Writer: Steven Roth & Deanne Roth
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: November 2, 1990
In 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.
Buddy 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.
Brad 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).
Mr. 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?”
Melody 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
“This week’s winner with fifteen ribbons” is Jake.
After seeing Jake’s enthusiasm, Mr. Ernst decides to give Jake another ribbon.
He changes his mind when he learns Jake was holding riding lessons in the main lodge. Such initiative is not ribbon-worthy.
In a rare move, the cold open has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the episode. Hooray.
After the credits, Buddy is bugging the others by taking pictures, because his career goal of the week is photojournalist.
Melody doesn’t want Buddy to take her picture.
Brad and Danny physically threaten Buddy – to no effect.
Jake arrives with express mail for Buddy. They’re pictures that Buddy took at night with infrared film.
The girls are “impressed”. Well, okay, Melody is. Brad doesn’t give a shit.
Among 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.
The 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.
Later, 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.
Over 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.
My reaction exactly. Let’s get to the fucking plot, shall we?
Anyway, 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.
The 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.
Later, 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…
Fenton identifies it as a human bone.
Fenton 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.
Through the magic of a scene fade, an Indian Artifacts Exhibit has been set up in the main lodge. Melody is selling the tickets.
Brad is in charge of the line.
A 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.
Danny 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.
A 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.
Danny 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):
Melody 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.
Jake 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.
For 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.
He then cracks his whip and…hurts himself, I guess.
A 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):
Fenton 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?
After 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.
It 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.
That night (on something other than the full moon!), Danny sneaks into the main lodge (it’s not locked?!) and talks to the skeleton.
He 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.
The scene fades out, which is unusual when not going to a commercial break.
The next morning, Mr. Ernst is frantic, and Fenton is upset.
Most 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.
I 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.
After 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.
Danny arrives. They question him, but he doesn’t reply.
Mr. 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.
Mr. 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.
The 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.
The 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.
Melody cackles in glee.
Jake and Buddy argue about it. Jake insinuates Buddy picks his nose.
Jake 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