Welcome 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:
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.
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.
Jonathan 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.
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
Wanna watch some “Hey Dude” for Halloween? Here’s my recommended order:
Season 5, Episode 02 – The Legend of Jed
Just a tiny bit of spookiness toward the end of the episode to start things off.
Season 4, Episode 07 – Lost in the Desert
Next up: Buddy thinks the staff of the Bar None are pod people! ARE THEY?!?!?!?!?! No.
Season 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!
Season 2, Episode 06 – Ghost Stories
Save the best for last! Is the ranch haunted?! Will Ted survive the night?! No and yes.
Here are the characters, ranked from my least favorite to my favorite:
Kyle 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.
Cassie appeared in 12 of the 65 episodes. She’s still better than Kyle, but, then again, I love animals.
Lucy 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.
Danny 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.
Benjamin “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.
Mr. 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.
Jake 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.
Theodore “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.
Melody 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.
Bradley “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!
“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.