Writer: Paul Budra
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: July 19, 1991
This episode has a 1990 copyright.
In the cold open, the girls come over to visit the guys, who are fixing the bell in the bell tower, but Ted informs them that the others are taking a break.
It seems Brad is also considering Stanford for her possible higher education. Leland Stanford Junior University is a private research university in Stanford, California. It’s also one of the world’s most prestigious institutions. It sounds like a place that Brad would attend. If she does, she and Jake can easily visit each other.
The girls brought the guys some more paint, but Ted says they already have enough. Brad says this is “special paint”.
The girls start a water balloon fight, but…
…Ted has reinforcements in the bell tower: Jake and Danny.
Mr. Ernst comes by, pissed.
What’s that that comes into frame from the left? Is that a boom mic?
Mr. Ernst is tense, because he just heard an inspector from the “Juvenile Employment Agency” is going around, making surprise inspections. According to Mr. Ernst, this agency grants licenses to employers like himself that employ teenagers. While there might be such an agency in existence (hell, it makes sense that there would be), I can’t find any evidence of one with that particular name.
Anyway, this is the episode that I’d been talking about that would cause timeline problems (although, as it turned out, last week’s episode already did that). This simply can’t be another summer, because then the teens would be legal adults, and this wouldn’t be an issue. Therefore, seasons 3-5 are officially the same summer.
Anyway, Mr. Ernst chews them out for their reckless behavior. Suddenly:
This hit on the head with a paint can gives Mr. Ernst amnesia. He doesn’t recognize the ranch or the teens. Danny climbs down. The girls and Ted help Mr. Ernst to his feet.
After the credits, the girls help Mr. Ernst over and sit him down. Brad and Ted question him, but he’s clueless. He references “Gunsmoke“, which confuses Brad, so Ted has to explain it to her. The reference worries him, so he asks Mr. Ernst for the date. Mr. Ernst says it’s Thursday, August 14, 1969. That is an accurate date (in fact, coincidentally or not, it’s the day before the beginning of Woodstock). However, before Mr. Ernst gets to the year, Ted confirms both the day of the week and the month/day. This makes the timeline really take it in the ass, because it places this episode (and thus the latter three seasons of the series) in 1997. Way to go, writer. Oh, and fuck the “Tuesday the 13th” bullshit. Just ignore it. So, yeah, 1997. I so totally buy that.
The other guys come by, Jake interrupting Ted before he can reveal anything to Mr. Ernst. In a private meeting, Jake ascertains Mr. Ernst’s age in 1969 from Buddy: 17. That actually was David Brisbin‘s age on the date in question. Jake sends Brad (because she has “the nicest smile”, which satisfies her) to ask Mr. Ernst for his age. Before he answers, he insists on being called “T-bone” (like the steak). T-bone says he’s “old enough to rock and roll”, but Brad has him be specific. Of course, he’s “17”. Brad excuses herself and reports back to the group. According to Jake’s psychology book, Mr. Ernst is suffering from partial amnesia. He’s forgotten “over twenty years”. They have to wait for him to remember and also play along, so he won’t be shocked into total amnesia. I have no idea if any of this is accurate or not (particularly Jake’s suggestion that another hit on the head might cure Mr. Ernst), but that’s what they’re going with, so they divide into shifts to protect “T-bone” from seeing anything that wasn’t around in 1969. Yeah, good luck with that.
Jake explains to T-bone that he’s got amnesia but doesn’t go into detail. T-bone thinks he’s at a summer camp, so they go with that – for all of a few seconds, after which it won’t be mentioned for the rest of the episode. Jake introduces everyone to T-bone.
Mr. Ernst gets a T-boner for Brad, which is all kinds of uncomfortable for her, but she has to play along.
Mr. Ernst wants to stick his T-bone in Melody’s porterhouse, and she doesn’t seem particularly bothered by it.
Jake has Buddy give T-bone a tour of the “ranch”. See?
Later (there’s no scene transition, just a standard cut), Buddy brings T-bone to the boys’ bunk house and quickly removes the (completely different than usual) calendar from the wall. It looks like a 1991 calendar, which contradicts the “Thursday, August 14” bit from earlier.
Buddy also covers a mirror and reveals his dad, Mr. Ernst, runs this place, which blow’s T-bone’s mind. There’s a bit where T-bone can’t figure out a Walkman. T-bone asks about “this Melody chick”, because he doesn’t want to “mow somebody else’s lawn”. Okay, I’m not up on all of the hip teen lingo of 1969, but is Mr. Ernst saying he wants to go down on Melody?
Regardless, it makes Buddy sick. Buddy feels the need to claim he and Melody are together instead of pairing her with anyone else. It’s not clear why, but it doesn’t seem like Buddy’s being opportunistic.
Buddy wants to show T-bone the ranch (they didn’t already do so?), but T-bone wants to change, so Buddy randomly gives him a shirt from a laundry basket, which likely means it’s dirty (either that or the guys didn’t put away their laundry yet). Buddy quickly leaves.
Buddy goes and updates Melody, who’s kinda-sorta working on the bell tower. Melody asks Buddy is he’s been taking steroids, that substance known for its hallucinogenic properties. Claiming he doesn’t like it either, Buddy lets her know the alternative.
T-bone arrives with a bucket full of water balloons, and Melody pretends she’s going steady with Buddy. To his credit, Buddy doesn’t take advantage of the situation.
Melody leaves, and T-bone shows Buddy the water balloons. Buddy says they have balloons stashes all over the ranch, because they’ve been having an ongoing war with the girls. For an “ongoing” war, this is the first that we’ve heard of it. It’s particularly glaring when you realize these episodes must occur much closer together than a week apart.
There’s a bit of ironic banter before the scene ends.
Later, during lunch, T-bone stalks his prey from a tree.
Meanwhile, Jake talks with that official-looking guy in the background and then asks Buddy where T-bone is. Buddy doesn’t know.
After some ironic foreshadowing by Jake, T-bone starts a water balloon fight.
Ted tries to discourage Mr. Ernst, but…
T-bone gets away. The official guy – a stuffy, proper British gentleman – demands to know who that “maniac” is. Brad says a guest, and Melody bullshits a story about him recovering from a “medical problem” here.
The pissed guy lightly shoves Brad out of the way to get his things. He addresses the “young lady” (seemingly both girls), telling them to tell their boss that a Mr. Thomas Carmichael wants to see him right fucking now. Melody guesses he’s the juvenile employment inspector, but he doesn’t want them to tell Mr. Ernst that, because he enjoys the look on employers’ faces when they realize life as they know it is over. Yeah, this guy’s a heartless asshole that enjoys watching other people suffer. Perhaps worse, he’s eager to revoke the Bar None’s juvenile license over a bad incident with a supposedly mentally disturbed guest, which is not the fault of the teenage staff. That is unless he has other, unspecified, unseen reasons for revoking the license, but the episode doesn’t indicate that – at least not right away.
Anyway, Carmichael takes pleasure in explaining what this means for the girls (why does he need to explain this?), and he suggests they write up their resumes, because they’ll be out of their jobs within the hour. Seriously, all that’s missing is the evil laugh.
Mr. Tom Carmichael is played by Bruce G. Bradley (credited on IMDb as Bruce C. Bradley). “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.
After the commercial break (which comes a bit early in this episode), the teens have a meeting in the boys’ bunk house. Ted mentions it being too “late in the summer” to find another job, which is true. In 1997 (or any year in which August 14 falls on a Thursday), Labor Day fell on September 1, which means the teens have 18 more days to work at the ranch – but they’re gonna fight for those 18 days, damn it!
Ted makes some jokes regarding possible jobs that he could get. He also has an “old buddy” named Roscoe, “the local overachiever”, that works at a bait shop. I can’t tell if that’s a joke or not. Also, I’m not sure which locale that Ted’s referring to, here or…wherever he lives. Melody tells Ted that at least Mr. Ernst isn’t trying to date him. That would have made for an interesting episode. Buddy envies them for having “real parents” and thinks it’s “gross” for Mr. Ernst to think of himself as Buddy’s equal. Melody points out that T-bone’s coming.
Buddy tries to
bludgeon his father to death cure his father’s amnesia, but Ted prevents him, and Jake gets T-bone out of the way.
Jake has fixed the “transistor radio”, so T-bone can listen to “the new Beach Boys tape”. There wasn’t really a new Beach Boys album near August 14, 1969, but Jake might have put in the most recent one (“20/20”) or the next one (“Sunflower”). Also, if you wanna get technical, the first Beach Boys album to be released on audio cassette was “Holland” in 1973, although it’s possible that T-bone thinks he’s listening to a homemade tape copy of an earlier record.
While T-bone’s occupied, the teens have a meeting. Buddy’s upset at Jake for stopping him, and Melody’s upset at Danny for believing it’s worth the risk of killing Mr. Ernst.
Jake says someone has to play Mr. Ernst at a meeting with Mr. Carmichael. Melody points out that he’s seen all of them, but Brad guesses (with no real proof) he didn’t get a good look at Mr. Ernst and suggests Mr. Ernst play Mr. Ernst.
Later, the girls “make up” T-bone to look like Mr. Ernst. T-bone questions them about the “fat cat”, and they say he’s nice, but Jake calls him a “megalomaniac, scatter-brain, power-tripping dictator in a ten-gallon hat”. I wonder if this is how Jake really sees his uncle. Melody shakes her head at Jake in disapproval. Brad claims she and Melody do theatrical make-up. Maybe at school? Anyway, T-bone’s impressed and makes an ironic joke.
Danny and Ted arrive. Danny warns them that Mr. Carmichael is coming. Ted chews T-bone out for acting up.
The teens leave and return with Mr. Carmichael. Seriously, all of them (except Buddy, who isn’t here) leave the office and come back into the office – for no other reason except to see this:
From left to right: Jake: “Okay, how do I explain this?” Melody: “What the fuck?!” Mr. Carmichael: “Huh.” Danny: “…” Brad: “Sweet Goddess, steady my hands, lest I strangle this fucktard.”
Anyway, Melody bullshits something about sinuses.
Mr. Ernst excuses the girls and makes known that he wants to have his way with them, but it’ll have to wait until this cockblocker leaves.
Just what the guy from the juvenile employment inspector needs to hear, right?
The teens leave.
Before Mr. Carmichael can mention the “rather disturbing” things that he’s “uncovered”, T-bone offers him booze, guessing he “hits the bottle” (even though T-bone totally doesn’t). Mr. Ernst lusts over that “fox”, Melody. Just what the juvenile employment inspector needs to hear, right? T-bone also offers to put in a good word for him with that “tomato”, Brad. T-bone adds it’s a “stupid name for a girl”. Really, though, I kinda like it.
T-bone makes some more banter and then fists himself:
Mr. Carmichael leaves (even angrily saying “Good day, sir”), and T-bone gets in a parting “zinger”.
The gang’s pissed, but T-bone doesn’t see a problem.
The gang catches up with Mr. Carmichael, who wants to save them from this “morally reprehensible” situation. Jake tells him the truth, but he doesn’t buy it and leaves. Ted asks if he bought it, and Melody lightly slaps him on the arm.
Brad wishes Mr. Ernst was back. Buddy says nice things about his dad. Melody goes off about T-bone, and Ted piles on. However:
T-bone runs away, hurt, by going upstairs. Characters sometimes enter or leave the main lodge via this staircase, but it’s never explained how. We know Mr. Ernst’s unseen bedroom and bathroom are up there, but is there also some staircase that leads down to a back exit?
Brad prompts, and Buddy volunteers to go after T-bone. The rest of the gang wonders what to do. Ted seems to be the only one that hasn’t given up hope and rallies the troops. Jake suggests doing “something desperate”.
Whatever it is, it’s on!
The girls are unconvinced.
Buddy searches for T-bone and finds him in the bell tower.
Buddy and T-bone have a heart-to-heart talk. Buddy says the ranch will probably be closed, because…drama? Seriously, the ranch employs more than just teenagers. They talk about ranch life and Mr. Ernst, who’s “out of town”. T-bone wants to grow up to be just like Mr. Ernst. Buddy predicts he will be – as well as a “very successful accountant”, which T-bone laughs at. T-bone wants to live out here on a ranch.
So the gang’s plan is to…kidnap Mr. Carmichael and…make off with him in a wheelbarrow? What the fuck? What do they hope to accomplish?
T-bone pretends to be a very stern Mr. Ernst. He admonishes his staff.
T-bone comes down from the bell tower, gives the teens some tasks to do, and then bullshits a story (which confuses even Jake, Brad, and Danny) about how he thinks Mr. Carmichael is an applicant for the “assistant manager” position, and they were just “testing” him. He’s “shocked” to learn who Mr. Carmichael really is, because his staff didn’t tell him (which Mr. Carmichael accepts the blame for).
Mr. Carmichael is flattered, and this “revelation” makes him reevaluate everything. He goes off to write up his report. Ted asks him about them losing their jobs, and he assures the “dear boy” that their jobs are safe.
The teens seem to think Mr. Ernst has regained his memory, but he was just faking (a little too well, I think, although he could have been basing his performance on his father, who has a similar personality), much to the teens’ disappointment.
T-bone seems to call Ted “Dan” and shakes him, which also shakes the ladder. A paint can falls from the bell tower, and we’re momentarily led to believe it’ll hit Mr. Ernst on the head, and he’ll regain his memory.
But, no, he catches it. Brad says something that I can’t understand. T-bone compares himself to Willie Mays. Then:
Yeah, T-bone telling Jake to rake the area was just an excuse for the rake to be left on the ground, so T-bone could step on it, which would then startle him into walking head-first into the wall, which makes him regain his memory. Okay.
The gang is happy, but Mr. Ernst is very confused.
The pre-credits scene at the end, taking place soon after, has Mr. Ernst recovering. Ted asks Mr. Ernst for the year, but Mr. Ernst makes a joke about Ted being behind on his chores instead of answering him, which is just as well, because that might have fucked up the timeline even further. Mr. Ernst relates “the strangest dream” to the gang. He gets a funny feeling about Buddy and Melody and questions them about it.
Melody dicks with him, claiming they’re getting married. Mr. Ernst freaks out, but Melody admits she’s just kidding, much to Mr. Ernst’s relief.
Mr. Ernst starts to remember something else, and…
Mr. Ernst lifts the ban on water balloon fights for fifteen minutes.
So ends another day at the Bar None.
This episode runs a bit shorter than normal as far as story time is concerned – about 17 seconds shorter than the previous episode, for example.
This episode was pretty funny, but it also has some heart to it. The father/son dynamic was explored again. David Brisbin got to act really crazy, and it looked like he was enjoying himself.
I find it hard to believe that Mr. Ernst was a poon-hounding hippie named T-bone, though. It doesn’t really fit in with what we’ve already learned of his childhood, which is basically “neeeeeerd!!!” Maybe he was a wannabe hippie and got his ass kicked by a lot of girls.
It’s the final countdown!: 6