Writer: Mark Cerulli
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: June 8, 1990
In 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?
Anyway, 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.
After 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.
Mr. 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.
The 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.
Anyway, 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.
Jake gives a recently-arrived package to Mr. Ernst.
The Masked Marauder seemingly sent his costume ahead. Mr. Ernst goes to hang it up.
“Hey, paisanos! Let’s get some fuckin’ service over here!”
“Holy shit! Mario’s gonna kick our ass!”
So, 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.
Patrick, 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”.
Mr. Ernst hurts his back while bending over to pick up the mail, and he goes to find Jake and meet “nice guy” Captain Lou.
Later (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?
Mr. 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.
Lou 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.
The juice expired “a year ago last April”. Lou likes juice that’s turned, because it “keeps [his] blood pumpin'”. Um, if you say so.
Melody comes over to check on Danny.
Mr. 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.
Lou 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.
Mr. 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.
That 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.
Mr. 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.
After the commercial break, on another day, Mr. Ernst rehearses what he’s gonna tell Lou.
The 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?
Anyway, the gang’s excited, but Mr. Ernst refuses.
Lou 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.
The 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.
Killer Ernst is back!
So, of course, we need a training scene that shows Mr. Ernst preparing for the big match. Is this on another day? Who knows?
Yeah, the training doesn’t go well, so they go to talk with Lou.
Lou 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.
Lou doesn’t take it well.
The scene fades out (which is unusual for when a commercial break is not coming up).
Suddenly, 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.
The 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.
I 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.
Lou, “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.
The announcer wishes “the Masked Marauder” good luck and sends both of them to their corners.
The bell rings, starting the match. Mr. Ernst’s strategy – per Jake – is to run.
They 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.
Anyway, Lou wipes the floor with Mr. Ernst.
A 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.
A guest yells at Mr. Ernst to get up. The actor isn’t credited.
As Lou (literally) kicks Mr. Ernst’s ass, the audience boos.
Brad is seriously distressed and worried about Mr. Ernst.
After 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.
Brad complains to Jake. Jake suggests playing dead. Melody yells it out to Mr. Ernst.
Wow, I guess we know who Mr. Ernst’s most faithful employee is. I really gotta hand it to Kelly Brown.
Not to be outdone by Brad, Melody yells at Mr. Ernst to get up.
Jake 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.
Buddy freaks the fuck out and begs Jake to save his dad.
When 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.
Yeah, Lou knocks himself out cold.
The referee, in disbelief, declares “the Masked Marauder” to be the winner.
Humorously, Mr. Ernst passes out, and the gang looks for a moment and then resumes celebrating.
The (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