Season 5, Episode 10: Low Budget Brad

Writer: Grant Dobbins (story), Lisa Melamed (teleplay)
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: August 9, 1991

This episode has a 1991 copyright.

This is the third 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.

Well, okay, only the teleplay was written by Lisa Melamed, a regular writer for the series since season 2. The story is credited to Grant Dobbins, someone that has no IMDb page. Really strange. This is the only instance in the series (that I can recall) of an episode having separate story and teleplay credits.

62-01-preparing62-02-Jake-powders-ErnstIn the cold open, a skeptical Danny is helping Jake create a video (featuring Mr. Ernst) to send in to “Vacations of the Wealthy and Well-Known” (no doubt a local knock-off of “Runaway with the Rich and Famous” that airs on some shitty, low-powered independent station in Tucson) in the hope of luring them to the Bar None, since they’re looking for a new place to shoot. Danny seems to give the impression that no wealthy and well-known people have ever come to the Bar None, but he forgot Bobby Rogers from last summer.

62-03-Ernst-richAs you can expect, Mr. Ernst hams it up for the camera, speaking in a faux East Coast old-money accent and referring to himself as “Benjamin Ernst of the New Jersey Ernsts”.

Danny doesn’t do his job of flipping the cue cards, causing Mr. Ernst to pause, but Jake just keeps rolling, because fuck retakes.

62-04-Buddy-Ted-trashBuddy and Ted walk past the camera on garbage detail (which includes a dead animal) at a comedically timed moment.

Jake yells at them and finally decides a retake is needed.

62-05-Ernst-fallsOops.

62-06-Melody-noAfter the credits, on another day, Jake is pestering Melody to pretend she’s rich and star in his stupid video.

62-07-Ted-fixes-JeepShe refuses, so Jake complains to Ted, who, along with Danny, is fixing the Jeep. Did it break again? Or, if we move last week’s 1990-taped episode, maybe it’s still broken.

Melody gets in a good putdown of the much-maligned polka-dot shirts (which she seems to take ownership of). She also says she’s taken long family trips in the station wagon and played “count the out-of-state license plates”. Sounds thrilling.

62-08-Danny-noDanny doesn’t give a shit about Jake’s stupid video and refuses to star in it.

62-09-Ted-yesTed volunteers to star in the video, because he’s great at bullshit. For some reason, Melody tries to talk to Jake as he’s getting the camera ready. Is she trying to talk him out of it? If so, why?

62-10-Ted-starsSo Ted, with oil on his cheek, tries to act all suave and shit. Things go downhill when he says his mom got sick on the Mayflower. Jake gets him to hurry the fuck up. Ted bullshits about a safari in Africa and doesn’t even sound like he’s not making it up on the spot.

62-11-Ted-MelodyMelody steals the spotlight by poking fun at Ted’s story through a quote from “The Wizard of Oz”. There’s a slight audio glitch while she does this.

Jake wants to keep going (because fuck retakes), but Ted can’t remember what he was talking about.

62-12-Brad-videoBrad arrives on her new horse and insults Ted.

62-13-Brad-noJake tries to get Brad to star in his stupid video, but she initially refuses.

Side note: I really love Brad’s outfit.

Jake convinces her to talk, so she mentions a “last-minute” trip to the Winter Olympics one year.

62-14-Brad-starsSo, without any introduction, Brad starts talking about the view from the helicopter and how she wanted to suck off the entire Swedish team.

62-15-Ted-facesTed pulls Ted shit. Brad and Jake ignore him and keep going, because fuck retakes. None of these assholes know how to make a video, do they?

One year, Brad’s family went on a “fabulous” excavation to Mesopotamia (because they had other people doing the digging for them).

62-16-Brad-Sir-Barney62-17-Melody-pets-Sir-BarneyJake abruptly cuts her off, I guess because he thinks he has enough footage. He’s also skeptical of her stories, but Brad insists they’re true. Melody backs Brad up, because she’s seen thousands of pictures (such as Brad on a camel, Brad climbing an alp, and the Mona Lisa smiling at Brad).

Melody tells Brad that, while she was working the front desk, her parents called and want her to call them back. Brad doesn’t make returning their call a priority (because she’s rich and shit).

After Brad leaves, Ted and Danny talk about Brad’s family’s wealth. Y’know that new horse? Her parents had bought him for her specifically because she had given Charisma away last month.

Brad comes back with her horse and tells them to give her a break. For some reason, she singles out Danny as not being able to spoil her good mood. We learn it’s her day off, and her horse is named Sir Barney. What’s the significance of the name, and did she name him? She hadn’t named Charisma.

Brad excuses herself to go to “retail therapy” (shopping). Danny wants Brad to spend the nice day outside instead of in a mall. Ted makes fun of Brad’s spending habits. Brad leaves. Ted and Danny banter about Brad a bit and then try out the Jeep (we don’t see the result).
62-18-Brad-whoo
62-19-Melody-shockedLater, Melody is shocked at all of the stuff that Brad’s bought, and Brad encourages her to “indulge a little bit more”. Melody tries to make Brad realize her good fortune. They talk about Brad’s spending and overconsumption for a bit, and it basically amounts to:

Melody: “Share!”
Brad: “No! Share bad! Stuff good!”

Brad gets all of this from her father, whose monetary philosophy is “If you’ve got it, spend it.” Melody’s monetary philosophy is “If you haven’t got it, try not to want so much.” Veronica and Betty, everyone.

Y’know, we haven’t really seen or heard much of Brad’s clothing collection since the series premiere, so it’s nice that they’re addressing it again.

62-20-Buddy-shockedBuddy knocks, and Brad invites him in. He’s just as shocked at Brad’s purchases as Melody was. He lets Brad know her parents called again, and they want her to call them back. Brad’s kind of dismissive of it again.

62-21-goldfishBuddy has a goldfish in a bag, and Melody asks him about it. Black Beauty is Buddy’s new pet. He had mentioned Brad’s two horses to Mr. Ernst as a hint. Buddy leaves.

62-22-ceremonyBrad invites Melody to watch Brad’s favorite part: “the ceremonial cutting of the tags”. Melody gives a sarcastic excuse, which Brad doesn’t pay attention to, because she’s too busy looking for scissors. Melody leaves to serve dinner. Brad says “Don’t work too hard.” Fuck you, Brad, I hate when people say that. Even Melody’s irritated by it and lets Brad know (not that it matters to Brad).

The next day (I guess), Jake’s losing hope of ever drawing the shitty TV series to the Bar None. They banter for a bit.

62-23-Brad-arrivesBrad comes by and says “Hey, dudes.” Cute.

Ted has something to give to her.

62-24-Brad-JakeJake wants to tape Brad doing something interesting. Brad suggests he follow her around for a while, and they’ll see what happens. Ted makes fun of it, and Brad gets on his and Danny’s case, calling them jealous. Judging by Danny’s “Horse of the Month Club” joke, I think we can assume season 3 was June, season 4 was July, and season 5 is August.

Ted gives Brad a telegram. Brad is excited, because three of her friends are traveling around the world this summer, and she thinks it’s from them.

62-25-Brad-Jake-2Jake’s excited, too, because opening a telegram is “a high-class thing” that he can tape Brad doing.
62-26-Brad-happy
62-27-Brad-shockedJake asks Brad to emote.

62-28-Brad-pissedBrad tells Jake to shut the fucking camera off.

Ted asks what the telegram says. Brad angrily tells him that it’s none of his business. Danny makes a sarcastic joke regarding the seriousness of the telegram, and Ted and Jake laugh.

62-29-Brad-pissed-2Righteously fucking pissed, Brad tells them that her father lost his job, and her family is broke. She asks them if they’re happy, and then she runs away.

As the episode fades to commercial, Danny needlessly says he shouldn’t have made that joke. Y’think, Dan?

62-30-Brad-lakeAfter the commercial break (which comes very early in this episode), Brad goes and sits by the lake, wishing to be alone.

62-31-Brad-Danny-MelodyDanny and Melody come by. Danny apologizes (twice) for making jokes, expresses sorrow for her dad getting fired, and brings up positive things (Brad’s health, the sky, the air, and a great horse). Brad doesn’t accept his apology nor necessarily agree with him. She just wants privacy. Danny leaves, seemingly somewhat upset. I can understand both perspectives. Brad just had a life-altering event occur and wants to be left the fuck alone. Danny apologizes for his behavior and tries to cheer Brad up, and she tells him to fuck off. Both are hurting, but I have to side with Brad, because she’s the one whose life has been turned upside-down. I know the last thing that I’d want to hear in that situation is “Look on the bright side”.

62-32-Brad-MelodyUnlike Danny, Melody doesn’t respect Brad’s desire for privacy and insists on hanging out and talking. Brad spoke to her parents earlier. Melody insists on knowing the details, and Brad reluctantly gives them (kudos to Kelly Brown for selling this). Basically, big-ass contract that Daddy’s been jerking off over fell through, leaving everyone involved out of a job and the Taylor family broke (they don’t do the savings thing). Melody insists it’s “no big deal”, and Brad handles this way better than I would (which would involve a punch to the face). Brad feels she’s left with nothing (not even an identity of her own). Melody says she’d do anything for Brad, but she can’t help Brad identify who she is and what she has.

Let’s pause for a bit and discuss who Bradley Taylor is. From what we’ve seen and been told, she’s a nobody that’s a somebody solely due to her family’s wealth. She attended hoity-toity schools throughout her life and dealt with the occasional bitch. Her one talent is riding horses. She has no idea what she wants to do with her life (somehow, professional competition, full-time riding instructor, and working in the family business (whatever that is) don’t cross her mind). Her one real hobby is reading (usually trashy erotica). She doesn’t have much of a romance life. There are hints here and there that she’s involved in theater, though it’s uncertain to what extent. That’s it. That’s Bradley Taylor. Up to this point, she’s defined who she is by her possessions. She has to redefine herself, and she doesn’t know how.

Interestingly, Brad mentions Kyle, even though he hasn’t appeared in this episode.

Brad also says she can’t go to private school anymore, because it’s too expensive, so she’ll lose her friends back home (she has no friends that aren’t upper-class, it seems); she also says she’s sure they’ll have to move. Melody says a lot of things could change by then (I guess she means September). Brad says, right now, she can’t pay for her new clothes, and she can’t ask her parents to, not that they could now anyway. She asks what she’s gonna do.

62-33-Brad-SquadTed and the others come by with the answer: the Brad Squad, dedicated to fully converting Brad into a middle-class girl.

Oh, look, it’s Kyle, putting in his first appearance since he and Ted had it out. Well, at least he and Ted seem to have stuck to giving up pursuing Brad.

Anyway, Brad’s skeptical, but the others cheer her on. Brad declares herself, “starting now”, to be “the new Brad, low-budget Brad”.
62-34-Ted-Brad
62-35-card-destroyedSo, of course, they wait until the next day to destroy Brad’s credit cards.

Brad decides to keep the cards as a souvenir, and Ted tells Danny to keep Brad away from the crazy glue.

62-36-adviceDanny advises replacing a bad habit with something else, and Kyle suggests riding Sir Barney whenever Brad’s tempted to shop. I totally believe the “real cowboy” would give such stupid advice. Brad gets the basic point, though.

62-37-pop-quizTed administers a self-designed pop quiz to test Brad’s mindset. There’s a cute joke when Ted says “vis-à-vis”, and Brad pleads with him to not say “Visa”. There’s also some fun “quiz” background score going on. Anyway, Brad does poorly. Despite seemingly doing her own laundry at the ranch, she’s still used to dry cleaning. She’s also still used to having food delivered instead of cooking herself. Yeah, other than popping popcorn, Brad likely can’t cook. Brad does manage to say she’d walk instead of taking a taxi, but Ted likes to give her a hard time, and that’s as close to flirting as they get.

62-38-Melody-receiptsMelody informs Brad that she and Jake managed to return all of Brad’s new purchases, even without the tags on them. Brad thanks them and says she was too embarrassed to go back there. Apparently, the salesgirl (singular, which means Brad bought everything in one store) took it “bad” when they informed her that Brad wouldn’t be coming back anymore.

62-39-Jake-pondersJake, over Melody’s objection, mentions a stupid idea to Brad involving cutting off and velcroing on her sleeves, depending on the weather. He even considers marketing the idea. Everyone else (except Ted, whose reaction we don’t see) thinks it’s a stupid idea. Jake and Danny go to wash the dishes, and Kyle goes to muck out the stalls. Brad asks Kyle to check on Sir Barney for her…for some reason (I guess just to make Kyle seem useful). Danny wishes Brad good luck.

62-40-Brad-MelodyMelody asks Brad if she’s talked to her parents again. Brad talked to her mother and is upset that her mother is considering selling a painting that Brad’s (presumably maternal) grandfather left her, even though it made her feel he was in the room with her, and it won’t mean anything to the strangers that will buy it.

62-41-figuresMr. Ernst comes by. As the good accountant that he is, he’s taken the liberty of running a bunch of figures and printing them out for Brad to look at. Basically, Brad has high monthly expenses and a shit-ton of outstanding debt, and her monthly Bar None “salary” (she’s salaried?) doesn’t come close to covering it. Mr. Ernst says there’s no charge for this. Well, ain’t that nice of him?

62-42-looks-badTed suggests “drastic measures”.

62-43-Danny-guestThat means an auction.

62-44-Kyle-JakeYeah, test that microphone! Earn that paycheck, Kyle!

By the way, nice touch with Jake reading. Is it one of his books or one of Brad’s pieces of “fine literature”?

62-45-Brad-TedBrad brings by some more stuff and wants to return to her bunk, but Ted tells her to stay as part of the letting-go process. He also ribs her on her ironing. Who usually does it for her? Melody?

62-46-auction-1Ted starts the auction.

62-47-auction-2He doesn’t exactly make Brad feel better.

First up is a “stupid-looking hat”:

62-48-auction-3And the divide between them keeps on growing.

62-49-auction-4Next up is one of Brad’s riding trophies, which she really doesn’t want to part with. So why’d she bring it out? She won it. It had cost her nothing.

Anyway, some fatass buys it to use it as a hood ornament.

The running joke is Ted is devaluing all of Brad’s stuff.

None of the people that speak up at the auction are credited.

62-50-auction-5Melody’s pissed that Brad is selling her peach angora sweater without ever having let Melody borrow it. The “blonde barracuda” bids $10…

62-51-auction-6…and shuts everyone else up.

62-52-Brad-Melody-fightBrad suddenly bids $11. Amusingly, Ted (of all people) calls it “highly unorthodox”. Melody bids $12. Brad bids $15. Melody bids $17.50. Brad bids $18. Melody yells at Brad to give it up and insists buying back her clothing – much like murder, fighting, and lying – is not the answer. Brad demands to know, “once and for all”, what is the answer. Melody tells her to “let it go”.

62-53-Brad-lets-go62-54-Melody-fallsHa.

62-55-Melody-wins62-56-ice-skatesNext up are Brad’s ice skates. She’s insulted over a $5 bid and tries to get guests to up their bids. Ted mentions her father lost his job.

62-57-Jake-cameraThe next day (I guess), the camera’s on the fritz, and Jake tries to get it to work.

62-58-Brad-cameraJake runs into Brad, who bullshits about doing her laundry in the corral. This raises an interesting question. Where are the actual washers and dryers that people use at the Bar None?

Anyway, Brad’s upset at the invasion of privacy, and Jake gets a funny line in about friends not leaving each other alone. Finally, Brad reveals the truth:

62-59-hoarderShe bought back all of her shit – at more than what she’d originally paid for it (the guests are “ruthless”). Jake and Brad discuss it. Brad had the auction for her parents, not herself. She’s been thinking about them a lot. They’ve always been so generous, and she’s always taken it for granted. She just wanted to give them something back to show them what they mean to her. Now, she’s worse off than before. Jake tells her to call them up and tell them what happened, because “it is the thought that counts”. Brad says it’s not enough; she has to do something (just as her friends did for her).

62-60-Jake-Brad-Sir-BarneyBrad is gonna sell Sir Barney, and Jake can’t talk her out of it. Jake runs off.

62-61-Brad-Sir-BarneyThere’s a touching moment when Brad quietly says “I’m gonna miss you.” I wonder if Kelly Brown ad-libbed this.

62-62-Brad-bedLater, Melody comes into the girls’ bunk house and finds a depressed Brad avoiding the world. She’d mailed the money from Sir Barney home to her parents. She’d had Mr. Ernst sell him, and she says it was the right thing to do, but it still hurts. Melody wants Brad to meet the people that bought Sir Barney. Brad doesn’t want to, but Melody takes her by the hand and pulls her outside.

62-63-new-ownersYeah, Mr. Ernst and the rest of the gang chipped in and bought Sir Barney. It was Ted’s idea after Jake had mentioned Brad’s intent to sell. Mr. Ernst adds Sir Barney can stay at the Bar None rent-free. Well, ain’t that nice of him?

62-64-Brad-ridesBrad is overwhelmed with emotion, and she finally understands the kind of riches that she has.

62-65-Brad-SquadAs Brad takes Sir Barney out for some “exercise”, the Brad Squad cheer themselves, and Danny calls dibs on the next ride.

62-66-Just-FolksThe pre-credits scene at the end, on another day, has Jake taping a video for a different shitty series: “Just Folks”.

62-67-Danny-interruptsDanny interrupts, because somehow he didn’t see they were taping.

62-68-Jake-DannyJake gets on his case and then explains his new approach. They get into it for a bit over the merits of doing this. Jake mentions Brad went into town to pick up a package, and Ted and Melody went with her. Danny leaves. Jake gets ready for take 2.

62-69-Buddy-fishOh, look, even Black Beauty got drafted into doing this stupid video.

62-70-Brad-carBrad arrives in her brand-new car, which her father bought her, because the deal came through after all, and he got his job back. Well, it’s nice to know Brad didn’t have to apply the lessons that she’s learned.

Brad speeds off, hands-free, and Melody admonishes her to keep her hands on the fucking wheel.

62-71-Jake-excitedJake’s excited, because they can do “Vacations of the Wealthy and Well-Known” after all, and he ditches the “folks” to chase after Brad.

62-72-folks-abandonedSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was very nice. We finally got more snobby Brad (which is a rarity on this series), and she had to learn to appreciate what she has.

The only problem – and it’s a big one – is we’ve already seen Brad’s generosity and kindness (hell, the episode was referenced in this one), so to suddenly have self-absorbed, spoiled, selfish, rich bitch Brad in this episode feels weird. This episode should have been written and taped way earlier in the series (like, season 1). It’s as if this Grant Dobbins person (possibly some corporate suit) suddenly said “Hey, I got this great story idea where that rich bitch character learns a lesson. One of you write it.” It was an answer to a question that viewers had long stopped asking.

Oh, and Kyle? Fuck him. Why was he even in this episode? He didn’t show up until the second act, and then his contributions consisted of generic motivation, giving Brad stupid advice, checking on Sir Barney (off-screen and for no apparent reason), testing a microphone, and spouting maybe one or two other lines of exposition.

It’s the final countdown!: 3

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3 responses to “Season 5, Episode 10: Low Budget Brad

  1. This was always one of my favorite episodes. I prefer snobby Brad…or at least believe it should have taken some time for Brad to change her rich girl ways. Since they introduced she was big on possessions and clothing, I expected that to always continue because why should she change that?

    One thing that always annoyed me was how extravagant they were, buying her a car? I mean, they send a telegram to their daughter to let her know they are broke which I think was meant for her to stop spending. I always wondered, did they expect her to just freak out and act like she now had to support them? (With the selling of everything and within a day or two). It makes me think the family has no savings and spends as soon as they make it. Then that’s proven later when she gets a fucking car. If those are the kind of people they are, it’s a miracle Brad isn’t more spoiled.

    I loved your analysis on why Brad was taking this so hard and how she’s defined by her possessions. Never thought of it like that.

    For some reason in my memory I always thought it was Kyle who admitted to Brad it was Ted’s idea about the horse buying. Not sure why but it’s why I thought he was even in the episode. Now it seems weird.

    On a side note, I like that Ted and Danny are the default mechanics of the ranch. Given how cheap Mr. Ernst is, he would use them to work on it and that’s why it keeps breaking down, and that’s not meant to be a slant against them, it’s just they probably are learning as they go and it’s a good skill to learn. I also like that Jake is the creative person at the ranch who seems to want to be the director or writer of stuff. He clearly does not intend to follow in his uncle’s footsteps and if we remember he was forced to work there by his mom so anything he can do, not ranch related, it’s his job.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a really hard time believing that a family that rich would go broke over night. There’s no way they wouldn’t have investments and if both of Brad’s parents were born rich, they’d have trust funds. Poor and middle class people depend on a paycheck. Really rich people do not. They should have them be guilty of tax evasion and have their assets seized like Cordelia’s parents on Buffy. Oh well. I probably shouldn’t over analyze a kids show like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does seem strange, but Brad explains it by saying “The Taylors are famous for spending it as fast as we get it.” Yeah, it’s extremely reckless and stupid, but it is explained.

      I agree there should be some kind of trust fund or something, but it’s entirely possible that her parents spent that as well. Or, hell, maybe they’ve got money in offshore accounts but are pretending to be broke for one nefarious purpose or another and simply aren’t telling Brad so as to not implicate her. Or maybe only her dad’s doing it. Whatever. We don’t know these people beyond spend, spend, spend.

      Like

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