Writer: Clifford Fagin
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: July 5, 1991
This episode has a 1991 copyright. Yeah, I’m gonna make note of the copyright from now on.
In the cold open, Ted just cleaned the toilet (or “John” as he calls it) in the girls’ restroom, and Jake and Buddy are working on the fountain. Whoa, whoa, whoa, back the fuck up. Girls’ restroom? Well, I guess that solves that mystery. There are male and female restrooms located by the guest rooms, and that’s where everyone has to go in order to go. It is their duty to make this trek in order to do their doody. The discovery of the restrooms is of tremendous importance, even if I was the only one that gave a shit. Okay, I’ll stop. Anyway, mystery solved.
After some time-wasting between Jake and Ted over the girls’ toilet being named “John”, Buddy wants to give up on fixing the fountain. Apparently, Jake has finished “Jake’s Guide to Life” and left it under Buddy’s pillow. Is this a manuscript or the final, published version? Anyway, Buddy hasn’t read it, because he’s “waitin’ for the movie”. Jake cites Chapter 7, which states “When skill fails you, try luck.” A skeptical Ted and Buddy step aside. Jake takes out a coin (a lucky penny, perhaps?), kisses it, wishes for the fountain to work, spins around counter-clockwise once, and tosses the coin into the fountain.
Ted is impressed and wants a coin, because he could use some luck. Jake doesn’t have one, but he sees a “wishbone”:
Buddy is frightened and begs them to not drop him. They set him down. Jake calls him a “baby”. Buddy says, ever since he was a kid, he’s had a fear of being dropped. Ted hears crying and assumes it’s Buddy, even though it’s very clearly a baby. Ted traces it to room 202 (even though Jake tells him that there are no guests in there), and Ted does the sitcom trope where he sees something (in this case, a baby), initially thinks nothing of it, and then has a delayed reaction of shock.
After the credits, everyone’s fascinated with the baby. Mr. Ernst comes over and informs them that the baby is “temporarily misplaced”. Ted asks how you misplace a baby, but it’s actually done with alarming frequency. Parents can be critically absent-minded. Hell, there’s a sign outside my store reminding customers to not forget their babies in the car.
Anyway, Mr. Ernst explains the child’s mother, Mrs. Fleeman, has twins, and he tries to rationalize forgetting one, but Brad points out that it’s “pretty unusual”. Jake suggests the mother had déjà vu and thought she took both of them, which is pretty stupid. Mrs. Fleeman phoned from the plane(!) (talk about absent-minded; on top of that, she wasn’t quite sure where she was going) and said she’ll be back in a day or two. The baby starts crying, and Mr. Ernst leaves, because his ears “are very sensitive to high-pitched sounds” (this is the first that we’ve heard of this). After some banter, Mr. Ernst wants Jake to call the child welfare office and find out what their hours are. He wants to send the baby there.
Brad objects, arguing it’s not good for his welfare. Ha. She also makes the argument that the baby is “so comfortable here” – while the baby’s crying. Buddy seconds the baby staying here.
Mr. Ernst agrees, but he doesn’t want anyone neglecting their chores. Brad offers to let Mr. Ernst hold the baby, but he declines in a panic. He then tries to downplay his initial reaction and says he’s not very good with little babies. He then says he needs to get back to the office to wait for a call from the cable guy, because they’re “strict” about that. Right. The teens don’t seem to buy it. More importantly, though: cable guy? “Crash Landing” (season 2, episode 05) established they don’t have television at the ranch. Has it changed since then? Or is it about to change?
Well, whatever. The girls continue to adore the baby.
Baby Fleeman is played by Nicholas P. Penta. He doesn’t have an IMDb page, but I’m willing to bet this was his sole “acting” gig. Just consider for a moment that they credited the fucking baby, but they haven’t credited a bunch of other people on this series.
Later, in the girls’ bunk house, they suggest temporary names to call the baby…for some reason. Danny suggests Godzilla. Melody doesn’t like it. Brad suggests Leslie (or Lesley), which was her grandfather’s name. Ted doesn’t like it and believes her “boy’s name” and her grandfather’s “girl’s name” disqualifies her from the discussion. Ted believes this baby is a “guy’s guy” and should be named Rex, Max, or Tex. Ted also slaps Buddy for no apparent reason (I guess just demonstrating machoness). Jake seconds Ted’s suggestions. Buddy suggests Buddy. Jake makes a “Bud and Bud Light” joke, which is kind of surprising for a children’s series. Melody suggests Jeremy.
Jake gets a sudden burst of testosterone and wants to name the baby Harley. The baby starts crying, and Brad blames the guys in general.
Ted figures out that the baby has a pissy and/or shitty diaper, but Brad wants to handle it, so Ted passes the baby along to “Mother”. However, the girls fumble over what to do, so Ted has “Mother Goose” give him the baby.
Ted knows what to do, because, as it turns out, he has (or had) a baby sister. The baby’s mostly out of frame, so I don’t think David Lascher is actually changing his diaper. Anyway, Ted has Buddy run the dirty diaper out to the dumpster, and then he improvises with a “freshly laundered towel”. Ted then quickly sniffs it to make sure that it really is fresh, so I think he was bullshitting. He calls his achievement a “work of art” (we don’t see it) and gets applause from Danny and Jake. The girls have the guys leave, because the baby “needs a quiet, peaceful environment” in which to rest, and the guys offer “too much maleness”. Ted is offended. Regardless, they’re forced to leave, but Danny gets another name suggestion (Elvis) in first.
Later, the girls are playfully “fighting” over who gets to dance with the baby. There’s nice, peaceful music playing on the radio during this moment. After Brad tells the baby to focus, Melody says something that I can’t understand. Brad gets Melody to promise to let her dance with the baby if any Phil Collins songs come on. Um, okay, no chance of that happening (on screen), but apparently Phil Collins was a big deal back then. Well, we learned a bit about Brad’s musical tastes. I wonder if she’s into Genesis, too.
Anyway, Melody starts talking to “Baby Fleeman” about dancing, and he burps. Brad calls Melody over to help her fix the weed trimmer, so Melody shuts off the radio, sets the baby down in a carriage, tells him to not go anywhere, and walks away.
One funny thing that we learn during this is Brad doesn’t whack a lot of weeds in Grosse Pointe. Brad also humorously suggests turning the busted trimmer into a dental floss dispenser.
They come back up to the girls’ bunk house, and Melody freaks out over the baby’s disappearance.
After some discussion, they hear loud, generic rock muzak coming from the boys’ bunk house. Taking this as a clue, Melody takes the weed trimmer from Brad, and the two of them head off to confront the guys. What’s Melody planning to do? Look threatening? Beat them with it?
The guys have done some redecorating. They’ve got a mini basketball hoop attached to the closest top bunk. They’ve also…hung two cables from the ceiling and are using them to…suspend the baby carriage a bit off the floor. What the fuck?
The girls come in, and Melody immediately sets the weed trimmer down (why’d she bring it in here?) and shuts off the radio. Brad and Ted get into an argument, and Melody checks on the baby. She calls them out on the cables. They believe it’s safe, because they’d tested it on Buddy earlier. Melody and Ted get into an argument.
Mr. Ernst comes in and is like “What the fuck?” He compares it to a Vleck family reunion (cute) and WrestleMania.
Mr. Ernst has Jake, Danny, and Buddy leave. He has the girls pack up the baby’s things. He has Ted drive the baby to the child welfare office. Brad protests, but Mr. Ernst won’t have it. Brad further protests and then insults Ted. Melody wants Mr. Ernst to hold the baby, but he again declines.
Ted smiles and touches the baby. It’s a cute moment, and I think David Lascher was improvising.
Brad insists on going with Ted. Ted admits he thinks “babies are cool”. Brad agrees and says she wants lots of kids. Ted readily agrees, and Brad playfully elbows him. Brad agrees to let Ted come with her.
Melody hands them the baby and kisses the baby on the head before leaving in sadness.
Later, Mr. Ernst is working on fixing the weed trimmer (I guess this is a subplot), much to a passing guest’s interest, when Ted and Brad arrive back at the ranch in one of their many Jeeps.
Ted and Brad apparently decided their clothes were too ranchy for the child welfare office, because they decided to completely change before leaving. Also, in a nice bit of realistic detail, they wear sunglasses in the Jeep but take them off when they get out.
Ted takes a brief look at the weed trimmer, and Mr. Ernst asks a question that’s vague enough that Ted and Brad can answer without lying. Mr. Ernst talks for a while longer, and then he goes to get Buddy to cut him out of the trimmer line.
Having succeeded in their deception, Brad and Ted put their sunglasses back on to show they’re such badasses.
Oh, and Brad opens the trunk, so the baby can get some air.
After the commercial break, Melody is excited to see the baby.
Danny, Jake, and Buddy conveniently come into the girls’ bunk house, and they’re excited to see the baby as well.
Brad insists Mr. Ernst isn’t going to find out and chastises Danny, Jake, and Buddy for being afraid of “a little scolding from Mr. Ernst”. Well, aren’t you a badass? Jake brings up the possibility of getting fired, which is a legit real-world concern, but I’m not sure what it would take at this point for Mr. Ernst to fire any of them.
More banter ensues. Jake gets a legit funny joke in, asking if this ranch has ever functioned in tip-top condition.
Hey, look on Brad’s night stand. It’s her photo of herself and Melody from way back in “Bunkmate Battle” (season 2, episode 04):
Has it always been sitting there?
Anyway, with encouragement from Brad, Melody, and Ted (plus doses of baby cuteness and guilt), they’re each gonna do their share to take care of Baby Fleeman, do their chores, and keep the baby a secret from Mr. Ernst.
Jake says something weird: “I mean how hard could it be to keep something this small from Uncle Ben? Uh, no offense, Buddy.” That doesn’t make sense. Is Buddy known for unsuccessfully trying to hide small things from his dad? Is Jake known for unsuccessfully trying to hide Buddy from Mr. Ernst when Buddy was a baby? Anyone know what Jake’s talking about?
The baby starts crying, and Brad is horrified as the realization hits her that babies can, in fact, cry all night. I wonder if she’s reconsidering her position on having kids.
The next morning, we learn the baby did indeed keep them up all night. The gang is exhausted.
Mr. Ernst comes by, chipper, and criticizes “the staff of the living dead”.
Mr. Ernst notices what seems to be milk (or maybe baby drool) on Ted’s left arm (we learn Ted also has freckles there), but Ted says it’s a new insect repellent.
An exhausted Brad comes by, and Mr. Ernst asks about the baby’s spit towel, but he merely asks “What’s that?” Buddy has a hilarious answer: “That’s Brad, Dad.”
Brad bullshits it’s her towel and wipes her face with it. That’s fucking disgusting, but keep in mind that this is the same girl that had previously gotten on a saddle that a girl had just pissed on.
My reaction exactly.
Mr. Ernst threatens them with additional chores to exhaust them during the day, so they can sleep better at night. For some reason, Ted says it’s a great idea. Most of them excuse themselves to do their chores, and Jake pulls Brad away, denying her her morning coffee.
Mr. Ernst inquires a silent Melody about her sleep.
So, instead of going to do their chores, they all went to the girls’ bunk house to…hide out? Take care of the baby at the same time? It’s not clear why they all went here. It would just arouse suspicion.
Mr. Ernst threatens to fire them unless they let him in. Everyone except Ted, Brad, and the baby leave, Buddy being afraid of being dropped as he crawls out the window. Then crawl out yourself. You’ve done it before:
Brad passes off the baby’s crying as Ted’s. She then stomps on his foot to make him actually give out cries of pain in addition to the baby’s cries. Um, what?
Brad hands the baby out the window to Danny and Jake, but Mr. Ernst circles around the back of the girls’ bunk house, so Brad has Ted help everyone back in.
Mr. Ernst is pissed and makes this stunt out as the worst one that they’ve ever pulled, which, no, it isn’t. At all. Brad apologizes and says Ted was crying when they got to the child welfare office, so she couldn’t drop the baby off. She also says they couldn’t have the baby be left somewhere for a second time. Brad baby-guilts Mr. Ernst and suggests he hold him, but Mr. Ernst declines. Danny references Mr. Ernst holding a bullsnake, which happened way back in “Cowboy Ernst” (season 2, episode 12).
Buddy asks his dad why he’s scared of a baby. Mr. Ernst admits he’s terrified.
Mr. Ernst reveals, when Buddy was a baby, his mother asked Mr. Ernst to hold him, and Mr. Ernst dropped him. Everyone’s shocked. Mr. Ernst says he doesn’t know how it happened; Buddy just kind of slipped out of his arms. He added Buddy “kind of bounced”. He thought he’d killed Buddy. As it turned out, Buddy was fine, and there was no permanent damage. Danny makes an dickish comment, and Jake rebukes him. Ted links this incident to Buddy’s fear of being dropped, which Jake dubs “dropaphobia” (as far as I know, there’s no actual name for this). Brad puts the baby in the carriage. Mr. Ernst apologizes to Buddy. Following Brad’s lead, everyone excuses themselves to do tasks.
The baby starts crying, and Mr. Ernst realizes he’s alone with him. He panics for a bit and tries to entertain the baby (even as a kid, I found Mr. Ernst to be uneducated when he referred to Buster Bunny as “Mr. Rabbit”).
It’s no use. The baby keeps crying.
Mr. Ernst starts singing one of his “favorites”: “99 Bottles of Beer“.
The baby keeps crying. Mr. Ernst praises the baby’s lack of desire for beer.
The teens applaud, but Mr. Ernst shushes them to not disturb the baby.
Brad warns Mr. Ernst.
Fortunately, Mr. Ernst doesn’t drop the baby.
Did you notice Melody was completely absent from this, the climactic scene?
The pre-credits scene at the end, on another day, has Mrs. Fleeman picking up her forgotten son. Mrs. Fleeman is played by Laura Innes, David Brisbin’s wife. This is her second of two appearances on “Hey Dude”, the first being as Miss Andrews, Ted’s English teacher, in “Teacher’s Pest” (season 2, episode 07):
She mentions other things that she’d previously forgotten: her keys, where she parked the car, and a little Dalmatian puppy in Amarillo.
This is Brad contemplating whether they really wanna hand the baby over to this flake.
Mrs. Fleeman isn’t sure where her husband is, and Brad immediately stops playing with the baby in Mrs. Fleeman’s arms. I like to think Brad is seriously considering snatching the two babies away.
It turns out that the forgotten baby’s name is Max, and his brother’s name is Rex.
Brad invites Mrs. Fleeman back to the Bar None.
Mr. Ernst puts Max in the car seat.
Brad, Jake, and Mr. Ernst put the hood of the car up.
Danny and Melody present gifts of toys for the twins.
Everyone says goodbye as Mrs. Fleeman leaves with the babies. They’re not concerned about her admission that she’s not sure where she’s going.
Mr. Ernst is disappointed, thinking they’ll never see them again.
However, Jake reveals Mrs. Fleeman “forgot” her purse, which he had been holding onto.
Buddy says his dad doesn’t need a baby when he still has him.
Looks like Buddy’s over his “dropaphobia”.
So ends another day at the Bar None.
This episode was pretty funny and also had some nice moments. We got backstory on Buddy and Mr. Ernst, and we even learned a bit about Brad.
There’s also some nice Ted/Brad moments. They seem almost like a loving couple – with the expected amount of bickering, of course.
It’s the final countdown!: 8