Category Archives: season4

Season 4 Recap

51-27-meetingWelcome to the recap of season 4 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.

Departing Writers

Season 4 saw the final contributions of three writers, one of which had been with the series since season 1:

Mark Cerulli (Rainmen, Dueling Ranches, Killer Ernst, They’re Back, Doghouse Blues), the writer responsible for the Vlecks and sports episodes (as well as a good Danny episode), has also written for Nickelodeon’s “Clarissa Explains It All”. He primarily works on documentaries (usually shorts), getting writing, directing, and producing work in from 1995 to 2012.

The writing team of Steven Roth & Deanne Roth (New Kid on the Block, Do the Right Thing, Some Like It Hot) wasn’t so fortunate. Steven wrote for about four other things besides “Hey Dude”, last writing in 1998 after a lengthy gap. IMDb splits his credits among two or three entries. Deanne cowrote an episode of “Designing Women” with Steven. That’s it.

The Second Transitional Season

Season 4 is kind of weird in that it’s another transitional season, albeit to a lesser extent than season 3 was. They brought Ted back – twice. It was weird. It’s as if they were like “Um, let’s try out Ted. Hmmm, what do you all think? Good? Mmmkay, let’s bring him back again.” I’m not saying that’s what happened, but it comes off like it.

Of course, they put Ted back in the opening credits way back in the season 3 finale, so they must have known they were bringing him back soon after they taped it (maybe even during the break between seasons 3 and 4).

The Aloysius restored, the final episode feels like it belongs at the beginning of season 5.

The Episodes

Season 4 had to work in David Lascher’s two returns while still remaining entertaining, and I think they did a good job overall. These thirteen episodes offer a variety of character spotlights and stories (and story quality).

42-11-new-sheriff#13: Magnum Ernst
The worst episode of the season. Just really fucking stupid and completely unrealistic. Very few highlights (such as backstory on Lucy). Oh, well. Nowhere to go but up.

50-38-guys-drag#12: Some Like It Hot
A mediocre episode that rehashed past ideas and stretched credibility. Also, Jake and Danny in drag. Gah, moving on…

45-24-wrong-note#11: Secret Admirer
An okay episode, but Kyle was such an idiot.

44-28-Brad-scared#10: Fear
Brad’s past was explored, which is good, and Kelly Brown gave a great performance, but Brad blamed herself, everyone forgot Brad’s afraid of the water, Jake’s subplot was too outrageous, and the whole reason for the episode made no sense.

46-29-Brad-Kyle-lost#9: Lost in the Desert
A Brad/Kyle episode that tried to cast Brad as the bad guy and made her stupid. Kelly Brown was great, but she couldn’t single-handedly save the episode. Add to that the stupid “pod people” subplot, which makes this the lamest of the “scary” episodes.

52-62-Melody-pleads#8: Murder, He Wrote
A pretty funny episode based entirely on a highly unlikely series of misunderstandings. I like the Ted/Melody team-up.

43-33-caricatures#7: Dudesbury
A fun episode that explores relationships, but Danny was an ass to his friends, rivaling Ted’s level of cockiness.

51-34-Ted#6: Mr. Moneybags
Ted’s back! The balance has been restored! If only someone could have fixed the logic and continuity in this episode. Once you examine it too closely, it collapses like a toothpick sculpture.

49-60-Vlecks-bat-Ernst#5: Doghouse Blues
We see the Vlecks for the last time. Despite only Vic and Valerie appearing, the regular cast was disjointed. The girls and Buddy barely had any screen time.

40-10-Valerie-Vleck#4: They’re Back
It was difficult to choose which of the two Vlecks episodes this season was better, but I went with this one, because we got to see the entire family, main cast members didn’t feel crowded out, and there was more wackiness than just marital problems.

48-42-Danny-skeleton-2#3: Do the Right Thing
A good Danny episode that tackles a difficult subject. Joe Torres does a great job. The girls and Mr. Ernst were oblivious to Danny’s feelings, blinded by fame, money, and excitement. I can kind of understand this happening to Mr. Ernst, but the girls were way too dense.

47-47-Ted-Ernst#2: Return of Ted
It was great to have Ted back, even if it was for just a visit before he came back for good. This is the better of the two “Ted returns” episodes in terms of making sense.

41-35-Bobby-rides-Charisma-2#1: Ride, She Said
The best episode of the season. We learn a lot about Brad, past and present, and she goes through some character growth, overcoming her uneasiness around people with disabilities and learning how to give. A great episode.

The Characters

49-41-Ernst-lipstickMr. Ernst appeared in 11 of the episodes and was mentioned in the other 2. His crazy schemes continued to be downplayed this season (“Magnum Ernst” and, as a side effect, “Do the Right Thing” being exceptions). He had a lot to do. His past was explored in “Secret Admirer“. He got caught up in a love triangle in “Doghouse Blues“. He had nice moments in “Fear” and “Do the Right Thing” (the latter of which also included bad moments). However, he got power hungry and unreasonably untrusting of his own nephew in “Magnum Ernst”. Overall, though, this was a good season for Mr. Ernst, even if he didn’t reach the heights of last season’s “Ex-Static“.

44-32-Brad-somberBrad appeared in all 13 episodes. Her highlights include “Ride, She Said” and “Fear”. Season 4 wasn’t good for Brad, romance-wise. She had a potential romance that went nowhere in “Dudesbury“, and her long-on-hiatus relationship with Ted was quickly destroyed in “Mr. Moneybags“. Not helping matters was the fact that, outside of last season’s “New Kid on the Block“, Ted was never mentioned in a Ted-less episode, making it seem like Brad had largely forgotten him. She had it out with Kyle in “Lost in the Desert“. One problematic episode was “Do the Right Thing”, which made her seem unusually dense regarding Danny’s feelings. Overall, though, this season was more good than bad for Brad – an improvement over season 3.

45-37-Kyle-toupéeKyle appeared in 7 of the episodes – just over half. He didn’t improve, personality-wise, from his sole appearance last season. He had the most to do in “Fear”, “Secret Admirer”, “Lost in the Desert”, and “Murder, He Wrote“.

52-09-Jake-stressedJake appeared in all 13 episodes. He had a lot to do. His friendship with Danny was explored in “Do the Right Thing”, and he unintentionally got married (maybe) in “Mr. Moneybags”. However, he was a dick to Brad in “Ride, She Said”, and he dressed in drag in “Some Like It Hot“.

42-45-Lucy-ErnstAs before, the season’s least valuable player has to be Lucy. She appeared in 5 of the episodes and was mentioned in 1 other, which, admittedly, is an improvement over last season. She put up with the Vlecks in “They’re Back“. She trained Mr. Ernst and gave him advice (to no avail) in “Magnum Ernst”. She tried to set Danny straight in “Dudesbury”. Overall, though, unlike last season, she didn’t get a subplot to herself; she just dealt with everyone else.

52-43-Ted-plansTed appeared in 3 of the episodes, which is a slight improvement over last season. The best of his three appearances was “Return of Ted” (which explored his wants and needs), and the worst was “Mr. Moneybags” (in terms of personality, not performance; he’s a huge dick). However misguided, he genuinely tried to save Mr. Ernst’s life in “Murder, He Wrote”. He and Melody actually make a great team. Now that he’s back full-time, let’s see what he does next.

43-31-Melody-deskMelody appeared in all 13 episodes. She had a lot to do, even if she really didn’t have a plot to herself. She had an unseen date in “Dudesbury”. Like Brad, she was very dense regarding Danny’s feelings in “Do the Right Thing”. Compared to last season, season 4 certainly was a step down for Melody.

42-22-Danny-noDanny appeared in all 13 episodes. His starring episodes were “Dudesbury” and “Do the Right Thing”. Danny was a dick to his friends in the former, but Danny’s feelings about his heritage were explored in the latter, and Torres did a good job. Danny’s friendship with Jake was explored as well. Speaking of Danny and Jake, though, why did he ever agree to Jake’s plan to dress in drag in “Some Like It Hot”?

51-13-Buddy-phoneBuddy appeared in 12 of the episodes and was mentioned in the other 1. His involvement varied by episode. One of them was nothing more than some silent cameos. He had a lame subplot with Danny in “Magnum Ernst”, and he sucked his friends into “pod people” hysteria in “Lost in the Desert”. No “Ex-Static”-level performance this season.

That’s it for season 4. Tune in next Wednesday as we head into the home stretch – season 5!

Season 4, Episode 13: Murder, He Wrote

Writer: Patrick Maguire
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: December 14, 1990

52-01-Visiting-MelodyIn the cold open, Melody is hiding under her bed covers. Brad wants her to come out and eat chicken soup.

52-02-Melody-chickenpoxMelody has chickenpox but is worried she might have a fatal disease instead. She warns Brad to get away and not die because of her. Brad says nobody’s going to die (remember this), and she’s had the chickenpox already. Danny adds they all have.

52-03-Ted-flowersTed comes in with some flowers for Melody.

52-04-Ted-storyTed tells a gross (and very likely false) medical story about his Aunt Irma in order to scare them – well, primarily Melody.

52-05-Brad-TedMelody freaks out. Brad isn’t amused. Ted gets Melody to come out. Melody does, and Ted reacts like he’s disgusted by her, which scares her and pisses Brad off. There’s something odd just as the shot changes. Brad yells “Ted!” as Melody covers herself. During the shot change, Brad says “Ted” again in a…surprised tone. I wonder if that second “Ted” was part of an alternate take or something, and it wound up in the episode by mistake.

Ted makes a stupid connect-the-dots joke, but then…

52-06-Ted-chickenpoxRule of Three, motherfucker!

52-07-Ernst-cardAfter the credits, Mr. Ernst is on desk duty. Jake comes by with a get-well card for him to sign for Ted and Melody: “So sorry to hear that you’ve been stricken with lots of pox, specifically chicken.”

52-08-Jake-ErnstJake also brings by the mail, and Mr. Ernst tells him to throw any bills in the fireplace. I hope he’s kidding. There’s also a bill for Jake from Mitzy’s Drum Emporium. Mr. Ernst continues looking through the bills and starts growling like a dog. Jake urges calm and tells him to cut down on the coffee to reduce stress. Mr. Ernst is upset that business is slow. Also, Ted and Melody are in the infirmary in town (probably the same one that the sick girl was sent to in “Lost in the Desert” (season 4, episode 07)), so they’re understaffed. Mr. Ernst decides to double Jake’s workload this week.

52-09-Jake-stressedThis stresses Jake out, so he drinks Mr. Ernst’s coffee. Ha.

Mr. Ernst jokes about selling blood to the Red Cross to raise money, and it’s ironic that a real organization is mentioned in the same scene in which another one is no longer mentioned. The “American” part of “American Express Cards” on the credit card thingy has been blacked out. Compare the above screencap to this one from season 1:

10-02-Ernst-cardJake is surprised, because he thought his uncle was afraid of needles, but Mr. Ernst clarifies he was talking about Jake’s blood.

52-10-Jake-ErnstJake starts looking through a magazine for an idea to raise money. He suggests a murder, and Mr. Ernst is like “WTF?”, but Jake clarifies a murder mystery weekend performed by professional actors. The croup is called Murders R Us. Unfortunately, the complete package starts at $5,000. Jake’s ready to drop the idea, but Mr. Ernst took a Creative Writing class in school and decides to write and direct. The staff will play the parts. He wants to get to work, so they can get it together by this weekend. He thanks Jake and leaves. There’s a loud, unexplained thump just after he exits the shot. Weird.

As Jake walks away, the look on his face suggests he doesn’t have much confidence in his uncle’s abilities.

There’s a “mystery” background score going on throughout this episode. Nice touch – even if it jumped the gun (er, so to speak) by playing at the beginning of the cold open.

52-11-Ernst-typesSo Mr. Ernst is working on (and struggling with) the script, and it is, of course, completely hokey and melodramatic.

52-12-Ernst-types-2Anyway, on to more important things, such as questioning why Mr. Ernst never keeps his water cooler filled.

52-13-Jake-paperJake comes in and, upset, asks his uncle if he’s going to recycle his wasted paper, which Mr. Ernst either dismisses or rejects (I’m not sure which). Jake wants to become Mr. Ernst’s agent and make him “very rich and famous”, but Mr. Ernst ain’t having it. Jake backs off the offer, anyway, when he reads some of his uncle’s script. Mr. Ernst tells him to shut up.

52-14-Brad-undustsBrad fulfills a request by Mr. Ernst to dust his office – a month late. However, she gets a little too distracted by reading his script, which was her true intent.

Brad brings up her stage experience (yet again). She starred in her first-grade Thanksgiving pageant as a corn cob and stole the show.

52-15-DannyDanny jumps into the office and auditions by way of hammy acting.

52-16-reactionsBrad is less than impressed. Jake doesn’t know what to make of it. Mr. Ernst praises “the best Henry Kissinger impression” that he’s ever heard.

52-17-reactions-2My reaction exactly.

Danny was actually doing an impression of Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Conan the Barbarian”.

52-18-groupKyle arrives, and Mr. Ernst guesses he’s here to audition, but Kyle says he’s not much of a performer (no comment) and prefers to watch. Everyone watches as Mr. Ernst finishes his script.

52-19-BuddyOf course, things wouldn’t be complete without Buddy auditioning via bad overacting.

52-20-reactions-3Brad gets a good laugh out of it.

Mr. Ernst finishes the script and assures them that they all have a part.

The story is about gold being discovered on the ranch and various shady characters plotting to murder the ranch’s owner and steal the gold for themselves. Unfortunately, Mr. Ernst has given his characters stupid names. He’s Rock Lovejoy. Jake is Lovejoy’s “no-good” nephew and heir, Biff. Buddy is Lovejoy’s “ungrateful” son and other heir, Skippy. Danny is “a young Indian brave”, Geronimo Bighorn Jr., who claims Lovejoy stole the land from his father. Kyle and Brad play Ramone and Juliana, “the young couple in love”. Juliana is secretly Lovejoy’s daughter, and he’s forbidden her to marry the “irresponsible and galavanting” Ramone. They plan to poison Lovejoy, elope, and live happily ever after. Needless to say, no one is happy with this – until Mr. Ernst tells Kyle that he’ll have a couple of “love scenes” with Brad.

52-21-Brad-no“Oh, fuck no! Go fuck yourself, Mr. Ernst!”

52-22-Brad-Kyle-rehearseKyle’s acting is very stiff and unnatural. Imagine that. Brad’s not great either. C’mon, Brad, channel your inner corn cob.

52-23-Ernst-directsMr. Ernst’s the only one that’s enjoying this.

Kyle forgets to say a line.

Kyle says he can’t get used to the name Ramone. Brad then says something that I can’t understand.

52-24-Ernst-megaphoneAfter some banter, they try the lines again. There’s something strange. It seems they’re starting the scene from the beginning (we didn’t see the first try from the beginning), so these are different lines, but there’s another revelation by Juliana that her father will not allow them to be married. That means Mr. Ernst is a poor scriptwriter. I wonder if this was intentional on Patrick Maguire’s part. Anyway, Brad gets confused when there’s a typo in her script – and only her script. So Mr. Ernst typed all of the pages of every script on his manual typewriter? What happened to his computer? (See “Killer Ernst” (season 3, episode 10).) Besides, it was established in “Rainmen” (season 1, episode 09) that Mr. Ernst has a photocopier.

Incidentally, Mr. Ernst seems to have the same megaphone, hat, and sunglasses as in “The Good, the Bad, & the Obnoxious” (season 1, episode 08):

08-02-Ernst-directsNice touch. He even calls out “Action!” the same way.

Anyway, Kyle forgets to say his line. Jake suggests using their own names. The other teens agree. Mr. Ernst agrees and reminds them to mingle with the guests tomorrow before dinner, playing out their scenes to give the guests the feeling that something “fishy” is going on at the Bar None. Then he will join them for the “big climax”.

52-25-Ernst-diesMr. Ernst overacts his death scene, and Buddy calls him out on his hypocrisy.

There’s a humorous bit where Mr. Ernst accidentally overacts when he’s really just telling them that he’s going to the lodge. He tells them to rehearse with their partners, because he wants “perfection” tomorrow.

52-26-Brad-KyleKyle’s excited to “rehearse”. Brad hits him and is no longer sorry that Ted and Melody got sick. Kelly Brown accidentally says “get sick” instead of “got sick”. Or maybe Brad’s saying she’s totally over feeling sorry for Ted and Melody whenever either of them get sick.

There are some weird sounds during this moment.

52-27-Melody-TedLater, someone from the Bar None drops Melody and Ted off back at the ranch. Ted says “See you later.” Melody thanks the driver again. Ted offers to “help” Melody with her heavy suitcase by putting his backpack on her left arm to balance her out. Dick. Melody doesn’t put up with that shit. Anyway, she’s glad to be back in the “land of the living”. Ted gets an idea. The others don’t expect them back until next week, and “no one” knows they’re here. Well, yeah, no one except the person that picked you up and dropped you off with the Bar None’s truck! We don’t know who it was (the driver was in shadow), but it couldn’t have been a main character (except maybe Lucy, who doesn’t appear in this episode and therefore isn’t roped into doing the play). That means Ted or Melody called up the Bar None, someone at the front desk answered, and that same someone (or someone else as a request from the first someone) went to pick up Ted and Melody with the Bar None’s truck without letting anyone (especially Mr. Ernst) know. It’s probably someone that works the front desk. Betty, maybe?

Anyway, Ted’s plan is to sneak up and scare the shit out of their friends. Melody loves this “devious, underhanded, sneaky idea” that she wishes she thought of herself. They ditch their luggage and head for the boys’ bunk house.

52-28-Buddy-JakeJake and Buddy are rehearsing their lines, and Buddy’s altering his by adding tough-guy language influenced by Sylvester Stallone. Jake tells him that he sounds “like Rambo with a nasal condition” and also tells him to lose it. Jake wants them to try it without the scripts.

52-29-Ted-Melody-windowTed and Melody arrive at that moment. Guess what happens.

52-30-Jake-gun-152-31-Jake-gun-2Ted and Melody overhear the entire “plan” to kill Mr. Ernst tomorrow (Saturday) night at dinner.

52-32-Ted-holds-MelodySensing Melody’s gonna scream, Ted claps a hand over her mouth and tells her to keep quiet.

52-33-Ted-Melody-discussAfter the commercial break (which comes very late in this episode with, seriously, less than ten minutes of story left), Ted and Melody run over to a bench to sit and discuss this. Ted also does this weird thing where he pulls up his left sleeve a bit, so it kind of bunches up near his neck, which seems like the exact opposite of what someone would normally do. Anyway, they waste some time and question the entire situation. Ted wants to march in and talk some sense into them, but Melody is afraid of the gun. She wants to go right to the police, but Ted would hate to feel responsible for sending Ted and Buddy to jail. Melody’s like “Priorities, motherfucker!” Melody decides they’re gonna talk to Brad.

52-34-Kyle-Brad-rehearseIn the girls’ bunk house, Kyle and Brad are rehearsing their lines. Brad calls him out on having “the emotion of a toaster” and asks for passion. Kyle says the lines are ridiculous, and he’s never used the word “bliss” in his life.

52-35-Brad-Kyle-rehearseBrad decides they’re going to rehearse without scripts and in their own words. Kyle ribs Brad about it, and she tells “Casanova” to shut the fuck up.

52-36-Ted-Melody-windowWhat the fuck? Why’d they sneak over to the window instead of walking in through the door to talk to Brad? By the way, they come at the window from the right, which means we should have seen them outside the door as they approached the bunk house. It’s as if Lascher and Taylor waited just past the window for their cue.

Anyway, since they’re using their own words, I must take issue with the fact that Brad considers “lovemuffin” to be an appropriate term of endearment.

52-37-Brad-evilBrad’s “plan” is to make Mr. Ernst’s “favorite dessert”, coconut cream pie, with “a very special ingredient” – arsenic. I gotta give Kelly Brown credit for selling this line.

52-38-Melody-Ted-windowMelody and Ted discuss this right outside the window and somehow don’t get noticed. Yeah, they’re “whispering”, but c’mon. Eavesdropping outside a window and not getting noticed seems to be a thing on this series. Remember “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (season 3, episode 09)?

35-44-pillow-fight-1Anyway, Melody’s concerned about the plot, but Ted’s considered about Brad’s “feelings” for Kyle. Why? He pretty much destroyed any hope of a relationship with her in the previous episode. Now that he’s no longer “truly loaded”, he suddenly wants her again?

Melody says they gotta warn Mr. Ernst, but a bit of unrelated banter suddenly makes her forget it and wonder what to do again. Short-term memory problems, Mel?

Anyway, Ted suggests they go to Danny. Melody agrees as if it’s obvious, saying Danny will “know what to do”, because he’s “always so calm and level-headed”.

52-39-Ernst-Danny52-40-Melody-Ted-windowSo, of course, the obvious place to look for Danny is…through Mr. Ernst’s office window.

I’m starting to think this episode is contrived.

52-41-DannyI wonder if the writer’s just dicking with me when Danny says “you’ll never see another full moon”.

Who’s this performance for? Is it just a rehearsal? If so, why is Danny in make up?

52-42-Melody-Ted-runMelody and Ted run away and discuss this some more. We learn Melody always thought Mr. Ernst went through a real estate agent to buy the ranch. Ted theorizes Mr. Ernst really did steal the land from Danny’s father, but Melody easily talks him out of it. Melody declares they’re on their own in stopping them. Why? Why not talk to Mr. Ernst or go to the police (both of which you had brought up as possibilities earlier)?

52-43-Ted-plansTed has a plan: stop Mr. Ernst, so they don’t have anybody to kill. Of course.

52-44-dining-area52-45-castOn Saturday night, most of the cast is gathered in the dining area and have already performed their scenes for the guests. They wonder where Mr. Ernst is. Jake observes “the natives are getting restless” – the “natives” being the guests that aren’t from around here.

Anyway, let’s pause and consider the episode skipped over more than 24 hours. That must have been a very uncomfortable and restless (and hungry) Friday night for Ted and Melody. Where did they stay in order to keep out of sight?

52-46-Ernst-arrivesMr. Ernst arrives and apologizes for being late. He got locked in the tool shed and had to dig his way out. He heard two voices but couldn’t make them out.

Mr. Ernst combs his hair before making his grand entrance. Brad tells him to break a leg. He’s shocked, and she has to explain it means good luck. What a dumbass.

52-47-Ernst-entranceMr. Ernst greets the guests and introduces himself.

52-48-Melody-Ted-hideMelody and Ted, having not changed clothes in over 24 hours and having slept Goddess-knows-where (yes, I realize they probably fucked up and considered it to be the same day), hide under a table.

52-49-Ernst-Buddy52-50-Ernst-Buddy-2Buddy “distracts” his father…

52-51-Jake-gun…and allows Jake to come by and make the most telegraphed gun reveal in history.

52-52-Ernst-overactsIt turns out that either Ted or Melody switched the prop gun for a water pistol, so Jake gets Mr. Ernst wet. Ha. The guests love it.

Anyway, despite the hammy acting and the loud discussion about the water pistol, neither Ted nor Melody realize this is a play.

Mr. Ernst apologizes to the guests for the interruption.

52-53-Kyle-BradKyle (wearing a stupid little mustache) and Brad are up next.

52-54-Melody-reaches52-55-Melody-trips-BradMelody reaches out and trips Brad.

52-56-Brad-creams-Ernst52-57-Ernst-upsetBrad creams all over Mr. Ernst.

52-58-DannyHaving no common sense (which should be telling him that the play is ruined), Danny attacks! He actually screams “Prepare to die, white man!”

52-59-Danny-2Wow, Brad is so fucking over this right now. She just wants to crawl under her bed covers and hide.

52-60-Ted-attacks-Danny52-61-Danny-Ted-groundTed comes out from under the table and attacks Danny, making up for his missed opportunity in “Take Me to Your Leader” (season 2, episode 13):

26-52-Ted-attacks52-62-Melody-pleadsMelody makes an impassioned plea, insisting “Murder is not the answer!” The guests applaud.

Oh, and all that Ted could do was chastise Brad for throwing her life away on Kyle.

52-63-The-Bar-None-PlayersAnyway, “the Bar None Players” bow (except Brad, who curtsies), and then Mr. Ernst herds them into his office for some spankings.

52-64-gangThe pre-credits scene at the end, on the next day (Sunday), has Melody discussing what happened last night, but she says stuff about embarrassment and ruining the show, which sounds like stuff that she should have said last night in Mr. Ernst’s office.

52-65-Ernst-fameMr. Ernst is distracted, though. He’d just gotten off the phone with a Hollywood producer that was a guest at the show last night. They want to turn Mr. Ernst’s show into a movie musical, “Murder’s Not the Answer – Oh, Yeah!”

52-66-Brad-happyEveryone gets their hopes up for fame – especially Brad, who sucks up to Mr. Ernst.

52-67-Ernst-pissedBut Mr. Ernst turned him down flat, which upsets Brad. His reason? The producer wanted to recast the main character. Brad laments the loss of their “big break”.

52-68-Ted-BradTed apologizes to Danny for tackling him, which sounds like something that he should have done last night in Mr. Ernst’s office. Brad asks Ted if he really thought she and Kyle were getting married. Ted downplays it, but Brad notes he sounded pretty upset to her. Ted tells her to not flatter herself. What the fuck is your problem?! Why are you sabotaging your chances with her?!

Melody apologizes, which sounds like something that she should have done last night in Mr. Ernst’s office.

Ted shifts all of the blame to her and claims he was the reasonable one.

52-69-Ted-fallsThe episode ends with a gag where Ted thinks he’s holding the water pistol, but he fires it and discovers it’s the prop gun. Ha.

52-70-Ted-BradSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty funny, but it really is an idiot plot. It wouldn’t work in the real world. At all. Still, it’s amusing.

Tune in next Wednesday for the review of season 4.

Season 4, Episode 12: Mr. Moneybags

Writer: Graham Yost
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: December 7, 1990

Assuming the original air dates are correct, this episode originally aired three weeks after the previous episode. I’m not sure what the reason was for the delay.

We’re back up to the expanded running time with this episode.

51-01-bannerIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst is having Buddy and Kyle hang a banner that reads “Home of the World’s Largest Toothpick Sculpture”. Melody is confused. Jake and Danny are down at the freight depot, picking it up. It’s a scale model of New York City. The girls (or at least one of them) laugh. It cost Mr. Ernst a lot of money, but he thinks it’ll be worth it. He predicts “busloads of tourists”. Buddy makes a funny joke that everyone except Mr. Ernst likes.

51-02-runSuddenly, a car comes speeding toward the Bar None. Everyone gets out of the way.

51-03-tourists-151-04-tourists-2It’s a bunch of wacky, backwards foreign tourists! These idiots ain’t got nothing on Mypiots. They wish they were from Mypos.

51-05-tourists-3“We need to taste your earwax.”

51-06-tourists-4Yeah, communication problems will be a recurring issue in this episode. It turns out that they simply want something to eat. Mr. Ernst says they can do that.

51-07-tourists-5The leader of the group says “You’re welcome, Mister…Flabbybottom!” Then they all cheer.

The leader introduces himself as Zog. Zog is played by Hal Melfi. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.

51-08-tourists-6He pulls Mr. Ernst into a dance, confusing the fuck out of him.

51-09-tourists-fishMr. Ernst corrects them on his name. The foreigners are greatly offended and arm themselves with raw fish and potatoes. Melody guesses “Ernst” must be some horrible word in their language. Mr. Ernst recants and declares himself to be Mr. Flabbybottom. The foreigners are happy. Mr. Ernst welcomes them to the Bar None.

51-10-Zog-whacks-ErnstZog whacks him with a fish, anyway, and the foreigners dance, even playing around with the banner.

51-11-Ernst-towelAfter the credits, Mr. Ernst and Buddy come out of the office, Mr. Ernst toweling off after presumably washing his face…in his office.

51-12-Ernst-plansHe starts talking about where to put the toothpick sculpture. The phone rings. He has Buddy answer it.

51-13-Buddy-phoneWe get a funny gag where Buddy has horrible phone manners, upsetting his dad. Mr. Ernst vows they’re going to have a “serious discussion” about it.

Anyway, it was a recurring caller that wants to buy into the Bar None, despite Mr. Ernst’s repeated rejections, but refuses to give his name. Kyle points out how Mr. Ernst seems to always need more money, but Mr. Ernst has put all of his faith into the toothpick sculpture.

Interestingly, right before Brad asks Mr. Ernst about it, she quietly says “Excuse me”, and it seems it’s more Kelly Brown talking to Christine Taylor after seemingly making unintended physical contact than the introduction to Brad’s question to Mr. Ernst. No big deal, and it actually feels natural.

Anyway, Mr. Ernst talks up the toothpick sculpture, which apparently is composed of “millions” of toothpicks glued together. A horn beeps outside. Believing it’s Danny and Jake with the sculpture, Mr. Ernst excitedly leads them outside.

51-14-Danny-ErnstMr. Ernst is confused over the seeming lack of the sculpture in the bed.

51-15-sculpture-ruinedDanny guesses he hit a bump. Anyway, the sculpture is ruined, and Jake is missing.

51-16-Jake-pissedJake comes by, hella pissed, and claims Danny was “airborne” and “going sixty”. Mr. Ernst is pissed. Jake had hopped off when they hit the Bar None’s road, “trying to salvage some of the wreckage”.

51-17-Brad-ErnstMr. Ernst declares he hates his life. Brad tries to comfort him and suggests recycling the toothpicks for when they serve ribs. The other teens agree. Melody says “Yeah, Mr. Ernst. Y’know, my mom always said you can never have too many toothpicks around the house.”

51-18-Brad-Ernst-reactPriceless.

Anyway, it seems Melody made that up. I’m not sure which of the two scenarios is more frightening.

51-19-Ernst-calculatorUh-oh, Mr. Ernst whips out the calculator. Shit just got real.

Meanwhile, Brad just stares at Melody like “You dumb bitch.”

Anyway, I just took Mr. Ernst’s figures (and Danny’s count from later in the episode) and, using some rough calculations, figured the Bar None’s occupancy rate averages in the low 60s.

51-20-foreigners-toothpicksMr. Ernst complains about the destruction of the sculpture again, but the foreigners gather around, taking immense interest in the toothpicks.

Mr. Ernst declares he’s ruined, because he spent so much on this stupid thing that, without the planned additional income, he won’t be able to make the monthly payment on the ranch. He is a fucking dumbass!

51-21-Brad-shockedBrad is the only one that’s shocked. She really is Mr. Ernst’s biggest supporter.

Danny apologizes and offers to do something to help. As a start, Mr. Ernst tells him to pick up all of the toothpicks. Mr. Ernst then goes to his office to “softly but repeatedly” bang his head against the desk. He demands an exact count from Danny.

Jake asks about the foreigners, and Melody’s like “Fucked if we know.” Jake, “the master linguist”, takes on the challenge. Buddy cautions him against saying “Ernst”, but…

51-22-Jake-Buddy51-23-Jake-chased51-24-Danny-BuddyLater, Danny has counted more than 1,600,000 toothpicks. Bullshit for so many reasons, the least of which being 86,400 seconds in one day. Anyway, Buddy’s trying to mess him up, because he’s a dick. Melody stops him.

51-25-Jake-MelodyMeanwhile, Jake’s efforts at communication with the foreigners is going nowhere. He’s been using their “next-to-useless” phrase book to try to find out what “Ernst” means in their language. They’re from Bladavia, a tiny Eastern European country scrunched in between Yugoslavia and Albania. Jake says their language is “completely incomprehensible”.

Mr. Ernst comes by, finds a potato on the floor, and asks if somebody said “Ernst”.

51-26-barrageBad idea.

51-27-meetingOn a serious note, Mr. Ernst has been thinking of letting someone go. He asks for volunteers.

51-28-Danny-on-the-spotEveryone’s ready to send Danny packing. Danny claims “seniority” and suggests they get rid of Kyle (I agree, just because he’s Kyle). Kyle suggests getting rid of one of the girls, because of course he fucking does. What a sexist asshole.

An argument breaks out, but Mr. Ernst shuts them up. He suggests they discuss this “calmly and rashly”. Um, I think he meant “rationally”. Either Graham Yost or David Brisbin fucked up the line.

During this, Brad is tapping her magazine or whatever against her leg repeatedly. I just thought I’d point it out, because it’s not the sort of real-world behavior (probably indicative of nervousness) that you usually see on television. I wonder if it was scripted or improvised.

The phone rings. Mr. Ernst has Buddy get it. Jake screams out for Mr. Ernst to fire Buddy, and the others immediately agree. Wow, what a bunch of assholes. Mr. Ernst says he can’t fire Buddy, because he doesn’t pay him anything. Well, that answers that question: Buddy isn’t an employee; he just provides free labor, because his dad says so. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess this is completely realistic, real-world behavior.

It’s the mystery guy again, giving Mr. Ernst a “last chance”. Buddy suggests blowing him off. Mr. Ernst agrees, and Buddy does so, but then Mr. Ernst quickly changes his mind and decides to talk to him. In a cute moment, he’s careful to quietly say his last name.

51-29-Ernst-phoneThe mystery guy still won’t reveal any information but agrees to come by the ranch tomorrow morning. Mr. Ernst says he might have found himself a new partner. Jake asks for a new drum set. Fuck you.

51-30-Jake-KorabThe next morning, as they’re waiting for the mystery guy to show up. Jake runs by, being chased by a female and male foreigner. Mr. Ernst demands an explanation from Jake, who gives his best guess. The guy is Korab, his “sworn death enemy”. Korab is played by Joseph Dignoti. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig – or at least it was when I looked up his filmography when I started this review on Friday. Looking at it now, he’s going to have a role in the 2017 film, “The Long Look Back”, which is currently in pre-production. How extremely random.

51-31-Jake-MakyakThe girl is Makyak, his wife. Jake thinks they were just married by accident when he tried asking for a potato recipe. Makyak is played by Holly Wimberley. “Hey Dude” was her sole acting gig.

The other Bladavians – or “Countrymen/Women” – are played by Maria Panos and Lupe Ortiz. “Hey Dude” was their sole acting gig. This is…puzzling, because Zog and Korab are the only dudes (see what I did?). There are three women: Makyak and two others. I wonder if someone was credited incorrectly or if the person that typed the credits didn’t realize there were three women.

Melody yells that the mystery guy is here. Everyone gathers as a limo arrives at the ranch.

51-32-limo51-33-mystery-guy51-34-Ted“I’m back, motherfuckers!”

After the commercial break, Mr. Ernst believes Ted is playing a practical joke. He puts Ted back in the limo and tells him to get out. Ted reveals he’s the guy that wants to become Mr. Ernst’s new partner.

51-35-Ted-limoOkay, while Ted’s chillaxing in his limo and gargling his seltzer water or whatever (what is it with this series and gargling recently?), let’s back up. How did neither Buddy nor Mr. Ernst recognize Ted on the phone? Yeah, Ted deepens his voice here, but…seriously?

Anyway, Ted gets on Buddy’s case about his phone manners. Mr. Ernst is disappointed over Ted’s “bizarre practical joke”. The others don’t like it either.

Ted gets out of the limo and insists he’s “truly loaded”. Agreed, but with what?

The limo driver comes by with two suitcases and, in a stuffy, monotone voice, asks Ted if he can “see” them to his room. Ted tells “James” that he’ll get one of the staff to do it. Brad gives out a terse chuckle. Melody gives out an uncomfortable groan. Ted dismisses “James” for today, pulls out a wad of cash, pays “James”, and thanks him. The limo driver tells him that his name isn’t James.

51-36-James“James it is.”

The limousine driver is played by William J. Fisher. “Hey Dude” was his second of seven acting gigs in a short career that spanned 1990-1993. Like many other “Hey Dude” actors, he appeared on “The Young Riders”. He received thanks in the 1988 movie, “Bad Trip”. He also played the part of “Treasure Seeker” in Winger’s 1992 music video for “Down Incognito”. He died on December 20, 2004, in Fort Grant, Arizona, at the age of 56.

Everyone’s momentarily stunned silent, but Melody finally guesses they’re on “one of those practical joke TV shows”.

51-37-High-Priest-TedThe Aloysius has His congregation gather, so He might bless them. Ted has everyone gather around and sit down, so he can explain. Ted says “You all remember the last time I was here when I skipped out on summer school.” Um, two things:

1) He makes it sound like it’s some long-ago event. In the real world, that episode aired six weeks earlier (and was only the fourth episode prior). In the universe of the series, it obviously has to be a lot more recent for the timeline to work. Probably no more than two weeks.

2) What in the goddamn fuck? Ted did not skip out on summer school. He very explicitly flunked and would have to take the class over in the fall. It’s as if the writer of this episode never read the script for “Return of Ted”. Oh, wait. It’s the same goddamn writer! Not only that, but it’s the last episode that Graham Yost wrote prior to this one. There’s no fucking excuse for getting this wrong!

Anyway, when he was at the airport, on his way home, he purchased an Arizona Lottery ticket.

51-38-Melody-TedMelody gets way too excited at the prospect of being rich. Ted tersely tells her to sit the fuck down.

He didn’t win the grand prize ($3,000,000), but he won third prize. Does anyone see the problem with this yet?

Anyway, Ted had to come out here to pick up his check, and he decided to invest in the Bar None. The guy from the lottery office is coming over today to present the check to him. There’s gonna be a ceremony. Brad asks how he can afford the limo. Ted says he has “plenty of people to be [his] bankroll until [his] check is in the bank”. Ted asks “I mean money attracts money, right, Mr. Ernst?”

51-39-Makyak-TedTed asks who – and what – that is, and Danny tells him.

51-40-Brad-TedBrad asks Ted why he isn’t in summer school and if he skipped out again. Ted says it’s over, and he aced it, and the others are happy for him. Ted did not skip out on summer school! He flunked it! There was nothing to go back to! Nothing to ace! It was over! For fuck’s sake, Graham Yost!

51-41-Ernst-TedTed mentions the “heart-to-heart” that he had with Mr. Ernst back in “Return of Ted” (oh, sure, now he remembers something accurately) and tries to thank him with a $100 bill – plus extra to get cabin 9. What’s so special about cabin 9? Ted says bye to everyone, calling Kyle “Kit”. Mr. Ernst says he can’t take Ted’s money. Ted tells him that it’s a “down payment” on his investment and calls him his “partner”. Mr. Ernst nixes that idea, because he’s Ted. He appreciates the offer, but he doesn’t think it would work out. Ted decides to find something else to do with the $75,000 (which is much more than Mr. Ernst expected). He won $150,000 and figures he’ll put the other half toward college, which would actually be a smart move if there wasn’t a giant problem with this plan. Does anyone see it yet?

Anyway, Ted suggests Mr. Ernst reconsider, and they’ll meet in a half-hour after Ted freshens up. Look and listen for Brad to genuinely laugh in the background at Ted’s lemon-scented towels comment. It really seems like something that Brad would “get”.

51-42-Ernst-fishAnyway, Mr. Ernst agrees, and Ted points out a fish on the ground as being an image problem.

Ted briefly leaves, and the others badmouth his snobbery. Ted returns and offers $20 to whoever gets his bags in his room in thirty seconds, which makes no fucking sense, because he hasn’t even checked in yet and doesn’t have a key, but…

51-43-rushHa. Brad and Kyle are the only ones to not give a shit.

51-44-Brad-ErnstBrad complains to Mr. Ernst about “one of the most disgusting displays” that she’s ever seen, but he’s too distracted by thoughts of money. Brad tells the others to stop.

51-45-arguingLater, Kyle’s lying on Jake’s (or Danny’s) bunk (certainly not his own), reading, and Danny, Melody, and Buddy come in. Danny and Melody are arguing over a straw drawing to decide who gets to dump a pail of shit over Ted’s head.

51-46-Ted-phoneTed comes in, finishing up a seemingly important phone call. He pretends to show interest in their lives. Danny went home last weekend. It was his grandmother’s 80th birthday. They had a really big celebration.

51-47-Ted-BuddyTed cuts him off, tells Buddy that he’s growing, and rubs his head. Buddy threatens to cut off Ted’s hand.

Ted asks Melody if she lost weight, and she dicks with him to see if he’s paying attention (he isn’t).

Ted calls Kyle “Kit” again.

Finally, Ted leaves for his “pow wow with the old man” – but not before making a few dickish comments. Brad arrives at that moment, and Ted takes her outside to talk.

51-48-Ted-BradBrad informs the others that Ted doesn’t think their dating would be “appropriate” now that he’s her “boss”. I actually listened to what David Lascher was whispering, and it does indeed sound like that’s what he said.

51-49-Brad-strawEveryone agrees Brad gets the straw, which confuses her.

51-50-Ernst-doorI’m not sure if they’ve had their meeting yet, but Mr. Ernst is hella pissed at Ted.

51-51-Ted-MakyakMeanwhile, Makyak’s after Ted, because he asked her if she’d seen Mr. Ernst, and Mr. Ernst summons Jake.

51-52-Jake-Makyak51-53-handyman-TedThe handyman has “the boss” sign for the name sign. The phone rings. Ted asks Mr. Ernst to get it.

The handyman is played by Wendell Robert Baker. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.

Mr. Ernst answers the phone (“Howdy-do, Bar None”) and gets pissed when he learns Ted ordered a sixty-foot waterslide. He cancels the order.

Mr. Ernst and Ted get into an argument. Mr. Ernst points out that Ted isn’t his partner yet. Ted calls up his lawyer to draw up the papers. I guess they did have the meeting, and Mr. Ernst had agreed to partner with Ted.

51-54-Ted-smitesThe lowly subjects approach, and the Aloysius smites them.

He demands they call him “Mr. McGriff” in public and goes into the office. The others complain to Mr. Ernst. He asks about a smell.

51-55-Brad-shitBrad happily holds up a pail of shit. Interesting question to ponder: what – or who – is the source of the shit? They didn’t specify it’s horse shit. Did Brad shit into the bucket once she was declared the winner?

51-56-Melody-BradThe girls then do this weird hand gesture thing and are so giddy about it. I’m not sure what’s going on.

Mr. Ernst nixes the idea. Danny suggests throwing Ted in the water trough. Mr. Ernst is opposed but then warms to the idea.

Melody points out Ted might be playing a joke on them. Brad points out he could have gotten the numbers wrong or is making it up. But then the guy from the lottery office shows up with a huge-ass check. Buddy takes the photo:

51-57-photoThat check is so fucking fake. Who signs a check “The Governor”? Oh, well, it’s just for show.

The lottery man is played by Michael Collins. “Hey Dude” was his first of two acting gigs, the second being the role of “Mechanic #1” in the 1991 movie, “Checkered Flag”.

The guy tells Ted to sign the back of the ticket and show his ID for verification, so he can get “this check”. Seriously?! That’s not how it works! 1) Ted would have had to do this shit before the picture was even taken. The lottery guy even mentions this later. 2) Lottery offices issue official checks; they don’t give away those large photo checks.

51-58-Danny-praysDanny appeals to a higher power to strike Ted with lightning, but the Goddess doesn’t work that way. (Selene won the God election after Yahweh resigned from office.)

51-59-oopsUh-oh! It turns out that Ted is “not 18”! It was an illegal purchase!

This is the episode that I’ve been hinting at. We know Ted was 16 in season 2 (“Superstar“). Ignore his insistence in season 1 (“Ted’s Saddle“) that he’s 17. He could have been lying about his age to impress Brad. Season 3 is definitely a later summer than seasons 1-2, since Brad welcomes back returning guests (“The Bad Seed“), whereas she was a new employee in the series premiere. Seasons 3-4 are one summer, due to Ted leaving for summer school and then returning. Ted’s birthday is in September (“Battle of the Sexes“), so he was 16 in summer #1 and is now 17 (“not 18”) in summer #2.

51-60-Danny-thanksDanny takes what he can get and thanks the deity.

51-61-fight51-62-Ted-couchThe lottery guy apologizes and leaves.

51-63-gangTed somehow guesses he’s gonna get wet now. He screams to Jake to help him for some reason, even though Jake is clearly in on it.

51-64-Ted-troughThe pre-credits scene at the end has Ted being re-baptized into the Bar None’s family.

Ted reveals he had been spending his life savings, and he’s now “worse than broke”. He’ll have to ask Mr. Ernst if he can work off his debt. How did he blow through his life savings and go into debt?! Didn’t his parents have anything to say about this?! How did every single person that knows Ted allow this to happen and not raise the issue?! Seriously, his parents, his friends, the lottery office, and Mr. Ernst all dropped the ball.

The girls and Danny tease him with money, which he doesn’t find amusing. Seriously, they’re all idiots.

51-65-Jake-toothpicksThe Bladavians are leaving, thanks to Mr. Ernst’s “favorite nephew”, who learned they eat a lot of stringy meat and hooked them up with a “couple of million” toothpicks, allowing Mr. Ernst to just about break even on the sculpture. Brilliant, except Jake totally fucking stole Brad’s idea. I’m so glad that these subplots were resolved. Jake had gone to the library and gotten an informative book about the language. He assures them that they “don’t wanna know” what “Ernst” means.

51-66-Bladavians-leaveThe Bladavians say goodbye to “Mr. Flabbybottom”, thank him for the “earwax”, and leave…

51-67-Makyak…without Makyak.

51-68-Makyak-chases-JakeSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty funny, but it works only through an absurdly extreme lack of communication (which you could say is the theme of this episode). Still, it’s great to have Ted back. All’s right with the world.

Season 4, Episode 11: Some Like It Hot

Writer: Steven Roth & Deanne Roth
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: November 16, 1990

We’re back down to the normal running time for this episode.

50-01-Jake-Danny-swingIn the cold open, Jake is working on the swing and asks Danny for a critique.

50-02-girlsThe girls offer their own critiques.

50-03-ErnstMr. Ernst compliments the work but then repeats Danny’s critique. He has two chores and is looking for volunteers. He needs two cooks, and he also needs a tipi-style clubhouse built for the Young Buckaroos. Mr. Ernst (and the writers) is ignorantly perpetuating a stereotype. Tipis were used by the Plains Indians, not all Native Americans and certainly not the ones that lived in Arizona.

Anyway, the guys assume they’ll build, and the girls will cook. The girls are upset about this, because they always have to cook. Since Kyle is absent again this week, Jake is suddenly chauvinistic. After some arguing (we learn Jake and Brad read “Fun with Dick and Jane”, a 1946 children’s book, and Brad also read “Girls Can Do Anything Boys Can Do”, which isn’t a real book as far as I can tell), Brad suggests they switch. Mr. Ernst is unsure, but the guys and Melody are okay with it. Jake urges Mr. Ernst to let the girls try and fail, so the “master builders” can bail them out. Mr. Ernst sits on the swing, and…

50-04-Ernst-swingHa.

50-05-girls-table50-06-guys-tableAfter the credits, on another day, the mood is intense at the lunch tables!

50-07-Chef-ErnstJake is hoping to get Mr. Ernst to let them cook. Mr. Ernst ain’t having it, though. Two critics from “Dude Ranch Monthly” are coming to rate the ranch.

Okay, so this episode is a mashed rehash of “Battle of the Sexes” (season 1, episode 02) and the subplot of “Superstar” (season 2, episode 10).

Jake talks for a bit (he mentions Buddy, who doesn’t appear in this episode) and then insists on flipping a burger, but he accidentally tosses it on the ground. Mr. Ernst says that’s Jake’s lunch. His glasses fall on the ground. Jake picks them up and starts cleaning them, but Mr. Ernst swipes at him, demanding them back. I swear I hear Jake say “No.” The glasses fall in the grill. The girls come by and exclaim “Jake!” when they see it. Really, both dumbasses were at fault.

50-08-glasses-ruinedMr. Ernst yells at Jake – but can’t tell which person is him without his glasses. Seriously? He’s that blind? And he can’t even make out the color of Jake’s hair or the shirt that he saw Jake wearing?

Anyway, one more screw-up, and Jake’s fired. Mr. Ernst goes to get his spare pair of glasses. Jake apologizes to him. The girls want to take over lunch duties, but Jake refuses. Danny warns the critics are here. How does he recognize them?

50-09-criticsThe critics are played by Monique S. Busby and Judith C. Corcoran. “Hey Dude” was their sole acting gig. In Corcoran’s case, this is her second of two appearances. She had previously played a guest in “They’re Back” (season 4, episode 01).

50-10-Jake-tosses-burgerThe white critic wants a hamburger. Jake fucks it up by trying to toss the burger onto her plate. She’s outraged. Her colleague pulls her away, lecturing her about her “violent temper”. Interesting bit of character building, if completely unexpected.

The girls insult the guys, and the four of them get into an argument. Jake and Danny quickly leave when Mr. Ernst comes back. Mr. Ernst just realized these are his spare pair of glasses. He asks if the critics are here yet. Melody says they were. He asks how it went. The girls fumble for words for a bit, and then Melody finally reveals what happened in a pretty funny way. The girls point out where the critics went. Mr. Ernst has trouble avoiding objects. Melody offers to help, but Mr. Ernst insists on keeping up appearances. Mild “blind” slapstick ensues.

50-11-Ernst-guysJake’s already considering himself fired. However, Mr. Ernst comes by and “recognizes” him as “Mrs. Thorpe” (one of the critics). Danny tries to correct him, but Jake shuts him up. Mr. Ernst goes off about Jake and how he’s so fired, but “Mrs. Thorpe” praises Jake. Yeah, Jake’s doing a bad, high-pitched female voice. Okay, four things. 1) How does Mr. Ernst still not recognize Jake without his glasses? 2) Why does he automatically assume it’s Mrs. Thorpe? 3) How is he fooled by that poor impersonation? 4) Wouldn’t he find it odd that “Mrs. Thorpe” is contradicting Melody’s account of what happened?

Anyway, Mr. Ernst then questions “Mrs. Stevenson”, and Danny gets in on the act. “Mrs. Thorpe” suggests big raises for Jake and Danny. Of course, Mr. Ernst doesn’t think this is the least bit suspicious. The girls watch from afar in seeming disapproval. Mr. Ernst asks the “critics” for their first names. Out of the depths of their asses, Jake and Danny pull “Jasmine” and “Daniella”, respectively.

After a bit more banter, Jake quickly excuses himself and Danny, and they leave. Then this happens:

50-12-Ernst-tableAnd he just leaves it (kicking the table in frustration) and walks away.

50-13-girls-plansLater, the girls get to work on their tipi. Melody is impressed with Brad’s plans. Brad took a drafting class in school.

50-14-girls-build50-15-Melody-builds50-16-girls-build-250-17-girls-build-350-18-Brad-builds50-19-girls-build-4Unfortunately, they really don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to actually building this thing.

Anyway, notice Melody’s wearing a Duke shirt, and Brad’s wearing a Montauk shirt. Duke University is a wealthy private research university in Durham, North Carolina. This might be indicative of Melody’s college plans. Montauk is both a state park in Missouri and a hamlet in East Hampton, New York (on Long Island). I’m leaning toward the latter. It sounds like a place that Brad would visit.

50-20-inspectionJake and Danny come by to see how the “men” are doing. Interestingly, Brad pronounces “Jasmine” in a slightly foreign-sounding way (“Jasmeen”).

50-21-Ernst-blindMr. Ernst wanders by. If only there was another adult on this ranch that he could place temporarily in charge until his new glasses arrive…

50-22-Ernst-guestsAnyway, blind humor ensues.

50-23-Ernst-horseAmusingly, Mr. Ernst compliments “Mrs. McLoughlin” on her “very nice perfume”.

50-24-horse-WTFAlso amusingly, the horse momentarily stops eating and looks at him like “What the fuck?”

Mr. Ernst meets up with the gang. His new glasses aren’t coming in for a few days. After some banter, Melody informs Mr. Ernst that the critics are in cabin 9, but Jake quickly “corrects” Melody that it’s cabin 6. Brad and Danny don’t play along. Jake seemingly points Mr. Ernst toward cabin 6. Brad hits him and corrects him. Jake’s just buying them some time and has Danny come with him. The girls agree the guys are completely crazy.

50-25-deceptionDanny and Jake argue. Jake feels the need to cover their hair now for whatever reason. They put on the act for Mr. Ernst again. Jake says they’re leaving soon. Mr. Ernst is upset, because he wants to invite them to be his guests at tomorrow’s mesquite barbecue. Talking with his stomach (he missed lunch because of Jake), Danny agrees. Mr. Ernst informs them that Jake and Danny will be cooking their meal, since they liked their cooking so much. After Mr. Ernst leaves, Jake declares they’re dead meat.

50-26-Brad-phoneAfter the commercial break, Brad’s trying to order a custom-made tipi. We learn she has all of the major credit cards. However, she tells the company to charge it to the Bar None. Why the fuck would she do that?! She’s trying to get out of work as it is; she shouldn’t make her place of employment pay for it. Melody seems to think it’s a great idea, though. Somehow, Brad had gotten her plans to the guy on the phone (faxed them, maybe?), who said she has awful handwriting. Anyway, he can get the tipi built by tomorrow and come in under budget. What was Brad’s budget for this thing, anyway? He also said it would be “cute”, which Brad finds strange but brushes aside.

50-27-gangDanny and Jake come by and argue. The girls and Jake rib each other.

50-28-Ernst-girlsMore of Mr. Ernst’s blind bumbling. He actually recognizes Melody before she speaks. He informs the girls of the dinner invitation for the critics.

50-29-Brad-gleeBrad uses the opportunity to force Jake and Danny to resume their deception on the spot. I love Brad so fucking much.

Unfortunately, it slightly backfires when Mr. Ernst has the girls get some cool lemonade for the “critics”.

50-30-guys-couchMr. Ernst and the “critics” sit down, and there’s some banter as Mr. Ernst asks about work at “Dude Ranch Monthly”.

50-31-Brad-wets-Jake50-32-Melody-wets-DannyThe girls are fully aware that they own the guys’ asses, so they get sweet revenge on them (literally).

There’s some more banter. “Daniella” informs Mr. Ernst that “Jasmine” loves to dance (and mentions tango). Mr. Ernst offers to arrange for some music after the barbecue. Jake, for whatever reason, agrees and excuses himself and Danny. The guys then return as themselves. Mr. Ernst, smitten with “Jasmine”, has Melody send some flowers and chocolate bonbons up to “her” room. The girls and Jake are incredulous, but Danny’s loving this.

50-33-guysThe next day, Danny is working on…the band platform for the dance, I guess. What happened to the one that Jake built in “Stick Around” (season 3, episode 13)? Did they just demolish it after the dance?

Jake’s doing the flower-petal thing (his uncle loves him). Danny is jealous of the attention that Mr. Ernst is giving Jake.

50-34-Lucy-ErnstMr. Ernst comes over to Lucy and has to feel her face in order to recognize her (his binoculars don’t help with that).

Y’know, I watched this episode last week, and I had already forgotten Lucy is in it. Where the fuck was she earlier? She could have helped Mr. Ernst out.

Mr. Ernst says the binoculars work for long distances, but then he thinks he sees Valerie Vleck on a mountaintop (which likely isn’t true). Mr. Ernst wants to confirm dinner plans with the critics, but Lucy decides to save Mr. Ernst a few steps (and bumps and bruises) by doing it herself. Mr. Ernst has Lucy point him toward Jake and Danny.

50-35-guys-binocularsWhat the fuck? He can see them just fine! This isn’t what binoculars are for! They don’t work this way!

50-36-Ernst-pissedAnyway, Mr. Ernst overhears Danny and Jake using their “female” voices and gets on Jake’s case (but not Danny’s for some reason) for making fun of a guest – instead of, y’know, realizing he’d been deceived.

50-37-Jake-happyJake apologizes, and Mr. Ernst has them work on the bandstand. The guys worry about Mr. Ernst’s binoculars, but Jake gets all too happy when he gets an idea.

50-38-guys-dragDo I even have to summarize the rest of the episode? You know how it’s gonna go.

50-39-girls-guysThe girls come by, and Melody offers some help, but she then realizes who these “ladies” are, so it sounds like Melody is asking “Hello, ladies, do you need some – hell?!”

Jake wants the girls to go along with it and offers to build their tipi, but Brad says it’s all taken care of. Jake threatens to blow up their tipi. Seriously, what’s with the connections between Jake and explosives?

Anyway, Melody shuts that down right away, and they come to an arrangement where the guys pay lip service to the girls and do their chores for a week.

50-40-Brad-binocularsAt the barbecue, Brad turns Mr. Ernst’s binoculars around, so he can see a lot more, but everything’s also really far away.

50-41-Ernst-guysMr. Ernst spots the “critics” and chats with them for a bit, but Brad pulls them away in order to cook.

50-42-Ernst-criticsThe real critics show up, having been invited to the barbecue by Lucy. They sit down and chat. Comedic misunderstandings ensue. The guys realize what’s happening and talk the girls into getting the critics away from Mr. Ernst. The girls bullshit about an emergency phone call. Jake and Danny come back to Mr. Ernst. The girls return with the real critics (way too early). Jake quickly asks Mr. Ernst to tango.

50-43-Ernst-Jake-tango50-44-girls-critics50-45-Ernst-wig50-46-critics-amused50-47-Jake-revealed50-48-Danny-revealed50-49-Ernst-pissedThe fiddle player is played by Ken Cerny. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig, but he was also a scenic artist on the series.

The guitar player is played by John A. Winder. He doesn’t seem to have an IMDb page.

50-50-applauseMr. Ernst is pissed, but the audience – especially the critics – love it.

50-51-critics-pleasedThe Bar None scored low on Organization but high on Enjoyment and stands a good chance of winning the Dude Ranch Monthly Award. Mr. Ernst is relieved and pleased. The critics thank him for not showering them with flowers and chocolates in the way that so many ranch owners do; they consider it tacky. Ha.

The critics leave. Jake thinks he and Danny are off the hook. Mr. Ernst allows them to change but wants to see both of them in his office in five minutes. There’s some more gay and high-heels humor before the scene ends.

50-52-crowdThe pre-credits scene at the end has a gathering crowd amused at the tipi.

50-53-girlsThe girls blame each other. It’s actually Brad’s fault, because she put down inches instead of feet.

50-54-tipiHa.

50-55-girls-2The girls argue some more. Brad admits she flunked drafting class.

50-56-girls-350-57-girls-4So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was kind of amusing, but it stretched credibility, and it’s mostly a rehash of ideas that the series had already done. Oh, well. The return of the Aloysius is nigh.

Countdown to the Third Coming of Ted: 0

Season 4, Episode 10: Doghouse Blues

Writer: Mark Cerulli
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: November 9, 1990

49-01-Jake-analyzes-MelodyIn the cold open, Danny jumps up and grabs an orange off a tree. Meanwhile, Melody is recounting a dream that she had for Jake: She was running through a forest of Douglas firs, but she wasn’t really going anywhere, because a bunch of hands kept grabbing at her sneakers and holding her back. Sigmund Fritters – complete with fake Austrian accent – guesses Melody’s trying to get away from somebody named Douglas, but Melody doesn’t know anyone by that name.

Mr. Ernst comes by, says good morning, and rags on them for not working. Jake says he’s decided to major in Psychology when he goes to college and is doing a little field work on dreams.

49-02-Ernst-recountsJake accepts Mr. Ernst’s challenge to interpret the dream that he had last night: He was going to the store to get some ribbon for his adding machine. They were overstocked and had a big sale going on. He walked outside. The parking lot had turned into a huge pool of Jello. It started to “hail” fruit. There was juice everywhere and seeds in his face. It kept coming down.

49-03-Ernst-crazyMr. Ernst gets really into his story.

49-04-orange-treeHe accidentally shakes a bunch of oranges loose.

49-05-oranges-fallThey fall on everyone, but the teens take it in stride and have a laugh over it.

49-06-Jake-kids49-07-Danny-boxesAfter the credits, the girls are the only ones doing chores. Jake (who’s still wearing his psychologist’s jacket for some reason) and Danny entertain some kids (none of whom are credited). Potential rain means riding is out, and the pool is cracked, so no swimming. That apparently leaves only one possible activity: a game called Name That Smell.

As an aside, what are the girls doing in the background? Melody briefly takes hold of Brad’s hand for no apparent reason.

49-08-girl-faintsOne girl faints from the odor of a mystery item that Jake got out of Danny’s laundry bag. Why the fuck did Jake select dirty laundry for these child guests to smell?

Jake then smells something else, and Danny hears something.

49-09-Valerie-bikeIt’s Valerie Vleck! This is the second of two appearances by Mary Secrest (formerly Mary F. Glenn) as Valerie Temperance Vleck.

49-10-panicJake sends the kids to their rooms and tells them to lock their doors. Even Brad and Melody follow his advice, Brad ditching her watering can in the process (it just would’ve slowed her down).

49-11-Valerie-Danny-JakeValerie is upset and tells them to get her bag. She wants to see “Benjamin”, so Danny sends her into the main lodge.

49-12-Ernst-ValerieMr. Ernst fell asleep at the desk, but Valerie’s approach awakens him. He momentarily ducks behind the desk in an attempt to hide but soon gives up. Buddy just ignores it all and continues sorting the mail. Hehe.

Anyway, Valerie wants to rent a room and use the phone. She wants to call her parents in El Paso and tell them that she’s coming home.

49-13-paper-towelsMr. Ernst gives Valerie some…yellow (desert-colored?) paper towels and tells Buddy to get a mop (seriously). He asks Valerie what’s wrong. He asks about Karl and Lonnie. Valerie says they’re off having their electro-shock therapy and “havin’ a wonderful time”.

49-14-Valerie-gunThe problem is her two-timing husband, Vic. They got a guest last week named Betty Lou Melman – Miss Farm Equipment, 1967, and Vic’s old girlfriend when he drove a combine. Vic started acting “all squishy-squashy” and gave her a discount. He also delivered room service, which they don’t offer. Valerie decides Vic can have “Miss Tractor Wheels”, but it will cost him “big time”. Mr. Ernst tries to calm her down, even visually referencing the famous 1967 photograph, Flower Power. They’re full, but Mr. Ernst says Valerie can bunk with the girls (without even asking them first).

49-15-girls-doorThey react as you’d expect.

Mr. Ernst and the girls argue over it for a bit, and then Valerie just barges into the girls’ bunk house. The girls run away. Mr. Ernst admonishes them and brings up the “Code of the West”, which is a callback to “They’re Back” (season 4, episode 01).

49-16-Ernst-ValerieMr. Ernst and Valerie chat for a bit, and Brad returns for no apparent reason except to roll her eyes. Valerie learns Mr. Ernst is divorced. I swear Valerie says “Oh, hell”, which is kind of surprising. After Valerie goes into their room, Brad and Melody try to get Mr. Ernst to change his mind, but he won’t have it. Brad and Melody give out successive, frustrated groans.

49-17-Valerie-cookiesAs Mr. Ernst helps bring Valerie’s stuff in (notably, one of her bags has “U.S. Army” written on it), she starts crying, because she found some “buffalo brownies” that she’d baked for…Vic, I think. She offers them to Mr. Ernst and the girls. Melody tries to discourage Mr. Ernst from trying one, but he ends up liking it – until Valerie reveals they’re made with real buffalo chips. Valerie’s mother always said the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Valerie starts feeling Mr. Ernst up, so he quickly excuses himself and leaves the girls to fend for themselves against a lovestruck Vleck.

Nice unicorn poster on the wall. I’m guessing it’s Melody’s. She seems like the happy-go-lucky, unicorns-shitting-out-rainbows type.

49-18-Ernst-garglesThat evening, Mr. Ernst is in his office, gargling. Interesting. Does he plan to spit it out the window? Does he keep a bottle of mouthwash in his office for when he really needs to gargle? If so, then why was he so surprised at Jake’s explanation in last week’s episode that Danny was gargling?

There’s a loud knock at his door, and Mr. Ernst invites the person in.

49-19-Valerie-door49-20-Ernst-spitsAh, that was the purpose of the gargling: a visual gag.

49-21-Valerie-ErnstValerie flirts with Mr. Ernst. Mr. Ernst sneezes at the smell of her perfume, Hay Fever – made with real pollen. It’s imported. It gives Vic hives.

49-22-Valerie-Ernst-249-23-Danny-Valerie-ErnstDanny comes by just in time with the receipts from dinner. He also mentions he saw Vic drive up.

49-24-Vic-doorPaul Secrest returns for his third of three appearances as Vic Vleck (and fourth of four overall appearances on “Hey Dude”).

There’s some sound like a power tool during this shot. I don’t think it’s meant to be part of the score. Weird.

Let’s see. Mr. Ernst wants Valerie and Vic to talk this out. Valerie wants to profess her love for Mr. Ernst to Vic’s face. Vic has flowers for his wife and wants his “buddy” to let him in. How many sitcom tropes is this episode fulfilling?

49-25-Vic-ErnstMr. Ernst sends Valerie out another door, and then he opens the door before Vic can “karate chop this sucker down”. Vic questions Mr. Ernst about Valerie, and Mr. Ernst suggests they don’t see each other for now.

49-26-Vic-Ernst-2Vic talks to “Ben, old pal” for a while. Paul Secrest stumbles over the…unique phrase, “sidewinder in a sandstorm”. Vic theorizes Valerie’s been planning this all along and left him for another man. Mr. Ernst gets nervous. Vic asks Mr. Ernst to talk to her and find out who it is.

49-27-Vic-machete“Just give me a name, and I’ll take care of the rest.”

49-28-Valerie-girlsAfter the commercial break (which comes a bit early in this episode), it’s a girls’ night in. Brad brings by a bowl of popcorn for Melody, but Valerie immediately snatches it away.

Okay, I have a question that’s been bugging me. Multiple questions, actually. Where do the teens get snacks for their rooms? Did Brad have to walk to the kitchen in her pajamas and pop that popcorn herself? What if they have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night? Do they have to go and use a public restroom elsewhere on the ranch? Or is there an unseen restroom attached to the bunkhouses (accessed by an unseen door on one of the walls)?

Anyway, the girls ask Valerie what marriage is like, and Valerie says it’s like a demolition derby.

49-29-Valerie-pissed49-30-Brad-scared49-31-Melody-scared49-32-Melody-comforts-ValerieAfter the girls shit their jammies, Melody tries to comfort Valerie, and Brad is a frightened little girl. Brad gets a funny line in.

49-33-Valerie-guitarValerie and the girls discuss Vic and Mr. Ernst for a while, and then Valerie goes to serenade Mr. Ernst. The girls are “concerned” but stay in their room with their popcorn instead of doing anything about it (which is the best decision that they can make when a Vleck is involved).

49-34-Ernst-VicMr. Ernst, Danny, and Jake (who’s still wearing his jacket for some reason) are keeping Vic company in the main lodge. Vic pulls out a grenade.

49-35-Danny-Jake49-36-Vic-smokesHa. “Ben, old pal” declines Vic’s offer of a smoke. Danny lectures Vic about the dangers of smoking, but Vic doesn’t care. Jake tries to analyze Vic and Valerie’s marriage trouble. It turns out that Vic had given Betty Lou the discount, because she had fallen on hard times. He has no interest in this “hamburger”, because he has a “juicy fillet mignon”. Much to Mr. Ernst’s horror, Jake suggests Valerie is seeing someone else. Vic is aware of the possibility and asks Mr. Ernst about it. Mr. Ernst feigns cluelessness. Mr. Ernst is momentarily frightened when Vic seems to think Valerie is seeing him, but Vic simply wants Mr. Ernst to talk to Valerie about it (which he had already asked him to do, so this conversation makes no sense and serves no purpose other than to create a momentary misunderstanding). Mr. Ernst agrees to talk to Valerie instead of letting Vic do it. Mr. Ernst has Jake and Danny keep Vic detained entertained. Jake tries to do dream work on Vic, and Vic just blows cigar smoke in his face.

49-37-Ernst-deskMr. Ernst goes into his office and decides to ignore the problem and do some bookkeeping, but Valerie shows up outside his window and serenades her “sweet dork from New York”. What took her so long?

49-38-Valerie-guitarI’ll just let the next few screencaps speak for themselves:

49-39-Valerie-kisses-Ernst49-40-Vic-guys49-41-Ernst-lipstick49-42-Vic-fingers-Ernst49-43-Vic-shocked49-44-Valerie-swingsFor some reason, Mr. Ernst can’t explain the situation to Vic, so he tries to convince him that it’s all a dream. Vic doesn’t buy it.

49-45-Vic-challenges-ErnstHe challenges Mr. Ernst to a duel at dawn and offers him the choice of machetes or guns (he has plenty of both, probably for when “them Rooskies invade”). Mr. Ernst unintentionally agrees to machetes.

49-46-Vic-machete-deskVic offers Mr. Ernst the use of his machete, because he has “a whole crate of ’em” at home.

49-47-Ernst-sneaksSo, of course, Mr. Ernst’s solution is to sneak out, presumably abandoning the Bar None forever.

49-48-Ernst-ValerieValerie catches him, though, upset that he’s not going to fight for her. Mr. Ernst claims he’s a Quaker and not allowed to fight. He also claims he’s visiting a cousin in Venezuela that he hasn’t seen in years. Valerie doesn’t fall for it and is upset.

49-49-Ernst-VicOhshitohshitohshitohshit

Mr. Ernst says dawn isn’t for another twenty minutes and invites the two of them to try out his new cappuccino maker that he just got in. He also wants to call a few “friends” over (police, S.W.A.T., etc.), but Vic declares Mr. Ernst won, because it’s what Valerie wants.

I just want to point out the large number of bugs (and probably even bats) that appear in the indoor scenes in this episode. Well, I guess it’s authentic. If you’re running a dude ranch in Arizona and have the windows open, a whole bunch of stuff’s gonna get in. I just never noticed so much of it before.

Vic says goodbye to “Sugar Babe”. Mr. Ernst tries to tell Valerie that he’s not interested in her, which upsets Vic. Mr. Ernst suggests they see a counselor, but Vic “don’t go in for that namby-pamby stuff”.

49-50-Valerie-Ernst-Vic-windowValerie’s interested, but she wonders where they’re gonna find a “psycha-ologist” to come out to the middle of fucking nowhere in the middle of the fucking night.

49-51-Doctor-JakeThe pre-credits scene at the end (which comes very early in this episode) has Jake creating a “stress-free zone” for Valerie and Vic (while wearing flowers) to have some “straight talk”. I can’t tell if this is supposed to reference Woodstock or New Age spirituality or what. (And I’m a Wiccan, but this definitely seems a bit “Hollywood” to me.) Mr. Ernst’s presence is required for some reason. We learn Vic’s name is actually Victor.

49-52-Valerie-Vic-noseTalking doesn’t help. That leaves one alternative:

49-53-Valerie-Vic-batsFoam bat combat!

Jake excuses Mr. Ernst, but he wants to stay and watch.

49-54-Valerie-bats-Vic49-55-Vic-bats-Valerie49-56-Valerie-bats-Vic-249-57-Valerie-bats-Ernst49-58-Vic-bats-Ernst49-59-Vlecks-bat-Jake49-60-Vlecks-bat-ErnstBad idea.

49-61-Vlecks-hugVic and Valerie make up. Valerie suggests they go home, and she’ll cook him up “a mess o’ sizzlin’ Snake Eyes Stew”. Vic likes it greasy. He eagerly accepts, and they walk off. Jake congratulates them and says he’s glad that he could be of some help.

49-62-Jake-ErnstJake briefly checks on his uncle, checks to make sure that no one’s around, and then just fucking leaves. Dick.

Shortly into the closing credits, you can hear what sounds like a voice. Maybe it’s one of Mr. Ernst’s moans. It’s kinda weird.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty funny. I’m not sure which is the funniest of the Vleck episodes, but this is right up there. I’m kinda gonna miss them. What the fuck was up with that Elvis statue, though?

Did you notice how disjointed that the cast was, though? Melody was barely in any scenes. Brad was in even less. Buddy was relegated to silent cameos. Lucy and Kyle didn’t appear at all.

Y’know, those two are often missing from the same episodes. I guess Lucy is keeping Kyle in line by giving him riding lessons…buck-ass naked.

Countdown to the Third Coming of Ted: 1

Season 4, Episode 09: Do the Right Thing

Writer: Steven Roth & Deanne Roth
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: November 2, 1990

48-01-Jodie-BettyIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst is handing out ribbons to the staff members for providing excellent guest service. Jodie got a blue ribbon, and Betty got a pink ribbon. For what? Who knows? The episode doesn’t tell us, and it’s really not clear at all how this ribbon system works (nor, for that matter, what use that the ribbons have nor when this program started). Do they trade them in for a prize? Are they expected to wear them? Betty seems to try to pin her ribbon on before seemingly giving up.

48-02-BuddyBuddy gets two green ribbons for…something. This is more evidence that he’s officially an employee now. Y’know, how that came about might have made for an interesting story.

48-03-BradBrad gets one pink ribbon and two blue ribbons for organizing a senior citizen rodeo. Brad…organized…a rodeo? Um, well, I’d like to think she did it her way, because this seems like a massive change of heart after her argument in “Stick Around” (season 3, episode 13).

48-04-DannyMr. Ernst calls Danny out of order (Melody doesn’t seem to care) to present him with three green ribbons, a blue ribbon, and a pink ribbon for an “outstanding cacti tour and lizard safari”. Sounds riveting. Also, check out Brad and Jodie comparing ribbons like “These are really somethin’, huh?”

48-05-MelodyMelody gets four yellow ribbons and three blue ribbons for “her courageous Boy Scout mouth-to-mouth resuscitation demonstration”.

……

I don’t wanna fucking know.

In case you were wondering, Lucy and Kyle don’t get ribbons, because they didn’t bother showing up for the episode ceremony.

48-06-winner“This week’s winner with fifteen ribbons” is Jake.

48-07-Jake-kids48-08-Ernst-impressedAfter seeing Jake’s enthusiasm, Mr. Ernst decides to give Jake another ribbon.

48-09-horse-lodgeHe changes his mind when he learns Jake was holding riding lessons in the main lodge. Such initiative is not ribbon-worthy.

48-10-Ernst-yellsIn a rare move, the cold open has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the episode. Hooray.

48-11-Buddy-cameraAfter the credits, Buddy is bugging the others by taking pictures, because his career goal of the week is photojournalist.

48-12-photo-MelodyMelody doesn’t want Buddy to take her picture.

48-13-photo-Brad48-14-photo-DannyBrad and Danny physically threaten Buddy – to no effect.

48-15-Buddy-photosJake arrives with express mail for Buddy. They’re pictures that Buddy took at night with infrared film.

48-16-girls-impressedThe girls are “impressed”. Well, okay, Melody is. Brad doesn’t give a shit.

48-17-Jake-surprisedAmong the photos of the lake, Jake makes an amazing discovery: a “black thing on the lake”, which Jake interprets as a “major unknown phenomenon”: a lake monster.

48-18-girls-laughThe girls laugh it off, and Danny makes fun of it. We learn Brad doesn’t believe in Bigfoot or Elvis being alive.

Jake names his discovery “the Ernstness Monster” and brings “adventure” into Buddy’s life by drafting him as his assistant to search for the monster. This is, quite possibly, the lamest “overreaction” plot so far.

48-19-workLater, while Danny hays around in the corral, Jake reminds Buddy of the “dangerous work” that they’re about to undertake. The girls are like “Chores, assholes!” Jake and Buddy are like “Fuck that shit! We’re gonna be famous for sciencey shit!” Jake also stops Brad from touching some of his equipment. Props to the writer for having Melody refer to the lake as Lake Benjamin, which she had previously called it in “Melody’s Brother” (season 3, episode 11).

As Jake and Buddy go off on their quest for glory, Brad says something that I can’t understand (because Jake’s talking to Buddy). She’s probably making fun of them. While I’d be interested in knowing that she said, in real life, you don’t always hear everything that people say.

48-20-Fenton SmithOver four minutes into the episode (including the theme song), we finally get to the main plot. Mr. Ernst introduces Danny and the girls to this Indiana Jones wannabe, Fenton Smith – amidst a whole lot of banter.

48-21-annoyedMy reaction exactly. Let’s get to the fucking plot, shall we?

Fenton Smith is played by Mark Lang. This is his second of two appearances. You might recognize him as the pilot/robber in “Crash Landing” (season 2, episode 05):

18-19-pilot-ErnstAnyway, Fenton is an archaeologist, which impresses the teens. He’s here to study the Indians of the Southwest. Fenton told Mr. Ernst, if anything of value is discovered, it’d be good for the Bar None, bringing in tourists.

The teens (well, mostly Melody) offer to help. Mr. Ernst brings up Fenton’s interest in a private horse tour of the ranch, and Danny immediately volunteers, which Mr. Ernst was hoping for. Fenton suggests an hour from now, and Danny agrees. Mr. Ernst carries Fenton’s luggage for him. Why did Fenton bring his luggage out to the corral, anyway? Presumably, he already checked in. Why didn’t he drop his luggage off in his room first? Oh, right, so we could see Mr. Ernst struggling to carry it.

48-22-girls-excitedThe girls are excited for Danny. Melody (the white, blonde girl) even says “I guess heritage has its privileges.” She congratulates the “lucky dog”, and so does Brad.

48-23-Fenton-Danny-rideLater, Danny and Fenton are out riding, and Danny shows him a place that the Indians call…some word that I can’t understand, so I’m not going to attempt to spell it. Danny says it means “deposits of new soil”. He never brought anyone here before and is a bit weirded out by it. The two of them talk for a bit about archaeology. Fenton references “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. They dismount, and Fenton starts looking around. He finds arrowheads and a soda can. He tosses the soda can right after Danny says it was left by someone with no respect for the land, which upsets Danny. Danny goes to pick up the soda can and finds…

48-24-boneFenton identifies it as a human bone.

48-25-skeletonFenton uncovers a burial cist. Danny declines Fenton’s offer of getting some hands-on experience. Fenton says the remains belonged to a young, very skilled warrior about Danny’s age. Danny nervously says they should be leaving, because it’s getting kinda late. Fenton agrees and decides they’re gonna pack up the remains and take them back with them. Danny is surprised and suggests leaving it where it is. Fenton won’t have it and seems to think Danny is expressing legal concerns. It seems Fenton has had enough of the bureaucracy involved in searching on government land, but this is Mr. Ernst’s land. After getting lukewarm support from Danny, Fenton brings up Indiana Jones again and gets to work.

48-26-Melody-registerThrough the magic of a scene fade, an Indian Artifacts Exhibit has been set up in the main lodge. Melody is selling the tickets.

48-27-Brad-lineBrad is in charge of the line.

48-28-Brad-guestA guest argues with Brad over the age of the artifacts (his source being Melody). Brad gets a good line in: “Fortunately for me, no one really knows.”

The “male guest” is played by David Bukunus. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.

They’re getting backed up, so Melody has Brad hurry the fuck up. Brad puts an end to questions.

48-29-Danny-BradDanny comes by, surprised at what’s going on. Apparently, he’s somehow managed to remain uninformed during the discussion and set-up of this exhibit. Brad introduces him to applause.

48-30-woman-cameraA dumb bitch says “He looks like an Indian himseeelf!” Joe Torres is Mexican, I think, and it’s unclear whether he actually has any Hopi in him or not.

48-31-Danny-Brad-poseDanny gets his picture taken without his consent for the second time in this episode, and Brad gets in on the action, much like Ted did in “Our Little Champion” (season 2, episode 03):

16-21-Melody-pictureMelody comes over and excitedly informs Danny and Brad that Fenton’s entire excavation crew is coming in for the next three months. Brad is excited, but Danny’s upset.

48-32-Jake-BuddyJake and Buddy come by to further the subplot. Jake’s plan is to lure “him” to the top, grab him with the net, and scoop him up. We learn Jake watches Jacques Cousteau. Jake has not only the monster’s sex but also its weight pinned down: three tons.

48-33-Ernst-IndyFor fuck’s sake…

Mr. Ernst is giving (selling?) his autograph to kids and advising them of possible future value. I’m sure that he’s also letting them believe he had more to do with finding the artifacts than he really did. He starts talking himself up…to himself.

48-34-Ernst-whipsHe then cracks his whip and…hurts himself, I guess.

48-35-guestA guest says “Good for you, young man.” I can’t tell if she’s reacting to his self praise or his injury. (My mom often says “Good for you” when something unfortunate happens to someone that she doesn’t like, and I’m not sure if this is a legit English phrase or not.)

The “woman guests” are played by Joan Sharp Henning and Bobby Joyce Smith. This is their second of two appearances. You might recognize them as the grandmothers in “Sewn at the Hip” (season 3, episode 05):

31-32-grandmothers48-36-Ernst-Danny-FentonFenton comes by to talk to Mr. Ernst about having the excavation area sealed off to prevent sightseers from stealing shit. Mr. Ernst agrees. Danny butts in and asks Mr. Ernst about returning the Indian bones to the burial ground. Mr. Ernst is incredulous. Fenton shuts down the discussion right away. The artifacts are worth a shit-ton of money, and Fenton wants to sell them to museums and private collectors. Mr. Ernst is interested.

The girls come by, excited. Melody calls Danny a “hero”. Danny calls what Fenton is doing “grave robbing” and walks away. The girls are confused, look at each other, and shrug. How clueless can they be?

48-37-Jake-BuddyAfter the commercial break, more of the subplot. The net didn’t work. Jake plans to feed the lake monster “big, fat trout”, which they’ll catch with “bug sandwiches”. He then throws a half-loaf of bread into the lake. Whaaa…?

Jake hears a recurring “ping” on his equipment (where/how the fuck did he get all of this shit, anyway?) and guesses the lake monster wants to communicate. There’s some “scary” Jaws-esque background score going on in an attempt to make this scene interesting. It fails.

48-38-Danny-rowsIt turns out that it’s just Danny paddling.

Jake can tell something’s bothering Danny, but Danny says he wouldn’t understand, he doesn’t want to talk about it, and he has to work it out for himself. Jake and Buddy go to get “more equipment”, despite the fact that Jake just said they’ll resort to plan c after lunch.

48-39-moon48-40-Danny-skeletonThat night (on something other than the full moon!), Danny sneaks into the main lodge (it’s not locked?!) and talks to the skeleton.

48-41-Danny-bowHe also plays with the guy’s bow. Jake observes and then talks with Danny, promising to keep quiet about this. Danny asks Jake about the hunt. Jake’s new plan is to take the air molecules out of the water. Jake and Danny then discuss Danny’s dilemma (I guess Jake had learned about it off screen). Jake leaves Danny alone to figure it out.

48-42-Danny-skeleton-2The scene fades out, which is unusual when not going to a commercial break.

48-43-Ernst-FentonThe next morning, Mr. Ernst is frantic, and Fenton is upset.

48-44-gangMost of the gang comes by, and Mr. Ernst interrogates them, but they’re of no help. Jake mentions he saw Mr. Ernst raiding the refrigerator in his Garfield pajamas. Mr. Ernst asks where Danny is. Brad says he didn’t show up for breakfast duty. Buddy says he hasn’t seen him since yesterday. Fenton believes Danny stole the skeleton and artifacts. Jake tries to “remind” Brad that he and Danny switched schedules: Danny did the raking while Jake did the dishes, because Danny was getting “dishpan hands”. A hit from Melody gets Brad to play along. Buddy adds he saw Danny raking. Fenton asks for Danny’s current location. Melody, Brad, and Jake give conflicting replies, Jake’s being the weirdest: he’s gargling.

48-45-Melody-headacheI feel ya, Mel.

Fenton tells Mr. Ernst to get the artifacts back and deal with the culprit. If it’s one of the guests, call the police (this surprises Mr. Ernst for some reason). If it’s one of the staff, fire him. Fenton makes it clear that he knows (or at least strongly suspects) who it is.

48-46-gangAfter a search, they have no luck finding Danny, and one of the horses is gone as well. They brainstorm explanations other than what they’re all thinking. Buddy suggests Danny fell into the lake and was eaten by the Ernstness Monster. Brad shoves Buddy and basically calls him stupid. She cuts through the bullshit (it only makes them feel better; it’s not dealing with reality) and, to Melody’s shock, admits she thinks Danny’s the culprit. Brad tries to convince Melody, bringing up that Danny was so upset that he wouldn’t even come to dinner last night. Melody asks Buddy if Mr. Ernst would fire Danny. Buddy doesn’t think so, but Brad isn’t sure.

48-47-Danny-arrivesDanny arrives. They question him, but he doesn’t reply.

48-48-Danny-ErnstMr. Ernst confront Danny, who readily admits everything. Melody says that’s stealing, and Danny agrees with her, which seems to contradict his earlier position. Brad suggests bringing everything back. Danny and Mr. Ernst debate archaeology. Melody sides with Mr. Ernst. Danny hypothesizes someone digging up Mr. Ernst’s Aunt Martha at Forest Lawn. There are a few Forest Lawn Cemeteries and Forest Lawn Memorial Parks. The one that makes the most sense is the one in Buffalo, New York. But how the fuck does Danny know about Mr. Ernst’s Aunt Martha and where she’s buried? Mr. Ernst is shocked and troubled by this (Danny’s suggestion, not his knowledge). He says his Aunt Martha baked “the best mulberry pie in Bergen County” (which is in New Jersey). Mr. Ernst seems to get what Danny’s saying. Danny says he’ll pack his bags, but Melody says no one’s fired him yet. Danny says it’s doesn’t matter; he can’t work here knowing Mr. Ernst allowed Fenton to dig up his ancestors. Brad tells Mr. Ernst that he has to do something.

Fenton arrives and accuses Danny. He also offers Mr. Ernst the contract to sign and entices him with money.

48-49-Ernst-Fenton-DannyMr. Ernst turns down the offer, much to Fenton’s bewilderment. Fenton says he hopes Danny’s proud of himself, and Danny says he only did what he had to do.

The girls and Jake compliment Mr. Ernst. Mr. Ernst tells Danny that stealing is wrong, but he admires his courage. Danny says he admires Mr. Ernst. As they leave, there’s some bad ADR where Melody says “Come on, Dan, let’s go. This is great.” She’s grinning at the time and obviously not talking.

Mr. Ernst gets sad over the stuff that he’s lost. Waaah, cry me a river.

48-50-Jake-BuddyThe pre-credits scene at the end, on another day, has the resolution of the stupid “lake monster” subplot. Jake wants Buddy to be a “good little sardine” and scuba dive.

48-51-girls-photosThe girls arrive. They blew up Buddy’s pictures of the “lake monster”, which is far more help than I would have offered them (which is none). The “lake monster” is nothing more than Buddy’s finger in front of the lens.

48-52-Melody-cacklesMelody cackles in glee.

Jake and Buddy argue about it. Jake insinuates Buddy picks his nose.

48-53-Jake-shoves-Buddy48-54-Jake-Buddy-lakeJake shoves Buddy into the lake but holds onto the life preserver while Buddy holds onto the rope and gets pulled into the lake as well. Ha. The girls yuck it up. Jake and Buddy get into a fight in the water.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty nice, but the girls and Mr. Ernst seemed to not care about or understand Danny’s feelings at all until the end. It was nice how most of the gang tried to come up with excuses for Danny – with Brad providing the contrast of brutal honesty.

Countdown to the Third Coming of Ted: 2

Season 4, Episode 08: Return of Ted

Writer: Graham Yost
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: October 26, 1990

47-01-setting-upIn the cold open, Danny and Kyle are setting up for a video that Mr. Ernst is going to tape.

47-02-Ernst-BuddyMr. Ernst wants Buddy to perform a dangerous stunt on tape, which he’ll submit to “Hilarious Home Videos”. I’m not sure why they don’t say “America’s Funniest Home Videos”. Maybe because of the way that they’re portraying one of the entries? Anyway, I like to think “Hilarious Home Videos” is some shitty, local knock-off that aired on a low-powered, independent Tucson station.

Regardless, what Mr. Ernst is doing is dangerous, which would probably result in disqualification and arrest. Buddy doesn’t want to do it, but his dad talks him into it.

47-03-stunt-cameraMr. Ernst says “Action!” like he does in “The Good, the Bad, & the Obnoxious” (season 1, episode 08). Nice touch.

Mr. Ernst accidentally stops the recording and complains the Stop button is right next to the Zoom button. He calls for a reshoot. They can’t find Buddy.

47-04-Buddy-treeHow in the actual fuck did that happen?

Buddy is upset at his dad, but Mr. Ernst gets the “great shot” of his son in the tree.

There’s a weird click/static sound as Buddy calls for Kyle and Danny to get him down.

47-05-guys-watchedAfter the credits, a POV shot and funny spy music let us know the guys are being secretly followed.

Mr. Ernst and Buddy debate Mr. Ernst’s reckless quest for $10,000. Mr. Ernst suddenly feels the stalker’s presence. Danny brings up government conspiracy theories in a mocking manner. Mr. Ernst dismisses the feeling.

47-06-stalker-runsThe stalker slams a gate shut, and Mr. Ernst spots him but is unable to get him to stop (admittedly, he and the others make a half-assed attempt).

47-07-Melody-novelLater, at the girls’ bunk house, Melody is reading a novel. Try as I might, I couldn’t read the author’s name, so I couldn’t look it up to see if it’s a real novel.

47-08-Brad-laundryBrad comes by with her laundry, Melody screams, and Brad gets startled (delayed reaction) and tosses her laundry.

Brad is upset that Melody reads scary novels, because she always screams. Does anyone ever scream while reading? Hell, I don’t scream when I’m watching a scary movie.

47-09-Melody-readsMelody insists on reading a scary passage to Brad. The return of the spy music and POV shot let us know they’re being observed.

47-10-stalkerBrad gets fed up and, after some playful roughhousing, tosses Melody’s book out the window, hitting the stalker, who leaves, not giving the girls a good look at him. The girls wonder who he is and what he was doing here.

47-11-guysLater, at the boys’ bunk house, the guys (sans Kyle) discuss the stalker.

47-12-guys-watchedCue music and POV shot.

Jake spots the stalker and alerts the others. He pretends they’re returning to work after lunch. Danny plays along, but Buddy says they’ve still got ten minutes left. Danny drags him away. So Buddy’s officially an employee, it seems.

47-13-TedSon of a cock, it’s Ted! I never would have guessed!

Okay, seriously, if I had watched this new back in the day, I wouldn’t have guessed Ted would be back after an absence of six months and six days. However, today, we knew he was coming back, and we knew the episode titles. I don’t remember what my reaction to this episode was back in the day; it’s possible that I’d already seen later episodes and was watching the show daily, so Ted’s departure and return didn’t have a big impact on me.

47-14-Jake-jumpsJake, who had been “hiding”, jumps Ted.

47-15-Jake-Ted“Who the fuck are you?”
“Who the fuck are you?”

47-16-reunionDanny and Buddy return and are happy to see Ted. Jake brings up the events of “Ted and Brad Get Handcuffed” (season 1, episode 10) and “Suspicion” (season 1, episode 11), which he’d been told about. Danny makes the introductions.

Buddy asks Ted what he’s doing here. Ted says he came back to see his “old pals”. Jake’s stuff is on Ted’s old bunk, so it seems, contrary to what we saw in the previous episode, Jake sleeps on the bottom, and Danny still sleeps on the top. Or maybe they just switch sometimes. Whatever.

47-17-Ted-drumsTed spots and tries out the tubs, which I guess have been sitting in the corner this entire time. Jake tells him to get the fuck away. Ted makes fun of the “tubs” name.

47-18-Jake-drumsJake shows Ted how it’s done.

Buddy brings up summer school. Ted bullshits a story about the school being closed for a few days due to a fire from a kiln explosion (the same excuse that was used for the Masked Marauder in “Killer Ernst” (season 3, episode 10)). Despite Ted obviously making this up as he goes along, they seem to buy it.

Ted asks about the new bunk, and Jake and Buddy inform him of Kyle. Ted is upset at all of the newness around here and asks for more info. There seems to be a slight camera shake as Danny answers.

Danny and Jake bring up the events of “Superstition” (season 3, episode 06), and props to the writer for remembering seasons 3 and 4 are the same summer, because Jake mentions he’ll be in the “Brainbusters” teen tournament next spring.

Buddy says “Snare drum.”

47-19-Jake-howlsGreat, just what we needed: a reference to the subplot of “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (season 3, episode 09).

Danny, Jake, and Buddy go back to work. Ted asks Danny where Brad is. Danny says either the corral or the lodge (where she would be filling out worksheets). Apparently, filling out worksheets was Ted’s old job, even though it’s never been mentioned before. Ted’s upset at this but is looking forward to seeing Brad.

47-20-Ted-surprisesLater, Ted spots Brad going into the hay shack (and closing the door for some reason). Ted opens the door and yells “Surprise!”

47-21-Ted-hayBrad’s like “Hay, dude.”

This is possibly a callback to “Loose Lips” (season 2, episode 01), even though it was Danny that threw the hay that time.

47-22-Brad-rushes-TedBrad comes out and basically threatens to stab Ted so many times that he’ll bleed to death.

47-23-Ted-ropedKyle then ropes Ted and pulls him to the ground.

47-24-Ted-KyleTed asks who “John Wayne” is.

47-25-Brad-Ted-KyleBrad admonishes Kyle, helps Ted up, and cleans him up. Kyle references “Suspicion”, which he’d been told about. For all of the talk that the old teens have made about Ted to the new teens, we didn’t hear any of it, because Ted hasn’t been mentioned since the episode after he left.

Kyle apologizes for the “rude interduction” and flirts with Brad. Brad shuts him down. Kyle leaves, and Ted gets a funny line in (which I won’t spoil).

47-26-Brad-TedBrad kinda sorta flirts with Ted but has to get back to work. No kiss. She asks about summer school. Ted bullshits the school closing for a few days due to a toxic waste spill. Ted’s explanation is shown from Brad’s perspective, which makes me wonder if Kelly Brown was not there for this shot and simply ADRed her lines later. I’m not saying that’s the case, but it does seem a bit weird.

47-27-Ted-ideaTed has the idea to go and see Melody.

47-28-Melody-kidsMelody had taken some (uncredited) kids out on the lake and plans to take them again tomorrow.

Ted sneaks up behind Melody and scares her.

47-29-Melody-knocks-TedBad idea.

This is possibly a callback to “Inmates Run the Asylum” (season 3, episode 01).

47-30-Ted-wetMelody asks Ted what he’s doing here. Ted bullshits an explanation about the school being closed for a few days due to a gas leak. Goddess, couldn’t Ted have stuck to one story? For that matter, why didn’t he have his cover story ready before he got here?

Mr. Ernst arrives. Ted gets Melody to keep quiet about him (claiming he wants to surprise Mr. Ernst) and hides.

47-31-Melody-ErnstMr. Ernst asks Melody about Ted, because he just got a disturbing phone call from his parents; they haven’t seen him in several days and don’t know where he is. Melody keeps quiet. Mr. Ernst leaves. Ted surfaces, and Melody’s upset at him.

47-32-Ted-MelodyAfter the commercial break (which comes early in this episode), Melody questions Ted, but Ted is evasive.

47-33-Ted-towelMr. Ernst arrives. Ted covers himself and allows Mr. Ernst to think he’s Danny. When Mr. Ernst points out that “Danny” is all wet, Melody bullshits he’s breaking in his clothes (callback to the series premiere). Mr. Ernst waxes nostalgic about it, seemingly never learning the “breaking in your clothes” thing was bullshit, and Melody offers to let Mr. Ernst throw dirt on “Danny”. Ted, imitating Danny, says “Oh, no” like Danny did in the series premiere. He excuses himself and quickly leaves.

47-34-Ted-fallsThere’s a cute background detail where Ted walks into the ramada and falls over. Melody quickly excuses herself and goes after “Danny”, who briefly takes off the towel (fortunately, not as Mr. Ernst was looking).

Mr. Ernst calls Buddy out.

47-35-Buddy-costume47-36-Buddy-bikeMr. Ernst’s plan is for Buddy to ride around on his bike while wearing this stupid costume.

47-37-Ernst-dirts-DannyMr. Ernst “helps” Danny break in his pants.

47-38-Danny-dirts-ErnstDanny returns the favor.

Anyway, Buddy crashes into an unseen phone pole. Ha.

47-39-old-gangThe old gang meets up at the lake and compares Ted’s cover stories. Ted bullshits some more, claiming he wrecked his parents’ car and ran away out of fear. Danny mentions Ted doesn’t have a driver’s license (first revealed in “Datenite” (season 3, episode 03)). This is news to Melody, even though she was the one that originally said Ted doesn’t drive. Despite this and the holes in Ted’s story (listen for Brad to make an off-camera comment and look for Melody to react to it), he gets them to accept it. Melody tells Ted to call his parents to let them know he’s okay. Danny agrees. Brad tells Ted that he doesn’t have to let them know where he is. Ted agrees but wants to lay low for a couple days. He gets them to not tell Mr. Ernst that he’s here. They wonder how to get Ted past Mr. Ernst. Buddy puts the chicken head back on. Why’s he even wearing the costume at all still?

47-40-Ted-trunkThe girls check to make sure that the main lodge is clear. Danny and Jake wheel Ted into the lodge in a trunk. Even Jake says this is too weird. So it seems the only phones are in the main lodge, even though Mr. Ernst had previously mentioned phone lines running all over the ranch in “Loose Lips”.

47-41-Ted-phoneMelody dials Ted’s home phone number for him (I guess she knows it; does she call to chat between summers?), and he starts to talk to his mom.

Unfortunately, Mr. Ernst comes in, looking for Buddy, so Ted ducks behind the front desk. Mr. Ernst asks about the trunk, and Danny and Jake bullshit.

47-42-Ted-tickles-MelodyTed tickles Melody’s leg, because there’s no way that anything bad could come of it.

Brad says it’s her trunk, and she was going to mail Buddy to Alaska. Mr. Ernst “smell[s] guilt” and questions them. Noticing the phone is off the cradle, Mr. Ernst guesses the teens were making personal phone calls on the lodge phone. Well, how the fuck else are they supposed to make phone calls? We never see any phones in the bunk houses.

47-43-Ted-sneaks-outAnyway, Melody accepts full blame, distracting Mr. Ernst long enough for Ted to sneak upstairs (Mr. Ernst somehow doesn’t see or hear this). Melody brings up her love of Snow White and names the Seven “Dwarves”, which is possibly a callback to her time as the Answer Person in “Bar None Babysitter” (season 2, episode 11). She also brings up an unseen pay phone. She also claims she’s never won, and she’s always been the runner up.

Mr. Ernst apologizes and tries to get Melody to calm down. He takes her upstairs to get her aspirin and water, and Ted hops back down behind the front desk. He gets back in the trunk. Why not just go out the front door? It’s not like Mr. Ernst will see him. Anyway, Brad says “Let’s get outta here.”

47-44-meetingIn the boys’ bunk house, Danny asks Ted what he’s going to do, and Ted suggests staying here. Brad asks about school. Melody comes in and reveals she called his parents to let them know he’s okay, and she exposes his car cover story for the bullshit that it is. His parents thought she was a kidnapper calling about a ransom. Melody didn’t reveal Ted’s location but learned the real reason that he’s here. She gives Ted a choice, and Ted reveals he failed his summer school English Lit course; he has to take it over “next fall” (shouldn’t it be “this fall”?) – if he goes back. He rented a video of “Romeo and Juliet” instead of reading the play. Ted again brings up the idea of staying here. Brad again questions Ted about working at the Bar None as a career (as she had during their date in “Datenite”). Ted looks to Danny for support, but Danny suggests school. Buddy spots his dad coming, so Ted hides behind the door, which results in a bit of slapstick.

47-45-meeting-2Mr. Ernst knows Ted is here, because he just got off the phone with the FBI, who thought he’d been kidnapped. Ted reveals himself and, feeling unwelcome, decides to go home. The others want to go after him, but Mr. Ernst tells them to let him go.

47-46-Ted-walksLater, Ted is walking along the dusty road, and Mr. Ernst shows up in the yellow Jeep, which we last saw in “Secret Admirer” (season 4, episode 06). I guess the Bar None has four Jeeps (red, white, yellow, and green), which seems excessive.

47-47-Ted-ErnstMr. Ernst and Ted talk about Ted’s present and future and about change for a while, and I get the feeling that it applies to David Lascher as much as it does to Ted McGriff. Finally, Ted looks down at the actual watch that he’s actually wearing this time and says he missed his bus. He’ll be staying at the Bar None for one night. I guess this’ll give him enough time to get caught up on the unusual amount of things that have occurred since he left.

We then get to see Mr. Ernst drive Ted back toward the Bar None. I guess the series hasn’t figured out what to do with its extended running time yet.

Also, Mr. Ernst is a bad driver, although there really doesn’t seem to be a joke.

47-48-gangThe pre-credits scene at the end, on the next day, has the gang seeing Ted off. Danny gives Ted a copy of “Romeo and Juliet”, which he’ll read on the plane.

47-49-McGrawThe truck driver, who Ted calls “Mr. McGraw”, is played by Sarge McGraw. This might as well be the same as his character, Homer, that he played in “New Kid on the Block” (season 3, episode 04). Interesting that the same guy brings Jake and takes Ted away.

47-50-Ernst-Ted-BuddyTed delays his departure to witness Mr. Ernst’s latest plan to record a stupid home video with Buddy. This involves Buddy falling in the water trough, which Buddy doesn’t want to do.

47-51-Ted-camera-1So “the master” does it instead.

47-52-Ted-camera-247-53-Ted-camera-347-54-Ted-camera-447-55-Ted-camera-547-56-gangEveryone congratulates Ted.

47-57-byeMr. Ernst and Ted thank each other, and Ted rides off to waves and cheers.

It’s too bad that we don’t get another Brad/Ted kiss, but Brad does get the final line of the episode as it fades to the closing credits: “Safe trip! Bye, Ted!”

47-58-Ted-wavesSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was nice. A one-word description would be “nostalgic”. There are references to past episodes (both with Ted and without Ted).

But what, exactly, was the point of this episode? It’s not a guest appearance as I’ve seen claimed, because they already put Lascher back in the opening credits way back in the season 3 finale (seventeen weeks earlier). I don’t think they’d do that if they (or Lascher) merely wanted to “try it out” first.

So this is the first of two returns of Ted (the second being permanent). Why? Ted already flunked summer school (although, before watching this episode again, I could have sworn he had simply skipped out on summer school and was convinced to go back and finish it). Why not just have him stay? Did Lascher have a scheduling conflict? Ted’s next return aired six weeks later. I wonder what the behind-the-scenes explanation was. Regardless, Graham Yost got to write two returns for Ted.

Countdown to the Third Coming of Ted: 3

Season 4, Episode 07: Lost in the Desert

Writer: Judy Spencer
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: October 19, 1990

46-01-gangIn the cold open, Jake and Danny are performing Three Stooges routines, and Melody loves it. Brad doesn’t care for the Stooges. Kyle doesn’t seem to have an opinion. They get into a debate over it. Melody’s brothers (plural) are brought up. It’s nice that Judy Spencer remembered she has two of them.

46-02-Brad-BuddyBuddy comes by, and Brad asks for his opinion on the Three Stooges.

46-03-Lucy-knocks-BuddyLucy opens the door, knocking Buddy over. Haha, a Stooge-like gag, get it? Danny and Jake proceed to have fun with this.

46-04-girlsAfter the credits, Melody has two guests sign in, and she and Brad continue to debate the Three Stooges. Brad claims she’ll laugh harder than anyone at any joke, but this really doesn’t sound like something that she’d do. I imagine her reactions would be a soft chuckle, stone-faced silence, or…

46-05-Lucy-girlsYeah, that. Brad asks Lucy for her opinion on the Three Stooges. Lucy is confused. Melody tells Lucy to ignore Brad.

46-06-Brad-kidsRealizing they’re over two minutes into the episode (including the theme song), Brad decides to get the main plot going. She’s been looking forward to taking seven Young Buckaroos on an overnight in the desert. This will be her first time.

The kids are played by Jason Allen, Katie Hansen, Treye Konrath, Katie Parker, Beah M. Williams, Pam Wolfe, and K.C. Yasmer. Jason Allen had a fairly sporadic acting career that lasted from 1987 to 2001 and totaled 11 credits. He also apparently is (or was) a Broadway actor. As for Katie Hansen, “Hey Dude” was her first of two acting gigs, and this is her first of two appearances. She’ll later appear in “Presumed Stupid” (the same episode that a few other of these kids will appear in, so keep that in mind). Her second acting gig came years later, playing a ballroom dancer in a short called “The Receipt” in 2005. As for Treye Konrath, Katie Parker, and Beah M. Williams, “Hey Dude” was their sole acting gig; Konrath and Williams will later appear in “Presumed Stupid”. As for Pam Wolfe, “Hey Dude” was her sole acting gig, but she later wrote and performed a song called “You Make It Hard To Say No” in a TV movie called “O. Henry’s Christmas” in 1996. As for K.C. Yasmer, “Hey Dude” was his first of two acting gigs (the second being the role of Luke in a 1992 episode of “The Young Riders” titled “The Road Not Taken”), and this is his first of two appearances (the second being “Presumed Stupid”).

46-07-Lucy-BradLucy fulfills her sole purpose in this episode by insisting Kyle go with her in order to control the kids. She’s speaking from personal experience. The kids “act up” while Lucy and Brad’s backs are turned, but it’s just general kiddy nonsense.

46-08-Jake-bagsJake takes the (uncredited) guests’ bags to their room, first asking Melody if she’s seen Buddy (she hasn’t). Jake is concerned about him.

46-09-Buddy-downCue Buddy falling down the stairs, protected by his padding. Buddy’s subplot in this episode is he’s bumping into stuff, because he hasn’t been sleeping, because he’s given up sleep, because it’s a waste of his time. Lucy tells them that the problem will resolve itself once Buddy falls asleep. Brad argues with Lucy about Kyle again, but Lucy gets Brad to think of Kyle as her “assistant”, which makes Brad happy.

46-10-Brad-Kyle-kidsOutside, Brad and Kyle are having trouble controlling the kids. Brad gets the kids to shut up and makes her authority known to Kyle, who doesn’t have a problem with it (to Brad’s surprise), because she has seniority and experience (the latter of which Brad admits she doesn’t have). Brad says she’s fully qualified, knowing first aid and CPR, which are possibly references to “The Competition” (season 1, episode 05) and “Fear” (season 4, episode 05), respectively. She also says she “read a book on fifty fun ways to have fun on a camping trip with kids”. As opposed to the fifty boring ways to have fun. Brad has the kids line up by size, which Kyle protests. Brad says “without order, we’d have chaos”. After that Sheldonesque statement and more arguing, they have the kids mount the horses alphabetically.

46-11-riding46-12-Kyle-campfireThat night, Kyle tells the kids about the first time that he went to see his dad at the rodeo. He was riding High Voltage, “the meanest bull in the whole state”. Brad chases after a girl named Jennifer, who keeps running, because Brad’s making her brush her teeth. To the kids’ annoyance, Brad has them form two lines in size order. Kyle comes to their rescue pisses Brad off by saying the kids can’t brush their teeth, because the toothpaste has no fluoride. Brad says her toothpaste does, plus it kills germs, freshens breath, “and has neat, little sparkle things in it”. Should we just call Brad the Sheldonian Candidate at this point?

Kyle and Brad get into an argument over whether the kids can have more s’mores or not. Brad cares about the kids’ teeth and doesn’t want to see them “gumming cheeseburgers for the rest of their lives”.

46-13-Brad-appleBrad offers a kid “a nice, juicy apple”, but he makes her drop it by claiming there’s a worm in it. The kids laugh, and even Kyle smiles at it.

46-14-Brad-JenniferJennifer has to go “to the bathroom”, so Brad takes her behind a cactus. While she’s gone, Kyle unleashes anarchy. The kids complain to Kyle about Brad.

46-15-Brad-Jennifer-2Brad and Jennifer return from the shortest bathroom break ever (I guess Jennifer has turbo turds), and Brad overhears what they’re saying.

46-16-bunksBack at the ranch, in the boys’ bunk house, Buddy’s obnoxious, loud alarm clocks (which he probably got from Vic Vleck) go off, waking everyone up. This is the first time that we’ve seen the inside of the boys’ bunk house since Buddy moved in (to say nothing of Kyle arriving). A new set of beds has been added. We also learn the sleeping arrangements. Danny has moved down to Ted’s old bed, Jake uses Danny’s old bed, and Buddy uses the top new bed, which means Kyle uses the bottom new bed.

Jake knocks an alarm clock off the bunk with a tennis racket (unfortunately, no screencap will do it justice), shutting it off.

46-17-BuddyOh, look, Buddy and Melody have similar musical tastes.

Buddy believes fifteen minutes of sleep is enough. Jake and Danny narrow the problem down to a movie that Buddy went to see on Tuesday night: “A Nightmare on Elm Street, Part Thirty-Something: Freddy Takes Over an Ad Agency”. No new entry in the franchise came out anywhere close to this time, so Buddy’s just being a smartass. Anyway, that’s Buddy’s problem: he’s scared of Freddy. They get into a ludicrous debate over dream world versus waking world and the possibility that Jake and Danny might be “evil pod people” like in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

46-18-Melody-awakeMelody was woken up as well, and Danny invites her in to participate in the stupid-ass subplot.

46-19-Brad-funBack at the campsite, Brad leads everyone in a rousing rendition of “Bingo”, which the kids aren’t impressed with. The kids want to spit, but Brad puts it off ’til later. One of the kids wants to burp “The Star-Spangled Banner”, but Brad rejects that as well. Brad asks for suggestions for a game. Someone (Jennifer, I think, although Brad touches another girl in response) suggests hide-and-seek. Brad likes it, but Kyle is concerned. Determined to prove she’s the fun one, Brad goes for it. She declares Kyle and herself to be it. Jennifer suggests playing it “like mommy and daddy play it with us”. Brad agrees.

46-20-Brad-Kyle-tiedThis involves Brad and Kyle being tied up. The two of them continue to argue, but Brad won’t listen to the “Three Stooges fanatic”. Um, Kyle didn’t seem nearly as much into the Three Stooges as Jake and Danny did. Anyway, the only point of the Stooges stuff at the beginning of the episode was to start painting Brad as “serious”, but it’s a stretch to go from “can’t stand slapstick comedy” to “stick up her ass”. Besides, even without the Stooges stuff, we know Brad well enough to know she’s more serious and…internalized than the others.

Anyway, Brad idiotically follows instructions to count backwards from 100. Some added sound effects let us know the kids got on the horses and took off, abandoning them.

46-21-Brad-Kyle-tied-2After the commercial break, slapstick and arguing ensue.

46-22-Brad-Kyle-tied-3I swear Brad exclaims “God!”, which is a bit surprising for a TV series that had a “swear jar” for the cast.

In response to Brad’s plan to get them onto the sole remaining horse, Kyle starts to tell her a rodeo story about two guys, Lefty and Squint, but Brad shuts him up. Brad is familiar with Harry Houdini’s escape acts. Goddess, this episode is padded.

Anyway, dumbass Kyle finally remembers he has a pocket knife in his back pocket. Brad’s pissed at him but has no choice but to palm his ass. She then “accidentally” stabs him. Kyle starts dancing and singing “Bingo”, and I really wish Brad would slash his throat.

46-23-Melody-storyBack at the ranch, Melody is telling the others a scary story.

46-24-calendarThe Calendar of Hell is still on the wall, still trying to convince us that it’s August of Whenever.

Anyway, no one’s impressed with Melody’s story, so Danny tells one. Jake mentions another story without really telling it. Melody offers them pretzels, but they decline.

Melody notices Buddy seems to be getting tired, but he persists. Melody asks them to name their favorite horror movie. Danny’s is “The Thing”. Melody’s is “Aliens”. Jake and Danny agree. Danny mentions H. R. Giger, even though he only received credit for the creation of the creature from the first film and didn’t actually create anything new for “Aliens”. Buddy suggests “Gremlins”, but Jake and Danny say it’s too cute. There’s some more discussion about Buddy’s stupid “pod people” theory, and Buddy seems to get to Melody before going to bed with his alarm clock.

46-25-Kyle-BradBack in the desert, Kyle and Brad finally get themselves untied. Brad worries about what she’ll tell the kids’ parents, and she imagines the kids were eaten by coyotes, buzzards circling above their bodies. Kyle isn’t concerned. Brad mentions the abandoned mine shaft, which surprised me. Anyway, I guess Mr. Ernst still hasn’t gotten around to having it covered over.

46-26-Brad-horseBrad’s compass is gone, but she knows home is north, and she was taught in science class to follow the North Star (the current northern pole star is Polaris). Brad then says something that I can’t understand. Kyle brings up his “hundred nights out on the range” as proof of his expertise. Brad doesn’t wants an argument and has Kyle lead her and the horse.

46-27-Jake-chipsBack at the ranch, Jake shoves a bag of chips between his legs, claims they’re out, and has Danny retrieve a bag from under the porch. While Danny’s gone, Jake lets Melody know his suspicions that Danny’s a pod person. Danny comes back in, saying there are no chips under the porch and accusing Jake of being a pod person. Melody believes Danny. For fuck’s sake…

Danny claims Jake waltzed in here, claiming to be Mr. Ernst’s nephew, which isn’t how it happened. Jake wakes Buddy and wants confirmation that he’s Buddy’s cousin. Buddy’s ambivalent about it. Jake accuses Melody of being a pod person, claiming she’s “the only girl in America” that likes the Three Stooges. Buddy says they’re “boring pod people”, and the movie “wasn’t even that scary”. Melody admits they were acting silly. Danny says it’s just a movie. Jake says it was a book first. He gets paranoid, and the whole argument starts up again. For fuck’s sake…

Jake looks out the door and sees the kids returning (but we don’t) without Brad and Kyle. Jake goes out to ask them about it.

46-28-Buddy-asleepBuddy’s asleep. So ends that thrilling subplot.

Danny and Melody banter for a bit, and then they go outside.

46-29-Brad-Kyle-lostBrad and Kyle are lost, or, to hear him tell it, he “took the scenic route”. More arguing ensues – intense enough for Brad to dismount. Kyle claims Brad “set up a salad bar” (which we never saw). Brad claims the kids liked her croutons. Brad finally admits “maybe [she] was a little strict”. Kyle doesn’t admit anything, so Brad hits him, and he admits he “could’ve been a little more helpful”. They resume arguing.

46-30-help-arrivesDanny, Melody, and Jake arrive in…a completely different Jeep than the previous episode. Brad asks about the kids. Jake puts her mind at ease.

46-31-Brad-hits-KyleOh, and Brad randomly hits Kyle, and he’s all:

46-32-Kyle-WTFKyle feels vindicated when they learn the kids ended up goofing off and going back to the ranch as he’d predicted. Brad feels vindicated when they learn one girl ate a bunch of s’mores and is now “puking her guts out in the infirmary”. Um, I assume this is at the local hospital, not some unseen infirmary at the ranch. They get ready to leave. Brad asks what they’re doing up this early. Melody says it’s a long story.

46-33-scaredDanny, Melody, and Jake suspect Brad and Kyle of being pod people. For fuck’s sake…

46-34-gangThe pre-credits scene at the end, on the next day, has Kyle and Brad arguing some more about last night.

The gang comes by with a plan.

46-35-coupleKyle claims he’s innocent.

46-36-Jake-ministerBrad wants nothing to do with it. Melody says Brad is a “beautiful bride”. Wait a while, Mel, and you can marry her yourself. She tells Brad to toss her the bouquet.

Melody dicks around with Brad’s headdress. Brad assures Kyle of his impending death and tells Jake that she’d “rather be nibbled to death by ducks” than marry Kyle.

46-37-Brad-horseshoeBrad vows to jam a horseshoe up Kyle’s nose. Melody has Jake hurry the fuck up, because the episode’s almost over. Jake marries them and gives Kyle permission to kiss Brad. Jake is surprised when Kyle admits he’s tried to kiss Brad (although I don’t recall any specific attempt). Brad hands the bouquet and horseshoe to Melody.

46-38-Brad-bites-KyleBrad bites Kyle.

46-39-Buddy-rices-KyleBuddy throws a bag of rice at Kyle.

I’m loving the random acts of violence against Kyle in this episode. More, please.

46-40-Melody-riceBrad leaves. Melody has a little too much fun with the rice. Kyle goes after Brad, demanding a kiss. Buddy goes after them with rice.

46-41-Melody-bouquetMelody catches the bouquet.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was uneven. It seemed to cast Brad as being in the wrong (well, more so than Kyle), even though she had perfectly valid reasons for what she was doing. It also gave her a case of the stupids, allowing her to get tied up in order to prove she’s fun. Brad should be above that kind of stuff. She’s always seemed more mature, but she let loose to the extreme in this episode just to show up Kyle and be “liked” by the kids.

Also, the subplot with Buddy and the “pod people” freak-out was dumb. Oh, well. A third episode to watch on Halloween, I guess.

Yeah, this episode was a bit of a dud, but there’s reason to rejoice. Lo, the Aloysius approaches.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 0

Season 4, Episode 06: Secret Admirer

Before I start the review, I need to apologize for its lateness. I’d posted an explanation earlier today in the comments of the “Fear” review, but, basically, it’s partly my fault and partly sickness and other real-life suckage getting in the way. Anyway, I’m sorry for the delay.

Writer: Patrick Maguire
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: October 12, 1990

We’re back up to the expanded running time with this episode. Huh.

45-01-Ernst-mirrorsIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst is checking to see if he’s going bald(er).

45-02-Buddy-JakeBuddy and Jake bring by a bunch of old crap from Mr. Ernst’s “glory days” for him.

After some banter regarding whether Mr. Ernst is losing his hair or not, Mr. Ernst mentions he won that big-ass trophy by being “the fastest man with the calculator at Milwee High, four years running”. I can’t find a Milwee High School. There’s a Milwee Middle School in Longwood, Florida, part of the Seminole County School District. Couldn’t the writer have picked an actual high school in New York or New Jersey?

Jake makes fun of a “circus freak” in a photo (which we barely see), which turns out to be Mr. Ernst, who stops short of mentioning his graduation year to avoid indicating his age (David Brisbin was 38 at the time that this episode was taped). Mr. Ernst mopes about getting old. Jake tries to comfort him. Buddy says “Hey dad, when I get to be your age, I wanna look just like you.” This is Josh Tygiel at the reunion in 2014:

0607-nick-launch-2

Wish granted. Guess what else. Seriously, guess. Here’s a clue:

24-01-Buddy-spyHe now works for a private investigation firm.

Jake makes fun of them, calling them “Kojak and son”. Mr. Ernst puts the trophy over Jake’s head, Buddy bangs the trophy with a smaller trophy, and father and son shake hands. Cute.

45-03-Brad-waitsAfter the credits, Brad wonders where the fuck her morning riding group is.

45-04-Brad-DannyShe asks Danny about it. It turns out that Kyle took them out about an hour ago.

45-05-Brad-MelodyThis pisses Brad off, so she vents to Melody, who is eager to see her chew out “Botch Cassidy”.

45-06-Brad-confrontsKyle explains he was passing by, and the two girls asked him to take them out. He claims he put a note on her door.

45-07-Kyle-note“Oops.”

Also, not that I’m criticizing Geoffrey Coy’s acting talent, but, within the same shot, he indicates putting his note in one pocket and taking it out of another.

Kyle spouts his usual chauvinistic bullshit. Among the gems is calling Brad “a great rider – for a girl”. Brad takes off his cowboy hat and whacks him with it. Melody warns them of Mr. Ernst’s approach.

45-08-Ernst-runningDidn’t they already do this subplot?

Brad whacks Kyle again, and they insult each other. Kyle offers Brad a backhanded apology, comparing her to hamburger (Kelly Brown’s reaction is perfect) and himself to filet mignon. Fuck you.

45-09-Brad-pushes-KyleKyle talks up his “rope tricks”, so Brad half-assedly ties him up and pushes him over. The girls leave (Melody bending over for some reason before leaving), and Kyle goes over to the riding group to show off a rope trick.

45-10-Ernst-tiredMr. Ernst is tired of “jogging like a fool” (for less than a hundred yards). He makes an outdated Bo Jackson joke. Buddy brings up Mr. Ernst’s upcoming birthday this weekend. Mr. Ernst is upset at Buddy for mentioning “the ‘b’ word” and swears him to secrecy.

45-11-girls-arriveThe girls come by, Brad complaining about Kyle. I just want to mention I really love Brad’s boots.

Mr. Ernst tries to change the subject to the weather, but Melody brings up his birthday, which pisses him off, so he storms off, leaving the girls confused. Buddy explains his dad is going through a mid-life crisis. Melody groans and says her dad went through one a few years ago (he got a punk haircut and started slam dancing, which he gave up when he dislocated his shoulder). I wonder if this was before or after the divorce.

Brad decides maybe they should throw Mr. Ernst a birthday party. When Melody misunderstands, Brad corrects her, and it sounds like Brad is calling her “Poody”. At least, that’s my guess. Anyway, Buddy objects per his dad’s orders. The girls ignore him. Melody wants to throw “a little kid’s party”, and Brad agrees.

45-12-girlsLater, at the lunch area, there’s another new chef. How many chefs does the Bar None have (or go through)? Anyway, unlike the previous one, who did shit and got credited, this one goes uncredited.

The girls go over the preparation details. Melody decides to lure Mr. Ernst to the party with a note from “a secret admirer” (Brad’s suggestion), which will cause no problems whatsoever. The party will be held at the dining area on Saturday night at 8:00 PM sharp.

Due to the heat, Melody suggests taking a swim after lunch. Brad declines – not out of a fear of swimming but due to being sick of the sun. Brad then complains about Kyle again. This gives Melody (the “nice” one) the idea to write Kyle “a really nasty note”. Brad loves it, because it’s “really nasty, childish, and cruel”.

45-13-Buddy-writesBuddy informs the girls that it’s time to start serving the guests, so Melody has Buddy write the note as they dictate – without giving him any explanation of what this is for. The note will take the form of a rejection letter from a local computer-rated dating service. Did they have such things back then?

45-14-Brad-insults45-15-Melody-insultsAnyway, the girls obviously don’t give a shit about their jobs, because they spout insults in front of the guests, who naturally mistake them as being directed toward them, but these extras aren’t paid to deliver lines, so one of them merely gasps in shock.

45-16-Jake-mailJake is apparently the Bar None’s mail delivery person…for some reason (what happened to picking up your mail at the front desk?), so Brad has him deliver the notes to Kyle and Mr. Ernst – just as soon as he stops checking out Melody’s ass.

45-17-lettersThe notes are in the same type of envelope, which will cause no problems whatsoever.

As Jake leaves, the gasping guest from earlier puts her hand over her heart in shock, I guess as a continued reaction to being insulted.

45-18-Ernst-push-upsWhen Jake arrives at the office, Mr. Ernst does that sitcom trope where he greatly inflates the number of times that he’s done a particular exercise in order to impress the person that walks by. Jake, who surely didn’t overhear this deception, compliments his uncle.

45-19-Ernst-tossesMr. Ernst tosses three bills aside but takes an interest in the note.

45-20-Ernst-excitedHowever, Jake delays that by giving his uncle a package, which gets Mr. Ernst so excited (and he just can’t hide it). Jake is very curious, but Mr. Ernst promises him to secrecy and non-laughing first (and threatens Jake with shit duty for the next three years for laughing).

45-21-Ernst-toupéeIt’s a stupid toupée.

Jake accidentally insults his uncle and quickly excuses himself to go and do chores.

45-22-Ernst-mirror45-23-Kyle-intrudesLater, the girls are going over a party checklist, and Kyle intrudes. Brad calls him “Wyatt Burp”. After a bit more banter between them, Melody invites Kyle to the party, and he accepts – until he learns the date and time. He declines in favor of a date, which upsets Brad.

45-24-wrong-noteSee, Jake’s a dumbass and delivered the wrong notes to the wrong people. Melody realizes with horror that Mr. Ernst received the nasty note.

45-25-confronting-JakeAfter the commercial break, Melody spots Jake and…Danny, I guess, carrying a canoe, so the girls confront him about his fuck-up. We learn from Brad that Jake has a Donald Duck night light. Also, Melody perfumed the notes – or at least the one addressed to Kyle. When did she manage this? Jake doesn’t think Mr. Ernst read the note, because he’s taking a nap (which is common for him these days).

The girls explain what’s going on to Kyle. He’s upset. Melody apologizes for both of them, but he won’t have it and storms off. Brad’s like “Fuck that idiot” and brainstorms with Melody about what to do about Mr. Ernst. Melody eventually decides “One of us’ll march into his office and confess while I stay here.” Okay, legit hilarious line. Brad and Melody argue over it and eventually decide fuck the truth. Brad decides they’re gonna sneak into his office while napping and switch the notes.

45-26-Ernst-sleepsWhat follows are some not-so-whacky don’t-wake-him-up hijinks, including Brad blowing Mr. Ernst.

45-27-Brad-blows-ErnstIN THE EAR.

45-28-Melody-grinsIt doesn’t work. Melody makes a goofy grin like she’d just been caught giving a blowjob by her father.

45-29-Brad-wavesAfter some farting around, the girls bullshit a “cleaning your office while you’re asleep” explanation, which sounds like something that Sheldon Cooper would do. After some banter, Brad talks Mr. Ernst into going outside to enjoy the “beautiful day” and leaving them to “clean” his office. Before he leaves, he puts a bunch of papers (including the note) in his desk drawer. Unfortunately, the drawer automatically locks. Brad puts her hand through a crack and gets the note, but…

45-30-Brad-stuckMr. Ernst returns, and Brad bullshits an explanation for why she’s in his chair.

45-31-Melody-pointsMelody quickly points out “Halley’s Comet”, which gets Mr. Ernst excited, despite the fact that he seemingly follows astronomy (he knows the comet’s arrival frequency) and thus should know Halley’s Comet last appeared only a few years earlier and won’t appear again for many decades. Anyway, he runs out the door, and Melody pretends to follow but then turns back and manages to help Brad free her hand.

45-32-Melody-toupée45-33-Brad-reactsThe girls are amused offended by Mr. Ernst’s stupid toupée.

45-34-Melody-playsMelody dicks around for a bit, giving the toupée a voice and calling it Timmy, because, y’know, it’s not like time is of the essence or anything. Did I mention this episode is longer than usual?

Melody switches the notes and closes the drawer just as Mr. Ernst comes back in, complaining about the lack of comet. Melody bullshits her way out of it. and she and Brad quickly leave.

45-35-Melody-noteBack at the girls’ bunk house, Melody wants to destroy the note, but Brad wants to save it as insurance against Kyle. Melody doesn’t let “Bradley” take a nap, and they go off to plan the party, Melody leaving the note near the unlocked screen door.

45-36-Ernst-trophyLater, Mr. Ernst is polishing his stupid-ass trophy.

45-37-Kyle-toupéeKyle comes in. Mr. Ernst quickly hides his toupée out of embarrassment, but Kyle finds the “dead squirrel”. The audio seems to give out for a moment when Kyle says “Ernst” after Mr. Ernst takes the trophy away.

Anyway, Kyle and Mr. Ernst discuss Mr. Ernst’s mid-life crisis. Kyle tells Mr. Ernst a story about his Uncle Wilbur, an old rodeo rider that everybody loved. At age 92, he managed to ride five miles per day. The day before his 93rd birthday, he went out riding and never came back. He was going through “one of those mid-life things”, was sick of being in the rodeo, and decided to become a contortionist in the circus. I can’t tell if Kyle is being truthful or not. Regardless, he admits there’s no point to this story and no reason that he told it. Did I mention this episode is longer than usual?

45-38-Kyle-notesAnyway, it seems the whole point of this was for Kyle to distract Mr. Ernst and switch the notes. Yeah, the dumbass went into the girls’ bunk house, found the nasty note, didn’t read it, and brought it back to Mr. Ernst.

Mr. Ernst catches Kyle committing the “federal offense” of tampering with his mail. Kyle apologizes and quickly leaves. Mr. Ernst seemingly goes to sleep.

45-39-gang-hidingThat evening, most of the gang is hiding under the table, which would be ineffective if Mr. Ernst came at them from any angle whatsoever.

Kyle comes by, wondering where they are, because he’s a dumbass. Brad calls the “bonehead” over to them.

45-40-foiledKyle proudly reveals the master caper that he pulled off, proving his dumbassery to the girls. Brad hits him with the note.

Okay, I was initially confused about the timeline of this episode, but it seems most of it occurs on a single day, and then the Ernst/Kyle scene and party scene occur on Saturday night. Kyle just wears pink a lot.

45-41-surpriseMr. Ernst ends up surprising them.

45-42-gangIt turns out that he’d read both notes. Brad tries to explain. Mr. Ernst had figured out that the “cruel, humiliating, terrible, twisted letter” was meant for Kyle. He tries to give it to him, but Brad quickly snatches it away (to save it for another day, I guess, or maybe just to avoid a fight at present).

45-43-party45-44-Ernst-race-carDanny and Jake got Mr. Ernst a “race car”, which he’s always wanted.

45-45-Ernst-hula-hoopKyle got Mr. Ernst a hula hoop.

45-46-Ernst-squirt-gunsBuddy got his dad squirt guns (a skateboard was his alternate choice).

45-47-gangMr. Ernst calls this the best birthday party that he’s ever had. He takes off the toupée and declares himself to be “the luckiest man in the world”.

45-48-Ernst-shootsHe then opens fire on his staff.

45-49-Ernst-shoots-2The music from the end of this scene leaks into the pre-credits scene, which makes me wonder if there really was a commercial break here.

45-50-gang-checksThe pre-credits scene at the end has the teens investigating a possibly injured animal under the Jeep.

45-51-Ernst-checksMr. Ernst goes under to check on it.

45-52-Ernst-toupéeIt’s his stupid toupée.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was okay. It’s a typical love letter / secret admirer subplot that has enough twists to not trod the same path as other sitcoms. It’s especially nice that Mr. Ernst had things figured out. Mr. Ernst’s subplot is a bit repetitive, though (the exercising part, anyway).

But, really, how stupid is Kyle?

Also, despite no guest stars in this episode (that hasn’t happened in a while), it still seemed a bit crowded. Danny was barely in it. Gotta make room for Kyle, I guess. Yeah, nice trade-off, guys.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 1

Season 4, Episode 05: Fear

Writer: Graham Yost
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: October 5, 1990

We’re back down to the normal running time with this episode. Huh.

44-01-Ernst-GriggsIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst is meeting with an insurance guy, Mr. Griggs. Mr. Griggs chastises Mr. Ernst for waiting until the last minute to renew his insurance premium (which is up at 5:00 PM today).

Mr. Griggs is played by Johnny Greenwood. “Hey Dude” was his final of three acting gigs in a very sporadic career that started with a film role in 1973, which was followed by a role in an episode of a French(!) TV series in 1981. He also appeared as himself in an episode of “Della” as far back as 1970. This seems very odd, which makes me question IMDb’s info.

Mr. Ernst’s lame-ass excuse is he thought all of the notices that they’d sent out were from Ed McMahon (of the American Family Publishers sweepstakes). Dumbass. How the fuck do you make a mistake like that? Repeatedly?

Mr. Ernst is upset at the huge increase in the Bar None’s premiums. Mr. Griggs is all matter-of-fact about it.

44-02-Jake-windowJake interrupts to ask Mr. Ernst if he could use the lodge for Mondo Courage, his new workshop on how to conquer your fears. Mr. Ernst gives him permission.

44-03-Ernst-obliviousMr. Ernst and Mr. Griggs discuss the increase, which comes down to the threat of litigation. Mr. Ernst also mentions nothing bad has happened “all year”, which is more evidence that this is a later summer than the beginning of the series, since Danny was in an accident on Bar None property in “Pain in the Neck” (season 1, episode 13).

44-04-Griggs-noticesMr. Griggs points out a woman swinging by Mr. Ernst’s window (hilariously, after he tells Mr. Ernst that “all risk must be minimized”). This is Mrs. Parker. Mr. Ernst does that sitcom trope where he initially doesn’t think anything strange about the situation, only to suddenly realize it after trying to carry on a conversation. Mrs. Parker screams for help, and I think we’re meant to assume she pulls Mr. Ernst out his window, but maybe he just falls out. Anyway, haha, because it happened in front of the insurance guy, get it? Mr. Ernst screams for Jake, and Mr. Griggs rushes outside.

44-05-ParkersAfter the credits, Mr. Ernst chews Jake out for not being specific in his intentions and then using the widest possible interpretation.

Mrs. Parker is played by Barbara Lamm. This is her second of two appearances. She had previously appeared in “They’re Back” (season 4, episode 01) as an unnamed guest (the one that complained to Melody after Lonnie made her uncomfortable), which might as well be the same character.

Mr. Parker is played by Charles DiPinto. This is his second of two appearances. He had previously appeared in “The Bad Seed” (season 3, episode 12) as Mr. Hardy, the guest that tried to get Jake to splash him.

44-06-KyleOh, look who shows up after a three-episode absence. Work that background, Kyle.

Anyway, Mr. Ernst says he almost lost his insurance coverage over this (Jake’s stunt, not Kyle’s presence) and puts an end to Mondo Courage. Jake explains they already paid, which gets Mr. Ernst’s attention. Jake explains Mrs. Parker is afraid of heights, and Mr. Parker is afraid of Mrs. Parker. Mr. Ernst lets Jake continue as long as they aren’t more than one foot off the ground.

44-07-Jake-Griggs-ErnstMr. Griggs comes by, and Mr. Ernst covers for Jake’s stunt. Mr. Ernst sends Jake away and asks Mr. Griggs about lowering the premiums. After some back and forth, Mr. Ernst agrees to do the following by 5:00 PM today: add some more lights, some more sprinklers, and a few more fire extinguishers. However, he’ll also have to close the pool, because he has only one employee with a life-saving certificate, Melody, who’s not at the pool all of the time; if something happens when she’s not there, the lawsuit would be “terrifying”. After some more back and forth, Mr. Ernst agrees to have “all of [his] employees” pass a life-saving proficiency test by 5:00 PM. If that happens, Mr. Griggs could “swing something”: lower the premium and “possibly” keep the pool open. Mr. Griggs will be supervising the training/testing. I call bullshit on this for three reasons. First, it’s not necessary for all of the employees to be certified lifeguards, only the ones that get assigned to pool duty. I’d say four would be enough to have one person at the pool at a time during daylight hours, and not everyone would have to do a pool shift every day. Second, an insurance guy isn’t qualified to administer life-saving tests and issue certifications (unless Mr. Griggs has a background in that, which is never indicated). Third, I’m pretty sure that the insurance guy that’s working on the Bar None’s insurance premiums also administering tests with the end goal being the lowering of those premiums is a conflict of interest. But Mr. Ernst has Mr. Griggs meet him at the pool in fifteen minutes and then calls out for Melody.

44-08-poolAt the pool, Melody wants to get started.

44-09-girlsBrad asks Melody if she has to go in the water. Misinterpreting Brad’s dumb question, Melody says she has a special shampoo that takes the chlorine right out.

44-10-lining-upMelody has everyone line up, so she can assign partners. Kyle asks about doing mouth-to-mouth. Melody confirms it.

44-11-switchingCue gay panic and fighting over who gets to be Brad’s partner. Kyle ends up standing next to her, but what does the line-up order matter? Melody said she’s assigning the partners. Kyle flirts with Brad about doing mouth-to-mouth and saving Brad’s life “in more ways than one”, and I so did not miss this fuckhead.

44-12-Brad-pushes-KyleBrad tells Kyle to get a life and pushes him into the pool. Good. Melody tells everyone to get serious.

44-13-Ernst-gatorAs if on cue, Mr. Ernst shows up with a large, inflatable alligator crocodile, which he intends to use as a flotation device (which isn’t allowed), even though it’s a standard warning to not use pool/beach toys as flotation devices.

Melody pairs Mr. Ernst with Jake. To reiterate, Melody has placed her boss in a situation where he and his nephew will perform mouth-to-mouth on each other, which I’m sure will go over well for her. Keep in mind that the girls’ bunk house contains novels written by an author that wrote graphic incestuous sex scenes.

Kyle wants Danny to trade places with him, Danny refuses, and again what does it matter?

Melody partners Jodie with Steve. Okay, so these are the names of the two extras’ characters.

Jodie seems to be one of the girls that was on the Bar None Brawlers baseball team in “Dueling Ranches” (season 3, episode 07):

33-38-Brawlers-anthem…who is also the girl from “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (season 3, episode 09):

35-22-female-staffer…who is also the girl from “Magnum Ernst” (season 4, episode 03):

42-28-Dibble-insultsOne of the credited Brawlers girls in “Dueling Ranches” was Jodie Hurley, so this is obviously her.

33-23-BrawlersSteve was also one of the Bar None Brawlers, played by Steve Johnson.

Neither actor has been credited since that episode.

Melody partners Buddy with Kyle and Brad with Danny. She gets them pumped up and takes the crocodile away from Mr. Ernst.

Before we move on to the next scene, I just want to call attention to the fact that this is nowhere near all of Mr. Ernst’s employees. Where’s Betty? Dini? Steve’s sister, Lauri? The chef (either of them)? The wranglers? LUCY?!

44-14-Kyle-jumpsMelody judges Kyle’s jump.

44-15-Buddy-throwsBuddy fails to throw a life preserver into the pool.

44-16-Buddy-fallsHe gets it in on the second try – but not in the way that he was supposed to.

Wait, why is Buddy participating? He’s not a staff member. Or is he? Mr. Ernst sometimes makes him do chores. Is he legally required to hire him because of that?

44-17-Brad-DannyMelody gives Brad instructions on how to lip-lock with Danny.

44-18-Jake-ErnstJake burps in Mr. Ernst’s face.

44-19-Jake-coolHe claims the tuna that he ate for lunch upset his stomach, but check out that cool, confident look. I think he just didn’t want his uncle’s lips on his own.

Wow, Jodie’s got it easy. Steve’s in the pool with Kyle and Buddy, so she gets to just lay out and work on her tan.

44-20-Ernst-jumpsMr. Ernst jumps in the pool.

44-21-Ernst-drownsHe pretends to be drowning.

Jodie seems to have given up on the training. She’s just hanging out at the pool at this point.

44-22-Jake-relaxesJake is supposed to rescue his uncle, but that means putting his book and drink down.

Does no one except Mr. Ernst and Melody care about the ranch closing? Yes, I know this situation would be ridiculous in real life, but that’s what they’ve chosen to run with, so this slacking off makes it seem like most of the characters simply don’t care about their jobs.

Anyway, nice touch with the Parkers still arguing in the background.

44-23-Jake-goofsJake is still holding a grudge against Mr. Ernst over the burping incident (wait, what?), but Melody talks him into trying to “save” his drowning uncle, except he really doesn’t take it at all seriously. Jake’s probably not very motivated. Despite wanting to stay last season, if the Bar None closes, he simply gets to go back to sunny L.A. and his nice, empty house, where he can do as he pleases.

Melody gets Mr. Ernst to fake delirium, and he does so by calling out for his “mommy”, claiming “the big boys tied rocks to [his] feet”. I wonder if he’s drawing on actual childhood memories.

Jake argues with Melody over what to do – until finally Melody, in front of the insurance guy that’s supervising this testing and holds the future of the ranch in his hands, shoves Jake into the swimming pool:

44-24-Melody-shovesThat’ll help.

44-25-Ernst-drowns-JakeMr. Ernst, “pumped full of adrenaline and not thinking clearly”, shoves Jake underwater. For some reason, Mr. Ernst has to question Melody over when to let his nephew come back up. In a funny moment, Melody had forgotten Jake’s in the process of drowning and then just calmly tells Mr. Ernst to “let him up; see if he’s learned anything”. Jake demands his lawyer, and Mr. Ernst shoves him back underwater – in front of the insurance guy that holds the future of his ranch in his hands. Melody gives Mr. Ernst some pointers about life-saving, and then Mr. Ernst is the one to rescue Jake, winning Melody’s praise.

44-26-DannyOkay, we had a shirtless David Lascher back in “Bunkmate Battle” (season 2, episode 04), so it’s time for a shirtless Joe Torres.

Danny is going to pretend to be drowning, and Brad is supposed to pretend to rescue him. He’s not very enthusiastic.

44-27-Brad-poleBrad offers him the pole, but “he can’t see it”, because “he’s delirious”. Danny overacts and insults Jake’s breath.

44-28-Brad-scaredMelody gives Brad the life preserver and tells her to dive in and save Danny, but Brad gets scared and runs off.

44-29-gangLater, the gang comes to talk Brad back over to the pool, but she just wants to be alone, so Mr. Ernst has them clear out.

44-30-Ernst-BradHe then immediately asks Brad if she wants to talk, and she reiterates she just wants to be alone. Mr. Ernst realizes she has a fear of the water and compares it to his own fear of heights. Bullshit. See “The Competition” (season 1, episode 05), written by the same fucking writer:

05-11-Danny-toilingBrad did learn how to swim, but she had a bad experience around that time, when she was about six. Her parents were having a party, and her Uncle Winston decided it’d be lots of fun to dangle her off the edge of the diving board and threaten to let go. His grip slipped, and she went into the pool. She had never been in the water over her head before, and she panicked. They fished her out, and she couldn’t stop crying for three days.

While Brad is telling Mr. Ernst about her childhood trauma, the rest of the gang intrudes – twice.

Brad says she understands if Mr. Ernst makes her go into the pool, knowing the importance of the insurance. Mr. Ernst says nobody is going to make her do anything. Brad breathes a sigh of relief.

44-31-Griggs-ErnstMr. Griggs comes by and is all like “Tick-tock, motherfucker.” Mr. Ernst tries to find a way around forcing Brad to go into the pool, but Mr. Griggs is like “Bitch goes in, or pool’s closed. Or just fire her ass. Whatevs.”

44-32-Brad-somber44-33-ParkersAfter the commercial break, the Parkers are still arguing. She wants him to support her in…overcoming her fear, I guess, but he can’t.

44-34-Jake-coalsJake’s solution is for them to walk on a bed of burning coals, claiming it’s done in fear workshops in California all of the time. He admits he’s never done it personally, but he gets the matches from Buddy. Seriously, is Jake actively trying to get the ranch shut down, or is he just really stupid?

44-35-Ernst-upsetMr. Ernst arrives, thinking there’s gonna be a “weenie roast”. Upon learning the true purpose of the coals, he puts a stop to that shit and has Jake and Buddy clean it up.

Mr. Ernst is unsure what to do about Brad; he can’t fire her, but he can’t close the pool either. Again, why is this an issue?! Just don’t assign Brad to pool duty!

Jake decides to enroll Brad in Mondo Courage. Step 1: Desensitization:

44-36-Brad-flicks44-37-Brad-poursJake gets Brad to do this by asking her if she has another job. She doesn’t, but what does it matter? Her parents are rich. Instead, Jake should be appealing to her desire to stay here out of friendship, but Brad was ready to lose her job by chewing out Kyle, so maybe she’s not particularly attached to this place.

44-38-Brad-throws44-39-Brad-baptizes“I baptize you in the name of Aloysius!”

Brad finally tells Jake that she’s not afraid of the fucking water trough.

44-40-spyingThe rest of the gang has been spying on them, getting Jake mad. Jake futilely throws water at the departing “weasels”.

44-41-Brad-upset“Is the episode over yet?”

44-42-Brad-poolWhat the fuck? It seems Mr. Ernst’s warning of the insurance guy seeing Jake’s antics has gone unheeded.

This is part of the process to “slowly reintroduce [Brad] to the water”. Brad threatens to “reintroduce [Jake] to pain” if anybody sees her like this. Okay, that’s pretty funny. Heck, Brad gets some nice lines during this scene.

Why does she still have the damn glass?

44-43-everybodyHa. They really are an intrusive bunch.

44-44-Ernst-tripsMr. Ernst trips over the life preserver and knocks Brad into the pool. Almost everyone jumps in to save her. Mr. Ernst works on getting his boots off before taking the plunge.

44-45-Brad-pissed“Fuck you guys, seriously.”

Everyone cheers Brad for swimming. Mr. Ernst declares she can take the test, and the pool is saved. Brad points out that this is the second time in her life that she nearly drowned. She apologizes for all of the trouble that she caused (which is none, but the episode is going with the victim blaming herself) and, while not explicitly quitting, goes off to pack her stuff. Melody wonders what to do.

Mr. Griggs comes by and asks for an update. He points out the pool and the lake as potential hazards.

44-46-Melody-ideaMelody gets an idea, based on the dubious supposition that Brad is afraid of only pools, not all water.

44-47-Melody-KyleShe gives Geoffrey Coy a chance to earn his paycheck for this episode.

44-48-Kyle-BradLater, having been informed by her friends where to find him, Brad comes by the lake to say goodbye to Kyle. Kyle claims he’s not too good about saying goodbyes and also claims he “just got here”. It hasn’t sunk in yet for Brad that’s she leaving, and she says she’ll probably realize it on the plane ride home, cry, and make a complete fool of herself. Helping Brad with her luggage, Kyle says that’s exactly why he hates saying goodbyes. Brad tries to convince Kyle (and herself) that it’s not really goodbye, and they’ll see each other, but Kyle deflates her hopes.

Brad wants to get going and takes her luggage, but Kyle asks her for a hug.

44-49-Brad-Kyle-hugHe then asks her for a kiss.