Season 5, Episode 06: Jealous Guy

Writer: Graham Yost
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: July 12, 1991

This episode has a 1991 copyright.

58-01-girlsIn the cold open, Brad is recounting her date with a guy named Roger to Melody. They had gone to the movies. When it was over, the parking lot was flooded from the rain, so Roger picked her up and carried her to the car. Melody is amazed. Brad says chivalry “can be really annoying sometimes”, but it was somehow okay when Roger did it. She guesses there’s a difference between chivalry and being “macho and stupid”.

Speaking of which, Kyle and Ted argue over carrying hay.

58-02-gangWe learn Ted once dropped Brad’s watch in the lake and, rather than get it out for her, offered to hold her feet while she got it out. Kyle contrasts folks that were brought up “out here” against Ted. It seems, despite what Ted implied in “Suspicion” (season 1, episode 11), he didn’t grow up out here.

Oh, and there’s a running gag throughout this episode of Kyle mistakenly saying “chilavarous” instead of “chivalrous”. It really makes no sense.

Ted insists on being chivalrous by helping Brad mount her horse, but…

58-03-Ted-Brad58-04-Kyle-BradMelody yells at Ted. Brad thanks Kyle but has to tell him to put her down.

58-05-Kyle-Brad-2Kyle tries to prove he’s “chilavarous”.

Brad, unharmed, complains and corrects Kyle on how to say “chivalrous”.

58-06-Brad-horseAfter the credits, Brad mounts her horse and chews Ted out on his “stupid stunt”, even though it was Kyle that most recently threw her. Ted claims it was a “joke” instead of, y’know, an accident. Kyle offers to get Brad’s watch out of the lake, but she’s tired of him, too. Brad will tell Melody about the rest of her date with Roger later.

58-07-Melody-guysThis gets the guys’ attention, and they ask Melody about it. She does this weird thing where she downplays it but also makes them worried and jealous, so I dunno what her deal is.

Oh, and Ted tries to get Kyle to say “chivalrous” correctly, because that joke is just so funny.

58-08-Ted-shoves-Kyle.jpgKyle goes to clean the water trough, but Ted just blatantly shoves him to the ground and then feigns innocence – and then loudly admits it was intentional to Melody while Kyle is still in the shot. Melody chews Ted out. Ted calls Kyle “Sir Pantsalot”, which is…funny? Melody calls Ted a jerk. Ted sarcastically says Kyle has a crush on him. He claims to not care who Kyle or Brad have a crush on. He’s bothered that he went away from the ranch “for a little while”, then he “come[s] back, and everything’s changed”. He makes it sound recent, which seems to indicate this season takes place during the same summer as seasons 3-4. Melody makes a depreciating joke about what Brad thinks of Ted and Kyle. Ted doesn’t find her funny. Melody tries to assure Ted that Kyle hasn’t taken his place. Really, considering how infrequently that he appears, he truly hasn’t taken Ted’s place. Melody leaves.

58-09-Ernst-TedMr. Ernst arrives. He pitches his latest money-making idea, having a rodeo right here at the Bar None and is glad to know Ted likes it. Mr. Ernst makes a surprisingly self-aware comment regarding his ideas. Ted is glad that Mr. Ernst came to him, but Mr. Ernst really wants to know where Kyle is and run his idea by him. Ted is hurt but sends Mr. Ernst to him.

58-10-Ernst-KyleKyle thinks the rodeo is a great idea but scares Mr. Ernst with the costs.

58-11-Ted-spiesTed sneaks by and spies on them. Kyle suggests scaling the rodeo back. He volunteers to calculate the costs and get the figures to Mr. Ernst after lunch. Mr. Ernst is happy. Kyle says he’s just happy to help out.

58-12-Ted-faceMr. Ernst asks, and Kyle is happy to ride in the rodeo, adding he worked as a rodeo clown, which Ted finds totally appropriate. Interesting detail. Maybe it’s why Buddy briefly wanted to be one. Kyle has to remind Mr. Ernst what a rodeo clown does. Kyle also talks about literal bullshit (bull shit, I guess), which Ted finds so ludricrous that he almost gets caught.

After Mr. Ernst leaves, Kyle resumes cleaning the water trough, and Ted has to crawl around to hide from him.

58-13-Brad-WTFBut then Brad rides by and is all like “What the fuck are you doing, Ted?”

58-14-Kyle-BradKyle gets all butthurt, because he thinks Brad got his name wrong, because Brad constantly thinks about Ted, and Brad has to point Ted out to the dumbass. Ted bullshits about looking for his lost keys.

Kyle tells Brad about Mr. Ernst’s rodeo idea and suggests teaming up on calf roping. Ted’s like “Yeah, me, too!” Brad and Kyle find that amusing. Ted says he’s serious. Brad says she’d team up with someone that “knew how to ride”. Ted is offended. Brad isn’t sure about accepting Kyle’s offer. Why is she even considering it at all? Isn’t she opposed to rodeos? Then again, she did organize her own rodeo, even if it was for old people, which probably amounted to “Let’s ride the horsies, whee!”

58-15-Ted-shoves-KyleTed excuses himself and blatantly shoves Kyle into the water trough. He then feigns innocence and apologizes. Brad calls Ted out on his bullshit. Kyle claims to accept Ted’s explanation but then makes a point about going to change. Brad chews Ted out and lightly slaps him on the back.

58-16-Ted-water“Take that, water! I hate you! Roooaaarrr!!!”

58-17-workAt lunch, Betty is doing random tasks, Danny is working the grill, and Chef Jake is…drumming on the glasses.

58-18-MelodyMelody comes by and offers to be a female vocalist for Jake’s band. Jake agrees. Well, we know Melody can sing.

58-19-Jake-complainsDanny wants Jake to help him with the ribs, but Jake doesn’t like the heat. He suggests the ranch cut down to serving the guests one simple, cold, uncooked meal per day. I can’t tell if he’s serious or not. Danny gives a joking tagline for it.

58-20-Kyle-wetKyle comes by, apparently having decided to skip changing clothes (real men go wet!). There’s some banter, and Kyle explains what happened. Kyle says Ted’s friends will believe Ted over “the new guy” (not to mention “the barely here guy”). Yep, this is definitely the same summer as seasons 3-4.

58-21-Ted-questionedTed comes by, and Danny questions him about the trough incident. Ted doesn’t exactly deny it and goes off about Kyle. Danny says Kyle said it was an accident, which surprises Ted. Ted excuses himself to set tables.

Let’s pause in the story for a bit and contemplate the guy in the background. He keeps walking around, mingling with Betty and Jodie, and he’s obviously meant to be a male staff member. What’s his story? When did he get hired? Where does he sleep? What kind of direction do the extras playing the minor staff members get? Does it amount to “Look busy but don’t interfere?” These are the questions that keep me up at night.

Melody quickly warns Kyle to look out.

58-22-Ted-trips-KyleToo late.

58-23-arguing-158-24-arguing-2Kyle and Ted start arguing.

58-25-Kyle-pushes-Ted58-26-fightAw, man, it looks like they’re gonna have it out for real.

58-27-fight-2But they gotta take a commercial break first.

Side note: Jodie seems to be enjoying the fight.

58-28-Jake-breaks-up-fightAfter the commercial break (which comes very early in this episode), Jake breaks up the fight (which wasn’t even much of a fight). Betty and Jodie have switched places, and Danny is suddenly there (granted, they might have moved around, assuming there are some seconds between acts that we didn’t see). Ted takes off Jake’s chef’s hat and throws it on the ground. Jake actually goes to retrieve it.

58-29-Melody-in-the-middleThis leaves poor Melody as the only person keeping Kyle and Ted from killing each other.

Betty, Jodie, and the random guy eventually get bored with the fight and blend back into the background go back to doing their jobs.

Kyle and Ted argue some more and start fighting again. Melody breaks it up, insisting, much like murder, “fighting is not the answer”. Ted declares the winner gets Brad. Kyle agrees. Even Melody finds this stupid idea “kinda romantic”.

58-30-girlsHowever, one dirty look from Brad changes her mind.

There’s a weird bit where Kyle almost says “chivalrous” correctly but then “corrects” himself to “chilavarous”.

Brad sarcastically says “Any girl’d give her right teeth to have these two fighting over her.” What kind of expression is that?

58-31-Brad-shoves-KyleBrad suddenly gets all badass and declares the winner gets to fight her, although she’s not even waiting for the results of their fight and seems to be taking both of them on right now.

58-32-Brad-attacks-TedShe adds they’re both gonna wanna lose.

58-33-Brad-attacks-Ted-2She also adds whoever’s left standing is not gonna be left standing for long. Seriously, Brad is fucking pissed (like, more than I’ve ever seen her), but she doesn’t go so far as to punch either of them…yet.

To placate Brad, Ted decides to change the stakes. After a bit, Kyle says the winner gets to stay, which shocks Brad. Ted needlessly adds the loser has to leave. They get into trash talk.

58-34-ErnstMr. Ernst comes by and tells all of them to set the fucking tables before the guests arrive. Looks like Betty and Jodie are the only ones getting ribbons this week.

Oh, apparently, the Bar None’s guest occupancy is thirty today. Is that normal for a dude ranch?

Mr. Ernst points out the glasses that Ted had made Kyle drop. Kyle says he tripped (which is true). Mr. Ernst has Ted help Kyle pick them up (but says nothing about cleaning them).

Before she leaves, Melody seems to tell Ted and Kyle (seemingly in a bit of ADR) to stop it. Not following her advice, Ted and Kyle splash each other with water.

Mr. Ernst needs one of them to go up and check “the north road”. Vic Vleck told him that “the Catalina Wash” overflowed again last night. There was a low-rated car wash in Tucson called Catalina Car Wash, but I doubt that’s what he’s referring to. There’s also Sutherland Wash in Catalina State Park. There’s also the usually dry Tanque Verde Wash that crosses Sabino Canyon Road. I’m really not sure what Mr. Ernst is referring to.

Anyway, both guys volunteer and argue over it, so Mr. Ernst says they both can go, and they argue over the keys.

As the fuckheads argue in the background, Jake and Danny caution Mr. Ernst. He checks on the fuckheads, and…

58-35-Kyle-Ted-grinYeah, they’re guilty as fuck. Mr. Ernst wants them to work side by side and have a “bonding experience”, though, to work out their tension. Danny and Jake are skeptical. Mr. Ernst asks what could possibly go wrong.

58-36-overheatedHa.

58-37-injuredKyle had looked into the overheated radiator after he’d taken the cap off and gotten blasted in the eyes with steam, so Ted had to bandage his eyes. Ted had sprained his left ankle after getting out of the Jeep, so Kyle had to bandage his ankle. The two idiots give each other a hard time over it, but, really, Kyle’s the bigger idiot – “just stupid” as Ted says.

58-38-fightThe two fuckheads start arguing and get into a fight, while injured, in the desert. Are you fucking kidding me?

Ted checks the radiator and says they should get back to the ranch. He adds someone should take a look at Kyle’s eyes. Kyle says they’ll be fine in a couple days, and Ted learns, much to his amusement, this has happened to Kyle before (a few years ago).

Kyle says the radiator is cold, and it should be fine if they take it slow. Ted wants Kyle to give him the keys, but Kyle points out that the Jeep has a clutch, so he needs two feet to drive. Ted points out that Kyle can’t see. Kyle says he’ll walk. After some trash talk from each of them, Kyle leaves (without giving Ted the keys), and Ted closes the hood.

58-39-Kyle-cactusSo Kyle’s walking along, singing “Home on the Range” (I guess Melody inspired him), and walks right into a cactus (which conveniently goes off-screen before the collision).

Ted gets in the Jeep, puts the windshield down, and has a bit of trouble starting the engine, but it eventually starts (I guess Kyle left the key in the ignition). He “gently” puts his foot on the clutch.

58-40-Ted-pain58-41-Kyle-TedKyle comes back with what are supposedly cactus needles in him. Ted gives him a hard time.

58-42-Kyle-Ted-2After some discussion, Ted decides they’ll work together. Kyle protests.

58-43-Ted-steersKyle has a problem with Ted’s steering. Ted blames Kyle’s constant braking. Somehow, they manage to go off the road, despite not going very fast and a bit of advance warning from Ted.

They argue. Kyle wants to fight right here and now. They get out of the Jeep, and…

58-44-Ted-sprains-ankleTed sprains his right ankle, much to Kyle’s amusement.

58-45-Ted-sands-KyleTed throws sand at Kyle and then crawls away.

58-46-Ted-trips-KyleHe then trips Kyle.

Kyle tries to go after the “little weasal”, but Ted crawls and waits on the other side of the Jeep. He lets Kyle walk right into the Jeep and fall over. Ted crawls over to Kyle, who doesn’t respond, which concerns Ted, but Kyle was just faking and tackles Ted.

58-47-Ted-Kyle-fightPlace yer bets! Place yer bets! It’s the fight of the century! A real knock-down, drag-out fight! Place yer bets right now!

*pockets your money* Actually, Ted proposes they help each other get back to the ranch, rest up for a couple days, get healthy, and then pummel the everliving shit out of each other. Kyle agrees.

58-48-Kyle-carries-TedTed sings “Home on the Range”, which annoys Kyle, but Ted’s deliberately singing in an annoying way. He’s actually not bad, which makes me wonder why it seems his song in “Datenite” (season 3, episode 03) was dubbed by someone else.

58-49-Kyle-carries-Ted-2Even the background score gets in on it, turning into an instrumental version of “Home on the Range”. That’s cute.

58-50-sunsetTed makes Kyle pause and turn, so Ted can look at the beautiful sunset – and rub Kyle’s face in the fact that he can’t see it. Kyle tells “Lardo” to go on a diet. Ted tells Kyle to “Giddy up!”

58-51-Ted-pulls-earThey arrive back at the ranch. Ted has resorted to pulling Kyle’s ear, because he won’t respond to voice commands.

58-52-Brad-rolls-eyesThey’re just in time for Ted to witness Brad coming back from a bad date with the “jerk”, “the amazing Roger”.

Roger wants “Bradley” to get back in the car. She doesn’t want to and makes him let go of her arm.

58-53-chivalryTed and Kyle confront Roger. Roger makes fun of the “bozos”.

Roger is played by Mario Guzman. “Hey Dude” was his first acting gig. He then took a 17-year break(!), only to re-emerge and rack up an additional 17(!) roles from 2008 to 2015! Talk about making a comeback. He also has production credits for two of the things that he was in. He has an impressive resume.

58-54-chivalry-2Ted and Kyle (with instructions from Ted) keep Roger from reaching Brad. Brad is clearly enjoying this.

58-55-chivalry-3Roger threatens them – to their amusement. However, Brad thinks they’ve gone too far and seems to want them to stand down, perhaps for their own safety.

58-56-Ted-attacks-Roger-158-57-Ted-attacks-Roger-2Ted and Kyle insult Roger for a bit, and then Ted pulls on Roger’s ear and nose.

58-58-hit-the-roadFortunately for them, Roger leaves instead of beating the shit out of them, and Kyle and Ted quote “Hit the Road Jack“.

58-59-Roger-leavesA bit more trash talk between Roger and Ted and Kyle ensues as Roger gets back in his car. Brad says something that I can’t understand. According to one of Kyle’s comments, it seems the Bar None has a gate. Where, exactly?

Oh, and Kyle finally says “chivalrous” right, and Ted gives him a congratulatory pat on the shoulder. So ends that thrilling subplot.

58-60-Brad-upsetBrad’s upset at them for their interference and claims she could have handled Roger. Honestly, considering her earlier behavior, I believe her. She says this isn’t chivalry but chauvinism. She apparently doesn’t see “what the big deal is with this chivalry stuff”. She leaves them, rhetorically asking if they’ll never learn.

Okay, you do remember Brad grinning while they defended her, right? If not, scroll back up and look at the screencaps.

I’m guessing her problem is they resorted to picking a fight, something that she would never, ever do.

Okay, no, I don’t know what her deal is. I’m guessing she just hates them.

58-61-Kyle-TedTed decides Kyle can stay at the ranch, and Kyle says the same about Ted. Ted wants Kyle to have Brad, but Kyle declines. So it looks like they’re both totally over her.

Yeah, right.

58-62-Ernst-Kyle-TedThe pre-credits scene at the end, on another day, has Kyle and Ted on the mend.

Mr. Ernst wanted Kyle to take a look at a “tryout” for his new plan – a rodeo without horses (in other words, something cheap and easy):

58-63-rodeo-158-64-rodeo-2Yeah. Well, it allows Buddy to get a quick, non-speaking cameo in at the end. Kyle and Ted are amused.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty good. It mostly focused on the Ted/Brad/Kyle love triangle (such as it is) and the Ted/Kyle rivalry. Melody got pushed out of the story around the halfway point, and the other guys didn’t show up again until the end.

The fighting was enjoyable to watch, even if it was totally stupid. Who’s the “jealous guy”? Well, Ted’s jealousy is given the greatest amount of screen time. Only some lines from Kyle indicate he’s jealous of Brad’s seeming (off-screen) fixation with Ted. Overall, though, I think Ted was the better of the two characters in this episode, because he doesn’t make as many stupid decisions as Kyle, he shows (unjustified) concern for Kyle’s well-being at one moment, he’s the one to stop the fight, and he’s the one that decides they’re gonna work together to get home (twice).

My one complaint is the lack of build-up. The episode suffers from the fact that this is only Ted and Kyle’s fifth episode together, and there hadn’t been much of a rivalry between them until now. Not helping matters is the fact that Kyle disappears for long stretches at a time, and the others behave like he doesn’t even exist. That makes their blow-up here seem to come out of nowhere.

What could have been done instead? Ted and Jake fighting over Ted’s feeling that Jake has replaced him (most notably as Danny’s friend)? Well, again, there’s a lack of a build-up. There simply should have been more tension between Ted and Kyle in their previous interactions.

It’s the final countdown!: 7

Season 5, Episode 05: Baby

Writer: Clifford Fagin
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: July 5, 1991

This episode has a 1991 copyright. Yeah, I’m gonna make note of the copyright from now on.

57-01-guys-workIn the cold open, Ted just cleaned the toilet (or “John” as he calls it) in the girls’ restroom, and Jake and Buddy are working on the fountain. Whoa, whoa, whoa, back the fuck up. Girls’ restroom? Well, I guess that solves that mystery. There are male and female restrooms located by the guest rooms, and that’s where everyone has to go in order to go. It is their duty to make this trek in order to do their doody. The discovery of the restrooms is of tremendous importance, even if I was the only one that gave a shit. Okay, I’ll stop. Anyway, mystery solved.

After some time-wasting between Jake and Ted over the girls’ toilet being named “John”, Buddy wants to give up on fixing the fountain. Apparently, Jake has finished “Jake’s Guide to Life” and left it under Buddy’s pillow. Is this a manuscript or the final, published version? Anyway, Buddy hasn’t read it, because he’s “waitin’ for the movie”. Jake cites Chapter 7, which states “When skill fails you, try luck.” A skeptical Ted and Buddy step aside. Jake takes out a coin (a lucky penny, perhaps?), kisses it, wishes for the fountain to work, spins around counter-clockwise once, and tosses the coin into the fountain.

57-02-fountain-worksTed is impressed and wants a coin, because he could use some luck. Jake doesn’t have one, but he sees a “wishbone”:

57-03-wishboneBuddy is frightened and begs them to not drop him. They set him down. Jake calls him a “baby”. Buddy says, ever since he was a kid, he’s had a fear of being dropped. Ted hears crying and assumes it’s Buddy, even though it’s very clearly a baby. Ted traces it to room 202 (even though Jake tells him that there are no guests in there), and Ted does the sitcom trope where he sees something (in this case, a baby), initially thinks nothing of it, and then has a delayed reaction of shock.

57-04-Baby-Fleeman57-05-gangAfter the credits, everyone’s fascinated with the baby. Mr. Ernst comes over and informs them that the baby is “temporarily misplaced”. Ted asks how you misplace a baby, but it’s actually done with alarming frequency. Parents can be critically absent-minded. Hell, there’s a sign outside my store reminding customers to not forget their babies in the car.

Anyway, Mr. Ernst explains the child’s mother, Mrs. Fleeman, has twins, and he tries to rationalize forgetting one, but Brad points out that it’s “pretty unusual”. Jake suggests the mother had déjà vu and thought she took both of them, which is pretty stupid. Mrs. Fleeman phoned from the plane(!) (talk about absent-minded; on top of that, she wasn’t quite sure where she was going) and said she’ll be back in a day or two. The baby starts crying, and Mr. Ernst leaves, because his ears “are very sensitive to high-pitched sounds” (this is the first that we’ve heard of this). After some banter, Mr. Ernst wants Jake to call the child welfare office and find out what their hours are. He wants to send the baby there.

57-06-Brad-babyBrad objects, arguing it’s not good for his welfare. Ha. She also makes the argument that the baby is “so comfortable here” – while the baby’s crying. Buddy seconds the baby staying here.

57-07-Brad-baby-2Mr. Ernst agrees, but he doesn’t want anyone neglecting their chores. Brad offers to let Mr. Ernst hold the baby, but he declines in a panic. He then tries to downplay his initial reaction and says he’s not very good with little babies. He then says he needs to get back to the office to wait for a call from the cable guy, because they’re “strict” about that. Right. The teens don’t seem to buy it. More importantly, though: cable guy? “Crash Landing” (season 2, episode 05) established they don’t have television at the ranch. Has it changed since then? Or is it about to change?

Well, whatever. The girls continue to adore the baby.

Baby Fleeman is played by Nicholas P. Penta. He doesn’t have an IMDb page, but I’m willing to bet this was his sole “acting” gig. Just consider for a moment that they credited the fucking baby, but they haven’t credited a bunch of other people on this series.

57-08-gangLater, in the girls’ bunk house, they suggest temporary names to call the baby…for some reason. Danny suggests Godzilla. Melody doesn’t like it. Brad suggests Leslie (or Lesley), which was her grandfather’s name. Ted doesn’t like it and believes her “boy’s name” and her grandfather’s “girl’s name” disqualifies her from the discussion. Ted believes this baby is a “guy’s guy” and should be named Rex, Max, or Tex. Ted also slaps Buddy for no apparent reason (I guess just demonstrating machoness). Jake seconds Ted’s suggestions. Buddy suggests Buddy. Jake makes a “Bud and Bud Light” joke, which is kind of surprising for a children’s series. Melody suggests Jeremy.

57-09-Jake-HarleyJake gets a sudden burst of testosterone and wants to name the baby Harley. The baby starts crying, and Brad blames the guys in general.

57-10-Ted-Brad-babyTed figures out that the baby has a pissy and/or shitty diaper, but Brad wants to handle it, so Ted passes the baby along to “Mother”. However, the girls fumble over what to do, so Ted has “Mother Goose” give him the baby.

57-11-Ted-diaperTed knows what to do, because, as it turns out, he has (or had) a baby sister. The baby’s mostly out of frame, so I don’t think David Lascher is actually changing his diaper. Anyway, Ted has Buddy run the dirty diaper out to the dumpster, and then he improvises with a “freshly laundered towel”. Ted then quickly sniffs it to make sure that it really is fresh, so I think he was bullshitting. He calls his achievement a “work of art” (we don’t see it) and gets applause from Danny and Jake. The girls have the guys leave, because the baby “needs a quiet, peaceful environment” in which to rest, and the guys offer “too much maleness”. Ted is offended. Regardless, they’re forced to leave, but Danny gets another name suggestion (Elvis) in first.

57-12-girls-babyLater, the girls are playfully “fighting” over who gets to dance with the baby. There’s nice, peaceful music playing on the radio during this moment. After Brad tells the baby to focus, Melody says something that I can’t understand. Brad gets Melody to promise to let her dance with the baby if any Phil Collins songs come on. Um, okay, no chance of that happening (on screen), but apparently Phil Collins was a big deal back then. Well, we learned a bit about Brad’s musical tastes. I wonder if she’s into Genesis, too.

57-13-Melody-babyAnyway, Melody starts talking to “Baby Fleeman” about dancing, and he burps. Brad calls Melody over to help her fix the weed trimmer, so Melody shuts off the radio, sets the baby down in a carriage, tells him to not go anywhere, and walks away.

57-14-kidnappingBad idea.

One funny thing that we learn during this is Brad doesn’t whack a lot of weeds in Grosse Pointe. Brad also humorously suggests turning the busted trimmer into a dental floss dispenser.

They come back up to the girls’ bunk house, and Melody freaks out over the baby’s disappearance.

57-15-Melody-trimmerAfter some discussion, they hear loud, generic rock muzak coming from the boys’ bunk house. Taking this as a clue, Melody takes the weed trimmer from Brad, and the two of them head off to confront the guys. What’s Melody planning to do? Look threatening? Beat them with it?

57-16-guys-ballThe guys have done some redecorating. They’ve got a mini basketball hoop attached to the closest top bunk. They’ve also…hung two cables from the ceiling and are using them to…suspend the baby carriage a bit off the floor. What the fuck?

57-17-girls-interruptThe girls come in, and Melody immediately sets the weed trimmer down (why’d she bring it in here?) and shuts off the radio. Brad and Ted get into an argument, and Melody checks on the baby. She calls them out on the cables. They believe it’s safe, because they’d tested it on Buddy earlier. Melody and Ted get into an argument.

57-18-Ernst-WTF57-19-Buddy-floorMr. Ernst comes in and is like “What the fuck?” He compares it to a Vleck family reunion (cute) and WrestleMania.

Mr. Ernst has Jake, Danny, and Buddy leave. He has the girls pack up the baby’s things. He has Ted drive the baby to the child welfare office. Brad protests, but Mr. Ernst won’t have it. Brad further protests and then insults Ted. Melody wants Mr. Ernst to hold the baby, but he again declines.

57-20-Ted-fingers-babyTed smiles and touches the baby. It’s a cute moment, and I think David Lascher was improvising.

57-21-Ted-BradBrad insists on going with Ted. Ted admits he thinks “babies are cool”. Brad agrees and says she wants lots of kids. Ted readily agrees, and Brad playfully elbows him. Brad agrees to let Ted come with her.

57-22-Melody-kisses-babyMelody hands them the baby and kisses the baby on the head before leaving in sadness.

57-23-Ted-fingers-baby-257-24-Ernst-trimmerLater, Mr. Ernst is working on fixing the weed trimmer (I guess this is a subplot), much to a passing guest’s interest, when Ted and Brad arrive back at the ranch in one of their many Jeeps.

57-25-Brad-sunglasses57-26-Ted-Brad-ErnstTed and Brad apparently decided their clothes were too ranchy for the child welfare office, because they decided to completely change before leaving. Also, in a nice bit of realistic detail, they wear sunglasses in the Jeep but take them off when they get out.

Ted takes a brief look at the weed trimmer, and Mr. Ernst asks a question that’s vague enough that Ted and Brad can answer without lying. Mr. Ernst talks for a while longer, and then he goes to get Buddy to cut him out of the trimmer line.

57-27-Ted-Brad-sunglassesHaving succeeded in their deception, Brad and Ted put their sunglasses back on to show they’re such badasses.

57-28-baby-trunkOh, and Brad opens the trunk, so the baby can get some air.

57-29-Melody-excitedAfter the commercial break, Melody is excited to see the baby.

57-30-guys-excitedDanny, Jake, and Buddy conveniently come into the girls’ bunk house, and they’re excited to see the baby as well.

Brad insists Mr. Ernst isn’t going to find out and chastises Danny, Jake, and Buddy for being afraid of “a little scolding from Mr. Ernst”. Well, aren’t you a badass? Jake brings up the possibility of getting fired, which is a legit real-world concern, but I’m not sure what it would take at this point for Mr. Ernst to fire any of them.

More banter ensues. Jake gets a legit funny joke in, asking if this ranch has ever functioned in tip-top condition.

57-31-photoHey, look on Brad’s night stand. It’s her photo of herself and Melody from way back in “Bunkmate Battle” (season 2, episode 04):

17-23-girls-pictureHas it always been sitting there?

Anyway, with encouragement from Brad, Melody, and Ted (plus doses of baby cuteness and guilt), they’re each gonna do their share to take care of Baby Fleeman, do their chores, and keep the baby a secret from Mr. Ernst.

Jake says something weird: “I mean how hard could it be to keep something this small from Uncle Ben? Uh, no offense, Buddy.” That doesn’t make sense. Is Buddy known for unsuccessfully trying to hide small things from his dad? Is Jake known for unsuccessfully trying to hide Buddy from Mr. Ernst when Buddy was a baby? Anyone know what Jake’s talking about?

57-32-Brad-horrifiedThe baby starts crying, and Brad is horrified as the realization hits her that babies can, in fact, cry all night. I wonder if she’s reconsidering her position on having kids.

57-33-gang-exhaustedThe next morning, we learn the baby did indeed keep them up all night. The gang is exhausted.

57-34-Ernst-chipperMr. Ernst comes by, chipper, and criticizes “the staff of the living dead”.

Mr. Ernst notices what seems to be milk (or maybe baby drool) on Ted’s left arm (we learn Ted also has freckles there), but Ted says it’s a new insect repellent.

57-35-Brad-towelAn exhausted Brad comes by, and Mr. Ernst asks about the baby’s spit towel, but he merely asks “What’s that?” Buddy has a hilarious answer: “That’s Brad, Dad.”

57-36-Brad-towel-2Brad bullshits it’s her towel and wipes her face with it. That’s fucking disgusting, but keep in mind that this is the same girl that had previously gotten on a saddle that a girl had just pissed on.

57-37-Jake-grossedMy reaction exactly.

57-38-no-coffeeMr. Ernst threatens them with additional chores to exhaust them during the day, so they can sleep better at night. For some reason, Ted says it’s a great idea. Most of them excuse themselves to do their chores, and Jake pulls Brad away, denying her her morning coffee.

57-39-Ernst-MelodyMr. Ernst inquires a silent Melody about her sleep.

57-40-Melody-sleepy57-41-Melody-cereal57-42-Ernst-handles-Melody57-43-Ernst-pets-Melody57-44-Ernst-pacifierUh-oh…

57-45-Ernst-bunk-houseUH-OH.

57-46-gang-quietSo, instead of going to do their chores, they all went to the girls’ bunk house to…hide out? Take care of the baby at the same time? It’s not clear why they all went here. It would just arouse suspicion.

Mr. Ernst threatens to fire them unless they let him in. Everyone except Ted, Brad, and the baby leave, Buddy being afraid of being dropped as he crawls out the window. Then crawl out yourself. You’ve done it before:

24-37-Buddy-windowBrad passes off the baby’s crying as Ted’s. She then stomps on his foot to make him actually give out cries of pain in addition to the baby’s cries. Um, what?

Brad hands the baby out the window to Danny and Jake, but Mr. Ernst circles around the back of the girls’ bunk house, so Brad has Ted help everyone back in.

57-47-Ted-ErnstUH-OH!

57-48-Ernst-pissedMr. Ernst is pissed and makes this stunt out as the worst one that they’ve ever pulled, which, no, it isn’t. At all. Brad apologizes and says Ted was crying when they got to the child welfare office, so she couldn’t drop the baby off. She also says they couldn’t have the baby be left somewhere for a second time. Brad baby-guilts Mr. Ernst and suggests he hold him, but Mr. Ernst declines. Danny references Mr. Ernst holding a bullsnake, which happened way back in “Cowboy Ernst” (season 2, episode 12).

Buddy asks his dad why he’s scared of a baby. Mr. Ernst admits he’s terrified.

57-49-Buddy-ErnstMr. Ernst reveals, when Buddy was a baby, his mother asked Mr. Ernst to hold him, and Mr. Ernst dropped him. Everyone’s shocked. Mr. Ernst says he doesn’t know how it happened; Buddy just kind of slipped out of his arms. He added Buddy “kind of bounced”. He thought he’d killed Buddy. As it turned out, Buddy was fine, and there was no permanent damage. Danny makes an dickish comment, and Jake rebukes him. Ted links this incident to Buddy’s fear of being dropped, which Jake dubs “dropaphobia” (as far as I know, there’s no actual name for this). Brad puts the baby in the carriage. Mr. Ernst apologizes to Buddy. Following Brad’s lead, everyone excuses themselves to do tasks.

57-50-Ernst-rabbitThe baby starts crying, and Mr. Ernst realizes he’s alone with him. He panics for a bit and tries to entertain the baby (even as a kid, I found Mr. Ernst to be uneducated when he referred to Buster Bunny as “Mr. Rabbit”).

It’s no use. The baby keeps crying.

57-51-Ted-BradMr. Ernst starts singing one of his “favorites”: “99 Bottles of Beer“.

57-52-Ted-Brad-2The baby keeps crying. Mr. Ernst praises the baby’s lack of desire for beer.

Finally:

57-53-Ernst-babyThe teens applaud, but Mr. Ernst shushes them to not disturb the baby.

Suddenly:

57-54-Ernst-trips-1Brad warns Mr. Ernst.

57-55-Ernst-trips-2Fortunately, Mr. Ernst doesn’t drop the baby.

57-56-Ernst-relieved57-57-Ernst-grinsDid you notice Melody was completely absent from this, the climactic scene?

57-58-send-offThe pre-credits scene at the end, on another day, has Mrs. Fleeman picking up her forgotten son. Mrs. Fleeman is played by Laura Innes, David Brisbin’s wife. This is her second of two appearances on “Hey Dude”, the first being as Miss Andrews, Ted’s English teacher, in “Teacher’s Pest” (season 2, episode 07):

20-08-AndrewsShe mentions other things that she’d previously forgotten: her keys, where she parked the car, and a little Dalmatian puppy in Amarillo.

57-59-Brad-WTFThis is Brad contemplating whether they really wanna hand the baby over to this flake.

Mrs. Fleeman isn’t sure where her husband is, and Brad immediately stops playing with the baby in Mrs. Fleeman’s arms. I like to think Brad is seriously considering snatching the two babies away.

It turns out that the forgotten baby’s name is Max, and his brother’s name is Rex.

57-60-Ted-wins57-61-Brad-losesBrad invites Mrs. Fleeman back to the Bar None.

57-62-Ernst-babyMr. Ernst puts Max in the car seat.

Brad, Jake, and Mr. Ernst put the hood of the car up.

57-63-giftsDanny and Melody present gifts of toys for the twins.

57-64-byeEveryone says goodbye as Mrs. Fleeman leaves with the babies. They’re not concerned about her admission that she’s not sure where she’s going.

Mr. Ernst is disappointed, thinking they’ll never see them again.

57-65-Jake-purseHowever, Jake reveals Mrs. Fleeman “forgot” her purse, which he had been holding onto.

Buddy says his dad doesn’t need a baby when he still has him.

57-66-Ernst-holds-BuddyLooks like Buddy’s over his “dropaphobia”.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty funny and also had some nice moments. We got backstory on Buddy and Mr. Ernst, and we even learned a bit about Brad.

There’s also some nice Ted/Brad moments. They seem almost like a loving couple – with the expected amount of bickering, of course.

It’s the final countdown!: 8

Season 5, Episode 04: Rest in Pieces

Writer: David Brisbin & Laura Innes
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: June 28, 1991

A few interesting notes about this episode before I get into the review:

1) It’s written by David Brisbin and his wife, Laura Innes (Ted’s English teacher, Miss Andrews). This was the only thing that David Brisbin wrote. It’s also the first of only two things that Laura Innes wrote, the second being a 2015 short called “One Smart Fellow”, which she cowrote and starred in with three other people. Really odd.

2) It has a 1990 copyright. I’m starting to think the episodes were copyrighted according to when they were taped, and then they were aired out of order in mid-1991 (but still all taped in the season 5 batch).

3) This episode is on the DVD after the next episode, “Baby”, in regard to how the files are ordered, but it’s listed in the correct order in the menu. What this means is, if you select Play All, you’ll be seeing “Baby” before this episode.

4) The episode runs around twenty seconds shorter than normal once you remove the closing credits (which are around a minute long).

56-01-gangIn the cold open, Ted expresses disgust at tomato juice (the very concept of it), Jake doesn’t feel good, and Brad isn’t looking forward to mucking out eight stalls. Brad calls Jake gross for attempting to eat one of Mr. Ernst’s homemade bran muffins. Buddy then grosses everyone out by comparing his porridge or whatever to vomit.

56-02-Melody-chipperA chipper Melody comes by with French toast for her fellow “campers”. Everyone digs in. Ted tells “Goldilocks” to shut the fuck up. Brad pisses Melody off by saying they “have to live with” Melody’s morning sweetness (which, if you haven’t noticed, was never even a thing before this very episode). Buddy calls her a sap, which is possibly a reference to “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (season 3, episode 09), even though Melody was supposed to be “a sap no more” by the end of that episode. After Jake says Melody can’t be mean, Melody claims she “can be just as slimy, insulting, pig-headed, and repulsive as the rest of” them. Wow, what a bitch. Regardless, Brad finds it amusing. Ted offers to make it a bet. If Melody can stop being nice until midnight, they’ll make her breakfast for a whole week; if she is nice once, she has to make their breakfast (all month, Danny adds). Brad likes it. Melody accepts. Ted fakes a leg injury, and Melody rushes off to get him some ice. Ted yucks it up. Brad finds it funny, too. Melody says the bet is on and then struggles to call them “jerks”, which they’re “shocked” by. Jake asks Melody to get him a side order of bacon.

56-03-listening-inAfter the credits, Ted, Jake, and Buddy rest while working and overhear Lucy, who’s on the phone…in the tack room. Odd place to have a phone line. Did you know this is the first time that Ted and Lucy have been in the same scene since “Take Me to Your Leader” (season 2, episode 13)? No joke. Anyway, Lucy’s on the phone with a Doctor Johnston, and the guys automatically assume she’s talking about Mr. Ernst having a possibly fatal condition. Lucy leaves her notes sitting around for anyone to read instead of taking them with her. Jake doesn’t want Buddy and Ted to read it, but Buddy does.

56-04-Ernst-illMr. Ernst comes by, feeling not so hot. We learn he put jalapeños in his bran muffins. Y’know what? Fuck the risk of discomfort. I wanna try that shit.

Anyway, Mr. Ernst’s been feeling tired lately, goes to take “some of that pink stuff”, and wants to know if anyone hears from Doctor Johnson, because he’s expecting the test results from his physical today.

See the problem? Well, our heroes don’t.

Jake grabs Lucy’s pad, and Ted calls him out on his hypocrisy. Jake is shocked. Ted grabs it back. According to Lucy’s notes “from the doctor”, Mr. Ernst has “gastrothrombosis”, which doesn’t seem to be an actual condition as far as I can tell. If it is real, it would seem to have something to do with the formation of blood clots in blood vessels in the stomach. Anyway, it could be fatal unless the following “precautions” are followed precisely for the next 24 hours: keep warm; feed only mashed carrots; hose down if agitation, biting, and kicking occur; keep on feet; don’t let sleep. After some discussion, Jake decides they’ll do whatever they have to do.

56-05-Danny-TedLater, they hold a meeting. Danny, who is skeptical, is on blanket detail. Brad is going to boil carrots in the kitchen. Jake and Buddy will keep Mr. Ernst awake. Ted will organize “the hose-and-bucket patrol”. Danny is further skeptical over the whole “kicking and biting” possibility, but Ted puts him in his place. Brad, all too sincerely, suggests investing in hard hats and gloves, because, y’know, there are absolutely none to be found on a dude ranch.

14-31-Ernst-works-208-12-Brad-hay08-31-Ted-LucyBuddy is in disbelief, because Mr. Ernst has “always been healthy as a horse”.

56-06-Melody-smarterMelody comes by and asks about it, having overheard them talking. Jake tries to break the news to her, but Melody believes they’re setting her up to lose the bet, so she’s a complete bitch regarding the news of Mr. Ernst’s illness and also insults her friends. Oh, she also says Mr. Ernst always said they wouldn’t appreciate him until he was dead and gone, but we’ve never heard this before. “Mean Melody Hanson” also volunteers to drown Buddy in the swimming pool. Look for Jake to pat Buddy, his cousin, on the shoulder in support. Nice touch.

56-07-Melody-laughsMelody laughs at the “suckers” and leaves. Danny guesses they created a monster.

Mr. Ernst opens his office window and tells them to shut the fuck up, because he’s not feeling well and wants to take a nap. He tells them to keep an eye on the front desk. The gang springs into action.

56-08-Brad-tickles-ErnstUp first is a lengthy scene in which Brad secretly enters Mr. Ernst’s office and tickles his nose with a feather to prevent him from falling asleep. Also, the guys whisper instructions to Brad (she finally just closes the window), which doesn’t wake Mr. Ernst up.

What does wake him up, though, is a sneeze. Brad is forced to bullshit a “dusting” explanation (cleaning seems to be her go-to excuse), which Mr. Ernst is too tired to argue about. Really, what was her plan? Just keep Mr. Ernst barely conscious with the feather?

56-09-Brad-loitersBrad hangs around for a while after being told to leave. The guys mime to her through the window, and she abruptly leaves. Mr. Ernst decides to not even think about it and tries to go to sleep.

56-10-Ernst-jolted-awake56-11-drummers-156-12-drummers-2Jake and Ted take over, marching around Mr. Ernst’s office and drumming loudly (this was totally Jake’s idea) under the pretense that they’re “practicing for the Young Buckaroo Parade tomorrow” (which Ted made up). They leave, still drumming. Mr. Ernst decides to go and do the grocery shopping.

56-13-gang-watches56-14-Ernst-groceriesLater, the gang’s secretly observing as Mr. Ernst arrives back at the ranch with the groceries. He’s agitated over everything that’s occurred today, including the grocery store running out of pork rinds, the door to the Jeep not closing (he kicks it closed), his heartburn, and a candy wrapper stuck to his boot. He drops his groceries and bites onto a bag of snacks. Having seen all of the signs, the gang springs into action after Jake blows a whistle.

56-15-Ernst-hosedAfter ordering his assault, Jake tries to get his uncle to calm down and congratulates his co-conspirators.

56-16-Ernst-towelAfter the commercial break, they go into the main lodge, and Mr. Ernst demands to know what the fuck is going on.

After some stumbling for words, Ted just has Mr. Ernst read the pad, which they should have brought to him in the first place. Mr. Ernst is shocked. He decides to call Doctor Johnson and starts looking through the phone book, but Jake shows him the phone number on Lucy’s pad.

56-17-Ernst-phoneThe doctor is gone for the weekend, but the woman on the phone checks the file. Mr. Ernst thinks it’s a filing error (and seems to have experience with it, but he’s interrupted before he can get into it), but the test result was positive for gastrothrombosis. Mr. Ernst freaks out. The woman says “Don’t worry. Sometimes, it’s for the best.” One of the teens gasps when Mr. Ernst repeats this, but I can’t tell who it is. Mr. Ernst gets pissed and slams the phone down.

56-18-Brad-comforts-ErnstMr. Ernst goes into his office “to be alone for a few minutes”. He tries to comfort Buddy and says he won’t take this lying down.

56-19-Ernst-officeInstead of going in for just a few minutes, Mr. Ernst holes up in his office with a bowl of mashed carrots (there’s no scene transition, by the way; it’s an abrupt cut). He’s decorated his office with a ton of candles and blocked peering eyes out with a bunch of drapes, completely isolating himself. There’s some kind of silly New-Agey musical score going on, though I can’t tell if he’s meant to actually be listening to it or not (it stops around the time that he hits Record on his recorder).

Anyway, Mr. Ernst dictates a message for Buddy on a portable audio cassette recorder (did he borrow it from Jake?). Mr. Ernst makes a reference to masturbation or sex (I can’t tell which; maybe both). He talks for a while.

Melody knocks on the door, scaring Mr. Ernst. As he tries to shut off his recorder, there’s a voice that I guess comes from it, but I can’t tell what it’s supposed to be. Mr. Ernst lets Melody come in.

Melody had brought Mr. Ernst some receipts but then is all “What the fuck?” when she sees the candles. She’s initially concerned but then starts getting suspicious and wants him to spit it out. He tells her.

56-20-Melody-laughsMelody thinks it’s a real knee-slapper (literally).

56-21-Melody-haMelody’s a total bitch to her boss (my favorite line is “you better sue your brains for non-support!”), but she at least provides a hint that she believes this is a set-up over a bet.

56-22-Melody-honks-ErnstMelody honks his noise, and there’s even a “Honk, honk!” voice, but I can’t tell who’s supposed to be saying it.

Melody continues insulting Mr. Ernst and then just flat-out calls him stupid. Mr. Ernst feels himself getting agitated and tells her to leave for her own safety.

56-23-Melody-ha-2“Mean Mel” laughs evilly as she leaves. Mr. Ernst starts biting air and quickly eats mashed carrots and splashes himself with water.

56-24-damageTape damage or an encoding error.

56-25-jokesThat night, they’re hanging out in the main lodge, laughing and telling jokes.

56-26-Ted-denseTed doesn’t get one of Jake’s (obvious) jokes, so Danny and Jake explain it to him, but he’s still clueless.

56-27-pillowsTime to break out the pillows. Ted claims he’s just kidding.

56-28-Brad-bowlBrad doesn’t let Mr. Ernst have popcorn (look for Buddy to swipe some before she takes it away), giving him the bowl of mashed carrots instead. She’s kind of being a mother to him in this scene.

Mr. Ernst praises them and then asks them if they’ve seen Melody. Brad thinks she went to bed. He brings up Melody’s strange behavior, and the look on Brad’s face lets us know she immediately knows what he’s talking about. He worries if Melody caught what he has, but Jake says no. Mr. Ernst feels great and thinks the worst is over.

56-29-Ernst-loses-itA while later, the worst is at hand.

Hey, it’s nice to see Mr. Ernst’s Sylvester slippers from “Dan the Man” (season 2, episode 09) again. That episode also involved fears for Mr. Ernst’s health and the gang monitoring his activities. I wonder if Brisbin watched that episode prior to writing this one and threw in the slippers as a bit of continuity.
22-13-Ernst-sneaks
56-30-Ernst-chows-downMr. Ernst cries out for his “Carrots!”, so Brad helps shovel them into his mouth. My dad, who was an old-fashioned guy that grew up in Poland during World War II, liked this series, but he absolutely hated this scene – especially Mr. Ernst pigging out on the carrots. He found it disgusting.

Mr. Ernst says it’s getting dark, and he wants to lie down, so Ted and Jake pull him to his feet to walk him. Ted suddenly wonders if “this gastro thing” is contagious, despite the fact that Mr. Ernst brought up the possibility earlier. They drop him. Buddy says it doesn’t matter, because they all would’ve been exposed anyway. He wants them to keep walking his dad. Ted and Jake lift Mr. Ernst to his feet. Brad cries “You can’t give up now!” She really does care about her boss – a lot. Danny suggests fresh air, so they all go outside.

56-31-Melody-pissedMelody comes out of the girls’ bunk house, informing them that it’s after midnight, and she’s won the bet. Brad hits her with the cold, hard truth, and Melody realizes what a total fucking bitch that she’s been. As Mr. Ernst goes under, Melody takes charge of the fight to save him.

56-32-Lucy-WTFLucy comes by and demands to know why the fuck they’re making Mr. Ernst skip around and force-feeding him carrots after midnight. They let her know. Brad demands to know where the fuck Lucy has been and why the fuck she hasn’t been helping them save Mr. Ernst.

Lucy informs them that she’s been down in the “lower corral” (I think), taking care of a sick horse. Uncle Albert came down with gastrothrombosis, not Mr. Ernst. Uncle Albert is the same horse that got sick in “Dan the Man”:

22-22-Danny-AlbertThat settles it. Brisbin definitely watched that episode for “inspiration”. It makes this episode feel like a sequel to “Dan the Man”.

Anyway, Lucy reminds them that gastrothrombosis is very common among horses of Uncle Albert’s age. If any readers know anything about horses, would you please let me know if this is an actual horse affliction?

Anyway, Lucy brings up an interesting point. How did no one realize gastrothrombosis is a horse condition? Especially Brad and Danny.

Lucy remembered the instructions that Doctor Johnston had given her, even though she’d (inexplicably) left them in the tack room. Jake realizes they got the doctor’s name wrong. Danny calls Ted stupid, but Ted shifts the blame to Jake. Really, they’re all at fault. I get them mishearing the doctor’s name, but how is it that Lucy wrote down the vet’s phone number but (presumably) didn’t write down the vet’s name? Also, the receptionist conveniently didn’t mention the name of the business and left out the patient’s name while giving Mr. Ernst the test results.

Lucy smiles and shakes her heads like “You silly kids”. The gang argues. Brad insists she tried to tell Ted (we saw no evidence of this; it was Danny that was the skeptical one), but Ted says she didn’t. Everyone walks off without apologizing to Mr. Ernst.

56-33-Ernst-aloneMr. Ernst is left all alone – well, except for the sounds of wildlife in the background.

56-34-breakfastThe pre-credits scene at the end, in the morning, has the gang eating breakfast. Jake and Ted claim they were suspicious from the start. Danny doesn’t buy it.

56-35-BradBrad comes by and asks what’s for breakfast. She decides to pass on the raw carrots, carrot omelettes, carrot muffins, and carrot juice to wash it down.

56-36-Melody-pancakesA chipper Melody comes by with “real food” (pancakes), and the guys dig in, but Brad is cautious, asking if she’s “the Melody from Satanville”. I guess she can’t say “Hell”, but “Satanville” is awkward (at least, Mr. Ernst’s “What the Devil?” was okay). Also, the lack of cursing was really apparent during Mean Melody’s insults.

Melody assures her that the bet is over. We learn Mr. Ernst is fine (I guess it really was just heartburn, but that doesn’t explain his other “symptoms”), Uncle Albert’s fine, and “there is only one Melody”. Ted questions why Melody made breakfast for them if she won the bet, and Brad seconds this. Melody says she just felt like it, and that’s all of the convincing that the gang needs. They chow down.

56-37-Brad-hot56-38-Melody-peppersThe “one Melody” is the practical joker. She cooked hot peppers into the pancakes. Y’know what? I wanna try that.

56-39-Melody-poursMelody’s then an asshole by pouring a bunch of extra crushed red peppers all over their otherwise edible food.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty ludicrous. It relied on a constant and all-too-convenient lack of communication.

There were some funny moments. I enjoyed seeing Ted and Jake team up. Mean Melody was loads of fun.

However, this is basically a rehash of “Dan the Man” – with some reheated “No More Mr. Nice Guy” tossed in. I don’t want to knock Brisbin and Innes, but this episode wasn’t needed.

It’s the final countdown!: 9

Season 5, Episode 03: Incredible Shrinking Ted

Damn it, I forgot to make a note of something at the end of the previous episode. “The Legend of Jed” (season 5, episode 02) is the first episode with a 1991 copyright:

54-62-1991-copyrightI have three theories as to why:

1) It was the first episode taped in 1991, meaning season 5 was taped roughly in winter-spring.

2) They forgot to update the year on the copyright notice for “Miss Tucson” (season 5, episode 01).

3) “Miss Tucson” was taped in the season 4 batch but held over until season 5.

Anyone know for sure?

Anyway, on to the current episode:

Writer: Patrick Maguire
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: June 21, 1991

55-01-Buddy-ErnstIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst initially appears to be working at his computer, but he’s quickly revealed to be reading a mystery novel, “The Necktie Murders”. Buddy comes in, unintentionally(?) scaring his dad, who throws his book away in fright. After some banter and Mr. Ernst talking about the novel, Buddy brings up an advance on his allowance, eventually admitting he lost the money that Mr. Ernst had given him on Tuesday. Mr. Ernst keeps a computer file of all of the things that Buddy has lost, which include skateboard (yeah, it’s been a while since we’ve seen it), wallet, dental retainer, one sneaker, and, now, this week’s allowance. Mr. Ernst refuses to bail Buddy out, saying he has to learn financial responsibility. Mr. Ernst tries to return to his novel, realizes it went out the window, and awkwardly excuses himself. Buddy hacks into his dad’s computer and alters the file to say his dad owes him money – and then calls out his dad on his “mistake”, basically announcing his hack. Does he seriously expect this deception to work?!

Anyway, he gets carried away with modifying the file, and…

55-02-computer-burns-outYeah, bullshit. At most, he might freeze up the program, which would require a reboot. Rest assured, though, that the “burned out” computer is never referenced again, and Buddy seemingly never faces the consequences. Hurray.

55-03-Jake-readsAfter the credits, Jake is reading the novel, and…Hagatha Mistie? Seriously? I know they can’t use a real novel (for a reason that will become clear near the end of the episode), but couldn’t they have come up with a fake author name that wasn’t so obviously fake?

55-04-gangMelody, Brad, and Danny come by for dinner. Melody scares Jake. Jake explains about the book, which he’s really into. Apparently, the book hit him as he was walking outside Mr. Ernst’s office, despite the fact that we didn’t see him outside the window in the cold open, nor is it clear that the book went out the window.

Danny brings up that Ted volunteered to set the table. He and Brad are suspicious, but Melody (momentarily) gives Ted the benefit of the doubt.

55-05-Ted-poursTed comes by, “deeply hurt”, and pours grape juice for them. He seemingly doesn’t want anything from them. He claims to have gotten his own date for this weekend. Melody is shocked, and Brad is surprised but also…disappointed, maybe? Or maybe not. It’s hard to tell. After more insults, Ted leaves in frustration. Melody feels bad for Ted. The gang, after a warning from Brad, cautiously start in on their meal, not knowing what to expect. However, their forks, drinks, and plates are glued to the table. Ted comes by and yucks it up. Brad makes a point of trying to lift her glass, but…

55-06-Brad-drinkBrad’s glass wasn’t glued to the table.

This prank makes no sense. Basically, Ted assumed the following:

1) Absolutely no one would touch their food or drinks until the right time.

2) Brad would sit at that very spot.

3) Brad would not attempt to lift her glass until the others had tried lifting their own glasses.

4) Brad would make a show of attempting to lift a glass that she “knows” is glued to the table.

Anyway, Brad and Melody are pissed. Brad is upset that her brand-new shirt is ruined. No one thinks it’s funny. After some discussion with Brad, Ted insists he’d find a practical joke played on him funny, because he has a sense of humor. Ted leaves, conspicuously telling them to not bother getting up. Brad has a “great idea” for revenge, but then she and the others realize Ted glued their asses to the benches. Ted comes back and yucks it up. As the scene ends, Jake (seemingly in a bit of ADR) insists “I gotta get my book! My book!” What’s that about? If he’s referring to the novel, it’s right in front of him on the table. If not that, then what? A book on how to unglue your ass from a bench?

55-07-Ted-scaleThe next day, Jake leaves the boys’ bunk house. Ted puts on cologne for his date and then weighs himself. He’s surprised he’s lost four pounds since yesterday, but Danny dismisses it. Ted worriedly asks Danny about the prank last night, but Danny insists everything’s cool. Ted’s surprised his shoes feel too big for him.

55-08-Ted-fallsThe Calendar of Hell is still on the wall, but there’s a notable difference: no month and no blacked-out year. Did someone finally notice the problem? This isn’t exactly fixing it. What kind of calendar doesn’t label its months? It’d have been better if they’d just removed the calendar.

Danny waits a whole second after Ted goes out the door before inviting the girls in through the same door. Ted didn’t notice them waiting outside?

55-09-Operation-TedAnyway, this is part of Operation: Ted. Brad and Melody stayed up late, picking out Ted’s new wardrobe. Brad replaces Ted’s clothes with larger clothes (including “identical” pants three inches longer than Ted’s). Danny will raise all of the pictures on the walls and readjust the scale.

55-10-Operation-Ted-2Melody also gives everyone (including Jake, who suddenly came back in) lifts for their shoes to make them look taller to Ted. Jake questions the effectiveness of all of this, but the others insist it’ll work.

But let’s look at this prank closely. First, Brad chose a difficult one: convincing Ted that he’s shrinking. Second, they do things that anyone should see through. Scales typically need to be re-adjusted to 0 prior to each weigh. They were counting on Ted not doing this nor noticing it was at -4. Shoes have the size marked on them. Other clothes do, too. They raise the pictures, but the heights of the bunks, the dresser, and other objects remain the same. They look taller to Ted, but Mr. Ernst doesn’t.

55-11-Buddy-ErnstOn another day, Buddy insists Mr. Ernst never gave him his allowance. Mr. Ernst asks Buddy if he’s seen his mystery book, and Buddy gives him a hard time about it – even jokingly asking for hush money to keep it a secret.

55-12-Ernst-JakeSooo close!

Buddy agrees to help his dad look for the book, because Mr. Ernst has to know how it ends.

55-13-Jake-TedTed tries to sit on the swing, but he can’t, presumably because of the big pants. He actually put those on and kept wearing them? If my shoes, pants, and shirt turned out to be too big, the first thing that I’d do would be to check the sizes.

Anyway, Jake gives Ted a hard time.

55-14-Ted-swingAlso, it goes unsaid, but it seems maybe the swing was raised a bit. Ted says “This is weird!” to himself.

55-15-Danny-cardsLater, in the boys’ bunk house, Danny and Jake are playing cards. Ted has explained his worries to them, but they’re dismissive.

55-16-Jake-sticksI like how Jake’s so into drumming that he just likes to hold his sticks, even during a fucking card game.

55-17-guysTed cites the “evidence” of his larger clothes as well as everything being higher. Not everything. The windows, the top of the door, and the ceiling, for example. Anyway, Danny and Jake are skeptical, so Ted weighs himself to convince them. He’s lost eight pounds in the last few hours. Jake suggests it’s a change in Ted’s diet and asks Ted what he’s eaten today. This is what Ted lists: pancakes, scrambled eggs, cheeseburgers, a milkshake, a bowl of chili, corn on the cob, baked beans, and a piece of cherry pie. Yeah, if Ted’s eating like this, he should be gaining weight, not losing it. Also, Danny says it’s only 10:00 AM, but I would have guessed twilight based on the light (compared to the previous scene).

55-18-girlsAnyway, they discuss Ted’s shrinking problem for a bit, Ted trips again, and the girls come in. Brad jokingly calls Ted “Fred Astaire”. She continues insulting him as they discuss his problem. I love Brad.

55-19-Danny-measuresMelody “just happen[s] to have” a tape measure, which isn’t suspicious at all. Danny measures Ted at 5’7″, which Ted says he hasn’t been since he was twelve years old. David Lascher is 5’10”.

Incidentally, while looking up that info, I discovered Christine Taylor is 5’6.5″, slightly taller than Melody’s 5’5″.

Anyway, everyone leaves Ted alone, barely able to hold in their laughter, which Ted must have heard.

55-20-Ted-DannyAfter the commercial break, on another day, Danny is attempting to stretch Ted in a contraption while theorizing what’s causing the shrinking (mosquito bite or hormonal imbalance). We learn Ted (and presumably Danny) has seen the old film, “The Incredible Shrinking Man“, which is the direct inspiration for this episode.

55-21-Jake-DannyJake comes by and asks about the “medieval torture chamber”. Danny claims it’s “Uncle Ivan Running Bear’s stretch-o-matic”, which he supposedly used to get into the army when the draft board said he was too small. It didn’t work. All of the blood rushed to his head, and he thought he was Napoleon. Ted’s upset at the mention of “another little person”, but Napoleon Bonaparte (the most famous Napoleon) was 5’6″, which was an average height for a man of his time.

55-22-Melody-lunchMelody brings by lunch for Ted. She claims the only stuff that they had in the kitchen were shrimp salad, tiny tot potatoes, and strawberry shortcake with miniature marshmallows. Ted insists Melody’s doing this on purpose. Perhaps the fact that she emphasizes the “little” words tipped him off. Melody feigns innocence.

55-23-Brad-readsBrad comes by with info from a medical journal. According to her, Ted has “Microshrinkophemia” (spelling uncertain), a rare disease that affects one in a million teenage boys of Irish descent that live in the desert. If Brad was hoping to blow this entire prank, she couldn’t have done a better job.

Anyway, we learn Ted is (presumably) Irish instead of Scottish (he doesn’t correct her, but maybe he just wanted to play along).

Brad teases a bad ending to the case mentioned in the book. Melody, Jake, and Danny tease Ted. Brad, Melody, and Jake leave, and Ted has Danny measure him again. He shrunk another 1.5″. Danny doesn’t care and leaves Ted by himself.

55-24-Ted-readsUnfortunately, Brad left the medical journal for Ted to read.

55-25-Ted-writesOn another day, Melody finds Ted writing his memoirs as comfort for shrunken people. They talk for a bit. Melody feels guilty and wants to tell Ted the truth, but Ted asks her to be his caretaker (apparently, he likes Twinkies) and accompany him while he does “the talk show circuit”. Overcome with emotion, Melody agrees. Ted then claims he asked Brad first, but she doesn’t like short guys. After he leaves (why wait?), Melody wishes the “little creep” will “disappear”.

55-26-ridingLater, Danny, Jake, and Brad are leading some guests on a ride (I think). Jake declares it “beats surfing in Lake Benjamin”, which totally sounds like something that Jake would try. Danny declares Brad would win a hypothetical Nobel Prize for practical jokes. No, she wouldn’t. This prank has way too many holes in it. Regardless, Danny and Brad get Brad off. Jake worries about causing Ted serious psychological damage and wants to stop Operation: Ted, but Brad and Danny inform him of some of Ted’s practical jokes that he hasn’t been here for: whoopee cushions, itching powder, squirting ketchup bottle, and putting glue on the toilet seats. After more debate, Brad agrees they’ll tell Ted tonight.

55-27-doctorHowever, Melody comes by and informs them of a vacationing doctor that Ted called for an emergency exam. Fearing they’ll get stuck with the bill and doing the explaining, they rush over to…the corral, I guess, to park their horses, leaving Melody to run to the boys’ bunk house. We learn Jake’s riding a horse named Elmer.

55-28-examAnyway, the others eventually join Melody in the boys’ bunk house, where the “doctor” is conducting an “exam”. Yeah, this is just Mr. Ernst doing a stereotypical German accent (appropriately enough, since “Ernst” is a German, Dutch, and Scandinavian surname), but no one sees through it. To the others’ shock, the doctor diagnoses Ted with Microshrinkophemia, which makes Brad think he’s a quack. The doctor says there’s a cure.

55-29-Ted-moneyTed pulls out his “savings” ($1,000) and hands it to the doctor in exchange for some pills. This should be a big clue that this is staged, because Ted previously blew all of his savings in “Mr. Moneybags” (season 4, episode 12). Ted’s “friends” don’t immediately blurt out the truth. The doctor leaves, no one making an attempt to stop him.

After some insistence (and a hit) from Melody, Brad confesses. Ted acts surprised and gives them a hard time. He looks out the door and says the doctor is “gone” (never mind searching for him, I guess). Ted had written down the doctor’s name, which he says he can’t pronounce, so he spells it out: E-R-N-S-T.

55-30-gotchaHere’s where things get a bit confusing. Brad asks “You knew all along?” Ted says “Of course, I knew, Brad.” He seems to answer her in the affirmative, but he doesn’t say he knew “all along”. He then brings up “Microshrinkophemia”, seemingly implying that’s what tipped him off. Unless he was keeping up his act even when by himself, the episode suggests he was fooled until Brad pulled that fake condition out of her ass. Personally, I would have liked it better if Ted hadn’t been fooled for a second, because, really, no one would be.

55-31-pillow-fightAnyway, Danny starts up another instance in this series’ tradition of using pillows as weapons.

55-32-confusionThe pre-credits scene at the end has Mr. Ernst seemingly just now getting dressed up as a doctor. He gets confused when the gang comes into his office and congratulates him on his performance. Melody’s upset that Ted always gets them, but Brad tries to get her to admit it was funny. It’s nice that Brad appreciates Ted’s pranks – in certain situations (meaning when her clothes aren’t ruined).

In a nice bit of continuity with the cold open, Mr. Ernst now has a new computer on his desk. We’ll see if it sticks.

Anyway, Mr. Ernst had lent Ted the $1,000. Mr. Ernst informs them that he hadn’t left his office in three hours and was just on his way over to the boys’ bunk house. Apparently, Buddy had called a “doctor” when he heard Ted was sick, and it turns out that he was a crook. Buddy observes the “crook” is driving away in a taxi. Mr. Ernst calls out for his money, and the teens (sans Buddy) rush outside.

55-33-fiveNo sooner than they leave the office does Mr. Ernst share a congratulatory five with Buddy and reveal they pranked them. This seems to be a recurring thing on this series: characters reveal the truth that they’d hidden from other characters while those same characters are still within earshot.

Anyway, Buddy had used the name of the doctor character from “The Necktie Murders” (who Mr. Ernst had mentioned in the cold open) as the name of the crook, which is why a real novel couldn’t be used (someone else’s character). Considering Jake’s been reading this novel throughout the entire episode (or at least carrying the book around, including in this final scene, when he puts the book down on Mr. Ernst’s desk, finally returning it to him), you’d think Jake would have realized Buddy was bullshitting them.

Mr. Ernst guesses the teens will be playing no more practical jokes around here. Buddy doesn’t exactly agree; he just says “You bet.”

55-34-teensIt’s nice that the teens run past Mr. Ernst’s office window. It reminds me of how Ted and Melody didn’t walk past the open front door of the girls’ bunk house prior to arriving outside the window in “Murder, He Wrote” (season 4, episode 13).

55-35-confusion-2Anyway, Mr. Ernst is excited to see his book and wonders where it came from. He’s eager to finish reading it. He thanks Buddy for holding onto the money for him and wants it back, so he can put it back in the safe before the teens come back. Say what? Why did he give Buddy the money? He certainly had enough time to put it back in the safe himself. Or he could have put it in his desk drawer. Why was Buddy holding on to $1,000?

Anyway, Buddy is “confused”, because he thought he was supposed to give the money to the “real doctor”. Apparently, Buddy had “just” given it to the guy that’s driving away in the taxi. When would this have been? Was Buddy out of Mr. Ernst’s sight for a while after Mr. Ernst handed him the money? Also, who’s in the taxi that Buddy had the gang chase after? Anyway, Mr. Ernst rushes out.

55-36-Buddy-winsBuddy returns the money to the (unlocked) safe and repeats his dad’s proclamation that they’re “so incredibly gullible”.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was kind of funny, but it makes absolutely no sense and wouldn’t work in the real world. Hmm, I feel like I’ve said that before. Oh, yeah, last week. We’ve now had two episodes in a row featuring dubious deceptions that anyone can see through. I hope this doesn’t become a theme this season.

Season 5, Episode 02: The Legend of Jed

Writer: Paul Budra
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: June 14, 1991

54-01-Ernst-fishingIn the cold open, one morning, Danny meets Mr. Ernst, who’s ready to do some fishing.

54-02-Ernst-bitesHe’s really excited about it.

Then his tackle box falls behind the front desk, so he bends over to pick everything up.

54-03-Melody-Jake54-04-Jake-dummyJake and Melody come by. Jake’s annoying Melody with a “stupid” (Melody’s term) ventriloquist’s dummy that seemingly a guest had left here. It’s not clear if the guy’s coming back for it or not, but Jake guesses “maybe next week”. In the meantime, Jake’s having way more fun with it than any teenager would actually have in real life, and he’s not even good at it. His lips constantly move.

54-05-Melody-spars54-06-Melody-whyMelody starts verbally sparring with the dummy until she realizes it’s a fucking waste of her time.

Anyway, Jake takes this as a sign that he’s getting good at this (he’s not), and he proceeds to use the dummy to insult Mr. Ernst. Melody cautions him, but…

54-07-Melody-oh-shit54-08-Ernst-dummyMr. Ernst is hella pissed and threatens to fire Jake if he acts up just one more time.

54-09-gang-dockAfter the credits, at the lake, Melody is relating the incident to Brad, Ted, and Danny. Danny and Brad are unconcerned (Danny once saw Mr. Ernst bawl out a fence post). Melody declares this is the maddest that Mr. Ernst has ever been at Jake. Really? What about the various instances in “New Kid on the Block” (season 3, episode 04)? Brad says Mr. Ernst is not the type to hold a grudge, and Danny agrees. Ted guesses Mr. Ernst has forgotten about it by now.

54-10-Jake-dunce-cap54-11-Jake-kick-meNope. Mr. Ernst is making Jake wear a dunce cap and a “Kick Me” sign, the latter of which has gotten him “a lot of nice attention from the guests”. Ugh, I can imagine. My yellow vest at work gets me attention from customers and coworkers. Also, back when I worked at Kmart, the manager hand-drew a sad face and taped it next to my name on my badge, because I didn’t get enough reward card or credit card sign-ups.

Also, Jake has to clean out Mr. Ernst’s boat, so he can go fishing. Brad is surprised Mr. Ernst goes fishing here, and Melody hits her. Jake explains Mr. Ernst stocked the lake. Wait, the girls and guys went fishing at the lake way back in “Battle of the Sexes” (season 1, episode 2). Why would Mr. Ernst need to stock the lake? Did the guests catch all of the fish?

54-12-Jake-toasterAnyway, Jake finds a bunch of shit in the boat, including soda cans, candy wrappers, and a toaster. Yep, this is typical guest/customer behavior: throwing their shit wherever, because they’re “always right”. But why is Mr. Ernst’s boat just sitting out on the lake? Why wouldn’t it be in the boat house?

Jake removes something against Danny’s advice, and…

54-13-Jake-fucks-upOops.

Jake runs off to get a bucket. The others laugh.

54-14-Ernst-arrivesMr. Ernst arrives, talking up his supposed fishing skills to the gang.

54-15-boat-sinking54-16-girls-ErnstMr. Ernst is pissed and demands to know who did this. Melody abruptly blames “the new kid”. Mr. Ernst and Brad are confused. Melody clears her throat, and Brad instantly gets in on the act, which isn’t a dead giveaway at all. Melody says it’s the new kid that Lucy just hired today. Mr. Ernst instantly disbelieves it. Melody passes along a fake apology. Mr. Ernst tells them to tell the new kid to get to his office to sign the payroll forms. He also asks for the kid’s name. I don’t understand what the girls say (because they speak simultaneously), but Melody then nervously comes up with “Jed”, which isn’t suspicious at all. Danny nearly fucks up their deception by betraying his ignorance of Jed – and then overcompensating with talk of their closeness, which isn’t a dead giveaway at all. Also, Jake’s come back with a bucket.

Mr. Ernst gets in a canoe and sends the gang to do their chores – except Ted, who’s done with his, but Mr. Ernst tells him to go the fuck away anyway.

Jake whispers thanks to Melody, and he’s the only one that remembers Jed doesn’t exist (seriously?!), so they’ve got another problem.

And it’s not just the fact that a nonexistent person has to sign work papers. What happens when Mr. Ernst decides to talk to Lucy? I mean I know she’s not in this episode, but she must be at the ranch if she “just hired” Jed – unless she and Kyle took off for another rodeo “just after” that.

The scene ends with a gag of Mr. Ernst accidentally throwing his paddle into the water. Ha.

54-17-Ernst-playsLater, Mr. Ernst is goofing off in his office and has to quickly hide his shit and pretend he’s busy when there’s a knock at the door. Oh, look, his computer’s back. I notice it appears and disappears, depending on the episode. That might be a fun drinking game to play: take a shot whenever it changes.

54-18-girls-ErnstThe girls need Mr. Ernst to make an “executive decision”. “The pool man” just came by and is giving them a choice of two different types of chlorine to use in the pool. Is this a lucky coincidence, or did the girls just make this up? If the latter, they’re just digging themselves in deeper and can expect to be fired when Mr. Ernst finds out.

54-19-Ernst-girlsAnyway, the girls hand him both bowls, inform him that Jed is waiting outside, and leave him to make his decision. Brad locks the door on her way out.

So “Jed” is just Jake doing a stereotypical redneck accent on the other side of the door (admittedly, he’s pretty funny). Mr. Ernst can’t unlock the door with the bowls in his hands, and he can’t set the bowls down without spilling the chlorinated pool water.

54-20-Ernst-formsAfter around a minute, Mr. Ernst just takes the forms that Jed needs to sign between his teeth and slides them under the door. Never mind punishing Jed for the boat incident. Mr. Ernst is so exhausted that he decides to take a nap.

54-21-scheduleLater that day, Mr. Ernst posts the new work schedule, which is an odd time to post it. He’s got Jed doing all kinds of stuff.

54-22-gangMelody decides they’ve gotta divide up Jed’s chores and cover them themselves. Why?! How does she expect this scenario to end?! Brad sees this for the stupid idea that it is and proposes telling Mr. Ernst the truth. Jake disputes that – not because they’d be in trouble but because Mr. Ernst would “never believe it”. Melody agrees with this (why?!) and adds Jake will get fired because of the boat. Brad relents and goes with Melody’s plan. Ted’s mostly silent during this scene except for saying “I don’t wanna work”, which is cute. Danny wants Jed’s “bunk time”. I guess he means breaks.

54-23-gang-exhaustedThe next day (I think; they’ve done Jed’s chores for “two days”), the gang is exhausted, and Jake upsets the others by eating, because he gets hungry when he works. Melody wants to kill Jed, the character that she created. Brad suggests a “fatal accident”. Melody dismisses it, because there would be no parents that would show up and no body to claim. Ted suggests a “crippling accident”.

54-24-BuddyBuddy puts in his sole appearance in this episode by informing the others that Mr. Ernst wants to see Jed now. For whatever reason, they brought Buddy in on their deception. He’s about to explain why he agreed to this but doesn’t get the chance. We can guess it’s so his cousin, Jake, won’t get fired.

54-25-gang-ErnstMr. Ernst shows up and asks where Jed is. Melody says he’s in his bunk. Mr. Ernst wants Ted to get him. Ted objects. Mr. Ernst sarcastically asks if Ted was planning to write a symphony or an epic poem. This might be a joking callback to Ted’s saw playing in “Treasure Teens” (season 2, episode 08), although I admit I’m stretching it. Anyway, Melody decides they’ll all get Jed, and the teens – sans Buddy – quickly leave – except Jake, who Danny has to remind to come along (he’s really hungry). Mr. Ernst observes they get weirder every day.

54-26-Ernst-BuddyAs they get lunch or dinner, Mr. Ernst questions Buddy about Jed. These are the biographical details that Buddy pulls out of his ass: he’s from Chicago (who knows what Jake wrote down on the work forms?), he watches a lot of cowboy movies, his mom owns a worm ranch, he mountain climbs, he’s afraid of heights, he plays the guitar, he speaks Japanese, and he’s been to Australia.

54-27-Jake-treeThe gang (sans Jake) arrives with “Jed”, who’s wearing the exact same clothes as Jake. Melody “accidentally” lets Jake walk into a tree and then makes the introduction. She and Danny bullshit a condition called “photophobia”, explaining Jed can’t be exposed to any light for 24 hours. “Jed” is guided over to a table. Mr. Ernst invites him to sit next to him, saying he’s got a plate of food for him and wants them to get to know each other over lunch. The rest of the gang (led by Melody) wants to leave. Jake objects, but Mr. Ernst agrees on privacy.

54-28-Ernst-feeds-JedSo the rest of this scene consists of Mr. Ernst “feeding” “Jed” through the top of the box and questioning him about various things based on Buddy’s bullshit biography. Jake bullshits his way through it (admittedly, he’s pretty funny). Mr. Ernst seals the box up, praises “Jed”, promotes him to “co-senior staff” (a lot more responsibility and a much bigger paycheck), and leaves.

54-29-Jake-mess54-30-Jake-cleansBack at the boys’ bunk house, Jake cleans off with a towel, plays with the dummy, and relates the lunch date to the others, who are incredulous that Mr. Ernst fell for it. Brad is upset that Jed will be her boss. Ted is upset that Jed will make more money than him. Wait, what? Isn’t Ted senior staff? Or was he demoted upon his return? If so, then who is senior staff (if Jed is co-senior staff)? Danny votes to kill Jed. Ted adds Jed will die a horrible death, and Melody agrees. Brad suggests maybe Jed could just “disappear” or “quit and go home”. Ted suggests Jed could “get fired”, unaware of his “genius”. Jake lays out the plan, and the others are on board. Brad gets a cute insult to Ted in.

After the fade to black and silence, there’s some brief audio that sounds like someone talking. Weird.

54-31-Ernst-listens-in54-32-guys-1After the commercial break (which comes very late in this episode with just under ten minutes of story left), Mr. Ernst overhears “Jed” insulting various people to Danny and Jake.

54-33-guys-2It turns out that the guys have a shitty scarecrow-looking thing that…they took the time to make, I guess. Why put this much effort into this deception?! You’re in too deep as it is and just digging yourselves in deeper!

Anyway, Jake’s doing a less convincing job than he did with the dummy (if that’s possible). There’s no way that Mr. Ernst can’t see him supplying Jed’s voice.

Anyway, when Mr. Ernst interrupts, the guys quickly leave to do their chores, seemingly leaving Mr. Ernst confused.

54-34-Brad-horseLater, at the corral, Brad is “begging” “Jed” to stop abusing a horse. She then slaps the horse’s ass, sending him running off and making it sound like Jed took off on him.

54-35-Brad-ErnstMr. Ernst, who has overheard, comes over and questions Brad. To make it sound more authentic, Brad initially covers for “Jed” until pressed about it. She then “admits” “Jed” isn’t such as “great guy” after all. They talk about it for a bit, and Mr. Ernst tells Brad that Jed’s new and has to be broken in like a new pair of cowboy boots. He actually references his “aching feet” subplot from the series premiere. Brad gets a sassy comeback in, which Mr. Ernst takes as a straight (and correct) answer, confounding her. He instructs her to be a little more tolerant, which frustrates her. She asks Jake (who had been sneaking around and observing the situation) for their next course of action. Jake has a “great idea” for Jed to do something “very, very bad”.

Later, Mr. Ernst overhears “Jed” insulting him and goes to investigate, but…

54-36-Ernst-splashed54-37-Ted-takes-glassesAfter “accidentally” splashing him, Ted takes Mr. Ernst’s glasses to dry them, leaving him blind.

54-38-Jake-Jed-fight54-39-Jake-Jed-fight-2For some reason, Mr. Ernst can’t open the door to the tack room, even though it’s not locked at all (maybe Jake was holding it closed), but then Jake and “Jed” come out, fighting. Jake defends Mr. Ernst against Jed’s insults.

54-40-Jake-Jed-fight-3“I love my Uncle Ben!!!”

54-41-Jake-Jed-fight-454-42-Jake-throws-JedJake throws “Jed” over a fence.

54-43-Jed-runs“Jed” then gets up and runs away. Mr. Ernst fires Jed and tells him to be off the ranch by sundown. Mr. Ernst gets his glasses back from Ted, expresses his appreciation to Jake, and tells Jake to forget about all of his chores this afternoon. Jake thanks him.

54-44-gangAfter Mr. Ernst leaves, the gang is happy. Melody says she’s sad to see Jed go, because he was “the best-looking guy on this ranch”. Danny whacks her with his hat, and the guys chase after her.

54-45-Jake-DannyLater, Jake’s fishing by the lake. Danny comes by and thanks Jake for doing his fence repair work, which confuses Jake, because he didn’t do it. I guess Danny had asked the others about it first. Jake thanks Danny for doing his shed painting, despite the fact that Mr. Ernst told him to forget about his chores this afternoon, so he really shouldn’t know it was done. Also, he assumes Danny did it, which means he must have asked everyone else about it first. Anyway, Danny didn’t do it.

54-46-girls-arriveThe girls arrive, assuming the guys mucked out the stalls for them, which they didn’t.

54-47-damageA bit of tape damage or an encoding error.

Ted comes by, demanding to know who chopped up his wood, because he wanted to try out a new chainsaw. None of them did it. Arguing ensues.

54-48-Ernst-canoeMr. Ernst paddles by and asks why they’re not doing their chores. They explain they’ve all been done by someone else. Mr. Ernst “remembers” “Jed did some of the chores”. He came back and apologized for his behavior, which was caused by breaking up with his girlfriend in Chicago. Mr. Ernst decided to give him a second chance, because “he is the best worker on the ranch”. He leaves, leaving the teens confused. “Scary” music starts playing. Jake guesses they’ve entered the Twilight Zone.

54-49-gangLater, the guys meet in front of their bunk house. Jake goes on about Jed coming to life. Danny guesses Mr. Ernst has gone insane and imagined Jed. But then the girls come by. They’d overheard some guests in the lodge talking about how nice that Jed was. Melody declares “Jed lives!” Panicked arguing ensues. Jake tries to be the rationale one, completely changing his position in less than a minute.

54-50-bunksTed checks inside and asks who’s been sleeping in “his” bunk. So Jed has an assigned bunk? Why? Isn’t the messy bunk Kyle’s? Come to think of it, this is the first episode in which we see the inside of the boys’ bunk house since Ted’s return, so the sleeping arrangements are unclear. Presumably, five people sleep here (Danny, Jake, Buddy, Kyle, and Ted), but there are only four bunks. Was Ted like “Yo, Bud-man! Out!”?

After Danny, Ted, and Jake disavow ownership of the stuff by the bunk, Jake concludes “Jed lives!”, which was his position at the beginning of the scene. What the hell is up with his flip-flopping in this scene?

54-51-Ted-slaps-JakeTed literally slaps some sense into Jake and then apologizes. Jake thanks him. Danny, taking Jake’s side, puts forth various “reasonable explanation[s]”: mass hallucination, hysteria, or a collision with an alternate universe. They all declare Jed doesn’t exist.

54-52-Jed-arrivesOh my fuck, it’s Jed!!!

54-53-gang-WTF-1“Jed” mentions the worm ranch that he worked at, apologizes to Brad for taking off on her horse, and apologizes to Jake for the fight (citing “that thing” with his girlfriend).

54-54-gang-WTF-2Jake asks who he is, and “Jed” declares he’s Jed. Melody is so shocked that she can’t get any words out. Ted casually tells Jed that he doesn’t exist. Jake adds they made him up.

54-55-Brad-looksDuring all of this, Brad abruptly turns her head and looks at the ceiling for no apparent reason. Weird.

Jake finally tells Jed to go back into their imaginations, and Brad cutely agrees with what he’s saying in an “I’m going insane” kind of way.

Despite the fact that “Jed” seemingly believed he was real until a few seconds ago, he agrees to disappear.

54-56-Jed-disappears54-57-gang-staresSuddenly, a flash goes off.

54-58-Andy-ErnstYeah, as you probably guessed, Mr. Ernst was in on it all along, because he knew Lucy would never hire somebody without checking with him first. Brad points at…Melody, I think, as if saying “See? Yeah? Good point!” But shouldn’t they all have known that? Anyway, “Jed” is actually Andy Ryan (the actor is uncredited; fucking seriously, show?!), who works “down at the Double B Ranch” and agreed to help Mr. Ernst after he explained the gang’s deception. Mr. Ernst wanted to play along to see how far that they’d go, and they didn’t disappoint him. Also, he’s got a picture to remember this incident by. Mr. Ernst gives Andy a lift back, and they have a laugh over the gang’s expressions.

Melody says she’s learned a valuable lesson from this:

54-59-Melody-hits-JakeNever save Jake’s skin again.

The others join in the Jake bashing.

54-60-Melody-Jake-dummyThe (very short) pre-credits scene at the end, on another day, has Jake packing up the dummy, because the guy is coming by later today to pick him up. Melody is relieved, because he reminds her just a little too much of “the late, great Jed”. Jake says he doesn’t need to see another dummy as long as he lives. Suddenly, the dummy seemingly talks. Melody and Jake slowly back away in fear.

54-61-Ernst-laughsMr. Ernst waits until they’re barely out of frame before revealing himself. Surely, they would have seen him.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was kind of funny, but it makes absolutely no sense and wouldn’t work in the real world. In fact, I’d go so far as to question why it exists. Jake fucks up. Melody comes up with a hasty, poorly-conceived cover-up and drags the others into it. Then they just keep digging themselves in deeper, piling up deception after deception. At least, Mr. Ernst was an extremely good sport about it, humorously teaching them a lesson instead of, y’know, firing their asses.

The episode seemed to be going for a “scary” feel near the end. Another episode to add to a Halloween marathon, I guess.

Finally, I want to make an interesting observation: I actually remember a lot of this episode from watching it back in the day – much more than from any other episode. I remember lines of dialogue and visuals. I have no idea why, though.

Season 5, Episode 01: Miss Tucson

Writer: Lisa Melamed
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: June 7, 1991

Welcome to season 5! I’d say more about it if we hadn’t already started season 5 during the season 4 finale. Oh, well. There are no changes in the cast this season, so it’s just a straight thirteen-episode dash to the end of the series.

Okay, I do have more to say about this season before I get into the episode. Assuming the original air dates are correct, this episode aired one week shy of six months after the previous episode. However, there’s still a 1990 copyright on this episode. If you recall, “Superstar” (season 2, episode 10) was the first episode to air in 1990 (January 5), and it was the first episode in the series to have a 1990 copyright. However, it seems the episodes were copyrighted according to when they’re finished, not when they’re aired. This means Nickelodeon sat on this episode for nine months (at least) before airing it. Why? Was it to get viewers to think there were no new episodes – only to surprise them months down the line? I really don’t know. This is the longest gap between any two seasons in the series, and it’s actually longer than the gap between seasons in primetime network series.

The last thing that I want to say is this season aired from early June to late August of 1991, making it the only season to fully air during what would have been the Bar None’s typical season of operation. That’s pretty cool. It’d be tempting to call this the third summer featured on the series, but I’m not ready to make that determination yet. There’s an episode later this season that might cause problems, but we’ll get to that. Let’s dive into season 5!

53-01-footballIn the cold open, most of the guys are playing the manly game of touch football.

53-02-Brad-BuddyBrad wants “Bud” to toss her the football, but Buddy says girls from “Gross Me Out, Michigan” don’t play football. Brad corrects him that she’s from Grosse Pointe. Ted pokes fun at Brad’s rich, privileged upbringing. Brad takes the football and tells them to step aside. The guys are skeptical.

53-03-tire53-04-Brad-football53-05-football-tire53-06-BradMost of the guys are impressed, but Ted dismisses it as beginner’s luck. Brad says “Never assume!”

The cold open really doesn’t have much to do with the rest of the episode – except for a theme of people assuming Brad can’t do something.

The opening theme remains the same as it has since the season 3 finale.

53-07-gang53-08-Kyle-BradAfter the credits, the gang joins Kyle. Kyle asks what’s going on. Danny says Brad was showing them up. Kyle, in regret, says “I had to have the extra donut.” Brad playfully elbows him. I think this is the most affection that I’ve ever seen Brad show Kyle.

53-09-Melody-paperMr. Ernst and Melody come by. Melody had found a notice in today’s paper regarding the Miss Tucson competition next week. Each local ranch is allowed to send one girl. The winner could go on to be Miss Young Arizona and then maybe Miss Young USA. Melody wants to enter this nonexistent competition that might lead to another nonexistent competition that might lead to another nonexistent competition. Anyway, is this an indication that Melody is still underage?

After some jokes by Buddy and Danny, Mr. Ernst talks about how Melody’s potential fame could benefit the Bar None. Is this gonna be another “Our Little Champion” (season 2, episode 03)? Mr. Ernst, unlike Melody, assumes Melody will represent the Bar None, but then Melody is quick to thank him. Ted doesn’t even consider any other candidate.

53-10-Ted-ErnstBrad objects, surprising Ted (who’s amused at the very idea; check out his reaction; asshole) and Mr. Ernst, the latter of which fumbles for words. Ted interrupts, making fun of pageantry. Danny calls it “so un-Brad-like”, which Brad takes offense to.

53-11-Kyle-BradKyle is the only one to support Brad, using the opportunity to put his arm around her, which Brad also takes offense to.

Brad goes off on the others for “again” deciding what she should or shouldn’t do (see? the cold open somewhat matters). Mr. Ernst offers Brad the opportunity to enter the competition, which she immediately accepts. However, Melody reminds Mr. Ernst that the rules say “only one girl per ranch”. Ever the opportunist, Mr. Ernst decides they’ll hold a “preliminary competition” (Miss Bar None) at the ranch.

53-12-Melody-upsetMelody thinks it’s a horrible idea and unenthusiastically agrees.

53-13-Brad-agreesBrad thinks it’s a great idea and very enthusiastically agrees.

Mr. Ernst feels awkward when he has to question the girls about any past scandalous behavior that might come to light. Brad says “Define scandalous.” Mr. Ernst nearly pisses himself. Brad claims it was a joke and invites Mr. Ernst to check. Mr. Ernst says “Better safe than dethroned.” So he doesn’t entirely trust her. That’s a lovely impression for a boss to give an employee, isn’t it? I can imagine Mr. Ernst calling various places in Grosse Pointe and learning about various upper-class wild parties that contained orgies that Brad might have possibly attended.

Mr. Ernst takes Jake and Buddy to get to work. Kyle questions how this is going to work, not wanting to take sides. Brad playfully elbows him again and says they don’t have to take sides.

53-14-Ted-MelodyHowever, Ted chooses the girl that’s “probably going to win” over the girl that “really needs it”. What an asshole. Ted has no one to blame for not being with Brad but himself.

The guys leave (Brad even says “Get away”), and then Brad checks with Melody to make sure that she’s cool with Brad competing. Melody doesn’t say she is and then leaves, wishing Brad good luck. Brad wishes her good luck.

53-15-Kyle-TedOn another day, at the corral, Kyle and Ted are arguing, because Ted wants to interfere in the girls’ competition against Brad’s wishes. Brad comes by, amused. Ted is upset that Brad is here instead of doing “pageant work”. Brad mumbles something that I can’t understand. Brad is amused by Kyle’s suck-ups, despite telling him to knock it off in the previous scene. I notice Brad is much friendlier with Kyle in this episode, which doesn’t fit with what we’ve previously seen. Anyway, Brad tells them to stay out of the competition. Ted apologizes about what he said before, but Kyle says he’s just upset at being rejected by “Team Melody”. Brad is surprised to learn about this. Jake and Danny are coaching Melody for the run-off.

53-16-Ted-kicks53-17-Danny-bustedBrad is shocked that she’s being spied on, even though Danny really had no way of knowing she, who doesn’t look like she’s dressed for the occasion, would be at the corral. I guess he just came over, hid under the blanket, and waited, hoping Brad would gives clues to her pageant strategy while…doing work at the corral.

53-18-Team-BradTed declares “Team Melody knows no shame.” Kyle suggests the formation of Team Brad. Brad agrees. Ted declares they’ll “waste the blonde”. Brad declares it’s on!

53-19-Jake-MelodyLater, Jake’s pestering Melody. Hmm, it seems Jake wants to go to Harvard.

53-20-Danny-JakeDanny comes in, and Jake calls for a moment of silence in honor of girls doing silly shit “in the name of girlhood”.

Melody questions Danny, who admits he got caught and expresses doubts over what they’re doing. Jake and Melody convince him, because this competition is really important to Melody.

After some banter, Melody says she wants to do a musical number for the talent portion – something unique. Danny suggests “a medley of songs by dead people”. Melody says more upbeat. Danny suggests “Great Balls of Fire”, which Jake dismisses, because Sam Beckett already did it seven months earlier reasons. Inspired, Melody suggests “The Greatest Love of All“(originally recorded in 1977 by George Benson and later covered in 1985, without the “The”, by Whitney Houston). Jake will call the record company (which would be Arista) about getting permission to perform the song in public, which surprises Melody, but Jake assures her that it’ll be no problem. Jake being in charge of this forecasts Jonathan Galkin’s future career as manager of a record label.

Danny will find out who the judges are and what they like in a contestant. Melody thanks him, and he leaves. Melody reveals to Jake that she has to beat Brad and get into the pageant, but she refuses to elaborate.

53-21-Brad-dissedBrad comes in with some clothes, and Melody disses her by not returning her greeting. Melody contrasts her own seriousness regarding the pageant versus Brad’s supposed game/joke treatment. Brad compliments Melody’s “nice tan”, and fuck you, Brad. I hate it when smartasses “joke” over stupid shit, such as appearances. I have to wear a yellow vest at work (almost everyone else wears a blue vest), and I have to put up with a lot of questions or jokes about it, just because it’s different than the norm.

Melody summons Jake close to her to discuss her clothes for the competition. Brad overhears and…

53-22-Brad-hi53-23-Team-BradOn another day, Brad’s “exercising” with some small weights. Kyle’s reading a book on pageant secrets. Ted gets on Brad’s case for not picking something for the talent portion yet.

53-24-Ted-BradWe learn Brad can’t sing, won’t dance (I guess waltz-waiting is out), and doesn’t play any instruments. Kyle and Ted ask Brad what she does. Brad rides horses, reads a lot, and travels. That’s it. That’s Bradley Taylor. She has one talent, which can’t be used in this kind of competition. Otherwise, she just goes places and/or reads erotic novels. I wonder if she takes those books into the lavatories on airplanes.

Oh, we do learn one more thing about Brad: she apparently wants to go to Boston College, which is a private Jesuit Catholic research university in the village of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Anyway, it’s kind of unusual for a series to deliberately make one of its main characters into a bit of a nobody. The guys make fun of her for this, too. Ted suggests showing slides. Kyle suggests packing a suitcase on stage. Brad is inspired. Ted tells her to get to it, because he hates to be on the losing side of anything and declares they have to win. Brad corrects him that they don’t have to win; they’d like to win. This provides a contrast to Melody. Brad isn’t competitive (at least, not in this). If she loses, it’s not the end of the world, and she’s aware of that. I’m definitely closer to Brad, because I’m not competitive and really don’t put any value in competition. I’d be a horrible choice to be on a bowling league. “Strike? K, cool. Gutter ball? Oh, well, whatevs.”

53-25-Brad-KyleTed jokes with Brad for a bit and then leaves, and then Kyle goes over stuff in the book, such as putting Vaseline on your teeth to smile easier, which doesn’t sound appealing to Brad (she probably uses Vaseline for other things). Also, walking in high heels with something balanced on your head for perfect posture. Brad asks who would do that.

53-26-Melody-bookHa.

Buddy wants to give it a rest, and Melody agrees.

Kyle asks Melody about the Vaseline thing, and Melody says it makes your lips slide, so you can smile easier. Kyle seems to take Melody’s knowledge as a sign on trouble. Melody asks for info from the book.

53-27-Brad-KyleBrad jokes with her “coach” that that’s cheating.

53-28-Danny-MelodyDanny comes back from finding out who the Miss Tucson judges are. Why is Melody concerned about them and not the Miss Bar None judges, who hold her immediate future in their hands? Anyway, Danny says he’s “working on it” and quickly leaves. Melody tells him to hurry up.

53-29-Melody-BradBrad happily reminds Melody that she’s not in the pageant yet and still has to beat her in the run-off.

53-30-Melody-Brad-2Melody trash-talks a bit and says she’s “gonna beat [Brad’s] pants off”. If she wants Brad’s pants off, she should just ask her – or buy her a new novel and give it some time.

After Melody leaves, Kyle says “I think she wants to win.”

53-31-Brad-KyleBrad and Melody have this in common: they hate it when people state the obvious.

53-32-Melody-dream-153-33-Melody-dream-253-34-Melody-dream-353-35-Melody-dream-453-36-Melody-dream-5That night, Melody has a nightmare that Mr. Ernst announces her at the loser (complete with evil cackle!). This is definitely the most surreal that the series has ever gotten.

53-37-Melody-wakesMelody wakes up, startled.

53-38-Melody-wakes-2Brad just shifts in her sleep a bit, leaving Melody alone in uncomfortable silence.

53-39-Jake-drumsAfter the commercial break, it’s the big day of the Miss Bar None pageant! Jake kicks off the contest by drumming.

53-40-keyboardistThis is followed by a keyboard intro. The Keyboard Musician is played by Connie Alderman. “Hey Dude” was her sole acting gig.

53-41-audience53-42-Ted-intro53-43-Ted-intro-2Ted, ever the seeker of attention, somehow convinced Mr. Ernst to let him do the introduction.

53-44-ErnstMr. Ernst comes out, Wink Wellman-style. He takes the microphone from Ted, who’s being a show-off.

53-45-Ernst-hosts53-46-Buddy-Ernst53-47-judgesMr. Ernst starts to tell a joke, but Buddy reminds him to introduce the judges:

53-48-MelissaA previous winner of the Miss Tucson pageant, who wowed audiences with scenes from “The Little Prince” with sock puppets. Melissa is played by Victoria McGee. “Hey Dude” was her second of three acting gigs in a long but very sporadic career that lasted from 1982 to 2004.

53-49-HarryOne of their ranch hands (even Mr. Ernst doesn’t know why he’s a judge), Harry. Harry is played by John Wareing. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.

53-50-IrmaThe founder of Miss Irma’s Arizona Charm School, Miss Irma. I can’t understand her last name. Miss Irma is played by Liz Kneeland. “Hey Dude” was her second of two acting gigs, the first being as Hide His Medication in a 1990 movie called “Madhouse”. Yeeeaaah, somehow, I doubt this info.

53-51-Ernst-adBefore bringing out the contestants, Mr. Ernst gives “a word from [their] sponsor”, the sponsor being the Bar None Ranch.

53-52-girls-prepareIn the girls’ dressing room (a.k.a. Mr. Ernst’s office), Melody and Brad prepare, and Kyle’s here because…reasons. Was he in here while they were getting dressed?

There’s some odd audio work in this scene. It seems the in-room audio is muted at the beginning and turns on as Melody and Kyle are about to walk toward each other.

Brad tells Kyle to leave. The guys had decided they didn’t trust the girls alone together, so he’s the bodyguard. Melody thinks it’s stupid. Brad sends him away.

Jake arrives with bad news. In a hilarious moment, Melody just assumes the old “piano player” died or something. Jake tells her that she can’t sing “The Greatest Love of All”, because the public performance rights are too expensive. Way to get her hopes up with no real assurance and then dash them at the eleventh hour, asshole. What took him so long, anyway?

53-53-Melody-optionsJake gives her some public domain options: “Polly Wolly Doodle” (originally published in a Harvard student songbook in 1880), “Home on the Range“, “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain“, and “The Star-Spangled Banner“. It’s clever of the show to give an in-story reason for why a modern song can’t be performed, and I feel it’s kind of meta, like Nickelodeon couldn’t/wouldn’t pay for a modern song. And here I was hoping for Melody to bust out some Bon Jovi or Guns N’ Roses or “Fuck Tha Police”.

Brad asks who’d want to perform those songs. Wait. Brad just insulted the national anthem. Just thought I’d point that out.

Melody’s upset at Brad, and Brad apologizes. Jake says “It’s a good song”, but it’s unclear which song that he’s referring to. Buddy comes by and lets the girls know they’re on. Brad says “Here goes nothing” to Melody and goes out. Melody says “Here goes everything.” This is another contrast between the two girls and their approaches to this contest.

53-54-Brad-introBradley Taylor is from Grosse Pointe, Michigan. She’s 5’8″ (slightly taller than me). She weighs between 50 and 160 pounds. She loves anything connected with horses – especially the Bar None.

53-55-Melody-introMelody Hanson is from Allentown, Pennsylvania. She’s 5’5″. She weighs between 40 and 150 pounds. She loves children and saving people from drowning.

Irma calls Melody lovely, but Harry points out that her teeth are so shiny. Ha.

It’s time for the talent portion of the show. First up, Melody:

53-56-Melody-singsMelody gives an impassioned (albeit very brief) performance of “Home on the Range”, and I wonder how the keyboard player knows which melody to play, since Melody, in a discredit to her name, didn’t convey the information to her.

53-57-Harry-criesAnyway, the audience likes it, and it brings Harry to tears, but Irma doesn’t agree with Melody’s choice – or does; I really can’t understand what she said.

53-58-Kyle-TedTed and Kyle bring out something for Brad’s “very unusual” performance.

53-59-Brad-reveals“Packing – from Turmoil to Triumph!”

53-60-Ted-Kyle“Thefuckthefuckthefuckthefuck?!?!?!?!”

By the way, I love how, during Brad’s reveal, she just tosses the cover onto Mr. Ernst.

53-61-Brad-packsSo, yeah, Brad tries to turn her experience with packing her suitcases for trips into a thrilling “talent” showcase, set to the opening of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5“. A cute, dramatic, upper-class choice.
53-62-Melody-unimpressed53-63-Ted-Kyle53-64-Brad-packs53-65-Ted-Kyle
53-66-Brad-bowsThe audience seems to love it, and Brad even gets some whistles.

The girls go back into their “dressing room”, and Mr. Ernst gives another ad for the Bar None – cleverly mentioning packing suitcases.

53-67-Melody-BradMelody is dumbfounded over Brad’s popularity and the possibility that she could win.

53-68-Melody-melts-downMelody has a nervous meltdown and throws the clothes (including some of her own items).

53-69-Brad-Melody53-70-Melody-surrendersBrad grabs hold of her and demands to know what the fuck is going on.

Melody asks Brad what she looked like as a kid. Brad says like she does now but younger. Melody looked “awful” – fat, ratty hair, dressed funny; she was a “mess”. She spent a lot of time indoors, hiding, watching beauty pageants on TV. Brad guesses Melody pretended she was Miss America, but Melody vehemently denies it, saying she knew by looking in the mirror that that could never happen.

53-71-Melody-BradBrad tries to comfort Melody. Melody says the feelings have stopped but haven’t gone away. She was hoping winning Miss Tucson would “fix something”. She’s never confessed any of this and believes she sounds like an idiot. Brad doesn’t say anything.

Buddy interrupts, saying it’s time to “get grilled” and making them nervous by saying “rumor has it” the scores are “really close”.

53-72-Melody-Brad-2Melody is upset that Brad is giving her “that pity look” and says, if Brad throws this round and lets her win, she’ll never forgive her. Brad doesn’t say anything, and they silently walk out.

53-73-Brad-envelopeIt’s time for the question-and-answer portion of the program. First up is Brad. She has to pick a random question from a basket.

53-74-Melissa-asks“What advice would you give a friend entering a pageant just like this one?”

53-75-Brad-jokes“Comfortable shoes?”

53-76-Ted-no53-77-Brad-answers“I’d tell my friend that…being in a beauty pageant changes…nothing.”

53-78-Melody-thinks“What I mean is, when this is all over, you’re still gonna be the same person that you were when it started. A crown is nice, but it isn’t magic, doesn’t make you different. Whether you win or you don’t win, that’s not what matters. If you’re a good person,…and you are, that’s what matters.”

53-79-Melody-envelopeNext up is Melody.

53-80-Irma-asks“Why do you think you should become Miss Bar None?”

53-81-Melody-answers“I don’t. Really. I…I messed up. I got so caught up in having to win that I – I became a crazy person…and a rotten friend.”

53-82-Brad-smiles“I’d know how to do it right the next time, but…I don’t think I did it right this time, so…that’s my answer.”

53-83-decisionAfter a few seconds of huddling, the judges have reached their decision.

53-84-waitingMelody imagines Mr. Ernst saying “And the loser is” like in her nightmare.

53-85-Melody-confusedThis leaves Melody shocked when Brad explains she (Melody) won. I’ve seen stuff like this happen in real life, so I’ll give it a pass.

53-86-Miss-Bar-None53-87-Miss-Bar-None-253-88-Miss-Bar-None-353-89-Ernst-sings“She’s the winner of the Miss Bar None pageant! Oh, how wonderful it is to imagine it!”

Mr. Ernst abruptly gives up on his song and reminds the guests of souvenir programs available outside for a “nominal fee”.

53-90-Melody-BradThe pre-credits scene at the end has the girls having a heart-to-heart. Brad felt she had something to prove when the others put her down earlier, but she then realized she really isn’t the type of person to enter beauty pageants, and that’s fine with her. Melody thanks her and then asks how she won.

53-91-Irma-girlsMiss Irma comes by and says it was Melody’s “sincere” and “refreshingly honest” final speech that was the deciding factor. Irma tells Melody to kick butt in the Miss Tucson competition. Melody’s given it a lot of thought, and she’s not gonna enter the Miss Tucson pageant.

53-92-Irma-Brad“What the fuck, bitch?! We went through all of this trouble for you!”

53-93-girls-tiaraMelody explains, after Miss Bar None, it’s just not important anymore. She offers Brad her tiara, silently giving Brad permission to enter the Miss Tucson pageant. Brad refuses, saying her “on-stage packing days are over”. Yeah, really, what would have been Brad’s plan had she won Miss Bar None? Anyway, Brad offers the tiara to Irma (instead of, y’know, letting Melody keep it as a memento). Irma says now she’s heard everything and leaves.

53-94-Melissa-Ernst53-95-Melody-BradMelody says “Wow, now I’ve seen everything.”

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was very nice. We learned more about Brad and Melody, and I ended up loving Brad even more than I already had.

But what was up with the title? “Miss Bar None” would have made a hell of a lot more sense.

Personally, I think Brad deserved to win, because she was the most consistently honest and genuine. Plus I can understand Brad’s motive (show up the guys that dismiss me) more than Melody’s (I need validation that I’m no longer ugly). Granted, I care so little of what people think of me that I wouldn’t be motivated to enter a competition at all, but I can understand Brad’s reason better.

I don’t care for beauty pageants. I don’t actively hate them or anything. I just don’t think they’re worth entering. I think too much emphasis is placed on physical beauty in our culture. If you’re not subjectively beautiful, you’re made to feel ugly and worthless. If inner beauty was cherished more than outer beauty, the world would be much more beautiful.

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.