’s autographed picture of Tawny, whose “really important” job is to read the numbers (pertaining to the question that Wink then asks) off ping-pong balls.

32-09-guys-wallIt seems Jake has replaced what was apparently Ted’s Jose Canseco poster with a world map, which fits in nicely with Jake’s love of trivia. I’m not sure who owns the hockey mask, though.

Jake get superstitious about a hat being on a bed being bad luck. He says the same thing about speaking Spanish on Tuesday the 13th, which is Spain’s equivalent of Friday the 13th. Danny makes a funny joke about it.

Okay, so it’s Tuesday the 13th, according to Buddy. According to the Calendar of Hell, the 13th fell on Monday in August of Whenever. So the calendar means precisely shit. It’s probably just something that the guys (or maybe just Danny) keep around for the artwork or something. For what it’s worth, June 13, 1989, and August 13, 1991, were Tuesdays, neither of which make much sense. The next candidate is July 13, 1993. Fine, I’ll take it.

Anyway, Danny is surprised to learn Jake is superstitious, but Jake says he’s “not really”. The break’s over, and Jake advises Buddy to not say “penguin” in months without the letter “r” in them, and, fuck, is this seriously our main plot this week?

Jake doesn’t want to talk about his superstition and has Buddy move on to the next category: aardvarks.

32-10-Buddy-countdownOn another day, Mr. Ernst apparently closes off the main lodge to guests (we never see anyone besides the main characters (sans Lucy) in this episode), so they can do a simulated “Brainbusters” episode.

32-11-BrainbustersThe production crew has a bit of fun in this scene, making it feel like an actual, cheesy game show. What I’m wondering is if this is strictly meta or if some unseen characters are taping this, playing the music, and controlling the spotlight. Maybe the unnamed, random female staff members from previous episodes were pressed into service for this.

As the “contestants” enter the “studio”, we learn some facts about them:

32-12-DannyFrom Tucson, Arizona: Danny Lightfoot.

32-13-MelodyFrom Allentown, Pennsylvania: Melody Hanson. Christine Taylor is from Allentown in real life.

32-14-JakeFrom Los Angeles, California: “returning champion” Jake Decker. Jonathan Galkin is from Providence, Rhode Island.

32-15-ErnstMr. Ernst is playing Wink Wellman and also doing the voice of the announcer, who Danny earlier, perhaps jokingly, referred to as “Jim”.

32-16-BradBrad is, unwillingly, playing Tawny Dawn.

Oh, and Buddy’s also the “judges”.

32-17-contestantsSo how do the contestants do? Danny believes burp gas is responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer. Melody believes cheese causes air pollution. Jake’s the only one to answer the questions correctly. Brad is too stupid to realize the lines under the numbers 6 and 9 indicate which number is which, which allows Buddy to play up Tawny’s supposed importance to the game show. Oh, Buddy wrote the numbers on golf balls instead of ping-pong balls, because fuck me for summarizing this shit.

32-18-commercialAnyway, “Wink” calls for a commercial break, Buddy gives the clear, and Mr. Ernst runs off to find a mirror to check his hair. Are they just really into pretending, or is the Blank Slate Brigade really taping this?

Brad asks about Jake’s lucky penny, which he’s tossing. Danny and Melody make fun of each other for their stupid answers. Brad, trying to ignore the stupidity, checks to see if she has any mail. That reminds Mr. Ernst to ask Jake what was in the letter that he got, because that’s totally Mr. Ernst’s business. Jake doesn’t know about the letter. It turns out that Mr. Ernst gave it to Melody, who gave it to Brad, who gave it to Danny, who gave it to Buddy, who gave it back to his dad, who put it in his back pocket and forgot about it.

32-19-Jake-letterJake is really upset at the contents of the letter and blames all of them. He leaves.

32-20-Melody-letterMelody discovers it’s a chain letter, and its deadline of Monday the 12th (yesterday) has passed. She’s the only one besides Jake to take it seriously, which proves she’s an idiot.

32-21-envelopeAfter the commercial break, Melody is reading the chain letter, and, look, we get an address for the Bar None Ranch! It’s located at 10000 [illegible] Speedway, Tucson Arizona, 85701. Okay, props to whoever wrote it. 85701 is a legit Tucson ZIP code. Speedway Boulevard is a legit Tucson highway. There’s even a 10000 East Speedway Boulevard; however, its ZIP code is 85748. The difference between this address and the 85701 ZIP code is 12.7-15.5 miles and 29-32 minutes, depending on the route. So they fudged a little to not have a real mailing address displayed in the episode, so some business wouldn’t receive mail addressed to fictional characters. Interestingly, Tanque Verde Guest Ranch is located on East Speedway Boulevard as well; it’s 18.0 miles and 37-43 minutes from 85701 and 5.3-7.3 miles and 9-15 minutes from 10000 East Speedway Boulevard. The actual Bar None sets are located on the property of Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, around a mile from the main area.

32-22-Melody-letterAnyway, Melody’s freaking out over the letter, because she’s a dumbass. Danny tries to talk some sense into her.

32-23-Ernst-ladderSo does Mr. Ernst, who’s setting up a demonstration to disprove superstition to Jake. Mr. Ernst lectures Melody about superstition, but she counters him. Mr. Ernst, pretty humorously, forces Jake to come out of the boys’ bunk house, where he’s been holed up. He comes out with his stupid lucky penny.

32-24-Ernst-saltMr. Ernst deliberately spills salt and then blows it toward Jake instead of throwing some over his shoulder.

32-25-Ernst-mirrorHe also breaks a mirror with a hammer.

32-26-Ernst-catMr. Ernst has a black cat on loan from the pet shop in town.

32-27-Ernst-ladderHe carries the cat under the ladder…

32-28-Ernst-cat-path…and makes the cat cross his path three times.

32-29-cat-attacksThen the cat attacks Mr. Ernst.

32-30-Danny-ladderDanny knocks over the ladder (which makes me think of “Pain in the Neck” (season 1, episode 13)) on his way to get the cat off Mr. Ernst.

32-31-Ernst-ladderThis bit of coincidence makes Jake more convinced than ever of superstition, and he retreats into the boys’ bunk house. The rest of the gang gets the ladder off Mr. Ernst.

32-32-meetingThe next day (I guess), Danny has called a meeting at the dock. After Melody and Danny insult each other over their stupid answers again, Danny reveals he switched Jake’s lucky penny with a regular penny (while Jake was asleep, Buddy reveals). Melody wants the stupid penny. Brad is confused over why Danny did this, and Melody playfully hits her (this seems to be a thing with Melody). It’s to help Jake get over superstition and try out for “Brainbusters”. He wants to let Jake go a week before telling him. Isn’t that cutting it a little close? The tryouts are next week.

32-33-Ernst-spots-catThe gang spots Mr. Ernst across the lake, still trying to catch the cat. Oh. I guess this is a subplot.

32-34-Ernst-misses-catAfter the gang has a laugh, Danny (pretty needlessly) explains the rest of the plan, which was obvious. Brad warns against things going wrong making things worse, but Danny doesn’t believe they will.

32-35-Jake-ErnstAt lunch or whenever, Jake is walking backwards while carrying a tray of drinks and trips over Mr. Ernst, who’s crawling around while looking for the cat. There is so much wrong with this scenario. The gang warns Jake.

32-36-Jake-Ernst-collideDumbasses.

32-37-dockLater, back at the dock, Danny insists to Melody that it was just an accident. They argue for a bit over it.

32-38-Brad-firesAnyway, they’re here so Brad can learn to fire water balloons (oh, look, the cold open was relevant), which I guess is suddenly one of her ambitions. Danny suggests aiming it across the lake, because there’s nobody there.

32-39-Jake-wetThis coincidence causes Melody to hit Danny.

32-40-papers-flying32-41-Ernst-chasesLater, in the main lodge, Mr. Ernst is chasing the cat behind the desk and up the stairs.

32-42-dismantleThe gang gives up hope of Jake trying out for “Brainbusters” and starts taking down the “set” from the (unsupervised) front desk. Where are the no-name female staff members when you need them? Oh, wait, we don’t need them, because there are no guests in sight. This silently explains why almost no one has been seen doing any work in this episode.

Buddy laments his missed opportunity to get masturbation material. He and Danny argue over the power of the penny, and Brad is starting to believe in it. Oh, Brad, how could you?!

32-43-Danny-taps-MelodyDuring his argument with Buddy, Danny sarcastically brings up “Belinda the Good Witch” while tapping Melody on the head. Christine Taylor (completely unironically) had a poster of Glinda the Good Witch of the North in her hotel room during the taping of the series. Now, I have an image in my head of Belinda Carlisle dressed as a witch, which is awesome.

Danny lectures the others about superstitions and gives the penny to Melody when asked for it. Buddy asks for Danny’s toenail clippings but quickly changes his mind. Buddy accidentally spills the golf balls on the floor, and…

32-44-Jake-trips32-45-Jake-demandsJake demands to know what the fuck is going on.

32-46-Danny-snatchesA convinced Danny unsuccessfully tries to snatch the penny from Melody.

32-47-two-penniesDanny tries to explain what he did to Jake, but Jake knew (how? wasn’t he asleep?), so he switched the pennies before Danny left the bunk (how?!). Seriously, this explanation makes no sense. It would have been more believable if Jake had set up a decoy penny for Danny to steal.

32-48-Jake-tosses-pennyJake tosses away his penny, convinced it isn’t lucky after the “week” that he had. Week? How many days have passed since he started carrying it?

Jake has realized he’s not this superstitious all of the time – just when he has something important coming up, like a test. He says it’s just his way of getting nervous, and he admits “Brainbusters” made him nervous. Wait. Is he saying nervousness leads to superstition? Because it sounds like he’s saying both superstition and “Brainbusters” independently lead to nervousness.

Jake doesn’t want them to take the set down, because he wants to try out and has less than 24 hours. Oh, I guess it is the following week already.

32-49-Ernst-crawlsMr. Ernst crawls across the floor, angrily looking for the cat, and the gang has a laugh over it.

32-50-Ernst-catThe next day, a bandaged Mr. Ernst has finally caught the cat, so he calls up Eddie’s Pet World and Auto Parts to inform them that he won’t be keeping her. The phone call is pretty funny, but it’s always bothered me that David Brisbin doesn’t leave enough time for the unheard other person to speak.

32-51-Melody-ErnstMr. Ernst is about to return “Terror Kitty” to the store when Melody arrives. Jake aced the tryouts, but, since he’s not 18, he’s not eligible. However, they entered him for the teen tournament this spring (shouldn’t it be “next spring”?), which makes Mr. Ernst happy.

32-52-Tawny-DawnMelody explains this seems to have been a big promotional tour for “Brainbusters”, and they neglected to mention Tawny Dawn would be there in person.

32-53-Buddy-frozenBuddy is frozen in orgasmic bliss and making uncomfortable sounds after shaking Tawny’s hand. Apparently, Buddy wouldn’t let go of Tawny’s hand, so, after about twenty minutes or so, they called in the emergency squad, which involved the fire department. Buddy should be back to normal in a few days.

32-54-Buddy-frozen-2Danny asks Mr. Ernst where he wants Buddy, so Mr. Ernst suggests the window in order to give Buddy a good view. Danny points out the irony of Buddy saying Danny has the brains of a sea sponge. Melody gives the picture of Tawny to Mr. Ernst to hold up for Buddy (another “good view”, I guess), and then they leave father and son alone.

32-55-guys-relaxThe pre-credits scene at the end has the guys relaxing by the lake as deliberate tempting targets for the girls. Oh, I guess this was a “subplot”, and maybe Brad was thought to use the sling as a build-up to this. Danny expresses doubt of Jake’s plan. Jake asks Buddy about the Tawny incident. Buddy doesn’t remember the “death grip”, which Danny claims they needed the Jaws of Life for.

32-56-brokeBrad tries readying the sling, but the guys “broke the rubber” (Brad’s term). Jake calls the girls predictable and asks Brad where Melody is.

32-57-Brad-innocent32-58-Melody-splashesThe shot freezes as Melody splashes the guys. This is only the second time that an episode has ended on a freeze frame (the first being when Ted left). However, that’s not what’s weird about it.

32-59-Brad32-60-MelodyThe first two stills during the closing credits are not of moments from earlier in the episode (as is usually the case) but reactions from the girls immediately following the splash. This is definitely atypical and a little weird, but it makes for a nice change of pace. How many times have you seen something like this happen? I wonder what the production reason for this was. Did the scene run long, but they still wanted to show the girls’ reactions? Also, the music of the scene runs into the credits, and then it fades to the closing theme music already in progress. Weird.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty good. I enjoyed the cat subplot more than the main plot, though. Superstition is real. I’ve encountered it from customers at work. Don’t pick up the penny unless it’s heads. Buy something extra if the total comes to $6.66. It’s stupid, but it’s real.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 14

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Season 3, Episode 05: Sewn at the Hip

Writer: Lisa Melamed
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: May 4, 1990

31-01-Melody-stretchesIn the cold open, Brad gets some fruit cocktail for breakfast from Danny. He asks about her riding lesson from yesterday. It went okay, but she’s nervous about an upcoming competition. Melody comes by, yawns, and stretches. Jake asks if she’s secretly got a great nightlife. Melody wishes, but she simply didn’t get much sleep last night. Brad says Melody was tossing like a fish on land. Melody has been having a recurring dream: Mick Jagger jumps into the pool with his guitar. Melody tries to stop him, but she can’t think of the word “electrocuted”. He jumps. She feels really dumb and wakes up. Yeah. So, if you were hoping for an insight into Melody’s subconscious, I hope you’re satisfied.

31-02-Lucy-BradLucy returns to the series by bringing the gang mail. Brad gets something for the horse show this week.

31-03-Melody-postcardMelody and Danny also get stuff. Melody’s mail is a postcard that reads “Dear Melody, Ready or not. Love, Amy” (props to whoever actually wrote it out, although I wish we could see the address clearly), which confuses Melody. Amy is Melody’s friend from home, but Melody doesn’t know what to expect.

Lucy informs us that Mr. Ernst won’t be showing up this week. With Brad getting ready for her competition (and thus being excused from work), things could get busy, so Lucy asks the gang to keep the craziness to a minimum. Melody agrees on everyone’s behalf. Lucy takes Brad away from breakfast (so much for her fruit cocktail) for some extra practice. Jake (who’s apparently already met Lucy off-screen) and Danny believe Lucy worries too much.

31-04-Buddy-131-05-Buddy-231-06-Buddy-3What the fuck…?

After the credits, Danny demands to know pretty much that, and Buddy demands to be called “Bud”. It’s his new image, meant to counteract everybody’s perception of him as a “cute, little kid”. Buddy wants to be tough and cool.

31-07-Buddy-431-08-Buddy-531-09-Buddy-6After some banter between Jake and Buddy (Jake suggests being a surfer) and Melody and Buddy (dumbass Buddy wrote his fake “MOM” tattoo upside-down, so it looks like “WOW”), Melody shares her saliva with Buddy:

31-10-Melody-licks31-11-Melody-rubsBuddy demands Melody get the fuck out of here. Melody is glad that Mr. Ernst isn’t around to see this. Buddy insists he’s getting a Harley. Yeah, this new “image” of Buddy is our subplot for this episode.

31-12-Jake-inspectsBuddy asks the guys for their opinions. Danny asks why mess with perfection and leaves. Jake pulls the “baby thug” over to inspect his rolled-up sleeve, suspecting a pack of cigarettes.

31-13-Jake-cardsIt turns out to be a bunch of baseball cards, which Jake keeps.

31-14-Brad-AmyLater, Brad checks a guest in and helps her with her bags. Huh, I guess Brad is doing some work this week.

31-15-AmyMelody arrives, and the guest recognizes her. Yep, this is Amy.

Amy is played by Robyn Lynne Raab. “Hey Dude” was her first acting gig, where she’s credited as Robyn Raab. Her second (and final) acting gig was a role in the 1997 film, “Orgazmo”, where she’s credited as Robyn Lynne.

31-16-Melody-happy31-17-Amy-Melody31-18-Amy-Melody-2The girls are happy to see each other.

Amy almost didn’t recognize Melody, because they’re not wearing the same clothes. Melody asks Amy what she’s doing here. We learn Melody was the freeze tag champion in the fourth grade. Melody realizes “Ready or not” is followed by “here I come”. Amy’s parents had a conference to go to in Scottsdale, so Amy convinced them to let her visit Melody instead – for an undetermined length of time.

31-19-extraHeh, check out the random, unnamed female staff member working the switchboard behind the desk. Like the others that have come before her, she isn’t credited. The Bar None sure has a lot of female staff members that, presumably, interact with the main gang on a regular basis, yet they (named or, most likely, not) are black slates. We literally know nothing about their relationships with the main characters or each other.

Amy was so bored at home and going crazy, because she missed Melody so much. Melody excuses herself, because she has a pool full of kids that she has to teach junior lifesaving to.

31-20-Brad-LucyBrad carries Amy’s bags up the stairs and has Amy follow her, although Amy just awkwardly stands around, barely visible in the shot, while Brad has a conversation with Lucy. I like this. It’s realistic to have Amy just stand around while Brad and Lucy talk, because that kind of stuff happens all of the time in real life.

Anyway, Lucy gets on Brad about practicing her jumps, but Brad says she needs someone to cover for her, because it’s nuts here this week. What about that random extra behind the desk? Lucy wishes Mr. Ernst was here to see it this busy. Brad needs someone to spot her for a couple of hours here and there, and Lucy decides to play around with the schedule again to try to help her. Brad thanks her.

31-21-Amy-volunteersHowever, Amy then makes a proposal.

31-22-Melody-blowdryerLater, Melody is using a blowdryer. Nice touch; she would use one after showering, which she would have done after getting out of the pool.

31-23-Melody-DannyDanny visits and notices something strange. Melody reveals it took her a minute to notice the extra bed. No one has said anything to her about a new bunkmate. While Melody brushes her hair, Danny reveals he met Amy earlier and says she’s kind of cute. Melody says he should tell Amy, because she usually doesn’t think so. Danny is nervous. Melody asks for Danny’s advice, because it seems she has grown apart from Amy (her “habit”) and might not even like her if she met her today.

31-24-Lucy-AmyBefore Danny can respond, Lucy and Amy arrive. I believe this is the first time that we’ve seen Lucy without her hat (the brief moment where it gets knocked off in “Ted and Brad Get Handcuffed” notwithstanding), and I like how she looks. Amy is the newest member of the Bar None staff. She says the “Bobbsey Twins” are together again at last, which offers some insight into their childhood reading material. Lucy thanks Amy and leaves. Amy makes her bed. Melody introduces Amy to Danny, who’s a bit nervous but jokes with her (“Why did the cactus cross the road?” “Because it was stuck to the chicken?”). Amy would rather just do her work and then hang out with Melody instead of doing any exploring. Danny nervously excuses himself to go and do some work.

31-25-Melody-Amy-gabAmy and Melody sit on Amy’s bed to “gab” (Amy’s term). Melody asks what’s going on at home. Amy says it’s “dull as dirt”, because almost everybody’s away. Janet wrote and is having a blast in Italy. Amy heard from “the triplets”, who are fine. It’s nice that we’re getting some details about Melody’s home life and acquaintances, even if it’s not much.

31-26-Brad-comes-inBrad arrives and says Melody and Amy look like “Cathy and Patty”, a reference to “The Patty Duke Show“, which was rerunning on Nick at Nite at the time. Amy thinks it’s great that they dress alike, but Melody tries to bury it in the past. Amy praises Melody’s figure and compares herself to a “glow-in-the-dark Butterball turkey”. Melody disputes it. Brad thanks Amy for covering her shifts. Amy reveals she and Melody have known each other “forever” and calls themselves “Tweedledee and Tweedledum”. If I was Melody, I’d feel a bit insulted. Amy brings up her and Melody’s supposed similarities, which makes Melody uncomfortable. Amy reveals, last year, for the school show, their class (I guess she means Drama class, since this is high school) did “Fiddler on the Roof“, and the two of them got to play sisters, which Amy loved. There was an “obnoxious” (Melody’s term) girl playing the lead, the older sister. She took a prop that they were supposed to use and replaced it with a stuffed pig. Brad guesses they’re the stars of their school, but Amy disputes it and says she did the play solely because Melody did. She says she and Melody are “not big joiners”. She says there are the jocks, nerds, and rich kids, but they don’t need “that group stuff” when they’ve got a “best friend”. Brad always thought of Melody as “president of the class, captain of the team, always involved”. Melody says she is, but Amy quickly tells Brad that Brad just doesn’t know them, and then the “trouble/danger” music comes on, almost like parody of a suspense film. Brad goes back to the corral, and Amy calls her a snob after she leaves, which surprises Melody. Amy calls Brad a “rich snob” and says they “hate that type”. Melody tells Amy that she’s wrong. After a moment, Amy laughs and gets off the bed just as the scene ends.

31-27-gang-corralLater, at the corral, Jake is interviewing Brad’s horse. Yeah.

We learn from Brad that, last time, her horse (it’s a girl) made it over the fence, but Brad landed “elsewhere”. She indicates her left arm/shoulder while she says this. I was hoping she’d indicate her butt. It would have been funnier.

They banter for a bit. Danny asks if “Melody’s friend” is coming out to watch Brad tomorrow. Jake is suddenly interested in Amy. They banter for a bit. Danny is shyly vague about his interest in Amy. Brad is indecisive over whether she likes Amy or not. Danny leaves.

31-28-Melody-guestAt dinner, Melody brings a guest his steak, and he gets on her case that he’d changed his order. He apologizes when he realizes she’s not Amy.

The guest is played by Dean C. DePew. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig. This is his first of two appearances, each time playing (perhaps) the same character.

31-29-Melody-lookoutMelody takes his steak away and keeps a lookout for Amy. I love Melody’s face here. Also, check out that random, unnamed female staff member in the background. Same girl from earlier? I dunno.

31-30-Melody-AmyMelody comes across Amy and asks her to wear something different, and Amy gets all offended and shit. Melody walks away in frustration.

31-31-Amy-grandmothersAmy brings a basket of rolls to two guests and asks them about a “hypothetical” situation that’s exactly like what’s going on between herself and Melody, and Melody overhears this.

Melody brings by a pitcher that she claims Amy forgot. One of the women mistakes Melody for Amy. Melody asks if two people being so alike is weird, but they, in unison, declare it isn’t.

31-32-grandmothersThe “grandmothers” are played by Joan Sharp Henning and Bobby Joyce Smith. For both actors, “Hey Dude” was their sole acting gig, and this is their first of two appearances, each time playing (perhaps) the same characters. IMDb fails to credit Bobby Joyce Smith for her appearance in this episode.

Melody leaves, unsatisfied, and almost collides with Amy, who’s still pissed at her.

31-33-Buddy-Melody“Bud”, witnessing this, comes by, helps himself to a chip, and declares “Bad vibes.” Since when do “tough” guys talk like New Agers / Wiccans?

31-34-Danny-guestsThe next day, in the main lodge, Danny informs two guests that he’ll soon be starting his lecture on the western pioneers. The actors aren’t credited.

31-35-Melody-phone31-36-Melody-extra31-37-Melody-extra-2Melody is on the phone with (an unheard) Mr. Ernst, informing him of things and assuring him that Brad’s horse’s blanket will have “Bar None Ranch” on it, but Brad probably won’t be wearing the room rates on herself (but she’ll check anyway). Melody is vague about Buddy.

31-38-Melody-BuddyBuddy comes by, sits on the counter (the random female staffer completely ignores him), and asks if that was his “old man”. Melody is leaving it to Buddy to reveal the new him to his father. Buddy is pleased that some off-screen people “respect” him. Melody says it’s fear. She also tells him to take a hike – or a bath. Something off-screen gets Melody’s attention, and she walks off. Buddy is the only person to acknowledge the random female staffer’s existence when he asks her opinion on his appearance. She non-reacts to it.

Danny says it’s a little-known fact that the Bar None was a stagecoach stopping point on the trek westward.

31-39-Amy-MelodyAmy arrives and asks Melody for peace, which Melody agrees to. Amy apologizes and admits she was jealous. Apparently, Amy has a video tape of Melody singing “The Way We Were” with Silly Putty on her nose.

31-40-Amy-Melody-2Amy admits she’s feeling scared about stuff: school next year, boys, everything. Her parents are on her case like crazy. She needs one of their “ten-hour bull sessions”. Melody agrees. Amy says, after they get off work, she’ll find a huge bag of cookies, and they’ll lock themselves in the bunk, talk, and get crumbs on everything. Melody says they’re all going to Brad’s competition later. Amy protests. Melody suggests Amy come along. Amy says she needs Melody here. Melody already promised Brad that she’ll go, and she really wants to. Amy says she’ll be here only one more day (I guess she got a call from her parents). Amy throws a fit and storms off.

31-41-Amy-DannyDanny abruptly leaves his group and nervously offers Amy a tour of the ranch, but she says she – and everybody – is busy. Amy leaves.

31-42-Melody-DannyMelody and Danny are left to bond over their shared membership in the Amy Hates Us Club.

31-43-Brad-MelodyAfter the commercial break, that evening (why is this competition so late?), Brad is getting ready, and Melody is excited for her and jealous of her appearance. Melody says, when she’s in a swim meet, she ends up looking like a California Raisin. Um, Melody is comparing Brad’s before to her own after. Anyway, apparently, Melody decided to compete in swim meets after dropping out of her would-be first one in “Our Little Champion”. It’s nice to know this is going on “behind the scenes”, but I wish they’d brought it up earlier instead of revealing this whole aspect of Melody’s life in a throwaway comment.

31-44-Melody-BradMelody refers to Brad’s appearance as elegant. Brad’s hands are shaking from nervousness, so Melody takes the brush and lovingly brushes Brad’s hair. She gives Brad a pep talk, but Brad is really scared that she’ll fall off again. Melody tries to cheer Brad up.

31-45-Amy-upsetMeanwhile, Amy is hella jelly, pigging out on cookies and planning on having her own private “bull session”.

Brad says bye to Amy. Amy says bye to her. Brad goes outside. Neither Melody nor Amy have changed their minds.

31-46-Jake-girlsJake pokes his head in through the window and tells Melody to come on. Melody gets her jacket. Jake calls Amy along, too, but Amy passes. Jake offers to buy Amy a horse-like pencil sharpener as a souvenir, which makes Amy laugh briefly, but she still declines. Jake and Melody leave, Amy getting in a shot at Melody.

31-47-Amy-outside31-48-victoryLater, Amy is sitting outside as Team Brad (the gang plus whatever extras that they could round up) arrives back at the ranch, victorious.

31-49-Brad-BuddyBrad brings up an incident involving “Bud” (“Buddy”, he corrects her). A cute girl had rejected him, because her mom thought he’s too dangerous-looking. Ha. So ends that thrilling subplot.

31-50-Jake-BradJake brings up a humorous incident involving the girl that rode before Brad (he’s wished her and her horse luck before the show, and he told the horse to break a leg, which made the girl nervous). Brad is surprised but finds it amusing. We don’t find out if the horse actually broke a leg or not, though.

31-51-Jake-LucyLucy gets them to quiet down, so they won’t wake the guests. She wants to keep the celebration going with a small party in the main lodge. She goes to round up some food.

31-52-Jake-Brad-2There’s a nice moment where Jake lets “Superstar” walk in front of him, and Brad says “Bow when you say that”, so Jake bows. Cute!

Melody and Danny go to check on Amy, but Jake warns Danny about Amy. Believing Jake is upset over Amy not falling for him, Danny tells Jake to mind his own business. Jake wishes Danny good luck. This is so odd. I feel like we’re missing something – as if a scene had been cut. The episode is the normal running time, though.

31-53-Amy-MelodyMelody and Amy make uncomfortable small talk before Danny breaks in, inviting Amy to the celebration. Melody tells him that she and Amy really need to talk. Amy suddenly accepts Danny’s offer. Melody, upset, goes inside the girls’ bunk house.

31-54-Danny-AmyDanny asks Amy if this is a spite date. Amy says she doesn’t know why she’s here and doesn’t want to spoil Danny’s time. Danny has a better idea than going to the party.

31-55-Amy-Danny-boatOn the lake, Danny says he and Melody are sorry that Amy didn’t come to the horse show. Amy doesn’t believe him about Melody. She asks Danny why things have to change. Danny says it’d be pretty boring if they didn’t. Amy laughs but says that’s not a good enough reason.

31-56-Danny-lakeDanny says she and Melody can still be friends despite their differences.

31-57-Amy-lakeAmy says she doesn’t know who she is without Melody. I absolutely love this shot, especially the way in which the light moves along Amy’s hair.

Danny says sometimes he’ll go along with or act like somebody, because it’s easier than being himself (is he talking about Ted, maybe?), and he’s not even sure who he is.

Amy says, when they were little, she and Melody made up a contract that said they were honorary twins. Amy still has it. She says, if there’s somebody else just like you, then you can’t be that weird. Danny understands. He says, sometimes, it’s good to have stuff in common with your friends, but he likes somebody for differences and wouldn’t want a whole lot of friends exactly like himself. Amy says she’d want a whole lot of friends like Danny.

Amy says coming to the ranch and trying to barge into Melody’s life here was a mistake. Danny says, if she hadn’t, then they never would have met. Amy is glad that she came. Danny, perhaps not understanding what she meant (she is vague about it), says it’s nice out here, and Amy says it’s a really nice night.

31-58-Amy-Danny-MelodyLater, as Danny and Amy return from their date, Melody is waiting outside, pigging out on cookies, and offers them some. They accept. Danny wants to put his cookie under his pillow in hopes of sweet dreams. Amy brings up the possibility of ants. Danny wishes them good night as he nearly trips while walking backwards. The girls wish him good night.

31-59-Melody-AmyMelody invites Amy to sit. She says, outside her family, Amy is the person that she’s known the longest. She would trust Amy with her deepest, darkest secrets and do almost anything for her, but she won’t give up other friends for her; it’s wrong for Melody to do it, and it’s wrong for Amy to want it. Melody also won’t pretend things are exactly the same. They had met when Melody started second grade in the new school, and the teacher had Amy walk her home, so she wouldn’t get lost. I wish we’d learn the reason behind Melody changing schools. Melody calls it the luckiest day of her life. Recently, Amy’s been afraid that Melody wouldn’t want to be her friend anymore. Melody is surprised and says she always wants them to be friends, but it does have to change – not less, just different. Amy reveals Danny kissed her. Melody is surprised and asks for details.

31-60-breakfastThe pre-credits scene at the end has Melody and Amy showing up for breakfast on the next day. For some reason, Brad isn’t present.

31-61-Danny-AmyDanny and Amy withhold knowledge of their relationship from a curious Jake.

Melody reveals she and Amy had “a full-blown pig-out” last night. Amy is sick of cookies.

31-62-Danny-Amy-2Danny gives Amy a half-cookie from under his pillow (he had sweet dreams and hungry dreams). Melody says “we” better get Amy to the bus station. Is someone else going besides them? Jake, Danny, and Amy say bye, but there’s no goodbye kiss. Melody pulls Amy away. Jake wants details from Danny, but Danny refuses.

Amy suddenly wants to say goodbye to “that little greaser kid”.

31-63-girls-BuddyOh, great, the subplot. Yeah, Buddy’s a nerd now, because of course he fucking is. Jake calls him “a baby Uncle Ernst”. This is kind of similar to Buddy’s “transformation” in “Inmates Run the Asylum” (season 3, episode 01). For some reason, Melody seems to not initially recognize Buddy.

31-64-gang-teases-BuddySo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was a really nice. We got a lot of background info on Melody.

Most of the episode almost seems like an introduction for another new character, but Amy’s just a one-off, which is a shame, because I like her.

Finally, I wish to make it known to all that WordPress’ new composer sucks ass. The interface is different. Images appear in a random order after upload, which makes it a nightmare to locate the one that I need to insert. The script stops running, which causes the images to be unselectable, so I have to close the tab, open a new one, go back to WordPress, go into the Drafts, and pick up where I left off (thank Goddess for the drafts, at least); this happened multiple times. It took me nearly two hours to prepare this post after I finished writing the review.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 15

Season 3, Episode 04: New Kid on the Block

Writer: Steven Roth & Deanne Roth
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: April 27, 1990

30-01-Danny-girlsIn the cold open, Danny asks the girls if they’ve seen his hat. They haven’t.

30-02-Ernst-BuddyMr. Ernst and Buddy come over, arguing. Buddy says “he’ll” never fit in here. Mr. Ernst understands. Mr. Ernst is suspicious of the teens’ attention. Brad has to remind him that he called this meeting. Mr. Ernst explains his nephew (his sister Wilma’s son, Buddy’s cousin, and “everybody’s problem”), Jake Decker, will be arriving from California sometime today – to be a new staff member on a trial basis. Wilma believes Jake needs hard work to learn responsibility. Buddy mentions all that Jake cares about is playing his “stupid drums”, but Mr. Ernst says there will be no disruptions.

Brad asks Mr. Ernst if he’s seen the Breakfast Ride sign-up sign from the main lodge; it’s missing. Brad had eight horses saddled up this morning, but no one showed up to ride. Maybe, before she did all of that work, Brad should have checked the damn sign-up sheet to see if anyone had signed up. Hell, she’s holding the sign-up sheet while she’s talking about it! Also, do none of the guests remember seeing the sign earlier in the week? And doesn’t the Bar None have a calendar of events or brochures? I find it hard to believe no one would show up, particularly if, assuming they were interested in riding horses, they could have asked at the front desk.

Danny muses, although Ted never did anything around here, now that he’s gone, everything seems to be falling apart. Mr. Ernst disagrees, but then…

30-03-falling-apart 30-04-GalkinDuring the opening credits, Ted is out, and Jake is in. Jonathan Galkin has had an interesting career. “Hey Dude” was his first of only two acting gigs (the second being a short-lived 1991 pre-teen sketch-comedy TV series called “Way Cool”). He attended NYU from 1991 to 1994. From 1994 to 2001, he worked as a special events producer, talent buyer, and manager at NYC firm, Empire Entertainment. In 2001, he co-founded DFA Records and continues to head the label. He’s married and has three children, and he seems to be doing well.

After the credits, the teens help Mr. Ernst to his feet. Mr. Ernst is feeling tense over Jake’s impending arrival, and Buddy calls him “Jake the Flake”. Apparently, Wilma talked him into taking Jake, because she has “power-marketing meetings” to attend or host, and having Jake around would somehow interfere with that. Yeah, I would have told her to fuck off. Danny suggests they fix the ramada before somebody gets hurt. Mr. Ernst goes to get some tools but doesn’t know where they’re kept. Really?

30-05-Buddy-shoesMr. Ernst asks Buddy what happened to his shoelaces, and I love how Melody playfully kicks Buddy’s sneaker to call visual attention to it. Mr. Ernst is upset that it makes it look like he can’t afford to dress Buddy, but Buddy says somebody took his shoelaces.

30-06-Danny-ramadaDanny inspects the ramada and discovers the screws have been removed – like somebody meant for this to happen. Melody guesses it’s the same “somebody” that took her lifeguard whistle. Brad adds her silver picture frame from her dresser is gone. Why didn’t the girls bring this stuff up when Danny was asking about his hat earlier?

Buddy’s upset over Jake coming to “[his] ranch”. The girls ask about it. Buddy says Jake’s weird. Things that Melody finds weird include wearing dress shoes with shorts and not knowing the entire Brady Bunch cast. I understand the first one, but how is it “weird” to not know all of the actors and/or characters on a long-cancelled sitcom? I used to watch “The Brady Bunch” when I was younger, and…it does sound like something that Melody would obsess over. Personally, I don’t think I could stand watching an episode today. I liked the first two movies, though, because they poked fun at the Bradys. Anyway, insert obvious “prediction” joke here.

Buddy explains Jake has a lack of practical knowledge but knows a lot of trivia. Melody asks if Jake is at all like Ted. Buddy seems to indicate he isn’t. Danny asks if Jake’s flexible. Apparently, Danny and Ted had this system: Danny put his hat on the lamp, which meant he wanted to be alone. Remember this detail. Brad is worried Mr. Ernst will make Jake senior staff. Melody says he won’t, because it wouldn’t be fair. Brad isn’t sure and says “Whatever family wants, family gets.” Yeah, I imagine that’s common up in the Pointe.

30-07-Ernst-toolboxMr. Ernst returns with the toolbox but is clueless about the “neat tool thingies”. Suddenly, they hear drumming in the distance.

30-08-Jake-arrivesJake ushers in the Jake Era through a loud drum solo. I love how Jake’s arrival somewhat mirrors Ted’s arrival in the series premiere.

01-01-first-shotThe others stare in surprise and confusion (and a random extra walks by in the background; weird).

30-09-Brad-Ernst 30-10-truck-brakes 30-11-Jake-falls 30-12-drum-rollsThen disaster strikes as the driver hits the brakes hard (for no fucking reason), knocking Jake over and sending his drums flying…and rolling.

30-13-Jake-HomerJake brings up the braking to the truck’s driver, Homer.

30-14-HomerBut all that Homer can do is insult Jake’s “gosh darn hippie music”, which Jake takes as Homer being knowledgeable about that piece being based on “tribal poly rhythms from Woodstock”. Well, ain’t Jake just a totally radical, tubular California dude? Like, totally.

Homer is played by Sarge McGraw. “Hey Dude” was his first acting gig. This is his first of two appearances, each time playing (perhaps) the same character. He had roles in two movies after this (one in 1994 and the other in 1998). That’s it.

Mr. Ernst comes over and demands to know the meaning of this, so Jake explains “centrifecal force” to him, which isn’t a thing. I think Jake might referring to either centrifugal force or centripetal force, or maybe he’s just being a smartass. I really can’t tell.

Jake explains he missed his flight, so he accepted a ride with a busload of nuns, who didn’t have common musical interests with him (except for Gregorian chants), so, around Yuma, he transferred to a crop duster, but he was getting nowhere, so he chose to ride on the back of Homer’s hay truck. Mr. Ernst asks why Jake didn’t just take the next flight, which hadn’t occurred to him.

30-15-Jake-BuddyBuddy doesn’t want Jake bunking with him and wants Mr. Ernst to call Aunt Wilma. Mr. Ernst puts it off. Oh, yeah, Jake calls his drums “tubs”, because of course he fucking does. Yes, it’s legit drumming slang, but it still sounds stupid.

Mr. Ernst asks the girls and Danny if they should be fixing the ramada.

30-16-Melody-no“Mmm-mmm.” I love this. Melody just casually disregards work in front of her boss, because…she prefers witnessing the chaos that Jake brings? I dunno.

Mr. Ernst sends them off to do it, and Melody is disappointed. Mr. Ernst has Buddy gather up all of Jake’s belongings and show him to his bunk. After Mr. Ernst leaves, Buddy argues with Jake over his decision to come here, but Jake doesn’t want to be here either. Since Mr. Ernst is giving Jake only one week to prove himself, Buddy comes up with the idea of Jake screwing up and being sent home.

30-17-dealJake likes it, the two of them will work together on it.

30-18-Jake-horse-1 30-19-Jake-horse-2The next day (I guess), at the corral, Jake is outfitting a horse with scuba gear.

30-20-Brad-JakeBrad comes over and demands to know what the fuck Jake is doing to “[her] horses”. Jake says he had an idea for “the ultimate experience”: underwater horseback riding. Brad argues with him over it and brings up the consequences if Mr. Ernst sees it. Rather than fill Brad in on his plan, he’s all casual about it.

30-21-guestsMr. Ernst and Buddy arrive with two guests just after Brad covers the scuba gear.

30-22-Brad-bullshitsBrad bullshits about how their horses “were specially cross-bred with camels to ensure safe desert crossings”. Jake adds they’re amphibious. Brad says this requires extra prep time and asks the guests to come back in fifteen minutes. Mr. Ernst argues with her, so Brad asks for five minutes. Mr. Ernst, somehow buying all of this, warns her to not let this happen again and takes the guests to his office to see a map of the trail. After they leave, Brad angrily tells Jake that she’ll resaddle her own horses. After she leaves, Buddy says this could be harder than they thought. Just fill the rest of the gang in on your plan, you idiots!

30-23-Danny-girlsLater, Danny and the girls are…still fixing the ramada. Why’s it taking so long?

30-24-girlsBrad says Jake’s just not like them. Melody says they should give Jake a break, since it’s his first week.

30-25-fixing-ramadaDanny says Jake needs a lesson in water conservation. This morning, he found Jake in the shower, reading a book, and he didn’t even notice it was overflowing. Um, first, how can a shower overflow? Second, back in “Rainmen” (season 1, episode 09), we saw the showers are outside, and the walls and door don’t reach the bottom.

Melody admits, yesterday, Jake tried save Mr. Everett, “the former Olympian”, in the pool. Danny asks if any human being back be that flaky and says it’s almost like Jake wants to get into trouble. Oh, the hilarity of a lack of communication.

Brad asks if they can keep bailing him out. Melody doesn’t have an answer. Danny says they are a bit short-handed with Ted at summer school (he doesn’t mention Lucy’s fourth consecutive non-appearance). Melody wants them to give Jake a break, because they were new once, too. Brad isn’t sure. Melody asks what more Jake can screw up.

30-26-Jake-skiingAs if on cue, Jake is teaching a cross-country skiing class. The girls chew Jake out, and Brad says they’re saving his butt for the last time. Danny calls out “Ernst Alert”, so…

30-27-hide-skis…they “hide” the skis. They is so stupid, and they don’t even do a good job of it. Melody hides Jake’s ski pole behind her back.

Mr. Ernst and Buddy arrive. Mr. Ernst asks about the guests standing in a straight line, and Danny bullshits about them being military.

30-28-Melody-poleMelody tries to excuse herself to go to the pool, but Mr. Ernst gets the ski pole from her and questions her about it. He doesn’t know what it is. Incredulous, Jake’s about to tell him, but then Danny jumps in, saying it’s a “metal walking stick”. Melody and Danny invite him to try it out, and he walks off, liking it.

Buddy asks them to stop interfering. He explains “Jake is trying to get kicked out of here – on purpose”. I thank you ever so kindly very much for that explanatory explanation, Mr. Superfluousness.

Melody is upset that they’ve been covering for Jake for nothing. Brad says they’ll get Jake out of here if he wants it. Melody and Danny nod along in agreement, but then Melody starts shaking her head before the fade to commercial. Weird.

30-29-planningAfter the commercial break, Danny and the girls exit the girls’ bunk house. Danny has the idea of setting off a series of explosions and blaming it on Jake’s “nuclear fusion experiments”. While this sounds like a Jake thing, it’s highly dangerous. Danny had been hanging out with Ted way too long. Brad points out the riskiness, but she says they’ll save it for their “strong possibility category”. Seriously?

Melody shushes them, because…Jake’s arriving, and he proceeds to listen to their ideas anyway, so…what the fuck?

Oh, and the girls are washing the outside of the windows of their bunk house. This is a nice example of a plot occurring around the work that needs to be done.

Brad suggests setting Jake’s drums on fire (what is it with Brad this week? Little Miss Arsonist), but Jake immediately declares “the tubs” off-limits. Danny says Ted would know what to do. Brad says Ted was the expert on getting into trouble. Melody brings up the events of “Ted and Brad Get Handcuffed” (season 1, episode 10), and Brad brings up her coyote-like urge. Brad calls Ted a jerk. Melody agrees but calls him “a pretty great jerk”. Jake says it sounds like they all miss him. Brad tries to dispute it but soon agrees. Melody says they’d do this if any of them left. I believe she’s referring to their talking about Ted, not about their plan to send Jake home.

30-30-familyJake marvels at their closeness. Danny says they’re like family – and playfully calls the girls his “ugly stepsisters”.

Brad says they’d expect Jake to do the same for them, except she can’t imagine ever wanting to leave. Danny agrees. Melody asks Jake why he wants to go. He lives alone most of the time (his parents are never around). Brad asks if it gets kind of lonely. Jake says he can come and go as he pleases, and he’s got “the tubs”. Jake expresses his appreciation of what they’re doing.

30-31-Jake-BuddyThe next day (I guess), Buddy finds Jake after looking everywhere for him. Jake had been out, searching for a portable recorder that he’d lost on the ride in. Why’d he wait so long to look for it? It’s his work in progress called “Jake’s Guide to Life”. He records everything that’s important to him. He just started a new chapter. Buddy asks to see it…for some reason, and Jake lets him. After a bit of banter (Buddy doesn’t like oysters after ordering it once), Jake reveals he wants to stay. Buddy says it’s too late, because everything’s about to begin. After some prodding from Jake, Buddy reveals Jake always had to be better than him. Jake says Buddy always had attention when he was growing up, but Jake had to fight for it. Jake says Buddy’s father will do anything for him, but his father can’t wait until he turns 18, so he’s out of the house. Jake admits he envies Buddy, but he can’t think of any specific examples. I think the contrast being their two dads is reason enough. Buddy says it’s hard to admire someone as different as Jake, and it makes him wish he was a little weird, too. Buddy says he’s “plain, ordinary normal”; it’s who he is. Jake says [being different] is who he is. Buddy says Jake can stay if he stays out of his way.

30-32-deal-2Buddy spots Mr. Ernst and says it’s too late. Jake has Buddy come with him.

Jake crawls through a window into Mr. Ernst’s office, where the gang had set up his drum set. Jake throws a cymbal out the window and seemingly hits Buddy, despite the cymbal clearly not hitting him.

30-33-Jake-bustedMr. Ernst catches Jake, who is forced to “admit” he’s “donating the tubs to the Bar None” but will give “benefit concerts”.

30-34-Jake-lessonsJake doesn’t get too far into demonstrating (by the way, a random extra passes by outside the office and looks inside, and check out that random female employee in the background, sorting the mail) before Mr. Ernst makes him stop, so Jake offers to give him lessons. Mr. Ernst has the idea to turn the drums into feed buckets – portable feed troughs for the horses. Mr. Ernst thanks Jake for his generosity.

30-35-Brad-thumbs-upBrad pokes her head through the window and calls Mr. Ernst’s attention over to the corral. She gives Jake a thumbs-up, much to Jake’s distress. Jake runs out, and Brad blames Jake for what’s going on, grinning psychotically after Mr. Ernst leaves.

30-36-Brad-grins 30-37-spaDanny has turned the horses’ feeding trough into “Jake’s Spa”. Hmm, it seems like Brad’s dream of a spa in “Cowboy Ernst” (season 2, episode 12) came true.

30-38-spa-2It’s funny how the horse stops drinking right after Danny turns the pump on.

Danny takes the horse away. Jake and Buddy come by and get rid of the beach stuff.

30-39-guestsUnfortunately, two guests, who have somehow gotten word of this “spa”, show up. Jake tries to get them out of there by saying the water isn’t ready, and then Buddy mentions the horse goobers floating in it. Jake has Buddy take the guests to the pool. Despite both guests having lines, the actors aren’t credited.

Jake can’t shut the pump off. Mr. Ernst finally arrives (what took him so long?) and catches Jake. Jake claims he was treating the horses to sparkling water, adding it adds a touch of glass to the Bar None. He says the water is so clean that even Mr. Ernst could drink it. Mr. Ernst wants to test it, but Jake volunteers. He notices horse goobers floating in the cup (the two drinking cups being in the scene are awfully convenient) but drinks it anyway.

30-40-Jake-disgusted 30-41-Jake-tosses-waterMr. Ernst brands it “Bar None Sparkling Horse Water” and hopes it’ll draw in “that equestrian crowd from Scottsdale“. He tells Jake to carry on, and Jake coughs repeatedly after he leaves.

30-42-Danny-paintLater, Danny has finished the latest plan to get Jake in trouble. The girls and Danny are somewhat sad that Jake will be leaving.

30-43-Jake-recorder“Invention: rotary nose-hair trimmer modeled after the weed-whacker.”

30-44-girl-excitedThe girls are very giddy and excited to share the latest mischievous plan with Jake. It seems they’d been hanging out with Ted way too long, too.

Jake runs away. Melody asks what’s going on. Buddy fills them in. Brad asks Buddy why he didn’t tell them. That was what Jake and Buddy should have done from the start. Of course, if they had, Jake would be gone now, and the episode would be over. This time, the argument could be made that the gang sprung all of their plans in close succession, leaving Jake and Buddy no time to tell them.

Melody admits they like Jake, surprising Buddy. Mr. Ernst screams whoever did “this” is fired, and the gang runs up the stairs behind the front desk. Y’know, it’s never been shown exactly where this leads, but it seems to be an exit – only it’s above floor level, so…weird.

30-45-bannerInsert Bon Jovi joke here. Yeah, this was totally the girls’ idea.

I’d like to think Joe Torres painted this, since he does have artistic ability, but I can’t confirm it.

30-46-gangMr. Ernst demands to know who did it, and everyone except Jake takes the blame, but then Jake takes the blame, but then Brad, Danny, and Melody individually take the blame. Jake explains and mentions his change of heart. Mr. Ernst is about to send Jake home, but the others stick up for Jake and want him to stay (Jake said he’d give Danny lessons on “the tubs”), so Mr. Ernst agrees, but he’ll extend Jake’s probationary period by one week.

30-47-gang-2The gang is happy. Mr. Ernst has them take the banner down.

30-48-Ernst-spiesHe then spies on the gang and smiles in approval as they get along and comment on the banner and how it looks like him.

30-49-Jake-drumsThe pre-credits scene at the end has Jake showing Buddy how to drum on his knees.

30-50-packageDanny brings by a package addressed to everybody and asks who wants to open it. Melody excitedly volunteers, saying it’s just like Christmas.

30-51-stuffThe gang finds their stuff: Melody’s lifeguard whistle, Danny’s hat (see? he can’t want to be alone without it), and the Breakfast Ride sign-up sign.

30-52-Melody-noteMelody reads a note:

“If you don’t miss me, I knew you’d at least miss your stuff. Love, Ted.”

30-53-Ted-pictureJake says something about Ted that I can’t understand, but Brad replies by showing a picture of Ted put into her silver picture frame. Somewhat contrary to the end of last week’s episode, Brad finds it hilarious.

Buddy finds his shoelaces, and Danny finds the screws to the ramada. Mr. Ernst comes outside, greets them, and is about to sit down to read. Jake finds another set of screws in the box and wonders what they’re to. Danny has a suspicion and warns Mr. Ernst.

30-54-Ernst-falls 30-55-gang-amusedMr. Ernst blames Jake, who’s surprised at being blamed. The rest of the gang is amused, though.

30-56-gang-helps-ErnstAs the gang helps Mr. Ernst to his feet, Jake explains it was Ted (but Brad, weirdly, then says she doesn’t know). Mr. Ernst accepts it.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was a good introduction to a new character. I like Jake. He’s got the right stuff, he got to me step by step, and he’s just hangin’ tough.

I wonder if the constant mentioning of Ted was meant to smooth the transition to Jake, or maybe they were hoping Lascher would come back. I have no way of proving it, but maybe this episode was taped during Lascher’s audition, and they were hoping he wouldn’t get the role and would come back (which would explain Brad’s words in the previous episode). Heck, the restaurant being named “Joe’s” might have been an in-joke. I found this 1990 article last Friday that has an interview with Lascher. It seems all nine episodes of “A Family for Joe” had been filmed by end of April. Network officials and audience ratings were then to determine the fate of the series. Considering only six of the episodes aired from March 24 to May 5, and then three months went by before the remaining three episodes aired, I’m guessing it wasn’t long after this April 22 article that the series’ fate was decided. By then, Nickelodeon audiences had seen Ted’s departure and Jake’s arrival. I wonder when Lascher made the decision to return.

As a final thought, I wonder how the fuck Ted managed to steal all of that shit, considering it was Danny that brought his bag out to him.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 16

Season 3, Episode 03: Datenite

Writer: Clifford Fagin
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: April 20, 1990

Two things before I start this review:

1) I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this month. Yes, I write fiction. You can find it here. I’m pretty sure that it won’t interfere with writing the reviews.

2) Go and see “Jem and the Holograms” already!

This episode was born of necessity. David Lascher had gotten a role on a broadcast network primetime series. He played Nick Bankston on the ABC series, “A Family for Joe“, which was based on a TV movie that originally aired on February 25, 1990. The series premiered, strangely, on March 24, 1990 (talk about a quick pick-up), which means it was already on the air for almost a month when this episode first aired. Lascher replaced the movie Nick, who was played by Chris Furrh, who never acted again after 1990. Going by the original air dates, and assuming the series was picked up only after the movie aired, it seems Lascher auditioned and got the role early during production (or during pre-production) on season 3. He might have been auditioning during “Hey Cinderella”. This is all guesswork, mind you. Regardless of the precise timing, Lascher’s decision (the move from Nick to Nick if you will) required a send-off for Ted, although this episode is a bit odd in this regard – as you’ll soon see. I vaguely remember watching “A Family for Joe”. I don’t remember it being terrible, but I don’t remember it being particularly memorable either. Of note, it’s probably where I first saw David Lascher, since I remember my family first getting cable probably in the 1991-1992 TV season (when I was in 8th grade). Reruns of “Kidd Video” on WGN. Reruns of seasons 1 and 2 of “Captain N: The Game Master” on The Family Channel while NBC was airing new (season 3) episodes. The game-show (season 2) version of “Video Power” on WGN. Yeah, sounds about right. Anyway, “A Family for Joe” lasted only nine episodes. After episode 6, the series took a three-month break before episodes started airing again. The last episode aired on August 19, 1990. Presumably, it was during the three-month break between May 5 and August 5 that the series’ fate became known. Lascher would return to “Hey Dude” in an episode that originally aired on October 26, 1990, so the timing seems about right, but we’ll get to that eventually. “A Family for Joe” has a mixed reaction today (every episode has a 5.0 rating on TV.com; the series as a whole has a 7.5 rating on IMDb). It’s perhaps most noteworthy for the person that played Lascher’s younger sister: Juliette Lewis, who’s currently starring in “Jem and the Holograms” (go and see it, for the love of fuck!). In hindsight, Lascher should have stayed on “Hey Dude”, but what’s done is done, and we’ve gotta say goodbye…for now…

29-01-mail-callIn the cold open, Brad brings the mail to the rest of the gang. They’re unusually excited, but this is the pre-Web days, so I guess mail was a bigger deal back then. It’s not made a big deal of, but Brad calls Ted “Theodore” when she offers him his mail (callback to “Teacher’s Pest” (season 2, episode 07)). Nice touch. She’s probably just reading the name off the envelope. Also, when Brad’s calling out names, she calls out “Bradley” twice when seeing her own mail. Cute. There’s also a bit where she apologizes to Buddy for…something, and he says “It’s okay.” What’s that about?

29-02-Ted-shockedUnfortunately, Ted has received some apparently shocking news, but he says it’s just his license. He quickly excuses himself to do chores, not even finishing his breakfast (he claims to hate oatmeal, but it was a fruit cup). Brad also excuses herself to do chores.

29-03-Melody-suspiciousMelody is suspicious of Ted’s behavior but, after a hint from Danny, remembers Ted doesn’t drive. Buddy and Danny conspire to learn the true contents of the letter – resorting to theft if dropping hints doesn’t work. Melody shakes her head in disapproval – or maybe she just thinks they’re dumbasses that are obsessing over something that’s none of their business. It’s hard to tell.

29-04-Ted-annoyedAfter the credits, Ted is annoyed that Danny and Buddy are hanging around him while he’s picking out hooves. Danny and Buddy drop some none-too-subtle hints regarding the letter, banter for a while, and tell dumb jokes. Ted expects to hear this kind of stuff from Brad. Danny mentions Brad had a date with “that guy from the Canyon Ranch”. Ted is clearly jealous but tries to cover his ass, claiming Brad is forgettable, but then he asks about the guy. According to Buddy, his name is Butch, and he drives a feed truck. Ted is upset. After some banter (during which we learn Ted takes a heavy metal guitar course and has a dry cereal collection), Danny and Buddy get Ted to ask Brad to go out with him.

29-05-Brad-YukNo, Brad hasn’t heard the question yet.

29-06-girls-whackThe girls are whacking a dusty rug…with tennis rackets. Nah, they’re just whack. Oh, and Brad doesn’t care for Butch.

Ted comes over and says his “sources” have informed him that she’s lifted the ban on dating. Brad claims there’s been a ban on smoking, drinking, and overuse of the word “awesome” – but never on dating.

Ted makes “possibly a once-in-a-lifetime offer” of a date with him on Saturday night. In an awkward bit of product placement (see a more subtle example in “Ted and Brad Get Handcuffed” (season 1, episode 10)), Brad mentions she already has an American Express card. Brad also claims Saturday night is usually the night that she rearranges the shoes in her closet (in other words, “Fuck off”) but eventually (despite Ted’s putdown) says “maybe some other time”. Ted gets all butthurt (and not in the good way) and leaves.

29-07-Brad-contemplativeMelody pretty much tells Brad that she’s not missing anything, but Brad gets all contemplative and shit. Um,…why, exactly?

29-08-Brad-guestsThe next day, Brad and some guests return from a ride (which the guests enjoyed), and Brad asks them to tie up the horses for her.

29-09-Brad-SylvesterBrad goes to tie up Sylvester.

29-10-Brad-hayTed, supposedly not realizing Brad is standing there (yeah, right; see “Battle of a Hundred Bucks” (season 2, episode 02)), throws hay on her head.

Ted apologizes, and Brad, disappointed, realizes it’s him. Ted compares himself to Mel Gibson (yeah, that’s dated as hell). Brad actually wanted to see him, offering to share a meal or movie or something together. Ted tries to cover his excitement with cockiness. When Brad proposes Saturday night, Ted has to “check [his] schedule” (he supposedly keeps each day on a different-colored note), which pisses Brad off to the point that she wants them to forget it, but Ted suddenly “discovers” he has Saturday night all free and open. Brad asks what they’re going to do, which stumps Ted (and Brad), but Ted promises to come up with something “awesome” – but then corrects himself, saying Brad will be “amazed”.

29-11-Buddy-DannyOn Saturday night, Buddy is playing lookout while Danny searches the boys’ bunk house for Ted’s letter. Buddy suggests Ted has it on him, but Danny says it’s too thick, and Ted doesn’t like it when his pockets bulge out. Unexpected detail, but I guess it makes sense to bring it up.

29-12-calendarThe same calendar is still there, and it still clearly matches August of 1990. This fucking calendar is what makes the timeline take it in the ass (without lube). The presence of the calendar insinuates this has to be the same summer as season 2 (and the same month at that). However, time constraints aside, the ending of this episode indicates it’s impossible. This has to be a new summer. You’ll see why. For now, we’ll just say the guys (and girls) were lazy and left their shit on the walls.

Anyway, Buddy feels guilty about going through Ted’s stuff, but Danny spins it as doing it for Ted, “no matter how distasteful”. He’s been hanging around with Ted too long.

29-13-Danny-BuddyDanny finds the letter in one of Ted’s boots but then hears Ted thanking Mr. Ernst for a tie and hides it under the bed. He and Buddy try to act “casual”, which involves Danny “pondering” and Buddy wrapping a rubber snake around his neck.

29-14-Ted-tieTed comes in and asks what they’re doing. Danny says they were discussing Danny’s amazement over Brad going out with Ted. Ted says this is destiny and the start of something big. Buddy asks what they’re gonna do on the date. Ted says talk about romantic stuff (music, poetry, art, himself). Buddy finds it boring. Danny is surprised. Ted says he took (and passed) an art course in school last year. Danny justifies his worry by stumping Ted on who painted the Mona Lisa (Ted says “the Italian guy”). Buddy cutely accepts this as proof of Ted’s knowledge.

29-15-Danny-worried-1 29-16-Danny-worried-2 29-17-Ted-cockyAnyway, Ted is all cocky and shit and says “Wait ’til [Brad] gets a load of me.” Hmm, I think Ted expects his “cocky” to be coated in Brad’s shit before the night is through. Wishful thinking, Ted. Brad might still be “vanilla” – unless Melody expanded her horizons.

Oh, and Ted thinks Butch is a geek.

As Ted heads out, Danny brings up the date possibly changing Ted and Brad’s relationship, but Ted says fate has brought them to this moment, and he’s never one to tempt fate.

After Ted leaves, Danny has Buddy dig out the letter and read it:

“Dear Danny and Buddy,

Roses are red. Violets are blue.
It’s not nice to be nosing in someone else’s shoe.

Sincerely,
Your friend, Ted McGriff”

Well, Ted’s got poetry covered.

29-18-restaurantAfter the commercial break (which comes unusually early this week), holy shit, we’re off the ranch!

29-19-Ted-Brad-tableYeah, this is the first time in the series that we’re not at the Bar None Ranch or in the surrounding area. Since no restaurant is mentioned in the credits, I assume this is a dining area on the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. The menus call it Joe’s (at least, the part that I can read). That doesn’t exactly sound like a fancy restaurant’s name.

29-20-GeraldA waiter named Gerald arrives and offers drinks to start. There’s a bit where Ted shows he’s out of his league by dropping his napkin on the floor. Brad orders an iced tea (her voice sounds a bit odd, like it’s more…sophisticated), and Ted, clearly in over his head, orders the same. Gerald leaves.

Gerald is played by Donn Taylor. “Hey Dude” was his only acting gig. Heck, he might have been an actual waiter at the restaurant.

Ted and Brad compliment each other’s appearance, but then Ted fucks it up by mentioning sweat. Brad looks at the menu and is surprised that “this is certainly not an inexpensive place”, but Ted claims he has it covered and tells Brad to order whatever she wants.

29-21-Ted-spitsLater, Brad looks on, happy that a departing couple is being romantic with each other. Brad is enjoying her chicken piccata, and Ted is enjoying his burger. Brad asks Ted if he ever thinks of the future – long-range plans, his hopes and dreams. She talks him out of his (apparent) assumption that he’d still be senior staff at the Bar None ten years later. He hasn’t thought about it much and asks her the same question. Brad doesn’t know but says they’re still young. Gerald comes by and asks how they’re doing, and Ted talks with his mouth full, which is pretty funny.

29-22-Ted-messLater, Ted is regaling Brad with a story of a baseball game that he played. Wait, back in “Teacher’s Pest” (season 2, episode 07), Ted said he wasn’t on the baseball team, although he might be talking about a different grade (or a non-school team) here. He accidentally wipes Cool Whip in his hair.

29-23-Brad-laughsBrad is amused…and apparently drunk. Holy shit.

They have a laugh over it, and then…

29-24-Brad-mess29-25-Ted-no-walletGerald brings the check, but it seems Ted forgot his wallet.

29-26-Brad-excuseBrad gets money out of her purse and then tells Ted that she thinks she dropped her purse and asks him to get it for her.

29-27-Brad-money 29-28-Ted-happyThis one action has made me positively fall in love with Brad. She doesn’t complain about Ted’s oversight – which, for all that she knows, could be deliberate – or directly pay for the meals. She creates a diversion and secretly gives Ted the money (okay, Gerald probably saw what they were doing, but it’s the thought that counts), allowing Ted to pay for the meals and save face.

Before leaving, Gerald points out that Ted missed a spot on his face. Brad and Ted have a laugh over it.

I like the music in this scene. It sounds like they reworked the theme song into a romantic piano piece.

29-29-Brad-jacketBack at the ranch, Ted puts his jacket on Brad to keep her warm. Legit nice thing to do. I gotta wonder why he didn’t do it earlier, though. Since he doesn’t drive, Brad must have driven them to the restaurant in the Jeep (probably the same way that she went into town to buy ice cream in “Bar None Babysitter” (season 2, episode 11)). Either that, or they took a cab. Anyway, Brad thanks him, because it’s getting pretty chilly. He says it’s the least that he can do. As he sees her to her door, they chat for a bit, and Brad laughs over the date but then apologizes. Ted refers to himself as Bozo the Clown and also says being hard on himself is easier than letting other people be hard on him. Brad returns his jacket, and they say good night to each other. There’s no good-night kiss. Brad goes inside the girls’ bunk house. Ted berates himself on his way to the boys’ bunk house.

Ted busts Danny and Buddy, who are still searching for the letter. He says they’re not even close but promises to clue them in on it tomorrow.

29-30-guysDanny and Buddy ask Ted about his date (Buddy literally wants to hear make-out details and specifics on where and how Ted kissed Brad). Ted plays it vague and eventually convinces them that he’s the Mac Daddy and the Daddy Mac. Danny says he’s glad for Ted, says Brad is a wonderful girl (I agree), and can’t quite bring himself to compliment Ted, which causes Ted to think. Also, Ted continues to search his jacket for his wallet, which seems a bit odd.

29-31-girlsThe next day, the girls are carrying water to the corral, which Melody says they’ll have to do until Mr. Ernst gets the pump working. Brad asks if they have people to do this sort of stuff. I like this. It’s just a touch snobby. Anyway, Melody says they’re it and asks for more on the date. Brad says there’s nothing more to tell.

29-32-Danny-BuddyDanny and Buddy arrive, and Danny brings up the date. Brad is worried that Ted said “something”, but Danny says “just the usual guy stuff”. Buddy says “How far you went”, which shocks Brad (and, honestly, this is surprisingly mature for a childrens’/teen series), but Danny covers by taking about mileage (apparently, the restaurant is “within walking distance”, which solves that mystery). Danny and Buddy ask Brad if she had a great time. When Brad says “Yes”, there seems to be a very tiny audio glitch, but I don’t know if it’s on the master tape or just the DVD.

29-33-Ted-pleasedAnyway, Ted has been listening in, and he hears Brad call him “an endless source of fun and surprises” and “very amusing” and say how the date definitely exceeded all of her expectations. The others are surprised.

29-34-guysLater on, Danny and Buddy are on garbage detail. Ted comes by, and they banter for a bit before Ted asks if Brad said anything about last night. Danny doesn’t offer up any information. Why is Ted asking them about this? He’d already heard what Brad had said. Does he just want his guy friends to repeat it?

Anyway, Danny suggests he and Ted can go out sometime, and then Buddy does the same. Haha, gay humor. Anyway, Ted is confused over Buddy’s “amused” reference, even though he had clearly heard Brad say it earlier.

Ted arrives at the corral. Melody asks Ted to grab a bucket. Despite Ted offering to give Brad a hand, Brad declines. Um, did she not hear Melody just now?

29-35-Ted-Brad-moneyTed pays Brad back. Brad refuses, but Ted insists. Ted says he heard what she said to Danny and Buddy (though he’s unclear of how he heard it) and thanks her for it. Ted is surprised to learn she meant what she’d said. Brad also says she likes the real Ted…to a point.

29-36-Ted-Brad-newsTed shows Brad the letter and reveals the big secret: it’s from his school; there’s some kind of mix-up in the records, and how he has to go back and take English Lit in summer school. Hmm, I wonder if Ms. Andrews is/was teaching it.

Okay, first, this is bullshit. I don’t know if, in real life, Ted would be held liable for a “mix-up in the records” (whatever that means), but I would think Ted would have already received his final report card for the school year (even if it was through the mail).

Second, this is why it’s impossible for this to be the same summer that we’ve seen for the past two seasons – and why it certainly isn’t August. Summer school is much earlier than that.

Anyway, Ted wanted Brad to be the first to know, and he delayed telling her until now to avoid the possibility of a mercy date.

29-37-Ted-Brad-bucketSolemnly, they go to water the horses.

29-38-last-dayThe pre-credits scene at the end is Ted’s last day at the Bar None. Ted’s playing his guitar. Danny brings Ted’s stuff out of the boys’ bunkhouse. The mood is somber.

29-39-Brad-sad29-40-gang-sadTed sings a song (I don’t think it’s Lascher singing, but I’m not sure):

“Bye, Bar None.
Bye-bye, happiness.
Hello, summer school.
I’m such a fool.”

29-41-gang-sad-2Ted can’t believe this is happening, but Danny and Brad try to get him to think positive. Brad says he just has to go home, “pass a few courses” (it’s just one course), and come back. Maybe. I had to do summer school only once: Geometry after 10th grade (summer of 1994). I don’t recall how long that it lasted, but I somehow aced it (yeah, go figure), even though the most that I recall from it was sitting around, chatting, reading a novel, and throwing up in the restroom after binge-drinking chocolate milk during lunch.

Ted believes he’s going to be “just another computer chip in Mr. Ernst’s file of former employees”. Ted doesn’t understand computers, does he? More likely, the writer didn’t.

29-42-gang-sad-3“Bye-bye, Ted.
Bye-bye, Superguy.
He’s off to Summer High.
I feel like I could cry.
Goodbye to Ted, goodbye.
Goodbye to Ted, goodbye.”

29-43-Brad-sad 29-44-Melody-Danny-sad 29-45-Brad-criesI don’t care what you think of the song. When I was a kid, this scene packed an emotional wallop. I still tear up a bit at it.

Lucy doesn’t show up for Ted’s send-off, and I was beginning to think Mr. Ernst wouldn’t either, but they got David Brisbin to do a voiceover, calling for Ted to come on. It seems Mr. Ernst is giving Ted a ride to…wherever. Ted hates long goodbyes, so they make it quick, but then…

29-46-Brad-kisses-TedEveryone that grew up on this series remembers this moment.

Brad says she’s going to miss Ted, tells him to hurry back, and runs off crying, Melody giving chase.

29-47-Ted-happySo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was really nice. I enjoyed all of the Ted/Brad moments, and, aside from the dubious reason for Ted’s departure, I have no complaints.

However, as I’d said, this episode is odd as a send-off for Ted – in that it barely is. The mystery of the letter doesn’t get much screen time until the revelation at the end. With minor rewrites, this could have been a standard episode – albeit one in which Ted and Brad finally go out. Maybe Lascher’s impending departure was so sudden that they took an already-written script and did a quick rewrite. It makes me wonder if also Ted was meant to be in “Hey Cinderella”.

Also, the seed for Ted’s return is planted in this very episode, which makes me wonder if they were giving Lascher an “in” if he wanted to come back.

While this is goodbye for now, rest assured that Theodore Aloysius McGriff shall return! You must believe!

As a bonus, here’s a “Hey Dude” commercial all about Ted that (most of) the cast recorded, probably in 1990. I remember seeing it back in the day. Supposedly, this particular airing comes from 1994.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 17