Writer: Clifford Fagin
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: April 20, 1990
Two things before I start this review:
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…
In 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?
Unfortunately, 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.
Melody 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.
After 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.
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.
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”.
On 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.
The 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.
Danny 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.
Ted 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.
Anyway, 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.
Your friend, Ted McGriff”
Well, Ted’s got poetry covered.
Yeah, 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.
A 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.
Later, 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.
Later, 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.
They have a laugh over it, and then…
This 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.
Back 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.
Danny 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.
The 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.
Danny 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.
Anyway, 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.
Later 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?
Ted 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.
Ted 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.
“Bye, Bar None.
Hello, summer school.
I’m such a fool.”
Ted 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.
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…
Brad says she’s going to miss Ted, tells him to hurry back, and runs off crying, Melody giving chase.
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