Monthly Archives: March 2016

Season 4, Episode 10: Doghouse Blues

Writer: Mark Cerulli
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: November 9, 1990

49-01-Jake-analyzes-MelodyIn the cold open, Danny jumps up and grabs an orange off a tree. Meanwhile, Melody is recounting a dream that she had for Jake: She was running through a forest of Douglas firs, but she wasn’t really going anywhere, because a bunch of hands kept grabbing at her sneakers and holding her back. Sigmund Fritters – complete with fake Austrian accent – guesses Melody’s trying to get away from somebody named Douglas, but Melody doesn’t know anyone by that name.

Mr. Ernst comes by, says good morning, and rags on them for not working. Jake says he’s decided to major in Psychology when he goes to college and is doing a little field work on dreams.

49-02-Ernst-recountsJake accepts Mr. Ernst’s challenge to interpret the dream that he had last night: He was going to the store to get some ribbon for his adding machine. They were overstocked and had a big sale going on. He walked outside. The parking lot had turned into a huge pool of Jello. It started to “hail” fruit. There was juice everywhere and seeds in his face. It kept coming down.

49-03-Ernst-crazyMr. Ernst gets really into his story.

49-04-orange-treeHe accidentally shakes a bunch of oranges loose.

49-05-oranges-fallThey fall on everyone, but the teens take it in stride and have a laugh over it.

49-06-Jake-kids49-07-Danny-boxesAfter the credits, the girls are the only ones doing chores. Jake (who’s still wearing his psychologist’s jacket for some reason) and Danny entertain some kids (none of whom are credited). Potential rain means riding is out, and the pool is cracked, so no swimming. That apparently leaves only one possible activity: a game called Name That Smell.

As an aside, what are the girls doing in the background? Melody briefly takes hold of Brad’s hand for no apparent reason.

49-08-girl-faintsOne girl faints from the odor of a mystery item that Jake got out of Danny’s laundry bag. Why the fuck did Jake select dirty laundry for these child guests to smell?

Jake then smells something else, and Danny hears something.

49-09-Valerie-bikeIt’s Valerie Vleck! This is the second of two appearances by Mary Secrest (formerly Mary F. Glenn) as Valerie Temperance Vleck.

49-10-panicJake sends the kids to their rooms and tells them to lock their doors. Even Brad and Melody follow his advice, Brad ditching her watering can in the process (it just would’ve slowed her down).

49-11-Valerie-Danny-JakeValerie is upset and tells them to get her bag. She wants to see “Benjamin”, so Danny sends her into the main lodge.

49-12-Ernst-ValerieMr. Ernst fell asleep at the desk, but Valerie’s approach awakens him. He momentarily ducks behind the desk in an attempt to hide but soon gives up. Buddy just ignores it all and continues sorting the mail. Hehe.

Anyway, Valerie wants to rent a room and use the phone. She wants to call her parents in El Paso and tell them that she’s coming home.

49-13-paper-towelsMr. Ernst gives Valerie some…yellow (desert-colored?) paper towels and tells Buddy to get a mop (seriously). He asks Valerie what’s wrong. He asks about Karl and Lonnie. Valerie says they’re off having their electro-shock therapy and “havin’ a wonderful time”.

49-14-Valerie-gunThe problem is her two-timing husband, Vic. They got a guest last week named Betty Lou Melman – Miss Farm Equipment, 1967, and Vic’s old girlfriend when he drove a combine. Vic started acting “all squishy-squashy” and gave her a discount. He also delivered room service, which they don’t offer. Valerie decides Vic can have “Miss Tractor Wheels”, but it will cost him “big time”. Mr. Ernst tries to calm her down, even visually referencing the famous 1967 photograph, Flower Power. They’re full, but Mr. Ernst says Valerie can bunk with the girls (without even asking them first).

49-15-girls-doorThey react as you’d expect.

Mr. Ernst and the girls argue over it for a bit, and then Valerie just barges into the girls’ bunk house. The girls run away. Mr. Ernst admonishes them and brings up the “Code of the West”, which is a callback to “They’re Back” (season 4, episode 01).

49-16-Ernst-ValerieMr. Ernst and Valerie chat for a bit, and Brad returns for no apparent reason except to roll her eyes. Valerie learns Mr. Ernst is divorced. I swear Valerie says “Oh, hell”, which is kind of surprising. After Valerie goes into their room, Brad and Melody try to get Mr. Ernst to change his mind, but he won’t have it. Brad and Melody give out successive, frustrated groans.

49-17-Valerie-cookiesAs Mr. Ernst helps bring Valerie’s stuff in (notably, one of her bags has “U.S. Army” written on it), she starts crying, because she found some “buffalo brownies” that she’d baked for…Vic, I think. She offers them to Mr. Ernst and the girls. Melody tries to discourage Mr. Ernst from trying one, but he ends up liking it – until Valerie reveals they’re made with real buffalo chips. Valerie’s mother always said the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Valerie starts feeling Mr. Ernst up, so he quickly excuses himself and leaves the girls to fend for themselves against a lovestruck Vleck.

Nice unicorn poster on the wall. I’m guessing it’s Melody’s. She seems like the happy-go-lucky, unicorns-shitting-out-rainbows type.

49-18-Ernst-garglesThat evening, Mr. Ernst is in his office, gargling. Interesting. Does he plan to spit it out the window? Does he keep a bottle of mouthwash in his office for when he really needs to gargle? If so, then why was he so surprised at Jake’s explanation in last week’s episode that Danny was gargling?

There’s a loud knock at his door, and Mr. Ernst invites the person in.

49-19-Valerie-door49-20-Ernst-spitsAh, that was the purpose of the gargling: a visual gag.

49-21-Valerie-ErnstValerie flirts with Mr. Ernst. Mr. Ernst sneezes at the smell of her perfume, Hay Fever – made with real pollen. It’s imported. It gives Vic hives.

49-22-Valerie-Ernst-249-23-Danny-Valerie-ErnstDanny comes by just in time with the receipts from dinner. He also mentions he saw Vic drive up.

49-24-Vic-doorPaul Secrest returns for his third of three appearances as Vic Vleck (and fourth of four overall appearances on “Hey Dude”).

There’s some sound like a power tool during this shot. I don’t think it’s meant to be part of the score. Weird.

Let’s see. Mr. Ernst wants Valerie and Vic to talk this out. Valerie wants to profess her love for Mr. Ernst to Vic’s face. Vic has flowers for his wife and wants his “buddy” to let him in. How many sitcom tropes is this episode fulfilling?

49-25-Vic-ErnstMr. Ernst sends Valerie out another door, and then he opens the door before Vic can “karate chop this sucker down”. Vic questions Mr. Ernst about Valerie, and Mr. Ernst suggests they don’t see each other for now.

49-26-Vic-Ernst-2Vic talks to “Ben, old pal” for a while. Paul Secrest stumbles over the…unique phrase, “sidewinder in a sandstorm”. Vic theorizes Valerie’s been planning this all along and left him for another man. Mr. Ernst gets nervous. Vic asks Mr. Ernst to talk to her and find out who it is.

49-27-Vic-machete“Just give me a name, and I’ll take care of the rest.”

49-28-Valerie-girlsAfter the commercial break (which comes a bit early in this episode), it’s a girls’ night in. Brad brings by a bowl of popcorn for Melody, but Valerie immediately snatches it away.

Okay, I have a question that’s been bugging me. Multiple questions, actually. Where do the teens get snacks for their rooms? Did Brad have to walk to the kitchen in her pajamas and pop that popcorn herself? What if they have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night? Do they have to go and use a public restroom elsewhere on the ranch? Or is there an unseen restroom attached to the bunkhouses (accessed by an unseen door on one of the walls)?

Anyway, the girls ask Valerie what marriage is like, and Valerie says it’s like a demolition derby.

49-29-Valerie-pissed49-30-Brad-scared49-31-Melody-scared49-32-Melody-comforts-ValerieAfter the girls shit their jammies, Melody tries to comfort Valerie, and Brad is a frightened little girl. Brad gets a funny line in.

49-33-Valerie-guitarValerie and the girls discuss Vic and Mr. Ernst for a while, and then Valerie goes to serenade Mr. Ernst. The girls are “concerned” but stay in their room with their popcorn instead of doing anything about it (which is the best decision that they can make when a Vleck is involved).

49-34-Ernst-VicMr. Ernst, Danny, and Jake (who’s still wearing his jacket for some reason) are keeping Vic company in the main lodge. Vic pulls out a grenade.

49-35-Danny-Jake49-36-Vic-smokesHa. “Ben, old pal” declines Vic’s offer of a smoke. Danny lectures Vic about the dangers of smoking, but Vic doesn’t care. Jake tries to analyze Vic and Valerie’s marriage trouble. It turns out that Vic had given Betty Lou the discount, because she had fallen on hard times. He has no interest in this “hamburger”, because he has a “juicy fillet mignon”. Much to Mr. Ernst’s horror, Jake suggests Valerie is seeing someone else. Vic is aware of the possibility and asks Mr. Ernst about it. Mr. Ernst feigns cluelessness. Mr. Ernst is momentarily frightened when Vic seems to think Valerie is seeing him, but Vic simply wants Mr. Ernst to talk to Valerie about it (which he had already asked him to do, so this conversation makes no sense and serves no purpose other than to create a momentary misunderstanding). Mr. Ernst agrees to talk to Valerie instead of letting Vic do it. Mr. Ernst has Jake and Danny keep Vic detained entertained. Jake tries to do dream work on Vic, and Vic just blows cigar smoke in his face.

49-37-Ernst-deskMr. Ernst goes into his office and decides to ignore the problem and do some bookkeeping, but Valerie shows up outside his window and serenades her “sweet dork from New York”. What took her so long?

49-38-Valerie-guitarI’ll just let the next few screencaps speak for themselves:

49-39-Valerie-kisses-Ernst49-40-Vic-guys49-41-Ernst-lipstick49-42-Vic-fingers-Ernst49-43-Vic-shocked49-44-Valerie-swingsFor some reason, Mr. Ernst can’t explain the situation to Vic, so he tries to convince him that it’s all a dream. Vic doesn’t buy it.

49-45-Vic-challenges-ErnstHe challenges Mr. Ernst to a duel at dawn and offers him the choice of machetes or guns (he has plenty of both, probably for when “them Rooskies invade”). Mr. Ernst unintentionally agrees to machetes.

49-46-Vic-machete-deskVic offers Mr. Ernst the use of his machete, because he has “a whole crate of ’em” at home.

49-47-Ernst-sneaksSo, of course, Mr. Ernst’s solution is to sneak out, presumably abandoning the Bar None forever.

49-48-Ernst-ValerieValerie catches him, though, upset that he’s not going to fight for her. Mr. Ernst claims he’s a Quaker and not allowed to fight. He also claims he’s visiting a cousin in Venezuela that he hasn’t seen in years. Valerie doesn’t fall for it and is upset.

49-49-Ernst-VicOhshitohshitohshitohshit

Mr. Ernst says dawn isn’t for another twenty minutes and invites the two of them to try out his new cappuccino maker that he just got in. He also wants to call a few “friends” over (police, S.W.A.T., etc.), but Vic declares Mr. Ernst won, because it’s what Valerie wants.

I just want to point out the large number of bugs (and probably even bats) that appear in the indoor scenes in this episode. Well, I guess it’s authentic. If you’re running a dude ranch in Arizona and have the windows open, a whole bunch of stuff’s gonna get in. I just never noticed so much of it before.

Vic says goodbye to “Sugar Babe”. Mr. Ernst tries to tell Valerie that he’s not interested in her, which upsets Vic. Mr. Ernst suggests they see a counselor, but Vic “don’t go in for that namby-pamby stuff”.

49-50-Valerie-Ernst-Vic-windowValerie’s interested, but she wonders where they’re gonna find a “psycha-ologist” to come out to the middle of fucking nowhere in the middle of the fucking night.

49-51-Doctor-JakeThe pre-credits scene at the end (which comes very early in this episode) has Jake creating a “stress-free zone” for Valerie and Vic (while wearing flowers) to have some “straight talk”. I can’t tell if this is supposed to reference Woodstock or New Age spirituality or what. (And I’m a Wiccan, but this definitely seems a bit “Hollywood” to me.) Mr. Ernst’s presence is required for some reason. We learn Vic’s name is actually Victor.

49-52-Valerie-Vic-noseTalking doesn’t help. That leaves one alternative:

49-53-Valerie-Vic-batsFoam bat combat!

Jake excuses Mr. Ernst, but he wants to stay and watch.

49-54-Valerie-bats-Vic49-55-Vic-bats-Valerie49-56-Valerie-bats-Vic-249-57-Valerie-bats-Ernst49-58-Vic-bats-Ernst49-59-Vlecks-bat-Jake49-60-Vlecks-bat-ErnstBad idea.

49-61-Vlecks-hugVic and Valerie make up. Valerie suggests they go home, and she’ll cook him up “a mess o’ sizzlin’ Snake Eyes Stew”. Vic likes it greasy. He eagerly accepts, and they walk off. Jake congratulates them and says he’s glad that he could be of some help.

49-62-Jake-ErnstJake briefly checks on his uncle, checks to make sure that no one’s around, and then just fucking leaves. Dick.

Shortly into the closing credits, you can hear what sounds like a voice. Maybe it’s one of Mr. Ernst’s moans. It’s kinda weird.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty funny. I’m not sure which is the funniest of the Vleck episodes, but this is right up there. I’m kinda gonna miss them. What the fuck was up with that Elvis statue, though?

Did you notice how disjointed that the cast was, though? Melody was barely in any scenes. Brad was in even less. Buddy was relegated to silent cameos. Lucy and Kyle didn’t appear at all.

Y’know, those two are often missing from the same episodes. I guess Lucy is keeping Kyle in line by giving him riding lessons…buck-ass naked.

Countdown to the Third Coming of Ted: 1

Season 4, Episode 09: Do the Right Thing

Writer: Steven Roth & Deanne Roth
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: November 2, 1990

48-01-Jodie-BettyIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst is handing out ribbons to the staff members for providing excellent guest service. Jodie got a blue ribbon, and Betty got a pink ribbon. For what? Who knows? The episode doesn’t tell us, and it’s really not clear at all how this ribbon system works (nor, for that matter, what use that the ribbons have nor when this program started). Do they trade them in for a prize? Are they expected to wear them? Betty seems to try to pin her ribbon on before seemingly giving up.

48-02-BuddyBuddy gets two green ribbons for…something. This is more evidence that he’s officially an employee now. Y’know, how that came about might have made for an interesting story.

48-03-BradBrad gets one pink ribbon and two blue ribbons for organizing a senior citizen rodeo. Brad…organized…a rodeo? Um, well, I’d like to think she did it her way, because this seems like a massive change of heart after her argument in “Stick Around” (season 3, episode 13).

48-04-DannyMr. Ernst calls Danny out of order (Melody doesn’t seem to care) to present him with three green ribbons, a blue ribbon, and a pink ribbon for an “outstanding cacti tour and lizard safari”. Sounds riveting. Also, check out Brad and Jodie comparing ribbons like “These are really somethin’, huh?”

48-05-MelodyMelody gets four yellow ribbons and three blue ribbons for “her courageous Boy Scout mouth-to-mouth resuscitation demonstration”.

……

I don’t wanna fucking know.

In case you were wondering, Lucy and Kyle don’t get ribbons, because they didn’t bother showing up for the episode ceremony.

48-06-winner“This week’s winner with fifteen ribbons” is Jake.

48-07-Jake-kids48-08-Ernst-impressedAfter seeing Jake’s enthusiasm, Mr. Ernst decides to give Jake another ribbon.

48-09-horse-lodgeHe changes his mind when he learns Jake was holding riding lessons in the main lodge. Such initiative is not ribbon-worthy.

48-10-Ernst-yellsIn a rare move, the cold open has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the episode. Hooray.

48-11-Buddy-cameraAfter the credits, Buddy is bugging the others by taking pictures, because his career goal of the week is photojournalist.

48-12-photo-MelodyMelody doesn’t want Buddy to take her picture.

48-13-photo-Brad48-14-photo-DannyBrad and Danny physically threaten Buddy – to no effect.

48-15-Buddy-photosJake arrives with express mail for Buddy. They’re pictures that Buddy took at night with infrared film.

48-16-girls-impressedThe girls are “impressed”. Well, okay, Melody is. Brad doesn’t give a shit.

48-17-Jake-surprisedAmong the photos of the lake, Jake makes an amazing discovery: a “black thing on the lake”, which Jake interprets as a “major unknown phenomenon”: a lake monster.

48-18-girls-laughThe girls laugh it off, and Danny makes fun of it. We learn Brad doesn’t believe in Bigfoot or Elvis being alive.

Jake names his discovery “the Ernstness Monster” and brings “adventure” into Buddy’s life by drafting him as his assistant to search for the monster. This is, quite possibly, the lamest “overreaction” plot so far.

48-19-workLater, while Danny hays around in the corral, Jake reminds Buddy of the “dangerous work” that they’re about to undertake. The girls are like “Chores, assholes!” Jake and Buddy are like “Fuck that shit! We’re gonna be famous for sciencey shit!” Jake also stops Brad from touching some of his equipment. Props to the writer for having Melody refer to the lake as Lake Benjamin, which she had previously called it in “Melody’s Brother” (season 3, episode 11).

As Jake and Buddy go off on their quest for glory, Brad says something that I can’t understand (because Jake’s talking to Buddy). She’s probably making fun of them. While I’d be interested in knowing that she said, in real life, you don’t always hear everything that people say.

48-20-Fenton SmithOver four minutes into the episode (including the theme song), we finally get to the main plot. Mr. Ernst introduces Danny and the girls to this Indiana Jones wannabe, Fenton Smith – amidst a whole lot of banter.

48-21-annoyedMy reaction exactly. Let’s get to the fucking plot, shall we?

Fenton Smith is played by Mark Lang. This is his second of two appearances. You might recognize him as the pilot/robber in “Crash Landing” (season 2, episode 05):

18-19-pilot-ErnstAnyway, Fenton is an archaeologist, which impresses the teens. He’s here to study the Indians of the Southwest. Fenton told Mr. Ernst, if anything of value is discovered, it’d be good for the Bar None, bringing in tourists.

The teens (well, mostly Melody) offer to help. Mr. Ernst brings up Fenton’s interest in a private horse tour of the ranch, and Danny immediately volunteers, which Mr. Ernst was hoping for. Fenton suggests an hour from now, and Danny agrees. Mr. Ernst carries Fenton’s luggage for him. Why did Fenton bring his luggage out to the corral, anyway? Presumably, he already checked in. Why didn’t he drop his luggage off in his room first? Oh, right, so we could see Mr. Ernst struggling to carry it.

48-22-girls-excitedThe girls are excited for Danny. Melody (the white, blonde girl) even says “I guess heritage has its privileges.” She congratulates the “lucky dog”, and so does Brad.

48-23-Fenton-Danny-rideLater, Danny and Fenton are out riding, and Danny shows him a place that the Indians call…some word that I can’t understand, so I’m not going to attempt to spell it. Danny says it means “deposits of new soil”. He never brought anyone here before and is a bit weirded out by it. The two of them talk for a bit about archaeology. Fenton references “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. They dismount, and Fenton starts looking around. He finds arrowheads and a soda can. He tosses the soda can right after Danny says it was left by someone with no respect for the land, which upsets Danny. Danny goes to pick up the soda can and finds…

48-24-boneFenton identifies it as a human bone.

48-25-skeletonFenton uncovers a burial cist. Danny declines Fenton’s offer of getting some hands-on experience. Fenton says the remains belonged to a young, very skilled warrior about Danny’s age. Danny nervously says they should be leaving, because it’s getting kinda late. Fenton agrees and decides they’re gonna pack up the remains and take them back with them. Danny is surprised and suggests leaving it where it is. Fenton won’t have it and seems to think Danny is expressing legal concerns. It seems Fenton has had enough of the bureaucracy involved in searching on government land, but this is Mr. Ernst’s land. After getting lukewarm support from Danny, Fenton brings up Indiana Jones again and gets to work.

48-26-Melody-registerThrough the magic of a scene fade, an Indian Artifacts Exhibit has been set up in the main lodge. Melody is selling the tickets.

48-27-Brad-lineBrad is in charge of the line.

48-28-Brad-guestA guest argues with Brad over the age of the artifacts (his source being Melody). Brad gets a good line in: “Fortunately for me, no one really knows.”

The “male guest” is played by David Bukunus. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.

They’re getting backed up, so Melody has Brad hurry the fuck up. Brad puts an end to questions.

48-29-Danny-BradDanny comes by, surprised at what’s going on. Apparently, he’s somehow managed to remain uninformed during the discussion and set-up of this exhibit. Brad introduces him to applause.

48-30-woman-cameraA dumb bitch says “He looks like an Indian himseeelf!” Joe Torres is Mexican, I think, and it’s unclear whether he actually has any Hopi in him or not.

48-31-Danny-Brad-poseDanny gets his picture taken without his consent for the second time in this episode, and Brad gets in on the action, much like Ted did in “Our Little Champion” (season 2, episode 03):

16-21-Melody-pictureMelody comes over and excitedly informs Danny and Brad that Fenton’s entire excavation crew is coming in for the next three months. Brad is excited, but Danny’s upset.

48-32-Jake-BuddyJake and Buddy come by to further the subplot. Jake’s plan is to lure “him” to the top, grab him with the net, and scoop him up. We learn Jake watches Jacques Cousteau. Jake has not only the monster’s sex but also its weight pinned down: three tons.

48-33-Ernst-IndyFor fuck’s sake…

Mr. Ernst is giving (selling?) his autograph to kids and advising them of possible future value. I’m sure that he’s also letting them believe he had more to do with finding the artifacts than he really did. He starts talking himself up…to himself.

48-34-Ernst-whipsHe then cracks his whip and…hurts himself, I guess.

48-35-guestA guest says “Good for you, young man.” I can’t tell if she’s reacting to his self praise or his injury. (My mom often says “Good for you” when something unfortunate happens to someone that she doesn’t like, and I’m not sure if this is a legit English phrase or not.)

The “woman guests” are played by Joan Sharp Henning and Bobby Joyce Smith. This is their second of two appearances. You might recognize them as the grandmothers in “Sewn at the Hip” (season 3, episode 05):

31-32-grandmothers48-36-Ernst-Danny-FentonFenton comes by to talk to Mr. Ernst about having the excavation area sealed off to prevent sightseers from stealing shit. Mr. Ernst agrees. Danny butts in and asks Mr. Ernst about returning the Indian bones to the burial ground. Mr. Ernst is incredulous. Fenton shuts down the discussion right away. The artifacts are worth a shit-ton of money, and Fenton wants to sell them to museums and private collectors. Mr. Ernst is interested.

The girls come by, excited. Melody calls Danny a “hero”. Danny calls what Fenton is doing “grave robbing” and walks away. The girls are confused, look at each other, and shrug. How clueless can they be?

48-37-Jake-BuddyAfter the commercial break, more of the subplot. The net didn’t work. Jake plans to feed the lake monster “big, fat trout”, which they’ll catch with “bug sandwiches”. He then throws a half-loaf of bread into the lake. Whaaa…?

Jake hears a recurring “ping” on his equipment (where/how the fuck did he get all of this shit, anyway?) and guesses the lake monster wants to communicate. There’s some “scary” Jaws-esque background score going on in an attempt to make this scene interesting. It fails.

48-38-Danny-rowsIt turns out that it’s just Danny paddling.

Jake can tell something’s bothering Danny, but Danny says he wouldn’t understand, he doesn’t want to talk about it, and he has to work it out for himself. Jake and Buddy go to get “more equipment”, despite the fact that Jake just said they’ll resort to plan c after lunch.

48-39-moon48-40-Danny-skeletonThat night (on something other than the full moon!), Danny sneaks into the main lodge (it’s not locked?!) and talks to the skeleton.

48-41-Danny-bowHe also plays with the guy’s bow. Jake observes and then talks with Danny, promising to keep quiet about this. Danny asks Jake about the hunt. Jake’s new plan is to take the air molecules out of the water. Jake and Danny then discuss Danny’s dilemma (I guess Jake had learned about it off screen). Jake leaves Danny alone to figure it out.

48-42-Danny-skeleton-2The scene fades out, which is unusual when not going to a commercial break.

48-43-Ernst-FentonThe next morning, Mr. Ernst is frantic, and Fenton is upset.

48-44-gangMost of the gang comes by, and Mr. Ernst interrogates them, but they’re of no help. Jake mentions he saw Mr. Ernst raiding the refrigerator in his Garfield pajamas. Mr. Ernst asks where Danny is. Brad says he didn’t show up for breakfast duty. Buddy says he hasn’t seen him since yesterday. Fenton believes Danny stole the skeleton and artifacts. Jake tries to “remind” Brad that he and Danny switched schedules: Danny did the raking while Jake did the dishes, because Danny was getting “dishpan hands”. A hit from Melody gets Brad to play along. Buddy adds he saw Danny raking. Fenton asks for Danny’s current location. Melody, Brad, and Jake give conflicting replies, Jake’s being the weirdest: he’s gargling.

48-45-Melody-headacheI feel ya, Mel.

Fenton tells Mr. Ernst to get the artifacts back and deal with the culprit. If it’s one of the guests, call the police (this surprises Mr. Ernst for some reason). If it’s one of the staff, fire him. Fenton makes it clear that he knows (or at least strongly suspects) who it is.

48-46-gangAfter a search, they have no luck finding Danny, and one of the horses is gone as well. They brainstorm explanations other than what they’re all thinking. Buddy suggests Danny fell into the lake and was eaten by the Ernstness Monster. Brad shoves Buddy and basically calls him stupid. She cuts through the bullshit (it only makes them feel better; it’s not dealing with reality) and, to Melody’s shock, admits she thinks Danny’s the culprit. Brad tries to convince Melody, bringing up that Danny was so upset that he wouldn’t even come to dinner last night. Melody asks Buddy if Mr. Ernst would fire Danny. Buddy doesn’t think so, but Brad isn’t sure.

48-47-Danny-arrivesDanny arrives. They question him, but he doesn’t reply.

48-48-Danny-ErnstMr. Ernst confront Danny, who readily admits everything. Melody says that’s stealing, and Danny agrees with her, which seems to contradict his earlier position. Brad suggests bringing everything back. Danny and Mr. Ernst debate archaeology. Melody sides with Mr. Ernst. Danny hypothesizes someone digging up Mr. Ernst’s Aunt Martha at Forest Lawn. There are a few Forest Lawn Cemeteries and Forest Lawn Memorial Parks. The one that makes the most sense is the one in Buffalo, New York. But how the fuck does Danny know about Mr. Ernst’s Aunt Martha and where she’s buried? Mr. Ernst is shocked and troubled by this (Danny’s suggestion, not his knowledge). He says his Aunt Martha baked “the best mulberry pie in Bergen County” (which is in New Jersey). Mr. Ernst seems to get what Danny’s saying. Danny says he’ll pack his bags, but Melody says no one’s fired him yet. Danny says it’s doesn’t matter; he can’t work here knowing Mr. Ernst allowed Fenton to dig up his ancestors. Brad tells Mr. Ernst that he has to do something.

Fenton arrives and accuses Danny. He also offers Mr. Ernst the contract to sign and entices him with money.

48-49-Ernst-Fenton-DannyMr. Ernst turns down the offer, much to Fenton’s bewilderment. Fenton says he hopes Danny’s proud of himself, and Danny says he only did what he had to do.

The girls and Jake compliment Mr. Ernst. Mr. Ernst tells Danny that stealing is wrong, but he admires his courage. Danny says he admires Mr. Ernst. As they leave, there’s some bad ADR where Melody says “Come on, Dan, let’s go. This is great.” She’s grinning at the time and obviously not talking.

Mr. Ernst gets sad over the stuff that he’s lost. Waaah, cry me a river.

48-50-Jake-BuddyThe pre-credits scene at the end, on another day, has the resolution of the stupid “lake monster” subplot. Jake wants Buddy to be a “good little sardine” and scuba dive.

48-51-girls-photosThe girls arrive. They blew up Buddy’s pictures of the “lake monster”, which is far more help than I would have offered them (which is none). The “lake monster” is nothing more than Buddy’s finger in front of the lens.

48-52-Melody-cacklesMelody cackles in glee.

Jake and Buddy argue about it. Jake insinuates Buddy picks his nose.

48-53-Jake-shoves-Buddy48-54-Jake-Buddy-lakeJake shoves Buddy into the lake but holds onto the life preserver while Buddy holds onto the rope and gets pulled into the lake as well. Ha. The girls yuck it up. Jake and Buddy get into a fight in the water.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty nice, but the girls and Mr. Ernst seemed to not care about or understand Danny’s feelings at all until the end. It was nice how most of the gang tried to come up with excuses for Danny – with Brad providing the contrast of brutal honesty.

Countdown to the Third Coming of Ted: 2

Season 4, Episode 08: Return of Ted

Writer: Graham Yost
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: October 26, 1990

47-01-setting-upIn the cold open, Danny and Kyle are setting up for a video that Mr. Ernst is going to tape.

47-02-Ernst-BuddyMr. Ernst wants Buddy to perform a dangerous stunt on tape, which he’ll submit to “Hilarious Home Videos”. I’m not sure why they don’t say “America’s Funniest Home Videos”. Maybe because of the way that they’re portraying one of the entries? Anyway, I like to think “Hilarious Home Videos” is some shitty, local knock-off that aired on a low-powered, independent Tucson station.

Regardless, what Mr. Ernst is doing is dangerous, which would probably result in disqualification and arrest. Buddy doesn’t want to do it, but his dad talks him into it.

47-03-stunt-cameraMr. Ernst says “Action!” like he does in “The Good, the Bad, & the Obnoxious” (season 1, episode 08). Nice touch.

Mr. Ernst accidentally stops the recording and complains the Stop button is right next to the Zoom button. He calls for a reshoot. They can’t find Buddy.

47-04-Buddy-treeHow in the actual fuck did that happen?

Buddy is upset at his dad, but Mr. Ernst gets the “great shot” of his son in the tree.

There’s a weird click/static sound as Buddy calls for Kyle and Danny to get him down.

47-05-guys-watchedAfter the credits, a POV shot and funny spy music let us know the guys are being secretly followed.

Mr. Ernst and Buddy debate Mr. Ernst’s reckless quest for $10,000. Mr. Ernst suddenly feels the stalker’s presence. Danny brings up government conspiracy theories in a mocking manner. Mr. Ernst dismisses the feeling.

47-06-stalker-runsThe stalker slams a gate shut, and Mr. Ernst spots him but is unable to get him to stop (admittedly, he and the others make a half-assed attempt).

47-07-Melody-novelLater, at the girls’ bunk house, Melody is reading a novel. Try as I might, I couldn’t read the author’s name, so I couldn’t look it up to see if it’s a real novel.

47-08-Brad-laundryBrad comes by with her laundry, Melody screams, and Brad gets startled (delayed reaction) and tosses her laundry.

Brad is upset that Melody reads scary novels, because she always screams. Does anyone ever scream while reading? Hell, I don’t scream when I’m watching a scary movie.

47-09-Melody-readsMelody insists on reading a scary passage to Brad. The return of the spy music and POV shot let us know they’re being observed.

47-10-stalkerBrad gets fed up and, after some playful roughhousing, tosses Melody’s book out the window, hitting the stalker, who leaves, not giving the girls a good look at him. The girls wonder who he is and what he was doing here.

47-11-guysLater, at the boys’ bunk house, the guys (sans Kyle) discuss the stalker.

47-12-guys-watchedCue music and POV shot.

Jake spots the stalker and alerts the others. He pretends they’re returning to work after lunch. Danny plays along, but Buddy says they’ve still got ten minutes left. Danny drags him away. So Buddy’s officially an employee, it seems.

47-13-TedSon of a cock, it’s Ted! I never would have guessed!

Okay, seriously, if I had watched this new back in the day, I wouldn’t have guessed Ted would be back after an absence of six months and six days. However, today, we knew he was coming back, and we knew the episode titles. I don’t remember what my reaction to this episode was back in the day; it’s possible that I’d already seen later episodes and was watching the show daily, so Ted’s departure and return didn’t have a big impact on me.

47-14-Jake-jumpsJake, who had been “hiding”, jumps Ted.

47-15-Jake-Ted“Who the fuck are you?”
“Who the fuck are you?”

47-16-reunionDanny and Buddy return and are happy to see Ted. Jake brings up the events of “Ted and Brad Get Handcuffed” (season 1, episode 10) and “Suspicion” (season 1, episode 11), which he’d been told about. Danny makes the introductions.

Buddy asks Ted what he’s doing here. Ted says he came back to see his “old pals”. Jake’s stuff is on Ted’s old bunk, so it seems, contrary to what we saw in the previous episode, Jake sleeps on the bottom, and Danny still sleeps on the top. Or maybe they just switch sometimes. Whatever.

47-17-Ted-drumsTed spots and tries out the tubs, which I guess have been sitting in the corner this entire time. Jake tells him to get the fuck away. Ted makes fun of the “tubs” name.

47-18-Jake-drumsJake shows Ted how it’s done.

Buddy brings up summer school. Ted bullshits a story about the school being closed for a few days due to a fire from a kiln explosion (the same excuse that was used for the Masked Marauder in “Killer Ernst” (season 3, episode 10)). Despite Ted obviously making this up as he goes along, they seem to buy it.

Ted asks about the new bunk, and Jake and Buddy inform him of Kyle. Ted is upset at all of the newness around here and asks for more info. There seems to be a slight camera shake as Danny answers.

Danny and Jake bring up the events of “Superstition” (season 3, episode 06), and props to the writer for remembering seasons 3 and 4 are the same summer, because Jake mentions he’ll be in the “Brainbusters” teen tournament next spring.

Buddy says “Snare drum.”

47-19-Jake-howlsGreat, just what we needed: a reference to the subplot of “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (season 3, episode 09).

Danny, Jake, and Buddy go back to work. Ted asks Danny where Brad is. Danny says either the corral or the lodge (where she would be filling out worksheets). Apparently, filling out worksheets was Ted’s old job, even though it’s never been mentioned before. Ted’s upset at this but is looking forward to seeing Brad.

47-20-Ted-surprisesLater, Ted spots Brad going into the hay shack (and closing the door for some reason). Ted opens the door and yells “Surprise!”

47-21-Ted-hayBrad’s like “Hay, dude.”

This is possibly a callback to “Loose Lips” (season 2, episode 01), even though it was Danny that threw the hay that time.

47-22-Brad-rushes-TedBrad comes out and basically threatens to stab Ted so many times that he’ll bleed to death.

47-23-Ted-ropedKyle then ropes Ted and pulls him to the ground.

47-24-Ted-KyleTed asks who “John Wayne” is.

47-25-Brad-Ted-KyleBrad admonishes Kyle, helps Ted up, and cleans him up. Kyle references “Suspicion”, which he’d been told about. For all of the talk that the old teens have made about Ted to the new teens, we didn’t hear any of it, because Ted hasn’t been mentioned since the episode after he left.

Kyle apologizes for the “rude interduction” and flirts with Brad. Brad shuts him down. Kyle leaves, and Ted gets a funny line in (which I won’t spoil).

47-26-Brad-TedBrad kinda sorta flirts with Ted but has to get back to work. No kiss. She asks about summer school. Ted bullshits the school closing for a few days due to a toxic waste spill. Ted’s explanation is shown from Brad’s perspective, which makes me wonder if Kelly Brown was not there for this shot and simply ADRed her lines later. I’m not saying that’s the case, but it does seem a bit weird.

47-27-Ted-ideaTed has the idea to go and see Melody.

47-28-Melody-kidsMelody had taken some (uncredited) kids out on the lake and plans to take them again tomorrow.

Ted sneaks up behind Melody and scares her.

47-29-Melody-knocks-TedBad idea.

This is possibly a callback to “Inmates Run the Asylum” (season 3, episode 01).

47-30-Ted-wetMelody asks Ted what he’s doing here. Ted bullshits an explanation about the school being closed for a few days due to a gas leak. Goddess, couldn’t Ted have stuck to one story? For that matter, why didn’t he have his cover story ready before he got here?

Mr. Ernst arrives. Ted gets Melody to keep quiet about him (claiming he wants to surprise Mr. Ernst) and hides.

47-31-Melody-ErnstMr. Ernst asks Melody about Ted, because he just got a disturbing phone call from his parents; they haven’t seen him in several days and don’t know where he is. Melody keeps quiet. Mr. Ernst leaves. Ted surfaces, and Melody’s upset at him.

47-32-Ted-MelodyAfter the commercial break (which comes early in this episode), Melody questions Ted, but Ted is evasive.

47-33-Ted-towelMr. Ernst arrives. Ted covers himself and allows Mr. Ernst to think he’s Danny. When Mr. Ernst points out that “Danny” is all wet, Melody bullshits he’s breaking in his clothes (callback to the series premiere). Mr. Ernst waxes nostalgic about it, seemingly never learning the “breaking in your clothes” thing was bullshit, and Melody offers to let Mr. Ernst throw dirt on “Danny”. Ted, imitating Danny, says “Oh, no” like Danny did in the series premiere. He excuses himself and quickly leaves.

47-34-Ted-fallsThere’s a cute background detail where Ted walks into the ramada and falls over. Melody quickly excuses herself and goes after “Danny”, who briefly takes off the towel (fortunately, not as Mr. Ernst was looking).

Mr. Ernst calls Buddy out.

47-35-Buddy-costume47-36-Buddy-bikeMr. Ernst’s plan is for Buddy to ride around on his bike while wearing this stupid costume.

47-37-Ernst-dirts-DannyMr. Ernst “helps” Danny break in his pants.

47-38-Danny-dirts-ErnstDanny returns the favor.

Anyway, Buddy crashes into an unseen phone pole. Ha.

47-39-old-gangThe old gang meets up at the lake and compares Ted’s cover stories. Ted bullshits some more, claiming he wrecked his parents’ car and ran away out of fear. Danny mentions Ted doesn’t have a driver’s license (first revealed in “Datenite” (season 3, episode 03)). This is news to Melody, even though she was the one that originally said Ted doesn’t drive. Despite this and the holes in Ted’s story (listen for Brad to make an off-camera comment and look for Melody to react to it), he gets them to accept it. Melody tells Ted to call his parents to let them know he’s okay. Danny agrees. Brad tells Ted that he doesn’t have to let them know where he is. Ted agrees but wants to lay low for a couple days. He gets them to not tell Mr. Ernst that he’s here. They wonder how to get Ted past Mr. Ernst. Buddy puts the chicken head back on. Why’s he even wearing the costume at all still?

47-40-Ted-trunkThe girls check to make sure that the main lodge is clear. Danny and Jake wheel Ted into the lodge in a trunk. Even Jake says this is too weird. So it seems the only phones are in the main lodge, even though Mr. Ernst had previously mentioned phone lines running all over the ranch in “Loose Lips”.

47-41-Ted-phoneMelody dials Ted’s home phone number for him (I guess she knows it; does she call to chat between summers?), and he starts to talk to his mom.

Unfortunately, Mr. Ernst comes in, looking for Buddy, so Ted ducks behind the front desk. Mr. Ernst asks about the trunk, and Danny and Jake bullshit.

47-42-Ted-tickles-MelodyTed tickles Melody’s leg, because there’s no way that anything bad could come of it.

Brad says it’s her trunk, and she was going to mail Buddy to Alaska. Mr. Ernst “smell[s] guilt” and questions them. Noticing the phone is off the cradle, Mr. Ernst guesses the teens were making personal phone calls on the lodge phone. Well, how the fuck else are they supposed to make phone calls? We never see any phones in the bunk houses.

47-43-Ted-sneaks-outAnyway, Melody accepts full blame, distracting Mr. Ernst long enough for Ted to sneak upstairs (Mr. Ernst somehow doesn’t see or hear this). Melody brings up her love of Snow White and names the Seven “Dwarves”, which is possibly a callback to her time as the Answer Person in “Bar None Babysitter” (season 2, episode 11). She also brings up an unseen pay phone. She also claims she’s never won, and she’s always been the runner up.

Mr. Ernst apologizes and tries to get Melody to calm down. He takes her upstairs to get her aspirin and water, and Ted hops back down behind the front desk. He gets back in the trunk. Why not just go out the front door? It’s not like Mr. Ernst will see him. Anyway, Brad says “Let’s get outta here.”

47-44-meetingIn the boys’ bunk house, Danny asks Ted what he’s going to do, and Ted suggests staying here. Brad asks about school. Melody comes in and reveals she called his parents to let them know he’s okay, and she exposes his car cover story for the bullshit that it is. His parents thought she was a kidnapper calling about a ransom. Melody didn’t reveal Ted’s location but learned the real reason that he’s here. She gives Ted a choice, and Ted reveals he failed his summer school English Lit course; he has to take it over “next fall” (shouldn’t it be “this fall”?) – if he goes back. He rented a video of “Romeo and Juliet” instead of reading the play. Ted again brings up the idea of staying here. Brad again questions Ted about working at the Bar None as a career (as she had during their date in “Datenite”). Ted looks to Danny for support, but Danny suggests school. Buddy spots his dad coming, so Ted hides behind the door, which results in a bit of slapstick.

47-45-meeting-2Mr. Ernst knows Ted is here, because he just got off the phone with the FBI, who thought he’d been kidnapped. Ted reveals himself and, feeling unwelcome, decides to go home. The others want to go after him, but Mr. Ernst tells them to let him go.

47-46-Ted-walksLater, Ted is walking along the dusty road, and Mr. Ernst shows up in the yellow Jeep, which we last saw in “Secret Admirer” (season 4, episode 06). I guess the Bar None has four Jeeps (red, white, yellow, and green), which seems excessive.

47-47-Ted-ErnstMr. Ernst and Ted talk about Ted’s present and future and about change for a while, and I get the feeling that it applies to David Lascher as much as it does to Ted McGriff. Finally, Ted looks down at the actual watch that he’s actually wearing this time and says he missed his bus. He’ll be staying at the Bar None for one night. I guess this’ll give him enough time to get caught up on the unusual amount of things that have occurred since he left.

We then get to see Mr. Ernst drive Ted back toward the Bar None. I guess the series hasn’t figured out what to do with its extended running time yet.

Also, Mr. Ernst is a bad driver, although there really doesn’t seem to be a joke.

47-48-gangThe pre-credits scene at the end, on the next day, has the gang seeing Ted off. Danny gives Ted a copy of “Romeo and Juliet”, which he’ll read on the plane.

47-49-McGrawThe truck driver, who Ted calls “Mr. McGraw”, is played by Sarge McGraw. This might as well be the same as his character, Homer, that he played in “New Kid on the Block” (season 3, episode 04). Interesting that the same guy brings Jake and takes Ted away.

47-50-Ernst-Ted-BuddyTed delays his departure to witness Mr. Ernst’s latest plan to record a stupid home video with Buddy. This involves Buddy falling in the water trough, which Buddy doesn’t want to do.

47-51-Ted-camera-1So “the master” does it instead.

47-52-Ted-camera-247-53-Ted-camera-347-54-Ted-camera-447-55-Ted-camera-547-56-gangEveryone congratulates Ted.

47-57-byeMr. Ernst and Ted thank each other, and Ted rides off to waves and cheers.

It’s too bad that we don’t get another Brad/Ted kiss, but Brad does get the final line of the episode as it fades to the closing credits: “Safe trip! Bye, Ted!”

47-58-Ted-wavesSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was nice. A one-word description would be “nostalgic”. There are references to past episodes (both with Ted and without Ted).

But what, exactly, was the point of this episode? It’s not a guest appearance as I’ve seen claimed, because they already put Lascher back in the opening credits way back in the season 3 finale (seventeen weeks earlier). I don’t think they’d do that if they (or Lascher) merely wanted to “try it out” first.

So this is the first of two returns of Ted (the second being permanent). Why? Ted already flunked summer school (although, before watching this episode again, I could have sworn he had simply skipped out on summer school and was convinced to go back and finish it). Why not just have him stay? Did Lascher have a scheduling conflict? Ted’s next return aired six weeks later. I wonder what the behind-the-scenes explanation was. Regardless, Graham Yost got to write two returns for Ted.

Countdown to the Third Coming of Ted: 3

Season 4, Episode 07: Lost in the Desert

Writer: Judy Spencer
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: October 19, 1990

46-01-gangIn the cold open, Jake and Danny are performing Three Stooges routines, and Melody loves it. Brad doesn’t care for the Stooges. Kyle doesn’t seem to have an opinion. They get into a debate over it. Melody’s brothers (plural) are brought up. It’s nice that Judy Spencer remembered she has two of them.

46-02-Brad-BuddyBuddy comes by, and Brad asks for his opinion on the Three Stooges.

46-03-Lucy-knocks-BuddyLucy opens the door, knocking Buddy over. Haha, a Stooge-like gag, get it? Danny and Jake proceed to have fun with this.

46-04-girlsAfter the credits, Melody has two guests sign in, and she and Brad continue to debate the Three Stooges. Brad claims she’ll laugh harder than anyone at any joke, but this really doesn’t sound like something that she’d do. I imagine her reactions would be a soft chuckle, stone-faced silence, or…

46-05-Lucy-girlsYeah, that. Brad asks Lucy for her opinion on the Three Stooges. Lucy is confused. Melody tells Lucy to ignore Brad.

46-06-Brad-kidsRealizing they’re over two minutes into the episode (including the theme song), Brad decides to get the main plot going. She’s been looking forward to taking seven Young Buckaroos on an overnight in the desert. This will be her first time.

The kids are played by Jason Allen, Katie Hansen, Treye Konrath, Katie Parker, Beah M. Williams, Pam Wolfe, and K.C. Yasmer. Jason Allen had a fairly sporadic acting career that lasted from 1987 to 2001 and totaled 11 credits. He also apparently is (or was) a Broadway actor. As for Katie Hansen, “Hey Dude” was her first of two acting gigs, and this is her first of two appearances. She’ll later appear in “Presumed Stupid” (the same episode that a few other of these kids will appear in, so keep that in mind). Her second acting gig came years later, playing a ballroom dancer in a short called “The Receipt” in 2005. As for Treye Konrath, Katie Parker, and Beah M. Williams, “Hey Dude” was their sole acting gig; Konrath and Williams will later appear in “Presumed Stupid”. As for Pam Wolfe, “Hey Dude” was her sole acting gig, but she later wrote and performed a song called “You Make It Hard To Say No” in a TV movie called “O. Henry’s Christmas” in 1996. As for K.C. Yasmer, “Hey Dude” was his first of two acting gigs (the second being the role of Luke in a 1992 episode of “The Young Riders” titled “The Road Not Taken”), and this is his first of two appearances (the second being “Presumed Stupid”).

46-07-Lucy-BradLucy fulfills her sole purpose in this episode by insisting Kyle go with her in order to control the kids. She’s speaking from personal experience. The kids “act up” while Lucy and Brad’s backs are turned, but it’s just general kiddy nonsense.

46-08-Jake-bagsJake takes the (uncredited) guests’ bags to their room, first asking Melody if she’s seen Buddy (she hasn’t). Jake is concerned about him.

46-09-Buddy-downCue Buddy falling down the stairs, protected by his padding. Buddy’s subplot in this episode is he’s bumping into stuff, because he hasn’t been sleeping, because he’s given up sleep, because it’s a waste of his time. Lucy tells them that the problem will resolve itself once Buddy falls asleep. Brad argues with Lucy about Kyle again, but Lucy gets Brad to think of Kyle as her “assistant”, which makes Brad happy.

46-10-Brad-Kyle-kidsOutside, Brad and Kyle are having trouble controlling the kids. Brad gets the kids to shut up and makes her authority known to Kyle, who doesn’t have a problem with it (to Brad’s surprise), because she has seniority and experience (the latter of which Brad admits she doesn’t have). Brad says she’s fully qualified, knowing first aid and CPR, which are possibly references to “The Competition” (season 1, episode 05) and “Fear” (season 4, episode 05), respectively. She also says she “read a book on fifty fun ways to have fun on a camping trip with kids”. As opposed to the fifty boring ways to have fun. Brad has the kids line up by size, which Kyle protests. Brad says “without order, we’d have chaos”. After that Sheldonesque statement and more arguing, they have the kids mount the horses alphabetically.

46-11-riding46-12-Kyle-campfireThat night, Kyle tells the kids about the first time that he went to see his dad at the rodeo. He was riding High Voltage, “the meanest bull in the whole state”. Brad chases after a girl named Jennifer, who keeps running, because Brad’s making her brush her teeth. To the kids’ annoyance, Brad has them form two lines in size order. Kyle comes to their rescue pisses Brad off by saying the kids can’t brush their teeth, because the toothpaste has no fluoride. Brad says her toothpaste does, plus it kills germs, freshens breath, “and has neat, little sparkle things in it”. Should we just call Brad the Sheldonian Candidate at this point?

Kyle and Brad get into an argument over whether the kids can have more s’mores or not. Brad cares about the kids’ teeth and doesn’t want to see them “gumming cheeseburgers for the rest of their lives”.

46-13-Brad-appleBrad offers a kid “a nice, juicy apple”, but he makes her drop it by claiming there’s a worm in it. The kids laugh, and even Kyle smiles at it.

46-14-Brad-JenniferJennifer has to go “to the bathroom”, so Brad takes her behind a cactus. While she’s gone, Kyle unleashes anarchy. The kids complain to Kyle about Brad.

46-15-Brad-Jennifer-2Brad and Jennifer return from the shortest bathroom break ever (I guess Jennifer has turbo turds), and Brad overhears what they’re saying.

46-16-bunksBack at the ranch, in the boys’ bunk house, Buddy’s obnoxious, loud alarm clocks (which he probably got from Vic Vleck) go off, waking everyone up. This is the first time that we’ve seen the inside of the boys’ bunk house since Buddy moved in (to say nothing of Kyle arriving). A new set of beds has been added. We also learn the sleeping arrangements. Danny has moved down to Ted’s old bed, Jake uses Danny’s old bed, and Buddy uses the top new bed, which means Kyle uses the bottom new bed.

Jake knocks an alarm clock off the bunk with a tennis racket (unfortunately, no screencap will do it justice), shutting it off.

46-17-BuddyOh, look, Buddy and Melody have similar musical tastes.

Buddy believes fifteen minutes of sleep is enough. Jake and Danny narrow the problem down to a movie that Buddy went to see on Tuesday night: “A Nightmare on Elm Street, Part Thirty-Something: Freddy Takes Over an Ad Agency”. No new entry in the franchise came out anywhere close to this time, so Buddy’s just being a smartass. Anyway, that’s Buddy’s problem: he’s scared of Freddy. They get into a ludicrous debate over dream world versus waking world and the possibility that Jake and Danny might be “evil pod people” like in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

46-18-Melody-awakeMelody was woken up as well, and Danny invites her in to participate in the stupid-ass subplot.

46-19-Brad-funBack at the campsite, Brad leads everyone in a rousing rendition of “Bingo”, which the kids aren’t impressed with. The kids want to spit, but Brad puts it off ’til later. One of the kids wants to burp “The Star-Spangled Banner”, but Brad rejects that as well. Brad asks for suggestions for a game. Someone (Jennifer, I think, although Brad touches another girl in response) suggests hide-and-seek. Brad likes it, but Kyle is concerned. Determined to prove she’s the fun one, Brad goes for it. She declares Kyle and herself to be it. Jennifer suggests playing it “like mommy and daddy play it with us”. Brad agrees.

46-20-Brad-Kyle-tiedThis involves Brad and Kyle being tied up. The two of them continue to argue, but Brad won’t listen to the “Three Stooges fanatic”. Um, Kyle didn’t seem nearly as much into the Three Stooges as Jake and Danny did. Anyway, the only point of the Stooges stuff at the beginning of the episode was to start painting Brad as “serious”, but it’s a stretch to go from “can’t stand slapstick comedy” to “stick up her ass”. Besides, even without the Stooges stuff, we know Brad well enough to know she’s more serious and…internalized than the others.

Anyway, Brad idiotically follows instructions to count backwards from 100. Some added sound effects let us know the kids got on the horses and took off, abandoning them.

46-21-Brad-Kyle-tied-2After the commercial break, slapstick and arguing ensue.

46-22-Brad-Kyle-tied-3I swear Brad exclaims “God!”, which is a bit surprising for a TV series that had a “swear jar” for the cast.

In response to Brad’s plan to get them onto the sole remaining horse, Kyle starts to tell her a rodeo story about two guys, Lefty and Squint, but Brad shuts him up. Brad is familiar with Harry Houdini’s escape acts. Goddess, this episode is padded.

Anyway, dumbass Kyle finally remembers he has a pocket knife in his back pocket. Brad’s pissed at him but has no choice but to palm his ass. She then “accidentally” stabs him. Kyle starts dancing and singing “Bingo”, and I really wish Brad would slash his throat.

46-23-Melody-storyBack at the ranch, Melody is telling the others a scary story.

46-24-calendarThe Calendar of Hell is still on the wall, still trying to convince us that it’s August of Whenever.

Anyway, no one’s impressed with Melody’s story, so Danny tells one. Jake mentions another story without really telling it. Melody offers them pretzels, but they decline.

Melody notices Buddy seems to be getting tired, but he persists. Melody asks them to name their favorite horror movie. Danny’s is “The Thing”. Melody’s is “Aliens”. Jake and Danny agree. Danny mentions H. R. Giger, even though he only received credit for the creation of the creature from the first film and didn’t actually create anything new for “Aliens”. Buddy suggests “Gremlins”, but Jake and Danny say it’s too cute. There’s some more discussion about Buddy’s stupid “pod people” theory, and Buddy seems to get to Melody before going to bed with his alarm clock.

46-25-Kyle-BradBack in the desert, Kyle and Brad finally get themselves untied. Brad worries about what she’ll tell the kids’ parents, and she imagines the kids were eaten by coyotes, buzzards circling above their bodies. Kyle isn’t concerned. Brad mentions the abandoned mine shaft, which surprised me. Anyway, I guess Mr. Ernst still hasn’t gotten around to having it covered over.

46-26-Brad-horseBrad’s compass is gone, but she knows home is north, and she was taught in science class to follow the North Star (the current northern pole star is Polaris). Brad then says something that I can’t understand. Kyle brings up his “hundred nights out on the range” as proof of his expertise. Brad doesn’t wants an argument and has Kyle lead her and the horse.

46-27-Jake-chipsBack at the ranch, Jake shoves a bag of chips between his legs, claims they’re out, and has Danny retrieve a bag from under the porch. While Danny’s gone, Jake lets Melody know his suspicions that Danny’s a pod person. Danny comes back in, saying there are no chips under the porch and accusing Jake of being a pod person. Melody believes Danny. For fuck’s sake…

Danny claims Jake waltzed in here, claiming to be Mr. Ernst’s nephew, which isn’t how it happened. Jake wakes Buddy and wants confirmation that he’s Buddy’s cousin. Buddy’s ambivalent about it. Jake accuses Melody of being a pod person, claiming she’s “the only girl in America” that likes the Three Stooges. Buddy says they’re “boring pod people”, and the movie “wasn’t even that scary”. Melody admits they were acting silly. Danny says it’s just a movie. Jake says it was a book first. He gets paranoid, and the whole argument starts up again. For fuck’s sake…

Jake looks out the door and sees the kids returning (but we don’t) without Brad and Kyle. Jake goes out to ask them about it.

46-28-Buddy-asleepBuddy’s asleep. So ends that thrilling subplot.

Danny and Melody banter for a bit, and then they go outside.

46-29-Brad-Kyle-lostBrad and Kyle are lost, or, to hear him tell it, he “took the scenic route”. More arguing ensues – intense enough for Brad to dismount. Kyle claims Brad “set up a salad bar” (which we never saw). Brad claims the kids liked her croutons. Brad finally admits “maybe [she] was a little strict”. Kyle doesn’t admit anything, so Brad hits him, and he admits he “could’ve been a little more helpful”. They resume arguing.

46-30-help-arrivesDanny, Melody, and Jake arrive in…a completely different Jeep than the previous episode. Brad asks about the kids. Jake puts her mind at ease.

46-31-Brad-hits-KyleOh, and Brad randomly hits Kyle, and he’s all:

46-32-Kyle-WTFKyle feels vindicated when they learn the kids ended up goofing off and going back to the ranch as he’d predicted. Brad feels vindicated when they learn one girl ate a bunch of s’mores and is now “puking her guts out in the infirmary”. Um, I assume this is at the local hospital, not some unseen infirmary at the ranch. They get ready to leave. Brad asks what they’re doing up this early. Melody says it’s a long story.

46-33-scaredDanny, Melody, and Jake suspect Brad and Kyle of being pod people. For fuck’s sake…

46-34-gangThe pre-credits scene at the end, on the next day, has Kyle and Brad arguing some more about last night.

The gang comes by with a plan.

46-35-coupleKyle claims he’s innocent.

46-36-Jake-ministerBrad wants nothing to do with it. Melody says Brad is a “beautiful bride”. Wait a while, Mel, and you can marry her yourself. She tells Brad to toss her the bouquet.

Melody dicks around with Brad’s headdress. Brad assures Kyle of his impending death and tells Jake that she’d “rather be nibbled to death by ducks” than marry Kyle.

46-37-Brad-horseshoeBrad vows to jam a horseshoe up Kyle’s nose. Melody has Jake hurry the fuck up, because the episode’s almost over. Jake marries them and gives Kyle permission to kiss Brad. Jake is surprised when Kyle admits he’s tried to kiss Brad (although I don’t recall any specific attempt). Brad hands the bouquet and horseshoe to Melody.

46-38-Brad-bites-KyleBrad bites Kyle.

46-39-Buddy-rices-KyleBuddy throws a bag of rice at Kyle.

I’m loving the random acts of violence against Kyle in this episode. More, please.

46-40-Melody-riceBrad leaves. Melody has a little too much fun with the rice. Kyle goes after Brad, demanding a kiss. Buddy goes after them with rice.

46-41-Melody-bouquetMelody catches the bouquet.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was uneven. It seemed to cast Brad as being in the wrong (well, more so than Kyle), even though she had perfectly valid reasons for what she was doing. It also gave her a case of the stupids, allowing her to get tied up in order to prove she’s fun. Brad should be above that kind of stuff. She’s always seemed more mature, but she let loose to the extreme in this episode just to show up Kyle and be “liked” by the kids.

Also, the subplot with Buddy and the “pod people” freak-out was dumb. Oh, well. A third episode to watch on Halloween, I guess.

Yeah, this episode was a bit of a dud, but there’s reason to rejoice. Lo, the Aloysius approaches.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 0

Season 4, Episode 06: Secret Admirer

Before I start the review, I need to apologize for its lateness. I’d posted an explanation earlier today in the comments of the “Fear” review, but, basically, it’s partly my fault and partly sickness and other real-life suckage getting in the way. Anyway, I’m sorry for the delay.

Writer: Patrick Maguire
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: October 12, 1990

We’re back up to the expanded running time with this episode. Huh.

45-01-Ernst-mirrorsIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst is checking to see if he’s going bald(er).

45-02-Buddy-JakeBuddy and Jake bring by a bunch of old crap from Mr. Ernst’s “glory days” for him.

After some banter regarding whether Mr. Ernst is losing his hair or not, Mr. Ernst mentions he won that big-ass trophy by being “the fastest man with the calculator at Milwee High, four years running”. I can’t find a Milwee High School. There’s a Milwee Middle School in Longwood, Florida, part of the Seminole County School District. Couldn’t the writer have picked an actual high school in New York or New Jersey?

Jake makes fun of a “circus freak” in a photo (which we barely see), which turns out to be Mr. Ernst, who stops short of mentioning his graduation year to avoid indicating his age (David Brisbin was 38 at the time that this episode was taped). Mr. Ernst mopes about getting old. Jake tries to comfort him. Buddy says “Hey dad, when I get to be your age, I wanna look just like you.” This is Josh Tygiel at the reunion in 2014:

0607-nick-launch-2

Wish granted. Guess what else. Seriously, guess. Here’s a clue:

24-01-Buddy-spyHe now works for a private investigation firm.

Jake makes fun of them, calling them “Kojak and son”. Mr. Ernst puts the trophy over Jake’s head, Buddy bangs the trophy with a smaller trophy, and father and son shake hands. Cute.

45-03-Brad-waitsAfter the credits, Brad wonders where the fuck her morning riding group is.

45-04-Brad-DannyShe asks Danny about it. It turns out that Kyle took them out about an hour ago.

45-05-Brad-MelodyThis pisses Brad off, so she vents to Melody, who is eager to see her chew out “Botch Cassidy”.

45-06-Brad-confrontsKyle explains he was passing by, and the two girls asked him to take them out. He claims he put a note on her door.

45-07-Kyle-note“Oops.”

Also, not that I’m criticizing Geoffrey Coy’s acting talent, but, within the same shot, he indicates putting his note in one pocket and taking it out of another.

Kyle spouts his usual chauvinistic bullshit. Among the gems is calling Brad “a great rider – for a girl”. Brad takes off his cowboy hat and whacks him with it. Melody warns them of Mr. Ernst’s approach.

45-08-Ernst-runningDidn’t they already do this subplot?

Brad whacks Kyle again, and they insult each other. Kyle offers Brad a backhanded apology, comparing her to hamburger (Kelly Brown’s reaction is perfect) and himself to filet mignon. Fuck you.

45-09-Brad-pushes-KyleKyle talks up his “rope tricks”, so Brad half-assedly ties him up and pushes him over. The girls leave (Melody bending over for some reason before leaving), and Kyle goes over to the riding group to show off a rope trick.

45-10-Ernst-tiredMr. Ernst is tired of “jogging like a fool” (for less than a hundred yards). He makes an outdated Bo Jackson joke. Buddy brings up Mr. Ernst’s upcoming birthday this weekend. Mr. Ernst is upset at Buddy for mentioning “the ‘b’ word” and swears him to secrecy.

45-11-girls-arriveThe girls come by, Brad complaining about Kyle. I just want to mention I really love Brad’s boots.

Mr. Ernst tries to change the subject to the weather, but Melody brings up his birthday, which pisses him off, so he storms off, leaving the girls confused. Buddy explains his dad is going through a mid-life crisis. Melody groans and says her dad went through one a few years ago (he got a punk haircut and started slam dancing, which he gave up when he dislocated his shoulder). I wonder if this was before or after the divorce.

Brad decides maybe they should throw Mr. Ernst a birthday party. When Melody misunderstands, Brad corrects her, and it sounds like Brad is calling her “Poody”. At least, that’s my guess. Anyway, Buddy objects per his dad’s orders. The girls ignore him. Melody wants to throw “a little kid’s party”, and Brad agrees.

45-12-girlsLater, at the lunch area, there’s another new chef. How many chefs does the Bar None have (or go through)? Anyway, unlike the previous one, who did shit and got credited, this one goes uncredited.

The girls go over the preparation details. Melody decides to lure Mr. Ernst to the party with a note from “a secret admirer” (Brad’s suggestion), which will cause no problems whatsoever. The party will be held at the dining area on Saturday night at 8:00 PM sharp.

Due to the heat, Melody suggests taking a swim after lunch. Brad declines – not out of a fear of swimming but due to being sick of the sun. Brad then complains about Kyle again. This gives Melody (the “nice” one) the idea to write Kyle “a really nasty note”. Brad loves it, because it’s “really nasty, childish, and cruel”.

45-13-Buddy-writesBuddy informs the girls that it’s time to start serving the guests, so Melody has Buddy write the note as they dictate – without giving him any explanation of what this is for. The note will take the form of a rejection letter from a local computer-rated dating service. Did they have such things back then?

45-14-Brad-insults45-15-Melody-insultsAnyway, the girls obviously don’t give a shit about their jobs, because they spout insults in front of the guests, who naturally mistake them as being directed toward them, but these extras aren’t paid to deliver lines, so one of them merely gasps in shock.

45-16-Jake-mailJake is apparently the Bar None’s mail delivery person…for some reason (what happened to picking up your mail at the front desk?), so Brad has him deliver the notes to Kyle and Mr. Ernst – just as soon as he stops checking out Melody’s ass.

45-17-lettersThe notes are in the same type of envelope, which will cause no problems whatsoever.

As Jake leaves, the gasping guest from earlier puts her hand over her heart in shock, I guess as a continued reaction to being insulted.

45-18-Ernst-push-upsWhen Jake arrives at the office, Mr. Ernst does that sitcom trope where he greatly inflates the number of times that he’s done a particular exercise in order to impress the person that walks by. Jake, who surely didn’t overhear this deception, compliments his uncle.

45-19-Ernst-tossesMr. Ernst tosses three bills aside but takes an interest in the note.

45-20-Ernst-excitedHowever, Jake delays that by giving his uncle a package, which gets Mr. Ernst so excited (and he just can’t hide it). Jake is very curious, but Mr. Ernst promises him to secrecy and non-laughing first (and threatens Jake with shit duty for the next three years for laughing).

45-21-Ernst-toupéeIt’s a stupid toupée.

Jake accidentally insults his uncle and quickly excuses himself to go and do chores.

45-22-Ernst-mirror45-23-Kyle-intrudesLater, the girls are going over a party checklist, and Kyle intrudes. Brad calls him “Wyatt Burp”. After a bit more banter between them, Melody invites Kyle to the party, and he accepts – until he learns the date and time. He declines in favor of a date, which upsets Brad.

45-24-wrong-noteSee, Jake’s a dumbass and delivered the wrong notes to the wrong people. Melody realizes with horror that Mr. Ernst received the nasty note.

45-25-confronting-JakeAfter the commercial break, Melody spots Jake and…Danny, I guess, carrying a canoe, so the girls confront him about his fuck-up. We learn from Brad that Jake has a Donald Duck night light. Also, Melody perfumed the notes – or at least the one addressed to Kyle. When did she manage this? Jake doesn’t think Mr. Ernst read the note, because he’s taking a nap (which is common for him these days).

The girls explain what’s going on to Kyle. He’s upset. Melody apologizes for both of them, but he won’t have it and storms off. Brad’s like “Fuck that idiot” and brainstorms with Melody about what to do about Mr. Ernst. Melody eventually decides “One of us’ll march into his office and confess while I stay here.” Okay, legit hilarious line. Brad and Melody argue over it and eventually decide fuck the truth. Brad decides they’re gonna sneak into his office while napping and switch the notes.

45-26-Ernst-sleepsWhat follows are some not-so-whacky don’t-wake-him-up hijinks, including Brad blowing Mr. Ernst.

45-27-Brad-blows-ErnstIN THE EAR.

45-28-Melody-grinsIt doesn’t work. Melody makes a goofy grin like she’d just been caught giving a blowjob by her father.

45-29-Brad-wavesAfter some farting around, the girls bullshit a “cleaning your office while you’re asleep” explanation, which sounds like something that Sheldon Cooper would do. After some banter, Brad talks Mr. Ernst into going outside to enjoy the “beautiful day” and leaving them to “clean” his office. Before he leaves, he puts a bunch of papers (including the note) in his desk drawer. Unfortunately, the drawer automatically locks. Brad puts her hand through a crack and gets the note, but…

45-30-Brad-stuckMr. Ernst returns, and Brad bullshits an explanation for why she’s in his chair.

45-31-Melody-pointsMelody quickly points out “Halley’s Comet”, which gets Mr. Ernst excited, despite the fact that he seemingly follows astronomy (he knows the comet’s arrival frequency) and thus should know Halley’s Comet last appeared only a few years earlier and won’t appear again for many decades. Anyway, he runs out the door, and Melody pretends to follow but then turns back and manages to help Brad free her hand.

45-32-Melody-toupée45-33-Brad-reactsThe girls are amused offended by Mr. Ernst’s stupid toupée.

45-34-Melody-playsMelody dicks around for a bit, giving the toupée a voice and calling it Timmy, because, y’know, it’s not like time is of the essence or anything. Did I mention this episode is longer than usual?

Melody switches the notes and closes the drawer just as Mr. Ernst comes back in, complaining about the lack of comet. Melody bullshits her way out of it. and she and Brad quickly leave.

45-35-Melody-noteBack at the girls’ bunk house, Melody wants to destroy the note, but Brad wants to save it as insurance against Kyle. Melody doesn’t let “Bradley” take a nap, and they go off to plan the party, Melody leaving the note near the unlocked screen door.

45-36-Ernst-trophyLater, Mr. Ernst is polishing his stupid-ass trophy.

45-37-Kyle-toupéeKyle comes in. Mr. Ernst quickly hides his toupée out of embarrassment, but Kyle finds the “dead squirrel”. The audio seems to give out for a moment when Kyle says “Ernst” after Mr. Ernst takes the trophy away.

Anyway, Kyle and Mr. Ernst discuss Mr. Ernst’s mid-life crisis. Kyle tells Mr. Ernst a story about his Uncle Wilbur, an old rodeo rider that everybody loved. At age 92, he managed to ride five miles per day. The day before his 93rd birthday, he went out riding and never came back. He was going through “one of those mid-life things”, was sick of being in the rodeo, and decided to become a contortionist in the circus. I can’t tell if Kyle is being truthful or not. Regardless, he admits there’s no point to this story and no reason that he told it. Did I mention this episode is longer than usual?

45-38-Kyle-notesAnyway, it seems the whole point of this was for Kyle to distract Mr. Ernst and switch the notes. Yeah, the dumbass went into the girls’ bunk house, found the nasty note, didn’t read it, and brought it back to Mr. Ernst.

Mr. Ernst catches Kyle committing the “federal offense” of tampering with his mail. Kyle apologizes and quickly leaves. Mr. Ernst seemingly goes to sleep.

45-39-gang-hidingThat evening, most of the gang is hiding under the table, which would be ineffective if Mr. Ernst came at them from any angle whatsoever.

Kyle comes by, wondering where they are, because he’s a dumbass. Brad calls the “bonehead” over to them.

45-40-foiledKyle proudly reveals the master caper that he pulled off, proving his dumbassery to the girls. Brad hits him with the note.

Okay, I was initially confused about the timeline of this episode, but it seems most of it occurs on a single day, and then the Ernst/Kyle scene and party scene occur on Saturday night. Kyle just wears pink a lot.

45-41-surpriseMr. Ernst ends up surprising them.

45-42-gangIt turns out that he’d read both notes. Brad tries to explain. Mr. Ernst had figured out that the “cruel, humiliating, terrible, twisted letter” was meant for Kyle. He tries to give it to him, but Brad quickly snatches it away (to save it for another day, I guess, or maybe just to avoid a fight at present).

45-43-party45-44-Ernst-race-carDanny and Jake got Mr. Ernst a “race car”, which he’s always wanted.

45-45-Ernst-hula-hoopKyle got Mr. Ernst a hula hoop.

45-46-Ernst-squirt-gunsBuddy got his dad squirt guns (a skateboard was his alternate choice).

45-47-gangMr. Ernst calls this the best birthday party that he’s ever had. He takes off the toupée and declares himself to be “the luckiest man in the world”.

45-48-Ernst-shootsHe then opens fire on his staff.

45-49-Ernst-shoots-2The music from the end of this scene leaks into the pre-credits scene, which makes me wonder if there really was a commercial break here.

45-50-gang-checksThe pre-credits scene at the end has the teens investigating a possibly injured animal under the Jeep.

45-51-Ernst-checksMr. Ernst goes under to check on it.

45-52-Ernst-toupéeIt’s his stupid toupée.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was okay. It’s a typical love letter / secret admirer subplot that has enough twists to not trod the same path as other sitcoms. It’s especially nice that Mr. Ernst had things figured out. Mr. Ernst’s subplot is a bit repetitive, though (the exercising part, anyway).

But, really, how stupid is Kyle?

Also, despite no guest stars in this episode (that hasn’t happened in a while), it still seemed a bit crowded. Danny was barely in it. Gotta make room for Kyle, I guess. Yeah, nice trade-off, guys.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 1