Monthly Archives: April 2016

Season 4 Recap

51-27-meetingWelcome to the recap of season 4 of “Hey Dude”. Here, I’m going to give my thoughts on the season as a whole and the characters and rank the episodes from worst to best.

Departing Writers

Season 4 saw the final contributions of three writers, one of which had been with the series since season 1:

Mark Cerulli (Rainmen, Dueling Ranches, Killer Ernst, They’re Back, Doghouse Blues), the writer responsible for the Vlecks and sports episodes (as well as a good Danny episode), has also written for Nickelodeon’s “Clarissa Explains It All”. He primarily works on documentaries (usually shorts), getting writing, directing, and producing work in from 1995 to 2012.

The writing team of Steven Roth & Deanne Roth (New Kid on the Block, Do the Right Thing, Some Like It Hot) wasn’t so fortunate. Steven wrote for about four other things besides “Hey Dude”, last writing in 1998 after a lengthy gap. IMDb splits his credits among two or three entries. Deanne cowrote an episode of “Designing Women” with Steven. That’s it.

The Second Transitional Season

Season 4 is kind of weird in that it’s another transitional season, albeit to a lesser extent than season 3 was. They brought Ted back – twice. It was weird. It’s as if they were like “Um, let’s try out Ted. Hmmm, what do you all think? Good? Mmmkay, let’s bring him back again.” I’m not saying that’s what happened, but it comes off like it.

Of course, they put Ted back in the opening credits way back in the season 3 finale, so they must have known they were bringing him back soon after they taped it (maybe even during the break between seasons 3 and 4).

The Aloysius restored, the final episode feels like it belongs at the beginning of season 5.

The Episodes

Season 4 had to work in David Lascher’s two returns while still remaining entertaining, and I think they did a good job overall. These thirteen episodes offer a variety of character spotlights and stories (and story quality).

42-11-new-sheriff#13: Magnum Ernst
The worst episode of the season. Just really fucking stupid and completely unrealistic. Very few highlights (such as backstory on Lucy). Oh, well. Nowhere to go but up.

50-38-guys-drag#12: Some Like It Hot
A mediocre episode that rehashed past ideas and stretched credibility. Also, Jake and Danny in drag. Gah, moving on…

45-24-wrong-note#11: Secret Admirer
An okay episode, but Kyle was such an idiot.

44-28-Brad-scared#10: Fear
Brad’s past was explored, which is good, and Kelly Brown gave a great performance, but Brad blamed herself, everyone forgot Brad’s afraid of the water, Jake’s subplot was too outrageous, and the whole reason for the episode made no sense.

46-29-Brad-Kyle-lost#9: Lost in the Desert
A Brad/Kyle episode that tried to cast Brad as the bad guy and made her stupid. Kelly Brown was great, but she couldn’t single-handedly save the episode. Add to that the stupid “pod people” subplot, which makes this the lamest of the “scary” episodes.

52-62-Melody-pleads#8: Murder, He Wrote
A pretty funny episode based entirely on a highly unlikely series of misunderstandings. I like the Ted/Melody team-up.

43-33-caricatures#7: Dudesbury
A fun episode that explores relationships, but Danny was an ass to his friends, rivaling Ted’s level of cockiness.

51-34-Ted#6: Mr. Moneybags
Ted’s back! The balance has been restored! If only someone could have fixed the logic and continuity in this episode. Once you examine it too closely, it collapses like a toothpick sculpture.

49-60-Vlecks-bat-Ernst#5: Doghouse Blues
We see the Vlecks for the last time. Despite only Vic and Valerie appearing, the regular cast was disjointed. The girls and Buddy barely had any screen time.

40-10-Valerie-Vleck#4: They’re Back
It was difficult to choose which of the two Vlecks episodes this season was better, but I went with this one, because we got to see the entire family, main cast members didn’t feel crowded out, and there was more wackiness than just marital problems.

48-42-Danny-skeleton-2#3: Do the Right Thing
A good Danny episode that tackles a difficult subject. Joe Torres does a great job. The girls and Mr. Ernst were oblivious to Danny’s feelings, blinded by fame, money, and excitement. I can kind of understand this happening to Mr. Ernst, but the girls were way too dense.

47-47-Ted-Ernst#2: Return of Ted
It was great to have Ted back, even if it was for just a visit before he came back for good. This is the better of the two “Ted returns” episodes in terms of making sense.

41-35-Bobby-rides-Charisma-2#1: Ride, She Said
The best episode of the season. We learn a lot about Brad, past and present, and she goes through some character growth, overcoming her uneasiness around people with disabilities and learning how to give. A great episode.

The Characters

49-41-Ernst-lipstickMr. Ernst appeared in 11 of the episodes and was mentioned in the other 2. His crazy schemes continued to be downplayed this season (“Magnum Ernst” and, as a side effect, “Do the Right Thing” being exceptions). He had a lot to do. His past was explored in “Secret Admirer“. He got caught up in a love triangle in “Doghouse Blues“. He had nice moments in “Fear” and “Do the Right Thing” (the latter of which also included bad moments). However, he got power hungry and unreasonably untrusting of his own nephew in “Magnum Ernst”. Overall, though, this was a good season for Mr. Ernst, even if he didn’t reach the heights of last season’s “Ex-Static“.

44-32-Brad-somberBrad appeared in all 13 episodes. Her highlights include “Ride, She Said” and “Fear”. Season 4 wasn’t good for Brad, romance-wise. She had a potential romance that went nowhere in “Dudesbury“, and her long-on-hiatus relationship with Ted was quickly destroyed in “Mr. Moneybags“. Not helping matters was the fact that, outside of last season’s “New Kid on the Block“, Ted was never mentioned in a Ted-less episode, making it seem like Brad had largely forgotten him. She had it out with Kyle in “Lost in the Desert“. One problematic episode was “Do the Right Thing”, which made her seem unusually dense regarding Danny’s feelings. Overall, though, this season was more good than bad for Brad – an improvement over season 3.

45-37-Kyle-toupéeKyle appeared in 7 of the episodes – just over half. He didn’t improve, personality-wise, from his sole appearance last season. He had the most to do in “Fear”, “Secret Admirer”, “Lost in the Desert”, and “Murder, He Wrote“.

52-09-Jake-stressedJake appeared in all 13 episodes. He had a lot to do. His friendship with Danny was explored in “Do the Right Thing”, and he unintentionally got married (maybe) in “Mr. Moneybags”. However, he was a dick to Brad in “Ride, She Said”, and he dressed in drag in “Some Like It Hot“.

42-45-Lucy-ErnstAs before, the season’s least valuable player has to be Lucy. She appeared in 5 of the episodes and was mentioned in 1 other, which, admittedly, is an improvement over last season. She put up with the Vlecks in “They’re Back“. She trained Mr. Ernst and gave him advice (to no avail) in “Magnum Ernst”. She tried to set Danny straight in “Dudesbury”. Overall, though, unlike last season, she didn’t get a subplot to herself; she just dealt with everyone else.

52-43-Ted-plansTed appeared in 3 of the episodes, which is a slight improvement over last season. The best of his three appearances was “Return of Ted” (which explored his wants and needs), and the worst was “Mr. Moneybags” (in terms of personality, not performance; he’s a huge dick). However misguided, he genuinely tried to save Mr. Ernst’s life in “Murder, He Wrote”. He and Melody actually make a great team. Now that he’s back full-time, let’s see what he does next.

43-31-Melody-deskMelody appeared in all 13 episodes. She had a lot to do, even if she really didn’t have a plot to herself. She had an unseen date in “Dudesbury”. Like Brad, she was very dense regarding Danny’s feelings in “Do the Right Thing”. Compared to last season, season 4 certainly was a step down for Melody.

42-22-Danny-noDanny appeared in all 13 episodes. His starring episodes were “Dudesbury” and “Do the Right Thing”. Danny was a dick to his friends in the former, but Danny’s feelings about his heritage were explored in the latter, and Torres did a good job. Danny’s friendship with Jake was explored as well. Speaking of Danny and Jake, though, why did he ever agree to Jake’s plan to dress in drag in “Some Like It Hot”?

51-13-Buddy-phoneBuddy appeared in 12 of the episodes and was mentioned in the other 1. His involvement varied by episode. One of them was nothing more than some silent cameos. He had a lame subplot with Danny in “Magnum Ernst”, and he sucked his friends into “pod people” hysteria in “Lost in the Desert”. No “Ex-Static”-level performance this season.

That’s it for season 4. Tune in next Wednesday as we head into the home stretch – season 5!

Season 4, Episode 13: Murder, He Wrote

Writer: Patrick Maguire
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: December 14, 1990

52-01-Visiting-MelodyIn the cold open, Melody is hiding under her bed covers. Brad wants her to come out and eat chicken soup.

52-02-Melody-chickenpoxMelody has chickenpox but is worried she might have a fatal disease instead. She warns Brad to get away and not die because of her. Brad says nobody’s going to die (remember this), and she’s had the chickenpox already. Danny adds they all have.

52-03-Ted-flowersTed comes in with some flowers for Melody.

52-04-Ted-storyTed tells a gross (and very likely false) medical story about his Aunt Irma in order to scare them – well, primarily Melody.

52-05-Brad-TedMelody freaks out. Brad isn’t amused. Ted gets Melody to come out. Melody does, and Ted reacts like he’s disgusted by her, which scares her and pisses Brad off. There’s something odd just as the shot changes. Brad yells “Ted!” as Melody covers herself. During the shot change, Brad says “Ted” again in a…surprised tone. I wonder if that second “Ted” was part of an alternate take or something, and it wound up in the episode by mistake.

Ted makes a stupid connect-the-dots joke, but then…

52-06-Ted-chickenpoxRule of Three, motherfucker!

52-07-Ernst-cardAfter the credits, Mr. Ernst is on desk duty. Jake comes by with a get-well card for him to sign for Ted and Melody: “So sorry to hear that you’ve been stricken with lots of pox, specifically chicken.”

52-08-Jake-ErnstJake also brings by the mail, and Mr. Ernst tells him to throw any bills in the fireplace. I hope he’s kidding. There’s also a bill for Jake from Mitzy’s Drum Emporium. Mr. Ernst continues looking through the bills and starts growling like a dog. Jake urges calm and tells him to cut down on the coffee to reduce stress. Mr. Ernst is upset that business is slow. Also, Ted and Melody are in the infirmary in town (probably the same one that the sick girl was sent to in “Lost in the Desert” (season 4, episode 07)), so they’re understaffed. Mr. Ernst decides to double Jake’s workload this week.

52-09-Jake-stressedThis stresses Jake out, so he drinks Mr. Ernst’s coffee. Ha.

Mr. Ernst jokes about selling blood to the Red Cross to raise money, and it’s ironic that a real organization is mentioned in the same scene in which another one is no longer mentioned. The “American” part of “American Express Cards” on the credit card thingy has been blacked out. Compare the above screencap to this one from season 1:

10-02-Ernst-cardJake is surprised, because he thought his uncle was afraid of needles, but Mr. Ernst clarifies he was talking about Jake’s blood.

52-10-Jake-ErnstJake starts looking through a magazine for an idea to raise money. He suggests a murder, and Mr. Ernst is like “WTF?”, but Jake clarifies a murder mystery weekend performed by professional actors. The croup is called Murders R Us. Unfortunately, the complete package starts at $5,000. Jake’s ready to drop the idea, but Mr. Ernst took a Creative Writing class in school and decides to write and direct. The staff will play the parts. He wants to get to work, so they can get it together by this weekend. He thanks Jake and leaves. There’s a loud, unexplained thump just after he exits the shot. Weird.

As Jake walks away, the look on his face suggests he doesn’t have much confidence in his uncle’s abilities.

There’s a “mystery” background score going on throughout this episode. Nice touch – even if it jumped the gun (er, so to speak) by playing at the beginning of the cold open.

52-11-Ernst-typesSo Mr. Ernst is working on (and struggling with) the script, and it is, of course, completely hokey and melodramatic.

52-12-Ernst-types-2Anyway, on to more important things, such as questioning why Mr. Ernst never keeps his water cooler filled.

52-13-Jake-paperJake comes in and, upset, asks his uncle if he’s going to recycle his wasted paper, which Mr. Ernst either dismisses or rejects (I’m not sure which). Jake wants to become Mr. Ernst’s agent and make him “very rich and famous”, but Mr. Ernst ain’t having it. Jake backs off the offer, anyway, when he reads some of his uncle’s script. Mr. Ernst tells him to shut up.

52-14-Brad-undustsBrad fulfills a request by Mr. Ernst to dust his office – a month late. However, she gets a little too distracted by reading his script, which was her true intent.

Brad brings up her stage experience (yet again). She starred in her first-grade Thanksgiving pageant as a corn cob and stole the show.

52-15-DannyDanny jumps into the office and auditions by way of hammy acting.

52-16-reactionsBrad is less than impressed. Jake doesn’t know what to make of it. Mr. Ernst praises “the best Henry Kissinger impression” that he’s ever heard.

52-17-reactions-2My reaction exactly.

Danny was actually doing an impression of Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Conan the Barbarian”.

52-18-groupKyle arrives, and Mr. Ernst guesses he’s here to audition, but Kyle says he’s not much of a performer (no comment) and prefers to watch. Everyone watches as Mr. Ernst finishes his script.

52-19-BuddyOf course, things wouldn’t be complete without Buddy auditioning via bad overacting.

52-20-reactions-3Brad gets a good laugh out of it.

Mr. Ernst finishes the script and assures them that they all have a part.

The story is about gold being discovered on the ranch and various shady characters plotting to murder the ranch’s owner and steal the gold for themselves. Unfortunately, Mr. Ernst has given his characters stupid names. He’s Rock Lovejoy. Jake is Lovejoy’s “no-good” nephew and heir, Biff. Buddy is Lovejoy’s “ungrateful” son and other heir, Skippy. Danny is “a young Indian brave”, Geronimo Bighorn Jr., who claims Lovejoy stole the land from his father. Kyle and Brad play Ramone and Juliana, “the young couple in love”. Juliana is secretly Lovejoy’s daughter, and he’s forbidden her to marry the “irresponsible and galavanting” Ramone. They plan to poison Lovejoy, elope, and live happily ever after. Needless to say, no one is happy with this – until Mr. Ernst tells Kyle that he’ll have a couple of “love scenes” with Brad.

52-21-Brad-no“Oh, fuck no! Go fuck yourself, Mr. Ernst!”

52-22-Brad-Kyle-rehearseKyle’s acting is very stiff and unnatural. Imagine that. Brad’s not great either. C’mon, Brad, channel your inner corn cob.

52-23-Ernst-directsMr. Ernst’s the only one that’s enjoying this.

Kyle forgets to say a line.

Kyle says he can’t get used to the name Ramone. Brad then says something that I can’t understand.

52-24-Ernst-megaphoneAfter some banter, they try the lines again. There’s something strange. It seems they’re starting the scene from the beginning (we didn’t see the first try from the beginning), so these are different lines, but there’s another revelation by Juliana that her father will not allow them to be married. That means Mr. Ernst is a poor scriptwriter. I wonder if this was intentional on Patrick Maguire’s part. Anyway, Brad gets confused when there’s a typo in her script – and only her script. So Mr. Ernst typed all of the pages of every script on his manual typewriter? What happened to his computer? (See “Killer Ernst” (season 3, episode 10).) Besides, it was established in “Rainmen” (season 1, episode 09) that Mr. Ernst has a photocopier.

Incidentally, Mr. Ernst seems to have the same megaphone, hat, and sunglasses as in “The Good, the Bad, & the Obnoxious” (season 1, episode 08):

08-02-Ernst-directsNice touch. He even calls out “Action!” the same way.

Anyway, Kyle forgets to say his line. Jake suggests using their own names. The other teens agree. Mr. Ernst agrees and reminds them to mingle with the guests tomorrow before dinner, playing out their scenes to give the guests the feeling that something “fishy” is going on at the Bar None. Then he will join them for the “big climax”.

52-25-Ernst-diesMr. Ernst overacts his death scene, and Buddy calls him out on his hypocrisy.

There’s a humorous bit where Mr. Ernst accidentally overacts when he’s really just telling them that he’s going to the lodge. He tells them to rehearse with their partners, because he wants “perfection” tomorrow.

52-26-Brad-KyleKyle’s excited to “rehearse”. Brad hits him and is no longer sorry that Ted and Melody got sick. Kelly Brown accidentally says “get sick” instead of “got sick”. Or maybe Brad’s saying she’s totally over feeling sorry for Ted and Melody whenever either of them get sick.

There are some weird sounds during this moment.

52-27-Melody-TedLater, someone from the Bar None drops Melody and Ted off back at the ranch. Ted says “See you later.” Melody thanks the driver again. Ted offers to “help” Melody with her heavy suitcase by putting his backpack on her left arm to balance her out. Dick. Melody doesn’t put up with that shit. Anyway, she’s glad to be back in the “land of the living”. Ted gets an idea. The others don’t expect them back until next week, and “no one” knows they’re here. Well, yeah, no one except the person that picked you up and dropped you off with the Bar None’s truck! We don’t know who it was (the driver was in shadow), but it couldn’t have been a main character (except maybe Lucy, who doesn’t appear in this episode and therefore isn’t roped into doing the play). That means Ted or Melody called up the Bar None, someone at the front desk answered, and that same someone (or someone else as a request from the first someone) went to pick up Ted and Melody with the Bar None’s truck without letting anyone (especially Mr. Ernst) know. It’s probably someone that works the front desk. Betty, maybe?

Anyway, Ted’s plan is to sneak up and scare the shit out of their friends. Melody loves this “devious, underhanded, sneaky idea” that she wishes she thought of herself. They ditch their luggage and head for the boys’ bunk house.

52-28-Buddy-JakeJake and Buddy are rehearsing their lines, and Buddy’s altering his by adding tough-guy language influenced by Sylvester Stallone. Jake tells him that he sounds “like Rambo with a nasal condition” and also tells him to lose it. Jake wants them to try it without the scripts.

52-29-Ted-Melody-windowTed and Melody arrive at that moment. Guess what happens.

52-30-Jake-gun-152-31-Jake-gun-2Ted and Melody overhear the entire “plan” to kill Mr. Ernst tomorrow (Saturday) night at dinner.

52-32-Ted-holds-MelodySensing Melody’s gonna scream, Ted claps a hand over her mouth and tells her to keep quiet.

52-33-Ted-Melody-discussAfter the commercial break (which comes very late in this episode with, seriously, less than ten minutes of story left), Ted and Melody run over to a bench to sit and discuss this. Ted also does this weird thing where he pulls up his left sleeve a bit, so it kind of bunches up near his neck, which seems like the exact opposite of what someone would normally do. Anyway, they waste some time and question the entire situation. Ted wants to march in and talk some sense into them, but Melody is afraid of the gun. She wants to go right to the police, but Ted would hate to feel responsible for sending Ted and Buddy to jail. Melody’s like “Priorities, motherfucker!” Melody decides they’re gonna talk to Brad.

52-34-Kyle-Brad-rehearseIn the girls’ bunk house, Kyle and Brad are rehearsing their lines. Brad calls him out on having “the emotion of a toaster” and asks for passion. Kyle says the lines are ridiculous, and he’s never used the word “bliss” in his life.

52-35-Brad-Kyle-rehearseBrad decides they’re going to rehearse without scripts and in their own words. Kyle ribs Brad about it, and she tells “Casanova” to shut the fuck up.

52-36-Ted-Melody-windowWhat the fuck? Why’d they sneak over to the window instead of walking in through the door to talk to Brad? By the way, they come at the window from the right, which means we should have seen them outside the door as they approached the bunk house. It’s as if Lascher and Taylor waited just past the window for their cue.

Anyway, since they’re using their own words, I must take issue with the fact that Brad considers “lovemuffin” to be an appropriate term of endearment.

52-37-Brad-evilBrad’s “plan” is to make Mr. Ernst’s “favorite dessert”, coconut cream pie, with “a very special ingredient” – arsenic. I gotta give Kelly Brown credit for selling this line.

52-38-Melody-Ted-windowMelody and Ted discuss this right outside the window and somehow don’t get noticed. Yeah, they’re “whispering”, but c’mon. Eavesdropping outside a window and not getting noticed seems to be a thing on this series. Remember “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (season 3, episode 09)?

35-44-pillow-fight-1Anyway, Melody’s concerned about the plot, but Ted’s considered about Brad’s “feelings” for Kyle. Why? He pretty much destroyed any hope of a relationship with her in the previous episode. Now that he’s no longer “truly loaded”, he suddenly wants her again?

Melody says they gotta warn Mr. Ernst, but a bit of unrelated banter suddenly makes her forget it and wonder what to do again. Short-term memory problems, Mel?

Anyway, Ted suggests they go to Danny. Melody agrees as if it’s obvious, saying Danny will “know what to do”, because he’s “always so calm and level-headed”.

52-39-Ernst-Danny52-40-Melody-Ted-windowSo, of course, the obvious place to look for Danny is…through Mr. Ernst’s office window.

I’m starting to think this episode is contrived.

52-41-DannyI wonder if the writer’s just dicking with me when Danny says “you’ll never see another full moon”.

Who’s this performance for? Is it just a rehearsal? If so, why is Danny in make up?

52-42-Melody-Ted-runMelody and Ted run away and discuss this some more. We learn Melody always thought Mr. Ernst went through a real estate agent to buy the ranch. Ted theorizes Mr. Ernst really did steal the land from Danny’s father, but Melody easily talks him out of it. Melody declares they’re on their own in stopping them. Why? Why not talk to Mr. Ernst or go to the police (both of which you had brought up as possibilities earlier)?

52-43-Ted-plansTed has a plan: stop Mr. Ernst, so they don’t have anybody to kill. Of course.

52-44-dining-area52-45-castOn Saturday night, most of the cast is gathered in the dining area and have already performed their scenes for the guests. They wonder where Mr. Ernst is. Jake observes “the natives are getting restless” – the “natives” being the guests that aren’t from around here.

Anyway, let’s pause and consider the episode skipped over more than 24 hours. That must have been a very uncomfortable and restless (and hungry) Friday night for Ted and Melody. Where did they stay in order to keep out of sight?

52-46-Ernst-arrivesMr. Ernst arrives and apologizes for being late. He got locked in the tool shed and had to dig his way out. He heard two voices but couldn’t make them out.

Mr. Ernst combs his hair before making his grand entrance. Brad tells him to break a leg. He’s shocked, and she has to explain it means good luck. What a dumbass.

52-47-Ernst-entranceMr. Ernst greets the guests and introduces himself.

52-48-Melody-Ted-hideMelody and Ted, having not changed clothes in over 24 hours and having slept Goddess-knows-where (yes, I realize they probably fucked up and considered it to be the same day), hide under a table.

52-49-Ernst-Buddy52-50-Ernst-Buddy-2Buddy “distracts” his father…

52-51-Jake-gun…and allows Jake to come by and make the most telegraphed gun reveal in history.

52-52-Ernst-overactsIt turns out that either Ted or Melody switched the prop gun for a water pistol, so Jake gets Mr. Ernst wet. Ha. The guests love it.

Anyway, despite the hammy acting and the loud discussion about the water pistol, neither Ted nor Melody realize this is a play.

Mr. Ernst apologizes to the guests for the interruption.

52-53-Kyle-BradKyle (wearing a stupid little mustache) and Brad are up next.

52-54-Melody-reaches52-55-Melody-trips-BradMelody reaches out and trips Brad.

52-56-Brad-creams-Ernst52-57-Ernst-upsetBrad creams all over Mr. Ernst.

52-58-DannyHaving no common sense (which should be telling him that the play is ruined), Danny attacks! He actually screams “Prepare to die, white man!”

52-59-Danny-2Wow, Brad is so fucking over this right now. She just wants to crawl under her bed covers and hide.

52-60-Ted-attacks-Danny52-61-Danny-Ted-groundTed comes out from under the table and attacks Danny, making up for his missed opportunity in “Take Me to Your Leader” (season 2, episode 13):

26-52-Ted-attacks52-62-Melody-pleadsMelody makes an impassioned plea, insisting “Murder is not the answer!” The guests applaud.

Oh, and all that Ted could do was chastise Brad for throwing her life away on Kyle.

52-63-The-Bar-None-PlayersAnyway, “the Bar None Players” bow (except Brad, who curtsies), and then Mr. Ernst herds them into his office for some spankings.

52-64-gangThe pre-credits scene at the end, on the next day (Sunday), has Melody discussing what happened last night, but she says stuff about embarrassment and ruining the show, which sounds like stuff that she should have said last night in Mr. Ernst’s office.

52-65-Ernst-fameMr. Ernst is distracted, though. He’d just gotten off the phone with a Hollywood producer that was a guest at the show last night. They want to turn Mr. Ernst’s show into a movie musical, “Murder’s Not the Answer – Oh, Yeah!”

52-66-Brad-happyEveryone gets their hopes up for fame – especially Brad, who sucks up to Mr. Ernst.

52-67-Ernst-pissedBut Mr. Ernst turned him down flat, which upsets Brad. His reason? The producer wanted to recast the main character. Brad laments the loss of their “big break”.

52-68-Ted-BradTed apologizes to Danny for tackling him, which sounds like something that he should have done last night in Mr. Ernst’s office. Brad asks Ted if he really thought she and Kyle were getting married. Ted downplays it, but Brad notes he sounded pretty upset to her. Ted tells her to not flatter herself. What the fuck is your problem?! Why are you sabotaging your chances with her?!

Melody apologizes, which sounds like something that she should have done last night in Mr. Ernst’s office.

Ted shifts all of the blame to her and claims he was the reasonable one.

52-69-Ted-fallsThe episode ends with a gag where Ted thinks he’s holding the water pistol, but he fires it and discovers it’s the prop gun. Ha.

52-70-Ted-BradSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty funny, but it really is an idiot plot. It wouldn’t work in the real world. At all. Still, it’s amusing.

Tune in next Wednesday for the review of season 4.

Season 4, Episode 12: Mr. Moneybags

Writer: Graham Yost
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: December 7, 1990

Assuming the original air dates are correct, this episode originally aired three weeks after the previous episode. I’m not sure what the reason was for the delay.

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

51-01-bannerIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst is having Buddy and Kyle hang a banner that reads “Home of the World’s Largest Toothpick Sculpture”. Melody is confused. Jake and Danny are down at the freight depot, picking it up. It’s a scale model of New York City. The girls (or at least one of them) laugh. It cost Mr. Ernst a lot of money, but he thinks it’ll be worth it. He predicts “busloads of tourists”. Buddy makes a funny joke that everyone except Mr. Ernst likes.

51-02-runSuddenly, a car comes speeding toward the Bar None. Everyone gets out of the way.

51-03-tourists-151-04-tourists-2It’s a bunch of wacky, backwards foreign tourists! These idiots ain’t got nothing on Mypiots. They wish they were from Mypos.

51-05-tourists-3“We need to taste your earwax.”

51-06-tourists-4Yeah, communication problems will be a recurring issue in this episode. It turns out that they simply want something to eat. Mr. Ernst says they can do that.

51-07-tourists-5The leader of the group says “You’re welcome, Mister…Flabbybottom!” Then they all cheer.

The leader introduces himself as Zog. Zog is played by Hal Melfi. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.

51-08-tourists-6He pulls Mr. Ernst into a dance, confusing the fuck out of him.

51-09-tourists-fishMr. Ernst corrects them on his name. The foreigners are greatly offended and arm themselves with raw fish and potatoes. Melody guesses “Ernst” must be some horrible word in their language. Mr. Ernst recants and declares himself to be Mr. Flabbybottom. The foreigners are happy. Mr. Ernst welcomes them to the Bar None.

51-10-Zog-whacks-ErnstZog whacks him with a fish, anyway, and the foreigners dance, even playing around with the banner.

51-11-Ernst-towelAfter the credits, Mr. Ernst and Buddy come out of the office, Mr. Ernst toweling off after presumably washing his face…in his office.

51-12-Ernst-plansHe starts talking about where to put the toothpick sculpture. The phone rings. He has Buddy answer it.

51-13-Buddy-phoneWe get a funny gag where Buddy has horrible phone manners, upsetting his dad. Mr. Ernst vows they’re going to have a “serious discussion” about it.

Anyway, it was a recurring caller that wants to buy into the Bar None, despite Mr. Ernst’s repeated rejections, but refuses to give his name. Kyle points out how Mr. Ernst seems to always need more money, but Mr. Ernst has put all of his faith into the toothpick sculpture.

Interestingly, right before Brad asks Mr. Ernst about it, she quietly says “Excuse me”, and it seems it’s more Kelly Brown talking to Christine Taylor after seemingly making unintended physical contact than the introduction to Brad’s question to Mr. Ernst. No big deal, and it actually feels natural.

Anyway, Mr. Ernst talks up the toothpick sculpture, which apparently is composed of “millions” of toothpicks glued together. A horn beeps outside. Believing it’s Danny and Jake with the sculpture, Mr. Ernst excitedly leads them outside.

51-14-Danny-ErnstMr. Ernst is confused over the seeming lack of the sculpture in the bed.

51-15-sculpture-ruinedDanny guesses he hit a bump. Anyway, the sculpture is ruined, and Jake is missing.

51-16-Jake-pissedJake comes by, hella pissed, and claims Danny was “airborne” and “going sixty”. Mr. Ernst is pissed. Jake had hopped off when they hit the Bar None’s road, “trying to salvage some of the wreckage”.

51-17-Brad-ErnstMr. Ernst declares he hates his life. Brad tries to comfort him and suggests recycling the toothpicks for when they serve ribs. The other teens agree. Melody says “Yeah, Mr. Ernst. Y’know, my mom always said you can never have too many toothpicks around the house.”


Anyway, it seems Melody made that up. I’m not sure which of the two scenarios is more frightening.

51-19-Ernst-calculatorUh-oh, Mr. Ernst whips out the calculator. Shit just got real.

Meanwhile, Brad just stares at Melody like “You dumb bitch.”

Anyway, I just took Mr. Ernst’s figures (and Danny’s count from later in the episode) and, using some rough calculations, figured the Bar None’s occupancy rate averages in the low 60s.

51-20-foreigners-toothpicksMr. Ernst complains about the destruction of the sculpture again, but the foreigners gather around, taking immense interest in the toothpicks.

Mr. Ernst declares he’s ruined, because he spent so much on this stupid thing that, without the planned additional income, he won’t be able to make the monthly payment on the ranch. He is a fucking dumbass!

51-21-Brad-shockedBrad is the only one that’s shocked. She really is Mr. Ernst’s biggest supporter.

Danny apologizes and offers to do something to help. As a start, Mr. Ernst tells him to pick up all of the toothpicks. Mr. Ernst then goes to his office to “softly but repeatedly” bang his head against the desk. He demands an exact count from Danny.

Jake asks about the foreigners, and Melody’s like “Fucked if we know.” Jake, “the master linguist”, takes on the challenge. Buddy cautions him against saying “Ernst”, but…

51-22-Jake-Buddy51-23-Jake-chased51-24-Danny-BuddyLater, Danny has counted more than 1,600,000 toothpicks. Bullshit for so many reasons, the least of which being 86,400 seconds in one day. Anyway, Buddy’s trying to mess him up, because he’s a dick. Melody stops him.

51-25-Jake-MelodyMeanwhile, Jake’s efforts at communication with the foreigners is going nowhere. He’s been using their “next-to-useless” phrase book to try to find out what “Ernst” means in their language. They’re from Bladavia, a tiny Eastern European country scrunched in between Yugoslavia and Albania. Jake says their language is “completely incomprehensible”.

Mr. Ernst comes by, finds a potato on the floor, and asks if somebody said “Ernst”.

51-26-barrageBad idea.

51-27-meetingOn a serious note, Mr. Ernst has been thinking of letting someone go. He asks for volunteers.

51-28-Danny-on-the-spotEveryone’s ready to send Danny packing. Danny claims “seniority” and suggests they get rid of Kyle (I agree, just because he’s Kyle). Kyle suggests getting rid of one of the girls, because of course he fucking does. What a sexist asshole.

An argument breaks out, but Mr. Ernst shuts them up. He suggests they discuss this “calmly and rashly”. Um, I think he meant “rationally”. Either Graham Yost or David Brisbin fucked up the line.

During this, Brad is tapping her magazine or whatever against her leg repeatedly. I just thought I’d point it out, because it’s not the sort of real-world behavior (probably indicative of nervousness) that you usually see on television. I wonder if it was scripted or improvised.

The phone rings. Mr. Ernst has Buddy get it. Jake screams out for Mr. Ernst to fire Buddy, and the others immediately agree. Wow, what a bunch of assholes. Mr. Ernst says he can’t fire Buddy, because he doesn’t pay him anything. Well, that answers that question: Buddy isn’t an employee; he just provides free labor, because his dad says so. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess this is completely realistic, real-world behavior.

It’s the mystery guy again, giving Mr. Ernst a “last chance”. Buddy suggests blowing him off. Mr. Ernst agrees, and Buddy does so, but then Mr. Ernst quickly changes his mind and decides to talk to him. In a cute moment, he’s careful to quietly say his last name.

51-29-Ernst-phoneThe mystery guy still won’t reveal any information but agrees to come by the ranch tomorrow morning. Mr. Ernst says he might have found himself a new partner. Jake asks for a new drum set. Fuck you.

51-30-Jake-KorabThe next morning, as they’re waiting for the mystery guy to show up. Jake runs by, being chased by a female and male foreigner. Mr. Ernst demands an explanation from Jake, who gives his best guess. The guy is Korab, his “sworn death enemy”. Korab is played by Joseph Dignoti. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig – or at least it was when I looked up his filmography when I started this review on Friday. Looking at it now, he’s going to have a role in the 2017 film, “The Long Look Back”, which is currently in pre-production. How extremely random.

51-31-Jake-MakyakThe girl is Makyak, his wife. Jake thinks they were just married by accident when he tried asking for a potato recipe. Makyak is played by Holly Wimberley. “Hey Dude” was her sole acting gig.

The other Bladavians – or “Countrymen/Women” – are played by Maria Panos and Lupe Ortiz. “Hey Dude” was their sole acting gig. This is…puzzling, because Zog and Korab are the only dudes (see what I did?). There are three women: Makyak and two others. I wonder if someone was credited incorrectly or if the person that typed the credits didn’t realize there were three women.

Melody yells that the mystery guy is here. Everyone gathers as a limo arrives at the ranch.

51-32-limo51-33-mystery-guy51-34-Ted“I’m back, motherfuckers!”

After the commercial break, Mr. Ernst believes Ted is playing a practical joke. He puts Ted back in the limo and tells him to get out. Ted reveals he’s the guy that wants to become Mr. Ernst’s new partner.

51-35-Ted-limoOkay, while Ted’s chillaxing in his limo and gargling his seltzer water or whatever (what is it with this series and gargling recently?), let’s back up. How did neither Buddy nor Mr. Ernst recognize Ted on the phone? Yeah, Ted deepens his voice here, but…seriously?

Anyway, Ted gets on Buddy’s case about his phone manners. Mr. Ernst is disappointed over Ted’s “bizarre practical joke”. The others don’t like it either.

Ted gets out of the limo and insists he’s “truly loaded”. Agreed, but with what?

The limo driver comes by with two suitcases and, in a stuffy, monotone voice, asks Ted if he can “see” them to his room. Ted tells “James” that he’ll get one of the staff to do it. Brad gives out a terse chuckle. Melody gives out an uncomfortable groan. Ted dismisses “James” for today, pulls out a wad of cash, pays “James”, and thanks him. The limo driver tells him that his name isn’t James.

51-36-James“James it is.”

The limousine driver is played by William J. Fisher. “Hey Dude” was his second of seven acting gigs in a short career that spanned 1990-1993. Like many other “Hey Dude” actors, he appeared on “The Young Riders”. He received thanks in the 1988 movie, “Bad Trip”. He also played the part of “Treasure Seeker” in Winger’s 1992 music video for “Down Incognito”. He died on December 20, 2004, in Fort Grant, Arizona, at the age of 56.

Everyone’s momentarily stunned silent, but Melody finally guesses they’re on “one of those practical joke TV shows”.

51-37-High-Priest-TedThe Aloysius has His congregation gather, so He might bless them. Ted has everyone gather around and sit down, so he can explain. Ted says “You all remember the last time I was here when I skipped out on summer school.” Um, two things:

1) He makes it sound like it’s some long-ago event. In the real world, that episode aired six weeks earlier (and was only the fourth episode prior). In the universe of the series, it obviously has to be a lot more recent for the timeline to work. Probably no more than two weeks.

2) What in the goddamn fuck? Ted did not skip out on summer school. He very explicitly flunked and would have to take the class over in the fall. It’s as if the writer of this episode never read the script for “Return of Ted”. Oh, wait. It’s the same goddamn writer! Not only that, but it’s the last episode that Graham Yost wrote prior to this one. There’s no fucking excuse for getting this wrong!

Anyway, when he was at the airport, on his way home, he purchased an Arizona Lottery ticket.

51-38-Melody-TedMelody gets way too excited at the prospect of being rich. Ted tersely tells her to sit the fuck down.

He didn’t win the grand prize ($3,000,000), but he won third prize. Does anyone see the problem with this yet?

Anyway, Ted had to come out here to pick up his check, and he decided to invest in the Bar None. The guy from the lottery office is coming over today to present the check to him. There’s gonna be a ceremony. Brad asks how he can afford the limo. Ted says he has “plenty of people to be [his] bankroll until [his] check is in the bank”. Ted asks “I mean money attracts money, right, Mr. Ernst?”

51-39-Makyak-TedTed asks who – and what – that is, and Danny tells him.

51-40-Brad-TedBrad asks Ted why he isn’t in summer school and if he skipped out again. Ted says it’s over, and he aced it, and the others are happy for him. Ted did not skip out on summer school! He flunked it! There was nothing to go back to! Nothing to ace! It was over! For fuck’s sake, Graham Yost!

51-41-Ernst-TedTed mentions the “heart-to-heart” that he had with Mr. Ernst back in “Return of Ted” (oh, sure, now he remembers something accurately) and tries to thank him with a $100 bill – plus extra to get cabin 9. What’s so special about cabin 9? Ted says bye to everyone, calling Kyle “Kit”. Mr. Ernst says he can’t take Ted’s money. Ted tells him that it’s a “down payment” on his investment and calls him his “partner”. Mr. Ernst nixes that idea, because he’s Ted. He appreciates the offer, but he doesn’t think it would work out. Ted decides to find something else to do with the $75,000 (which is much more than Mr. Ernst expected). He won $150,000 and figures he’ll put the other half toward college, which would actually be a smart move if there wasn’t a giant problem with this plan. Does anyone see it yet?

Anyway, Ted suggests Mr. Ernst reconsider, and they’ll meet in a half-hour after Ted freshens up. Look and listen for Brad to genuinely laugh in the background at Ted’s lemon-scented towels comment. It really seems like something that Brad would “get”.

51-42-Ernst-fishAnyway, Mr. Ernst agrees, and Ted points out a fish on the ground as being an image problem.

Ted briefly leaves, and the others badmouth his snobbery. Ted returns and offers $20 to whoever gets his bags in his room in thirty seconds, which makes no fucking sense, because he hasn’t even checked in yet and doesn’t have a key, but…

51-43-rushHa. Brad and Kyle are the only ones to not give a shit.

51-44-Brad-ErnstBrad complains to Mr. Ernst about “one of the most disgusting displays” that she’s ever seen, but he’s too distracted by thoughts of money. Brad tells the others to stop.

51-45-arguingLater, Kyle’s lying on Jake’s (or Danny’s) bunk (certainly not his own), reading, and Danny, Melody, and Buddy come in. Danny and Melody are arguing over a straw drawing to decide who gets to dump a pail of shit over Ted’s head.

51-46-Ted-phoneTed comes in, finishing up a seemingly important phone call. He pretends to show interest in their lives. Danny went home last weekend. It was his grandmother’s 80th birthday. They had a really big celebration.

51-47-Ted-BuddyTed cuts him off, tells Buddy that he’s growing, and rubs his head. Buddy threatens to cut off Ted’s hand.

Ted asks Melody if she lost weight, and she dicks with him to see if he’s paying attention (he isn’t).

Ted calls Kyle “Kit” again.

Finally, Ted leaves for his “pow wow with the old man” – but not before making a few dickish comments. Brad arrives at that moment, and Ted takes her outside to talk.

51-48-Ted-BradBrad informs the others that Ted doesn’t think their dating would be “appropriate” now that he’s her “boss”. I actually listened to what David Lascher was whispering, and it does indeed sound like that’s what he said.

51-49-Brad-strawEveryone agrees Brad gets the straw, which confuses her.

51-50-Ernst-doorI’m not sure if they’ve had their meeting yet, but Mr. Ernst is hella pissed at Ted.

51-51-Ted-MakyakMeanwhile, Makyak’s after Ted, because he asked her if she’d seen Mr. Ernst, and Mr. Ernst summons Jake.

51-52-Jake-Makyak51-53-handyman-TedThe handyman has “the boss” sign for the name sign. The phone rings. Ted asks Mr. Ernst to get it.

The handyman is played by Wendell Robert Baker. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.

Mr. Ernst answers the phone (“Howdy-do, Bar None”) and gets pissed when he learns Ted ordered a sixty-foot waterslide. He cancels the order.

Mr. Ernst and Ted get into an argument. Mr. Ernst points out that Ted isn’t his partner yet. Ted calls up his lawyer to draw up the papers. I guess they did have the meeting, and Mr. Ernst had agreed to partner with Ted.

51-54-Ted-smitesThe lowly subjects approach, and the Aloysius smites them.

He demands they call him “Mr. McGriff” in public and goes into the office. The others complain to Mr. Ernst. He asks about a smell.

51-55-Brad-shitBrad happily holds up a pail of shit. Interesting question to ponder: what – or who – is the source of the shit? They didn’t specify it’s horse shit. Did Brad shit into the bucket once she was declared the winner?

51-56-Melody-BradThe girls then do this weird hand gesture thing and are so giddy about it. I’m not sure what’s going on.

Mr. Ernst nixes the idea. Danny suggests throwing Ted in the water trough. Mr. Ernst is opposed but then warms to the idea.

Melody points out Ted might be playing a joke on them. Brad points out he could have gotten the numbers wrong or is making it up. But then the guy from the lottery office shows up with a huge-ass check. Buddy takes the photo:

51-57-photoThat check is so fucking fake. Who signs a check “The Governor”? Oh, well, it’s just for show.

The lottery man is played by Michael Collins. “Hey Dude” was his first of two acting gigs, the second being the role of “Mechanic #1” in the 1991 movie, “Checkered Flag”.

The guy tells Ted to sign the back of the ticket and show his ID for verification, so he can get “this check”. Seriously?! That’s not how it works! 1) Ted would have had to do this shit before the picture was even taken. The lottery guy even mentions this later. 2) Lottery offices issue official checks; they don’t give away those large photo checks.

51-58-Danny-praysDanny appeals to a higher power to strike Ted with lightning, but the Goddess doesn’t work that way. (Selene won the God election after Yahweh resigned from office.)

51-59-oopsUh-oh! It turns out that Ted is “not 18”! It was an illegal purchase!

This is the episode that I’ve been hinting at. We know Ted was 16 in season 2 (“Superstar“). Ignore his insistence in season 1 (“Ted’s Saddle“) that he’s 17. He could have been lying about his age to impress Brad. Season 3 is definitely a later summer than seasons 1-2, since Brad welcomes back returning guests (“The Bad Seed“), whereas she was a new employee in the series premiere. Seasons 3-4 are one summer, due to Ted leaving for summer school and then returning. Ted’s birthday is in September (“Battle of the Sexes“), so he was 16 in summer #1 and is now 17 (“not 18”) in summer #2.

51-60-Danny-thanksDanny takes what he can get and thanks the deity.

51-61-fight51-62-Ted-couchThe lottery guy apologizes and leaves.

51-63-gangTed somehow guesses he’s gonna get wet now. He screams to Jake to help him for some reason, even though Jake is clearly in on it.

51-64-Ted-troughThe pre-credits scene at the end has Ted being re-baptized into the Bar None’s family.

Ted reveals he had been spending his life savings, and he’s now “worse than broke”. He’ll have to ask Mr. Ernst if he can work off his debt. How did he blow through his life savings and go into debt?! Didn’t his parents have anything to say about this?! How did every single person that knows Ted allow this to happen and not raise the issue?! Seriously, his parents, his friends, the lottery office, and Mr. Ernst all dropped the ball.

The girls and Danny tease him with money, which he doesn’t find amusing. Seriously, they’re all idiots.

51-65-Jake-toothpicksThe Bladavians are leaving, thanks to Mr. Ernst’s “favorite nephew”, who learned they eat a lot of stringy meat and hooked them up with a “couple of million” toothpicks, allowing Mr. Ernst to just about break even on the sculpture. Brilliant, except Jake totally fucking stole Brad’s idea. I’m so glad that these subplots were resolved. Jake had gone to the library and gotten an informative book about the language. He assures them that they “don’t wanna know” what “Ernst” means.

51-66-Bladavians-leaveThe Bladavians say goodbye to “Mr. Flabbybottom”, thank him for the “earwax”, and leave…

51-67-Makyak…without Makyak.

51-68-Makyak-chases-JakeSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty funny, but it works only through an absurdly extreme lack of communication (which you could say is the theme of this episode). Still, it’s great to have Ted back. All’s right with the world.

Season 4, Episode 11: Some Like It Hot

Writer: Steven Roth & Deanne Roth
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: November 16, 1990

We’re back down to the normal running time for this episode.

50-01-Jake-Danny-swingIn the cold open, Jake is working on the swing and asks Danny for a critique.

50-02-girlsThe girls offer their own critiques.

50-03-ErnstMr. Ernst compliments the work but then repeats Danny’s critique. He has two chores and is looking for volunteers. He needs two cooks, and he also needs a tipi-style clubhouse built for the Young Buckaroos. Mr. Ernst (and the writers) is ignorantly perpetuating a stereotype. Tipis were used by the Plains Indians, not all Native Americans and certainly not the ones that lived in Arizona.

Anyway, the guys assume they’ll build, and the girls will cook. The girls are upset about this, because they always have to cook. Since Kyle is absent again this week, Jake is suddenly chauvinistic. After some arguing (we learn Jake and Brad read “Fun with Dick and Jane”, a 1946 children’s book, and Brad also read “Girls Can Do Anything Boys Can Do”, which isn’t a real book as far as I can tell), Brad suggests they switch. Mr. Ernst is unsure, but the guys and Melody are okay with it. Jake urges Mr. Ernst to let the girls try and fail, so the “master builders” can bail them out. Mr. Ernst sits on the swing, and…


50-05-girls-table50-06-guys-tableAfter the credits, on another day, the mood is intense at the lunch tables!

50-07-Chef-ErnstJake is hoping to get Mr. Ernst to let them cook. Mr. Ernst ain’t having it, though. Two critics from “Dude Ranch Monthly” are coming to rate the ranch.

Okay, so this episode is a mashed rehash of “Battle of the Sexes” (season 1, episode 02) and the subplot of “Superstar” (season 2, episode 10).

Jake talks for a bit (he mentions Buddy, who doesn’t appear in this episode) and then insists on flipping a burger, but he accidentally tosses it on the ground. Mr. Ernst says that’s Jake’s lunch. His glasses fall on the ground. Jake picks them up and starts cleaning them, but Mr. Ernst swipes at him, demanding them back. I swear I hear Jake say “No.” The glasses fall in the grill. The girls come by and exclaim “Jake!” when they see it. Really, both dumbasses were at fault.

50-08-glasses-ruinedMr. Ernst yells at Jake – but can’t tell which person is him without his glasses. Seriously? He’s that blind? And he can’t even make out the color of Jake’s hair or the shirt that he saw Jake wearing?

Anyway, one more screw-up, and Jake’s fired. Mr. Ernst goes to get his spare pair of glasses. Jake apologizes to him. The girls want to take over lunch duties, but Jake refuses. Danny warns the critics are here. How does he recognize them?

50-09-criticsThe critics are played by Monique S. Busby and Judith C. Corcoran. “Hey Dude” was their sole acting gig. In Corcoran’s case, this is her second of two appearances. She had previously played a guest in “They’re Back” (season 4, episode 01).

50-10-Jake-tosses-burgerThe white critic wants a hamburger. Jake fucks it up by trying to toss the burger onto her plate. She’s outraged. Her colleague pulls her away, lecturing her about her “violent temper”. Interesting bit of character building, if completely unexpected.

The girls insult the guys, and the four of them get into an argument. Jake and Danny quickly leave when Mr. Ernst comes back. Mr. Ernst just realized these are his spare pair of glasses. He asks if the critics are here yet. Melody says they were. He asks how it went. The girls fumble for words for a bit, and then Melody finally reveals what happened in a pretty funny way. The girls point out where the critics went. Mr. Ernst has trouble avoiding objects. Melody offers to help, but Mr. Ernst insists on keeping up appearances. Mild “blind” slapstick ensues.

50-11-Ernst-guysJake’s already considering himself fired. However, Mr. Ernst comes by and “recognizes” him as “Mrs. Thorpe” (one of the critics). Danny tries to correct him, but Jake shuts him up. Mr. Ernst goes off about Jake and how he’s so fired, but “Mrs. Thorpe” praises Jake. Yeah, Jake’s doing a bad, high-pitched female voice. Okay, four things. 1) How does Mr. Ernst still not recognize Jake without his glasses? 2) Why does he automatically assume it’s Mrs. Thorpe? 3) How is he fooled by that poor impersonation? 4) Wouldn’t he find it odd that “Mrs. Thorpe” is contradicting Melody’s account of what happened?

Anyway, Mr. Ernst then questions “Mrs. Stevenson”, and Danny gets in on the act. “Mrs. Thorpe” suggests big raises for Jake and Danny. Of course, Mr. Ernst doesn’t think this is the least bit suspicious. The girls watch from afar in seeming disapproval. Mr. Ernst asks the “critics” for their first names. Out of the depths of their asses, Jake and Danny pull “Jasmine” and “Daniella”, respectively.

After a bit more banter, Jake quickly excuses himself and Danny, and they leave. Then this happens:

50-12-Ernst-tableAnd he just leaves it (kicking the table in frustration) and walks away.

50-13-girls-plansLater, the girls get to work on their tipi. Melody is impressed with Brad’s plans. Brad took a drafting class in school.

50-14-girls-build50-15-Melody-builds50-16-girls-build-250-17-girls-build-350-18-Brad-builds50-19-girls-build-4Unfortunately, they really don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to actually building this thing.

Anyway, notice Melody’s wearing a Duke shirt, and Brad’s wearing a Montauk shirt. Duke University is a wealthy private research university in Durham, North Carolina. This might be indicative of Melody’s college plans. Montauk is both a state park in Missouri and a hamlet in East Hampton, New York (on Long Island). I’m leaning toward the latter. It sounds like a place that Brad would visit.

50-20-inspectionJake and Danny come by to see how the “men” are doing. Interestingly, Brad pronounces “Jasmine” in a slightly foreign-sounding way (“Jasmeen”).

50-21-Ernst-blindMr. Ernst wanders by. If only there was another adult on this ranch that he could place temporarily in charge until his new glasses arrive…

50-22-Ernst-guestsAnyway, blind humor ensues.

50-23-Ernst-horseAmusingly, Mr. Ernst compliments “Mrs. McLoughlin” on her “very nice perfume”.

50-24-horse-WTFAlso amusingly, the horse momentarily stops eating and looks at him like “What the fuck?”

Mr. Ernst meets up with the gang. His new glasses aren’t coming in for a few days. After some banter, Melody informs Mr. Ernst that the critics are in cabin 9, but Jake quickly “corrects” Melody that it’s cabin 6. Brad and Danny don’t play along. Jake seemingly points Mr. Ernst toward cabin 6. Brad hits him and corrects him. Jake’s just buying them some time and has Danny come with him. The girls agree the guys are completely crazy.

50-25-deceptionDanny and Jake argue. Jake feels the need to cover their hair now for whatever reason. They put on the act for Mr. Ernst again. Jake says they’re leaving soon. Mr. Ernst is upset, because he wants to invite them to be his guests at tomorrow’s mesquite barbecue. Talking with his stomach (he missed lunch because of Jake), Danny agrees. Mr. Ernst informs them that Jake and Danny will be cooking their meal, since they liked their cooking so much. After Mr. Ernst leaves, Jake declares they’re dead meat.

50-26-Brad-phoneAfter the commercial break, Brad’s trying to order a custom-made tipi. We learn she has all of the major credit cards. However, she tells the company to charge it to the Bar None. Why the fuck would she do that?! She’s trying to get out of work as it is; she shouldn’t make her place of employment pay for it. Melody seems to think it’s a great idea, though. Somehow, Brad had gotten her plans to the guy on the phone (faxed them, maybe?), who said she has awful handwriting. Anyway, he can get the tipi built by tomorrow and come in under budget. What was Brad’s budget for this thing, anyway? He also said it would be “cute”, which Brad finds strange but brushes aside.

50-27-gangDanny and Jake come by and argue. The girls and Jake rib each other.

50-28-Ernst-girlsMore of Mr. Ernst’s blind bumbling. He actually recognizes Melody before she speaks. He informs the girls of the dinner invitation for the critics.

50-29-Brad-gleeBrad uses the opportunity to force Jake and Danny to resume their deception on the spot. I love Brad so fucking much.

Unfortunately, it slightly backfires when Mr. Ernst has the girls get some cool lemonade for the “critics”.

50-30-guys-couchMr. Ernst and the “critics” sit down, and there’s some banter as Mr. Ernst asks about work at “Dude Ranch Monthly”.

50-31-Brad-wets-Jake50-32-Melody-wets-DannyThe girls are fully aware that they own the guys’ asses, so they get sweet revenge on them (literally).

There’s some more banter. “Daniella” informs Mr. Ernst that “Jasmine” loves to dance (and mentions tango). Mr. Ernst offers to arrange for some music after the barbecue. Jake, for whatever reason, agrees and excuses himself and Danny. The guys then return as themselves. Mr. Ernst, smitten with “Jasmine”, has Melody send some flowers and chocolate bonbons up to “her” room. The girls and Jake are incredulous, but Danny’s loving this.

50-33-guysThe next day, Danny is working on…the band platform for the dance, I guess. What happened to the one that Jake built in “Stick Around” (season 3, episode 13)? Did they just demolish it after the dance?

Jake’s doing the flower-petal thing (his uncle loves him). Danny is jealous of the attention that Mr. Ernst is giving Jake.

50-34-Lucy-ErnstMr. Ernst comes over to Lucy and has to feel her face in order to recognize her (his binoculars don’t help with that).

Y’know, I watched this episode last week, and I had already forgotten Lucy is in it. Where the fuck was she earlier? She could have helped Mr. Ernst out.

Mr. Ernst says the binoculars work for long distances, but then he thinks he sees Valerie Vleck on a mountaintop (which likely isn’t true). Mr. Ernst wants to confirm dinner plans with the critics, but Lucy decides to save Mr. Ernst a few steps (and bumps and bruises) by doing it herself. Mr. Ernst has Lucy point him toward Jake and Danny.

50-35-guys-binocularsWhat the fuck? He can see them just fine! This isn’t what binoculars are for! They don’t work this way!

50-36-Ernst-pissedAnyway, Mr. Ernst overhears Danny and Jake using their “female” voices and gets on Jake’s case (but not Danny’s for some reason) for making fun of a guest – instead of, y’know, realizing he’d been deceived.

50-37-Jake-happyJake apologizes, and Mr. Ernst has them work on the bandstand. The guys worry about Mr. Ernst’s binoculars, but Jake gets all too happy when he gets an idea.

50-38-guys-dragDo I even have to summarize the rest of the episode? You know how it’s gonna go.

50-39-girls-guysThe girls come by, and Melody offers some help, but she then realizes who these “ladies” are, so it sounds like Melody is asking “Hello, ladies, do you need some – hell?!”

Jake wants the girls to go along with it and offers to build their tipi, but Brad says it’s all taken care of. Jake threatens to blow up their tipi. Seriously, what’s with the connections between Jake and explosives?

Anyway, Melody shuts that down right away, and they come to an arrangement where the guys pay lip service to the girls and do their chores for a week.

50-40-Brad-binocularsAt the barbecue, Brad turns Mr. Ernst’s binoculars around, so he can see a lot more, but everything’s also really far away.

50-41-Ernst-guysMr. Ernst spots the “critics” and chats with them for a bit, but Brad pulls them away in order to cook.

50-42-Ernst-criticsThe real critics show up, having been invited to the barbecue by Lucy. They sit down and chat. Comedic misunderstandings ensue. The guys realize what’s happening and talk the girls into getting the critics away from Mr. Ernst. The girls bullshit about an emergency phone call. Jake and Danny come back to Mr. Ernst. The girls return with the real critics (way too early). Jake quickly asks Mr. Ernst to tango.

50-43-Ernst-Jake-tango50-44-girls-critics50-45-Ernst-wig50-46-critics-amused50-47-Jake-revealed50-48-Danny-revealed50-49-Ernst-pissedThe fiddle player is played by Ken Cerny. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig, but he was also a scenic artist on the series.

The guitar player is played by John A. Winder. He doesn’t seem to have an IMDb page.

50-50-applauseMr. Ernst is pissed, but the audience – especially the critics – love it.

50-51-critics-pleasedThe Bar None scored low on Organization but high on Enjoyment and stands a good chance of winning the Dude Ranch Monthly Award. Mr. Ernst is relieved and pleased. The critics thank him for not showering them with flowers and chocolates in the way that so many ranch owners do; they consider it tacky. Ha.

The critics leave. Jake thinks he and Danny are off the hook. Mr. Ernst allows them to change but wants to see both of them in his office in five minutes. There’s some more gay and high-heels humor before the scene ends.

50-52-crowdThe pre-credits scene at the end has a gathering crowd amused at the tipi.

50-53-girlsThe girls blame each other. It’s actually Brad’s fault, because she put down inches instead of feet.


50-55-girls-2The girls argue some more. Brad admits she flunked drafting class.

50-56-girls-350-57-girls-4So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was kind of amusing, but it stretched credibility, and it’s mostly a rehash of ideas that the series had already done. Oh, well. The return of the Aloysius is nigh.

Countdown to the Third Coming of Ted: 0