Writer: Lisa Melamed
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: September 28, 1990
Here’s an odd bit of trivia. This episode is on the DVD after the next episode, “Fear”, in regard to how the files are ordered, but it’s listed in the correct order in the menu.
In the cold open, Brad is spending her evening eating popcorn and reading an erotic romance novel.
No, seriously, this novel is extremely pornographic. The author, Bertrice Small (who died a year ago next Wednesday), was known for writing graphic rape, incest, and all sorts of sex scenes. The heroines usually have multiple lovers. Perhaps this is Brad’s way of telling Melody: “Who’s the vanilla one now, bitch?”
Here are a few excerpts from the novel, courtesy of a review on Amazon (keep in mind that the heroine, Skye O’Malley, rides horses – just like Brad):
“As his seed thundered into her hidden valley he shook fiercely with the intensity of his passion.”
“Ahh…Skye, your little honey-oven is made for me.”
“Let me play the great desert stallion tonight, my Skye. Roll over, and be my little wild mare.” I wonder if the mare is also a “little strange”.
“A moment before his climax, he touched one hand beneath her to tweak at the little button of her sensuality and they shuddered their satisfaction in union.”
“Your little honey-oven burns my lance with the fiery flow of the passion you would like to deny me, but can’t.”
And here’s one from a scene in which Skye is raped:
“And though she hated him, her body treacherously yielded itself.”
There’s also a scene towards the end involving a twelve-year-old girl and an aroused dog. Yeah…
So how does Brad react? She rolls her eyes and exclaims “Men!” in amused disbelief. If it wasn’t for the fact that the door’s unlocked, I could totally imagine Brad feverishly masturbating to the hot beastial metaphors whilst simultaneously wondering if she could clandestinely sneak over to the corral for a little something-something.
“Your mouth says ‘Neigh’, but your heart says ‘Aye’.”
Now that I’ve completely destroyed Brad in your minds, let’s continue.
Melody comes in, trying to tactfully avoid the implication that Brad was without a date tonight.
Brad cuts through the bullshit and says she “had a perfectly nice evening at home, reading fine literature”. The part where Brad says “Hey, Mel, check out this sex scene between the dog and the underage girl! It’s so fucking hot!” was, sadly, left on the cutting-room floor.
Right now, I’m wondering about Cassie’s mysterious disappearance.
Anyway, Melody says Brad can’t live her life through romance novels. Brad asks why not and refers to the fine, upstanding rapist characters as “exasperating”. She wants to hear about Melody’s date, so she can “live [her] life through [Melody]”.
Before Melody can get into it, Jake and Danny arrive. Jake asks if they’re decent. Melody says yes. Jake decides to forget it and walk away. Okay, that’s pretty damn funny. Brad invites them in for a recounting of Melody’s hot date. This amuses the guys, which slightly ticks off Melody. Anyway, the guys make gestures and facial expressions behind Melody’s back to “correct” Melody’s tale for Brad. It turns out that the guy was an idiot, which Jake and Danny know, because they followed them to the diner or wherever. They were in the next booth, in disguise:
Melody is pissed and tells them to get a life. Brad is amused and wants to go out with them next time. They banter for a bit, and Melody can’t believe her misfortune.
After the credits, Danny is working on a comic strip. I know we don’t get a good look at it, but I’m wondering if Joe Torres drew it.
Jake arrives with a bag. It goes unexplained, but I’m guessing he’s on garbage detail. Danny is startled and tries to hide his work. Jake believes it’s a diary and thinks it’s macho. He knows a surfer back home, Ten-Toe Connolly, that keeps one, not missing a day.
After some prodding, Danny finally shows the comic strip to Jake. It’s called “The Dud Ranch” (the “e” fell off the sign). It’s about Melody’s date with “Neanderthal Man”, but Melody is called “Harmony”. Danny and Jake are also in the strip. Danny was inspired to do this based on Melody’s comment in the cold open, comparing her situation to a cartoon. Jake calls Danny “dangerous”. Danny wants to keep this between them, but Jake wants Danny to share it. Danny inadvertently gives Jake an idea.
On another day, the love child of Benjamin Ernst and Balki Bartokomous arrives at the ranch. His name is Roy, and he’s new to “the paper”. He stares at Brad, getting a weird feeling from her. He’s here to see “Mr. Decker”, which Brad finds odd, but she points him to the main lodge.
Roy is played by Tracy Henry. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.
Lucy and Buddy come by. Lucy is carrying a hideous statue that Mr. Ernst had bid on and won. Roy asks them for “Mr. Decker” (why? Brad already told him where to go), which Lucy finds odd. Buddy asks Roy what he wants Jake for. Roy says it’s a “business matter”, and he’s from “The Daily News”, which isn’t a real Tucson newspaper. Tucson is served by the Arizona Daily Star (and, previously, by the Tucson Citizen), but I understand they can’t use a real newspaper for this story. Anyway, Jake had previously placed a classified ad, and a bunch of beautiful models showed up. Lucy wants to know what’s going on, and she and Buddy go with Roy to find Jake.
Roy asks about the statue, but Lucy is clueless. She and Roy go into the main lodge, and Buddy wishes for the statue to fly away.
Jake is working the front desk and starts “drumming” with a pencil and the phone receiver – as well as making “music” with the stapler. Lucy is (uncharacteristically) amused. Roy is confused. Jake then realizes the person that he was talking to, Mrs. Morton, is still on the line. He quickly ends the conversation and hangs up. Jake is excited at Roy’s arrival and goes to get Danny (by shouting out the window). Lucy demands to know what the fuck’s going on. Danny arrives.
After a bunch of surprised reactions and confusion, Lucy gets them to clear things up. Jake stole Danny’s book and sent it to the newspaper. More arguing ensues. Buddy yells at them to shut up. Lucy thanks him. Roy explains his editor hates him and has rejected all of his ideas – until he showed him the comic strip that arrived in the mail. Roy calls Danny brilliant. Jake seconds that. Danny wants to keep it private. Once he explains what the strip is about, Buddy loves it. Danny has to think about it. Roy says Danny is really talented and promises him money, but Danny says it’s not about money. Jake tries to convince Danny. Roy promises Danny a daily audience of thousands of readers.
Danny finally agrees to it and decides to get to work. He asks Roy when the strip is gonna start running, and Roy nervously tries to explain.
Too late. Melody storms in, hella pissed and calling for Danny’s balls on a silver platter. Yeah, the strip’s already running, which would have gotten the newspaper sued in real life if Danny had said no (or possibly even if he hadn’t).
On another day, amidst the stupid statue (which has taken residence in the lunch area), Jake gives Roy…the next strip, I guess. So Roy has to stop by the ranch to pick these up?
Roy has been pestering Brad for a date, but she keeps turning him down and finally makes it definite, but he doesn’t get it. After he leaves, Melody and Brad banter for a bit about Clark Kent and Superman. Melody observes Brad never gives anybody a chance and tells her to go out with Roy once. Brad doesn’t want to. The discussion turns to Danny’s comic strip, which, according to Melody, “is getting worse and worse every day”.
Buddy and Lucy agree. Buddy is “Buggy”, who “looks like a pumpkin head on a stick”. Lucy is “Lasso, the terrorist ranch hand”. Brad is “Drab”, the dateless, feed sack-wearing loser. Melody has been nervous that Danny might catch her doing something stupid and use it as a plot for his next strip.
Jake comes by, saying “Hey, duds.” Okay, that’s cute. He doesn’t share their concerns until Brad reveals he’s “Jerk”, the “total dweeb” that keeps his job only because he’s the owner’s nephew. Jake is pissed, but they don’t share his concern.
After the commercial break, Danny is making more money by drawing caricatures of the guests.
He’s currently drawing an easily-amused man’s girlfriend. Melody seems to disapprove of the drawing.
So does the girlfriend.
The boyfriend is played by Steve Pearce. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig. He had previously played a guest (perhaps the same character) in “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (season 3, episode 09).
The girlfriend is played by Victoria Henning. “Hey Dude” was her sole acting gig.
Brad finds the whole thing stupid and turns down Danny’s offer of drawing a caricature of her. She has to fend off a photographer.
It turns out that the photographer is from the newspaper, which is doing on article on “The Dud Ranch”. Brad doesn’t want everyone to know she’s Drab.
The photographer is played by Paul Guyot. “Hey Dude” was his first acting gig in a short career of bit parts (five of them), spanning 1990-1997. However, he’s gotten a lot of production work done between “Judging Amy”, “Leverage”, and “The Librarians”; he’s done writing work for those three series plus “Felicity”, “Level 9”, and an upcoming television movie called “Geostorm”; he was a story editor on “Judging Amy”; he has a few assistant credits; and he has a lot of stand-in credits (including standing in for Don Johnson and Christian Slater twice each). Pretty damn good. Either this episode or standing in for Nicholas Cage in “Fire Birds” was his first work.
Brad gets on Danny’s case about not doing his work (namely, grooming and exercising the horses). Danny has a free pass from ranch work from Mr. Ernst, who had also come up with the caricature idea (“take advantage of the local talented hand”). I bet Danny was like “Just give all of my work to Kyle. We don’t wanna hang out with him, anyway.”
Brad gets a sharp line in when she asks “Oh, now you’re the talent?”, which possibly is a reference to when Mr. Ernst hyped up Melody in “Our Little Champion” (season 2, episode 03).
Brad tries to drag Danny off to work, but he refuses, because he might “hurt [his] drawing hand”.
Brad threatens to do it for him. Danny says he has a better job.
Brad is in disbelief. Lucy gets pissed at Danny for that remark as well as his depiction of her in the comic strip.
The photographer comes by to take a picture of her, and Lucy gets pissed at him as well, which basically proves Danny’s point.
Melody, who’s been observing all of this from the desk and thinking “Fuck this fucking shit”, is summoned by Danny.
He drew caricatures of the three of them (and perhaps the others). Melody complains about her drawing. Brad thinks it’s “kinda cute” and offers to take it, but Melody refuses. Lucy thinks her own drawing is “not that bad”. Danny charges them the “friends” rate of $10 each for the autographed drawings, and they give them back to him in disgust.
Roy shows up and flirts with Brad.
Brad reacts accordingly and tells Roy to fuck off.
Roy asks Danny about the photo shoot, and Danny says his friends are “bugged” by all of the attention that he’s getting. Roy gives Danny a rambling pep talk and asks him to draw him in as Brad’s boyfriend.
Jake comes by, complaining about the “bozo” photographer. He also regales his friends with a tale of him walking back to the bunk house last night and hearing Danny interviewing himself. He calls Danny out of touch and wants someone to talk to Mr. Ernst about stopping him now. Brad says Mr. Ernst laughs his head off every morning. Melody is surprised Mr. Ernst finds “Mr. Ear Nest, the bumbling ranch owner” funny. Lucy reveals Mr. Ernst doesn’t know he’s Mr. Ear Nest. Melody finds sorry for him. Jake vows to tell him, but Brad advises against it. Jake asks for alternate suggestions. Brad suggests stealing Danny’s comics and writing personal attacks on them. Jake loves the idea, but Brad claims she was kidding. Melody suggests sitting Danny down and forcing him to listen to them. Jake suggests a hardback chair and hot interrogation lights. As he says this:
Brad, I love you.
Lucy decides to keep it simple and calls for a staff meeting after dinner. They start talking about how they’re gonna verbally kick Danny’s ass.
After dinner, the staff (sans Mr. Ernst and Kyle) is present, and so is Buddy. The others are kept waiting as Danny finishes eating. Lucy opens the meeting and invites the others to speak up, but they, strangely, refuse to say anything. Why?
Danny speaks up, upset that they loved the strip until it was about them, revealing what they are. Jake, Lucy, and Brad inadvertently prove his point.
Melody applauds Danny for figuring out what’s wrong with them but then is like “So fucking what? Nobody’s perfect. We don’t want everyone reading this shit.”
Danny storms off from the “waste of time”, but Brad stops him and lectures him. She tries to get him to think about positive moments that he’s had with his friends. We learn Brad once sat up all night with Danny when he was sick, and Melody listens to all of Danny’s problems. Defensive, Danny says he’s not trying to hurt anybody, but Brad says it doesn’t matter; he is. Danny declares it’s “just a stupid little comic strip” and runs off. Brad says it isn’t to them. Jake says they’ve gotta do something about Danny pronto.
They decide to give Danny “a taste of his own medicine”. Jake drew this in the universe of the series, but I’m guessing Joe Torres drew all of the drawings in this episode. Just a guess, though.
After some confusion over Danny’s hair (arrow, mousse, or moose antlers), they debate when to give it to Danny. Brad wants to video-tape Danny’s reaction. Jake wants to get it in the newspaper as a “tribute to the artist” and has Brad sweet-talk Roy into agreeing to it.
Roy seems preoccupied and wants to see Danny. When Brad doesn’t get immediate results, Jake begs Roy. Roy goes off to find Danny. Sensing something’s going on, Brad leads the others after Roy.
Danny has sold a drawing to a guest. The woman is played by Jo Ann Self. “Hey Dude” was her sole acting gig.
Roy comes over and lays into Danny, asking if this is a joke. Danny wrote and drew nice strips for this week; he’s decided to take “The Dud Ranch” into a new direction. Someone gasps at this announcement, but I can’t tell if it’s Brad or Melody. Roy cautions Danny against doing this, and one of the girls gasps at Roy’s insistence on mean, nasty, sarcastic entertainment. Danny tells Roy to take it or leave it. Roy asks why. Danny says it wasn’t going so well for him. Roy is firm with Danny. Danny offers Roy a parting handshake (someone seemingly applauds at that), so…
Danny refuses to budge, even when Roy offers a compromise of alternating between nice and mean. Roy is worried over what the editor will do to him.
Melody pretends they just walked in and asks Roy what’s the matter. Roy claims Danny’s quit the strip. The gang rushes over, and Brad asks Danny how come. Danny says he broke his pencil. Jake demands the truth. Danny reveals the fact that “the most important people” didn’t like the strip “finally sunk in” (off camera, of course).
Melody takes back every rotten thing that she ever thought about Danny.
Jake takes back “almost” every rotten thing that he ever said about Danny.
Roy asks the gang about the picture that they wanted him to run in the paper. They hide the caricature of Danny and pretend it didn’t happen.
As Roy leaves, Brad decides he might indeed be the great desert stallion to her little wild mare after all and gives chase. Melody slaps Danny on the back and seemingly sarcastically says “Great.” What the fuck? I don’t get it. Isn’t this what Melody wanted?
Brad admits to Roy what she says she’d never admit to Danny: after seeing Drab in the comic strip, she learned a couple things about herself. She says maybe she’s too picky and doesn’t always give people a chance. She’d like to change, starting with him.
And though she hated him, her body treacherously yielded itself.
Brad’s suggestions for going out include bowling, roller skating, and…skeet shooting. She’s been hanging out with the Vlecks too long. Roy turns her down.
Roy explains it could only go downhill; either she’d hate him, or he’d discover she isn’t perfect (which is apparently an insurmountable obstacle for him). Brad admits she’s never been broken up with by someone that she wasn’t even going out with. Roy is late and excuses himself, saying he’ll see Brad in his dreams.
The pre-credits scene at the end has the gang throwing a party to celebrate Danny losing his job at the newspaper. They toast the end of “The Dud Ranch”. Brad happily says goodbye to Roy. Huh. Well, I guess she’s over him.
Buddy expresses Mr. Ernst’s condolences to Danny and reveals Mr. Ernst knew all along that he’s Mr. Ear Nest. Jake says Mr. Ernst has a better sense of humor than all of them combined. Melody considers maybe they weren’t such good sports.
Danny found the caricature that they drew of him…somehow. Who held onto it? Melody apologizes. Brad laughs it off. Danny doesn’t mind, but he says the arrow through his head looks like antlers. Jake crumples up the drawing, ticked off.
Buddy has Jake lift the ugly statue to move it…into Mr. Ernst’s office, I guess, but then…
Everyone except Buddy yucks it up.
So ends another day at the Bar None.
This episode was pretty good, but Danny was an ass for the way that he treated his friends in the comic strip and let “fame” go to his head. Also, his change of heart occurred off screen with no indication that it was going to, which I guess happens in real life, but they should have at least shown a brief moment with Danny pausing in silent reflection.
Despite not appearing, Mr. Ernst had a lot to do, affecting the main plot and even having his own subplot with that stupid statue.
Most importantly, though, in less than a minute, this episode revealed how Brad spends her evenings and what she considers “fine literature”. Giddy up.
Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 3