Welcome 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…
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).
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).
#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.
#12: Incredible Shrinking Ted
A ridiculous premise. No one would fall for this kind of practical joke.
#11: The Legend of Jed
Another ridiculous premise. This episode really has no business existing. Kinda funny, though, mostly thanks to Jonathan Galkin.
A pretty funny father/son episode, but the instigating event and resolution was…dubious (to say the least).
#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.
#8: Jake’s Fight
A funny, albeit senseless, episode. It really could have been solved by just walking away.
A funny and nice episode in which almost everyone gets to shine.
#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?
#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.
An over-the-top episode but funny in a ridiculous kind of way. As a series finale, though, it wasn’t that good.
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.
#2: Low Budget Brad
A great episode, but it came too late, and it feels weird because of it.
#1: Miss Tucson
The best episode of the season. Brad really gets to shine.
Mr. 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.
Brad 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”.
Kyle 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.
Jake 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.
As 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.
Ted 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.
Melody 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.
Danny 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.
Buddy 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)!