Season 4, Episode 10: Doghouse Blues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jake then smells something else, and Danny hears something.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

49-49-Ernst-VicOhshitohshitohshitohshit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So ends another day at the Bar None.

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

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

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

Countdown to the Third Coming of Ted: 1

Season 4, Episode 09: Do the Right Thing

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

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

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

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

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

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

……

I don’t wanna fucking know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

48-33-Ernst-IndyFor fuck’s sake…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

48-52-Melody-cacklesMelody cackles in glee.

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

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

So ends another day at the Bar None.

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

Countdown to the Third Coming of Ted: 2

Season 4, Episode 08: Return of Ted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buddy says “Snare drum.”

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

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

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

47-21-Ted-hayBrad’s like “Hay, dude.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ted sneaks up behind Melody and scares her.

47-29-Melody-knocks-TedBad idea.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Ernst calls Buddy out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Countdown to the Third Coming of Ted: 3

Season 4, Episode 07: Lost in the Desert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The gang comes by with a plan.

46-35-coupleKyle claims he’s innocent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

46-41-Melody-bouquetMelody catches the bouquet.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

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

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

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

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 0

Season 4, Episode 06: Secret Admirer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

0607-nick-launch-2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

45-07-Kyle-note“Oops.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So ends another day at the Bar None.

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

But, really, how stupid is Kyle?

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

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 1

Season 4, Episode 05: Fear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neither actor has been credited since that episode.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

44-24-Melody-shovesThat’ll help.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why does she still have the damn glass?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

44-50-Brad-shoves-Kyle44-51-Kyle-drowns44-52-Brad-realizesBrad initially panics but then realizes her friends have set her up. No, it’s not because they’re standing a few feet away from her, because she actually somehow manages to not notice them.

44-53-emergencyBrad calls them out, and they come out. She admits they “sucked [her] in with the weeds business”. What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Jake and Buddy seem confused, and Jake sends Buddy off to get Melody.

44-54-Brad-saves-KyleSomehow convinced this is real and fearing Melody won’t get here in time, Brad runs into shallow water and “saves” Kyle.

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of this moment from “Inmates Run the Asylum” (season 3, episode 01), written by the same fucking writer:

27-21-Ted-fallsAnyway, let’s get this episode over with.

44-55-Brad-liplocks-KyleAfter he gets the kiss from Brad, he admits he was faking and asks for another one. Brad shoves him back in the lake and is hella pissed at her friends for scaring her half to death.

44-56-Ernst-GriggsMr. Griggs is convinced, and he and Mr. Ernst go off to sign the papers, so the new policy will be in effect at 5:00 PM.

44-57-Ernst-climbs44-58-gang-cheersThe pre-credits scene at the end has Mr. Ernst climbing the windmill in an attempt to get over his fear of heights as the gang cheers him on.

44-59-Ernst-triumphsHa.

As the scene fades to the closing credits, Jake tells him to come down, which worries him.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was really mixed. It’s impressive that they picked up on throwaway comments in “Battle of the Sexes” (season 1, episode 02) and “The Good, the Bad, & the Obnoxious” (season 1, episode 08) and made it the focus of an episode, but it could have been done better. The “insurance/liability” reason makes no sense. No business requires all of its employees (or even any of them) to put themselves at risk unless it’s specifically part of their jobs. The simple solution was to assign Brad to other areas, so she’d never be at the pool except on her time off (and, even then, she’d more likely be at T.R.O.T.).

As an alternative, maybe Melody leaves the pool for a bit, and Brad has to overcome her fear to save a guest at a crucial moment. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Blue Crush” (if you haven’t, shame on you; go and watch it), Kate Bosworth’s character has to deal with a similar near-drowning memory/fear. Maybe tape some flashbacks with young Brad in the family pool. In that’s cost-prohibitive, then record audio flashbacks. Either way, mix them in with, say, scenes of Brad restlessly sleeping as these childhood memories continue to haunt her. Follow her through her day as she tries to mentally brush them aside until she has no choice but to confront them.

All of that said, Kelly Brown makes of the most of the material that she’s given and is the highlight of this episode.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 2

Season 4, Episode 04: Dudesbury

Writer: Lisa Melamed
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: September 28, 1990

Here’s an odd bit of trivia. This episode is on the DVD after the next episode, “Fear”, in regard to how the files are ordered, but it’s listed in the correct order in the menu.

43-01-Brad-novelIn the cold open, Brad is spending her evening eating popcorn and reading an erotic romance novel.

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No, seriously, this novel is extremely pornographic. The author, Bertrice Small (who died a year ago next Wednesday), was known for writing graphic rape, incest, and all sorts of sex scenes. The heroines usually have multiple lovers. Perhaps this is Brad’s way of telling Melody: “Who’s the vanilla one now, bitch?”

Here are a few excerpts from the novel, courtesy of a review on Amazon (keep in mind that the heroine, Skye O’Malley, rides horses – just like Brad):

“As his seed thundered into her hidden valley he shook fiercely with the intensity of his passion.”

“Ahh…Skye, your little honey-oven is made for me.”

“Let me play the great desert stallion tonight, my Skye. Roll over, and be my little wild mare.” I wonder if the mare is also a “little strange”.

“A moment before his climax, he touched one hand beneath her to tweak at the little button of her sensuality and they shuddered their satisfaction in union.”

“Your little honey-oven burns my lance with the fiery flow of the passion you would like to deny me, but can’t.”

And here’s one from a scene in which Skye is raped:

“And though she hated him, her body treacherously yielded itself.”

There’s also a scene towards the end involving a twelve-year-old girl and an aroused dog. Yeah…

So how does Brad react? She rolls her eyes and exclaims “Men!” in amused disbelief. If it wasn’t for the fact that the door’s unlocked, I could totally imagine Brad feverishly masturbating to the hot beastial metaphors whilst simultaneously wondering if she could clandestinely sneak over to the corral for a little something-something.

41-09-Brad-rides-Charisma-2“Your mouth says ‘Neigh’, but your heart says ‘Aye’.”

Now that I’ve completely destroyed Brad in your minds, let’s continue.

43-02-MelodyMelody comes in, trying to tactfully avoid the implication that Brad was without a date tonight.

43-03-fine-literatureBrad cuts through the bullshit and says she “had a perfectly nice evening at home, reading fine literature”. The part where Brad says “Hey, Mel, check out this sex scene between the dog and the underage girl! It’s so fucking hot!” was, sadly, left on the cutting-room floor.

Right now, I’m wondering about Cassie’s mysterious disappearance.

Anyway, Melody says Brad can’t live her life through romance novels. Brad asks why not and refers to the fine, upstanding rapist characters as “exasperating”. She wants to hear about Melody’s date, so she can “live [her] life through [Melody]”.

43-04-Melody-guysBefore Melody can get into it, Jake and Danny arrive. Jake asks if they’re decent. Melody says yes. Jake decides to forget it and walk away. Okay, that’s pretty damn funny. Brad invites them in for a recounting of Melody’s hot date. This amuses the guys, which slightly ticks off Melody. Anyway, the guys make gestures and facial expressions behind Melody’s back to “correct” Melody’s tale for Brad. It turns out that the guy was an idiot, which Jake and Danny know, because they followed them to the diner or wherever. They were in the next booth, in disguise:

43-05-disguisesMelody is pissed and tells them to get a life. Brad is amused and wants to go out with them next time. They banter for a bit, and Melody can’t believe her misfortune.

43-06-Dud-RanchAfter the credits, Danny is working on a comic strip. I know we don’t get a good look at it, but I’m wondering if Joe Torres drew it.

43-07-Danny-JakeJake arrives with a bag. It goes unexplained, but I’m guessing he’s on garbage detail. Danny is startled and tries to hide his work. Jake believes it’s a diary and thinks it’s macho. He knows a surfer back home, Ten-Toe Connolly, that keeps one, not missing a day.

43-08-Jake-readsAfter some prodding, Danny finally shows the comic strip to Jake. It’s called “The Dud Ranch” (the “e” fell off the sign). It’s about Melody’s date with “Neanderthal Man”, but Melody is called “Harmony”. Danny and Jake are also in the strip. Danny was inspired to do this based on Melody’s comment in the cold open, comparing her situation to a cartoon. Jake calls Danny “dangerous”. Danny wants to keep this between them, but Jake wants Danny to share it. Danny inadvertently gives Jake an idea.

43-09-Roy-BradOn another day, the love child of Benjamin Ernst and Balki Bartokomous arrives at the ranch. His name is Roy, and he’s new to “the paper”. He stares at Brad, getting a weird feeling from her. He’s here to see “Mr. Decker”, which Brad finds odd, but she points him to the main lodge.

Roy is played by Tracy Henry. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.

43-10-Lucy-BuddyLucy and Buddy come by. Lucy is carrying a hideous statue that Mr. Ernst had bid on and won. Roy asks them for “Mr. Decker” (why? Brad already told him where to go), which Lucy finds odd. Buddy asks Roy what he wants Jake for. Roy says it’s a “business matter”, and he’s from “The Daily News”, which isn’t a real Tucson newspaper. Tucson is served by the Arizona Daily Star (and, previously, by the Tucson Citizen), but I understand they can’t use a real newspaper for this story. Anyway, Jake had previously placed a classified ad, and a bunch of beautiful models showed up. Lucy wants to know what’s going on, and she and Buddy go with Roy to find Jake.

43-11-statueRoy asks about the statue, but Lucy is clueless. She and Roy go into the main lodge, and Buddy wishes for the statue to fly away.

43-12-Jake-goofs-offJake is working the front desk and starts “drumming” with a pencil and the phone receiver – as well as making “music” with the stapler. Lucy is (uncharacteristically) amused. Roy is confused. Jake then realizes the person that he was talking to, Mrs. Morton, is still on the line. He quickly ends the conversation and hangs up. Jake is excited at Roy’s arrival and goes to get Danny (by shouting out the window). Lucy demands to know what the fuck’s going on. Danny arrives.

43-13-meetingAfter a bunch of surprised reactions and confusion, Lucy gets them to clear things up. Jake stole Danny’s book and sent it to the newspaper. More arguing ensues. Buddy yells at them to shut up. Lucy thanks him. Roy explains his editor hates him and has rejected all of his ideas – until he showed him the comic strip that arrived in the mail. Roy calls Danny brilliant. Jake seconds that. Danny wants to keep it private. Once he explains what the strip is about, Buddy loves it. Danny has to think about it. Roy says Danny is really talented and promises him money, but Danny says it’s not about money. Jake tries to convince Danny. Roy promises Danny a daily audience of thousands of readers.

43-14-Danny-agreesDanny finally agrees to it and decides to get to work. He asks Roy when the strip is gonna start running, and Roy nervously tries to explain.

43-15-Melody-pissedToo late. Melody storms in, hella pissed and calling for Danny’s balls on a silver platter. Yeah, the strip’s already running, which would have gotten the newspaper sued in real life if Danny had said no (or possibly even if he hadn’t).

43-16-statue43-17-Jake-RoyOn another day, amidst the stupid statue (which has taken residence in the lunch area), Jake gives Roy…the next strip, I guess. So Roy has to stop by the ranch to pick these up?

43-18-Roy-girls43-19-Roy-BradRoy has been pestering Brad for a date, but she keeps turning him down and finally makes it definite, but he doesn’t get it. After he leaves, Melody and Brad banter for a bit about Clark Kent and Superman. Melody observes Brad never gives anybody a chance and tells her to go out with Roy once. Brad doesn’t want to. The discussion turns to Danny’s comic strip, which, according to Melody, “is getting worse and worse every day”.

43-20-Buddy-paperBuddy and Lucy agree. Buddy is “Buggy”, who “looks like a pumpkin head on a stick”. Lucy is “Lasso, the terrorist ranch hand”. Brad is “Drab”, the dateless, feed sack-wearing loser. Melody has been nervous that Danny might catch her doing something stupid and use it as a plot for his next strip.

43-21-Jake-pissedJake comes by, saying “Hey, duds.” Okay, that’s cute. He doesn’t share their concerns until Brad reveals he’s “Jerk”, the “total dweeb” that keeps his job only because he’s the owner’s nephew. Jake is pissed, but they don’t share his concern.

43-22-caricaturesAfter the commercial break, Danny is making more money by drawing caricatures of the guests.

43-23-Danny-drawsHe’s currently drawing an easily-amused man’s girlfriend. Melody seems to disapprove of the drawing.

43-24-girlfriend43-25-girlfriend-destroysSo does the girlfriend.

The boyfriend is played by Steve Pearce. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig. He had previously played a guest (perhaps the same character) in “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (season 3, episode 09).

The girlfriend is played by Victoria Henning. “Hey Dude” was her sole acting gig.

43-26-Brad-photographerBrad finds the whole thing stupid and turns down Danny’s offer of drawing a caricature of her. She has to fend off a photographer.

43-27-Brad-hidesIt turns out that the photographer is from the newspaper, which is doing on article on “The Dud Ranch”. Brad doesn’t want everyone to know she’s Drab.

The photographer is played by Paul Guyot. “Hey Dude” was his first acting gig in a short career of bit parts (five of them), spanning 1990-1997. However, he’s gotten a lot of production work done between “Judging Amy”, “Leverage”, and “The Librarians”; he’s done writing work for those three series plus “Felicity”, “Level 9”, and an upcoming television movie called “Geostorm”; he was a story editor on “Judging Amy”; he has a few assistant credits; and he has a lot of stand-in credits (including standing in for Don Johnson and Christian Slater twice each). Pretty damn good. Either this episode or standing in for Nicholas Cage in “Fire Birds” was his first work.

Brad gets on Danny’s case about not doing his work (namely, grooming and exercising the horses). Danny has a free pass from ranch work from Mr. Ernst, who had also come up with the caricature idea (“take advantage of the local talented hand”). I bet Danny was like “Just give all of my work to Kyle. We don’t wanna hang out with him, anyway.”

Brad gets a sharp line in when she asks “Oh, now you’re the talent?”, which possibly is a reference to when Mr. Ernst hyped up Melody in “Our Little Champion” (season 2, episode 03).

Brad tries to drag Danny off to work, but he refuses, because he might “hurt [his] drawing hand”.

43-28-Brad-threatensBrad threatens to do it for him. Danny says he has a better job.

43-29-Lucy-pissedBrad is in disbelief. Lucy gets pissed at Danny for that remark as well as his depiction of her in the comic strip.

43-30-Lucy-photographerThe photographer comes by to take a picture of her, and Lucy gets pissed at him as well, which basically proves Danny’s point.

43-31-Melody-deskMelody, who’s been observing all of this from the desk and thinking “Fuck this fucking shit”, is summoned by Danny.

43-32-Melody-caricature43-33-caricaturesHe drew caricatures of the three of them (and perhaps the others). Melody complains about her drawing. Brad thinks it’s “kinda cute” and offers to take it, but Melody refuses. Lucy thinks her own drawing is “not that bad”. Danny charges them the “friends” rate of $10 each for the autographed drawings, and they give them back to him in disgust.

43-34-RoyRoy shows up and flirts with Brad.

43-35-Brad-rolls-eyesBrad reacts accordingly and tells Roy to fuck off.

Roy asks Danny about the photo shoot, and Danny says his friends are “bugged” by all of the attention that he’s getting. Roy gives Danny a rambling pep talk and asks him to draw him in as Brad’s boyfriend.

43-36-Jake-pissedJake comes by, complaining about the “bozo” photographer. He also regales his friends with a tale of him walking back to the bunk house last night and hearing Danny interviewing himself. He calls Danny out of touch and wants someone to talk to Mr. Ernst about stopping him now. Brad says Mr. Ernst laughs his head off every morning. Melody is surprised Mr. Ernst finds “Mr. Ear Nest, the bumbling ranch owner” funny. Lucy reveals Mr. Ernst doesn’t know he’s Mr. Ear Nest. Melody finds sorry for him. Jake vows to tell him, but Brad advises against it. Jake asks for alternate suggestions. Brad suggests stealing Danny’s comics and writing personal attacks on them. Jake loves the idea, but Brad claims she was kidding. Melody suggests sitting Danny down and forcing him to listen to them. Jake suggests a hardback chair and hot interrogation lights. As he says this:

43-37-Brad-interrogatesBrad, I love you.

Lucy decides to keep it simple and calls for a staff meeting after dinner. They start talking about how they’re gonna verbally kick Danny’s ass.

43-38-staff-meetingAfter dinner, the staff (sans Mr. Ernst and Kyle) is present, and so is Buddy. The others are kept waiting as Danny finishes eating. Lucy opens the meeting and invites the others to speak up, but they, strangely, refuse to say anything. Why?

Danny speaks up, upset that they loved the strip until it was about them, revealing what they are. Jake, Lucy, and Brad inadvertently prove his point.

43-39-Melody-applaudsMelody applauds Danny for figuring out what’s wrong with them but then is like “So fucking what? Nobody’s perfect. We don’t want everyone reading this shit.”

43-40-Brad-lecturesDanny storms off from the “waste of time”, but Brad stops him and lectures him. She tries to get him to think about positive moments that he’s had with his friends. We learn Brad once sat up all night with Danny when he was sick, and Melody listens to all of Danny’s problems. Defensive, Danny says he’s not trying to hurt anybody, but Brad says it doesn’t matter; he is. Danny declares it’s “just a stupid little comic strip” and runs off. Brad says it isn’t to them. Jake says they’ve gotta do something about Danny pronto.

43-41-Danny-caricature43-42-groupThey decide to give Danny “a taste of his own medicine”. Jake drew this in the universe of the series, but I’m guessing Joe Torres drew all of the drawings in this episode. Just a guess, though.

After some confusion over Danny’s hair (arrow, mousse, or moose antlers), they debate when to give it to Danny. Brad wants to video-tape Danny’s reaction. Jake wants to get it in the newspaper as a “tribute to the artist” and has Brad sweet-talk Roy into agreeing to it.

43-43-Jake-begsRoy seems preoccupied and wants to see Danny. When Brad doesn’t get immediate results, Jake begs Roy. Roy goes off to find Danny. Sensing something’s going on, Brad leads the others after Roy.

43-44-Danny-guestDanny has sold a drawing to a guest. The woman is played by Jo Ann Self. “Hey Dude” was her sole acting gig.

43-45-Danny-RoyRoy comes over and lays into Danny, asking if this is a joke. Danny wrote and drew nice strips for this week; he’s decided to take “The Dud Ranch” into a new direction. Someone gasps at this announcement, but I can’t tell if it’s Brad or Melody. Roy cautions Danny against doing this, and one of the girls gasps at Roy’s insistence on mean, nasty, sarcastic entertainment. Danny tells Roy to take it or leave it. Roy asks why. Danny says it wasn’t going so well for him. Roy is firm with Danny. Danny offers Roy a parting handshake (someone seemingly applauds at that), so…

43-46-Roy-begsDanny refuses to budge, even when Roy offers a compromise of alternating between nice and mean. Roy is worried over what the editor will do to him.

43-47-Roy-gangMelody pretends they just walked in and asks Roy what’s the matter. Roy claims Danny’s quit the strip. The gang rushes over, and Brad asks Danny how come. Danny says he broke his pencil. Jake demands the truth. Danny reveals the fact that “the most important people” didn’t like the strip “finally sunk in” (off camera, of course).

43-48-Melody-kisses-DannyMelody takes back every rotten thing that she ever thought about Danny.

Jake takes back “almost” every rotten thing that he ever said about Danny.

Roy asks the gang about the picture that they wanted him to run in the paper. They hide the caricature of Danny and pretend it didn’t happen.

As Roy leaves, Brad decides he might indeed be the great desert stallion to her little wild mare after all and gives chase. Melody slaps Danny on the back and seemingly sarcastically says “Great.” What the fuck? I don’t get it. Isn’t this what Melody wanted?

Brad admits to Roy what she says she’d never admit to Danny: after seeing Drab in the comic strip, she learned a couple things about herself. She says maybe she’s too picky and doesn’t always give people a chance. She’d like to change, starting with him.

43-49-Brad-RoyAnd though she hated him, her body treacherously yielded itself.

Brad’s suggestions for going out include bowling, roller skating, and…skeet shooting. She’s been hanging out with the Vlecks too long. Roy turns her down.

43-50-Brad-surprisedRoy explains it could only go downhill; either she’d hate him, or he’d discover she isn’t perfect (which is apparently an insurmountable obstacle for him). Brad admits she’s never been broken up with by someone that she wasn’t even going out with. Roy is late and excuses himself, saying he’ll see Brad in his dreams.

43-51-Brad-Men!“Men!”

43-52-partyThe pre-credits scene at the end has the gang throwing a party to celebrate Danny losing his job at the newspaper. They toast the end of “The Dud Ranch”. Brad happily says goodbye to Roy. Huh. Well, I guess she’s over him.

Buddy expresses Mr. Ernst’s condolences to Danny and reveals Mr. Ernst knew all along that he’s Mr. Ear Nest. Jake says Mr. Ernst has a better sense of humor than all of them combined. Melody considers maybe they weren’t such good sports.

43-53-Danny-caricatureDanny found the caricature that they drew of him…somehow. Who held onto it? Melody apologizes. Brad laughs it off. Danny doesn’t mind, but he says the arrow through his head looks like antlers. Jake crumples up the drawing, ticked off.

Buddy has Jake lift the ugly statue to move it…into Mr. Ernst’s office, I guess, but then…

43-54-broken-statueEveryone except Buddy yucks it up.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty good, but Danny was an ass for the way that he treated his friends in the comic strip and let “fame” go to his head. Also, his change of heart occurred off screen with no indication that it was going to, which I guess happens in real life, but they should have at least shown a brief moment with Danny pausing in silent reflection.

Despite not appearing, Mr. Ernst had a lot to do, affecting the main plot and even having his own subplot with that stupid statue.

Most importantly, though, in less than a minute, this episode revealed how Brad spends her evenings and what she considers “fine literature”. Giddy up.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 3

Season 4, Episode 03: Magnum Ernst

Writer: Clifford Fagin
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: September 21, 1990

I guess there was a rule that, every once in a while, there would be an episode with a totally batshit insane plot. Such is the case this week. What’s surprising, though, is the writer of this episode: Clifford Fagin. He wrote some good, down-to-Earth episodes previously. Of course, he also wrote “Suspicion” (season 1, episode 11). “Magnum Ernst” is definitely his weirdest script yet.

And it’s a minute longer than previous episodes. Yeah, the episode is nearly 25.5 minutes long, although there’s only about thirty more seconds of actual story. The closing credits run around 1:15. I don’t know why they suddenly decided to increase the running time.

42-01-ErnstIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst walks outside and inhales. He says he loves the smell of sagebrush in the morning. Okay.

42-02-Danny-ErnstHe then trips over Danny, who was crawling around on the ground. Danny helps an angry Mr. Ernst up and explains he was following a horn toad, and it went under the porch. Danny has an idea for The Bar None Museum – A Living Desert (a “fascinating” collection of the local flora and fauna). Danny says it’s “a good money-making idea”. Mr. Ernst brings up his Aunt Kathleen’s reptile farm (before they put in the interstate) as an example of a “thriving business”. Her main attraction was “The Tattooed Man” (his Uncle Jim).

42-03-Buddy-cageBefore Mr. Ernst can bore Danny (and us) too much with his story, Buddy comes by with exciting news: he just saw a walking roadrunner. Danny has Buddy take him to him.

42-04-horned-lizardMr. Ernst spots the “horn toad” (which is actually a lizard) and hops after it on all fours. Yeah…

42-05-girlsMelody and Brad make a pointless appearance in the last few seconds of the cold open, confused over their boss’ actions. Brad decides she doesn’t wanna fucking know, and they move on.

42-06-Buddy-JakeAfter the credits, Jake and Buddy spot the sheriff’s car at the ranch, and Jake gets on Buddy’s case about stealing soda cans and recycling them, because “they belong to the guests who drank them”, not money-seeking Buddy.

42-07-Sheriff-ErnstThe sheriff, who is unnamed in the episode but called Sheriff Cody in the closing credits, is having emergency ass surgery (seriously), so “Ben” will be covering for him for a few days.

Sheriff Cody is played by Jay Floyd. “Hey Dude” was his first of two acting gigs, the second being a bit part in a 1997 movie called “Girl Crazy”.

Buddy and Jake are proud of Mr. Ernst for doing this, and Jake gets a legit funny line in when he calls his uncle “Wyatt Ernst”.

But lets back the fuck up for a moment, shall we? Why is Mr. Ernst, of all people, filling in for the sheriff? Isn’t there a deputy that could – and would be more qualified to – do the job?

Second, this episode is making it seem like the Bar None is located in some backwater town like Mayberry or some shit. The sheriff is implied to have jurisdiction of the entire county. Pima County’s population is primarily concentrated in Tucson. In 1990, Tucson had a population of 405,371 people, which is nearly three times the 2010 population of the backwater county that I live in. That’s a decent-sized city! The Tucson Police Department is headed by a police chief, not a sheriff. But this stupid episode isn’t about to let facts get in its way.

Anyway, Sheriff Cody will be “right down the road at County General” (which isn’t a real hospital in Tucson) if Mr. Ernst needs him. So…in the same general area as the Snake Eyes Ranch and T.R.O.T., right?

42-08-starter-packageSheriff Cody gives Mr. Ernst his “official sheriff’s starter package”, which includes a .38 gun and a radio to contact “Marlene back at the office”. They’re really pushing this podunk image, aren’t they?

42-09-oathAt Mr. Ernst’s insistence, Sheriff Cody swears him in: “Do you swear to execute the duties of the sheriff and to keep the uniform pretty clean?” “I do.” “I now appoint you acting sheriff.”

42-10-sirenSheriff Cody also gives Mr. Ernst a siren to…stick on top of his Jeep or truck, I guess. The sheriff leaves, Mr. Ernst accidentally drops everything, and the siren goes off. Hilarious.

Mr. Ernst starts to “sound like a cop”, which worries Jake and Buddy.

42-11-new-sheriffHa. Anyway, I remember this shot being used in a Nickelodeon commercial for “Hey Dude” back in the early ’90s – not for this specific episode, just for the series in general. It had Western music playing, and there was a tough-sounding narrator.

42-12-Brad-ticket42-13-Lucy-BradBrad is upset over “Sheriff Ernst” (a.k.a. “Mr. Sheriff”) giving her a ticket for parking a horse in a “mounting and dismounting zone only” for a minute while she ran to the tack room. Mr. Ernst claims there’s “nothing [that he] can do about it now”, because it’s “in the files”. What the shit kind of reasoning is that? Anyway, Brad is so pissed that she’ll write her congressman – and her parents.

After Brad storms off, Lucy tries to talk to Mr. Ernst about his behavior. He admits he pissed off a guest this morning by giving her a citation for smoking in a non-smoking area. Lucy suggests educating the public through the use of signs or something. Honestly, I wish she’d just tell him to stop with this fucking bullshit. Why is the “sheriff” limiting his patrol to the Bar None, anyway? And am I the only one seeing a similarity to Ted’s power trip in “Inmates Run the Asylum” (season 3, episode 01)?

42-14-squirt-gunLucy makes fun of Mr. Ernst for carrying around a squirt gun, but Mr. Ernst was nervous, because he “never held a real gun before”. Bullshit. See “Perfect Father” (season 1, episode 07):

07-53-Buddy-fives-dadBesides, he continues, it was heavy. We learn Lucy grew up on a ranch with seven brothers and learned early on how to handle firearms. Lucy offers to give him an introductory lesson. Mr. Ernst is pleased but has her keep the squirt gun thing a secret.

42-15-Ernst-gunWhere the fuck did he get that? It’s not the sheriff’s gun, and he said in “They’re Back” (season 4, episode 01) that they have no guns on the ranch.

Anyway, Mr. Ernst brings up John Wayne, who seems to get quite a few mentions on this series. Lucy gives him some pointers and then pulls up a target.

42-16-targetWhen the fuck did she have time to make/find this?

42-17-Ernst-groundAnyway, the “sheriff” shits his pants and gets knocked over by the gun’s recoil, which he explains as taking “evasive action”. He gives the gun to Lucy, and she advises resuming after lunch. He does a bad John Wayne impression, and she helps him walk away.

42-18-Jake-meditatesJake is doing yoga, I guess because he’s the “weird” one from California, home of alternate lifestyles or some shit.

42-19-Danny-annoyedJake’s “yogurt” is making Danny “nervous”, although he seems more annoyed than anything else. Danny works on cages for the animals. We learn Danny has “painful memories” of nasty falls and contorted legs.

42-20-Mr.-Cactus-HeadBuddy brings by his contribution to the museum: Mr. Cactus Head. I don’t even…

After some banter, we learn Danny hasn’t caught any animals yet, opting to build the cages first. Jake gets on Danny’s case.

42-21-hat42-22-Danny-noMy feelings exactly.

42-23-Lucy-MelodyLater, Melody and Lucy’s conversation is interrupted by:

42-24-Madame-SonyaFuckfuckfuckfuckfuck

A guest (uncredited) wants Melody’s attention, so Lucy goes over to deal with the “sheriff”. He’s “undercover” on a “police sting operation”. He’s been studying the “little-known felonies”, and he says, in this county, paying money to a fortune-teller is illegal. That’s bullshit. Yeah, there are a background check, a license requirement, and hefty fees (or, at least, there was as late as 2008), but it’s not illegal.

Anyway, he’s waiting for someone to slip him a “fiver”. I assume he means a $5 bill and not weed or a handjob. After some bullshit palm reading (Lucy will be either an acrobat, which interests her, or a laundromat), Lucy points out that Mr. Ernst is engaging in entrapment, which is illegal (this shocks Mr. Ernst) and not nice to the guests. She seems to assure him that he’s got the Bar None’s “criminal element” under control.

42-25-Miss-DibbleAs if on cue (what is this, a sitcom or something?), a guest runs out of her room, calling for help and claiming she’s been robbed.

42-26-crowdAfter the commercial break (which comes very early in this episode), a crowd gathers around the guest, whose name seems to be Miss Vanderdibble, although the closing credits call her “Miss Dibble”, which I’ll refer to her as, because “Vanderdibble” is such a silly name.

Miss Dibble is played by Katherine E. Roberts. “Hey Dude” was her sole acting gig.

42-27-Dibble-upsetMr. Ernst asks what’s going on. Brad explains something’s missing from Miss Dibble’s room, and Miss Dibble clarifies it’s her silver charm bracelet; it’s special to her and has her name engraved on it. She demands someone call the police immediately.

42-28-Dibble-insultsMr. Ernst has to convince her that he’s “the police”. She basically accuses him of being high as fuck, which is awesome.

Hang on. Who’s that girl next to Brad? Is she supposed to be a staff member? She’s wearing khaki shorts, but I don’t see a badge. Is she the same staffer from “Dueling Ranches” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy”?

Anyway, Mr. Ernst questions Miss Dibble, who explains her bracelet went missing from the top of her dresser near her (always locked) door while she was out mountain-biking. Her door and windows were still locked. Mr. Ernst suspects an “inside job”.

42-29-Ida-RillSuddenly, another guest yells out that her needlepoint is gone. Everyone runs over to her. Mr. Ernst declares this is a “conspiracy”.

42-30-breatheThe old woman is hyperventilating, so Brad has Danny give her a bag, which she has the old woman breathe into. I love Betty’s reaction, which roughly translates to “I so don’t give a fuck.”

42-31-bagDanny had stuck a banana peel from lunch in the bag and forgotten about it. Brad tries to comfort the woman, Ida Rill from Kansas. Ida Rill is played by Frieda M. Emme. “Hey Dude” was her sole acting gig.

This is the second of two episodes where IMDb credits Toby Huss as Mr. Ernst, which is so obviously wrong.

42-32-Ernst-assuresBrad gets Mr. Ernst to assure the guests that he’ll find their stuff. Betty and Lucy try to comfort Miss Dibble. Everyone encourages Mr. Ernst.

42-33-Ernst-on-the-caseThey shouldn’t have.

42-34-Jake-drumsJake provides nature documentary-sounding narration and drums up some “suspenseful” music as Buddy and Danny look on. Okay, that’s pretty funny. There’s even some “wilderness”/”tribal” musical score going on.

Mr. Ernst has trouble communicating with Marlene over the radio (translation: they’re not paying for an additional actor to do a voiceover), and he’s carrying the squirt gun again.

His dad being “the heat” makes Buddy nervous, and Jake agrees. Jake adds, other than a general concern for global warming, he used to be a pretty laid-back guy. Danny points out that Jake “break[s] into a sweat” when the FBI warnings come on at the beginning of home videos. Jake admits he has a problem with authority figures. The three guys speculate for a while on the crimes and perpetrators.

42-35-Danny-netDanny goes off “to hunt the elusive desert salamander and other potential candidates for the living museum”, and Buddy joins him. Jake spouts some bullshit Tarzan quote to them as they leave and then continues drumming.

42-36-Ernst-magnifying-glass42-37-Ernst-plucksLater, in his office, Mr. Ernst collects hair samples from everybody (starting with Jake) to send to “the boys in Forensics” to match up with the hair sample that he took from “the scene of the crime” (he doesn’t specify which one). He’s farming out this work to Mr. Rodey’s chemistry class over at the junior high. As ridiculous as that is, the writer does at least have Jake specify it’s a summer school chemistry class to prevent the timeline from exploding.

42-38-Ernst-interrogates-JakeThe “sheriff” proceeds to interrogate “Dog Breath”. Basically, it’s like when he interrogated Danny in “Perfect Father”, except now he’s totally serious about it.

42-39-Melody-interruptsMelody interrupts, much to Jake’s gratitude. Okay, that’s pretty funny. Jake accidentally gets fingerprinting ink on his face, and Melody is ashamed of Mr. Ernst for fingerprinting his own nephew. Mr. Ernst insists it’s all “part of the investigative process” to stop “this rash of burglaries”. Mr. Ernst proceeds to grill Melody, making her nervous.

42-40-Buddy-victoriousBuddy comes in and announces he and Danny just caught the thief.

42-41-Buddy-couchThe others rush out the door in excitement, and Melody (the “nice” one) shoves Buddy out of her fucking way. He lands on the couch.

Outside, Mr. Ernst confronts the thief, going into a Dirty Harry impression (which also seems to be a recurring thing on this series, albeit not as much as John Wayne).

42-42-thiefIt’s a packrat.

42-43-bracelet42-44-needlepointDanny had staked out his nest…for some reason…and discovered Miss Dibble’s bracelet and Miss Rill’s needlepoint. Mr. Ernst is envious of Danny, because he always wanted to go out on a stakeout. Miss Rill rightly asks why a mouse would want her needlepoint, and Miss Dibble asks if this is usual behavior for mice. Buddy says it is. Melody wonders how the mouse got in and out of the guest houses. Jake guesses the mouse must have crawled through a hole in the wall. Mr. Ernst bullshits a bit about the scope of the “hole in the wall gang” and puts his hand against the cage. The mouse seemingly bites him, and Mr. Ernst says “Rats”, makes a vegetarian joke, and growls at the mouse, and let’s move on, shall we?

42-45-Lucy-ErnstThe next day (I guess), during breakfast…at the front desk, Mr. Ernst laments having to give up his bullshit sheriff job.

42-46-Melody-donutsMelody brings by donuts and gives the “sheriff” first choice. He can’t decide between frosted and jelly, so she gives him one of each.

42-47-Ernst-donutMr. Ernst again laments the impending loss of his bullshit sheriff job but expresses his appreciation to Melody for her daily donut delivery. This is the first that we’ve heard of it, but most of this episode occurred during a single day.

42-48-Brad-sheriffBrad arrives with coffee and Sheriff Cody. Sheriff Cody, upon seeing the donuts, says he’s died and gone to Sheriff Heaven. Okay, legit funny joke. Melody invites him to help himself. He comments on the “interesting taste”. Melody explains it’s the “oat brand”, which helps keep his cholesterol down. They banter for a bit. Sheriff Cody declares “Ben” is his “standby sheriff”, because he did a “crackerjack job” at “keepin’ the peace”. Who the fuck did he hear that from? Whoever it is is a goddamn liar.

They banter for a bit more, and then Mr. Ernst returns the “official sheriff’s started package”, but Sheriff Cody lets him hold onto the badge for “next time”, which delights Mr. Ernst. Lucy gives Mr. Ernst an undeserved compliment on his performance as sheriff, and Melody and Brad say they’ll still bring him his donuts and coffee, respectively, every morning. Mr. Ernst says he’ll still be able to take a snooze every once in a while in the station wagon. Say what? What station wagon? And when has Mr. Ernst ever been shown to sleep in it? Melody says “the [police] force will be with you”. Hahahahaha. Shut up!

42-49-Ernst-ticketSheriff Cody returns with a forgotten ticket for Mr. Ernst. A few weeks ago, Mr. Ernst double-parked and blocked old Judge Reinhart’s Chevy. Melody humorously offers Mr. Ernst another donut to cheer him up.

42-50-desert-museumThe pre-credits scene at the end has the grand opening of the Bar None Desert Museum (a.k.a. Bar None Museum of the Living Desert).

42-51-Buddy-unveilsBuddy unveils the animals, which even Mr. Ernst hasn’t seen.

42-52-girlsThe girls are like “What the fuck?”

42-53-animals42-54-animals-242-55-animals-3Mr. Ernst is angry at Danny for not rounding up anything cool in “2,000 square miles of desert” and says he can’t ask the guests to pay to look at this shit. Danny tries to explain this as a “start”. We learn the Bar None’s season ends on Labor Day (the first Monday in September), which is considered to be the unofficial end of summer. We also learn Danny and Buddy gave Mr. Ernst free admission. Oh, they featured a rubber snake, a “barn kitten” that lives on the ranch, and a seemingly dead turtle. Lucy insults the museum, and Melody agrees. Oh, the packrat “broke out of jail”. Danny reveals the final animal:

42-56-skunkA skunk.

42-57-panicEveryone panics.

After they leave, Danny yells it’s a stuffed skunk.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty fucking stupid and completely unrealistic. There were some funny moments, and I like that we got some more backstory on Lucy, but overall what the fucking hell? I can’t believe this is from the same guy that wrote “The Good, the Bad, & the Obnoxious”, “Teacher’s Pest”, “Superstar”, “Datenite”, and “Ride, She Said”.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 4

Season 4, Episode 02: Ride, She Said

Before I start this review, I’d like to make an observation that I’d only recently realized regarding the previous episode: Sometime after the series premiere, Mr. Ernst had air conditioners installed in the guest rooms.

Writer: Clifford Fagin
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: September 14, 1990

41-01-Melody-hatIn the cold open, Melody has a new cowboy hat. Brad compliments the “cowgirl” on it. Melody thinks it’s a little too nice to wear around here, and Brad agrees. After a bit of banter (during which the audio gets really rough during one of Melody’s lines (damage?)), Brad brings up “that great Fourth of July party” that they had. It’s unclear whether this was “this summer” or “last summer”. Anyway, Buddy accidentally trimmed Melody’s hair with a fistful of sparklers. Melody tries to think of an idea for a party to be held at the ranch.

41-02-deliveryA guy comes by with a delivery for Brad, who assumes it’s her dry cleaning, but…

41-03-CharismaThe delivery man is played by Billy Flick. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig.

41-04-Brad-cardBrad reads a card from her parents: “Dear Bradley, Her name’s Charisma, and we couldn’t resist. Think of it as an early Christmas present.”

That’s the inspiration that Melody needed.

41-05-in-stereoThe series is now shown in stereo (or at least it’s now advertised as doing so at the end of the theme song).

41-06-Brad-CharismaAfter the credits, on another day (I guess), Brad is practically making love to her new girl toy. Charisma seemingly talks to Brad.

41-07-guysNah, it was just Jake. To her credit, Brad realizes it after only a second. The guys want to witness Brad riding Charisma for the first time, which she, strangely, hasn’t done yet. Jake banters a bit about “Daylight Savings [sic] Time”, and then Brad has him help her mount her beloved steed.

41-08-Brad-rides-Charisma41-09-Brad-rides-Charisma-2The guys compliment Charisma and Brad. Brad loves riding her “sweet girl”.

41-10-Melody-clipboardMelody comes by and is all “Christmas in July party, bitches! Let’s do it!” Since the earliest summer, pre-August Tuesday the 13th after the fall of the Berlin Wall occurred on July 13, 1993, this means this episode ends no more than 18 days after the beginning of “Superstition” (season 3, episode 06). Just so you know. I’m beginning to think this timeline possibly might not hold up. But bear with me. Since most episodes show no more than a few minutes from each day, and the passage of time from one scene to the next might be ambiguous in some cases, what if episodes overlapped with each other? Like scene 01 of episode y occurs on the same day as scene 03 of episode x? Maybe the characters need to change clothes, due to sweating from the heat. Maybe an entire later episode (or two) could fit between the second act and pre-credits scene of an earlier episode. Stuff like that. That could actually explain the full moon that we see throughout the series. I’m now entirely convinced I’ve put about a thousand times more thought into this than the writers did. Heck, I’ve tried to tackle the timelines of “Jem” and “Saved by the Bell”.

Holy shit, where was I? Oh, yeah, Melody says they never get to spend Christmas together. Buddy adds Hanukkah. Are the Ernsts Jewish, perhaps? Danny adds Geronimo’s birthday. Okay, two things. One: Geronimo was born on June 16, so, yes, they have fucking spent his birthday together. Two: Geronimo was Apache, not Hopi!

Anyway, Melody gets all sugary-sweet Christmasy and assigns Buddy to food. Buddy will whip up one of his “specialties”, which makes Danny sick just thinking about it. Look for Jake to playfully slap Buddy (his cousin) in support. Nice touch. Melody assigns Danny (the artistic one) to decorations and Jake to entertaining. Jake bullshits about reading “The Night After Christmas”. They will head “committees”, which will never come up again.

The others get butthurt over Brad hogging Charisma and not letting them ride her (Charisma, that is).

41-11-Ernst-Brad-truckThe next day (I guess), Mr. Ernst and Brad are taking a bunch of horse-related stuff to “some kind of ranch riding school down the road” that “a friend of Lucy’s” runs. A few things:

It’s “a friend of Lucy”. No need for the “‘s” to indicate possession in this case, because we already have the “of”.

The Bar None has a Toyota pick-up truck (which we’ve never seen before). I guess it makes sense that they’d have one.

There’s another ranch “down the road” from the Bar None other than the Snake Eyes. Yeah, it’s a riding school, but it’s still pretty convenient. Is the road called “Ranch Road” or something? (No, it’s Speedway Boulevard; I know.)

Lucy will be mentioned a lot in this episode, but she doesn’t appear. But that’s still better than Kyle, who’s neither seen nor mentioned. This makes the episode feel like it belongs in the “Jake-Only Era”. It if wasn’t for his appearance in the theme song, I would have forgotten about Kyle. I guess they really didn’t know what to do with him.

Anyway, Brad hands Mr. Ernst a salt lick, and…

41-12-Ernst-licksMr. Ernst seems to like it. Amusing side note: an Internet friend of mine (originally from Arizona) once compared drinking her husband’s cum to licking a salt lick.

Anyway, Mr. Ernst wants them to meet their neighbors, help them out, and maybe make a friend or two. He then makes a “definitely almost funny” joke (Brad’s words; she’s fucking awesome).

41-13-Ernst-truck41-14-truck-arrives41-15-Cindy-Ernst-BradThey soon arrive at the school, and Cindy Stone comes out to meet them. Cindy is played by Susan Sindelar. “Hey Dude” was her sole acting gig.

41-16-Buck-WayneCindy is happy for the stuff that they brought and has two guys named Buck and Wayne unload the truck. Buck is played by Jeffrey Krassow. “Hey Dude” was his sole acting gig. Wayne is played by Brent Rock. “Hey Dude” was his first acting gig. He then fell off the map for eleven years and then suddenly started acting again. He continues to act to this day. He’s also gotten some wrangling, scouting, producing, stunt, and transportation work done.

Since Lucy didn’t explain any of this to them, Cindy tells Mr. Ernst and Brad about the program, which is called “T.R.O.T.” (Therapeutic Riding of Tucson). They work primarily with handicapped kids. It’s a real organization. I assume they actually taped these scenes at T.R.O.T.’s location.

41-17-tape-damageThere’s a bit of noticeable tape damage.

41-18-kidsBrad is sad about the kids, but Cindy says they’re not sad and talks about the benefits of riding a horse.

41-19-tape-damageMore tape damage.

Brad goes to check out the school as Mr. Ernst and Cindy talk. They’ve been here about fifteen years (T.R.O.T. was founded in 1974, which means they were here for around sixteen years when the episode was taped, and this statement utterly rapes my timeline theory, but let’s just continue to call it 1993, because Cindy was rounding down anyway), but there are programs all over the country.

41-20-Brad-BobbyA kid named Bobby advises Brad to watch but not stare. Bobby is played by Garett Lewis. IMDb accidentally combines his career (which, I assume, consists solely of this episode) with that of a Garrett Lewis.

Bobby doesn’t want to ride, just watch. He tells Brad that they have “CP” (cerebral palsy). T.R.O.T. isn’t limited to serving just that group, though. They work with kids (and adults) with different kinds of disabilities. Anyway, Brad says “What a tough break.”

41-21-Brad-uncomfortableAn employee (the actor is uncredited) brings Bobby’s wheelchair over to take him to lunch. Brad didn’t realize Bobby has CP, and it makes her uncomfortable. She excuses herself and runs away. She decides to wait in the truck, which creates an awkward situation for Mr. Ernst, who excuses himself from Cindy to drive back to the Bar None.

41-22-Jake-drumsBack at the Bar None, Jake’s practicing his drumming on a bunch of junk. Why not the tubs?

41-23-Melody-abortsMelody wants to do…something to Jake but then has Danny and Buddy abort, because Brad and Mr. Ernst have returned.

We don’t hear what Brad and Mr. Ernst say, but he seems to understand the situation. Brad asks Jake what he’s doing. He’s considering doing a twenty-minute drum solo for the Christmas party. Jake informs Brad that he’s left several catalogs from “Drum World” by her bunk (they all take Visa and MasterCard) to help with gift ideas. Brad gets upset at him and sorrowfully talks about her T.R.O.T. experience. Jake gets the name of the place wrong and makes a stupid joke about kids doing wheelies in chairs.

41-24-Brad-kicksBrad rightly calls him a jerk and kicks his stupid “drum set” over. She goes off on him about being insensitive. Jake tries to deflect the blame back at her by telling her that they want her to relate to them, not to their handicap. Maybe so, but Jake was still an insensitive ass, so Brad’s still in the right. Jake mentions a friend back home that has CP. When he had a broken leg (he doesn’t elaborate on this), they had wheelchair races, and the dude would pwn his ass. Brad doesn’t know why she’s uncomfortable around disabled people and guesses maybe it’s a sense of guilt over not being disabled. Maybe, but a lot of people are uncomfortable around disabled people simply because the very reminder of disabilities makes them uncomfortable, or else they just feel a sense of sorrow for the people. Jake and Brad rib each other about disabilities and weirdness, respectively. Jake makes a dumb joke about people not getting naked in glass houses, and what the fuck does that have to do with anything?

41-25-snowballsOh, well, time for a “snowball” fight.

41-26-tape-damageAfter the commercial break (which comes very early in this episode), Brad is riding her favorite girl and takes her over to T.R.O.T.. Cindy comes by (there’s some more tape damage). We learn Bobby’s been coming for about a year but never rides, just watches. Cindy guesses he’s fascinated but still a little terrified, and she gets Brad to come over with her and say hi. Brad asks what his handicap is (didn’t she already know?); it’s cerebral palsy. Brad asks about it, and Cindy explains. Cindy also talks again about the benefits of riding and guesses Bobby will eventually do so. She opens the gate for Brad and then excuses herself to go and do work.

Brad introduces Bobby to Charisma. Bobby says Charisma smells. Brad is offended and chastises Bobby. Bobby says Charisma can’t understand him. Brad says she can sense what he’s feeling. She invites Bobby to touch her (Charisma, that is).

41-27-Bobby-pets-Charisma41-28-girls-popcornOn another day (I guess), at the Bar None, Melody is working on popcorn strings for the Christmas tree and gets on Brad’s case for eating the popcorn. Brad is surprised there’s gonna be a tree. Melody gets all Christmasy again. Brad seems to threaten to destroy the tree to prevent the party from occurring. Melody gets on Brad’s case for not “overflowing with the Christmas spirit”. Brad points out that it’s fucking July and 105 fucking degrees in the shade. She also makes a joke about how “Santa Claus is at home with his air conditioning set on tundra”, but she’s not the least bit humorous about it. We also learn the snowballs were from the ranch’s refrigerator. Melody asks “Miss Scrooge” for her point. Brad’s never been much of a Christmas person. Her parents were always away, traveling, and Brad would “always be stuck with one of [her] aunts, being force-fed fruitcake” (which she makes Melody assure her that there won’t be any of). There’ll be “just the usual staff and maybe some guests”. So…Melody’s doing this for the staff first – with selected guests as an afterthought? Brad goes off on Christmas being “harder” because of fun, food, joy, ho-ho-hoing, and guys using fistfuls of mistletoe to steal kisses (which reminds Melody to add mistletoe). Brad accepts the Christmas in July party as a “pleasant diversion” but refuses to string popcorn, preferring to read a magazine.

41-29-Buddy-schemeBuddy comes by with a scheme to get money for the Christmas party. Buddy’s idea is to use their wagon (which I don’t think we’ve ever seen) as the “sleigh” and borrow Charisma.

41-30-Brad-chokes-BuddyBrad threatens to choke Buddy to death. Melody stops her. Brad is protective of Charisma and doesn’t want her pulling a wagon or being ridden by anyone else. After a bit more discussion about it, Buddy reveals they decided to go with reindeer:

41-31-Danny-Jake-reindeerDanny and Jake argue over who gets to be Rudolph. Buddy takes them away to get another red nose, so they can both play Rudolph. Danny agrees but wants to lead the sleigh. Melody and Brad call them fruitcakes.

41-32-Brad-BobbyOn another day (I guess), Brad is hanging out with Bobby. They banter about whether Charisma likes him or just the apples that he feeds her. Brad playfully “hits” Bobby, who feigns being hurt to make her worry. She doesn’t feel as upset as I’d be if someone did that to me. Brad calls him “Bob”.

41-33-Cindy-BobbyCindy comes by and makes a joke about beating the kids up once per month to keep them from getting too cocky. She also gives Bobby a noogie. Gah, I fucking hate noogies. Once, a customer tried to get me to smile by getting up in my face (matching my head movements) with her tongue stuck out. When that failed, she gave me a noogie. I don’t know what kept me from hitting her. Then she blamed me, saying I shouldn’t be in customer service if I don’t know how to interact with the customers. Fuck that old bitch.

Anyway, Brad seems a bit displeased about the “comedians”. Bobby wants to ride Charisma. Brad is unsure. Cindy asks for information. Charisma is nine years old, quiet, sound, and kind. Cindy asks Brad what she thinks. Brad agrees to it.

41-34-Bobby-rides-Charisma41-35-Bobby-rides-Charisma-2Bobby tells Brad that he has four good legs now.

41-36-Brad-happyBrad agrees.

41-37-partyOn another day (I guess), the Christmas Pixie leads the rest of the main teen characters (except Kyle; fuck him) and random extras in a rousing rendition of “Deck the Halls” in front of the Christmas cactus.

41-38-party-2I’m really loving Betty’s leopard pants. I want a pair.

Brad praises the party and asks Melody about her cowboy hat. Melody had considered wearing it but ultimately decided on glitter over sophistication. Melody points out the tinsel that she’s wearing in her hair, and Brad says it’s attractive.

41-39-Danny-warnsBuddy brings by his “Christmas Surprise” for the girls to try, but Danny silently warns them against it. Too late for Melody, though:

41-40-Melody-burningThe “traditional Christmas colors of red and green” are sour chili and hot guacamole. I love how Danny just has a glass of punch or whatever at the ready and casually hands it to Melody.

Brad passes on the “Christmas Surprise” on the basis that her religious beliefs prevent her from eating anything with the word “guac”. Y’know what? I wanna try that shit. I love spicy food. Hell, I might make some of it someday.

41-41-Jake-secondsNaturally, Jake, being the “weird” one, comes by for seconds. Betty is the Punch Bitch at this party (such is the burden of anyone that’s not in the opening credits – nor the closing credits), so Danny takes her entire tray (at least, he asks her first).

Y’know, this series is really fucking illogical when it comes to crediting its guest actors. Two guys that walk past the camera in the background get credited, because…their characters were named? I guess. But neither the T.R.O.T. employee (whether real or fictional) that calls Bobby to lunch nor Betty, a recurring staff member, get credited. What the fucking hell, show?

Danny proposes a special Christmas toast that his father taught him when he was just a little kid (his father was very open-minded when large, festive meals were involved):

41-42-toast“To good friends, good food. Good night.”

Brad says it’s a short toast. Danny explains his father usually dozed off after the first turkey (yeah).

Melody feels like she’s in a movie like “Miracle on 34th Street” (the audio’s a bit rough when she says this), but then…

41-43-Ernst-SantaBrad declares it just turned into “Halloween, Part 5” (which isn’t the film’s title; then again, the filmmakers were inconsistent with the title anyway). Why that specific movie?

Anyway, Mr. Ernst is so dumb that he bellows “Ha, ha, ha!” instead of “Ho, ho, ho!”, and Jake has to correct him on “the traditional Santa expression of merriment”. However, Mr. Ernst still fails, because the bag is seemingly too heavy for him, and so…

41-44-Ernst-fallsLater, the main teens (except Kyle; fuck him) open their presents.

41-45-picturesBrad seemingly gave her friends pictures of herself. She actually gave them picture frames to use as they wish; she just hates “those ugly pictures of strangers”. Melody wants to keep it “right on her bunk”. Really? Why not on a night stand?

41-46-Buddy-pictureJake shares a picture from his wallet: Buddy as a baby. Buddy is surprised Jake keeps a picture of him in his wallet, but Jake is surprised the others don’t. So, so weird.

41-47-Jake-jeansJake got new jeans. Danny and Buddy shredded them themselves. Danny did the front, and Buddy did the back. Melody is surprised. Brad flirts with Jake, telling him to try them on. Jake will try them on later if Brad’s good. Jake thanks them and remarks Christmas is a “pretty holey holiday”.

41-48-girls-durrrh41-49-starsJake passes out envelopes to everyone. When he gets to Brad, there’s some kind of banter between them that I can’t understand. Anyway, each of them has a star named after them “in a galaxy far, far away”. Buddy asks if they’re really from NASA. Jake says they’re from MASA (the Minneapolis Association for Star Assignments, which isn’t a real organization as far as I can tell). Anyway, yes, NASA does exist in this universe. Space Agency isn’t a stand-in; it’s a competitor or something.

After some banter, they get to Melody’s present to Brad. Brad is excited, loving presents.

41-50-Brad-hatMelody gives Brad her cowboy hat. Brad refuses, but Melody wants her to have it. Thoughtful gift – if a tad awkward. Imagine Betty Cooper saving up for an expensive article of clothing and then giving it to her bestie, rich girl Veronica Lodge, who could easily afford a dozen of them. What would you say to something like that?

41-51-Brad-hat-2Brad wishes them a Merry Christmas, and the others join in.

41-52-Ernst-lawnmowerThe pre-credits scene at the end has Mr. Ernst trying to figure out the balance of oil and gas to put in the lawn mower. He makes it sounds like he’s putting both in the same tank. Yeah, he’s gonna fuck it up bad.

41-53-Danny-helpsLuckily, Danny comes by to help him.

41-54-Ernst-MelodyMelody comes by, asking Mr. Ernst if he knows where Brad is. Brad usually spends her day off by the pool, but she’s not there. Jake mentions he hasn’t seen Charisma around either. Melody misinterprets Mr. Ernst’s wording as Charisma dying and going to “Horse Heaven”. Brad had asked him to not mention it to anybody, but she’s at T.R.O.T. right now, and she’s decided to donate Charisma to them (Mr. Ernst guesses Brad was inspired by Melody’s gift) and volunteer part-time at T.R.O.T.. That’s really amazing. However, I admit I have mixed feeling about it (donating Charisma, not volunteering). Brad gave them an amazing gift, but she also gave them her beloved friend. I don’t agree with donating pets unless you really can’t care for them any longer. Your pet is part of your family. Love and cherish your pets. Take care of them. Sacrifice your own wants to that end if need be. But don’t just pass your pets along to someone else. Just the opinion of a schmuck writing a blog, but it’s something that I feel strongly about.

41-55-Brad41-56-Brad-2So ends another day at the Bar None.

The closing credits feature a calming, beautiful version of the theme music. There is no coyote howl. The episode runs a tad shorter than the others (by probably around 10-15 seconds), and so the credits run a little longer than usual.

This episode was very nice. We learn a lot about Brad, past and present, and she goes through some character growth. As another “very special episode” (and a bit of an advertisement for T.R.O.T.), it certainly could have been heavy-handed, but it managed to avoid it.

Countdown to the Second Coming of Ted: 5

Season 4, Episode 01: They’re Back

Writer: Mark Cerulli
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: September 7, 1990

Welcome to season 4! I’d say more about it if we hadn’t already started season 4 during the season 3 finale. Seriously, there’s no change here, despite the fact that they took a break after each season (the cast got cheap “wrap gifts” – clothing with “Hey Dude” branded on it). I wonder what this was like for Geoffrey Coy. He joins the cast, tapes one episode, and then breaks until the new season is ready to be taped. Anyway, if the original air dates are to be believed, this episode aired a little over two months after “Stick Around” (pretty much the same distance as between the season 2 finale and the season 3 premiere). Also, this episode originally aired less than four months after “Dueling Ranches”. That episode was also written by Mark Cerulli, and this episode functions as a sort of sequel to that one.

40-01-groupIn the cold open, while the gang’s eating breakfast (I think), Melody regales them with a tale of two kid guests that were having a chlorinated pool water-drinking contest. The weird shit that goes on at this ranch…

Oh, and Kyle rides his horse over. Remember, he’s the “real cowboy”.

40-02-beef-loafJake brings over some Bar None Beef Loaf, which brings some comments of disgust, but Melody and Buddy help themselves.

40-03-smellLucy and Danny smell something foul. Danny makes a joke about a dead horse, which Lucy doesn’t find funny, but Brad is the one that’s hurt by the joke. Lucy guesses it’s coming from the Vlecks’ ranch next door. Kyle says some shit about the bits of food that get stuck between your teeth. Danny badmouthes the Vlecks.

40-04-Buddy-loafBuddy loves the Bar None Beef Loaf, which offends the others.

40-05-ErnstMr. Ernst comes by. He was just on the phone with Vic Vleck and fills the others in. Vic and his sons accidentally dug up the county sewer line. Brad, Danny, and Jake insult the Vlecks. Mr. Ernst feels sorry for the Vlecks for getting kicked off their ranch by the county health department. Melody (the “nice” one) enthusiastically asks “Forever and ever?!” It’s just until they fix the sewer line. Mr. Ernst decides they’re going to follow the “Code of the West” and prove they’re good neighbors. Yeah, he invited the Vlecks to stay at the Bar None, which upsets everyone else. Buddy suddenly asks if they smell something, and they throw napkins at him. Brad tells him to eat his meatloaf.

40-06-Vlecks-drivingAfter the credits, there’s a very short scene of the Vlecks on their way to the Bar None.

Back at the ranch, Mr. Ernst has to convince the others to come out and help him greet the Vlecks. He brings up Melody and Bradley marrying Karl and Lonnie as part of a joke, but he pauses after “marry”, which made me think of Melody and Brad marrying each other. Anyway, Brad says she’d “rather die” than marry a Vleck.

40-07-signMr. Ernst isn’t pleased with a sign that Jake and Brad made for the Vlecks.

The Vlecks arrive, and Mr. Ernst resists pressure from the others to spout some bullshit and send the Vlecks away.

40-08-Vic-ErnstVic is excited to see Mr. Ernst again. He says he hasn’t had a bath in about a week because of the problem at his ranch. Wait, didn’t this problem just happen? Or was the digging being done to try to fix an earlier problem?

Anyway, Vic apologizes for “that odor problem”, and we learn “Old Granny” farts. Classy.

40-09-Ernst-VlecksPaul Secrest is back in his third appearance overall and his second of three appearances as Vic Vleck. Don Wyllie and Paul D. Olmer are back in their second and final appearances as Karl and Lonnie Vleck, respectively.

Vic had passed on the town’s overnight rate repair to fix the sewer drain (to avoid paying double overtime). He and his family will be at the Bar None for 4-5 days.

40-10-Valerie-VleckVic introduces Mr. Ernst to his “lady”, Valerie Temperance Vleck. Mrs. Vleck is played by Mary F. Glenn. “Hey Dude” was her second of two acting gigs, the first being a payroll cashier in the 1987 movie, “Raising Arizona”. I was initially a bit confused. Mrs. Vleck shows up in another episode later this season, but IMDb credits a Mary Secrest as playing her. In a break with protocol, I peeked ahead. It’s the same actor playing her. That means, sometime between taping this episode and the next Vlecks episode, Vic and Valerie Vleck got married in real life. Aaawww… 🙂

Valerie enthusiastically shakes Mr. Ernst’s hand. Vic has his boys get the luggage out of the truck (a Chevrolet). Redneck hilarity ensues. We learn Lonnie has a booger collection, which I totally believe.

33-45-Lonnie-Melody40-11-Valerie-boysValerie tries to break up her boys’ fight, which apparently their parole officer had told them to refrain from.

Mr. Ernst calls his staff over to help. They learn there are no room openings, so the Vlecks will be staying with them, assigned by sex. They protest. Jake calls Mr. Ernst out on not mentioning this before, but Mr. Ernst claims it completely slipped his mind, not even trying to sound sincere. The staff sucks it up. Karl goes off with his mom, because he follows her everywhere. Mr. Ernst goes after him.

40-12-Lonnie-treeLater, Lonnie is pretending to be Tarzan (seriously). Karl says Lonnie looks like a monkey. I think. Don Wyllie’s diction is horrible. Anyway, Karl and Lonnie make fun of a guest, and Brad gets on their case to help out with serving lunch. Um, why are they being pressed into service? Was that part of the arrangement? Doesn’t seem very neighborly. Anyway, this ill-conceived idea goes about as well as you’d expect:

40-13-Lonnie-water40-14-Lonnie-drinks40-15-Karl-disgusting40-16-Lonnie-Karl-fight40-17-Lonnie-bumpsLonnie wants to show his football scars to a poor guest. He claims, last year, he “played the whole championship game without a helmet” and invites her to feel his bumps.

40-18-Lonnie-scarKarl gets Lonnie to show her his appendix scar.

40-19-Melody-guestThe disgusted guest tells Melody that she doesn’t want to see this meal on her bill. Melody agrees and adds in a personal appearance and apology by Mr. Ernst.

40-20-food-fightKarl and Lonnie get into a food fight, because Lonnie insulted Mom’s mashed potatoes (she doesn’t use milk) and other cooking (roadkill).

40-21-Brad-pieBrad wants to “serve” banana cream pie, but Melody reminds her of the Code of the West. Melody suggests the boys leave, but they want the pie. Melody threatens to give it to them if they don’t get the fuck out of here, so they leave to do…something. Seriously, Don Wyllie’s diction is horrible.

40-22-Vic-ErnstAt the front desk, Vic’s being a slob, and he’s surprised Mr. Ernst sorts the guests’ mail. At the Snake Eyes Ranch, Vic just dumps it in a shoe box and lets them figure it out. He tries to read a piece of mail through the envelope and asks if they have a pool. Mr. Ernst says they have a pool and a lake (the latter of which he recommends to Vic). Mr. Ernst asks about the Snake Eyes’ facilities. They’ve got a swamp for swimming, and they’ve got aerobics like brick-laying and ditch-digging. They’re even putting in a “state-of-the-art tattoo parlor” next month. They had one horse, but they had to eat it when times got tough (it was pretty good). Wait, Lucy is friends with their head wrangler. What do they need a wrangler for without horses? Anyway, how the fuck is the Snake Eyes Ranch still in business? Vic makes Mr. Ernst nervous about Valerie cooking supper tonight.

40-23-Frank-SpittleA guest, Frank Spittle from room 114, comes in and tells Mr. Ernst that their air conditioner is on the fritz. Vic accuses him of being “one of them sissy boys” and tells the “greenhorn” to take a trip to Iceland. Mr. Ernst interrupts Vic, tells Frank that he’ll send someone to fix the air conditioner, and says he’ll bring him a free fruit basket. Frank thanks him. Vic tells the “shrimp” to go back to his condo in Connecticut. Frank runs away. Vic is convinced of his way to “handle” the guests. Mr. Ernst yells at him. Vic says he doesn’t have any air conditioning in his rooms (there’s a weird audio clicking sound when he says this), his “sauna suite effect”. He claims none of his guests have ever complained. Mr. Ernst believes him.

The guests were played by Ronald D. Mumford, Charles Michael Morse, Judith C. Corcoran, Barbara Lamm, and Daniel C. Jacobs, Jr.. I assume they’re credited in appearance order, but I can’t confirm that. “Hey Dude” was their sole acting gig. Corcoran and Lamm will each show up one more time in different episodes.

IMDb credits Henry W. Laster as playing an uncredited guest in this episode. This is his third of three supposed appearances.

40-24-girls-ErnstThe girls come by, and Brad tells Mr. Ernst that ten guests ran off during lunch, thanks to Karl and Lonnie. Vic is proud of his boys and predicts Lonnie will go into public relations if he ever gets out of high school. Mr. Ernst reminds the girls of the Code of the West and asks for the boys’ current location. Melody clarifies what Karl had said earlier: they went to “pound some pellets”. Vic explains they’re gonna shoot some skeet. Mr. Ernst says they don’t have any guns here. Vic says they brought a few of their own.

40-25-boys-ErnstJake and Danny come by. Jake wants Karl and Lonnie stopped. Mr. Ernst urges calm until Jake informs him that the dumbasses are shooting indoors. He runs off, and Vic goes to make his boys stop – but first touts his family as future saviors when “them Rooskies invade”. Ah, nothing like redneck Cold War humor. Brad then openly makes fun of Vic, imitating his redneck western drawl, while his shadow is still in the shot. I love Brad so fucking much.

Jake mentions the dumbasses blew a huge hole in the roof of the boys’ bunk house. Brad jokes about a “skylight”, and Melody jokes about “indoor skeet shooting”. Danny informs the girls that the dumbasses started in the girls’ room. The girls rush off in panic.

40-26-moonBlessed Moon Goddess, known throughout the ages as Phoebe, Selene, Luna, Artemis, and Diana, shine your blessings down upon the staff of the Bar None Dude Ranch and smite the dumbass motherfuckers that have invaded their land. Blessed be.

But seriously, show, tape the moon at a different phase than full.

40-27-Lonnie-MelodyAs the gang sits down to dinner by the campfire, Lonnie continues to show an interest in Melody (no nose-picking this time).

40-28-Valerie-stewValerie serves up “sizzlin’ snake eyes stew”. Lucy “just” remembers she’s vegetarian.

40-29-Ernst-hotIt’s hot. Valerie always tosses in “a couple o’ handfuls of them crushed chili peppez”.

40-30-Valerie-jizzesValerie notices Brad doesn’t have “enough” seasoning, so she proceeds to jizz liquid lard into Brad’s stew (“gives it that creamy, down-home flavor”).

40-31-Brad-sharesBrad immediately passes the “down-home flavor” along to her bestie.

Valerie frightens teases them with dessert to follow.

40-32-Ernst-sharesMr. Ernst inquires about the ingredients. Valerie flirts with Mr. Ernst in front of her husband and reveals the secret ingredient, which Mr. Ernst fails to grasp until Vic lets out a belch (disgusting the Bar None staff) and spells out the horrifying truth: they’re eating actual snake eyes. Mr. Ernst suddenly cites the late hour. Valerie says they’ll have the cake tomorrow for breakfast.

40-33-no-watch04-39-Ted-no-watchJake nervously pulls a Ted, pointing to his non-existent watch and saying it’s 9:00 PM already.

He and Danny want to go and turn in, but Melody reminds them of the holes in the roofs of their bunk houses. She asks where they’re going to sleep, and Lonnie tries to get (and I’m speaking strictly metaphorically) fresh with her again. Mr. Ernst says they’ll fix the holes tomorrow. Tonight, they’ll all sleep under the stars in their rooms, because it’s “not like it’s gonna rain or anything”.

40-34-rainSon of a cock. Yeah, Mr. Ernst, henceforth, just assume it’s gonna fucking rain. Because it does indeed rain out here.