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

2 responses to “Season 4, Episode 08: Return of Ted

  1. Woo Hoo! Return of Ted.

    So TV shows today would have foreshadowed his return with the exception of putting him in the credits weeks before he actually appears. But I think given the audience they had if kids were following in an order they would have been surprised (I never paid attention to the episode names until much later).

    I am amused Kyle still has very little to do. And his role, once Ted is back full time, will be more used for Ted to react to. (Why they don’t just write Kyle out I don’t know).

    One of my favorite past times is theorizing and of course I have one for this show and Ted’s return. I bet once DL was available again, they jumped to have him back, however it would take a few weeks (real time) and in the meantime they needed to begin shooting the episodes they had already written. For some reason, someone probably decided to just stick him back in the credits even though it would be several episodes before he showed up again. Maybe David’s agent had something to do with that?

    I think “the Return of Ted” episode was filmed out of order and later then the episodes that came after it. Perhaps they were worried with so much time had passed since Ted had left they wanted to throw an episode of him inexplicably around. (Why they couldn’t just let him come visit instead of running away? It would have made more sense he was done with summer school and he wanted to say hi. He sees his friends have moved on and he’s bummed though and decides to leave because they don’t really need him). I think this can explain the weird shooting of the cast. Good call with Ted speaking to her in the barn like she’s behind the camera. I always thought that was awkward and if this episode was shot during a weird time (perhaps their usual time off) they could only get the kids together whenever they could. That would also explain why we have a lot of “mini scenes” of a few characters here and there while Ted interacted or watched them. And they only could get the whole cast for the very end. Or that’s my thoughts anyway.

    But so glad to have Ted back, even if it’s just for one episode for now. He has such good chemistry with everyone and it’s always fun to watch the gang try to cover and hide things from Mr. Ernst. I always laughed outloud when he threw dirt on Danny who then returned the gesture.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. With Ted as clever as he is, I surprised he didn’t have a better “story” to tell his friends. But, I guess when you run way, you have other things on your mind.

    I enjoyed the scene between Ted and Mr. Ernst in the jeep. The background was pretty, the music was sweet. Overall, it made me feel just the right amount of sad. Like Mr. Ernst said, “Sometimes moving on is sad.” Plus, it was nice to see Mr. Ernst giving Ted the nudge he needed to go back and face his problems. Plus, it was one of the few times we see Mr. Ernst be nice to Ted!

    As the episode closes, I always wondered if Ted was going to change his clothes at the bus station. I mean, it would be totally uncomfortable to take the bus back to his hometown (wherever that is) in soaking wet clothes.

    Anyways, like everyone else, l love Ted. I’m glad he’ll be back permanently soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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