A few notes before I get into this episode:
My computer has been acting wonky again recently. Last Wednesday, while I was finishing up the previous review, it did that thing where the screen would become slightly pixelated, and everything froze. It might or might not occur after rebooting, and the length of time until it happened varied. On Thursday, there was no problem at all. On Friday, it started happening again, and there were times when I couldn’t even get the computer started at all (not even the Gateway logo would come up). It’s been fine since Saturday. I have no idea what’s going on nor why this seemingly random problem shows up every so often (“every so often” meaning “completely randomly”). Just be aware that my comp could theoretically give out at any time, but it might not.
On Friday, my job at work changed. It wasn’t my idea. It came from on high (meaning a visitor to the store that didn’t like me on Wednesday). Instead of my old job (taking care of the self-checkout area), I’m now stocking “consumables” (dry grocery, pet, pharmacy), and my hours have changed. This will require me going to sleep earlier on some nights, but I hope this won’t interfere with this blog. Also, I have no idea how well that I’ll do in my job. Just keep in mind that I’m living in “uncertain times” now.
Finally, I’ve reached a big milestone with this blog: I’m on the final disc of the DVD set. The end is literally in sight. This makes me kind of sad. I do have an idea for what I want to do next, but I’m gonna wait to share it.
On to this week’s episode:
Writer: Judy Spencer
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: July 26, 1991
This episode has a 1991 copyright.
This is the first episode in what I call the “Brad trilogy” – a series of three female-written episodes that focus on Brad, whether in the main plot or in a subplot.
In the cold open, Mr. Ernst is arguing with various parts as he pulls them out of the Jeep in a poorly-considered attempt to fix it himself in order to save some cash.
Ted comes by, asking for an advance on his pay, which is apparently a regular habit for him despite the fact that it’s never been seen nor mentioned before.
This time, it’s for something really important, though: a super-awesome “cassette player” (that also plays CDs, so…boombox?) that’s on sale for this week only. Mr. Ernst says he’s trying to tighten the Bar None budget, so he can afford to keep making improvements on the ranch. He says this while continuing to suck ass at fixing the Jeep.
Ted and Mr. Ernst debate this for a bit. Mr. Ernst starts the Jeep and believes he’s proved his point, but…
Yeah, the Jeep takes off on its own (somehow), prompting laughter from Ted.
After the credits, on the next day (I guess), Ted is out of it at breakfast or lunch (could be either).
Jake and Buddy are on a Sherlock Holmes kick (as were all teens in the 1990s) in this episode. This is their subplot, I guess, if you could call it a subplot. Brad doesn’t mind, because it’s “better than Danny’s Three Stooges kick” (which Danny takes offense to).
Brad and Danny ask Ted what’s bothering him. This was probably his intent, because he instantly whips out a sales ad and shows off the “cassette player”, which Brad finds merely “nice”.
Ted proceeds to blow Brad’s mind (not really, but her reaction is perfect) with details about “this fine piece of machinery”.
Melody comes by with mail for Danny, Brad, and Jake. She finds the “cassette player” “nice” (I hear someone else talking while she says this, but it’s unclear who), so Ted sets her straight.
Ted asks for a loan, but Melody, Jake, and Danny are “broke”.
Brad, however, got $50 in “birthday” money from her well-meaning grandmother that never remembers when her birthday is. As it turns out, this is the exact amount that Ted needs to have enough money for his “cassette player”. Ted is relentless, and Brad quickly heads to the corral, where Young Buckaroos are waiting for her. Ted forcefully trades jobs with Danny, so he can work in the corral and be near Brad. Brad runs away, and Ted gives chase.
Melody has a bad feeling about this. Jake guesses Brad might break down and loan Ted the money, but Melody knows better than that.
At the corral, some kids are learning how to rope.
Brad makes it clear to Ted that she’s not lending him her birthday money. This “jump to conclusions” “shocks” and “insults” Ted. But then Ted gets all metaphysical, claiming “some strange force” is pulling them together, and “this cassette player is [their] destiny”.
Brad says she’s seen problems when one friend lends another friend money. Wait, wait, wait. Brad’s seen this happen? Where? At her preppy all-girls school in Grosse Pointe (that bastion of poverty)?
Stacy is ready for her lesson, which pleases Brad.
Stacy informs Ted that Tuesday is her birthday. She’s gonna have a big party with balloons, some cake, and a “real birthday fairy”.
Ted and Brad get into it some more regarding the money. Basically, Ted McGriff never gives up, and Bradley Taylor never gives in.
Stacy invites Ted to her party. He seems amused but then seems to actually consider it.
I suppose she’s reprising that role here (or, at least, she might as well be).
She next played Noelle in “Bar None Babysitter” (season 2, episode 11):
She had much more to do as that character, and I wish she’d reprised her role as Noelle here (particularly due to the Ted connection).
She next played an unnamed character (which could be either Stacy or Noelle) in “Ex-Static” (season 3, episode 08):
That evening, most of the gang is getting ready to play Monopoly in the main lodge. Jake invites Brad to join (after Brad is assured Ted isn’t here). Brad’s favorite token seems to be the racing car. Buddy’s upset, because he’s always the shoe.
Brad is looking forward to a “nice, relaxing game of Monopoly” after the day that she’s had. Melody is surprised Brad’s still carrying around her birthday money and tells her to put it away before she loses it. So Brad took the money out riding with her? Anyway, Brad hasn’t had time, because she’s been avoiding Ted all day. Really? She couldn’t just shove it in her pocket? Or ask Mr. Ernst to put it in the safe or something?
Ted comes by, and Brad tells him to go away. Ted claims he will not bother her about the money anymore but then tries to use reverse psychology on her. Melody wants to play and has Brad be the bank.
After some more arguing, the lamps go on the fritz. Melody blames Mr. Ernst, who was “fixing” it. Mr. Ernst adds he fixed it twice and personally rewired every lamp in the lodge. He blames Ted. Mr. Ernst fiddles with one of the lamps, and all of them go out. He says he’ll have it fixed “in a second” (he doesn’t). Buddy starts a fight with Brad over the race car. Ted holds up the Monopoly box for everyone to put the game away.
Mr. Ernst sets a lantern down for the teens and goes to check the fuse box.
Brad realizes her money is gone, and Melody admonishes her for not putting it away. Brad blames Ted for following her around all day. Ted goes off on Brad. Buddy suggests the money’s stolen, and Melody rolls her eyes at this. Brad doesn’t buy it either. Ted suggests calling it a night (again), saying they won’t find anything now, and he’ll get up at “the crack of dawn” to help them search for the money. He quickly leaves. Brad agrees. Everyone leaves, Melody assuring Brad.
Despite agreeing with Ted to call it a night, Brad stays behind and searches.
The next day, neither Brad nor Melody have found Brad’s missing money, but Melody hasn’t given up. Brad has, because they’ve “looked everywhere”. She says it wasn’t in the lodge this morning, and, since then, they’ve “been over every square-inch of the ranch”. Really? That seems a bit excessive. It obviously went missing in the main lodge. Melody has to take towels to the pool but promises to help Brad look later. Brad thanks her.
Suddenly, Brad turns around and notices something:
Ted has bought his dream “cassette player” and is showing off the features (outside, where it’s exposed to the elements) to Jake and Buddy. He blares the royalty-free rock muzak.
Brad comes by. Ted asks her about her money and then is like “Tough shit.” Brad shuts off the muzak and questions Ted about where he got the money for the “cassette player”. Ted is evasive. Brad all but accuses him of stealing her money. Ted is upset. Jake tries to stop this, but Ted calls Brad out on her accusation, and she can’t say anything, because he’s right.
After the commercial break, there’s a bit of a continuity error. Before the break, Ted had taken off his left glove and thrown it to the ground. He then started taking off his right glove. After the break, his left glove is still off, but he’s holding it in his hand again, and then he puts it back on – the exact opposite situation of what he was doing before the break. I guess you could say there are a few seconds that we didn’t see during the break, during which Ted thought “Hmmm, do I really wanna take off both gloves? Nah, I think I’ve adequately shown my anger.” So then he picked up the first glove to put it back on.
Anyway, Brad makes her case, which is circumstantial. Jake seems to take Brad’s side. Buddy tries to take Ted’s side but fails to come up with an alternate explanation.
Brad and Ted continue to argue, but Ted refuses to divulge the source of his money. Both of them question their friendship, and Brad angrily leaves.
Ted goes off on Brad, but Jake urges calm – to no avail. Jake and Buddy argue over it, Buddy being on Ted’s side and Jake seemingly being on Brad’s side. Ted is upset at Jake, but Jake says he knows Ted didn’t do it. Both Ted and Buddy are surprised. Jake explains it to “Watson”: Ted lacks the cunning, ingenuity, and careful planning required to steal Brad’s money. Ted’s offended. Jake tells Buddy that they have to figure out where Ted’s money came from and why it’s such a big secret (this aspect of the investigation is never mentioned again). Surprisingly (for this series), Ted overhears this and says it’s none of his business. Buddy guesses Ted did take Brad’s money. Ted surprisingly overhears this as well.
Jake takes Buddy aside and tells him that “the game is afoot”. Buddy’s confused, and Jake struggles to explain what it means. It seems Jake’s the one that got Buddy into Sherlock Holmes. For those of you that are curious, the specific case that Jake refers to is “The Adventure of the Abbey Grange“.
Jake tells Buddy to get his magnifying glass, because
weak cosplay they’re going to work. After they leave, Ted blares the muzak, which goes into the next scene for a bit, acting as musical score.
Jake and Buddy go to question Brad, who claims she doesn’t think Ted took her money, saying Ted just made her lose her temper, and she said some “stupid things”. Brad is still puzzled by Ted’s secrecy regarding the source of his money.
This doesn’t bother Melody, because, according to her, Ted’s always behaving nonsensibly.
The girls agree to answer questions. “Holmes” is upset that “Watson” questions the girls. Anyway, Buddy had asked the girls where they were on Thursday evening (so this is Friday). This means this scene occurs 8 days after the previous episode, so the teens have only 10 days left at the ranch for the summer. I think some of the upcoming episodes might have to be squeezed into the one-week gap between this episode and the previous one. Either that or move last week’s episode down toward the end of the series.
After a bit of questioning from Jake, it’s established Ted sat next to Brad during the Monopoly game, which Brad somehow hadn’t remembered, despite Ted pestering her. Motive and opportunity being established, Jake cautions Brad against concluding Ted took her money. Melody says, if Ted had done it, he wouldn’t have helped to search the lodge this morning, because he’s “just not that devious”. Buddy points out that Ted wasn’t there (which Melody had somehow forgotten); he left the bunk in a big hurry this morning and wouldn’t say where he was going. So Buddy’s still sleeping in the boys’ bunk house? He doesn’t say that, and it’s possible that he saw Ted leaving from the outside, but I just thought I’d bring it up.
Anyway, Brad concludes “that little rat” went to spend her money. Melody, in shock, exclaims “I don’t believe this! Ted did do it!” Brad doesn’t believe she was even thinking of apologizing to him, and she says he’s lucky if she ever talks to him again. Melody seconds that. The girls leave.
Really, though, all that they have so far is a bunch of circumstantial evidence.
Jake tells them to calm down. Buddy gets sarcastic about Ted’s innocence, but Jake wants to go and talk to Danny. He believes Buddy influenced the girls, so he wants to do all of the talking, saying it’s always best to not lead people to any conclusions.
Cue Jake laying out all of the circumstantial evidence and then telling Danny to ignore it. Ha.
Jake decides to “examine a criminal’s psychological profile, which will prove Ted’s innocence”. A bit of music comes on while Jake does this. I don’t think it’s musical score; it’s way too short. Anyway, Jake convinces himself that Ted did it.
Ted comes by, having changed his pants, and the other guys abandon him.
The next day (Saturday), the gang’s gossiping about Ted while getting ready to paint a boat.
Mr. Ernst comes by with a can of paint called Fluorescent Flamingo. Brad suggests it’s a bit loud for the boat, but Mr. Ernst wants just the trim of the boats and canoes painted, which should take them a couple of hours. And just who, exactly, is doing their regular work (he didn’t pull them off their free time, did he?) while they’re toiling away on yet another one of his stupid ideas? Betty, Jodie, Lauri, and Steve?
Mr. Ernst tells them to get started and leaves to get more paint. Melody suggests telling Mr. Ernst, so he can talk to Ted, but Jake and Brad don’t think it’ll do any good.
Ted comes by, apologizing for being late. He asks for the work assignment, but everyone gives him the silent treatment.
Ted blasts the rock muzak on his boombox and starts painting the boat “this stupid shade of pink”. Melody tries to warn Ted, but Brad stops her.
Mr. Ernst comes by and is upset at Ted for painting the entire boat. He tries to shut off the muzak, and Ted does it. Mr. Ernst explains he wanted just the trim painted. Ted reveals nobody told him, because they’re not speaking to him. Mr. Ernst demands an explanation, but nobody says anything. Mr. Ernst decides it’s up to them to solve the problem. Why isn’t Ted speaking up?
Brad finally reveals they don’t trust Ted. Mr. Ernst says he’d have to let Ted go in that case (anyone wanna clue me in on the legality of this?), unless Ted wants Mr. Ernst to get involved. Ted doesn’t. Mr. Ernst leaves the decision to the rest of the teens, which I’m pretty fucking sure is illegal. He wants the decision by the end of the day. He tells them to get the boat cleaned up and get the trim painted, and he leaves.
Ted tries to talk to Brad, but she doesn’t wanna hear it.
Later, Ted’s jury convenes in the main lodge, and the debate gets heated. Brad demands they fire Ted.
Melody isn’t sure. Danny and Buddy believe Brad’s being “a little drastic”. Brad counters by saying Ted’s next step will be to murder them in their sleep. What the fuck? Is she for real?
Jake decides on a secret vote – to not influence each other nor know each other’s vote – and sends Buddy to get pencils and paper. Brad makes her vote known loud and clear – twice more.
Ted comes by, greets his “judge and jury”, and says he’ll be in the bunk. Melody asks him to say something in his defense.
Ted gives a speech about friendship and trust, which is actually pretty good. Look for Melody to very slightly nod in agreement as he speaks. Nice touch. He tells them to have their vote, and he’ll accept their decision, because he doesn’t want to be here if they don’t trust him.
Before we get to that, though, who’s that blonde girl working the front desk? It’s not Betty. Did they add yet minor female staff member?
The jury votes (include Buddy, who’s not an employee, but whatever), and they pass the votes down to Buddy.
Ted is unanimously declared not guilty.
Well, Brad wrote “Not guilty by reason of extreme stupidity.” Ted thanks her. Brad tries to claim “it coulda been anyone”, which nobody buys. Danny apologizes. Melody agrees with what Ted said without technically apologizing, but she does ask him if he accepts the apology. He does. Buddy claims he never doubted Ted for a second, but Jake calls him out on his bullshit.
Brad awkwardly tries to apologize, but Ted helps her out by saying “I know.”
Danny wants to finish up the Monopoly game, and almost everyone agrees, but Ted quickly excuses himself to go to an “appointment”. Brad starts to ask about it but then just wishes him a great time. Melody says it’s a “gorgeous day” and suggests taking the game outside. The others agree. Buddy calls dibs on the race car.
Later, the gang’s deep in an exciting game of Monopoly.
Stacy and some Young Buckaroos come back from Stacy’s birthday party and head into the main lodge. Stacy says goodbye to the “birthday fairy”, who gave her the “best party” that she “ever had”.
Yeah, Ted’s the birthday fairy. This was his “appointment”. The gang has a good laugh at him. Brad demands Ted come over to them right fucking now.
Ted explains Stacy’s mother hired him to perform at her birthday party (paying him in advance to ensure he showed up). Wait. Stacy mentioned the birthday fairy to Ted and then invited him to the party. Did her mother not have anyone set to fill this role yet? Wow, she sure is lucky that Ted just happened to be told of this party and was desperate enough for money to take this job. Otherwise, Stacy would have been very sad, and her mother would have had some serious explaining to do. You could say being the birthday fairy was Ted’s destiny.
Ted refers to himself as “the first birthday fairy to have her wings clipped or something”.
Brad realizes this is where Ted got the $50. *headdesk* Don’t Brad and the others remember Ted doing odd jobs for the guests when he desperately wanted John Wayne’s saddle last summer? Why didn’t they conclude he did something similar this time? Ted shares part of the blame, though. He should have simply said “I did an odd job for a guest” instead of being needlessly evasive. Also, why was he in such a hurry to call off the search for the money last night? Was it simply bad timing? Or maybe he wanted to get to bed early, so he could have enough sleep to wake up early and head to the store before work.
Danny and Brad make fun of Ted, and the gang ensures him that he’ll never hear the end of this. He wants to go to change, but Buddy has him stay and be his “partner”, because he’s so far ahead in Monopoly. Buddy’s statement makes no sense. If he’s so far ahead, why does he need a partner? For that matter, since when can players in Monopoly have partners? I understand sometimes players team up to take down a tougher opponent, but that isn’t an issue here. Also, Ted can’t just jump into the middle of a game.
Danny gives Melody $200 for passing Go. Guess what Melody finds (and Danny didn’t see). Jake guesses Brad shuffled the real money into the Monopoly money during the blackout, which makes no fucking sense whatsoever, because they had stopped playing when the lights went out, and Brad had stayed behind and searched the table via lantern light.
Brad offers Ted an “Oops” instead of an “I’m sorry” (not that she, in any universe, could have shuffled a real $50 bill into the Monopoly $50 bills, but whatever).
Ted is offended. Brad says “I mean ‘Oops, Mr. Birthday Fairy’.”
Ted chases Brad. The others cheer.
The pre-credits scene at the end, on another day, has Mr. Ernst finishing his latest attempt to fix the Jeep. I had actually completely forgotten about this “subplot” since I started writing this review.
Ted cautions Melody to stand back. Mr. Ernst is insulted, sits down on the front bumper, declares the Jeep is fixed, and hits the hood twice.
The Jeep starts (somehow) and moves on its own again – backwards this time. Melody and Ted give chase. Mr. Ernst declares the Jeep is alive.
So ends another day at the Bar None.
This episode was okay. It was nicely acted, but there were too many plot problems. Also, the title is a fucking lie. Ted was presumed guilty. Brad found him not guilty by reason of extreme stupidity.
Despite all of this, Brown and Lascher give great performances, making the most of what they’re given.
It’s the final countdown!: 5