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.


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

2 responses to “Season 4, Episode 10: Doghouse Blues

  1. You know, this was a funny episode. I completely forgot about it. has your common tropes, unattractive woman tries to “force herself” upon rather dorky man and it’s cartoony but they do pull it off.

    I do call bull that no adult woman would ever agree to A) share a bunk with 2 teenaged girls and B) share a bunk with no attached bathroom. I’m pretty sure there is no attached bathroom as we did see earlier episodes of the cast showering in that outdoor type shower unless Ernst has upgraded things. (And man, if he’s upgraded as much as it seems, AC units, bathrooms, extra girl cabins for unimportant female staff) no wonder he’s always out of money.

    I will say this on Kyle and Lucy, I figured since they mentioned he did the rodeo circuit in a semi professional manner, he still continues on even though he began working at the Bar None. This meant he had to leave at times and Lucy possibly now went with him to go hook up with his father, her ex boyfriend. LOL.

    I just realized something. With Ted coming back, did Ted have to endure the Vlecks at all? Are all there episodes during his hiatus from the show? I can hear the rest of the gang say “Lucky bastard.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ted didn’t have to deal with the Vlecks at all.

      Good call on Kyle/Lucy and the rodeo circuit.

      I didn’t mean entire bathrooms attached to the bunk houses, just a small restroom with a toilet and sink. “Melody’s Brother” had indicated guest rooms have some kind of running water. I’d assume the staff’s bunk houses have them as well. We just don’t see them, because they’re “over there”.

      Also, Melody mentioned questioning all of the girls in the girls’ bunk house way back in “Ted’s Saddle” (season 1, episode 04), so I think the “explanation” is the bunk houses extend further back than we assume when looking at them from the front, and there’s a separate room for the junior staffers. They’d even have their own back entrance, so they don’t have to intrude on the “important” characters. Maybe there’s a shared bathroom between these two rooms?


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