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.
In 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.
Suddenly, a car comes speeding toward the Bar None. Everyone gets out of the way.
It’s a bunch of wacky, backwards foreign tourists! These idiots ain’t got nothing on Mypiots. They wish they were from Mypos.
“We need to taste your earwax.”
Yeah, 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.
The 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.
He pulls Mr. Ernst into a dance, confusing the fuck out of him.
Mr. 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.
Zog whacks him with a fish, anyway, and the foreigners dance, even playing around with the banner.
After the credits, Mr. Ernst and Buddy come out of the office, Mr. Ernst toweling off after presumably washing his face…in his office.
He starts talking about where to put the toothpick sculpture. The phone rings. He has Buddy answer it.
We 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.
Mr. Ernst is confused over the seeming lack of the sculpture in the bed.
Danny guesses he hit a bump. Anyway, the sculpture is ruined, and Jake is missing.
Jake 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”.
Mr. 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.”
Anyway, it seems Melody made that up. I’m not sure which of the two scenarios is more frightening.
Uh-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.
Mr. 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!
Brad 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…
Later, 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.
Meanwhile, 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”.
On a serious note, Mr. Ernst has been thinking of letting someone go. He asks for volunteers.
Everyone’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.
The 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.
The 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.
The 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.
“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.
Okay, 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.
“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”.
The 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.
Melody 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?”
Ted asks who – and what – that is, and Danny tells him.
Brad 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!
Ted 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”.
Anyway, 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…
Ha. Brad and Kyle are the only ones to not give a shit.
Brad 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.
Later, 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.
Ted 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.
Ted 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.
Brad 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.
Everyone agrees Brad gets the straw, which confuses her.
I’m not sure if they’ve had their meeting yet, but Mr. Ernst is hella pissed at Ted.
Meanwhile, Makyak’s after Ted, because he asked her if she’d seen Mr. Ernst, and Mr. Ernst summons Jake.
The 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.
The 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.
Brad 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?
The 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:
That 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.
Danny 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.)
Uh-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.
Danny takes what he can get and thanks the deity.
The lottery guy apologizes and leaves.
Ted 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.
The 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.
The 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.
The Bladavians say goodbye to “Mr. Flabbybottom”, thank him for the “earwax”, and leave…
So 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.