Monthly Archives: December 2015

Season 3, Episode 11: Melody’s Brother

Before I begin this review, I need to make a correction to something that I said in my review of “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (season 3, episode 09) and only recently realized. That was actually the third non-appearance of Mr. Ernst in the series (fourth if you don’t count his voice cameo in “Datenite”). I had neglected to count his non-appearance in “Sewn at the Hip” (season 3, episode 05).

Writer: Judy Spencer
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: June 15, 1990

A notice precedes the episode on DVD:

37-01-noticeI’ve read different reasons for this. Either the master tape was in poor (or completely unusable) condition, or, slightly more sinister, Nickelodeon “misplaced” or “lost” the master tape out of disapproval of its subject matter.

Whatever the cause, the episode was considered “lost” in the fandom (although I was unaware of that). It was not (and still is not) available digitally on iTunes or Amazon Instant Video. It was, however, included on the season 3 DVD set and the Walmart-exclusive Complete Series DVD set.

However, the source used is a homemade VHS recording. I think. It’s possible that it’s actually a YouTube upload of a homemade VHS recording. If that’s the case, then there’s no telling what the video specs of the “source” that Shout! Factory used are. The resolution looks lower than normal (more pixelated). Motion looks a bit weird. However, the specs on the DVD are the same as for all of the other episodes. The episode looks…okay. There’s some tape damage. The very beginning of the episode (the fade-in) is missing, so it starts abruptly, and there’s the familiar “rainbow” effect that you see at the beginning of a homemade VHS recording. The fade-in to the second act is partially missing. Going by the running time, it seems around three seconds are missing. The audio seems to be in mono and isn’t as clear as that of the other episodes. Overall, though, it’s not too bad, and I’d rather have this than not have the episode at all. I just wish Shout! had put a notice on the box of the DVD set. I still would have bought it; I just wanted to know ahead of time.

37-02-Ernst-Buddy-argueIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst and Buddy are going to fix the plumbing in a guest room. Buddy tries to tell his dad something important, but Mr. Ernst shuts Buddy down. They had “agreed” Mr. Ernst is the “big worker bee”, and Buddy is the “little helper bee”. Mr. Ernst prefers to go with his “instinct” instead of making the “mistake” of reading up on how to fix the problem. I can already tell where this is going.

37-03-Jake-BuddyJake comes by with his laundry. Buddy vents his frustration about his dad treating him like a child. Jake inadvertently gives Buddy the idea of moving in with him and Danny.

Hmmm, it seems we have an out-of-order episode. This episode seems to have been taped before “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (in which Buddy is shown to be living with Jake and Danny at the end), or at least it occurs before it. Judy Spencer wrote both episodes, so she likely wrote this one first.

37-04-Jake-Buddy-wet37-05-gangAfter the credits, in the main lodge, Brad is on desk duty. Danny’s just hanging out. Melody is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her brother, Billy, who she hasn’t seen since he was home for spring break. Billy is her oldest brother. Melody is getting on Brad and Danny’s nerves. Billy is coming all of the way out here to visit Melody. It’s his last summer off before he starts med school, and he’s been planning to drive cross-country for years. Wow, the part about Billy starting med school is a nice bit of continuity with “Our Little Champion” (season 2, episode 03), which was also written by Judy Spencer. In it, Melody says she has one brother in law school and another in pre-med. This means Billy, the oldest, is – or rather was – in pre-med (Melody had spoken of it in the present tense in season 2, whereas it obviously is past tense now, which supports my theory that season 3 begins a new summer), and an unnamed male middle child is (or was) in law school. Anyway, Melody is eager for them to meet him and insists they will love him.

37-06-Danny-comicDanny’s reading The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update ’89 #1 (cover-dated July of 1989, which means it likely came out in the spring), which seems horribly outdated for this episode. I’m guessing he’s just reading an old comic that Buddy had.

37-07-argumentBuddy and Jake come into the lodge, and Danny learns of Buddy’s plans. Jake and Danny try to dissuade Buddy from moving in with them. Danny says Jake has “terminal foot odor”, and Jake says Danny snores (which Brad confirms). Buddy isn’t discouraged, saying he’ll pack his earplugs. After Buddy leaves, Danny gets on Jake’s case, somehow knowing he gave Buddy the idea. Jake says Buddy will forget about it, and he also claims Buddy has a Silly Putty collection.

37-08-Melody-ErnstMr. Ernst comes by, all wet. Melody worriedly asks what happened. Mr. Ernst doesn’t know. Danny asks Mr. Ernst if he remembered to first turn off the water main, which upsets Mr. Ernst. Jake and Danny inform Mr. Ernst of Buddy’s plans, and Mr. Ernst is perplexed at why Buddy would want to move in with them. Danny is offended. Jake explains. Mr. Ernst believes Buddy is too young to move out and will handle it. He asks for paper towels. Brad checks behind the front desk, and Melody tries to go off to find some, but suddenly…

37-09-Billy-Melody37-10-Billy-hugs-MelodyBilly arrives, much to Melody’s delight. We learn Melody’s family’s nickname for her is “Tweety Bird”. We don’t learn why; I guess it’s because she’s blonde. Billy enjoyed his trip; he drove through the mountains and found it beautiful.

Billy is played by Keith Grumet. “Hey Dude” was his second and final acting gig, his first being the role of a defendant in the pilot episode of the short-lived TV series “Equal Justice” earlier in 1990.

37-11-Billy-ErnstMelody makes the introductions. Mr. Ernst goes to his office to dry off.

37-12-Melody-wallBilly gives Melody a present: a piece of the Berlin Wall. This was written with the obvious intent of the episode occurring in the summer of 1990, but the Tuesday the 13th reference in “Superstition” makes this impossible. We’re left with August of 1991 or July of 1993, the latter of which allows more time left in the summer for Ted to return. I guess pieces of the Berlin Wall were still available for sale at that time.

Billy asks about checking in, but Melody says she’ll just fill out a registration card for him later.

37-13-Jake-bagJake offers to carry Billy’s bag, but Billy wants to carry a particular bag himself.

Melody wants to show Billy around. As they leave, the others call Melody “Tweety”.

37-14-Melody-Billy-lakeMelody and Billy eventually arrive at “scenic Lake Benjamin”. Wow, I didn’t know the lake has a name. I guess it was named after Mr. Ernst after he bought the ranch. That concludes their tour. Melody asks Billy what he thinks. He calls the Bar None “quiet but nice”. Melody says you get used to it, and she really likes it here.

Melody asks Billy how things are going. He says good; he’s excited about starting med school in the fall; he thinks it’ll be tough, but he’s not overly worried. Melody asks about his girlfriend, Allison, who he says is fine. He says hi to Melody for her. Melody asks when they’re getting married.

37-15-Billy-Melody-danceBilly decides he and Melody should dance. Melody persists. Billy guesses she just wants to be a bridesmaid. After some banter, Billy assures Melody that he’ll tell her if he and Allison get engaged. Melody suggests going out on the lake in a rowboat or canoe, but Billy had made plans to get together with a couple of his frat brothers, who are in Tucson, for a few hours; he thought Melody would be working all afternoon (she switched with Brad). Melody is disappointed but says she’ll see him when he gets back. Billy says they’ll have the rest of the week to hang out together; he won’t make any other plans. Melody is happy. As he leaves, Billy tells Melody to save him the last dance, and Melody agrees. What? Is this some kind of reference to something?

37-16-Jake-stepsLater, as Jake runs up the steps of the boys’ bunk house, there’s some loud sounds that sound like very obvious “feet hitting wood” foley work. It’s very loud and…blatant. Really odd.

37-17-Danny-clothesDanny and Jake discuss the state of their clothing, and Danny realizes the two of them are disgusting.

37-18-Buddy-newsBuddy comes in and informs them that, because of his dad, he won’t be moving in with them after all. Jake and Danny feign disappointment and pretend to be on Buddy’s side. After Buddy leaves, they feel guilty. Jake makes Danny realize they could have had their own live-in slave. Okay, these guys are dicks.

37-19-Billy-guysBilly comes in and invites them along, adding they’re gonna have a few beers. Jake mentions he and Danny are underage, but Billy says they’ll just go to a place that doesn’t check for ID. Jake declines, saying he’s not into frying his brain cells or destroying his liver. Danny also declines. Billy persists. Danny tells Billy about a (former) friend of the family that he really admired. It turned out that he had a pretty bad drinking problem. Danny considered it uncool. Billy says having a few beers isn’t a problem, tells them to lighten up, and leaves. Danny and Jake discuss Billy’s breath; he’s already had a few. I guess Billy stopped off in his room to drink.

Danny continues his story. The guy was an Indian that Danny admired a lot, but Danny felt the guy let them all down (“another Indian with a drinking problem“). This experience has made Danny averse to alcohol. Jake says he wouldn’t want to go with Billy either and asks about Danny’s former friend, assuming he was older, but Danny says he was their age. Y’know, I’ve noticed Danny keeps speaking of this guy in the past tense, but the episode doesn’t specify why, which makes this kind of unsettling. Is the guy dead?

37-20-Melody-waits-1Hours pass. Melody waits…

37-21-Melody-waits-2…and waits…

37-22-Melody-waits-3…and waits.

37-23-Billy-sick37-24-Melody-happy37-25-Melody-confused37-26-Melody-concerned37-27-Billy-MelodyBilly’s coughing and looking pretty bad. Melody is concerned. He’s been gone all day, and she’s been worried about him. She wants them to have dinner together, but he wants to take a nap.

37-28-Melody-kneeBilly drops his room key. Melody crouches down to pick it up and notices Billy tore his jeans and skinned his knee. Melody asks how it happened, but Billy’s completely unaware of it. He doesn’t want to discuss it and just wants the key. I think there’s a bit of an error. Melody seems to not pick up the key, because she notices Billy’s knee, but Billy takes the key from her anyway.

37-29-Billy-lockMelody asks Billy if he drank too much. He says he had two beers with his friends. He says he’s just tired from driving all day. He refuses Melody’s offer to bring him dinner.

37-30-Jake-towelsJake and Danny come by. Jake offers Billy more towels, but Billy declines. Danny offers to help Billy with the lock, but Melody quickly decides to do it herself. I’m not sure why she’s so insistent. Maybe she doesn’t want Danny smelling Billy’s breath (although she made no indication that she smelled alcohol on Billy’s breath).

37-31-Billy-kisses-MelodyBilly kisses Melody and goes into his room. Jake asks if Billy’s all right, and Danny says Billy seemed drunk. Danny catches Melody on her hasty “jet lag” excuse, so Melody quickly changes it to Billy being “tired from driving”. Danny brings up him and Jake smelling alcohol on Billy’s breath earlier in the day, but Melody says they’re mistaken. Danny says he’s sure. Melody forcefully says he’s wrong and that Billy’s just tired. Danny tries to talk to her again, but Melody and Danny get into a brief argument before Jake takes Danny away to dinner.

37-32-Ernst-BuddyMr. Ernst has promoted Buddy to “worker bee” but then promotes him to “foreman…bee”. In other words, Buddy’s still his precious little kid.

37-33-Ernst-Buddy-MelodyThey have to do some plumbing work in Billy’s room. Buddy says plumbing is his life. Okay, well, have fun with that. Melody informs Mr. Ernst that Billy’s asleep. Mr. Ernst had assumed Billy would be at dinner and gets Billy out of his room (over Melody’s nervous objection), because it’s supposedly a quick job. Come back later, you dick.

37-34-Melody-Billy-wetWell, father and son both thought the other turned off the water main. Seriously, how incompetent is Mr. Ernst?

Mr. Ernst informs Billy that he’ll have to switch to a different room until they can get his cleaned up, and he has Buddy grab the luggage. There’s some video sputtering (and missing frames) as Mr. Ernst wipes himself off. This really does seem like a YouTube upload. I won’t mention every instance of this happening; just be aware that it’s a recurring problem.

37-35-Billy-BuddyBilly panics and tries to grab a bag from Buddy, but…

37-36-bottle37-37-bottle-broken37-38-Melody-looks37-39-Billy-looks37-40-Ernst-Buddy37-41-Melody-disappointed37-42-group37-43-Billy-ErnstAfter the commercial break, Buddy asks if it’s booze. Mr. Ernst sends him back to the lodge and questions Billy.

37-44-Melody-coversWhile cleaning up, Melody quickly covers for Billy, claiming it’s an annual gift of brandy from their mother to “Uncle John”, a relative that might or might not actually exist and might or might not live in Albuquerque. Billy claims he was going to deliver it personally. Mr. Ernst apologizes and offers a tiny cactus in its place, which Melody and Billy accept. Billy asks when the plumbing’s going to be fixed, and Mr. Ernst says “soon” but repeats Billy will have to switch rooms.

37-45-Melody-BillyWhile Mr. Ernst goes to check the damage, Billy thanks Melody, but Melody takes him away to talk to him.

37-46-Melody-Billy-argueAs they walk, Melody and Billy get into an argument. They had promised each other that they wouldn’t grow up to be like their dad, who carried a supply of booze around with him just as Billy’s doing now. Billy insists he doesn’t have a problem and accuses Melody of blowing it out of proportion “just like [she] always do[es]”. Billy insists he isn’t and won’t be like their dad. Melody doesn’t buy it. Billy insists he’s under a lot of pressure and reveals Allison broke up with him. Melody is shocked. Billy says Allison says she’s in love with somebody else. Melody feels sorry for him but doesn’t think drinking will make him feel any better. Billy says Melody doesn’t understand. Melody says she does. Apparently, their father had ruined his life with alcohol and “did” something “to” them. Melody doesn’t elaborate on this, so we’re left to guess.

37-47-Melody-criesMelody starts crying and vows she won’t let Billy ruin his life.

37-48-Billy-MelodyBilly apologizes but tries to pass off drinking as “dumb college guy stuff”. Melody says she’s “really scared”. Billy promises to never drink again.

37-49-Melody-Billy-hugSo ends another day at…nah, I’m just dicking with you. This is where the episode would end if it was “Saved by the Bell”.

37-50-gameOn another day, the gang is playing “rowboat polo”. It’s Jake and Buddy against Melody and Billy with Brad as the referee.

37-51-Buddy-ball37-52-Melody-ball37-53-goal37-54-BradMelody accidentally scores a goal for the other team, losing the game. Brad says the break’s over, and it’s time to get back to work. Melody says she’ll take care of the “boat” (meaning just her boat, I guess, leaving Jake and Buddy to take care of their own).

37-55-Melody-ropes-boatAs Melody ropes the boat to the dock (wow, that was easy; it’s no wonder that Melody said she’d “take care of” it if she’s not going to carry it to the boat house), Billy says he likes Melody’s friends. He also says he feels good, but he has no future in rowboat polo. Melody says she’ll stick to swimming. Wow, another reference to Melody’s off-screen competitive swimming career. When, exactly, does she find the time to do this?

Billy sort of admits things got “out of hand” and blames frat parties for causing “bad habits”. He thanks Melody for her concern. We learn Melody is the only female sibling, and she’s always “been there” for Billy. Melody is glad that Billy quit drinking, and Billy agrees. He wants to see if he can “catch that movie”. Melody is concerned that he’s going into town and suggests he stay and play cards with her. Finally, she says she trusts him and lets him go. He says he’ll bring her back some popcorn.

37-56-moonThat night, with the full moon out (seriously, could they not tape anything other than a full moon?), all kinds of crazy shit happens.

37-57-Danny-Brad-cardsSuch as Brad and Danny playing Spit in the Ocean. Brad guesses Danny doesn’t like Billy, but Danny says he does; he just doesn’t think Billy being here has been a good influence on Melody. Whaaat? Where did that come from? He doesn’t elaborate either. What is it with Judy Spencer blaming Melody for everything? Melody “changed” because of “fame”, even though the others were at fault for pushing her. Melody wasn’t “assertive” in telling Brad and Danny no, even though they were the ones that were taking advantage of her. Now this. It’s really frustrating.

37-58-Melody-JakeAnyway, Danny says this within earshot of Melody (who seemingly doesn’t hear it), who comes downstairs, picks up something (an apple, I think), and tosses it to Jake. I like this. Just a bit of random fun. Melody wants to be dealt in.

37-59-Ernst-TwisterMr. Ernst comes by, excited that he found Twister, which they used to have fun playing at the Ernst family picnics. Buddy says it’s a baby game, says he’s not a kid anymore, and leaves in frustration.

37-60-Ernst-teensMr. Ernst asks the others if he treats Buddy like a child. Brad tells him that it might be Buddy, not Mr. Ernst, that’s the issue. We learn Buddy is thirteen years old. He was eleven in “Goldilocks” (season 1, episode 03), but, instead of assuming two years have passed (I’ll explain why in a later review), we could guess Buddy had his twelfth birthday sometime after “Goldilocks” but before the end of “last summer” (seasons 1 and 2). Anyway, Danny suggests Mr. Ernst let Buddy move in with them, and Jake agrees. Mr. Ernst is unsure and will have to think about it.

37-61-Jake-phoneSuddenly, Jake gets a surprising phone call from the police and has Mr. Ernst take it.

37-62-Ernst-phoneI love how this is handled. Mr. Ernst makes contact with Melody as he talks with the police officer.

37-63-Melody-dreadThe camera slowly zooms in on Melody (but not completely) as she stares in dread.

37-64-Melody-dread-2Finally, after Mr. Ernst tells her that Billy’s been in an accident, Melody starts to ask (as a denial) if he’s dead, but Mr. Ernst quickly assures her that Billy’s fine, and no one was hurt.

37-65-Melody-relieved37-66-Danny-BradAs relief washes over Melody, Danny whispers to Brad in the background, presumably filling her in on Billy’s problem (although this is just a guess on my part).

37-67-Melody-whyMelody asks Mr. Ernst which hospital that Billy’s in, but Mr. Ernst informs her that he’s at the police station. Melody, knowing the answer and dreading this moment (give it a bit; the episode will get to that), asks why. The police are holding Billy on suspicion of drunk driving. Melody is ashamed that Billy broke his promise to her. Mr. Ernst says Billy might be able to explain, but Melody denies this. Mr. Ernst says he’ll drive her to the police station, and they can bail him out. Melody refuses. Getting the wrong idea, Mr. Ernst says he’ll lend her the money. Melody says she’s not going, and she doesn’t care if Mr. Ernst just leaves him there.

Aside from some brief cuts to Mr. Ernst, the camera mostly stays focused on Melody, and Christine Taylor does a wonderful job with this scene.

37-68-Melody-shrugsMelody runs outside, pausing at the door to turn around and kind of shrug in an “I don’t know what else to do” kind of way before resuming her run. That’s the only weird part about this scene.

37-69-Melody-Wishing-PondThe next day, Melody is sitting at the Wishing Pond, upset. Billy comes to say goodbye, because he’s leaving today. Refusing to make eye contact with him, Melody gives a quick, dismissive “Goodbye”. Billy is “really ashamed” that he “embarrassed” Melody in front of her friends, because that’s the biggest thing that he did wrong. He says he didn’t plan on this, and it “just happened”. Melody can’t believe what she’s hearing, and she gets up and walks away.

37-70-Billy-chases-MelodyBilly chases after Melody and gets on her case about sending her boss down to the police station to bail him out instead of coming herself. For some reason that I can’t fathom, Melody doesn’t let him know that she fully intended to leave him there to rot, and it was Mr. Ernst that decided to go down and bail him out. Also, Billy feels the need to let Melody know he paid Mr. Ernst back.

37-71-Billy-grabs-MelodyBilly grabs Melody by the arm and says she should have been there for him, one of the “few times” in his life that he needed her. Incredulous at his low-ball estimation (I get the impression that she’s “been there” for him many previous times), Melody pulls her arm away and lets Billy know that she doesn’t feel good about herself for lying to her friends and boss in order to cover for him. When she’s not lying, she’s worried if this is the time that he’ll get in a car and kill somebody – or himself. Melody warns Billy that, if he keeps drinking, he will kill himself eventually. Melody says she looked up to him; he was her hero. No matter how bad that things got with their father, Billy was always there to reassure her. She says he’s just like their father, and she realizes she’s just like their mother in covering up for him as their mother had covered up for their father. Their mother (yes, mother) had eventually started going to Al-Anon meetings; she realizes she was just encouraging her husband’s drinking instead of helping him. As we know from “Ex-Static” (season 3, episode 08), the marriage ultimately did not survive. Melody explains this is exactly what she’s been doing with Billy. Billy insists he’s not like their father and says he’s only 21 years old. Melody points out that kids younger than her have drinking problems (apparently, she reads about it in magazines a lot). Billy is dismissive of it.

37-72-Melody-BillyMelody is finally fed up with him and his bullshit, says she has a problem with his drinking even if he doesn’t, and vows to no longer cover for him.

37-73-Melody-Billy-2Billy admits Allison actually broke up with him due to arguing over his drinking. He says he’s “scared to death” of going to medical school. He’s also scared of going through the next few days without a drink. He’s most scared of getting off the plane and facing his father. Why is he scared of facing his father? Wouldn’t he be more scared of facing his mother? He reveals they suspended his license, and he doesn’t know what he’s going to tell his father. Again, why is the alcoholic father such a big deal? If I had a drinking problem (and my own alcoholic father was still alive; no, he didn’t die in a car accident, although that’s a small miracle), I’d be much more scared of my mother’s reaction. Melody tells Billy to tell their father the truth; he’ll understand. Melody suggests Billy talk to him about Alcoholics Anonymous; he said A.A. saved his life. Melody suggests Billy go to a meeting with him. Billy says he has a long plane ride to think about it. Melody gives Billy words of encouragement and has (perhaps unfounded) optimism. They say they love each other.

37-74-Melody-Billy-hug37-75-Ernst-blanketThe pre-credits scene at the end has Buddy packed and ready to go. Mr. Ernst has packed some additional things for Buddy – including his long underwear, his dinosaur-shaped vitamins, and his “blanky”. Buddy says the blanket isn’t his. Mr. Ernst takes that as a metaphor for growing up, even though there’s a good chance that Buddy meant it literally. Mr. Ernst tries to guilt Buddy, but Buddy says he’s moving just sixty yards away and will see him at dinner. Buddy leaves.

37-76-Ernst-thumb37-77-Ernst-disgustedSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was very good. There were only a few missteps. Christine Taylor does an outstanding job. Even the subplot managed to tie into and push the main plot along (Danny and Mr. Ernst even got a bit of backstory). I only wish the master tape of this episode was undamaged or not lost. However, it’s a testament to the material that I eventually didn’t notice the subpar video and audio quality as much.

We get some fantastic insight into Melody’s home life: she’s not just from a broken home; she’s from a dysfunctional family. The subject of alcoholism is treated with the seriousness that it deserves without getting overly preachy or making Billy “better” at the end. A single beer isn’t treated as a problem (that results in a hangover and a car crash). Billy doesn’t die; he gets a warning (although, in real life, there are many people that don’t get a warning). There’s no happy ending, just an optimistic one.

One more thing that I’ll add is, for a Melody-centric episode in which she’s dealing with such a serious problem, Brad seems under-utilized. I know Melody was covering up for Billy (and so the girls couldn’t exactly have a heart-to-heart), but I would have liked a scene in which Melody was forced to lie to her best friend.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 9

Season 3, Episode 10: Killer Ernst

Writer: Mark Cerulli
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: June 8, 1990

36-01-ErnstIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst is doing calculations on his computer and adding machine. They’re down another 6%, which Mr. Ernst blames on the “mid-season slump”. I have no idea what that means, because I actually don’t know for how much of the year that dude ranches are typically open for business. I’m guessing it’s not just the summer, though; that would be merely the time that the teens would be working.

Mr. Ernst is also listening to a wrestling match on his radio, which was repaired at some point. I know they’ve established they don’t have televisions at the Bar None, but…why is that, exactly? Is it to not give the staff and guests distractions from the “western” experience?

Anyway, yeah, Mr. Ernst is into wrestling. He’s listening to a match of Bulldog Billy against the Masked Marauder. Were the writers comic book fans, or is this just a coincidence?

36-02-Ernst-moves36-03-Ernst-falls36-04-Ernst-hurtAnyway, Mr. Ernst gets a little to into imitating the Masked Marauder’s moves and injures his neck like a dumbass. He decides to put on a tie to try to conceal his injury and avoid embarrassment.

36-05-Jake-dictionary36-06-gang-waitingAfter the credits, in the main lodge, the teens and Buddy are waiting for Mr. Ernst, who had called a meeting but hasn’t shown up yet. Jake is reading the dictionary, which is a nice continuation of his knowledge of random information. The girls are playing gin. The teens don’t know why Mr. Ernst called this meeting. Buddy says it’s about a ranch-improvement idea, which worries Danny and the girls. I love how this worry and skepticism is a consistent reaction by the teen staff on this series. Apparently, some of Mr. Ernst’s previous ideas (which might or might not have been implemented) include boulder bowling and a reptile petting zoo.

36-07-Ernst-JakeMr. Ernst arrives and starts the meeting, avoiding Jake’s suspicion that something’s wrong with him.

Anyway, Mr. Ernst says he was on the wrestling team in accounting college and was known as “Killer Ernst”. Danny asks if this is like when he was “on” the baseball team, and I wasn’t expecting a reference to the baseball episode. Melody chastises Danny for the insult, but it’s not clear why. Maybe she doesn’t want Mr. Ernst’s feelings hurt, or maybe she just doesn’t want him to get mad.

After Brad asks about Mr. Ernst’s record, he admits he was the water boy. He also reveals he was 112 pounds of “pure muscle”. Riiight. Anyway, Melody asks what happened, and Mr. Ernst reveals his back went out during try-outs, and he spent six days taped to…something that I can’t understand, because Danny interrupts, wanting Mr. Ernst to get to the fucking point.

The plan is to stage a wrestling event at the Bar None: Captain Lou versus the Masked Marauder. This was at the time when Lou Albano was doing television and film work, long after his main wrestling career. Children of the ’80s, such as myself, remember him as the voice actor and live-action actor of Mario on “The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!”, which ran in the 1989-1990 season, so this episode of “Hey Dude” was probably taped soon after he had finished playing Mario.

36-08-gang-excitedThe gang is excited – well, except for Jake, who’s still obsessing over his uncle’s neck. They’re excited and surprised that their boss actually had a good idea for once. Mr. Ernst has already cleared everything with the promoter, “Fearless” Frank Snidley, who he had met at their rotary club breakfast meeting last month.

36-09-Ernst-JakeAnyway, Jake forcibly performs the ancient art of “shamusu” (Japanese massage) on Mr Ernst, fixing his neck. I tried researching this, but the first page of Google results consists solely of porn (not that that’s a bad thing), so could someone chime in about this?

This will be in chapter 11 of Jake’s book. Okay, whatever. Are we ever actually going to see “Jake’s Guide to Life”?

Anyway, check out the random female staff member on desk duty. She’s older than the usual ladies.

Mr. Ernst is going to call the newspapers to promote the event, and everyone’s excited to get to work on this.

On another day, the gang (sans Melody and Buddy) is taking calls. The phone lines are burning up, and the $12 tickets are selling like hot crack. Things are looking good.

36-10-packageJake gives a recently-arrived package to Mr. Ernst.

36-11-costumeThe Masked Marauder seemingly sent his costume ahead. Mr. Ernst goes to hang it up.

36-12-Lou-arrives“Hey, paisanos! Let’s get some fuckin’ service over here!”

36-13-gang-surprised“Holy shit! Mario’s gonna kick our ass!”

36-14-Lou-demandsSo, yeah, Captain Lou shows up and behaves like the wild, angry man that he was known as in a wrestling world – a stark contrast to his Mario persona. He expects a sauna, lifts rocks, and demands Brad bring a plate of raw meat to his room in a half-hour and give him a wake-up call every twenty minutes tonight to make him mean. He asks Jake where the nearest pet store is, and Jake says at the mall. I wonder if he’s referring to Eddie’s Pet World and Auto Parts, where Mr. Ernst had borrowed “terror kitty” from. Anyway, Lou wants Jake to get him a dozen rawhide doggy chews to chew on while working out. Lou also expects a whirlpool, but Brad suggests Jake and Danny get into the pool with Lou and splash.

36-15-Brad-PatrickPatrick, their mail carrier, delivers the mail. The actor isn’t credited.

Mr. Ernst comes by, excited that he sold fifteen more tickets from the phone in his room. Also, Brad says it looks like more orders came through the mail. Mr. Ernst says they haven’t gotten this much mail since “that outbreak of food poisoning last month”.

36-16-Ernst-backMr. Ernst hurts his back while bending over to pick up the mail, and he goes to find Jake and meet “nice guy” Captain Lou.

36-17-banner36-18-ringLater (maybe the next day; it’s hard to tell; most of the characters’ clothes have changed), the gang (sans Brad) is setting up the ring, and Mr. Ernst is “entertaining” Lou with his accounting college wrestling story. He also points out “billboards” below the ring, advertising local businesses for extra revenue. Lou’s all grumpy about the whole thing and asks where the press is, saying he wrestled Hulk Hogan “last year”. I’m not going to look it up, but why do I have the feeling that this little comment is going to cause further timeline problems?

Lou mentions he had broken his manager’s arm and intends to break the other. Mr. Ernst sends Buddy off to get his super spy camera to take pictures of Lou. Wow, an unexpected reference to “Perfect Father” (season 1, episode 07).

Lou is upset at the geeks (guests) being in the stands. It’s free today, but Mr. Ernst intends to charge $2 each starting tomorrow to watch Lou train, but Lou is against anybody watching him train and threatens to kill Mr. Ernst, so Mr. Ernst has the guests clear out. We learn occupancy is up 20%, though, so that’s good.

Wait. If Mr. Ernst had intended to charge guests to watch Lou train starting tomorrow, then what’s with the banner?

36-19-Ernst-runsMr. Ernst runs to get the contract to go over some things with Lou (but mostly to get away from Lou for a while). Oh, and Lou keeps calling Mr. Ernst “Ernest”, because he’s an asshole.

36-20-Danny-drinksLou offers Danny some pineapple-orange juice. It’s Danny’s favorite, so he eagerly accepts. Lou laughing the entire time isn’t enough to clue Danny in that something is amiss.

36-21-Danny-spitsThe juice expired “a year ago last April”. Lou likes juice that’s turned, because it “keeps [his] blood pumpin'”. Um, if you say so.

36-22-Melody-DannyMelody comes over to check on Danny.

36-23-problemsMr. Ernst comes back with the contract, but Lou suddenly refuses to sign and goes off on a rant about the ranch. In desperation, Mr. Ernst offers Lou his whole take up front. Jake and Brad come by. Jake informs Mr. Ernst of an important phone call, but Mr. Ernst wants to get Lou to sign and adds a paragraph promising his take up front to the contract. Jake takes the contract away and asks Lou if Cyndi Lauper needs another drummer.

36-24-Jake-headlockLou gets Jake into a headlock. I like how Brad just backs away, holding up her hands, as if she’s saying “Fuck this. I’m not a part of it.” Mr. Ernst gets Lou to release Jake, gets the contract back, and sends Jake away.

36-25-picture-1Mr. Ernst calls Buddy over to take a picture. Okay, that’s not the same camera from “Perfect Father”, but, to be fair, they didn’t specify it was.

36-26-picture-236-27-Ernst-upsetThat evening, in his office, Mr. Ernst is upset after having learned from Jake that Snidley had called and said the Masked Marauder wouldn’t be able to wrestle, because he got injured in a kiln explosion at his house (he likes to make ceramic coffee mugs with battle scenes on them). Okay, massive points for creativity.

36-28-Ernst-calculatesMr. Ernst calculates the total cost of canceling the match (Lou’s money, ticket refunds, postage, phone lines). Don’t forget the wrestling ring and the stands. Canceling would mean they’re out of business. Oh, we learn in a throwaway comment that Mr. Ernst’s bedroom is upstairs, apparently above his office.

36-29-Jake-comforts-Ernst36-30-Ernst-rehearsesAfter the commercial break, on another day, Mr. Ernst rehearses what he’s gonna tell Lou.

36-31-gangThe gang (sans Melody) shows up, and…they’re wearing the same clothes as when Lou arrived. Did they change just to work on the ring outside and decided their lodge clothes weren’t smelly enough to warrant putting in the laundry?

Yeah, yeah, more likely, these scenes were taped on the same day, and the ring scene was taped on another day.

Jake has a plan: Mr. Ernst will be the Masked Marauder. He spoke to Snidley, who thought it’s a great idea. I don’t know how wrestling works, but Snidley is a promoter. Don’t wrestlers have a say over who gets to use their name?

36-32-gang-planAnyway, the gang’s excited, but Mr. Ernst refuses.

36-33-Lou-painLou comes by and asks “Ernest” if he’s ever been knee-dropped. The gang backs away. Lou’s upset over getting a burger or whatever instead of raw meat. He also demands to know where the ice machine is. Jake informs him that it’s over by the dining area. Wait, isn’t there supposed to be an ice machine near some of the guest rooms (see “Hey Cinderella”)? It’s not too important, because that could also be “near the dining area”; I just thought I’d bring it up. Anyway, Lou throws a fit, because he’s an asshole.

36-34-Lou-ice-machineThe gang convinces Mr. Ernst to take the Masked Marauder’s place in the ring in order to save the ranch. They’re lucky that Mr. Ernst doesn’t turn around and see Lou carrying the ice machine over to his room. Okay, that’s pretty damn funny.

36-35-Ernst-maskKiller Ernst is back!

36-36-Ernst-weightsSo, of course, we need a training scene that shows Mr. Ernst preparing for the big match. Is this on another day? Who knows?

36-37-Ernst-hurdles36-38-Brad-stopwatch36-39-Ernst-dirtyYeah, the training doesn’t go well, so they go to talk with Lou.

36-40-Lou-blood36-41-talk-with-LouLou demands to know where the Masked Marauder is, so they can work out the moves. Mr. Ernst informs him that he’s taking the Masked Marauder’s place.

36-42-Lou-2x436-43-Lou-dummyLou doesn’t take it well.

The scene fades out (which is unusual for when a commercial break is not coming up).

36-44-refereeSuddenly, it’s the night of the big match!

The ring announcer / referee is played by Christopher Lee Wilken, who doesn’t seem to have an IMDb entry.

36-45-Marauder-entranceThe Masked Marauder is introduced as weighing in at 200 pounds and being from Brooklyn, New York. I wonder if this is Mr. Ernst’s information or the real Masked Marauder’s.

Also, I weigh a bit less than 200 pounds (I’m trying to lose weight), and there’s no way that David Brisbin was 200 pounds.

36-46-Marauder-cornerI guess the Masked Marauder team shirts are a last-minute additional expense. When the hell did they have time to have them made?

Jake goes over strategy with Mr. Ernst, who can’t see without his glasses.

36-47-Lou-entranceLou, “the Sea Monster”, weighing in at 300 pounds, enters the ring.

Y’know, I would have liked to have seen the weigh-ins. There was potential for comedy.

36-48-Lou-2x4The announcer wishes “the Masked Marauder” good luck and sends both of them to their corners.

36-49-Ernst-runsThe bell rings, starting the match. Mr. Ernst’s strategy – per Jake – is to run.

36-50-audienceThey seem to have gotten a lot of extras to sit in the audience for the match.

IMDb oddly credits Toby Huss as playing Mr. Ernst in this episode and a later one. I have no idea what’s up with that.

36-51-Lou-ErnstAnyway, Lou wipes the floor with Mr. Ernst.

36-52-Brad-yellsA distressed Brad yells words of encouragement to her boss.

What the hell? Did they not have time to finish Kelly Brown’s shirt?

Ron Nix, Jr., is the Masked Marauder stuntman for the wrestling match. He’s had a long stunt career, going back to 1969. He’s also done some acting, grip and gaffer work, prop making, set designing, and driving. IMDb fails to credit him for his work in this episode.

36-54-guest-yellsA guest yells at Mr. Ernst to get up. The actor isn’t credited.

36-55-Lou-kicks-Ernst36-56-audience-2As Lou (literally) kicks Mr. Ernst’s ass, the audience boos.

36-57-Brad-distressedBrad is seriously distressed and worried about Mr. Ernst.

36-58-Buddy-willAfter a short ass-kicking montage, Mr. Ernst dictates his will to Buddy, but we don’t get to hear who he’ll leave everything to.

36-59-Brad-yellsBrad complains to Jake. Jake suggests playing dead. Melody yells it out to Mr. Ernst.

36-60-gangWow, I guess we know who Mr. Ernst’s most faithful employee is. I really gotta hand it to Kelly Brown.

36-61-Ernst-mat36-62-double-Lou36-63-guest-136-64-guest-236-65-Ernst-MelodyNot to be outdone by Brad, Melody yells at Mr. Ernst to get up.

36-66-Lou-ErnstJake says Mr. Ernst has experienced “total sensory regression”, thinking he’s a kid again. I don’t know if Mr. Ernst was remembering a genuine childhood memory or not, but apparently his mom took away his adding machine after he threw rocks at his dad.

36-67-Buddy-JakeBuddy freaks the fuck out and begs Jake to save his dad.

36-68-Ernst-ropes36-69-Jake-yellsWhen Mr. Ernst is backed up against the ropes in the corner, Jake imitates Mr. Ernst’s mother, telling “Benny” a.k.a. “Ben-Ben” to tie his sneakers.

36-70-Lou-misses36-71-Lou-knocked-outYeah, Lou knocks himself out cold.

36-72-count36-73-audience-336-74-Ernst-winsThe referee, in disbelief, declares “the Masked Marauder” to be the winner.

36-75-victoryHumorously, Mr. Ernst passes out, and the gang looks for a moment and then resumes celebrating.

36-76-Ernst-phoneThe (very short) pre-credits scene at the end, some time later, has Mr. Ernst getting a phone call from “Fearless Frank”, who’s checking up on him. Captain Lou had sent Mr. Ernst a fish decoration as a thank-you gift. Frank got the impression from Mr. Ernst’s “manager” (earlier self-proclaimed as being Jake, but Mr. Ernst asks Frank for an explanation anyway) that Mr. Ernst wants to wrestle again. Apparently, Jake had visited Frank with a “signed contract” for Mr. Ernst to wrestle against a Samoan tag team.

Mr. Ernst abruptly hangs up on Frank and goes after Jake but falls to the floor.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty funny. It was better than “Dueling Ranches”, anyway. Speaking of that episode, you know how Brad (and, to a lesser extent, Buddy) was absent for a lot of it? Well, in this, the second sports-themed Mr. Ernst episode, it’s Melody (and, to a lesser extent, Buddy) that’s absent from a lot of it. Maybe the larger production of such episodes means there’s not much use (or time) for all of the main characters in the non-event scenes, or maybe the cast got paid by the hour. Whatever. It’s still a bit odd.

Anyway, as in “Dueling Ranches”, it’s odd how everyone seems to really be into the featured sport (whether baseball or wrestling), despite showing no interest prior or, I’m willing to bet, since.

Overall, though, it’s a bit different than the usual episode, and it’s nice to see a “children’s” live-action series do something grand.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 10

Season 3, Episode 09: No More Mr. Nice Guy

Writer: Judy Spencer
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: June 1, 1990

For the second time in the series, Mr. Ernst doesn’t appear in an episode (or third time if you don’t count his voiceover cameo in “Datenite” as an appearance). Lucy misses her second episode in a row, but what else is new? This leaves today’s episode entirely to the kids.

35-01-Buddy-Danny35-02-Buddy-Danny-2In the cold open, Buddy is trying to hypnotize Danny – to no avail.

“Chef Boyarjake” takes a break (from serving breakfast, I guess) and comes to the table to eat. The three of them debate hypnosis for a while. Danny leaves to get to work.

35-03-Jake-hypnotizedBuddy seemingly is able to hypnotize Jake and commands him to dump his bowl of cereal over his head upon hearing a certain word (which, in a nice bit of continuity, is the name of the planet from the comic book mentioned in “Take Me to Your Leader”).

35-04-Jake-Buddy-cerealWell,…he does.

Jake, having been commanded to remember none of this, blames Buddy for wasting his cereal and goes to get more.

35-05-Danny-Buddy-JakeAfter the credits, in the main lodge, the guys argue about the incident. There’s a bit where Buddy refuses to speak the trigger word and instead writes it down for Danny, who keeps mispronouncing it, so Buddy eventually just blurts it out.

35-06-Jake-trance35-07-Buddy-cushions35-08-Jake-kicks-Buddy35-09-Buddy-cerealHa. Anyway, Jake blames Buddy again. Buddy believes Jake’s faking, but Danny suggests Buddy really did hypnotize him. Buddy suddenly feels powerful. Danny tells Buddy to deprogram Jake, but Buddy says he can’t (has he even tried?). Danny is worried about a guest accidentally saying the trigger word near him (which, c’mon, is highly unlikely). Buddy will try deprogramming Jake first thing in the morning but will watch him like a hawk until then.

35-10-Melody-DannyMelody questions Danny about the cereal on Buddy’s head, but Danny’s more interested in buttering up Melody (not in the sexual way) in order to get her to take the rest of his shift, because he promised a guest that he’d take her on a nature hike, and right now is the only time that she has free.

35-11-BradBrad comes by and asks how her “favorite little bunky” is doing this morning.

35-12-Brad-appleShe offers Melody an apple, which Melody declines. Brad asks Melody to do her housekeeping shift – for no apparent reason except “it’s such a tiny little favor”. Sheesh, at least Danny had the excuse of wanting to fuck some girl in the sand. Danny objects to Brad’s intrusion, but Brad claims first dibs on account of Melody being her bunkmate. Melody, not wishing Danny and Brad to fight over her, agrees to help them both out. Brad wants her and Danny to flip a coin next time. Danny insists on using his coin. Brad calls it childish, and, yeah, it is, but it’s also a dickish move to sweet-talk your friend into taking your shift just because. What’s Brad gonna do? Does she have a gangbang scheduled in the girls’ bunk house during that time?

35-13-snowbirdsTwo guests come to check in, and Melody has to bring their bags in, because Danny’s no longer around.

The “snowbirds” and played by Lynn Baehr and Marian Walk. “Hey Dude” was their only acting gig.

35-14-Melody-luggageLater, Melody is carrying all of their luggage to their room, and they’re not helping at all. Instead, they’re talking her ears off about themselves (they both worked for the telephone company but are now retired). Melody asks one of them to open the door for her. The women argue over who has the key (the grey-haired woman seems to be named Tilly). The brown-haired woman hands Melody the key instead of unlocking the door. Melody is a lot more cordial in this situation than I would be.

35-15-Brad-laundryBrad comes by and gets Melody to agree to do her laundry for her, because she has a riding lesson this afternoon and “nothing clean to wear”. Well, whose fault is that? And what the fuck’s wrong with the clothes that you’re wearing right now? I’m guessing this is one of Brad’s snobby moments.

35-16-laundryDanny comes by with his laundry, presumably on his way to do it himself, overhears Melody agreeing to do Brad’s laundry, and gets Melody to do his laundry as well.

Tilly and the other woman call Melody a sap and her friends completely inconsiderate. Good points. Melody claims she doesn’t mind doing their chores.

35-17-Melody-quarterThe oldies get Melody all excited about getting a reward, which turns out to be a quarter for her college education. Y’know what? Fuck these women. Let them carry their own luggage into their room.

35-18-Melody-trayThe next day, Melody is busy waiting on the guests.

The actors playing three of the four guests that address Melody (the ones that appear on the screen) are, surprisingly, credited. Dean DePew, Victoria Henning, and Steve Pearce. “Hey Dude” was their sole acting gig. Dean DePew previously showed up as a guest in “Sewn at the Hip” (the guy that mistook Melody for Amy). Steve Pearce will show up later in the series in “Dudesbury”.

35-19-Melody-SamMelody, feeling the pressure, goes over to Sam to check on her orders, which are done. Sam is, seemingly, the Bar None chef (probably the one that Mr. Ernst directed the ranch critic to back in “Superstar”).

Sam is played by Robert Barlow Ramsden, who you might remember as the real estate agent in “Cowboy Ernst” (season 2, episode 12):

25-06-Ernst-shakes35-20-Melody-BuddySince Brad and Danny are no-shows, Melody wants to press Buddy into unpaid child labor, but he’s looking for Jake to do his hypnosis crap. He relays a message from Danny: he can’t make it and wants Melody to cover for him.

35-21-Melody-guestThe female guest shows up, upset, and Melody gives her her order and apologizes.

35-22-female-stafferJust as Melody expresses confidence in Brad, a random female staff member comes by and informs Melody that Brad just told her to tell Melody that she can’t make it, and Brad wants Melody to cover for her.

33-38-Brawlers-anthemThis seems to be the same girl that played on the Bar None’s baseball team in “Dueling Ranches” (season 3, episode 07). This would make the actor either Jodi Hurley or Lauri Johnson. She’s not credited in this episode, because it makes far more sense to credit random guests seated at the tables.

35-23-snowbirdsThe old cronies come by, and Tilly calls Melody a sap again, which further upsets Melody.

Everyone’s been served, so Sam asks Melody to take the barbecue sauce back to the kitchen.

35-24-Melody-sauce-135-25-Melody-sauce-2I like how we don’t see the end result of Melody tripping. Instead, it cleverly cuts to this in the next scene:

35-26-water-splash35-27-Danny-bucket35-28-Brad-DannyBrad just rode with a guest that “knows what she’s doing”, which pleases Brad. Brad is concerned that Melody might be mad that Brad “played hooky” today. Apparently, Brad had bailed on lunch duty in order to “take” the riding lesson (doesn’t she mean “give”?), and she assumed Danny was helping Melody out at lunch.

35-29-Danny-VulcanNope, Danny was with Linda, apparently a Trekkie. I wonder if Danny “boldly went”. Y’know, this is a bit of a callback to “Take Me to Your Leader” (season 2, episode 13):

26-45-Danny-aliensSuddenly, Brad smells barbecue sauce.

35-30-Melody-sauceBrad’s first guess is Melody had a fight with Sam, who can get “touchy”. Melody goes off on them, but Brad casts all of the blame on Danny. Melody tells her to shut up and puts an end to extra shifts and special favors. She declares “No more Mr. Nice Guy.” Danny takes issue with her title, and she tells him to shut up. She declares “Melody Hanson is on strike!” In what I’m certain is an unscripted moment, when Melody claps her hands, a bit of barbecue sauce flies off and hits Kelly Brown in the right eye. You can see her blinking a bit before the shot changes, and then she wipes the sauce away.

35-31-Melody-on-strikeOh, and there’s a weird breathing sound after the music cuts out but before the scene fully fades out.

35-32-Danny-kidsAfter the commercial break (which comes unusually early in this episode), on another day, Danny is entertaining kids at a Buckaroo Breakfast.

35-33-Brad-DannyBrad shows up late, and Danny is upset. Melody didn’t wake Brad like she usually does, and she overslept. Brad is more concerned about her hair, which the kids make fun of. Apparently, Melody has been covering waiting tables for Brad for about a month. Seriously?! Anyway, this little throwaway comment, coupled with a throwaway comment by Melody at the beginning of “Superstition” (season 3, episode 06), means about a month has passed since that episode, meaning it’s now around mid-August, and therefore fuck it.

35-34-Melody-spyingMelody spies on them to see how badly that they do without her. It’s not as if Melody’s skipping out on her own duties, so this doesn’t exactly prove anything. Anyway, she gets upset that they bad-mouth her. In her defense, Brad and Danny really don’t have a clue that they were being assholes to Melody. Danny and Brad argue, and then…

35-35-Danny-oops35-36-Melody-amused35-37-Brad-not-oopsA food fight erupts among the kids, and Melody leaves, content.

35-38-Jake-BuddyLater, oh, great, the fucking subplot.

Instead of deprogramming Jake, Buddy decides to give him another post-hypnotic suggestion. Using some faulty reasoning regarding the use of the word “your” (but not the word “you”), Buddy tries to modify the cereal command.

35-39-MelodyMelody comes by, in a good mood after having witnessed Brad and Danny’s misfortune and their supposed uselessness without her.

35-40-Melody-2Melody is in orgasmic bliss over the “chaos” and decides to continue not helping them out.

Buddy tries to get Melody to tell Jake the trigger word, but she keeps getting it wrong. Finally, she gets it right, but Jake appears “stuck” on what to do, so Buddy “helps” him out, and…

35-41-Buddy-cerealMelody decides they’re “too weird” and goes to see what Brad and Danny are doing. Buddy decides to try again.

35-42-Danny-Brad-cleanDanny and Brad are cleaning a guest room.

35-43-Melody-spiesMelody spies on them, hoping to be entertained. Somehow, they don’t notice Melody outside the window.

Brad and Danny argue over Danny and Brad’s bed-making and Brad’s dusting (interesting, considering Brad harped on Ted about his dusting in “Employee of the Week”). Danny also gets on Brad’s case about her waitressing.

35-44-pillow-fight-135-45-pillow-fight-235-46-pillow-fight-3What is it with the teens on this series and pillow fights? Seriously, this is Brad’s second pillow fight. Anyway, Melody is pleased, but she leaves before the fight really breaks out.

35-47-Brad-stopsWhich it doesn’t, because Brad is the sensible one and appeals to reason. In trying to come up with a way for them to work together, she realizes they never do work together; they do different tasks, so they don’t get in each other’s way. It’s interesting that this is the solution. Brad’s basically admitting she and Danny can’t work together, so they won’t.

And, no, I’m not going to check back through the previous thirty-four episodes to see if they’ve ever worked together.

35-48-Buddy-JakeOn another day, fuck, the subplot again. Buddy seemingly deprograms Jake.

35-49-Danny-BradDanny and Brad come by and spell out to Jake what I’d already figured out from the previous scene: they admit they’re both stubborn and opinionated, and so they don’t even try to work together; they just divide the work area in half and try to stay out of each other’s way; if they absolutely have to work together, they just decide beforehand who does what and stick to it. Jake is surprised that this works.

35-50-Melody-panicsMelody runs over and informs Danny and Brad that lunch is in five minutes (they haven’t set the tables yet). They’re not concerned. Melody arrogantly decides to help them, but they turn down her offer, say they won’t be asking her for anymore favors, and start setting the tables on their own. Melody is initially happy but then becomes disappointed at being unneeded. She claims, strangely, that they’re now taking her for granted. No, that was before. Now, they’ve decided they don’t need her smug ass. Melody claims “nobody appreciates nice guys”.

35-51-Melody-JakeEver since he met her, Jake’s been curious why she’s so nice. Melody says she was just brought up that way and always thought it was just common courtesy. Besides, it makes her feel good. Jake discusses it with Melody, and he introduces a new chapter in “Jake’s Guide to Life” (Chapter 6: “A Sap No More”). Yeah, Jake’s just pulling the chapter numbers and titles out of his ass.

35-52-Jake-MelodyLater, Jake takes over the main lodge and puts together a role-playing exercise for Melody.

35-53-Buddy-DannyBuddy is selling Girl, er, Boy Scout cookies to Danny. After a bit of arguing, they begin.

35-54-Buddy-Danny-2Danny is assertive in his refusal, and Buddy backs off.

35-55-Melody-cookiesMelody offers to buy two boxes of mint chocolate cookies (which she apparently loves).

Jake is disappointed. Danny asks Jake if he can go, because he left Brad with the laundry. Jake thanks Danny and sends him off. Melody feels it’s hopeless and looks forward to her long life of sappery. Jake decides this calls for emergency measures:

35-56-Jake-BearHe pulls out “Mr. Bear” from behind the counter. Stephanie Tanner would beg to differ. Anyway, Jake wants Melody to tell Mr. Bear how she feels when her friends take advantage of her.

35-57-Melody-chokes-BearMelody ends up choking Mr. Bear.

Jake tells Melody that she’s got to tell her friends how she feels and not let her resentment build up inside her. Melody didn’t realize how upset that she was and thanks Jake.

35-58-Danny-Brad-soapDanny and Brad come by, arguing over Brad’s laundry mishap. Danny finally storms off in frustration.

35-59-Brad-begs-MelodyBrad begs Melody to do her shift in the kitchen, so Brad can get cleaned up and send her stuff out to the cleaners. Jake tries to dissuade Melody, but Melody agrees. However, Melody won’t have time to do her garbage detail, so she brings up the idea of Brad doing it for her. Brad agrees. Jake is disappointed in Melody, but Melody likes helping her friends and being nice. However, Melody has learned to get something in return.

35-60-A-sap-no-more“A sap no more.”

Jake feels guilty, apologizes, and admits to Buddy that he was faking all along about being hypnotized. Buddy admits he knew and apologizes for another post-hypnotic suggestion that he threw in just in case he was really faking, just so he could get even with Jake. Um, what? How could throwing in another post-hypnotic suggestion accomplish anything if Jake was faking?

Anyway, Jake doesn’t know what the fuck Buddy is talking about. When Buddy says “snare drum”, Jake howls:

35-61-Jake-howlsBuddy does this four times, Jake seemingly not recalling it after it happens.

Okay, when the fuck did Buddy program this in? It certainly wasn’t during the cereal deprogramming in the previous scene. Did it happen off-camera after one of the earlier scenes? If so, how does this seemingly work when the cereal thing didn’t? I think Jake’s just dicking with Buddy again.

35-62-bunk-houses-1The (very short) pre-credits scene at the end has Buddy and Jake saying good night to each other. Buddy says “snare drum”, and Jake howls.

35-63-bunk-houses-2The girls, for some reason, feel the need to turn on the light. They complain to Buddy, even though it was clearly Jake howling.

Wait. Why is Buddy bunking with Jake and Danny?

35-64-bunk-houses-3Anyway, Danny complains as well. Buddy apologizes and then promptly does it again, “causing” Jake to unleash another howl as a comet streaks across the sky. Danny and the girls yell at Buddy again.

In an interesting twist on the closing credits, the coyote howl is replaced by audio of Buddy saying “snare drum”, Jake howling, and the girls complaining (as in the final scene, though I’m not sure if it’s the same audio).

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was okay, but I don’t like that Brad and Danny were turned into inconsiderate assholes in order for Melody to become more assertive, and the subplot was kind of lame.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 11

Season 3, Episode 08: Ex-Static

Writer: Lisa Melamed
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: May 25, 1990

34-01-Ernst-guestsIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst is seeing two (uncredited) guests off, and Buddy gets on his nerves by mimicking his gestures. Buddy repeatedly expresses his boredom, so Mr. Ernst tells him to get out. Where the fuck is this coming from? Weren’t Buddy’s issues with the ranch resolved in “Goldilocks” (season 1, episode 03)? Anyway, Buddy starts to go up the stairs but then changes his mind and walks away.

The phone rings. Mr. Ernst answers it with, of course, “Howdy-doo, Bar None.” This is officially a recurring phrase. Anyway, Buddy’s making a prank call from his dad’s office, asking why they “bar nuns”. Mr. Ernst lectures Buddy and says Buddy can stay inside and work while Mr. Ernst goes outside and appreciates all that they have at the ranch. When his dad’s gone, Buddy goes over to the switchboard and somehow manages to call his mom while dialing only nine numbers. Buddy expresses his hatred of the ranch.

34-02-Brad-guestsAfter the credits, on the next day, Brad is apologizing to a father whose daughter is crying. Also, a random female staff member leads a horse in the background. No, this isn’t Betty. She looks more like one of the extras in “Take Me to Your Leader” (season 2, episode 13), but it probably isn’t her either.

26-48-Lucy-stopsThe father is played by David Joseph Bukunus. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.

The daughter is played by Stacey Linn Ramsower, who you might remember as Stacey in “Our Little Champion” (season 2, episode 03) and Noelle in “Bar None Babysitter” (season 2, episode 11). She could be either character here.

Anyway, the dad’s an asshole, insulting the “bad horse” and “bad lady” before taking his daughter away.

34-03-JakeJake comes by, using a magazine like a telescope as a little kid would, because he’s “weird”. He makes light of the situation (to Brad’s detriment) as the asshole takes his daughter away, and Brad doesn’t appreciate it.

34-04-DannyDanny comes by, saying the kid could do a coyote opera.

Brad is upset that the guys didn’t come in to help earlier. Jake assumes Brad is to blame for the kid crying. Brad explains macho dudebro dad had Brad put his scared kid on the horse, the horse snorted, the kid wet herself and jumped in fright, and Brad had to apologize, because “the guests are always right”. Dear Goddess in the Summerland, I can relate to this. I work in retail. Management always sides with the asshole customers, no matter what. Lying through their teeth? No problem. Drunk as shit? No problem. Rude as fuck? No problem. Anyway, this calls back to Brad’s complaint over waiting tables back in “Goldilocks” (season 1, episode 03).

34-05-Brad-horseAs Brad mounts and rides her horse, Jake talks about convincing people to do anything (it’s chapter 1 of “Jake’s Guide to Life”). Brad is skeptical, but Jake is convinced of his own ability. Brad bets Jake on his ability to get the next slightly-reluctant person that comes to the ranch to ride a horse. Jake eagerly accepts and wants Brad to name the stakes, so Brad suggests two days of chores.

34-06-handshakeJake tells Danny that he’s their witness. Danny agrees.

34-07-Jake-magazine34-08-SaraJake spots a new guest arriving through his magazine, and Brad, oddly, says the woman’s too old for Jake. Huh? The bet was for the next guest to ride a horse, not for Jake to ride the guest.

Upon learning this is Jake’s Aunt Sara (Mr. Ernst’s ex-wife), Brad tries to call off the bet, but Jake insists it won’t be easy. Brad agrees to continue the bet “under protest”. Oh, and Jake compares his aunt to a tornado.

Sara is played by Danielle Blanchard Foster. “Hey Dude” was her sole acting gig.

After Brad leaves, Danny wonders what Sara is doing here, and Jake doesn’t know.

34-09-Sara-marchesSara marches straight over to Mr. Ernst, who’s busy painting as Melody steadies the ladder.

34-10-Sara-Ernst34-11-Ernst-ladder34-12-Ernst-paint34-13-Ernst-pissedSara wants to know what the fuck Mr. Ernst has done to Buddy. Mr. Ernst wants to know what the fuck Sara is doing here.

34-14-Sara-hugs-BuddyBuddy shows up, wanting to tell his dad about a “neat dead snake”, and he’s excited – but also confused – to see his mom. Apparently, Sara overreacted “as usual” and wants to take Buddy home. The three of them argue for a while. Melody wants Buddy to “help” her in the lodge just to get him away from his fighting parents, but Buddy refuses. He also says he doesn’t want to leave. Sara apologizes to Mr. Ernst and asks Melody to call her a cab to the airport, but Buddy wants her to stay. Sara doesn’t want to stay, but Mr. Ernst tells Melody to try to squeeze her in (apparently, Melody is allowed to handle room assignments). Sara, ever the workaholic, says she’s leaving tonight, but she agrees to spend the afternoon with Buddy. Buddy has his dad get his spare boots for Sara, so Buddy can give her a tour of the ranch. Sara and Buddy say they miss each other. Sara apparently lives in New York. Y’know, they’ve flip-flopped on the New York / New Jersey thing for a while. Which is it?

Buddy invites his dad along on the tour, but Mr. Ernst has to get cleaned up first.

34-15-tourLater, Sara’s conclusion is it’s very beige. Mr. Ernst makes fun of her. Sara gets defensive, and Buddy takes her side. Mr. Ernst apologizes and marvels about the ranch. Apparently, Sara is the dispassionate, business-is-everything type.

34-16-Sara-Brad-DannySara meets Brad and Danny.

34-17-Sara-bootsDanny and Sara discuss Sara’s borrowed boots. Sara works in a real estate office. Buddy leads his mom and dad over to the bunk houses.

34-18-Sara-JakeLater, Sara comes upon Jake practicing his pitch for getting his aunt to ride a horse. Jake pretends he didn’t know she was at the ranch. He hasn’t seen her in a long time. After some small talk, Jake tries out his pitch, but Sara isn’t “a horsey kind of gal”; she’d “rather chew glass”. Mr. Ernst and Sara get into an argument over her treatment of Jake. She refuses Buddy’s offer to see him ride. Mr. Ernst and Sara continue arguing, which escalates into yelling, which upsets Buddy.

34-19-MelodyMelody interrupts to let Mr. Ernst know there’s a man in the lodge that wants to book a convention. Mr. Ernst is excited, but, of course, he and Sara argue about this as well.

34-20-Buddy-jumps-134-21-Buddy-jumps-234-22-Buddy-ground34-23-concerned34-24-Melody-upset34-25-Melody-BuddySara tells Buddy to get down, so he jumps down and seemingly hurts a foot, but, when his dad asks, he hesitates before answering, and Melody is the only one that has a working bullshit detector this episode.

34-26-Buddy-couchMr. Ernst and Sara take Buddy into the main lodge. They’re concerned about him. Buddy downplays his “injury” but does request some comics. His dad starts to go to get them, but Buddy wants him and Sara to stay with him for a minute.

34-27-Melody-eyerollSara starts an argument about the hazards of dude ranches, and I can’t tell if Melody is reacting to her statement or the fact that Buddy isn’t injured. Regardless, Melody leaves for the moment, because she can’t  take it.

Sara asks Buddy how they can make him feel better, and he guilts them into having a nice dinner together tonight. Sara can’t miss her plane, so Mr. Ernst suggest an hour from now, after he’s done with work. Sara agrees. Mr. Ernst leaves. Sara wants to stay with Buddy, but Buddy excuses her to freshen up. Sara has Melody keep an eye on Buddy and leaves.

34-28-Melody-eyeroll-2Yeah, the eyeroll is definitely due to Buddy not being injured. As soon as his mom is gone, Buddy gets up and runs away, because there’s absolutely no chance that either of his parents would come back to the lodge.

34-29-Brad-posterAfter the commercial break, Brad, for whatever reason, is showing a new poster for her bunk to the guys in the boys’ bunk house. She rags on Jake about his lack of progress with Sara. Buddy comes in and enlists their help for the dinner date. Danny is skeptical of the Ernsts’ love. Brad is curious. Jake is gung-ho. We learn Jake has Paula Abdul tapes. Melody comes in to get Buddy to get back on the couch, so he goes into a limp and heads back.

34-30-Canseco-posterWait, the Jose Canseco poster is back. Remember, two episodes ago, there was a world map there?

32-09-guys-wallI guess the Canseco poster is Danny’s, not Ted’s. I’d like to think Jake and Danny have a difference of opinion regarding bunk decoration, so, every day or so, one of them replaces one poster with another.

Or the episodes are out of order. Whatever.

34-31-Melody-upsetMelody asks what’s gone on and then gets upset at them for “helping” Buddy.

After Melody leaves, Danny remembers Melody’s parents are divorced. Brad is especially surprised, because she’s “been with her all summer, and she never said anything”. Wait, wait, wait. Are they seriously trying to pass the entire series, up to this point, off as occurring over one summer? That’s impossible! The only explanation that I can think of is the divorce is a recent occurrence that happened during the school year, and Melody’s parents were still together during seasons 1 and 2. Mind you, this is all guesswork on my part, because the series seems determined to fuck up its own timeline.

Anyway, this is an interesting new bit of background information about Melody. Danny says she doesn’t talk about it. Jake wants to get started. Brad wonders if they’re doing the right thing. Danny says they promised. As they go to exit the bunk house, Brad, in a moment of snobbiness, loudly clears her throat as Jake is about to walk out the door. She then softly says “‘Scuse me” and has him hold the door open for her, so she can exit first. Okay, where the fuck is this behavior coming from? Shouldn’t Brad be beyond this by now?

34-32-moon34-33-Jake-waiterThat evening, in what is in no way merely one hour later, as the Moon Goddess shines down Her blessings upon the Bar None (seriously, how many full moons are there on this series?), and the coyotes howl, Jake meets the Ernsts as their waiter. They’re on their way out to dinner, but Jake has them follow him. They apparently don’t have reservations anywhere, because they go along with it. Mr. Ernst wants to know what Jake is wearing, but I want to know where the fuck he got it.

34-34-Ernst-breath-sprayMr. Ernst freshens his breath, probably due merely to bad breath and not out of anticipation of getting to first base with his ex-wife, charming woman that she is.

34-35-Brad-hostess34-36-tableBrad is their hostess tonight and leads them to their “table for two”.

34-37-Danny-violin-134-38-Brad-radio34-39-Danny-violin-2Danny plays the violin (pretty badly), and Brad adds orchestral music on a boombox. Mr. Ernst offers Danny a dollar and tells him to try “Star Search”. If this is the best that these idiots can do, then Buddy should have just let his parents go out to a restaurant. Heck, Brad could have recommended the one that Ted had taken her to.

Brad brings them water, and they agree to not fight. However, they struggle to find anything to talk about. Finally, Mr. Ernst asks Sara about business. Sara was salesperson of the month for May and June. This means this episode occurs in July at the earliest (keep in mind that it was already July in “Battle of the Sexes” (season 1, episode 02), so this ain’t the same fucking summer), which fits in with my July of 1993 theory (in order to accommodate Tuesday the 13th in “Superstition” (season 3, episode 06)). Mr. Ernst doesn’t miss the city at all. Apparently, he’s always dreamed of owning a ranch, and his unwillingness to settle down seems to be what led to their divorce. However, Sara is glad that Mr. Ernst went for and achieved his dream.

34-40-potatoJake brings them their food and tells Sara that she got “the lucky potato”, which entitles her to one free riding lesson, redeemable anytime. Oh, yeah, I’d forgotten about this subplot.

34-41-Ernst-candleMr. Ernst moves Sara’s hand and the candle to prevent candle wax from getting on her hand.

34-42-Ernst-Sara34-43-Buddy-happyUnfortunately, Buddy arrives and gets the wrong idea.

Later, Jake arrives and takes their plates away. Sara asks about the sound, and Mr. Ernst says they’re coyotes. Sara wants to get back indoors, spend a little more time with Buddy, and make her plane. Mr. Ernst invites her to stay. She declines but says the ranch is a nice place to visit. Mr. Ernst agrees, and they leave.

34-44-reportBack in the main lodge, Danny reports to Buddy on the date. Buddy is happy and thanks them.

34-45-Sara-MelodySara arrives. Brad and Danny leave. Sara gets Buddy to admit his part in planning dinner. Buddy wants to make plans for tomorrow, but Sara says she’s going back tonight. Melody rolls her eyes again, which this time means “Okay, this is it. The kid’s gonna get his heart devoured by a rabid coyote.”

34-46-MelodyI really gotta give props to Christine Taylor for being largely silent during these scenes but letting us know how Melody’s feeling through her facial expressions.

34-47-Buddy-pissedBuddy is crushed, his earlier ecstasy (note the double pun in the episode’s title) turned to hatred of his mother. He runs off.

34-48-Sara-MelodySara and Melody yell after him but don’t make any effort to run after him.

34-49-searchSo, of course, everyone’s searching for him a bit later. Y’know, this could have been avoided if Melody had just run after Buddy (and tackled him to the ground if need be).

34-50-Melody-ErnstMelody and Mr. Ernst hear a sound, but Melody merely assures “Mirster Ernst” that Buddy will turn up soon.

34-51-Melody-BuddyAfter Mr. Ernst leaves, Melody gets Buddy to come out from under the boat. She warms him up, and they sit and talk. Melody reveals she’s been through all of this before and done all of the same shit that Buddy did (plus more, but she refuses to divulge any details for Buddy’s own good), but it won’t work. Melody says what Buddy already knows: his parents love him and didn’t break up because of him. Melody used to hate it when her parents fought; she’d wrap her pillow around her head and sing to herself as loud as she could just to block out all of the yelling and screaming. I was going to question why she didn’t do what Brad does when she’s upset: blast loud music, however that might be exactly the wrong thing to do in a tense situation. There is such a thing as headphones, though. Crank some Bon Jovi, rap, or Guns N’ Fuckin’ Roses. Melody says occasional fighting is okay, but a truly unhappy couple should be apart (she hates to think of it, but she admits it’s true). Melody wishes she could fix it, and it’s clear now that Melody is thinking more of herself than Buddy right now. This experience has brought back bad memories, and she’s hurting. She says neither she nor Buddy can fix their parents’ marriages, and it’s not their job to do so; it’s to love them both. Buddy says divorce stinks, and Melody agrees.

34-52-Melody-Buddy-234-53-Ernst-waitingMr. Ernst is waiting for news of Buddy, and it reminds me of the similar scene in “Goldilocks”.

34-54-Buddy-ErnstWhen Buddy does arrive, Mr. Ernst is initially excited but hides it when he talks with Buddy. Buddy apologizes. Sara hasn’t left, because Buddy hadn’t been found. Mr. Ernst offers to talk, but Buddy puts it off ’til morning. They wish each other good night. Buddy says it’s pretty out here, and his dad silently agrees.

34-55-gangThe pre-credits scene at the end, on the next day, has Melody wondering where Sara is. Mr. Ernst wonders, too.

34-56-Brad-Sara-rideHa! Jake’s hella upset. Not only did he lose the bet, but Brad did what Jake claimed he could do.

Brad says something that I can’t understand, probably to the random female staff member.

34-57-Brad-ErnstAh, this was Mr. Ernst’s idea.

34-58-Brad-JakeThe winner wants her weekend free, thank you very much.

34-59-Sara-Ernst-hugSara thanks Mr. Ernst.

34-60-Sara-hatHe gives her a cowboy hat, saying everybody needs a little fantasy in their lives.

34-61-Sara-Jake-hugSara gets Jake to keep an eye on Buddy.

34-62-Sara-Buddy-hugSara says she’ll see Buddy at the end of the summer.

Sara thanks them all. Melody asks her if she’ll be comfortable traveling in this outfit, and Sara admits she likes it.

34-63-Sara-Ernst-cabMr. Ernst takes Sara to her cab.

34-64-Melody-BuddyBuddy not-so-subtlely suggests Melody getting her mom to visit the ranch for some hot fucking with his dad, and Melody shoots down the idea out of fear of becoming legally related to Buddy.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was really nice. What was seemingly a Buddy episode also doubled as a Melody episode, giving us insight into her background. She comes from a broken home, and she fucking hates it.

I can relate. While my parents never did get divorced, they certainly argued a lot, and my dad would often blast music loudly, exercise on an unoiled rowing machine, or do other stupid things to piss my mom (and, perhaps unintentionally, me) off. I would often listen to music on my headphones to block it all out. While I never had to same desire to fix their marriage that Melody had, I can understand her pain of dealing with all of the shit that happened before the divorce.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 12

Season 3, Episode 07: Dueling Ranches

Before I start this review, I feel I owe you, my loyal readers, an explanation for why this review is a day late. It’s a combination of factors:

1) I got a late start, but that’s typical for me. I often put some distance between finishing one review and starting another, so I can do other things. Still, if I had started writing a bit earlier, it wouldn’t be late.

2) My work schedule is currently crazy. I’m in my second of three consecutive 40-hour weeks, where I work 7-4 five days each week. Not only does this take up most of my day, but it requires me to go to bed earlier than usual.

3) I was watching a special one-hour edition of ABC’s “World News Tonight” last night, covering the mass shooting in California. Yeah, I’m a child of the ’80s, and I still watch the news on television. I had grown up watching it with my dad. I really loved the theme music.

4) There was also this heartbreaking story that occurred in my town.

Anyway, on to the show:

Writer: Mark Cerulli
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: May 18, 1990

33-01-Ernst-phoneIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst in on the phone with Cacti Ticket Agency (*rolls eyes*), trying to buy a ticket for this Saturday’s Wildcats-Tornadoes game. I can’t find evidence of any team with either of these names ever existing in Arizona, much less a baseball team. Anyway, they’re totally sold out. Disappointed, Mr. Ernst hangs up but looks forward to catching the game on “the old radio” (which I don’t think we’ve ever seen before). He goes to check the mail.

33-02-radio-ball33-03-radio-destroyedUnfortunately, at this moment, a baseball enters his office, hits the radio, destroys it, and is then violently expelled by said radio!

33-04-oopsIt turns out that Melody had hit the ball into the radio (Jake failed to catch it) while she, Danny, and Jake were playing baseball.

33-05-bullshitMr. Ernst returns with his mail. The guys bullshit about admiring his office. Melody wants to tell the truth but is silenced and pulled away.

Mr. Ernst accidentally sits on the baseball and radio dial and discovers what happened to his “poor radio”. The radio turns out to be possessed by Satan:

33-06-radio-ruinedMr. Ernst goes over to his window and screams out after the kids.

After the credits, Mr. Ernst brings his “poor radio” into the main lodge. He’s seemingly given the kids until Saturday to fix it, or they’ll be in big trouble. How does he expect teens to fix his radio? Why not just dock their pay and take his radio in for repair or buy a new one?

33-07-Lucy-ErnstLucy comes by. She was just at the lake, taking a measurement. It’s down another two inches (which makes four inches this week). Mr. Ernst thinks it’s due to evaporation.

33-08-Lucy-mapLucy explains that “those bozos next door” are damming up Creedence Creek (the only mention that I’ve found of a Creedence Creek in Tucson is in a novel available at Google Books). The fact that they have a creek is news to Mr. Ernst. Lucy points out on the map where the creek feeds into their lake and estimates they won’t have a lake by next Tuesday.

33-09-Ernst-noteLucy shows Mr. Ernst a note that she’d found stapled to their (unseen) road sign out front: “The Bar-None is CLOSED! So stay at the SNAKE EYES RANCH just 2 miles down the road.” Wait, wait, wait. There’s a competing dude ranch two miles down the road from the Bar None, and we’ve never heard of it before?! When did it open?

Anyway, Lucy guesses Karl and Lonnie Vleck, the two sons of Snake Eyes owner Vic Vleck, did it. Mr. Ernst is upset. Lucy says, once, they built a road block at the end of the Bar None’s road and told people that they were having an earthquake, so no one would stay here. Lucy’s wording is a bit vague, so it’s not clear whether the plan worked or not, but I certainly hope not. Also, being only two miles away, wouldn’t the Snake Eyes lose business, too?

33-10-Ernst-BettyOh, look who’s on desk duty: the female staff member from “Sewn at the Hip” (season 3, episode 05). She was sorting the mail as Lucy and Mr. Ernst were walking to the map, so I guess she was the one that gave him his mail earlier.

Mr. Ernst calls her Betty, which makes her the same character from “Hey Cinderella” (season 3, episode 02):

28-12-BettyAnd, yeah, it seems to be the same girl. I never noticed it before, probably because of the different hairstyle. Betty is the first recurring staff character (unless you count Lucy). So…welcome to the Bar None, Betty. Despite getting a line in this episode, the actor still goes uncredited.

Anyway, Mr. Ernst has Betty call the Snake Eyes Ranch for him. While Betty does that, Lucy explains the Vlecks want to flood three acres of their land to build a monster truck mud bog race. She knows this, because she’s good buddies with their head wrangler. Mr. Ernst doesn’t like the idea of a mud bog race here. Betty gives him the phone, and he speaks with Vic Vleck. Mr. Ernst starts to talk about Vic’s boys, and Vic threatens to come down here and “wail” on Mr. Ernst, which Mr. Ernst interprets as crying. Interestingly, we actually hear the other side of the conversation, which is a rarity on this series (or any series, really). Vic abruptly hangs up. Mr. Ernst hands the phone back to Betty and is confident that Vic Vleck is “a reasonable man” and “sensitive”.

33-11-Vleck-truck33-12-Vlecks-truckSoon, the Vlecks arrive at the Bar None in their piece-of-shit pick-up truck.

33-13-dumbassesVic’s boys are dumbasses that are either unwilling or unable to exit the truck through the passenger door, so they get “trapped” inside when their dad closes the driver door after getting out, and then the door opens, and they fall out. Hilarious.

33-14-VlecksOh, look, Paul Secrest is back. You might remember him as the ranch critic in “Superstar” (season 2, episode 10):

23-50-critic-directionsHere, in his second appearance, he makes his first of three appearances as Vic Vleck. Vic is the owner of the Snake Eyes Ranch, and he comes across as a typical redneck.

Karl Vleck (right) is played by Don Wyllie. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig. This is his first of two appearances.

Lonnie Vleck (left) is played by Paul D. Olmer. “Hey Dude” was his first of two acting gigs, the other being, strangely, a 2013 short called “219 Gates”. This is his first of two appearances.

Mr. Ernst shows the note to Vic, who dismisses it as a joke.

33-15-ball-truck33-16-Vic-ballSuddenly, a baseball lands on Vic’s truck. He gets pissed.

33-17-gangMelody and the guys come by, looking for the baseball. Melody’s excited, because she “just hit [her] first home run”. Mr. Ernst is upset, because he told them to not play around the buildings. Danny says they weren’t, and Jake calls Melody a “power hitter”. Mr. Ernst tells them to get the radio fixed by Saturday for the big game. Upon hearing this, Vic asks if Mr. Ernst likes baseball. Sensing where this is going, Mr. Ernst bullshits, claiming he’s into ice hockey (which he might be, because he mentions Wayne Gretzky just as he’d done in “Rehearsal for Romance” (season 1, episode 06); come to think of it, Gretzky was also recently mentioned in “Superstition”). Vic challenges Mr. Ernst to a baseball game (loser pays for the hood and any other damage to Vic’s piece-of-shit truck). Melody and Danny (but especially Melody) want the game. Mr. Ernst declines. Vic says Mr. Ernst will hear from his lawyer tomorrow, and he and his boys start to leave. Melody is incredulous. She and Lucy encourage Mr. Ernst to accept the challenge, much to Lucy and the teens’ excitement. Jake gets especially gung-ho about it. Lucy gets Mr. Ernst to raise the stakes: if Vic’s team loses, they stop damming Creedence Creek. Vic agrees. He and his boys leave without working out any details whatsoever, not the least of which being the date and time of the game. Mr. Ernst feels uncertain.

33-18-preperationSome undetermined time later, the staff is setting up the baseball field (such as it is) while Mr. Ernst spews random baseball facts.

33-19-BrawlersMelody cutely tosses the baseball to Brad, who catches it. Ooh, Brad. I was wondering where the hell she was. Buddy’s here, too. Why did they miss so much of the episode? Were Kelly Brown and Josh Tygiel available for only a limited amount of time? Or were they simply not written into the script until “needed”?

You’ll notice there are two random girls on the Bar None’s team as well. Are they yet more unnamed female staff members? Who knows? There’s also a random guy that might or might not be a staff member. These extra “characters” are not directly acknowledged by any of the main characters, and they don’t have scripted lines, just going along with everybody else. But guess what. The actors are credited. Seriously. The Bar None Brawlers are played by Jodie Hurley, Lauri Johnson (I don’t know which girl is which), and Steve Johnson. “Hey Dude” was their sole acting gig.

What the fuck, show? You credit these extras that were brought in solely to fill out the team, but you don’t credit Betty’s actor? Fuck you. And why isn’t Betty on the team? Is she stuck doing all of the work back in the buildings while these assholes are playing a baseball game over truck damage and a creek?

In a small bit of poetic justice, though, check out IMDb’s pic for this episode: Mr. Ernst and Betty.

Melody asks (seemingly having heard it before) if Mr. Ernst played on a baseball team while in accounting college (nice consistency with his history as given in “Teacher’s Pest” (season 2, episode 07)). Mr. Ernst is evasive and has them practice fielding for a bit (he can’t catch the ball). He tosses out some more trivia and then has them practice pitching (he can’t pitch). Jake calls a time-out. Mr. Ernst says he’s “a little rusty”. Melody asks which position that he played, and Mr. Ernst admits none. He played one game. His team, the Digitheads, was down by one point in the bottom of the ninth. He came up to bat – under pressure with the whole game riding on him – and choked, striking out. Coach Flubs cut him on the spot in front of Mr. Ernst’s entire family. He loves the game, but he hasn’t played baseball since. On that note, Brad remembers she has a riding lesson, and Melody “just heard” there’s a horned toad in the pool that she has to get out. Danny and Jake are pessimistic, and practice breaks up.

33-20-Ernst-BuddyMr. Ernst is embarrassed that Buddy now knows the truth (apparently, this was an issue, even though this is the first that we’ve heard of it), but Buddy says it’s okay. Mr. Ernst says the whole thing was a bad idea, and he’s calling it off. Buddy asks about the lake. Mr. Ernst is counting on “one good storm” in the place where he’d previously said it never rains.

33-21-Lucy-horseLucy arrives, having just run into her (female) Snake Eyes wrangler friend. Apparently, Vic got his brother-in-law, Bobby Bulp, to play on his team. He’s #49 for the Wildcats, which is apparently a minor-league team. Mr. Ernst says he’s headed for the majors, and he’s a total wild man that apparently once ate a catcher’s mitt on a dare. This suddenly fills Mr. Ernst with resolve, and he vows to play hardball.

33-22-Ernst-jerseyAfter the commercial break, on the day of the big game (I think), Danny and Jake are talking about the legend that is Bobby Bulp. Mr. Ernst says they have jerseys, but the Snake Eyes team doesn’t – as if that’s some kind of advantage.

33-23-BrawlersTo the team’s excitement, Mr. Ernst reveals he used his “connections” to get a “pro” for their team, too: Frankie “Flash” McGuire of the Tucson [Something] Tornadoes. He batted .315 last year. The team’s excited. He’s running a bit late. Mr. Ernst tells the team to go easy on Flash’s right side, because his right shoulder pops out of the joint really easy. Plus he’s got a big game against Phoenix tomorrow. Melody announces Flash’s arrival. Mr. Ernst instructs the team to act natural and not make a big deal about Flash.

33-24-Ernst-FlashThat’s Mr. Ernst’s job.

33-25-FlashFlash is played by Vernon Travis Wilhite. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.

Flash wants the team – including Mr. Ernst – to hit the field and go over the basics, but Mr. Ernst, being the manager, sits it out. The team tries some fielding.

33-26-transition-1They have this weird “baseball scene transition” where a baseball graphic suddenly appears and fills the screen, even though we’re meant to think it’s the ball that Flash hit.

33-27-transition-2Also, they clearly used a standard scene fade as well, so I don’t know what the point of this is except “Let’s do a baseball scene transition in a baseball episode”.

33-28-crowdAnyway, the Bar None Ball Club is in operation, the crowd (guests? staff?) is gathered, and it’s almost time for the big game.

33-29-Buddy-concessions33-30-Buddy-concessions-2Buddy is selling hot dogs and peanuts. The Snake Eyes team arrives.

33-31-peanutsLonnie steals a packet of peanuts and bites into it, because the Snake Eyes players are assholes.

33-32-Bobby-VicOther players – including Bobby Bulp – are surprised at Flash’s presence, and Vic calls the Bar None Brawlers “dirty cheaters”.

Bobby Bulp is played by David K. Young, who you might remember as Lester the Alien from “Take Me to Your Leader” (season 2, episode 13):

26-56-Boyd-LesterThe Snake Eyes players are played by Daniel Andre, Bryan Scott Derrick, Stephan Faris, Micheal Morales (or Michael Morales), and Bryce Nielsen.

For Daniel Andre, this is his second of five acting gigs (and his first of two appearances on “Hey Dude”, the second appearance being his third acting gig). Each time, he plays what might or might not (but might as well) be the same character. Amusingly, his first acting gig was an uncredited part as a baseball fan in a “Highway to Heaven” episode in 1985. His latest acting gig was as a cop in a 2011 short called “Transport”. However, he’s also racked up some writing, producing, editing, cinematography, and directing credits – all in the 2010s and leading up to the present day and beyond. Talk about a career resurgence.

The rest of the Snake Eyes players weren’t so lucky. “Hey Dude” was their sole acting gig.

IMDb also lists Henry W. Laster in an uncredited role as a kid guest in this episode. He’ll seemingly make two more uncredited appearances as a guest on this series. This guy seems to have a lengthy (albeit sporadic and largely uncredited) career, spanning 1986-2014.

33-33-Flash-Ernst-VicFlash warns Mr. Ernst about his shoulder. Mr. Ernst is surprised that the Snake Eyes team has uniforms. After a bit of talk, they go to get ready for the coin toss.

33-34-Jake-VlecksJake goes to talk with the Vleck boys, who trash-talk him.

33-35-BradBrad breaks it up and takes Jake away. Lonnie expresses surprise that girls are playing baseball and is shocked to learn from Karl that they’re in the army.

33-36-coin-tossVic calls them over for the coin toss. Vic calls heads. Mr. Ernst is excited that they “win” by getting tails.

33-37-Ernst-anthem33-38-Brawlers-anthemVic wants to get started, but, to his disbelief, Mr. Ernst sings the national anthem and wants the others to join in.

33-39-Bobby-cordBobby does everyone a favor by unplugging the microphone.

33-40-Vic-ErnstVic accuses Mr. Ernst of dragging things out and admits he hates baseball, calling it “the national waste of time”, which I kind of agree with (although, for me, that holds true for all sports). Vic wants to get the game over with, so he can get back to his mud bog project.

33-41-umpireThe umpire (and the baseball graphic coming out of his mouth) signals the start of the montage, er, game.

The umpire is played by Paul Sellars. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.

33-42-extrasOne of the extras gets to do some “acting” by taking off her cap in frustration.

33-43-diamondOoh, a diamond transition. They’re really making good use of their budget for this episode.

33-44-Melody-ErnstIt’s the bottom of the ninth. There are two outs. Mr. Ernst puts an enormous amount of pressure on Melody to get on base and then tells her to have fun.

33-45-Lonnie-MelodyLonnie hits on Melody. Melody calls him disgusting.

33-46-Melody-batA sound effect tries to convince us that Melody hit a ball instead of the air. Anyway, Melody gets on first base. Easy-breezy lemon-squeezy.

33-47-Flash-hurtIn his excitement, Mr. Ernst accidentally dislocates Flash’s shoulder. Mr. Ernst is out of options and in danger of forfeiting the game: no time-outs, no substitutes, and can’t recruit a new player from the stands. Melody points out that Mr. Ernst can play, and Jake confirms it. Mr. Ernst finally agrees.

Mr. Ernst strikes out twice, but then…

33-48-Vic-pitches33-49-Ernst-hits33-50-Ernst-runs33-51-Ernst-excited33-52-Melody-runs33-53-Ernst-runs-233-54-Ernst-slides33-55-Ernst-homerun33-56-celebration33-57-handshakeVic shakes hands with Mr. Ernst but tries to make Mr. Ernst a “full partner” (70/30) in his monster truck thing, but Mr. Ernst just wants the creek back. Vic agrees and suggests a rematch. Mr. Ernst agrees. Well, that was a surprisingly amicable ending for a typical sitcom sports rivalry. As Vic and his boys leave, Vic contemplates building the skeet-shooting range that they were talking about last year. Lonnie asks “Daddy” what a skeet is, and Vic is upset that his son is a dumbass.

33-58-celebration-2The second act ends on a freeze frame of the Bar None Brawlers celebrating.

The pre-credits scene at the end has the gang putting Jake’s plan into motion. They didn’t have enough time to buy Mr. Ernst a new radio, due to the game, so…

33-59-Ernst-happyThey provide Mr. Ernst with a pitcher of iced tea to enjoy while he’s listening to the game…

33-60-deception…and feed him a fake “broadcast”. Jake’s the announcer, who’s getting the play-by-play from Buddy, who’s on the phone with…someone. Melody and Danny do the crowd noises. Somehow, Mr. Ernst is fooled for a while – until Jake fucks up by misunderstanding Buddy and getting into an argument with him.

33-61-Ernst-sees-133-62-Ernst-sees-233-63-Ernst-happySo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was okay, I guess, but I don’t care for sports, so I tend to not care about sports episodes. It’s nice that we got some background info on Mr. Ernst, though, and this seems to be the first episode of the series that’s genuinely his – with the teens being the supporting characters.

I’m confused over Brad’s less-than-usual participation, though. She’s absent from the cold open and the pre-credits scene at the end, and she doesn’t show up until the first practice scene, partway through the first act. She’s there until the end of the game, though, and all of that taping must have taken a lot of time (probably moreso than usual), so I don’t know what the deal is. Maybe Kelly Brown wasn’t available for a day or two, so they taped the non-field stuff without her. Who knows?

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 13