Writer: Judy Spencer
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: January 12, 1990
Before I get to this episode, I need to address something that I immediately noticed when watching the previous episode but somehow missed when I was rewatching it as I was writing the review. In the final scene, Brad all but states Ted is 16 years old. Back in “Ted’s Saddle” (season 1, episode 04), Ted refers to himself as 17 to Brad. (David Lascher might have been 16 at the time of taping but was definitely 17 when that episode aired, and he was definitely 17 when this episode was taped and aired.) This is likely an error, but let’s assume Ted was lying about his age earlier to make himself appear more appealing to Brad (a person that he has described as mature). Maybe Brad found out Ted’s real age from Melody or Danny. Anyway, Ted really being 16 during this summer would be of immense help, timeline-wise, but I’ll save the full discussion for the episode when this becomes relevant.
In the cold open, Buddy is playing spy (callback to season 1, episode 07), sneaking around and talking into a walkie-talkie. They’ve got spy music going on.
One thing that bugs me is Buddy keeps referring to his home base as “1-Adam-12”. This comes from “Adam-12“, a 1968-1975 TV series about patrol officers, created by Jack Webb, the creator and star of “Dragnet”. “1-Adam-12” referred to the patrol car, but Buddy is using it to refer to the base. Of course, the “1” in “1-Adam-12” was inaccurate on that series as well, so whatever.
Anyway, Buddy bumps into Ted, causing him to drop his laundry.
Ted learns the subject of Buddy’s “case” and goes over to flirt with her. She’s preoccupied and not interested in him. Ted offers to help.
The woman is played by Carolyn Varga. “Hey Dude” was her only acting gig.
The woman dumps her little sister, Noelle, on “Tad” for “a couple hours”. Noelle wants to play tea party. Noelle is played by Stacy Linn Ramsower, who you might remember as Stacy, the girl that Melody saves and teaches to swim in “Our Little Champion” (season 2, episode 03).
After the credits, Lucy and Mr. Ernst see a guest off, expecting to see her at the same time next year.
Meanwhile, Ted’s carrying Noelle and being annoyed by Buddy, who’s keeping up his spy game by talking into the damn walkie-talkie (and telling Ted about his new “detective” kit; he’s still dressed like a spy, not a detective).
Mr. Ernst has been practicing his “western” drawl, and we get a bit of time-wasting on this.
Ted explains the situation with Noelle to Mr. Ernst and tries to get Mr. Ernst to take her off his hands, because babysitting doesn’t go with his “image”, but Mr. Ernst reminds him that he’s in charge of the Young Buckaroos. Translation: “Tough shit.” He also makes Ted “the official Bar None babysitter” over his objection.
Meanwhile, Melody’s upset at Brad, who had gone into town and brought back “boring, unadventurous” vanilla ice cream; Melody prefers almond pistachio or rocky road. I’m with Melody! Hmm, I wonder if her adventurous preference extends to her sex life.
Noelle calls for “Tad” to bring her bag. Brad meets Noelle, who explains the situation (pronouncing Ted’s name correctly).
Ted brings over Noelle’s bag and tries to contradict Noelle to no avail. Listen for Stacy to nearly mistakenly say “Ted” but quickly “correcting” it to “Tad”.
Brad is amused and makes fun of “Tad”.
It’s time for the tea party. Ted wants to take Noelle, but Noelle insists on Ted holding her hand. Brad makes some more fun of “Tad” as they walk off.
Mr. Ernst pops out of his office and reminds “Bradley” that they’re waiting for her. A scheduled meeting for when Brad returned from town, I guess.
Mr. Ernst reveals he’s “just had another Benjamin Ernst brainstorm”, and the girls’ reactions are perfect. They have zero faith in their boss’ ideas and aren’t afraid to show it.
Anyway, if he’s “just had” this “brainstorm”, then was this meeting really scheduled?
He talks a bit more about his brain power, and then it fades to Ted rocking Noelle outside pretty abruptly.
Noelle is sad that Ted doesn’t want to look after her.
Ted tries to explain that it’s not his style, and then it fades to the cookout area, where Mr. Ernst explains his brainstorm to the girls.
Okay, this is weird. The meeting scene ended without any discussion, then there’s a quick scene with Ted and Noelle, and now Mr. Ernst is explaining his idea in a completely different area (and Danny is absent). Who would do this in real life? I’d be curious to see the script.
Anyway, Mr. Ernst wants to make the Bar None stand out by offering more services and pampering the guests. His idea is to provided the guests with pre-written postcards, because “people hate to write postcards”. This is just wrong on so many levels, but Mr. Ernst provides the girls with a box full of blank postcards and a list with 20 of the most popular boys’ and girls’ names…for 400 possible combinations. He expects them to get 50 done…each…by lunchtime. Mr. Ernst gives them two pens out of his pocket protector and says “Have fun.” At this point, any reasonable employee would say “Fuck you. I quit.” To her credit, however, Melody doesn’t even wait until Mr. Ernst is out of earshot before she calls his idea the dopiest thing that she’s ever heard of. Seriously, he’s still in the shot.
“Vanilla” Brad writes a completely boring, formulaic postcard. Non-vanilla Melody, however, wants “style”, “creativity”, and “passion”. They bicker for a bit, and then Melody writes: “Dearest Raphael, I will never forget when you held my hand on the steps of the coliseum in Venice. Yours always, Alexandria” Brad laughingly corrects Melody’s geographical mistake and says it’s the dopiest thing that she’s ever heard. Melody says “Well, maybe so, but at least it’s not vanilla” and “Some of us just have it”. In other words, “You’re missionary intercourse, and I’m reverse-cowgirl anal, bitch. Guess who gets more enjoyment out of life.” Brad steps up and writes a postcard to “Jean-Pierre”, which Melody encourages.
Later, Ted is entertaining Noelle with a pretend horse race.
Mr. Ernst’s habit of waiting until way after the meeting to explain his ideas continues as he makes Danny the “Answer Man” for the guests. Holy shit, a second subplot. Anyway, Mr. Ernst also refers to the “Old West” (as Ted did in the series premiere), which doesn’t make sense.
Danny protests and mentions his lack of knowledge, but Mr. Ernst tries to encourage him.
A guest comes over and asks Danny to identify a rock that he’d just found. Danny identifies it as “arcos” and “red sandstone”, but I can’t find any evidence that red sandstone is called arcos. He gives a few more details, and then the guest tells him that he knows a lot of useless information and thanks him. Jackass.
The “Special Guest” is played by F. Gary Bell. “Hey Dude” was his second of three acting gigs. The first was an episode of “The Young Riders” called “The Keepsake” in 1989, and the third was a short called “Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School” later in 1990.
Anyway, Danny’s encounter with this asshole suddenly gives him confidence to declare with pride that he is the Answer Man and knows all of the answers.
Mr. Ernst wishes Danny good luck and then asks Ted how it’s going. Ted says fine but then tries to pass Noelle off to Danny, because he can’t take anymore abuse from Brad. Ted tries to keep Noelle from doing stuff, and he and Danny banter for a bit to waste some time, but the point is Danny refuses.
Ted leaves, angry, and wants Noelle to come along, but she again insists on him holding her hand.
Two boys, having somehow gotten word of the Answer Man already, decide to test him. Stripes asks Danny a question about cacti, which Danny answers. Cap asks him to name the Seven “Dwarves” [sic]. Danny gets all of them except Doc, so the boys leave, disappointed and insulting Danny.
The two boys are played by Timothy H. Burke and Kevin Joseph Berlat, though I can’t tell who is who. “Hey Dude” was Burke’s only acting gig, but Berlat had previously appeared in a 1983 TV movie called “Little Shots” (“Hey Dude” was his last acting gig). An IMDb comment indicates he is (or was as of 2007) a speech and debate coach.
The spy music kicks back on as Buddy continues his shtick.
Lucy wants to know what the fuck he’s doing. He’s looking out for crime and mystery. She drops a hint for him to get lost.
Ted cleans up Noelle, who’s getting dirty. Buddy, surprisingly, calls in to “Central Dispatch”, getting it right for once.
Ted asks Lucy about Brad. She hasn’t seen her. Ted tries to dump Noelle on Lucy. Lucy refuses, saying she wasn’t hired as a babysitter. Good point. Ted should have brought that up to Mr. Ernst. Noelle says Ted’s her babysitter, but Ted says it’s a misunderstanding. Ted and Noelle talk for a bit, and Noelle gets a funny line in. Lucy takes Ted aside and offers the sage advice of it’s not gonna kill him. Lucy leaves. We learn Ted had a lizard for two years. When Ted looks around, Noelle has disappeared.
After the commercial break, Ted asks Buddy where Noelle is, and Buddy says he doesn’t know. They argue for a while, and Ted searches. Buddy is excited to have his “first case”, which upsets Ted. Buddy insists on helping, but Ted says he can tag along but not get in his way. He leaves. Buddy calls it in on his walkie-talkie. There’s a sound of someone talking or whatever just before it cuts to the next scene. It might be Brad.
The girls are still writing the postcards. Melody suggests starting to use some of the names on Mr. Ernst’s list, but Brad is having too much fun.
Danny comes by and challenges the girls to name the Seven “Dwarves”. Melody names all of them (including her “personal favorite”, Bashful) except Doc. Brad admits she’s no help to Melody. They think about it for a bit. Melody searches the postcards for the answer and is surprised Brad used “Vlad” as a name. Maybe Brad has a vampire fixation (she does know Universal Horror)? “I vant to suck your tits.” Melody says some of Brad’s names “are really Loony Tunes”. Brad protests. Melody reads off names in Brad’s “Biblical series” (Melody’s term). They go back to trying to figure out the seventh dwarf’s name, which Danny insists ends in a “y”. Um, “Bashful” doesn’t. Danny says he’s not going back there, because those kids are waiting for him. There was no indication that this was a continuous problem. The kids had left after stumping Danny once. Danny offers the Answer Man job to the girls, and Melody accepts in exchange for finishing up the rest of her postcards (she has about 20 left). Brad volunteers to do them, but Melody quickly shoots that down. Danny agrees to write the postcards.
Danny pronounces Melody “the official Answer Person”.
Excited, Melody tells Danny to not let Brad write any more postcards, and then she leaves.
At the same time, Buddy and Ted arrive, and Buddy calls in their location. Ted is sick of that. Danny and Brad question Ted, who nervously shrugs them off and has Buddy follow him elsewhere.
Brad doesn’t like Danny’s bland, formulaic postcard and brings up style, creativity, and passion, which confuses him. Brad shows him an example of what she wrote (which we don’t get to hear, sadly).
Buddy calls in the location as he and Ted arrive at the main lodge. Ted complains about it again. Melody asks what’s going on. Ted doesn’t really trust Melody to keep a secret but asks if she’s seen a girl and gives a description. She hasn’t.
Melody retains the guys for help as Cap comes by and asks her to name the Seven “Dwarves”. Melody names all of them except Doc. Melody stalls for time, and then Buddy very blatantly gives her a clue, so she answers Cap’s question. He has another question, but Ted says Melody is on her own as he and Buddy leave. Cap’s question is “If a flashlight is traveling at the speed of light, how fast does the beam go?” He takes his cap off while asking, so you know he means business. Melody half-heartedly calls after the guys, leaving Cap satisfied. Anyway, anyone know the answer to this question?
In his office, Mr. Ernst is disappointed in the postcards and specifically expresses surprise/disgust at “Vlad”.
Melody good-naturedly kicks Brad.
Some of the guests have been complaining to Mr. Ernst about the strange answers that they got from the “Answer Lady”. In a second geography fail, Melody had said the capital of North Dakota is North Dakota City. Brad laughs at her, and Melody tries hitting Brad. They discuss the problems for a bit, but Mr. Ernst eventually sees their points that 1) people like to write their own postcards, and 2) you need at least a college degree to be an Answer Person. There’s a funny bit where Mr. Ernst calls himself a “trendsetter”. Yeah, right. The teens go to do their chores.
The spy music kicks back on as Buddy climbs out the window and calls in his and Ted’s location.
Ted and Buddy talk for a bit, and Ted gets in a funny/stupid (and completely serious) line about checking another dimension for Noelle later. This kind of reminds me of how he told Buddy that he thought they learned about quantum cell transportation in school in “Ted’s Saddle” (season 1, episode 04).
Noelle’s sister comes by and asks “Tad” where she is. Ted has Buddy keep looking while he stalls. He eventually goes to “get her” and takes Buddy along with him.
Ted is accepting of his impending death. Buddy says Ted should have listened to him. Ted apologizes. Buddy calls himself “the great detective”. Ted calls him “the greatest detective in the West”. Happy, Buddy calls Noelle over the walkie-talkie and gets her to come over. Hehe, they actually had me fooled. Good job. Still, there’s a bit of a goof. You can see Noelle’s knapsack behind Ted just before Buddy calls her, and then she’s standing behind Ted as she says “10-4” in the next shot. They had put her in the scene too early.
Buddy had given Noelle his second walkie-talkie and called in their locations, so she’d be someplace else. Buddy says he outsmarted Ted.
Noelle’s sister comes by, and Noelle feigns innocence. As they leave, Ted corrects them on his name.
Ted and Buddy talk about it. Buddy had been playing detective with Noelle this morning, not shadowing Noelle’s sister. Buddy decided on the trick at the corral to get back at Ted for his “obnoxious” behavior. Um, Ted wasn’t being obnoxious. He was fed up with Buddy doing his spy crap, and he was trying to keep Noelle from playing with stuff and getting dirty. Big difference.
Ted chases Buddy, who calls for assistance.
The pre-credits scene at the end has Ted and Brad on desk duty on another day. Brad makes fun of Ted for being tricked, but I was tricked, too.
Melody comes by for the sign-up sheet for the breakfast ride, which Ted gives to her. Brad gives the registration cards to Ted to file alphabetically and then jokes about having Buddy explain it to him. Ted and the girls talk about it for a bit, and then the girls go to get breakfast. Brad asks “Dan” if he’s coming, and Danny says in a minute.
Danny comes over and is pissed at Ted for giving Brad proof of female superiority, calling him “an embarrassment to guys everywhere”. He vows to not forget this. Ten bucks says it’s never mentioned again.
Mr. Ernst shows up with a surprise for Ted: more kids to babysit.
So ends another day at the Bar None.
This episode was nice. The main plot was funny (even if Buddy was an ass), and the subplots were pretty funny, too. All three briefly converged at the cookout area as Ted arrived at the postcard-writing table in search of Noelle as Melody was leaving on her Answer Person duty.