Monthly Archives: August 2016

Series Recap

54-48-Ernst-canoeWelcome to the series recap of “Hey Dude”. Here, I’m going to give my thoughts on the series as a whole and the characters, give an update on the cast and crew, and rank the episodes from worst to best.

Before that, though, let it be known that the WordPress editor sucks ass, and it’s the reason (seriously, I tried two computers and three browsers) that this is tardy #5.

So now, before we ride off into the sunset, let’s check in with our friends one last time…


I scoured YouTube while preparing this recap. Here are a bunch of videos that I’ve rounded up for you:

This is a commercial about Ted that most of the cast did (this particular airing is from 1994):

Here’s the first outtakes video, courtesy of Geoffrey Darby:

Here’s the second and final outtakes video, courtesy of Geoffrey Darby:

Here’s a Nickelodeon “O-Zone” promo, featuring “Mork & Mindy” and “Hey Dude”, from 1991:

Here’s “The Wild Bunch”, a western-themed promo from 1993 (this is the ad that I referred to in my “Magnum Ernst” review):

Here’s “the entire Nickelodeon afternoon experience from start till end” (from autumn of 1993, around 1-2 years after my first time watching the series) – basically a collection of commercials and bumpers from the “No More Mr. Nice Guy” episode:

Here’s a small collection of “Hey Dude” ads and commercial bumpers from 1993:

Here are the commercials from between acts 1 and 2 of a 1993 airing of “Jealous Guy” (season 5, episode 06):

Here are the commercials from between acts 1 and 2 of a 1993 airing of “Incredible Shrinking Ted” (season 5, episode 03):

Here are the commercials from between acts 1 and 2 of a 1993 airing of “Doghouse Blues” (season 4, episode 10):

Here are the commercials from between acts 1 and 2 of a 1993 airing of “Baby” (season 5, episode 05):

Here are the commercials from between acts 1 and 2 of a 1993 airing of “Amnesia” (season 5, episode 07):

Here are the closing credits from a 1993 airing of “Jealous Guy” (season 5, episode 06) with an announcer voice-over:

Here’s a promo for “Muppet Babies” and “Hey Dude” from 1993:

Probably also from 1993, these are the commercials from the first half of an airing of “Presumed Stupid” (season 5, episode 08):

This is from an undated “Hey-Dude-a-thon”, which included an airing of “Return of Ted” (season 4, episode 08), with narration by David Lascher, in character as Ted, previewing the next episode (“Some Like It Hot” (season 4, episode 11)) over the closing credits. This is followed by video of David Lascher and Christine Taylor, in character as Ted and Melody, introducing the episode in a generic way:

From the same “Hey-Dude-a-thon”, which included an airing of “Some Like It Hot” (season 4, episode 11), with narration by Christine Taylor, in character as Melody, previewing the next episode (“Cowboy Ernst” (season 2, episode 12)) over the closing credits. This is followed by video of David Lascher, in character as Ted, introducing “Mr. Moneybags” (season 4, episode 12):

From the same “Hey-Dude-a-thon”, David Lascher and Christine Taylor talk over the closing credits of “Mr. Moneybags” (season 4, episode 12), in character as Ted and Melody, previewing the next episode (“Murder, He Wrote” (season 4, episode 13)):

Here’s a parody “tribute” video (that somehow manages to insult the series). According to a post on IMDb, it was shot on the Backbone Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains, just north of Malibu, California:

Here’s a 2014 tour of the abandoned set, which is still standing – and wasting away – to this day:

Here’s an impromptu mini-interview with some of the cast at the ATX Television Festival (June, 2014), before the panel:

This is the 25th anniversary reunion panel from ATX Television Festival (June, 2014):

Here’s part of an interview with Jonathan Galkin (the “Hey Dude” portion) on “Running Late with Scott Rogowsky” (June 25, 2014):

Here’s a cast reunion spot on The Splat (featuring a clip of Christine Taylor and Kelly Brown at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, which seems to be the April 22, 1991, edition):

Here’s a modern airing of a vintage commercial that the cast did, slightly altered for The Splat:

“Dude of Terror”, a hilarious horror-themed promo, on The Splat:

“Hey Dude” theme song fan tribute on The Splat:

Here are a series of “Hey Dude” 25th anniversary commercial spots featuring most of the cast (sans David Brisbin, Joe Torres, and Geoffrey Coy); unfortunately, they’re recorded by someone pointing a camera at the screen, but better this than nothing:

The Directors

Frederick King Keller directed 31 of the episodes. He’s had a long career of directing and producing (and even some writing), stretching from 1981 to 2014.

Ross K. Bagwell, Jr., directed 34 of the episodes. He had a short career of producing and directing, stretching from 1988 to 1999, working on only three other things besides “Hey Dude”. He died in October of 2008. Read this article.

The Actors


David Brisbin (Mr. Ernst) is still working, racking up 69 acting credits as of this writing. His recent credits include parts in/on “Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces” (2014), “Justified” (2015), and “Idiotsitter” (2016). See David Brisbin on Hey Dude Wiki.


Kelly Brown (Brad) quit acting after “Hey Dude” (see Kelly Brown on Hey Dude Wiki). However, she owns a successful women’s clothing store (for seven years running as of this post), Kelly B Boutique, in Montauk, New York. You can check it out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Or, if you’re in Montauk, stop in and say hi. Tell her that the crazy “Hey Dude” blogger sent you. I guarantee she’ll have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about.


Geoffrey Coy (Kyle) quit acting after “Hey Dude”. He currently works as a director of marketing. See Geoffrey Coy on Hey Dude Wiki.

Galkin-modernJonathan Galkin (Jake) was on a sketch comedy series called “Way Cool” in 1991 – just after “Hey Dude” ended. Then he quit acting. He currently heads DFA Records (cofounded in 2001). See Jonathan Galkin on Hey Dude Wiki.


Debrah Kalman (Lucy) has been in more things than I realized when I started this blog (and it’s not even all listed across her three IMDb pages; check out her resume). While she took a break to open restaurants and teach, she has now returned to acting. Her recent credits include parts in “Caretaker” and “Vengeance: A Love Story” (2017). See Debrah Kalman on Hey Dude Wiki.


David Scott Lascher (Ted) is still working, racking up 34 acting credits as of this writing. His recent credits include parts in/on “Melissa & Joey” (2014) and “The Boat Builder” (2015). See David Lascher on Hey Dude Wiki.


Christine Joan Taylor (Melody) is still working, racking up 56 acting credits as of this writing. Her recent credits include parts in/on “Arrested Development” (2005-2013), “Burning Love” (2012-2013, in which she played a character named Symphony *wink, wink*), “Sharing” (2015), “Zoolander 2” (2016), “Little Boxes” (2016), and “Zoolander: Super Model” (2016). See Christine Taylor on Hey Dude Wiki.


Joe Torres (Danny) quit acting after “Hey Dude” (see Joe Torres on Hey Dude Wiki). No one knows what happened to him, not even the cast and crew, who lost touch with him after the series wrapped. Rumors persist that he’s a car salesman in New Jersey, a pool shark at The Golden Nugget (a local dive bar in Tucson), or dead (of kidney failure while living on a reservation in Utah). However, a blogger posted this photo, supposedly of himself and Joe, in 2012.


Josh Tygiel (Buddy) made the decision in college to not pursue acting. He currently works for a private investigation firm in Portland. See Josh Tygiel on Hey Dude Wiki.

The Episodes

Okay, here is my authoritative (to myself, anyway, and only until I change my mind, which will probably be immediately after I post this) list of all “Hey Dude” episodes, ranked from worst to best (trust me, it wasn’t easy). Please keep in mind that this is more subjective than usual, because I’m trying to judge 65 episodes instead of just 13. Also, “worst” and “best” episodes are not indicative of what any of us might feel like watching at any particular moment, which largely depends on what we’re in the mood for. No descriptions this time (what more can I say?) and no links (see the separate page that I’m creating for all of the links), just the final word (see previous disclaimers earlier in this sentence):

#65: S3E12: The Bad Seed
#64: S4E03: Magnum Ernst
#63: S1E02: Battle of the Sexes
#62: S4E11: Some Like It Hot
#61: S1E07: Perfect Father
#60: S3E13: Stick Around
#59: S5E12: Double Date
#58: S5E03: Incredible Shrinking Ted
#57: S2E12: Cowboy Ernst
#56: S3E07: Dueling Ranches
#55: S4E06: Secret Admirer
#54: S3E09: No More Mr. Nice Guy
#53: S2E13: Take Me to Your Leader
#52: S5E02: The Legend of Jed
#51: S3E01: Inmates Run the Asylum
#50: S5E07: Amnesia
#49: S2E08: Treasure Teens
#48: S3E10: Killer Ernst
#47: S4E05: Fear
#46: S4E07: Lost in the Desert
#45: S5E04: Rest in Pieces
#44: S3E02: Hey Cinderella
#43: S3E06: Superstition
#42: S5E11: Jake’s Fight
#41: S4E13: Murder, He Wrote
#40: S4E04: Dudesbury
#39: S5E05: Baby
#38: S5E08: Presumed Stupid
#37: S3E04: New Kid on the Block
#36: S4E12: Mr. Moneybags
#35: S4E10: Doghouse Blues
#34: S5E06: Jealous Guy
#33: S5E13: War
#32: S4E01: They’re Back
#31: S2E06: Ghost Stories
#30: S2E03: Our Little Champion
#29: S1E08: The Good, the Bad, & the Obnoxious
#28: S1E13: Pain in the Neck
#27: S1E04: Ted’s Saddle
#26: S2E02: Battle of a Hundred Bucks
#25: S1E11: Suspicion
#24: S2E01: Loose Lips
#23: S2E05: Crash Landing
#22: S1E06: Rehearsal for Romance
#21: S2E07: Teacher’s Pest
#20: S2E04: Bunkmate Battle
#19: S2E11: Bar None Babysitter
#18: S2E10: Superstar
#17: S1E09: Rainmen
#16: S4E09: Do the Right Thing
#15: S2E09: Dan the Man
#14: S5E09: Crush
#13: S4E08: Return of Ted
#12: S1E01: Day One at the Bar None
#11: S1E12: Employee of the Week
#10: S5E10: Low Budget Brad
#9: S5E01: Miss Tucson
#8: S1E10: Ted and Brad Get Handcuffed
#7: S1E05: The Competition
#6: S3E05: Sewn at the Hip
#5: S3E08: Ex-Static
#4: S1E03: Goldilocks
#3: S4E02: Ride, She Said
#2: S3E03: Datenite
#1: S3E11: Melody’s Brother

Halloween Marathon

Wanna watch some “Hey Dude” for Halloween? Here’s my recommended order:

54-54-gang-WTF-2Season 5, Episode 02 – The Legend of Jed
Just a tiny bit of spookiness toward the end of the episode to start things off.

46-33-scaredSeason 4, Episode 07 – Lost in the Desert
Next up: Buddy thinks the staff of the Bar None are pod people! ARE THEY?!?!?!?!?! No.

26-45-Danny-aliensSeason 2, Episode 13 – Take Me to Your Leader
When the ranch is “invaded” by “aliens”, the gang must fend off the attack at all costs!

19-33-killer-ErnstSeason 2, Episode 06 – Ghost Stories
Save the best for last! Is the ranch haunted?! Will Ted survive the night?! No and yes.

The Characters

Here are the characters, ranked from my least favorite to my favorite:

39-40-KyleKyle Chandler appeared in 14 of the 65 episodes – just over one season’s worth of episodes (or just over 1/5th of the series) – and 14 of the 27 episodes of the “Kyle Era” (just over half). He came off mostly as a sexist asshole. There’s little redeeming about him, and he did absolutely nothing to improve the series.

09-24-Cassie-upsetCassie appeared in 12 of the 65 episodes. She’s still better than Kyle, but, then again, I love animals.

01-53-Lucy-pissedLucy appeared in 27 of the 65 episodes (just over two seasons’ worth of episodes or just over 2/5ths of the series) and was mentioned in 3 others. In terms of main characters that have been around since the beginning, she was the most useless. She was supposed to be an authority figure on the “ground level” (Mr. Ernst is often in his office) that could keep/set the kids straight, but there were plenty of episodes that called for that, yet she was nowhere to be seen. I really don’t understand why they wasted her. They didn’t even establish her last name.

06-38-Danny-hat-headDanny Lightfoot appeared in 64 of the 65 episodes. I like him just fine, but he’s the least developed of the longer-serving teens. He got some good character development, but it wasn’t often enough, so the series kind of gave the impression that he was just there most of the time.

26-03-Buddy-shockedBenjamin “Buddy” Ernst, Jr., appeared in 63 of the 65 episodes and was mentioned in 1 other, which means only 1 episode went by without his presence being felt. He was the kid character that the target audience could relate to. Overall, I like him, but he didn’t get many plots to himself. When he did, though, they were pretty good.

03-35-Ernst-worriedMr. Benjamin J. Ernst appeared in 59 of the 65 episodes, had an additional voice cameo in 1 other, and was mentioned in 2 others, which means only 3 episodes went by without his presence being felt. He’s the funny, bumbling authority figure (kind of like Mr. Belding on “Saved by the Bell” or – and this is getting obscure – Gerald on “Boogies Diner”). Despite his occasional buffoonishness and crazy schemes, he genuinely cares for the kids and the ranch.

55-16-Jake-sticksJake Decker appeared in 36 of the 65 episodes. For a character that started as a replacement for Ted, he certainly became an enjoyable character in his own right. He wasn’t Ted. He wasn’t better than Ted (in my opinion). But he was funny and likable.

52-43-Ted-plansTheodore “Ted” Aloysius McGriff appeared in 44 of the 65 episodes and was mentioned (and seen in a photo) in 1 other. How can you not love Ted? He’s goofy. He’s charming. He fancies himself to be a ladies man. He was Zack Morris before Zack Morris was Zack Morris (at least, the “Saved by the Bell” version) – but more tolerable. Lascher’s brief departure from the series meant Ted wasn’t as omnipresent as he should could have been, but he did come back, so it’s all good.

12-38-Melody-delightedMelody Hanson appeared in all 65 episodes. Overall, I love her, occasional mental lapses aside. She’s sweet, perky, and fun. I like that in characters – but not so much in people that I hang out with in real life.

53-82-Brad-smilesBradley “Brad” Taylor appeared in all 65 episodes. She’s my favorite character, bar none. Sure, she’s rich and kind of snobby – but only kind of. What I love about her is her dedication to her friends and her boss and her…grounded ordinariness. Limited exceptions aside, Brad was generally calm and didn’t buy into the bullshit. Her favorite pastime was reading. She loved nothing more than to sit down with a good book, a bowl of popcorn, and perhaps a vibrator. She wasn’t particularly outstanding, but she had a quiet warmth about her that I love.

DVD Set Review


Ah, the DVD set from The Shout! Factory. I was so happy when I saw it. Overall, it’s a good set, and it has a bonus feature (an interview with Christine Taylor), which is one more bonus feature than I expected. That said, I wish Shout! could have dug up all of the publicity photos and made a gallery or something. Or tried to get the commercials that aired on Nickelodeon.

There are some video and audio glitches, and I can’t tell if they’re due to tape damage or encoding errors.

Speaking of encoding, Shout! did not make use of the discs’ full capacity. Here are some examples:

On season 1, disc 2, the episodes were encoded at a constant bitrate of 5,000 kbps. The Christine Taylor interview, by contrast, was encoded at a variable bitrate of 7,100 kbps (meaning it topped out at 7,100 but went lower if the content didn’t necessitate as much). I loaded the DVD files into a dual-layer DVD project in Nero (my DVD burning software). What I discovered was, with or without the interview, Shout! could have fit two more episodes onto the disc. That’s how much space that they left unused! Imagine if they’d bumped up the bitrates on those episodes. They would have looked a bit better – maybe a lot better.

They seemed to gradually get better as the seasons went on (the seasons were each originally released separately). Season 2, disc 1, was 5,300 (constant). Season 3, disc 1, was 5,500 (constant); even then, one more episode could have fit. Season 3, disc 2, was 6,000 (constant); again, one more episode could have fit. Season 4, disc 1, was encoded at a variable bitrate of 8,500 kbps. Even then, one more episode could have fit.

The thing is they didn’t even need to fit extra episodes on the discs, because two discs per season makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is all of that unused disc space going to waste.

I have one more complaint about the DVD set. It’s nice that they included an episode guide, but did they have to print it on the reverse of the cover? You can’t read it!

Final Thoughts

“Hey Dude” was the right series at the right time. It had an interesting setting (a dude ranch, not just summer camp). It had a mix of characters from different backgrounds and of different ages. It was funny, goofy, heartfelt, serious, absurd, and, yes, even dumb at times. It was a little wild and a little strange. But it captured our attention. And it’s still remembered today – as Christine Taylor can attest.

It’s been an interesting journey, going back to a childhood favorite and reviewing it an episode at a time. I’m glad that I went back to the Bar None. I got to hang out with some of my childhood friends. That said, I would never actually want to work at a dude ranch. I’m not a manual-labor person, I despise yardwork, I don’t like being out in the sun, and I clean only when I have to. Working at the Bar None wouldn’t be any fun for me. It would be interesting to stay at a dude ranch on a vacation, but that’s not a priority for me.

I can’t guarantee this blog will ever be updated again. That said, stay subscribed. It’s always possible that I might find some obscure video or photo to share – or even get a hold of the original pilot taped at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch with a different Lucy (that’s what Christine Taylor refers to in her interview on the DVD set, not “Day One at the Bar None“), but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

Also, feel free to continue posting comments. Discuss the episodes and the series in general. Share any information that you find. If you were an extra or guest star or someone else involved in the production, please share your experiences. I want this community to continue.

An Ending…and a New Beginning

So here we are. I’m a bit amazed that I was able to complete this journey. Thank you to all of the readers (whether you’ve commented or not) that have come along with me.

I’ve decided to start up another episode-review blog. I had thought long and hard about what I wanted to review next, from “Clarissa Explains It All” (which I recall watching back in the day, but nowhere near as much as “Hey Dude”, so it’s not particularly nostalgic to me) to “Bubblegum Crisis” (I own the entire franchise on DVD, but I lack the albums, and the music is a big part of the series) to “NASCAR Racers” (a pretty cool series that aired on FOX Kids back in the day) to “W.I.T.C.H.” (another cool series, but there’s a lack of English translations of the extensive Italian comics, the original source material, so comparisons would be lacking) to “Cybersix” (ditto, except Argentinian instead of Italian) to the Mario cartoons (there would have been issues with getting a hold of certain episodes that weren’t released on DVD) to “Sailor Moon” (as much as I love the franchise, it’s much too complex for me to handle) to various Sunbow cartoons (there are issues with episode variants and the DVDs not matching what aired back in the 1980s) to the motherfucking Bible (that seriously needs to be done by someone) – as well as a bunch of other possibilities that came and went very quickly.

Then the answer suddenly hit me one day. I will be tackling the new series, “Riverdale”, which will be airing on The CW starting around January or February of 2017 (according to Wikipedia). It’s based on Archie Comics, and it is, in fact, the first live-action adaptation of the primary Archie characters to make it to series. In short, this is something that many longtime Archie fans – myself included (fan since 1990, one or two years before I discovered “Hey Dude”) – have hoped and waited for, and it’s finally coming. However, you don’t have to wait! The blog is already up, and I will not be reviewing just “Riverdale”, because that would be a sporadic blog! I will also be reviewing other television adaptations of Archie Comics – and even the sole theatrical film so far. In addition to “Riverdale”, the blog will also primarily focus on “The New Archies” (1987) and “Archie’s Weird Mysteries” (1999-2000), usually alternating between the two. In addition, I will review at least one episode each of each of the other Archie Comics adaptations – as well as some other stuff like comics and novels – as a sort of guided tour / sampling of Archie’s history, which will give context for the three primary series. If the blog happens to last long enough (Goddess willing), I might upgrade another series to primary status once I finish one. The Wednesday schedule will continue for now, because that’s comfortable and familiar (just like the characters that I’ll be spending time with) – but also because it’s unknown when “Riverdale” will air at this point. I might have to adjust the review schedule down the road if I need more time to review a “Riverdale” episode, but we’ll get there when we get there.

So now we bid farewell to the characters that we’ve spent sixteen months with, mount our horses, leave the Bar None, and head…to a little town called Riverdale.

Novel: Showdown at the Bar None

Showdown at the Bar None.jpg

Writer: Bonnie Worth
Cover Photo: Chip Simon
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Imprint: Nickelodeon Books
Editorial Services: Parachute Press
Original release date: January 29, 1992

A while ago, as I was approaching the end of the series, I decided to search for “Hey Dude” novels and comics, my reasoning being “Well, ‘Saved by the Bell’ had them.” Imagine my pleasant surprise when I came across this on Amazon. I ordered it immediately, of course, and I read it in early July (finishing it on the morning of July 4, when I woke up earlier than usual).

So what is it? It’s essentially a novelization of “Inmates Run the Asylum” (season 3, episode 01) from Brad’s perspective (but written in the third person) with a brief flashback to “Day One at the Bar None” (season 1, episode 01) and a bit of original material thrown in. No completely new story, sorry.

The story portion of the book is 89 pages long, and it’s divided into 13 chapters. It originally retailed for $2.95 ($3.95 Canadian). I got it for one penny plus shipping.

In this review, I won’t summarize the entire plot; instead, I’ll be comparing the novelization to the aired episode, pointing out the differences as I go.

First, though, here’s the blurb from the back cover:

“Hey dude:
showdown at the bar none

Ted in charge? What could be worse! He turns into Attila the Hun with a cowboy hat! Can Brad stop him? And if she does, will she be in charge? Will there be an all-out war at the Bar None Ranch?

Now the only kid cowboy TV comedy is a book! All the wisecracks and adventures of Nickelodeon’s HEY DUDE are here in SHOWDOWN AT THE BAR NONE-with no commercial interruptions! You won’t want to miss it!”

Chapter 1: Emergency Meeting (novel pages 7-16, story pages 1-10)

This is a new scene. Mr. Ernst wakes the entire teen staff up for an “emergency staff meeting” at 5:00 AM. This annoys Brad. Melody is already wide awake and perky, though. We learn Melody has been working at the Bar None since she was thirteen years old, and “there’s never been an emergency”. Melody wakes up early every morning to swim laps in the pool. She gets out of bed and “pull[s] on her bathing suit” (I guess she sleeps naked). She brushes her hair and urges Brad to come the fuck on.

Brad reluctantly drags herself out of bed and puts on her jodhpurs and riding boots. So is Brad wearing anything up top (like a pajama shirt), or does she go to the meeting with her boobs on full display? (I bet the entire “staff” would “perk up” then!)

We learn Brad’s had horses of her own ever since she could walk and is an expert show jumper. She’s never worked before, so this takes getting used to. Yep, the writer’s treating the series (or at least up until “Inmates Run the Asylum”) as one summer.

Brad thinks about her home life versus the Bar None and doesn’t regret coming here for the summer. At home, she’d be lounging around the pool at her parents’ country club every day, treated like a pampered princess by everybody, and coming home at 5:00 AM after a night of hot fucking.

They meet up with Ted and Danny on their way to the main lodge. Ted ribs Brad about her appearance, but Brad has no tolerance for his bullshit. Ted continues yapping. Brad thinks about the “senior staff” thing and how no one knows what it means. She does find Ted cute.

Brad takes in the desert scenery and atmosphere and wonders about the emergency, but no one knows what it’s about. She admires Danny for his skill with horses but doesn’t understand his tolerance of Ted.

Ted and Danny talk about two of Mr. Ernst crazy schemes (which we’ve never seen before): selling replicas of the ranch inside little plastic snowdomes and throwing a “Come as Your Favorite Cactus” theme party for the guests. Melody remarks Mr. Ernst “has some of the dippiest ideas”. Brad likes Mr. Ernst but agrees he’s dippy. Buddy is specifically stated to be 12, and it seems like it’s saying that was his age (not 11) at the time that he and his dad moved out here “from New York”. It seems the horn on Mr. Ernst’s “jeep” (the novel uses the word generically) plays “Home on the Range” instead of the series’ theme music (as in the series premiere).

When they enter the main lodge, Brad stifles a laugh at Mr. Ernst’s outfit. She observes Buddy is also nerdy and guesses he doesn’t mind his father all that much.

Mr. Ernst thanks them for coming and gets to the point. The scene then conveys the same information about Mr. Ernst’s trip to Reddington as in the scene immediately following the opening theme in the episode. However, here, it’s explicitly stated to be an auction, whereas I had assumed from the episode that it was just a regular sale. Also, it’s next Saturday, which means the novel starts the plot way earlier than the episode.

Anyway, the teens don’t give a shit, and Brad expresses concern about Mr. Ernst’s horse-buying ability as in the episode. Brad doesn’t get to suggest one of them going with him, because Mr. Ernst talks right away about Lucy helping out. We learn Lucy is “chief of staff” and “head wrangler” on the ranch.

Other changes include Mr. Ernst and Lucy planning to stay overnight in Reddington (as opposed to Mr. Ernst having to, because he ran out of gas) and Mr. Ernst having the idea of placing one of them in charge (as opposed to being talked into it). Again, why not pick an adult?

Ted volunteers, and the other teens burst out laughing. Ted claims he’s “worked here longer than any of [them]” and is “a real pro on horseback”. Mr. Ernst agrees, but Brad protests, and then Ted counters. They don’t fight over the keys (obviously), and the dialogue isn’t the same. Mr. Ernst doesn’t even suggest putting Danny in charge.

Ted tries to claim Brad doesn’t know the first thing about ranching and brings up how everyone thought she was a guest when she first arrived. Brad disputes it and lies, so Ted gets Melody to admit even she thought so, which annoys Brad.

As Ted keeps talking, Brad thinks back to the first episode her arrival…

Chapter 2: Brad’s First Day (novel pages 17-25, story pages 11-19)

01-02-Brad-Ted-meetThis is a very condensed flashback to the series premiere. It’s told from Brad’s point of view. She arrives at the ranch. Ted and Brad introduce themselves using their full names (unlike in the episode). Ted mentions he’s senior staff, but there’s no discussion of what that is. Ted doesn’t mention riding, and Brad doesn’t react to it. Ted wants to help her with her luggage, but she refuses, not liking it when guys treat her as if she needs their help all of the time. It’s even worse when they get obnoxious about it. Ted doesn’t fall into the watering trough.

Later, Brad is standing by a window in the main lodge and witnesses Ted and Danny meeting up, which occurs on the porch instead of in the boys’ bunk house. There’s no banter or discussion of fry bread, but the handshake is included. Brad listens in as Ted talks about her. He calls her a tenderfoot and tries to think of a way to impress her. The guys don’t notice her.

Suddenly, they hear a wild neigh coming from the “main corral”. Lucy is the one trying to lead Rocket, who’s referred to as a stallion, into the corral. Ted starts to get an idea, and he and Danny argue over it as they head to the corral.

In the next scene, all of the teens gather in the corral with Lucy – even Brad, dressed in her riding clothes. The continuity of the episode is further altered: Brad had already met Lucy in the main lodge and Melody in the girls’ bunk house. Here, this was before Ted and Danny met up. Melody’s meet-up with the guys isn’t described here. In the episode, Brad and Lucy don’t share any screen time until near the end.

Brad likes both Lucy and Melody, but she doesn’t have much in common with either of them. Lucy is described as being “ten years or so” older than them.

Brad admires Rocket. An “old nag” named Pansy is also here, a good-natured old horse used mostly for children’s pony rides. There’s a conversation between Ted and Danny, which Brad shouldn’t be aware of, because Ted is whispering. Lucy warns Ted against riding Rocket, but here it’s because she overhears Ted discussing riding to impress Brad, not just a general feeling that she has. She heads to the main lodge.

01-25-Danny-Brad-meetTed swaggers over to Brad and wants to give her a riding demonstration. Danny introduces himself to Brad using his full name. Brad doesn’t like being typed as a princess by Ted. Ted wants to take up his own “challenge” of riding Pansy, and the others laugh at him. Ted then switches to Rocket on his own instead of Brad challenging him. Melody and Danny protest, but Ted goes through with it.

As in the episode, Rocket throws him off, and he lands in a “mud puddle”.

01-31-Brad-shoosDanny and Brad rush in and save his ass.

01-46-Brad-Rocket-4Brad rides Rocket, but here she does it to calm him down, not to show off.

01-52-Ted-Brad-groundBrad introduces herself as the new riding instructor. She “kind of” likes Ted “in spite of herself”. Ted asks for her help and then pulls her into the puddle.

As you can tell, the novel combines all three corral scenes into one, it cuts out Brad’s meeting with Melody, and there’s no mention of Mr. Ernst or even the fact that the ranch has a new owner. Also, Lucy doesn’t bust them.

Chapter 3: The Original Bar None Allergy Cure (novel pages 26-31, story pages 20-25)

The smell of coffee drifting through the open windows brings Brad back to the present. Ted’s still talking. Brad knows breakfast is about to begin, and the meeting will have to end.

Brad and Ted argue again, and it devolves into insults. Mr. Ernst breaks it up and says he has a week to decide. You’ve gotta be shitting me. He called an “emergency meeting” to discuss a relatively minor situation that wouldn’t be an issue for another week? Anyway, he tells them to get to work and please the guests.

The teens leave the main lodge, Brad and Ted upset. Melody and Danny decide to skip breakfast in order to avoid the “battle zone”. Danny invites Melody to hang out in the main lodge (which they’d just walked out of), and the scene abruptly ends (that was odd), but it’s the end of the page, so you don’t know the next page starts a new scene until you start reading it.

Ted and Brad manage to avoid each other at breakfast. Brad goes to the corral to organize the morning ride, and Ted goes to the main lodge to check the duty roster. Danny and Melody are killing time until their (unspecified) activities start in another hour. There’s no one else here except the staff, because all of the guests are busy with activities.

The rest of the chapter is basically the “clumsy Buddy” bit from the cold open of the episode – but moved indoors. Buddy trips down the stairs. Melody helps Buddy to his feet and asks him if he okay (she doesn’t do either in the episode). Brad (who’s not present) doesn’t say “Get a life” to the guys. Melody, not Brad, asks Buddy what’s wrong. Comparing the novel to the episode made me realize I was wrong in my review of “War” (season 5, episode 13). There’s actually one more reference to the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise. That makes a total of four, I believe.

Anyway, Buddy is explicitly stated to be wearing a Yankees baseball cap. I guess Bonnie Worth confused his Mets cap (which he doesn’t wear in the episode) for a Yankees cap, but I don’t blame her, because I did the same thing.

Melody, not Brad, asks “What little things?” The novel has the others be silent when they believe Buddy has a point. Melody then comes “to the rescue”. In the episode, Brad just immediately starts talking. Mr. Ernst trips and falls down the stairs, not from the porch. Instead of heading to the Jeep to go on the trip, he just wants Buddy to come along with him, because he wants to tell him about his idea for “a new way to fold newspapers”. Yeah…

Interestingly, they head toward “Lucy’s bunkhouse”. Lucy has her own bunk house? “Ted and Brad Get Handcuffed” (season 1, episode 10) seems to indicate she sleeps in the main lodge, but maybe she was there just to make sure that Brad and Ted didn’t fuck like crazed weasels kill each other.

Buddy laments not inheriting Arnold Schwarzenegger’s genes.

Chapter 4: The Trail Ride (novel pages 32-42, story pages 26-36)

This chapter is entirely new material.

On Sunday morning, early riser Melody comes back from her morning swim. Brad gets out of bed and gets dressed. Melody informs Brad that today’s duty roster has Brad and Ted on an Evening Trail Ride tonight with some horses and about fifteen guests. Brad wants Melody to switch with her, but Melody has to lifeguard at the poolside barbecue (which those fifteen guests aren’t attending, I guess) tonight. Brad wants to find a way out of it. She and Ted still aren’t on speaking terms. Melody gets all romantic about Brad/Ted, and Brad, somehow, doesn’t believe Ted likes her. Where has she been this whole time? Anyway, Melody finally gets Brad to admit Ted is “maybe just a little bit lovable”, but Brad denies liking Ted. Melody doesn’t believe it but doesn’t want to argue.

Brad teaches the children’s riding class all morning long and then goes to Mr. Ernst’s office to try to get out of the trail ride. Mr. Ernst puts her on the spot (we learn she usually does less than her share of chores), so Brad bullshits some horse-related duties that she has to see to. Mr. Ernst tells her that she and Ted are the only ones available for the trail ride, so tough shit.

Brad arrives at the corral in the evening, ignores Ted (who makes a show of praising her in front of the guests), goes to the stable, readies her favorite palomino (Duchess), and joins the others. After a bit in which they answer some questions (which Brad tells them to ask, even though she privately knows she’s not an expert), during which Ted bullshits, they head out during sunset.

As the sun sets, the hot, dry air cools quickly. Night is coming.

Brad bullshits her way through a cactus question, Ted tells a tall tale about Desert Pirates and a haunted cavern, and Brad bullshits about the government performing experiments on aliens in a nearby secret facility. A guest reminds them of dinner (seemingly the one that Melody was too busy lifeguarding to take over on the trail ride for Brad, despite the fact that the guests expect to be back from the trail ride in time for dinner), so Brad wants to head back to the ranch but realizes they’re lost.

Chapter 5: Time to Panic (novel pages 43-49, story pages 37-43)

Brad and Ted bullshit some interesting sights while trying to find the trail – to no avail. It’s getting dark, the guests grumble, and Brad starts to panic. Ted and Brad each accept responsibility for getting them lost, and Brad admits she can’t let anyone outdo her in anything. Suddenly, Ted hears a horse approach. Danny arrives, saying they missed dinner, but Ted plays it cool. Danny leads them back to the ranch, and some of the guests ask him questions. Brad and Ted argue with each other and stop speaking to each other again.

When Brad gets back to the girls’ bunk house, Melody is reading in bed. I wonder if it’s erotica. Anyway, Melody gets all wet thinking about some hot Brad/Ted action, but Brad’s fucking pissed and just strips right in front of Melody. Seriously. She even throws her clothes on the floor, such is her anger. She “stomps” her way into her pajamas, flops onto her bed, and covers herself with her pillow. Melody tries to get her to talk, and Brad tells her about how Ted “nearly” got them lost in the desert. No, Brad, there’s no “nearly” about it, and both of you were to blame. Melody makes a Brad/Ted crack, and Brad throws her pillow at her and tells her to shut the fuck up.

Chapter 6: Who’s in Charge? (novel pages 50-54, story pages 44-48)

This is basically the rest of the scene after the theme song from the episode – but with the change of it being another emergency meeting at 5:00 AM. Also, Lucy is present, and Buddy isn’t. Other than Mr. Ernst, the only ones that are wide awake are Melody, Brad, and Ted. Brad and Ted fight over seats and suck up to Mr. Ernst. There’s no arguing; Mr. Ernst just decides to flip the coin, which doesn’t go under the Jeep. Mr. Ernst gives Ted the master keys, and then Mr. Ernst and Lucy drive off. The rest of the chapter plays out pretty much like the scene in the episode.

Chapter 7: The New System (novel pages 55-62, story pages 49-56)

27-09-meetingThis is the meeting in “Ted’s” office. Changes include Ted talking to himself about the “big responsibility” of his job, moving the furniture around, and somehow having time to create a “Mr. McGriff” nameplate (instead of a badge).

After the others arrive, Buddy sets up the easel and pad of paper (it was already set up in the episode). Danny nods as a signal to start the humming. Ted’s four-star task isn’t as funny in the novel as in the episode:

27-12-gold-starsMelody doesn’t say Mr. Ernst will be back in a few hours (obviously). Also, we learn Melody is “so used to following the rules” that she can’t even break a “stupid one” and doesn’t want a demerit, which I guess somewhat explains her shock upon receiving one in the scene in the episode.

Chapter 8: Into the Lake (novel pages 63-67, story pages 57-61)

After breakfast, Brad gives her morning riding lesson, despite not being in the mood. As it turns out, the lesson calms her down a bit. One of the children, an eight-year-old girl named Melissa, manages her first jump.

After the lesson, Brad goes to the girls’ bunk house to change out of her riding clothes and into shorts and sandals. She heads toward the ramada for a snack.

On the way, she sees Danny slumped on a wooden bench in the shade of a mesquite tree, and she sits down next to him. The novel then goes through the scene between them at the hay shack in the episode – but moved to this new location. The dialogue is pretty much the same. The major difference is the removal of Buddy and his eye exam (and thus part of his subplot), so Brad gets Ted’s location from Danny. They head to the lake.

“Brad’s jaw was set, her fists were clenched, and her blue eyes flashed.”

27-20-Melody-rips-citationWe then get the lake scene. I just noticed, in the episode, there’s a bit of an audio glitch when Melody says “Ted, this is boring”, so it sounds like she says “Ted, this is whoring”. Hehehe.

Anyway, the write-and-rip routine is condensed a bit in the novel, and Melody’s cute “parade” comment is removed, but the novel still describes it as a parade in the narration. Ted tries to use a forceful tone. Melody’s line about Mr. Ernst’s return is updated to tomorrow morning, and her reason for stepping in is her duty as a lifeguard, because it’s against the rules to throw people off the dock. Brad says it’s her “personal belief that a dousing in cold water cures some forms of insanity”. Danny adds his grandmother always says it; it’s “an old Hopi remedy”. Buddy doesn’t interrupt to give an update on his dad’s return (obviously). Notably, Brad and Danny blatantly throw Ted into the lake, whereas he just fell off the dock when they and Melody ganged up on him in the episode. Melody doesn’t steal Ted’s citation pad. Ted doesn’t call them traitors.

Chapter 9: The Creature From the Black Lagoon (novel pages 68-73, story pages 62-67)

Melody, Danny, and Brad pass the boathouse on their way back up to the main lodge. Buddy is surrounded by guests that want to rent boats for the afternoon. This really doesn’t have anything to do with the story – except maybe hinting at Buddy taking responsibility for the ranch.

27-24-gang-worksThe rest of the chapter is the beginning of the scene in the main lodge from the episode. There are minor – and inconsequential – differences regarding the teens serving the guests (such as the old couple that Danny talks to in the episode being young honeymooners from New York City in the novel and getting a lot of detail).

27-25-Ted-confrontsWhen Ted comes in, Brad teasingly calls him the Creature From the Black Lagoon (which has been mentioned twice on the series, including Brad comparing Ted to it once). Brad stage-whispers the part about Ted being kicked in the head by a horse instead of just saying it out loud. Ted seizes the register book from the front desk. He doesn’t converse with the guests. He yells “I’m not moving!” at Danny, who imitates a mental health orderly, instead of Melody. Melody, not Brad, is the one that suggests going into Mr. Ernst’s office to come up with a “fair solution”. Brad follows Ted into the office, grabs the master keys from his pocket, and darts back outside instead of remaining outside as in the episode. This still doesn’t explain how (and I admit I didn’t think of it while reviewing the episode) Ted can be locked in the office.

Oh, and Brad has the stupid habit of calling Ted “Teddykins”. What the fuck? That sounds like something that Veronica Lodge would do.

Chapter 10: Brad Takes Over (novel pages 74-81, story pages 68-75)

27-28-girlsThis is the rest of the lodge scene from the episode.

Changes include Brad going back to the front desk (and putting the keys on it, which actually makes it easier for Buddy to swipe them) and interacting with a postcard-buying female guest instead of remaining by the office door, the female guest being the one to say she’ll call the police instead of the male guest on the couch, and the deletion of Buddy’s carrot bit (and thus more of his subplot). Melody mentally compares Ted and Brad to the dictators that they learned about in history class. When Ted calls, we hear what Ted asks her, so she doesn’t repeat it. Brad, not Danny, asks Ted what’s going on.

Oddly, Mr. Ernst’s office is described as being surrounded by the porch, whereas we know from the series that this isn’t the case:

56-11-drummers-156-12-drummers-2We learn Brad plans to lock Ted in the broom closet for the night. Also, hearing a jingling sound, Brad runs out on the porch and sees Ted dangling the keys through a gap in the boards over the window. She then storms back inside the lodge after learning of Buddy’s role. Ted taunts Brad a bit more in the novel, and it makes it sound like there’s no window right next to the office door. Melody says Danny’s one line in addition to her own. Ted calls Brad “Braddikins”. What’s with the stupid nicknames? Buddy letting Ted out of the office (and their banter) is cut, because Brad isn’t present to witness it.

Chapter 11: Revenge! (novel pages 82-88, story pages 76-82)

First, we get the girls’ bunk house scene from the episode. We get a bit of desert atmosphere at the beginning (including a full moon, which actually is not shown in the episode).

27-32-Ted-Buddy-spyIt’s mentioned Ted cut off the power to the girls’ bunk house, because him actually doing it was cut from the previous scene. Melody, Danny, and Brad use a flashlight instead of a lantern. Ted and Buddy’s antics (including the continuation of Buddy’s subplot) when they sneak up are cut, but the novel breaks perspective to let us know they’re outside.

Brad’s opening speech, the banter, and the discussion of details are all cut. Brad directly states her plan. The spies don’t attract Brad’s attention until Buddy laughs at the insult that Danny makes in response to Brad’s “liberty” speech (which she still makes, even though it doesn’t work without the lantern). Ted and Buddy duck down low instead of going off to the side, yet they still somehow avoid detection. Brad sees a jackrabbit outside. Backtracking a bit (in the novel), regarding Melody and Brad’s argument, Melody adds she’s getting sleepy, and Brad humorously thinks Melody’s being stubborn by always insisting everything make sense. Before saying they attack at dawn, Brad admits she’s feeling a little jumpy and suggests they get some sleep. Danny leaves for the boys’ bunk house. Brad doesn’t insist they go over the plan one more time.

27-36-Brad-gun27-37-assaultNext, we get the attack scene from the next day. The talking is cut, but some of Brad’s lines are moved to her thoughts. Ted’s “suspiciously loud” snoring is heard. Brad actually climbs into the office. Ted really is on the couch, and he had the garden hose hidden under the (Navajo) blanket…somehow. Buddy turns on the water full force, and Ted gets Brad, Danny, and Melody wet immediately instead of delaying. Brad has to order Melody and Danny (who have retreated) to come back and attack, and they end up turning on Brad and holding her directly in the line of fire.

After Brad chastises Ted, she silently thinks this never would have happened if she’d been in charge. Melody and Danny’s lines are swapped. She comes up with the plan of action, and he assigns the tasks. Danny doesn’t join Melody in yelling at Brad and Ted. Buddy doesn’t say “Those kids…”, which means less of his subplot.

Brad goes after Duchess first and puts her back in her stable. Ted calls Brad to help him with Rocket. The two of them team up and manage to calm Rocket down and lead him into the corral. (Neither horse was specifically mentioned in the episode, but Rocket’s inclusion here is meant to more fully tie the events of the first episode into this story.) Then they catch the other horses. Ted thanks Brad and says, once in a while, they’re a pretty good team. Brad agrees.

Chapter 12: Now Who’s in Charge? (novel pages 89-91, story pages 83-85)

27-42-gang-doneBrad and Ted, not Danny, get the last horse back into the corral. The guests are just coming to “the mess hall” (something that’s never been mentioned in the series, unless it’s the same thing as the never-seen dining room) for breakfast. During her apology, Brad pats Duchess and feeds her a lump of sugar (despite putting her in her stable earlier). Brad and Ted silently admit the shit that they’d caused had been kind of fun. Brad doesn’t suggest, next time, they vote on who’s in charge.

In the main lodge, Buddy is described as wearing one of his father’s Stetson hats.

After the gang comes by, Melody has a new line: she softly admits Buddy’s a lot more responsible than any of them. There’s no discussion of pocket protectors, Danny doesn’t put the hat on Buddy (obviously), and Buddy doesn’t order them back to work.

Chapter 13: Back to Normal-Sort Of (novel pages 92-95, story pages 86-89)

This is the pre-credits scene at the end of the episode. Mr. Ernst’s “jeep” is the red one from the series premiere, not the yellow one from the episode that this novel is based on:

01-20-skateboard27-01-JeepThey got one new horse instead of a few. Mr. Ernst doesn’t ask about Buddy’s appearance. Brad and Melody don’t join Ted in trying to dissuade Mr. Ernst from hearing about what went on while he was gone. Instead, he says he’s not too busy this morning and suggests they come into his office and tell him about it. Then he immediately heads to his office, so they have no choice but to follow him, nervous.

In the office, Brad sees Ted’s photo still on the desk and cringes. Melody and Danny rush over to the still-damp wall and stand in front of it while Buddy tries to dry it off with the damp Navajo blanket. Ted discreetly moves the furniture back to their original places. The phone rings, and Mr. Ernst is soon caught up in his work. He smiles and waves the kids away, forgetting what he asked them in here for.

Brad thinks “Saved by the bell” and, while Mr. Ernst is distracted, swipes Ted’s picture from the desk. Brad decides Mr. Ernst will never know about the showdown at the Bar None Ranch, and that’s okay, because what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

Final Thoughts

This is an okay novel. It’s nothing great, though. I’m not sure why the author didn’t just write a wholly original story (unless she was mandated to write a novelization), which seems like what she wanted to do.

The new material is okay. The changes to the episode(s), for the most part, are unneeded (and sometimes even nonsensical, such as the garden hose being in Mr. Ernst’s office) and seem to be changes just for the sake of changes. The only change for the better is Brad putting the keys on the desk, because how the fuck did Buddy get them off her in the episode?

Buddy’s subplot was cut down so much (and replaced with a brief new moment that merely hints at his subplot – and only in retrospect at that) that it might as well have been cut entirely if the author didn’t feel like devoting space to it.

I appreciate the novel being from Brad’s perspective, even if that perspective is broken on three separate occasions for no real reason (Brad remembering someone else’s private conversation in a flashback; Brad being absent from a scene that she was present for in the episode, simply because she and Ted are avoiding each other in the novel; and Ted and Buddy outside the window).

As it is, this novel is non-canon, but it’s still undeniably “Hey Dude”. I was hoping for a brand-new canon story, but this is all that we get. It’s worth checking out, and it’s a quick read. Bonnie Worth has also written other books.

Tune in next Wednesday as I take a look back at “Hey Dude” as a whole – and reveal what’s coming up next.

Season 5 Recap

54-48-Ernst-canoeWelcome to the recap of season 5 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.

Before that, though, remember what I said last week about only three episode review releases being delayed to Thursday? Well, that still holds true, but this recap is number four overall.

It’s partially my fault. I knew I had to go to bed early in order to get up early for work today, but I spent most of Wednesday afternoon reading reviews of episodes 11-16 of “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” over at Ranger Retrospective (I spent the morning doing yardwork, but such is my lot in life). I had recently gotten into MMPR through Netflix (never saw it back in the day except maybe a handful of episodes), and I had marathoned episodes 11-16 on Tuesday night. I figured I could relax after the yardwork with some snarky reviews, because I was almost done writing the recap, and surely it would take little time to post, right?


I don’t think it’s WordPress’ fault. I think it’s a problem with Java, but it seemed to affect WordPress last night a lot more than usual. I use Firefox, and WordPress often gives me trouble (delays) with doing things (the mouse cursor turns into that little, blue, spinning circle, indicating it’s busy or stuck), but it was ludicrous last night – to the point that searching for and adding links and pictures became a chore. Every. Single. Time. I eventually just had to give up for the night.

This long explanation basically amounts to: I’m sorry, and I’ll try to keep this shit in mind and give myself more time when posting the series recap.

On to the show…

The Writers

Season 5 saw the final contributions of six writers, three of which had been with the series since season 1 and one of which had been with the series since season 2:

Paul Budra (The Legend of Jed, Amnesia) joined the writing staff this season and wrote two of the sillier episodes. It was his sole paid writing work (that made it to television, anyway). He appeared in a TV documentary about pro wrestler Bret Hart in 1998. How random.

Patrick Maguire (Secret Admirer; Murder, He Wrote; Incredible Shrinking Ted) joined the writing staff in season 4. It was his sole paid writing work (that made it to television, anyway), and he’s done nothing else.

Lisa Melamed (Dan the Man, Sewn at the Hip, Ex-Static, Stick Around, Dudesbury, Miss Tucson, Crush, Low Budget Brad (teleplay)) joined the writing staff in season 2. At 8 episodes, she ties for third place in terms of total contribution to the canon. She always gives the girls something to do, if not in a starring role then at least as strong supporting characters. “Hey Dude” was neither her first work nor her last. She’s had a long career, spanning 1984-2014, as a program coordinator, assistant, executive story editor, writer, and producer (of various kinds).

Clifford Fagin (The Good, the Bad, & the Obnoxious; Suspicion; Teacher’s Pest; Superstar; Datenite; Ride, She Said; Magnum Ernst; Baby) was with the series since season 1. At 8 episodes (I just realized I misspelled his last name in the reviews of the first two, and I apologize for that), he ties for third place in terms of total contribution to the canon. He was also an executive script consultant on the series, and…that’s it.

Judy Spencer (Goldilocks, Pain in the Neck, Our Little Champion, Bar None Babysitter, Hey Cinderella, No More Mr. Nice Guy, Melody’s Brother, Lost in the Desert, Presumed Stupid, Jake’s Fight) was with the series since season 1. At 10 episodes, she takes second place in terms of total contribution to the canon. She had the odd habit of trying to convince us that Melody was the problem, despite evidence to the contrary. “Hey Dude” was her first work. She then wrote an episode of “Doug”, took a long break, and wrote for the series “Student Bodies” from 1997 to 1999. That’s her last work to date.

Graham Yost (The Competition, Perfect Father, Ted and Brad Get Handcuffed, Crash Landing, Ghost Stories, Inmates Run the Asylum, Superstition, The Bad Seed, Fear, Return of Ted, Mr. Moneybags, Jealous Guy, War) was with the series since season 1. At 13 episodes, he contributed the most to the canon, writing a full one-fifth of the series (or an entire season’s worth of episodes). “Hey Dude” (on which he was also an executive script consultant) was his first work (or maybe it was working as a foley artist in a short), but it certainly wasn’t his last. He’s continued working up to the present day, including writing, directing, acting, presenting, and producing (of various kinds).

The Episodes

Season 5 was the first season since season 2 to have a stable cast. Not having to worry about characters coming or going, it could focus on just telling stories. These thirteen episodes offer a variety of character spotlights and stories (and story quality).

64-25-players#13: Double Date
You know it’s bad when Kyle’s the most sensible one in the episode. We’re supposed to feel sorry for Melody, too, but she was such a bitch to Brad that I just can’t. Speaking of Brad, she’s suddenly made out to be the Mac Mommy (with absolutely no build-up to it), and she devolves into Ted-like behavior. Just bad all around.

55-19-Danny-measures#12: Incredible Shrinking Ted
A ridiculous premise. No one would fall for this kind of practical joke.

54-40-Jake-Jed-fight-3#11: The Legend of Jed
Another ridiculous premise. This episode really has no business existing. Kinda funny, though, mostly thanks to Jonathan Galkin.

59-42-Buddy-T-bone-2#10: Amnesia
A pretty funny father/son episode, but the instigating event and resolution was…dubious (to say the least).

56-19-Ernst-office#9: Rest in Pieces
Kinda funny but pretty ludicrous, mostly due to an extreme lack of communication and a lack of willingness on the part of everyone involved to check a medical book, which was somehow needed, because these ranchers had no clue about a common horse disease. Gotta love Mean Melody, though.

63-66-Roy-Jake#8: Jake’s Fight
A funny, albeit senseless, episode. It really could have been solved by just walking away.

57-53-Ernst-baby#7: Baby
A funny and nice episode in which almost everyone gets to shine.

60-39-Ted-defends-1#6: Presumed Stupid
Great performances by Lascher and Brown, but it could have been solved by communication. Didn’t they make a vow to that effect a while ago?

58-42-Kyle-Ted-2#5: Jealous Guy
The Ted/Kyle rivalry over Brad (such as it is) comes to a boil. Entertaining, but it suffers from a lack of build-up, which we’re left to assume happened off screen. Brad got a badass moment, which was awesome.

65-70-race#4: War
An over-the-top episode but funny in a ridiculous kind of way. As a series finale, though, it wasn’t that good.

61-33-picnic#3: Crush
A cute episode about Buddy having a crush on Melody, but it seems weird that they waited until near the end of the series to do it.

62-32-Brad-Melody#2: Low Budget Brad
A great episode, but it came too late, and it feels weird because of it.

53-84-waiting#1: Miss Tucson
The best episode of the season. Brad really gets to shine.

The Characters

56-33-Ernst-aloneMr. Ernst appeared in all 13 episodes. His crazy schemes continued to be downplayed this season (“Crush” being an exception). He had a lot to do, even though his involvement varied by episode. He faced his mortality in “Rest in Pieces“. He revisited a painful moment from his past in “Baby“. He lost his memory at a crucial moment and relived his youth in “Amnesia“. His past was explored in “Jake’s Fight“. Overall, this was a good season for Mr. Ernst – and an improvement over last season.

53-82-Brad-smilesBrad appeared in all 13 episodes. She had a lot to do. She competed against Melody to make a point in “Miss Tucson“. She came up with the prank in “Incredible Shrinking Ted“. She explored motherhood in “Baby“. She was the focus of the Ted/Kyle feud and dealt with a bad romance in “Jealous Guy“. She accused and distrusted Ted (unjustly) in “Presumed Stupid“. She dealt with a major lifestyle change in “Low Budget Brad“. She went out with Kyle but degraded herself with Ted in “Double Date” (her worst moment of the season; yes, worse than “Presumed Stupid”). She competed against Ted in “War“. Overall, this season had more bad for Brad than season 4 did, but it also had a lot more good. Season 5 could be called “the Brad season”.

65-52-Kyle-bellsKyle appeared in 6 of the episodes – just under half. He supported Brad and was on friendly terms with both her and Ted in “Miss Tucson“. His rivalry with Ted (such as it is) reached boiling point in “Jealous Guy“. He was useless in “Low Budget Brad“. He gave bad advice to Jake in “Jake’s Fight“. He went out with Brad in “Double Date” and actually seemed to be the most reasonable of the bunch. He was on Brad’s team in “War“. Overall, I guess you could say this was Kyle’s best season, but that’s not saying much.

64-10-Jake-bowsJake appeared in all 13 episodes. He had a lot to do. He supported Melody in “Miss Tucson“. He was central to the deception in “The Legend of Jed“. He faced a bully in “Jake’s Fight“. Overall, this season was better for Jake than last season.

56-32-Lucy-WTFAs before, the season’s least valuable player has to be Lucy. She appeared in 4 of the episodes and was mentioned in 1 other, which is worse than last season. She set the teens straight (after inadvertently causing the problem) in “Rest in Pieces“. She gave Melody obvious advice (which Melody had already considered) in “Crush“. She fixed the loudspeaker and congratulated Jake in “Jake’s Fight“. She went to a rodeo with the teens in “Double Date“. This is the worst season for Lucy in terms of actually mattering.

58-12-Ted-faceTed appeared in all 13 episodes, the first time that he’d done so since season 2. He had a lot to do. He supported Brad in “Miss Tucson“. He thought he was shrinking in “Incredible Shrinking Ted“. He explored fatherhood in “Baby“. He fought with – and helped – Kyle in “Jealous Guy“. He was the focus of suspicion and distrust in “Presumed Stupid“. He tried to help Brad in “Low Budget Brad“. He was a dick by using Melody in “Double Date” (definitely his worst moment this season). He was comedically obsessive but also resolute in “War“. Overall, a good season for Ted.

53-78-Melody-thinksMelody appeared in all 13 episodes. She had a lot to do. Her insecurities were explored in “Miss Tucson“. She instigated the cover-up in “The Legend of Jed“. She had a hilarious turn as a mean girl in “Rest in Pieces“. She was the focus of unwanted attention in “Crush“. She had a heart-to-heart with Brad in “Low Budget Brad“. She took a psychotic turn in “Jake’s Fight“. She was used by Ted but managed to get back at him in “Double Date“. She was taken “prisoner” in “War“. Compared to last season, season 5 was a step up for Melody.

55-15-Danny-cardsDanny appeared in all 13 episodes, but none of them focused on him. He was there and did stuff, but he was just along for the ride. I suppose he had the most to do in “War“, or at least it was the most memorable. Overall, this season was a step down for Danny compared to last season.

65-06-Buddy-caughtBuddy appeared in all 13 episodes. His involvement varied by episode. One of them was nothing more than a silent cameo. He fought for his dad’s life (or so he thought) in “Rest in Pieces“. His relationship with his father was further explored in “Amnesia“. He experienced funny feelings in his private area in “Crush“. He was a spy and double agent in “War“. Overall, this season was better for Buddy than last season.


A few videos to tide you over:

Here’s “the entire Nickelodeon afternoon experience from start till end” (from autumn of 1993, around 1-2 years after my first time watching the series) – basically a collection of commercials and bumpers from the “No More Mr. Nice Guy” episode:

Here’s the second and final outtakes video, courtesy of Geoffrey Darby:

Here’s a parody “tribute” video (that somehow manages to insult the series). According to a post on IMDb, it was shot on the Backbone Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains, just north of Malibu, California:

Here’s a fan-made Brad/Ted music video (featuring “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley).

Here’s a 2014 tour of the abandoned set, which is still standing – and wasting away – to this day:

Here’s the full reunion on HuffPost from May 7, 2014. The YouTube video that I’d linked to earlier was a highly edited version.

That’s it for season 5. You’re probably expecting the series review next Wednesday, but you’d be wrong. I have one more story to review.

Bet you didn’t see that coming.

Tune in next Wednesday (and I mean it this time)!