Writer: Lisa Melamed
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: May 25, 1990
In 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.
After 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.
The 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.
Jake 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.
Danny 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).
As 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.
Jake tells Danny that he’s their witness. Danny agrees.
Jake 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.
Sara marches straight over to Mr. Ernst, who’s busy painting as Melody steadies the ladder.
Sara wants to know what the fuck Mr. Ernst has done to Buddy. Mr. Ernst wants to know what the fuck Sara is doing here.
Buddy 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.
Later, 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.
Sara meets Brad and Danny.
Danny 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.
Later, 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.
Melody 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.
Sara 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.
Mr. 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.
Sara 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.
Yeah, 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.
After 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.
Wait, the Jose Canseco poster is back. Remember, two episodes ago, there was a world map there?
I 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.
Melody 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?
That 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.
Mr. 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.
Brad is their hostess tonight and leads them to their “table for two”.
Danny 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.
Jake 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.
Mr. Ernst moves Sara’s hand and the candle to prevent candle wax from getting on her hand.
Unfortunately, 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.
Back in the main lodge, Danny reports to Buddy on the date. Buddy is happy and thanks them.
Sara 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.”
I 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.
Buddy is crushed, his earlier ecstasy (note the double pun in the episode’s title) turned to hatred of his mother. He runs off.
Sara and Melody yell after him but don’t make any effort to run after him.
So, 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).
Melody and Mr. Ernst hear a sound, but Melody merely assures “Mirster Ernst” that Buddy will turn up soon.
After 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.
Mr. Ernst is waiting for news of Buddy, and it reminds me of the similar scene in “Goldilocks”.
When 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.
The pre-credits scene at the end, on the next day, has Melody wondering where Sara is. Mr. Ernst wonders, too.
Ha! 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.
Ah, this was Mr. Ernst’s idea.
The winner wants her weekend free, thank you very much.
Sara thanks Mr. Ernst.
He gives her a cowboy hat, saying everybody needs a little fantasy in their lives.
Sara gets Jake to keep an eye on Buddy.
Sara 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.
Mr. Ernst takes Sara to her cab.
Buddy 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