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.
In the cold open, Mr. Ernst is checking to see if he’s going bald(er).
Buddy 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:
Wish granted. Guess what else. Seriously, guess. Here’s a clue:
He 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.
After the credits, Brad wonders where the fuck her morning riding group is.
She asks Danny about it. It turns out that Kyle took them out about an hour ago.
This pisses Brad off, so she vents to Melody, who is eager to see her chew out “Botch Cassidy”.
Kyle explains he was passing by, and the two girls asked him to take them out. He claims he put a note on her door.
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.
Didn’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.
Kyle 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.
Mr. 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.
The 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.
Later, 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”.
Buddy 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?
Anyway, 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.
Jake 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.
The 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.
When 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.
Mr. Ernst tosses three bills aside but takes an interest in the note.
However, 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).
It’s a stupid toupée.
Jake accidentally insults his uncle and quickly excuses himself to go and do chores.
Later, 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.
See, Jake’s a dumbass and delivered the wrong notes to the wrong people. Melody realizes with horror that Mr. Ernst received the nasty note.
After 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.
What follows are some not-so-whacky don’t-wake-him-up hijinks, including Brad blowing Mr. Ernst.
IN THE EAR.
It doesn’t work. Melody makes a goofy grin like she’d just been caught giving a blowjob by her father.
After 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…
Mr. Ernst returns, and Brad bullshits an explanation for why she’s in his chair.
Melody 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.
The girls are
amused offended by Mr. Ernst’s stupid toupée.
Melody 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.
Back 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.
Later, Mr. Ernst is polishing his stupid-ass trophy.
Kyle 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?
Anyway, 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.
That 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.
Kyle 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.
Mr. Ernst ends up surprising them.
It 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).
Danny and Jake got Mr. Ernst a “race car”, which he’s always wanted.
Kyle got Mr. Ernst a hula hoop.
Buddy got his dad squirt guns (a skateboard was his alternate choice).
Mr. 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”.
He then opens fire on his staff.
The 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.
The pre-credits scene at the end has the teens investigating a possibly injured animal under the Jeep.
Mr. Ernst goes under to check on it.
It’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