Tag Archives: season1

Season 1 Recap

960Welcome to the recap of season 1 of “Hey Dude”. Here, I’m going to give my thoughts on the season as a whole and the characters, rank the episodes from worst to best, and supply some information that I’d come across.

Background

Taylor-interview-title Taylor-interviewChristine Taylor did an interview for the the season 1 DVD set in 2011, and it was ported over to the Walmart-exclusive Complete Series set (it’s likely just the same discs). It runs 17 minutes (including quite a few clips from the series, admittedly) and is fairly in-depth (more so than I expected). There’s a feeling of warmth and fondness that Christine exudes. Here are some of the things that she had to say:

  • She originally auditioned for Brad, but the producers had found Kelly for the role and asked Christine to read for Melody.
  • She was a lifeguard at a country club in suburban Pennsylvania. During the audition process, the actors were asked about their hobbies, and these were used in developing their characters, hence Melody being a lifeguard.
  • It was Nickelodeon’s first episodic series, so there was a sense of newness and fun and experimentation and excitement. It wasn’t a long and arduous process.
  • She was a senior in high school and 17 years old when she flew out to Arizona to shoot the pilot. There was an upcoming prom, graduation, and other “deal-breakers” in her life that, while taking precedence over the series, fortunately didn’t interfere. The day that she was flying to do the pilot was the day of homecoming (so this means the pilot was taped circa October of 1988), so she went to that and then flew out on the next day.
  • They shot the pilot in the real buildings of the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. When the series was picked up, the sets were built. There was also an intact caretaker’s house that they sometimes used.
  • The cast and crew stayed in a hotel.
  • Christine Taylor and David Lascher, being 17 and thus underage, were assigned guardians, but they weren’t rebellious at all.
  • They had rental cars.
  • She doesn’t miss Melody’s “look” (her outfits).
  • Christine Taylor, David Lascher, and Josh Tygiel, being the only ones still in school, had tutors for set hours during the day. By the time that the series got picked up, Christine was at the end of her senior year and accepted into college. David was at the end of his junior year and had one more year of tutoring.
  • Christine could fly back for only one day for graduation, and then she flew back to work.
  • They weren’t doing one episode per week like other series (obviously).
  • It was a four-camera series.
  • They were as close as brothers and sisters, living and eating together.
  • There were periods of not standing each other and periods of crushes on each other.
  • Frederick King Keller and Ross Bagwell, Jr., had polar opposite directing approaches. Keller took everything seriously and questioned the actors about their characters. Bagwell took a fun, who-cares approach. She learned a lot from both of them.
  • She claims the cast of “Hey Dude” presented an award at the first annual Kids Choice Awards. I think she’s got the timeline a bit wrong, because the first one was held on April 18, 1988 – around six months before the pilot was shot.
  • She’s proud of the series and says, if she hadn’t done it, her life path might have gone in another direction.
  • She says an episode would come on once per week and rerun once or twice per week. She also mistakenly says the series aired for only two years and then stopped. However, I seemingly got into the series in eighth grade (1991-1992 school year), and I remember watching it multiple times per week (probably five days), and I believe I saw it listed in the local TV guide that came with the newspaper for many years afterward. According to Wikipedia, reruns were aired on Nickelodeon until early 1999 and then on TeenNick since late 2011.
  • She was at a party in LA when a girl came up to her and was like “Omigod, you’re Melody from ‘Hey Dude’.” Christine was taken aback, asking “Really, you watched ‘Hey Dude’?” The girl said “Yeah, I watched it since I was, like, five.” The girl raved about things that she liked about the series and then walked away. Someone turned to Christine and said “That was Paris Hilton.”
  • *After a decade of silence, fans started coming out of the woodwork. She’d encounter them everywhere – even in the grocery store.

On May 14, 2014, HuffPost Live posted a “Hey Dude” mini-reunion on YouTube. It runs a little over 5 minutes long. Enjoy.

There was a “Hey Dude” 25th Year Reunion panel at ATX Television Festival on June 6, 2014. Most of the cast (with the notable exceptions of Kelly Brown (though she appeared in the early HuffPost reunion) and Joe Torres) and crew were in attendance. It runs 29 minutes and is quite fun and informative. Enjoy!

Theme Song

IMDB user Wizzleteats dug up some info on the theme song (thanks for permission to present it here):

Doug Klein can be seen playing with Lionel Cartwright (blue shirt/guitarist) in the 1989 outtakes video on Youtube.

Lionel Cartwright had a few country hits around 1989-1991. Interestingly, Dale Jarvis is credited for “background vocals” on Cartwright’s 1990 album, I Watched It on the Radio, and for playing bass on “Smack Dab in the Middle of Love” from Cartwright’s 1991 album, Chasin’ the Sun.

With those connections in mind, I contacted Lionel Cartwright, and he was nice enough to respond with the proper credits (Thanks, Lionel!):

“The Hey Dude theme got a ton of play in the show and was fun to write and produce. Here’s the details.

Writer: Lionel Cartwright
Lead Vocal: Dale Jarvis

I’m thinking Dale Jarvis may have played bass on that. Not sure who played drums. All other instruments (and low vocal) by Lionel Cartwright.”

The Episodes

Season 1 got things started. These thirteen episodes offer a variety of character spotlights and stories (and story quality).

#13: Battle of the Sexes
02-10-Ted-Brad-shake-handsAll around, a dumb episode. Stupid competition. The guys come off as really dumb. Definitely the worst of the season.

#12: Perfect Father
07-29-Mel-BuddyThe interaction between Mr. Ernst and Buddy was good, but I just don’t care for Mel, and Sears was too over the top.

#11: The Good, the Bad, & the Obnoxious
08-12-Brad-hayA decent Brad episode with a great performance from Brown, but it has a confusing message that I don’t care for, and Kimberly was unreal.

#10: Pain in the Neck
13-45-Danny-good-lifeDanny’s a user and just not nice in this episode.

#9: Ted’s Saddle
04-20-Ted-jar-2Ted got a case of the stupids in order to learn a lesson. Nice Melody moments, though.

#8: Suspicion
11-41-ruinedReally unrealistic but really funny, too. Again, nice Melody moments.

#7: Rainmen
09-40-Danny-SatkinaA good Danny episode with an unrealistic victory. Ted gets the really good scenes.

#6: Rehearsal for Romance
06-55-Melody-sorryMelody falls in love. Nice. Of course, if she’d ignored Ted, it would have been, like, five minutes long.

#5: Day One at the Bar None
01-22-Ernst-Melody-meetThe first episode is a pretty good one! We get the basic gist of who these characters are and their relationships with each other.

#4: Employee of the Week
12-30-shakeA bit silly in the Melody/Ted rivalry, but we get some good acting from both Taylor and Lascher.

#3: Ted and Brad Get Handcuffed
10-30-Brad-Ted-talkThe Ted/Brad dynamic is explored, and they get closer. Really fun episode that also has some good character analysis.

#2: The Competition
05-35-Brad-wraps-MelodySee above, except it’s Melody/Brad this time. Really nice performance from Taylor.

#1: Goldilocks
03-15-Buddy-thanks-GoldilocksYes, the Buddy episode is my favorite of the season. Tygiel and Brisbin are amazing.

The Characters

03-35-Ernst-worriedMr. Ernst (David Brisbin) appeared in 12 of the episodes. He gets a fair amount to do (mostly the “crazy schemes”) and shines in “Goldilocks”. He also does well in “Perfect Father”.

08-26-Brad-aloneBrad (Kelly Brown) appeared in all 13 episodes. Her highlights include “The Competition”, “Ted and Brad Get Handcuffed”, and “The Good, the Bad, & the Obnoxious”. I really like her.

01-53-Lucy-pissedThe season’s least valuable player has to be Lucy (Debrah Kalman). She appeared in only 6 episodes (less than half) and probably totaled no more than 45 minutes of screen time. Her main functions are to offer sage advice and be a strict authority figure, I guess in contrast to the more easygoing, bumbling Mr. Ernst. However, there’s really no reason that her qualities couldn’t have been given to Mr. Ernst to balance him out. No offense to Debrah Kalman, but Lucy really is unnecessary.

Speaking of Debrah Kalman, I need to make a correction to what I said in my review of the first episode. “Hey Dude” was not her only acting gig. However, it’s quite easy to think it was. The problem is her other credits, under different names, are found on their own IMDb pages (Debbie Kalman and Debi Kalman), which shouldn’t happen. She’s been in about four things. “Hey Dude” was still her first acting gig, though.

09-08-Ted-fills-waterTed (David Lascher) appeared in all 13 episodes. He’s certainly the season’s most memorable character and has a lot to do. He and Brad become friends over the course of the season, despite his attempts to pursue her. How can you not love Ted?

05-29-Melody-despairMelody (Christine Taylor) appeared in all 13 episodes. She’s definitely the nicest character. She had originally auditioned for Brad, but TPTB wanted Kelly for the role and asked Christine to try out for Melody. She’s such a perfect fit. Supposedly, Christine is just as nice as Melody. Of course, Melody shows her prankster side as well (a bit of a Ted-ish quality), and she can be a bit inconsiderate. She really shines in “The Competition” and has a nice dramatic moment in “Rehearsal for Romance”.

03-24-Danny-preparedDanny (Joe Torres) appeared in 12 of the episodes. He comes across as nice and easygoing. He has two big episodes this season. He’s probably no one’s favorite character, but he (mostly) comes across as a nice guy that you could be friends with.

03-37-Buddy-hopelessBuddy (Josh Tygiel) appeared in 12 of the episodes. He was great in “Goldilocks” and has a fair amount to do elsewhere in the season. It’s nice to have a slightly younger perspective to contrast with the teens and adults. It’s also nice that the younger kid is treated with respect – in contrast to the dismissive attitude that older teens often take toward kids on other sitcoms.

12-35-Cassie-ribbonsCassie appeared in 11 of the episodes, but, let’s face it, she was there for the cuteness factor and nothing more. I can understand why she was dropped, but I wish we were given an explanation for her sudden disappearance.

As a treat, here’s a blooper reel from 1989, provided by executive producer Geoffrey Darby.

That’s it for season 1. Tune in next Wednesday as we head into season 2!

Season 1, Episode 13: Pain in the Neck

Writer: Judy Spencer
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: October 6, 1989

13-01-Ernst-checkIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst is checking for loose floor boards and roof tiles.

Lucy comes by. Mr. Ernst is making a list of things that need repairs, and he wants Lucy to make a list, too.

13-02-tile-falls 13-03-Ernst-hit 13-04-Lucy-writes“Loose roof tile”

13-05-meetingAfter the credits, Mr. Ernst is going over what needs and doesn’t need repairs with Danny and Ted.

13-06-Ted-distractedUnfortunately, Ted is distracted by a girl in a green tank top outside and excuses himself. Danny covers for him by telling Mr. Ernst that Ted promised the girl that he’d teach her “about cactus”. Mr. Ernst suggests, the next time that Danny gives a nature talk, Ted could give a guest lecture “on cacti”. Danny humorously agrees. Ted comes rushing back in. It wasn’t the girl that he thought it was. Ted starts to apologize, but Mr. Ernst brings up Danny’s explanation. He also launches into a safety talk that, surely, is not foreshadowing of any kind.

We do learn some things in this scene. The tack room, where the bridles are kept, is mentioned. Also, Mr. Ernst calls Ted “Theodore”. Unless he’s joking, this might be Ted’s real first name.

There’s also a bit of bad editing where one of Mr. Ernst’s lines starts before he opens his mouth (just before the shot changes).

13-07-Danny-takes-hammerOutside, Danny gets to work on the loose shingles, but Ted is distracted over a guest named Charlene (last name seemingly pronounced “Haymer”), which frustrates Danny. Apparently, the ranch has a dining room. Danny goes over three of Ted’s previous guest crushes: Heather, Jennifer, and Tiffany (blonde hair, very small bikini). The point is Ted develops crushes on seemingly every cute girl that visits the ranch. What a horndog.

13-08-Ted-distracted-2Danny wants Ted to steady the ladder, but Ted thinks he sees Charlene and walks off, and…

13-09-Danny-falls 13-10-Danny-ground 13-11-Ted-lifts-ladderI call bullshit. Ted was not doing anything vital. The only reason that the ladder fell backward was because Danny turned around and yelled after Ted.

13-12-Ted-Danny-bunkDanny and Ted return from the doctor. Danny will be better in two days to a week at most. Despite Danny not wanting special treatment and wanting to get up and work, Ted gets Danny into Ted’s bunk.

13-13-visitorsMelody, Brad, Buddy, and Cassie come in to see how Danny’s doing. Despite Danny clearly getting up to meet them, Melody blames Ted for Danny being on his feet, and Ted’s all “WTF?”. There’s a recurring gag where Ted and Brad both inadvertently cause Danny neck pain.

13-14-Cassie-toyCassie brings Danny a squeaky toy.

13-15-Melody-playerMelody lets Danny borrow her cassette player and a mix of her and Brad’s tapes. Both girls like Bon Jovi.

13-16-magazinesMagazines from Lucy and Mr. Ernst include “International Feed Catalog” and “Math Puzzles for the Really, Really Smart”.

13-17-comicsBuddy brings Danny used comic books.

13-18-snacksThey also brought Danny cola and snacks.

Brad asks Danny how he’s feeling. He says he’s okay, but he also appears to be in pain, so they leave. Danny groans more, and Brad gives Ted a mean look. Ted has his second “WTF?” reaction of the scene.

13-19-bellTed gives Danny a bell to summon him for “anything” at “anytime”. Danny says he doesn’t need Ted’s help, but then he seems to be in pain again. Ted insists. After a bit of time-killing banter, they actually rehearse using it. When Ted leaves, Danny promptly abuses the bell by intentionally dropping his magazine on the floor and summoning Ted to pick it up.

13-20-boxes13-21-Brad-afraidTwo days later, Ted and Brad bring boxes with animals into the main lodge. Brad is afraid of snakes (callback to episode 05). The two snakes are Gertrude and Ernsteen (not sure on the spelling). Brad is surprised when Ted admits he’s afraid of snakes. Ted says Indiana Jones is afraid of snakes. Brad asks why he told Mr. Ernst that he’d give Danny’s nature talk. Ted says it was his fault that Danny got hurt. Brad agrees. Really, Ted didn’t do anything to directly cause Danny’s injury. He had lightly been holding onto the ladder with one hand and walked off. Sure, if he hadn’t walked off, Danny wouldn’t have turned around and shifted his weight, but to what extent can Ted be held responsible for that?

Apparently, Danny’s handwriting is horrible, and Ted can barely read his notes.

13-22-drawing13-23-drawing-2Mr. Ernst brings Ted a drawing of a cactus to use as a visual aid during his lecture. I love Brad’s reaction. You can tell Kelly Brown is on the verge of cracking up.

13-24-drawing-3Ted declines the use of the drawing, but Brad makes Mr. Ernst feel better by saying the drawing would look great hanging in his office.

Brad wishes Ted good luck and leaves.

13-25-lectureTed can’t read Danny’s notes, so he half-asses the lecture.

13-26-turtleWe do learn there are no turtles in Arizona.

13-27-Ted-scaredApparently, there’s some nasty animal that Ted is too scared to even take out of its box.

13-28-Ted-GertrudeTed shows off Gertrude, the non-poisonous snake.

Ernsteen is the poisonous snake, and Ted decides to not take her out of her box, since “they must look exactly alike”. I doubt it. Wait, why does the ranch have a poisonous snake? And does Danny regularly handle it during his nature talks? Wouldn’t that be dangerous?

13-29-Ted-leaves-snakesSo, after talking for about 75 seconds, Ted leaves – without the snake boxes.

13-30-groupLater, Ted is inexplicably wearing different clothes (yes, it’s the same day). Mr. Ernst, Buddy, and Cassie had come to say hi to Danny. He seems to be a little better. Mr. Ernst asks how Ted’s nature talk went. Danny rings for Ted (he dropped his doggy toy). Lucy arrives to see Ted. Danny rings again (he dropped his bell); pretty funny, but Ted should have realized at this point that Danny was dicking with him. Gertrude is loose in the main lodge and scaring the guests. Ted rushes off.

13-31-Danny-ringsDanny rings the bell and is upset when Ted doesn’t immediately come running, so he gets up to select something to read.

13-32-Danny-surprised 13-33-Buddy-surprisedOh, shit! Busted!

After the commercial break, Danny tries to downplay it, but Buddy wants to run off to tell Ted. After a bit of banter, Danny gets Buddy to keep his secret until he decides to tell Ted himself. After a bit of discussion regarding Buddy’s inability to keep secrets, Buddy leaves.

13-34-Brad-cleaningLater, Brad is cleaning in the main lodge. Melody arrives. She had to play go-between for Ted and Charlene. Ted was too busy doing Danny’s work to see her.

13-35-Melody-letterCharlene gave Melody a letter for Ted, which, after some half-assed ethical debate between Melody and Brad (Christine Taylor garbles “lately” as “lakely”), Melody reads aloud. Charlene’s gone back to Cincinnati and hopes to get together with Ted next year. I’m so glad that this “subplot” between Ted and a girl that we never see got some kind of resolution.

Brad reaches into the bucket for the glass cleaner and…

13-36-Brad-Gertrude Ohshitohshitohshitohshit!

13-37-Brad-Gertrude2 13-38-Brad-afraid-2Brad scares Gertrude off and refuses to help Melody find her, opting to get Ted to do it instead.

13-39-Ted-fetchesLater, Danny constantly interrupts Ted’s work and uses reverse psychology to pretend he can’t bother Ted, constantly, to get him new reading material and fluff his pillow.

13-40-Danny-comicDoes anyone know which comic that Danny’s reading? I tried searching for it with no luck.

13-41-Ted-singsAnyway, Danny gets Ted to sing him to sleep, and Ted offers up a sick twist on “Rock-a-bye Baby”.

13-42-girls-laughBrad and Melody arrive, overhear it, and have a good laugh. Ted and the girls go to get the snake.

13-43-searchIn the main lodge, they “look” for Gertrude (Melody’s the only one not scared).

13-44-Buddy-spillsBuddy and Cassie come in, and it isn’t long before Buddy nervously talks himself into spilling everything.

13-45-Danny-good-lifeLater, Danny’s kicking back and enjoying himself.

13-46-crowdedBuddy, Cassie, Melody, and Brad come in – supposedly all injured (except Cassie) – and crowd in on Danny. Danny rings for Ted.

13-47-Ted-biteTed comes in, supposedly with a snakebite and unable to tell which snake bit him. Danny gets up to rush Ted to the E.R., and…

13-48-gotchaGotcha!

Melody, Brad, Cassie, and (reluctantly) Buddy leave, so Ted and Danny can have their “boy talk”.

We never see Cassie again.

Buddy apologizes to Danny and makes claims of torture and whipping. I’m all for seeing Melody and Brad whipping people. Get on it, DeviantArt.

13-49-boy-talkThe guys talk, and “understanding” music comes on. All is well.

13-50-pillow-fight Pillow fight!

13-51-Brad-Danny-phoneThe pre-credits scene at the end involves Brad showing Danny how to use the phone system (light work, I guess). Mr. Ernst is happy that everybody’s well and working.

13-52-Brad-freaks-outBrad freaks the fuck out when Gertrude taps her foot. Ted follows her. Mr. Ernst walks away (I guess to find something to trap the snake).

13-53-Danny-GertrudeDanny calmly picks up Gertrude, having missed her, and tells her what happened here.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was okay, but Danny was an ass, freeloading and letting everyone worry over him just to teach Ted a lesson, even though Ted wasn’t really at fault. Ted left the snakes in the main lodge for no logical reason; it was only to create the snake subplot.

Tune in next Wednesday for the review of season 1.

Season 1, Episode 12: Employee of the Week

Writer: Alan Goodman
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: September 29, 1989

12-01-Melody-serves-DannyIn the cold open, Melody is chipper in the morning, but Danny is exhausted.

12-02-Melody-serves-BradSo is Brad.

They go into the main lodge, where Ted already is. Melody greets Ted, and…

12-03-Ted-sleeps-on-MelodyMr. Ernst comes in and is very chipper. Melody nudges Ted awake. Mr. Ernst had everyone get up thirty minutes early this morning, so he could make an important announcement.

12-04-plaqueHe’s starting an “employee of the week” policy. The winner gets her/his name on the plaque. Ted asks about a bonus. Brad asks about more goof-off time (a surprise, coming from her, but I like it). Danny asks about a nice letter home to parents. Melody asks about double desserts. No, the winner will get the “honor and respect” of fellow staff members. No one is enthused. Ted falls asleep on Melody again.

12-05-Brad-Melody-breakfastAfter the credits, Brad joins Melody for breakfast and talks about some dumbass guest on one of her rides. Melody brings up the employee of the week thing. Brad is surprised and claims to not care about it. Apparently, Brad has a lot of friends back home (inviting all of them down would be her idea for winning).

12-06-Brad-cakeBrad’s on a diet, but the sight of Melody’s cake causes Brad to just take some without asking. Well, that was a bitchy thing to do.

Danny arrives and claims to not care about the employee of the week thing. Nevertheless, he has an idea: he could invite his Indian friend, Bob Twilight, to perform tribal dances and tell old stories for the guests.

12-07-Danny-cakeDanny then asks Melody if he can “swipe” some of her icing for his “naked” cake and doesn’t wait for an answer.

Ted comes by and claims to not care about employee of the week, but the girls know better. Ted’s plan is to take inspiration from some guy that he saw on a western once: do knife tricks for the guests.

12-08-Ted-cakeTed asks Melody if she minds of he takes some (or maybe all; it’s really not clear) of her cake and then just takes it without waiting for a response.

12-09-Melody-pissedMelody’s finally had it and lets them know. She also tells them to not put down Mr. Ernst’s idea and not pretend they don’t care. The other three decide to take Melody on in the employee of the week contest.

12-10-Melody-grinsMelody’s terms of competition is being nice. The other three collect the plates (including Melody’s) and leave while trying to out-nice each other with compliments.

12-11-Brad-mailOn another day, Brad sorts the mail, so Mr. Ernst won’t have to do it. However, she doesn’t read the names; in the interest of time, she just gives everyone roughly the same amount with the idea that they’ll trade later. Mr. Ernst has a pretty funny response to this.

12-12-trophyBrad remembers a package came for Mr. Ernst. Noting the kids’ lack of enthusiasm for the contest, Mr. Ernst has decided to “sweeten the deal” by having the winner pose with a bowling trophy. When Brad points out the congratulatory message on the trophy, Mr. Ernst lets it slip that he had ordered it removed but then tries to cover his ass by pretending to be shocked it’s used.

12-13-Melody-hides-cakeLater, Melody hides cake in her drawer when she hears Brad coming into the girls’ bunk house. Brad concedes. She apparently has never bowled, never will bowl, and can’t allow anyone to think she ever would bowl. Okay, so Brad hates bowling. I guess this is supposed to tie into her quasi-snob persona. They discuss the contest for a bit, and Brad observes Melody is beginning to sound like Ted. She wants to “show” him, and she’s signing thank-you cards for the guests.

12-14-Brad-hairdrierBrad borrowed Melody’s hairdrier and drops it in her drawer.

12-15-cake-ruinedWhere will this thrilling subplot lead?! Stay tuned!

12-16-Danny-stallOn another day, Mr. Ernst visits Danny, who’s getting a jump on next week in cleaning the stall.

12-17-tiaraMr. Ernst had ordered a “king-style crown” for the winner to pose with in the picture, but they’re out of stock, so the company sent him a substitution of “beauty queen tiara”. Mr. Ernst decides to roll with it. Danny has a funny “supportive” line. Mr. Ernst goes to call the company and straighten this out.

12-18-Danny-quitsDanny goes to Ted, quits the contest, and tells him about the “girly crown”. Ted says they can talk Mr. Ernst out of it. Danny says competing isn’t good for them and adds it’s even changing Melody. Ted takes delight in the prospect of himself against Melody, but Danny silently disapproves. Ted mounts Sylvester for the afternoon ride and leaves.

12-19-Melody-guestsLater, Melody and some guests return from a hike to Sabino Canyon. She offers to bring them some lemonade on the porch in a few minutes.

12-20-Ted-BillTed and two guests return from a ride, and Ted praises their riding. Ted asks someone named Bill (presumably an employee but probably one of the actual handlers on the series) to take Sylvester up for him.

Suddenly, the recurring, light-hearted music in this episode gets a “dark” treatment worthy of scoring a showdown.

12-21-showdown-1 12-22-showdown-2 12-23-showdown-3 12-24-showdown-4 12-25-showdown-5 12-26-showdown-6 12-27-showdown-7 12-28-showdown-8 12-29-showdown-9As cheesy as this sequence is (these are two teens in a rivalry over an “employee of the week” prize, mind you), I really like the way that it’s shot, edited, and scored.

12-30-shakeThe two engage in a bit of trash talk, and then Ted wants Melody to shake in the name of remaining friends.

12-31-Ted-laughsAs Melody is about to shake his hand, Ted withdraws it and laughs. Fun fact: when we watched this episode back in the day, my now-74-year-old Polish mother gasped – GASPED! – when Ted did that.

12-32-Melody-pissed 12-33-Ted-follows-MelodyAfter the commercial break, on another day, Melody is pissed that Ted is following her and re-cleaning (disinfecting instead of dusting) stuff. They argue over it. Melody tells Ted that being nice means doing something “unexpected” that will “surprise” people and “fill them with warmth and gratitude”.

12-34-Buddy-pissedAs if on cue, Buddy comes in, pissed as all hell and accusing both of them. He calls Cassie over.

12-35-Cassie-ribbonsOne guess as to who did this.

Buddy lets Melody have it over what she did to his “vicious killer”. After Buddy leaves, Melody and Ted talk about it for a bit. Melody has to “run an errand” down at the corral and doesn’t want Ted to go with her. Ted presses her for information, but she refuses to answer.

12-36-Danny-spillsDanny comes in and spills the secret: “someone” put little ribbons in the horses’ manes.

That evening, Ted finds Melody and teases her about the horses incident. They argue for a bit, and then Ted lets on that he did something unexpected for someone.

12-37-Melody-Ted-ErnstMr. Ernst arrives with some bags, and Melody and Ted each offer to help him, but he declines. He says he has two “prime candidates” for employee of the week. He alludes to an old proverb (but most likely the version in the 1980 movie, “The Shining”).

After Mr. Ernst leaves, Melody wonders what Ted is “all smiles about”. Ted reveals he waxed Mr. Ernst’s floor and gives a hilarious play-by-play that ends (unexpectedly for him but totally expectedly for us) with Mr. Ernst slipping and falling.

12-38-Melody-delightedMelody takes perverse delight in this and skips off happily to help Mr. Ernst.

12-39-sunrise 12-40-Melody-hides-chocolateSeemingly the next morning, Melody hides chocolate under Brad’s bed cover.

12-41-Ted-on-bed-1Ted comes in and walks over it.

12-42-Ted-undoes-bedHe undoes Melody’s bed and then uses making it as an example of something nice that he could do.

12-43-Ted-on-bed-2Melody’s chocolate takes another beating.

12-44-Melody-marks-collarMelody says she could clean Ted’s collar, which she then marks up.

12-45-Brad-Danny-overhearTed and Melody threaten each other with physical violence, and Brad and Danny overhear.

Ted finally tells Melody to just “disappear off the face of this Earth forever” and leaves. Melody, surprised, can do nothing except sit down.

12-46-cake-ruined 12-47-Ernst-checksLater, Mr. Ernst is sorting the mail. After verifying no one’s looking, he Brads the rest of it.

12-48-Danny-ErnstDanny comes by and informs him of the situation with Ted and Melody. Mr. Ernst is surprised, because he had created the contest to formally recognize hard work, show his appreciation, and show the guests his pride in his staff. He decides to end the contest. He regrets only that he can’t do anything with the crap that he ordered, but Danny has an idea.

12-49-Ernst-bowls 12-50-Brad-TedLater, Ted’s sitting in the main lodge, and Brad walks by and casually greets him, and he greets her back. I like this. It’s something that’s completely unnecessary, since it has nothing to do with the rest of the scene, but it adds a touch of down-to-Earth realism.

Melody comes by. Ted apologizes. Melody admits what she did without actually apologizing (a recurring thing on this series, it seems) and makes a funny joke about Ted bringing out the worst in her. She tells him to not work so hard at things, especially being nice, because “you’re a pretty nice guy as it is already”. Aaawww. I wonder if this will go anywhere.

Danny summons them to the front desk for the presentation.

12-51-Ted-Melody-make-upMr. Ernst is confused over what’s going on.

12-52-Melody-crowns-ErnstMelody crowns Mr. Ernst “Best Boss of the Decade”.

Mr. Ernst gets some applause, and the kids seemingly ad-lib some lines, which is a nice touch. Also, props to wardrobe for keeping almost everyone in the same clothing throughout the day but changing Ted’s shirt.

12-53-meetingThe pre-credits scene at the end involves Danny pretending to be Mr. Ernst and holding a meeting to give the kids (including Danny) the things that they had asked Mr. Ernst about in the meeting at the beginning of the episode. I hadn’t mentioned it, but Brad and Danny had repeated all of these things as guesses when Mr. Ernst had opened his two packages (yeah, I know, makes no sense), so I guess you could call this a subplot, but that’s only a guess. All of the rewards are hilariously restrictive (except Danny’s, which is just the letter home, albeit Ted cautions him to not go over the top with his reward). Apparently, the ranch has a wishing well. “Mr. Ernst” is a bit mean toward Melody, calling her “largely responsible” for the “nonsense” of this past week.

12-54-Melody-dessertMelody finally gets her double dessert. Aren’t you relieved they didn’t leave us hanging on this point?

12-55-food-fightThis quickly escalates into an all-out food fight.

12-56-Melody-Ted-food-fightSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was nice. We learn some interesting things about the characters. I can’t really relate to the competition aspect, though. I’m naturally non-competitive, so I really wouldn’t care about becoming employee of the week or month or whatever. I just don’t care. I realize there are really competitive people in the workforce, though.

Whether Lucy’s one of them or not is unknown, because she doesn’t show up. It doesn’t matter, though, since the award was seemingly meant for only the four teens.

Here’s a fun drinking game: take a shot whenever anyone says “nice”, “nicer”, or “nicest”.

Season 1, Episode 11: Suspicion

Writer: Clifford Fagan
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: September 22, 1989

11-01-Ted-weightIn the cold open, Ted is pumping iron and lecturing Buddy on doing it to take care of himself and impress girls. Ted seems to indicate he’s from out here instead of “back east” (David Lascher is from Scarsdale, New York).

11-02-Buddy-amusedBuddy, who’s reading Conan the Barbarian #222 (cover-dated September of 1989, so this episode was likely taped in the summer), is amused but otherwise doesn’t give a shit about Ted’s advice.

Ted offers to work out a program for Buddy. Stereotypical oriental music comes on. Buddy, fed up, goes over to a post and does this:

11-03-Buddy-karateHe then calmly returns to reading his comic book but pauses long enough to tell Ted: “Six years, Parkside Dojo, first-degree black belt”. I have no idea if Josh Tygiel actually took karate or not, but this, in my entirely non-expert opinion, looked authentic.

Of course, Buddy did destroy ranch property. Don’t worry, though: there will be no repercussions whatsoever.

11-04-Melody-phoneAfter the credits, Melody answers a phone call. Mr. Ernst is making her answer with “Howdy-doo, this is the Bar None Guest Ranch”. If my employer made me say something like that, I’d refuse to do it. Hell, I’d probably quit. “Hello” is the only acceptable formal greeting for me (“Hi” and “Hey” are the only acceptable informal greetings).

Mr. Ernst is making Melody promise surfing soon. There’s a humorous bit where Melody mistakes the female caller for a man (heavy smoker, I guess). After Melody hangs up, Mr. Ernst lectures her about being positive when speaking to potential guests. Mr. Ernst is looking into getting a wave-making machine for the swimming pool.

Speaking of surfing:

11-05-Ted-surfsMr. Ernst tells Ted to knock that shit off. Melody answers another call, and Ted questions the “Howdy-doo” bullshit. Melody shows off her sense of “humor” for Mr. Ernst, but he doesn’t like it.

The guy on the phone (Mr. Goode) wants to take over the ranch for three days for some sort of conference. Around forty people would be attending. Mr. Ernst agrees to it. Mr. Goode wants to check out to facilities for himself tomorrow before he schedules the conference. Mr. Ernst makes Melody pretend the ranch is full, so Melody bullshits something about a last-minute cancellation. Sheesh, if my boss micro-managed my phone calls like this, I’d walk off the job.

Mr. Ernst is excited for the future of the ranch but then goes to make sure that they got rid of the funny smell at the ice machine.

Ted’s been reading about big criminal organizations that like to have their yearly meetings in cozy, out-of-the-way places with conference facilities. Melody gets in a good putdown in response to this ridiculous line of thinking. Ted suspects Mr. Goode is a gangster. Phew, that was a close one. For a second, I thought this episode was going to be realistic.

11-06-CadillacThe next day, Mr. Goode arrives at the ranch in a Cadillac Eldorado, which he got from Don Mackey Oldsmobile-Cadillac Inc., which is now Royal Automotive Group.

11-07-EddieThis “Miami Vice” reject is Eddie Goode, played by Paul Elia. “Hey Dude” was his first acting gig, and he’s had a very sporadic, almost non-existent career, having only six (or maybe seven) credits spanning 1989-2014. How very odd.

Mr. Ernst, Ted, Melody, Buddy, and Cassie turn out to see him arrive, and Mr. Ernst enthusiastically greets him. Buddy is skeptical of Ted’s suspicion, but Ted points out the way that Eddie is “casing the joint”. Melody tells Ted that he’s been watching too many “Miami Vice” reruns and guesses Mr. Ernst’s desperation is making Mr. Goode nervous and wanting to avoid eye contact. The characters on this series often have a self-awareness regarding the silliness of the plots and the other characters. I really love this. How often do you see a sitcom where the characters analyze so much?

Mr. Ernst calls Ted and Buddy over to give Eddie a hand with his luggage. Eddie will be staying with them for a few days. Ted is suspicious and not friendly to the guy. I actually really love how Ted says his name after Eddie asks it, because it’s right on his fucking badge. I had a badge at work a while ago where the “M” in my name had become slightly destroyed (we used sticky letters). People kept asking if my name was pronounced “NIGH-ark” or “NEE-ark”. I wanted to punch every single one of them in the face.

Eddie pops open the trunk. Ted picks up a suitcase. Eddie warns about the lock, but the case opens, and his clothes spill on the ground.

11-08-open-luggageTed and Mr. Ernst pick them up, and Mr. Ernst apologizes and offers to have them cleaned, but Eddie tells “Benny” to not worry about it, saying “Teddy” is just a little too enthusiastic.

11-09-Eddie-takes-caseEddie is quick to take a suitcase from Buddy.

11-10-Melody-money11-11-group-moneyAfter Eddie is shown to his room, Ted is suspicious of him for tipping him, Melody, and Buddy “thirty bills” to have his luggage hauled twenty yards, especially since Melody didn’t do shit, and Ted got Eddie’s clothes dirty. Melody’s just happy to have the money and lets Ted know, without speaking, he can go and fuck himself with a cattle prod.

Ted believes Eddie wants to buy them off and ties it into his mob theory. Melody hilariously makes Ted think the bills are counterfeit. Ted doesn’t find it amusing and goes off to “save the Bar None from criminal infiltration” himself.

11-12-corral-spyLater, in a pretty funny and imaginative sequence that includes some POV shots, Ted spies on Eddie as he’s checking out the corral. There’s even some light “spy” music playing.

11-13-Ted-BradBrad comes by, wanting to know what Ted’s doing, and Ted gives her a first-hand experience. That oughta teach you for questioning Ted’s insanity, Brad. It’s just like Sheldon, people. You just don’t ask.

Brad gets a hilarious line (which I won’t spoil here) in as Ted explains his theory. During this scene, there’s some weird creaking sound. Odd. After getting another good line in, Brad excuses herself and gets in yet another good line. These last two lines aren’t particularly witty, but they do make me love Brad.

Ted gets out of there when he thinks Eddie spots him.

11-14-meetingLater, Ted, Melody, and Buddy meet up. Brad is giving Eddie “the grand tour”.

11-15-credit-cardBuddy stole his dad’s credit card out of his wallet, and Ted tries to use it to unlock the door to Eddie’s room.

11-16-credit-card-snappedOh, snap!

11-17-Melody-outsmartsMeanwhile, Melody proves she’s smarter by crawling through an open window in the back.

They go inside and look around. A dog barking spooks them (it’s not in the room). Ted looks through the drawers, and Melody looks through a suitcase (and makes a hilarious comment on Eddie’s clothes). Why the hell are they doing this?! They could get fired!

11-18-Melody-vestMelody finds what Ted believes is a bullet-proof vest, which feeds into Ted’s mob theory. Buddy knocks over a radio, which turns on, and loud country muzak starts playing. The three of them try to shut the thing off in a panic until…

11-19-Melody-outsmarts-2Melody, you’re awesome in so many ways. I love you.

11-20-cashBuddy finds a bunch of the fakest-looking money ever (and I actually stopped this review in its tracks to research the history of United States currency on Wikipedia), but Ted’s convinced it’s real.

11-21-Eddie-comes-backOh, shit! Eddie comes back to his room at that moment.

11-22-red-handedWill our heroes get caught red-handed?! Stay tuned!

11-23-lock-troubleAfter the commercial break, Eddie conveniently has lock trouble long enough for the kids to sloppily put everything away. Melody gets out through the window, but Ted and Buddy are seemingly incapable and hide behind the bed instead.

11-24-hiding 11-25-Eddie-phoneEddie’s cell phone rings, and Ted and Buddy listen in on his side of the conversation. Keep in mind that this series started in the same year as “Saved by the Bell”, yet Eddie’s phone looks more portable than Zack’s.

11-26-Eddie-gunAnyway, in sitcom trope #8675309, the heroes misinterpret the phone call, which “Fast Eddie” makes it very easy to do, saying he wants to “shoot him in the corral” tomorrow (while putting a gun-shaped device in his suitcase) and possibly “blow it up”.

11-27-Ted-BuddyAfter Eddie leaves, Ted pushes Buddy out the window and then gets out of there.

11-28-Eddie-returnsEddie hears the disturbance and quickly returns to the room but just misses them.

11-29-Ted-fixes-postThe next day, Ted is fixing the post (wow, I’m pleasantly surprised the episode addressed that) and tells Melody that he’s a dead man. Melody corrects him: “Ted, you’re not a man yet. You’d be a dead boy.” I love Melody’s sense of humor! Sure, her joke to Eddie over the phone sucked ass, but she’s usually pretty funny.

Ted and Melody discuss it for a bit, but Buddy is more concerned about his dad’s credit card. Ted and Melody keep discussing Ted’s impending death.

11-30-Ted-nailedTed, you’re such a dumbass.

11-31-Melody-pulls-BuddyEddie arrives, and there’s a cute moment where Melody grabs Buddy and backs away.

Eddie talks vaguely about wanting to meet with Ted in an hour in the corral to discuss “business”. He has a “proposition” for Ted. Ted agrees.

11-32-Eddie-gunpointBuddy has an idea, which involves Brad.

11-33-confrontationIn an hour, Ted’s waiting in the corral, and Eddie shows up with his case. He tells Ted: “Hold it right there” and “Don’t move”.

11-34-Brad-lasso 11-35-rope-case 11-36-bullshitBrad, through the magic of pre-Internet, hope-no-one-notices trickery, lassos the case away from Eddie (while shouting “Hi-ya!”) – or, at least, I think that’s what’s supposed to be happening. Please don’t tell me that Brad scared Eddie into throwing the case away.

11-37-case-troughThe case lands in the water trough, and the splash spooks the horses.

11-38-surroundedMr. Ernst, Melody, and Buddy arrive, and Mr. Ernst demands to know what the fuck’s going on. So does Eddie. There’s a humorous moment as both Mr. Ernst and Eddie are shocked that Ted and Buddy “were hiding under the bed” (nitpick: they were behind it, not under it). Things get sorted out. Eddie works for a company that’s doing commercials for a new candy bar. The secrecy of it all was dictated by the higher-ups (Eddie admits maybe he was a little too secretive). They needed a ranch setting. Eddie was on the phone with the director. Eddie was referring to blowing up a picture (making it bigger). The “bullet-proof vest” is Eddie’s back brace. The money is “petty cash” or “Monopoly money”(?), because “Guys in this business carry lots of cash.” I’m calling bullshit on this. If I’m wrong, by all means, let me know. Eddie was going to “shoot” pictures of Ted, because they wanted a new face to star in the commercial. Eddie thought Ted had the look.

11-39-Melody-case 11-40-Eddie-wet-case 11-41-ruinedMelody retrieves Eddie’s case from the trough. His camera and light meter (the “gun”) are ruined. How the hell did Melody’s pants get wet between shots? She didn’t actually step into the trough.

Mr. Ernst prompts the kids to apologize to Eddie (promising spankings later on), and he’s particularly disappointed in Brad for being part of this.

After Mr. Ernst and “Mr. Goode” leave, Brad is incredulous that Mr. Ernst is disappointed in her. Well, you did let them talk you into this, Brad.

11-42-Ted-disappontedTed is disappointed in himself and puts himself down, showing a good deal of humility. He then gets upset over losing his shot at stardom. Melody and Brad “shock” Ted “back to reality”:

11-43-girls-throw-Ted 11-44-Ted-troughTed should be used to this by now.

11-45-Buddy-cardOn another day, Buddy comes to his dad’s office to tell him about his credit card.

11-46-Ernst-cardAs luck would have it, Mr. Ernst is opening a letter at that very moment that includes his new credit card and instructions to cut the old card in half. Buddy enthusiastically agrees to do it, silently thanks God, and goes off as Mr. Ernst tells him where (he believes) it is.

On yet another day, Mr. Ernst answers a phone call (“Howdy-doo! Bar None Ranch!”) at the front desk. It’s Mr. Goode. After a bit of talk, Mr. Goode reveals the president of the candy bar company opted for a cruise ship for the commercial, which disappoints Mr. Ernst, but he tries to not let Eddie know.

11-47-Ernst-candyApparently, Eddie left a free sample at the ranch, and the candy bar smells bad. Mr. Ernst calls Cassie (who’s now a “girl”) over.

The pre-credits scene at the end is the resolution of the karate subplot. Wait, that was a subplot?

11-48-Sensei-TedOh, cultural insensitivity, how I’ve missed you so.

11-49-Sensei-Ted-2The stereotypical oriental music is playing again as Master Ted prepares himself.

11-50-Ted-breaks-boardTed breaks a board, which earns him applause. Buddy brings up doing it blindfolded, comparing it to the Jedi powers in “Star Wars” (and does a really bad Obi-Wan impression). Ted decides to try it.

11-51-Ted-blind 11-52-watermelonMelody gets the new board.

11-53-Ted-kicks-watermelonTed shows them “martial arts wizardry”.

11-54-wizardryThat’s how it’s done at the Ted Dojo!

So ends another day at the Bar None.

Lucy and (for the first time) Danny don’t appear in this episode.

This episode was amusing but pretty unrealistic. What teenager would build up this mob fantasy? What friends would go along with it? And Eddie was unrealistically vague (even during a private phone call) and gangster-like. Why didn’t he just talk with Ted in private about the photo shoot?

The episode did give us some nice Melody moments, though, for which I’m grateful.

Season 1, Episode 10: Ted and Brad Get Handcuffed

Writer: Graham Yost
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: September 15, 1989

10-01-Buddy-sawIn the cold open, Buddy is performing a magic show for…just Cassie, and he decides to saw him in half. Mr. Ernst’s reaction to this is pretty funny. After watching The Great Zamboni, a recent guest, Buddy has decided to become a magician. Zamboni had entertained the Young Buckaroos last night, but he’d also racked up a huge bill, which leads into a bit of product placement.

10-02-Ernst-card10-03-Ernst-postcardsMr. Ernst claims to have done some magic tricks in the past.

10-04-Ted-informsTed comes by and informs Mr. Ernst of Zamboni’s “disappearing act” – he tore off without paying his bill.

After the credits, while Mr. Ernst is on the phone, Ted brings Zamboni’s case to the front desk. It has magic tricks inside it, which gets Buddy excited, and the gang farts around with the magic tricks for a while.

10-05-Brad-wandBrad tries to make Ted disappear, which he doesn’t find amusing. Brad and Melody leave to get back to work – but not before Brad gets in a parting shot about Ted working on a disappearing act, which further pisses Ted off.

10-06-Brad-snaps 10-07-Ted-ideaTed looks at the “trick handcuffs” and gets an idea, which Danny doesn’t like. Ted eventually bribes Buddy (taking him into town to see “that new movie” “about the alien and the axe”) into showing him the “trick” (push in instead of pull out) to opening the handcuffs. Ted goes off, and Mr. Ernst comes back and gives an update: Zamboni hasn’t been caught yet, and he’s escaped police custody dozens of times; two days ago, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he slipped out of police custody while still handcuffed behind his back. Mr. Ernst claims he used to be a ropes escape artist. Danny suddenly realizes something, and he and Buddy go after Ted.

10-08-Ted-Brad-cuffedOutside, Brad is pissed at Ted, who can’t get the handcuffs off. Wait, both Buddy and Ted performed the “trick” in the previous scene. Why doesn’t it work now? Danny and Buddy arrive and clue them in to the truth: the cuffs are the property of the Tulsa Police Department. Brad calls out for Lucy and drags Ted along.

10-09-Lucy-inspectsLucy inspects the “serious” handcuffs and apologizes. Brad is calming herself and makes a pretty hilarious comparison to a coyote. Basically, Ted was coyote ugly four years before the first saloon opened and eleven years before the movie came out. Mr. Ernst comes by with good news and bad news: the Tulsa Police department is sending them a key, but it won’t arrive until tomorrow morning. He also relates a humorous reason for why a locksmith won’t arrive until this afternoon. Mr. Ernst tells Brad and Ted to do their chores together and then sends Danny and Melody off to do their own chores, and they get off some parting shots at Ted and Brad as they leave. Lucy tries to tell Brad and Ted about the classic 1958 film, “The Defiant Ones“. Even though Brad hasn’t seen the film, she knows what Lucy’s getting at, but she doesn’t want a moral lesson; she just doesn’t want to commit murder. Brad drags Ted off and rejects Lucy’s advice to hold hands. Slapstick ensues.

10-10-pole 10-11-towelAt lunch, Ted’s idea to ward off the guests’ suspicions is to put a towel over the handcuffs. Brilliant. After some bickering, during which Brad belittles Ted by wanting to pretend he’s her trainee, they try to serve the guests water.

10-12-guest-wetIt doesn’t go well.

Later, Ted is mending a broken chair. Brad tries to tell him something, but he won’t hear it.

10-13-chairYeah, Ted, you’re a dumbass, but so are you, Brad, for not simply blurting out the problem before Ted started the work.

Mr. Ernst comes by with a hilarious continuation of the locksmith subplot, which Ted and Brad don’t find amusing. Basically, the guy won’t make it until tomorrow.

10-14-Lucy-hammerLater, Lucy tries to break the chain but can’t. She shoots down Ted’s idea of using an acetylene torch. Brad complains about Ted and tries to break the chain herself. Ted complains back at Brad. They fall on the ground, and Lucy makes fun of it.

10-15-ground 10-16-meetingAfter the commercial break, they have at meeting in Mr. Ernst’s office to work out sleeping arrangements. Melody claims Ted’s snoring already wakes them up as it is, and he’s in a different building. Danny relates a story of how his sister and her friend once took over his room for the night; the smell lasted for weeks, and he had to stain-clean the carpet.

10-17-Brad-tongueMr. Ernst decides to put the “little chain gang” in what seems to be a bunk room in the main lodge.

After Lucy jokes(?) about frisking them for weapons, she leaves them alone for the night. Brad wants the bottom bunk. However, she has to sleep on her stomach, because she gets leg cramps when she sleeps on her back. Ted sends her to the top bunk, and she makes him “be a gentleman” and help her up. Ted snores, so Brad shakes her arm to wake him up.

10-18-Brad-armAll of the blood rushes to Brad’s hand, causing it to throb. All of the blood is draining out of Ted’s arm. Ted has to “be a gentleman” and help Brad down, so they can switch places. Ted puts the pillows on the opposite side. Guess what happens.

10-19-leg-crampLeg cramp!

10-20-arm-spasmArm spasm!

10-21-pillow-fightPillow fight!

10-22-Lucy-hitLucy comes in, yelling, and gets hit.

10-23-breakfastThe next morning, at breakfast, Ted calls Melody and Danny over to ask Brad for the use of his right hand, so he can eat his cereal. Brad and Ted had agreed to not use the cuffed arms and to pretend the other doesn’t exist. Melody is amused by their fighting. Brad gives Ted thirty seconds. Melody presses Brad for more details, and Brad says Ted insisted they sleep with the lights on, and then, all through the night, he kept calling out “Fluffy!” Brad guesses it’s a stuffed toy that Ted has at home to help him get to sleep at night.

10-24-time-upTime’s up!

10-25-food-fight-1 10-26-food-fight-2 10-27-food-fight-3Food fight!

Mr. Ernst comes over and wants to know what’s going on (especially with the milk), and Ted bullshits his way through it (callback to episode 01?). Mr. Ernst informs them that the keys just came in from Tulsa, and they rush after him, Danny and Melody following.

10-28-Lucy-BradLater, Brad comes over to Lucy, who’s annoyed by the fact that she’s just hanging out. Brad asks her about the ending of the movie and then says Ted’s been crossing his fingers and running away like Brad’s a vampire. Lucy says Brad hurt Ted. They argue over it. Lucy says Ted invites them giving him a hard time, because he’s an easy target, because he’s a good sport, because he knows they don’t mean it. Lucy says, sometimes, she doesn’t think he’s entirely sure about Brad. She thinks Brad pushed it a little too far this time. Lucy suggests apologizing to Ted, and Brad agrees. Lucy gives more “sage advice”: Brad secretly has a crush on Ted. Brad good-naturedly dismisses the idea.

Later, Ted’s fixing the chair. Brad approaches him, and Ted tries to ward her off.

10-29-Ted-crossDumbass.

10-30-Brad-Ted-talkBrad and Ted non-apologize to each other (that seems to be a thing with Brad on this series). We learn Ted’s history teacher, Mr. Garfield, is the most boring man alive, and Brad’s Aunt Trudy is convinced chewing raw garlic keeps her healthy. Oh, they’re discussing who their last choice to be handcuffed to would be. In sixth grade, Ted shared a locker with “the weirdest kid [that he] ever met”; he kept live mice in his clothing, and, all through class, you’d see them popping out of his shirt. Ted went to school with Steve Urkel? Brad then brings up a high school guy that sleeps with the lights on and has a stuffed teddy bear named Fluffy.

10-31-Brad-runsBrad runs off, and Ted gives chase (shaking the camera in the process!), confirming he and Fluffy “go way back”.

10-32-Ernst-tiedThe pre-credits scene at the end has Mr. Ernst having Buddy tie him up, so he can escape. I love how Ted often pets Cassie when he arrives. It’s a subtle, recurring thing, and it’s nice.

Oh, the Scotsdale police picked up Zamboni this morning, but he escaped again this afternoon.

10-33-Ernst-strugglesRealizing Mr. Ernst isn’t going anywhere, Ted and Brad excuse themselves to go and do their chores, and Buddy goes to get a comic book.

10-34-nightHours later, Mr. Ernst finally gets a finger free and calls out to Buddy to grab the stopwatch – to no avail.

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was nice. It was good to see the Ted/Brad dynamic explored in detail. The rest of the characters pretty much revolve around them in this episode. What Lucy has to say about Ted and Brad is kind of thought-provoking. We get some interesting details of Ted and Brad’s lives back home. It seems the two of them might – just might – become friends.

I just wish the episode addressed how they went to the restroom.

Season 1, Episode 09: Rainmen

Writer: Mark Cerulli
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: September 8, 1989

Before I begin this review, I need to state I know nothing about Native American culture, so I won’t be able to judge the accuracy of what’s portrayed in this episode.

09-01-Ernst-showerIn the cold open, Mr. Ernst is taking a shower while singing “The Nut Song“, a silly folk song. The water stops running, and Lucy comes over and informs him that, due to the seasonal drought and maximized water usage, they’re out of water.

After the credits, at the front desk, Mr. Ernst is concerned about the 28 guests that are just waking up and wanting cold water to drink. Oh, and also about the ranch not getting a 5-star rating due to this.

09-02-Ernst-Ted-hairTed comes by and makes fun of the shampoo still in Mr. Ernst’s hair (which he should have just wiped off with a towel), so it becomes a recurring gag in this scene that guests stare and laugh at Mr. Ernst’s hair, and he has to hide it with his hat (but also keeps taking it off).

It turns out that Ted just hooked up their reserve water tank of 3,000 gallons, which Lucy claims she’s been trying to tell Mr. Ernst, but there were plenty of opportunities, and she didn’t say anything.

Lucy goes to feed the horses, and Mr. Ernst gets the phone book to look up wells. I like how Ted just smiles in amusement at Mr. Ernst’s hair predicament, which annoys him. Mr. Ernst names Ted “Ranch Water Marshall” until this “crisis” is over, because “the future of the ranch is at stake”. I guess Melody and Brad never informed him of the situation in episode 05. The lesson: don’t put Ted in charge of anything.

Mr. Ernst calls The Happy Water Well Diggers and gets someone to come over to give an estimate for a well extension. While Mr. Ernst is distracted, Ted switches his hat with a fake plant and excuses himself, and…

09-03-Ernst-plant09-04-truck 09-05-Satkina-Ernst-wellMr. Satkina (played by Robert Morningstar in his only role) says it’ll be $5 per foot, and they’d have to go down 500 feet or more.

09-06-Satkina-DannyAs Mr. Ernst gets out an adding machine to run some numbers (which is a nice detail but isn’t necessary for something so simple), Danny comes over, and he and Mr. Satkina talk in some language (Hopi?). I’m afraid that I have no way of figuring out what they’re saying (much like I don’t know if a Native American well-digger would say “coaxing water from Mother Earth”).

Mr. Ernst says it’s not in the budget. When he makes a counter offer of $1 per foot ($500 cash plus lunch), Mr. Satkina gets upset, and he and Danny talk back and forth. Mr. Satkina leaves, and Mr. Ernst doesn’t see what he did wrong. We learn, back in New York, Mr. Ernst’s mother always told him: “Never buy until you bargain.” Danny explains Mr. Satkina thought Mr. Ernst was questioning his price. Apparently, “to an Indian, that’s a major insult”, because it’s like questioning his honesty. Okay, sure, but there’s also the fact that $1 per foot is insultingly low. According to Danny, a hundred years ago, Mr. Satkina would have challenged Mr. Ernst to a fight to the death.

As Brad serves some guests, one of them talks up the breakfast ride to Sabino Canyon (a nice callback to episode 02).

09-07-Ted-takes-waterTed comes by and takes away the guy’s water (Brad violated his “no water” rule), so Brad can serve it to another customer, which Brad rightly says is disgusting. Ted tells her to get smaller cups. Brad brings up the fact that, according to her waterproof watch, Ted allowed her a 2:35 shower this morning before he turned off the water. She tells Ted to lighten up.

09-08-Ted-fills-waterTed, you fucking hypocrite.

09-09-Danny-classLater, Danny is teaching about Native American beliefs to three girls (two of which were two of the people that laughed at Mr. Ernst’s shampoo hair earlier) and Buddy. Melody catches the end of the presentation, which is about kachina dolls being representations of spirits.

09-10-Melody-interested Melody admires it all (including something that Danny’s uncle gave him that’s been in the family for generations), even though she doesn’t know the meaning behind everything.

09-11-Danny-rattle 09-12-Melody-rattleAfter Melody comments that the sound of a rattle (used in ceremonial dances to ward off evil spirits) sounds like raindrops, the Water Marshall gets an idea.

09-13-Ted-ideaBy the way, I like the sign that Ted put up on the board. It’s a subtle furthering of Ted’s subplot, and it shows someone in set design gave a damn.

Ted wants Danny to do a rain dance. Danny dismisses the idea. Danny has seen only one rain dance – on a TV nature show. Ted grabs the rattle and…

09-14-Ted-danceDanny and Melody are pissed. Danny says it’s not the right time of the season; the rain spirits are gone. Ted is persistent in trying to get Danny to do “a little rain dance”, and Danny walks off. Melody points out Ted’s stupidity to him through a hypothetical situation. Ted apologizes, but Melody sends Ted to Danny.

09-15-Brad-laundryBrad arrives with her laundry. She was unable to do it, because Ted turned off the washer, which leaves Melody out of luck as well. Brad is really concerned, because Mr. Ernst and Lucy have been in his office for over two hours, going over budgets.

09-16-Buddy-canBuddy is collecting cans – whether all of the contents have been drunk or not.

09-17-Ted-CassieBack at the boys’ bunk house, Danny isn’t speaking to Ted. Buddy and Cassie come by to collect cans (at 5 cents each, they need 240,000 cans) to save the ranch. This surprises the guys. Buddy says he heard his dad talking. Unless they can come up with $2,500 to make the well deeper, he’s going to have to fire everybody – except Buddy. Okay, but why is Buddy trying to raise $12,000? For $2,500, he should need to collect only 50,000 cans. Ted brings up the rain dance again. Danny and Ted use Buddy to relay messages to each other until Buddy gets sick of it and leaves with Cassie.

09-18-Ted-apologizesTed apologizes to Danny but then tries to get Danny to teach him how to do a rain dance. Danny says you have to be initiated into the kachina way at birth; otherwise, the spirits won’t accept you. Danny also says they’re not on a reservation. Ted is worried about the drought ruining his whole summer. The Water Marshall goes on a “recon mission”, vowing to be tougher.

09-19-signDanny prays to a spirit (I don’t know how to spell it, so I won’t attempt to), never having done so before, and asks for a sign of what to do. The blind that Ted pulled down earlier suddenly goes up. This gives Danny an idea.

09-20-kachinaAfter Danny leaves, the wind blows, I guess signifying the power of the spirit.

After the commercial break, the Water Marshall makes good on his vow.

09-21-sprinkler 09-22-water-reserve 09-23-Cassie-drinks 09-24-Cassie-upset 09-25-Ted-showerLater, Brad is illicitly taking a shower, and Melody is impatiently waiting her turn (listen for Christine Taylor to garble “When’s it my turn?” as “When it’s my turn?”), but the Water Marshall approaches, and there’s this weird bit where Melody tries to cover the illegal showering activity (and the fact that Brad is even in the shower) by spouting a bunch of bullshit about doing “European yoga”, despite the fact that Ted arrived while Brad was still clearly showering. Her bullshitting is kind of funny, but Ted wants to inspect the shower. He sneaks a quick peek under the door and has Melody relay the message to Brad that her next shower is in four days.

09-26-Ernst-chartMr. Ernst and Lucy are still in the meeting. Somehow, a rate increase of 25% (to cover the costs of the new well) leads to both a lower occupancy rate and higher profits. Lucy is against charging the guests any more and pokes holes in Mr. Ernst’s idea to drill for oil. Mr. Ernst is so desperate that he asks if Lucy has a savings account, but Lucy asks if he pays her enough for that.

09-27-Ernst-bottleThings are so bad that even Mr. Ernst’s water cooler is empty.

09-28-Danny-callsDanny calls Mr. Satkina and gets him to come over.

Mr. Satkina didn’t say he’d fix the well, so Danny has a plan to rig up special effects to convince Mr. Satkina that he’s offending nature. The others are naturally dismissive of this plan but go along with it.

09-29-plan-waterMelody hooked up a pipe to the showers and will release some water when Danny gives the signal.

09-30-plan-flowersBrad set up a bunch of fake flowers that will “wither” on Danny’s command.

Ted points out the “cartoon” fakeness of the effects. The debate is cut short as Mr. Satkina arrives. Danny makes a last-second prayer.

Danny “warns” Mr. Satkina about nature and asks if the “natural spirits” have been giving him any signs.

09-31-Cassie 09-32-flowers 09-33-Melody-hits-Buddy 09-34-pipeDespite the others being incompetently late with the effects (Melody even hits Buddy as they bicker) and Danny calling out and giving very obvious signals, Mr. Satkina pretends to fall for it and goes to talk to Mr. Ernst.

09-35-gangThe gang is confused and divisive over what’s going on, but Ted, of all people, seems to convince them of their success.

09-36-Satkina-meetingAt the meeting, Mr. Ernst is appreciative of Mr. Satkina’s return. Mr. Satkina says something moved his spirit, praises the kids, and wants to speak to Danny.

09-37-Danny-summonedOutside, Ted is being all negative (a hilarious contrast to earlier), and Danny being called into Mr. Ernst’s office convinces him that “that’s it”.

09-38-contractMr. Satkina thanks Danny and explains to Mr. Ernst that the contract will allow him to pay what he can when he can; he trusts him. Mr. Ernst goes to make copies.

09-39-Danny-shockedDanny is shocked to learn Mr. Satkina knew it was a ruse all along. Danny, your shit wouldn’t fool anyone. Mr. Satkina explains he saw this kind of thing before in – wait for it – cartoons. He loves cartoons. He was impressed with how much that they love the ranch and the great lengths that they went through to save it. He says, sometimes, when you get older, you forget about things like that. He’ll be back in an hour with his drills.

09-40-Danny-Satkina 09-41-Danny-Satkina-2 09-42-Danny-cheers 09-43-water-stopsThe pre-credits scene at the end has Mr. Ernst taking another shower and singing “The Nut Song” again. The water suddenly stops. Mr. Ernst fiddles with the valve, and it comes off.

09-44-Ted-newsTed comes by and informs Mr. Ernst that the water heater’s broken. Okay, but why did the water stop running? It should just turn cold.

09-45-Ernst-coldSuddenly, the water turns back on. So…the water has good comedic timing?

So ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was nice, although Danny’s plan made no sense and could have made things worse if Mr. Satkina had decided these kids wasted his time. Ted could have easily been right.

Speaking of Ted, the Water Marshall subplot was funny, but I don’t know if he’d be given that much leeway in real life. He learns a bit about cultural sensitivity, though, which is nice.

I can’t comment on the authenticity of the Native American aspects of this episode, but I’m willing to give them a pass because of this:

09-46-special-thanks

Season 1, Episode 08: The Good, the Bad, & the Obnoxious

Writer: Clifford Fagan
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: September 1, 1989

08-01-Danny-videoOh, dear Goddess. In the cold open, Mr. Ernst is shooting a promotional video for the ranch, and this part involves Danny riding up while dressed as an “Indian” and welcoming the potential guests. He’s talking in stereotypical broken English, and there’s stereotypical “tribal” music playing (as part of the episode’s score). Hmmm, what does this remind me of? Oh, yeah, Zack’s class presentation.

08-02-Ernst-directsThe director isn’t pleased. Danny gets a snappy comeback in that I won’t spoil here.

08-03-Ted-ruins-takeThere’s a humorous bit where Ted ruins the next take.

08-04-Brad-frustratedAfter the credits, Brad is frustrated over having to apologize to a customer that a burger was heated incorrectly. Brad doesn’t like how the food is prepared here. What bothers Brad is serving people, smiling, and apologizing when she’s not sorry. I can totally relate. I’m not in food service; I’m in retail. I’ve heard food service is worse. Anyway, this ties back nicely to episodes 03 and 05.

Brad and Melody discuss this for a while, and then Melody talks about meeting a guy at the mall yesterday. I like this. It indicates these characters have time off the ranch (even if we don’t see it). Melody was demure toward the guy; she was playing it safe, because he might have been a weirdo. That’s a level of analyzation that I rarely see characters do, so I’m happy to see it here – especially since it’s an example of the relaxed, casual dialogue that is usual for this series; it has nothing to do with the story, but it adds to Melody’s character instead of just padding the episode.

08-05-Ted-air-guitarTed comes over, jamming on his air guitar while listening to his portable radio. He wants a burrito.

08-06-KimberlyA girl arrives. Ted (and Melody a bit) is taken by her. Brad isn’t pleased to see her, though. She’s Kimberly Carol, a girl that Brad goes to prep school with. Brad hates Kimberly and wants to see her chopped up into feed for swine (yes, she actually says that).

08-07-Lucy-wipes-TedAfter a three-episode absence, Lucy arrives to tell the girls to get back to work. She also rags on Ted a bit for his crush on Kimberly. She also relays info that Mr. Ernst wants to make Ted a “video star”. Ted goes off in excitement.

Melody offers to take Kimberly’s table for Brad, but Brad declines.

08-08-Kimberly-2Kimberly Carol is played by Kari Ann Kulvinskas. “Hey Dude” was her first acting gig, which was followed pretty soon by her second and last acting gig: seemingly a bit part in the TV movie, “Not Quite Human II”. Remember that series of films with the android named Chip, created by a scientist played by Alan Thicke? Yeah.

08-09-Kimberly-BradKimberly is the stereotypical, snobby rich bitch. She keeps putting down “Bradley” – especially after she finds out that she works in “this horrid little desert pit stop”, which her parents had to bribe her to join them at. This exchange between rich, privileged white girls goes on for over a minute. Basically, they hate each other. Oh, and apparently Brad is “rude”. Punch her, Brad. Punch her hard.

08-10-Danny-servantAt the swimming pool (the first that we see of it, and it’s the actual pool of the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch), Danny is Kimberly’s personal bitch, and Melody is disgusted at Kimberly’s behavior. We learn Kimberly used to sit behind Brad at school, so she could copy her tests. This leads to a cute gag between Melody and Brad that I won’t spoil here. Kimberly also tried to scare Brad’s friends away by telling them that she had a contagious disease (this leads to another cute gag).

08-11-Melody-pissedAfter Melody presses, Brad reveals Kimberly also stole her boyfriend, Mark, which pisses Melody the fuck off.

08-12-Brad-hayLater, Brad is cleaning up some stray hay. Kimberly comes by and says Kimberly shit. She pisses Brad off when she mentions the supposed reason that Mark Johnson left Brad for Kimberly (too athletic, not feminine enough). They get into it, and Brad scares Kimberly off the bale of hay.

08-13-Kimberly-falls 08-14-Kimberly-hay08-15-Ernst-ladderTime for more of the subplot of Mr. Ernst’s promotional video.

Mr. Ernst motivates Ted by threatening his job, which might be illegal, unless there’s one of those awful “and other duties as assigned” clauses in Ted’s contract.

08-16-Ted-Buddy-videoTed and Mr. Ernst get into it over the latter’s decision to stand behind the stake during the horseshoe toss. Guess what happens.

08-17-Ernst-hit 08-18-Ernst-painAfter the commercial break, Buddy is feeling guilty.

08-19-Ted-ideasTed comes by with a bunch of awful, self-centered “suggestions” for future Bar None promotional videos.

08-20-Melody-spills-teaMelody spills hot tea on Mr. Ernst, burning him and ruining Ted’s suggestions (the latter of which pleases Mr. Ernst).

08-21-Ted-BradLater, Ted talks with Brad about Kimberly, and Brad tries to warn him about her.

Kimberly comes by to ride a rose and pesters Brad for information regarding the horse.

08-22-Kimberly-over-horse08-23-Kimberly-groundBrad “helps” Kimberly mount the horse and then runs off. When Ted tries to help Kimberly up, she’s a bitch as usual, so Ted lets her sit in horse shit.

08-24-lightningLater, there’s a thunderstorm.

08-25-radio 08-26-Brad-aloneBrad is sitting alone and listening to loud rock muzak while cleaning and polishing a leather bridle. I really love the atmosphere of this scene.

08-27-Lucy-BradLucy doesn’t like it and shuts it off. As she works on whatever she’s doing, Brad pours out her frustrations. She also feels stupid for letting Kimberly get to her – and in front of Ted.

08-28-Lucy-Brad-2Brad also feels she and Kimberly are a lot alike. It also drives Brad nuts that she’s been accused of being spoiled and snobby. Lucy points out Brad’s good attributes and tells her to go easy on herself. She also says this is more about Brad hating parts of herself than Kimberly. We don’t get to see what Brad is like back home, so all that we have to go on is what the characters say in this episode. I don’t really buy it, mostly because I haven’t seen Brad behave anything like Kimberly. Kimberly is just horrible.

08-29-Brad-Kimberly-1Later, Brad catches Kimberly just as she’s about to leave and returns Kimberly’s bridle, despite Kimberly initially not recognizing it. The two of them talk for a bit, and Brad offers up something that’s not exactly an apology (but it’s all that she can give). After a bit of hesitation, Kimberly accepts it.

08-30-Brad-Kimberly-2 08-31-Ted-LucyOver in the corral, Ted is upset that Brad is making up with Kimberly, but Lucy suggests maybe it’s more about Brad losing some anger in order to like herself a little better instead of wanting Kimberly to like her. I’m still not sold on the whole “Brad sees the worst of herself in Kimberly” message that the episode wants me to believe.

08-32-Brad-happy 08-33-Brad-cameraThe pre-credits scene at the end is the culmination of the thrilling promotional video subplot.

Brad doesn’t want to jump, because she doesn’t like to swim (callback to episode 02), and Melody doesn’t want to appear in a video in a bathing suit. Mr. Ernst goes over some video trickery and assure Brad that she doesn’t actually have to jump in. We’re also informed the camera isn’t waterproof, and the whole promotional video could be destroyed. Foreshadowing, perhaps? Also, why does Mr. Ernst keep the entire thing on one tape? Isn’t he going to have it professionally edited later on? For that matter, why isn’t he having it professionally taped?

08-34-Brad-TedTed comes by and pulls Ted shit.

08-35-Melody-pulls-TedMelody takes care of things.

08-36-Ernst-Ted-pool“Unfortunately”…

08-37-Ernst-leak 08-38-Ernst-underwater 08-39-camera-destroyedSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was okay, but Kimberly was way too cartoony, and Brad doesn’t seem the least bit like her. There’s also the confusing message of making peace with your adversary (by offering a non-apology) and letting go of anger in order to like yourself more.

Kimberly stole Brad’s boyfriend, and she’s never held responsible for that!

It’s nice to get a bit of info on Brad’s life from back home, though, and it was nice to see Lucy again. But where was Cassie?

Season 1, Episode 07: Perfect Father

Writer: Graham Yost
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: August 25, 1989

07-01-Melody-packetsIn the cold open, Ted comes over to the picnic area, where Melody is dicking with the sugar packets, but she doesn’t explain what she’s doing when asked.

07-02-Melody-coffeeBrad comes by, and Melody hushes Ted. She pours coffee for Brad. The three of them talk for a bit about insomnia and nightmares.

07-03-coffee-sodaBrad puts sugar in her coffee, and Melody pours herself a soda instead of drinking it out of the bottle.

07-04-Brad-salt 07-05-Brad-napkinIt turns out that Melody put in fake sugar packets containing salt.

07-06-Agent-BuddyAfter the credits, Buddy is playing spy while appropriate music plays. I like this visual effect that opens the scene.

07-07-hands-upThe sequence is pretty cute. Buddy narrates his adventure in voice-over, and a guest or employee plays along.

07-08-Ernst-mapMr. Ernst is checking some points on a map and to make sure that no one’s looking.

07-09-Ernst-dartThere’s a new safe behind the map, but Mr. Ernst can’t remember how to open it. He’s not thrilled by Buddy’s distraction and doesn’t want to play games. He refuses Buddy’s offer of help.

07-10-Buddy-kitDanny interrupts, but then Buddy shows off his spy kit that he got in the mail. Danny seems either in disbelief or to disapprove.

07-11-Buddy-kit-2Melody comes by and relates her salt prank (she got the packets from a joke kit that Buddy got last week).

07-12-asshole-arrivesSuddenly, this asshole arrives, repeatedly ringing the bell and demanding the key to his room. His name is Hank Sears (played by Richard Milenkovich in his only acting gig), and I hate him. He’s the no-nonsense, impatient, asshole customer that you want to punch in the face. He even repeatedly calls Mr. Ernst “chief”. I hate when guys call each other by high titles; this is seemingly done in an attempt to “elevate” each other. Anyway, I’d call Mr. Sears over the top, but I once had a right-wing nutjob customer that was talking about Canada bombing Chicago and trying to drag me into it. I ignored him, but he was obnoxiously persistent and later went to the service desk, furious, to complain, so I’m going to give this characterization a pass.

07-13-watchSears shows off his expensive watch and yells at and insults Danny for looking at it (but not Melody). After Danny and Melody leave, Sears complains to Mr. Ernst about teens working for him and about Danny being “shifty”. Mr. Ernst offers the use of the safe for his valuables, but Sears shows off his “friend” instead:

07-14-gunI fucking hate this guy.

Another guy arrives, and, for some reason, they don’t show us his face at first, I guess to be…mysterious?

07-15-camera-safeIt turns out that Buddy had put his spy camera in the safe and set it to take a picture when the safe opens.

07-16-Mel-checks-ErnstThe flash temporarily blinds Mr. Ernst, and he panics, but the newcomer, Mel Trout (played by William Kiehl near the end of a long but sporadic career) calms him down.

Buddy explains his camera to Mr. Ernst and adds he could have rigged it to take the picture without the flash. Mr. Ernst is upset that Buddy knew how to get into the safe and didn’t let him know, but Buddy points out that he tried to, but his dad didn’t listen, never listens, and never has time for him, whether it’s for his spy games, chess, or throwing a lasso. Mel and Buddy bond over the spy kit (Mel’s son had one when he was little), and Mr. Ernst gets a bit insecure. He has Mel fill out a registration card but then chases after Buddy when the camera flash (accidentally) goes off in his face again.

07-17-Mel-smilesThe scene ends with Mel smiling (suspiciously?).

07-18-Brad-Melody-argueIn the next scene, Brad is complaining about the salt in her coffee, and Melody says it was Ted’s idea. As a nice background detail, Buddy is continuing his spy games (he’s behind the plant) with Cassie tagging along.

Melody talks Brad into getting back at Ted, and the two of them go off to plot.

07-19-Mel-lassoBuddy comes out of hiding and talks with Cassie for a bit, and then Mel arrives and offers to show Buddy (and Cassie) how to throw the lasso. We learn his son’s name is Jay. Buddy accepts after initially claiming he has other plans for today (why?).

07-20-Ernst-upsetMr. Ernst witnesses the off-screen rope action and is upset.

07-21-chessLater on, Mr. Ernst has set up the chess board in an attempt to please Buddy, but Buddy wants to borrow matches, because Mel is going to show him and some of the other kids how he used to breathe fire.

07-22-fireThe kids even do the stereotypical “Ooh! Aah!” thing.

Y’know, Mel (and Buddy, second-hand) relates a bunch of amazing stuff that he supposedly did, and Buddy believes all of it. Who knows? Maybe he did do all of this stuff, but this guy seems too good to be true.

07-23-Ted-spitsThe girls get back at Ted by putting cod liver oil in the honey jar on the table. Um, does anyone actually eat cereal with honey? I’m curious.

07-24-missing-watchSuddenly, Sears raises hell over his missing, $7,000, solid-gold watch.

07-25-right-there 07-26-right-there-2After the commercial break, Sears continues to cause a scene and demands to know where Danny is despite being in the same shot as him.

07-27-Sears-ready 07-28-Mel-subdues-SearsSears is ready to get violent with Mr. Ernst, but Mel subdues him and sends him back to his cabin. We get what seems to be some ADR crowd reaction of one guy saying “He deserved that. He deserved that. Way to go. He deserved that.” It’s pretty understated and unconvincing.

Mel apologizes for stepping in, but Mr. Ernst says that’s okay but also claims he could have handled it. He goes to call the police and offers the guests the use of the safe. As the guests are talking about what they’ll have locked in there, one guy says “my ceramic monkey”. I find that really amusing, because, of all of the fucking things to lock in a safe, why that?

07-29-Mel-BuddyAnyway, the incident brings Buddy closer to Mel.

07-30-Ernst-closes-safeLater, Mr. Ernst puts a ring in the safe for a guest. Mr. Ernst wants to go and lie down, and Buddy makes fun of him. Buddy says he was just kidding, but he really hurt his dad.

07-31-Buddy-MelMel comes by and apologizes for stepping in. He and Buddy discuss it for a bit. Mel wants his wallet put in the safe but doesn’t want to bother Mr. Ernst and suggests Buddy open the safe himself.

07-32-Buddy-shows-Mel Buddy points out the push pins on the map and says the numbers in the landmarks indicate the combination.

07-33-Buddy-opens-safe 07-34-Mel-looks Brad and Ted bump into each other, and Ted doesn’t want to be around her. The two of them soon piece together the truth, and Ted declares “Melody is toast”. Melody had declared Ted to be toast back in episode 05 (also written by Graham Yost), so this is a nice turn.

07-35-Brad-Ted-truthAlso, I love how the wind blows Brad’s hair right as it fades to the next scene.

A guest wants to pick up her stuff. Mr. Ernst relates that this is the first crime that he’s heard of at the Bar None – except for “those brutal murders”. I…can’t tell if he’s being serious or dicking with her.

07-36-safe-emptyOh, shizzle!

07-37-angry-crowdMr. Ernst tells the angry crowd that he’s called the police (again, I guess), who are on their way.
07-38-Sears-watchSears calls for Danny. Danny and Melody arrive at that moment. Sears drags Danny down to the crowd and “finds” his watch in Danny’s pocket. Was he intending to do so earlier when it was “stolen” but held off for whatever reason (perhaps waiting until the safe was robbed)? I’m confused. Anyway, he calls for a rope.

07-39-grillingSomehow, Mr. Ernst gets Danny away and grills him in his office (complete was a rope that isn’t really tied around him) for the sake of the onlookers, who buy it, despite Mr. Ernst’s hammy acting, which, to this show’s credit, Buddy calls him out on after the onlookers leave.

Remember that nutjob customer that I’d mentioned? Well, my bosses didn’t do a fake interrogation of me just to satisfy him, but they took me into a back office long enough to convince him that I’d been removed from the register, so he’d leave the store. Yeah, it was that serious.

07-40-Buddy-planAnyway, Buddy says they’re gonna catch a thief.

07-41-Buddy-surprises-MelMel is packing up to leave, and Buddy surprises him and delays him as long as possible. He finally asks Mel to autograph this:

07-42-pictureOkay, two questions. 1) How did Mel not notice the camera in the safe? 2) Did they really make secret agent toy cameras like this that took pictures? I’d really like to know.

This is where Buddy’s previous explanation of the ability to turn off the flash comes in. What I’m wondering, though, is why Buddy lets Mel hold the evidence and, for that matter, why Buddy was the one to confront Mel instead of, say, Mr. Ernst bringing up some legalese regarding the registration form or an exit survey or whatever. Just bullshit until the cops arrive.

07-43-confrontationMel tries to kidnap Buddy, but Mr. Ernst and Danny come in, and Mr. Ernst informs Mel of the police’s impending arrival.

07-44-Ernst-searchesMr. Ernst finds the loot in Mel’s bag.

07-45-Sears-gun 07-46-at-gunpointSears arrives and has Mr. Ernst fill the bag. It turns out that he’s Mel’s son, and they’re in on it together. Okay, I admit, I had forgotten about this aspect of the episode, so I was pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t quite sure how things were going to play out.

07-47-Sears-baldAnyway, Sears wants to set out on his own and leave his dad behind. They argue about it.

07-48-Sears-blindedBuddy takes a picture of Sears with the flash on, blinding him.

07-49-Ernst-Sears-struggle 07-50-shadowsMr. Ernst uses the opportunity to wrestle with Sears. Mel prevents Danny and Buddy from interfering, seemingly for their own protection. Most of the fight is seen through shadows.

07-51-Ernst-victorious 07-52-surprisedYep, Mr. Ernst is victorious, and no one can believe it. He sends Danny to get rope and tie up Sears (poetic justice). Lest anyone think Mr. Ernst is a badass, he assures us that he got lucky, and Sears knocked himself out, which doesn’t seem to match up with the shadow fight, but whatever. Regardless, springing into action like that was a brave thing to do. Also, Buddy admits he was simply holding his camera tight, and his finger slipped.

07-53-Buddy-fives-dadMel admits he and his son had been doing these scams for ten years. Mr. Ernst rubs their capture in his face, and Buddy is pleased with his dad.

07-54-Ted-sauces-sodaThe pre-credits scene at the end has Ted adding hot sauce to a bottle of grape soda (which Melody apparently never passes up), which he instructs Brad to offer to Melody.

As the others come by, Mr. Ernst explains to Danny that Sears had used an old magician’s trick (holding the watch in the palm of his hand) to frame Danny. When Brad offers the soda to Melody, Mr. Ernst takes it. Ted objects, but Mr. Ernst gets Melody to let him have it.

07-55-Ernst-drinksIt seems for the moment that everything’s okay, but then…

07-56-Ernst-fireMr. Ernst runs off, and Buddy runs after him.

07-57-Melody-laughsMelody laughs at Ted and Brad’s pranking ineptitude, but…

07-58-Ted-pushes-Melody 07-59-Melody-stuckSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was okay but not that great. While I like the father/son story between Mr. Ernst and Buddy, Mel seemed too good to be true (he shouldn’t have been given such an amazing history), and Sears was just way too hammy – even when he wasn’t putting on his act.

It’s interesting, though, how Ted, Brad, and Melody were mostly relegated to the b-plot. They hardly crossed over into the main plot at all, leaving it to Buddy, Mr. Ernst, and Danny. It’s fun when the series plays with different combinations of characters. It’s also fun to see Melody be an asshole for a change.

Season 1, Episode 06: Rehearsal for Romance

Writer: Michael Kaplan
Director: Fred K. Keller
Original air date: August 18, 1989

06-01-Welcome-sign 06-02-meetingThe cold open involves Mr. Ernst assembling the staff (well, except for Lucy, I guess, who’s missing her second episode in a row) for an outdoor meeting.

Mr. Ernst’s latest scheme to publicize the ranch and “make vast amounts of money” is to sell a bunch of Bar None merchandise:

06-03-sauce 06-04-pickles 06-05-mayonaise 06-06-dressing 06-07-polishIf you think these are lame, he then announces a complete line of Bar None fashion accessories:

06-08-Melody-dread 06-09-bowtie 06-10-bowler-hat 06-11-suspenders 06-12-Melody-dread-2 06-13-dress-socksDuring the presentation, Melody does a hand-waving gesture in front of Ted’s face, seemingly trying to snap him out of a trance or revive him to consciousness. It’s kinda weird.

Anyway, Mr. Ernst expects them to sell this merchandise to the guests and to wear it (presumably, he means just the fashion accessories).

06-14-Ted-crowns-Melody 06-15-Melody-crowns-Ted06-16-Melody-deskAfter the credits, Melody is running the front desk (the first that we see of it).

She gets a lady-boner over a guest…

06-17-Melody-gaze 06-18-Melody-tongue 06-19-Bill-smilesand then turns into a nervous klutz around him:

06-20-Bill-concerned 06-21-Melody-down 06-22-bonk-1 06-23-pencils 06-24-bonk-2His name is Bill, and he’s played by Robert Mammana, our first guest star of the series. “Hey Dude” was his first acting gig, and he’s had a very sporadic career since then (most notably an 11-year gap between this role and his next), having only 27 roles to his name, but he continues acting to this day, curiously often playing an officer, agent, detective, or guard of some kind.

Bill’s here with his parents on his first summer vacation of college, and he hates it. After Bill suggests it, Melody says she’d “love you” show him around the lake after dinner. Hurhur. Anyway, it’s a date, which worries Melody.

06-25-Ernst-mirror-1In his office, Mr. Ernst isn’t convinced the bowler hat says Bar None (figuratively), so it’s time for cultural insensitivity!

06-26-Ernst-mirror-2 06-27-Ernst-mirror-3 06-28-Ernst-mirror-4He decides to stick with the bowler.

There’s a knock before the scene ends, which is weird.

06-29-Melody-magazinesMelody is consulting magazines on how to behave on a first date with an older guy at a lake (seriously), and then Brad comes in, horrified over having to wear Mr. Enrst’s crappy fashion accessories.

06-30-Brad-bowlerMelody shares her problem with Brad, and apparently Brad was under the impression that Melody knew everything that there was to know about guys. Melody’s previous dates have consisted of movies and parties and stuff with guys her own age. Brad inadvertently gives Melody the idea to go to Ted for advice. Brad suggests Melody just be herself, but Melody is “desperate” and convinced being herself wouldn’t work.

06-31-Melody-TedMelody comes to Ted while he’s working and calls him out about not wearing his bowler hat. Wait, Melody wasn’t wearing her bowler hat while working the front desk. Did Mr. Ernst get on her case about that between scenes? Anyway, Ted says some tough talk about doing whatever he wants. Ted is happy that Melody came to him with her problem, because he’s “great at solving other people’s problems”. This might be a callback to episode 04. Ted pauses when Melody brings up her date. I wonder if that’s indicative of anything.

06-32-Melody-upsetThere’s a nice moment of effective acting by Christine Taylor when Melody is hurt over Ted inadvertently calling her being herself “a terrible mistake”. Ted says he likes it when Melody’s being herself. Ooh, I wonder if there’s more to this than the episode is letting on. Anyway, Ted gets Melody to “enroll in the Ted School of Romance”. This involves Melody going on a practice date with Ted. Melody is initially hesitant, but Ted convinces her.

06-33-Buddy-CassieBuddy and Cassie show up after missing the previous episode.

06-34-Cassie-collarBuddy is upset that his dad has made Cassie wear an “awful collar”. They all talk about it for a bit, and then Melody warns Ted that “the Mad Merchandiser” approaches.

06-35-Ted-hypocriteTed, you fucking hypocrite.

Melody tells Mr. Ernst that she doesn’t think the bowler hat is her. Mr. Ernst remedies the situation:

06-36-Melody-top-hat 06-37-Ted-WolverineAfter the commercial break, Ted is reading Wolverine #9 (cover-dated July of 1989, which indicates they taped this episode in the spring), probably a hand-me-down from Buddy that Ted will eventually try to sell to a guest. Danny comes in, upset about his “terrible case of hat-head”:

06-38-Danny-hat-headThe girls come in, and Danny rags on Melody a bit regarding her hat. Ted piles on. After a bit more banter, Ted begins Melody’s “lesson in romance” – with Brad here to minimize the damage.

After a bit of banter, everyone gets seated, Danny giving silent indications of who will sit where. I point this out only because it’s something that you don’t really usually see in a series.

They start with conversation. According to Ted, the most important thing to do is act like whatever Bill says is the most interesting thing that she’s ever heard. Brad says that’s the stupidest thing that she’s ever heard, but Melody says there is some sense to it. No, there isn’t, Melody.

Ted goes over the usual getting-to-know-each-other types of questions. After that, he claims guys love it when girls talk about sports. Um, not all guys, Ted. I don’t give a shit about sports, and there’s no guarantee that Bill does either.

We learn Melody loves to watch figure skating, but Danny and Ted disapprove.

06-39-Danny-blehI haven’t seen much figure skating, but it actually sounds kind of nice.

Ted means the typical, macho dudebro sports, though, and suggests Melody bring it up, let Bill talk, and throw in a random “impressive” line. Danny and Brad disapprove.

Ted wants to move on to lesson #2: walking with a guy. They head to the lake, putting on their hats first, lest Mr. Ernst smite them, and they have fun with the absurdity of it all by doing a little dance.

06-40-danceOn the way to the lake, Ted instructs Melody on how to brush against a guy as if by accident.

06-41-Ted-brushes-Melody 06-42-Melody-brushes-TedI REALLY loved the moment in the screencap above back in the day. I thought Melody looked so sensual. I still love it.

06-43-Brad-pushes-DannyBrad doesn’t take well to Danny trying the same shit on her.

At the lake, Ted suggests Melody suggest she and Bill sit on the rock together, and Melody likes the idea.

06-44-Melody-Ted-rockDanny, Melody, and Brad get into it over the merit of Ted’s ideas.

Danny tells “an old Indian fable” about a fox that wanted to catch a deer. I have no idea if it’s a real fable or not, but a few minutes of Googling turned up nothing. Anyway, Ted makes a racist comment as he dismisses the fable.

There’s an odd skip as Melody says “maybe I could come up with a few [skip] ideas of my own”. I wonder if this is a DVD authoring error or a problem with the master tape.

Melody suggests skipping rocks, which Ted dismisses as childish. Danny and Brad have a bit of childish fun by skipping after Ted and Melody.

06-45-skippingI really love this twilight shot:

06-46-twilight06-47-Melody-Brad-talkAs Melody is about to go and meet Bill, she’s nervous, and she and Brad discuss what Melody should do.

06-48-Melody-hugs-BradI love that Melody runs back to hug Brad, probably for emotional support.

06-49-Melody-meets-Bill 06-50-Melody-Bill-walkMelody meets up with Bill, and they head for the lake, talking about college versus high school. Following Ted’s conversation advice doesn’t work.

06-51-Bill-laces 06-52-Melody-fallsNeither does the arm-brushing.

After a bit of awkwardness, they arrive at the lake, and, awww, a deer!

06-53-deer 06-54-Bill-fallsThe rock idea is a bust.

Melody offers the rock to Bill, but Bill says the ground is softer. Melody’s nervousness leads to a hilarious line: “Ground is great that way.”

I dunno. I’ve always thought it was funny.

Melody unintentionally garbles hockey and baseball, so sports talk is a bust.

06-55-Melody-sorryMelody apologizes. Bill notices the rock in her hands and brings up skipping rocks, which he’s never been able to do. Melody offers to teach him.

06-56-Melody-Bill-skip-rocksThey have a great time.

06-57-Melody-excitedMelody comes back from her date and tells the guys how it went – including a dubious compliment to Ted of doing the opposite of everything that he said. She runs off to tell Brad.

06-58-Melody-Bill-exchangeThe pre-credits scene at the end has Melody and Bill exchanging addresses (no phone numbers?). Ah, the days before e-mail. It was the fuckin’ Dark Ages.

Melody had told Bill the fable and apparently let him believe she had come up with it.

Mr. Ernst comes by and says his merchandise just didn’t sell, so…

06-59-Ernst-crowns-MelodyBill “compliments” the gang, and they all yuck it up.

06-60-gang-hatsSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty good. Ted’s advice was bullshit, and Melody should have ignored it, but being yourself is always a good message.

You know who would have been a good choice to go to for advice? Lucy. It’s too bad that she missed this episode.

We’ll never see Bill again, I’m willing to bet we never hear of him again. Long-distance relationships are difficult to make work, especially in the days before instant global communication.

Overall, a nice episode.

Season 1, Episode 05: The Competition

Writer: Graham Yost
Director: Ross K. Bagwell, Jr.
Original air date: August 11, 1989

The cold open involves Danny and Ted coming into Mr. Ernst’s office for a meeting, which, after a bit of banter regarding his previous (horrible) advertising idea, he finally gets to the purpose of:

05-01-drawingTed says it’s a man on a pig, but Mr. Ernst, upset, insists it’s a horse. His plan is to create an ad in the desert for the ranch, inspired by desert drawings in Peru that people fly in from all over the world to see, viewable from the air. He also blatantly talks about bribing the pilots to call the passengers’ attention to the ad.

Danny, probably in jest, suggests making it big enough to see from the space shuttle, and Ted can’t take it anymore:

05-02-Ted-laughMr. Ernst, however, seriously considers it. He even recruits Danny to work together with him on it. Danny isn’t pleased, and Ted feigns disappointment. Mr. Ernst says they’ll get started right after breakfast.

05-03-Melody-makes-bedAfter the credits, Melody is making a bed and busts out an impromptu rap, which she subjects Brad to:

“My name’s Cool M. I work on a dude ranch.
People eat so much here, you’d swear it’s a food ranch.
They eat lotsa eggs, they eat lotsa butter,
Enough cholesterol…to make your whole heart flutter.”

05-04-Brad-rolls-eyesBrad rightly tells “Mel” that it’s awful. Melody insists Brad just doesn’t understand rap. She calls Brad “too old” and “outta touch”. Brad takes issue with that. Melody challenges Brad to name two rap artists. Brad names “Run DMV” and “L.L. Cool Bean”, which is pretty funny, but then Melody kind of ruins it by sarcastically guessing who they are.

05-05-Melody-shirtBrad asks Melody if she’s seen her yellow silk shirt, and Melody remembers she borrowed it. It’s “a little wrinkled”. Melody apologizes, but Brad is upset, and they get into it over age, maturity, and taking care of things properly. Brad leaves, upset.

Back at the meeting, Mr. Ernst believes the problem is they’re going to get too many guests. As he does lofty calculations, Ted and Danny are understandably confused. The scene ends with a dumb gag where Mr. Ernst is worried that repeatedly tapping a marker against his chin might have left a spot.

05-06-Ernst-marker05-07-Brad-rosterBrad checks the duty roster on the board outside Mr. Ernst’s office and finds out that she has to wait tables, which she hates. She offers to switch with Melody for bathroom detail. Melody says a “mature person” would do whatever chore was assigned. Okay, I understand Melody is upset, and maybe Brad was a bit harsh, but Melody did screw up. Brad is upset, and Melody basically calls Brad a rich bitch that thinks she’s above serving others, using words similar to those in their discussion back in episode 03 (but mean-spirited). Brad says she’s lousy at it and spills things. Oh, I guess that ballet-waitressing crap didn’t work after all. I’m mildly surprised that Brad’s problem wasn’t hand-waved away. The two of them argue a bit more, and then Ted comes out and gets them for Mr. Ernst.

In the office, Mr. Enrst is looking over the ad with Danny and says they have to use stones, because rain could wash away lines in the dirt. Wait, back in episode 03, Mr. Ernst was certain that it never rains out here. Anyway, Mr. Ernst decides on painted whites, which will stand out and “last for generations, so that, centuries from now, people come from far and wide just to look at the Ernst Line Drawings”. Yeah, um, delusions of grandeur much?

Ted and the girls come in. Mr. Ernst says they need another staff member that is capable of leading overnights. Both girls immediately volunteer at the exact same time and are pissed at each other. Mr. Ernst needs only one. Melody cites her length of experience working here, and Brad cites her age and maturity. Y’know, this got me thinking. Christine Taylor was 18 when this episode aired and 17 when it was taped. I can’t find any information on Kelly Brown’s date of birth. Anyway, Mr. Ernst says they need to be tested, but he can’t do it on account of “creating the next wonder of the modern world”, but Ted has volunteered.

05-08-Ted-pleasedSurely, no problems will stem from this whatsoever.

Ted has typed up a 20-page syllabus, but the first 19 pages are ridiculous, MacGyveresque jokes (at least, I hope he was joking). The first test is in first aid.

05-09-Melody-goodMelody has done a good job.

05-10-Brad-badBrad, however, bandaged the victim’s entire head and amputated her entire arm to stop the spread of poison from a snake bite – and the wrong arm at that. The only thing that she did satisfactorily was the leg. Yeah, Melody wins this round. After Ted breaks up some trash talk between the girls, it’s on to orienteering.

05-11-Danny-toilingIn the desert, Danny is toiling away at setting up the Ernst Line Drawings. Mr. Ernst spots a plane and wants Danny to hurry up and finish, or they’ll “lose customers”. He also waves and calls at the plane as if he thinks they’ll notice. Yeah, no.

Mr. Ernst invites Danny to come up and take a look, and Danny says it still looks like a man on a pig. Danny suddenly spots Brad, waves, and gets off the ladder, shaking it and tipping it over.

05-12-Ernst-ladder 05-13-Melody-needlesDuring one of the tests, Melody gets an assful of cactus needles…

05-14-Brad-ribbonand Brad finds a ribbon.

They’re dead even. The winner will be decided by the final test: a night in the desert – alone. Brad tells Melody to be careful of the cacti. I don’t know if this is related to the cactus gag from earlier or not, but, regardless, Brad’s like “It’s on, bitch!”

05-15-Brad-insults-Melody 05-16-suppliesAfter the commercial break, Ted is listing the things that the girls get to take with them: pack, blanket, compass, canteen of water, length of rope, knife, and match. Ted breaks up Brad and Melody’s trash talk and tells them to get changed, so they can head out.

05-17-Melody-blindfoldTed drops the girls off separately and tells them to count to one-thousand before they take their blindfolds off. Unfortunately for Melody:

05-18-DangerThis is named after executive producer Geoffrey Darby.

05-19-Brad-blindfoldTed sticks a rubber snake in Brad’s pack.

05-20-Ted-compass
When she doesn’t respond well to his flirting, he takes her compass.

05-21-Melody-dropsMelody drops her stuff while counting, and the bag falls down the mine shaft.

05-22-Melody-screamsShe immediately realizes something’s up and screams at Ted.

Brad hears Melody’s screams and takes delight in them. She skips ahead in her counting and takes off her blindfold early. She finds the snake and freaks out.

05-23-Brad-snake 05-24-Brad-screamsShe screams at Ted.

05-25-Melody-climbs-downMelody ties one end of her rope around a piece of wood and climbs down the mine shaft to retrieve her pack.

She also comes up with a new rap:

“His name is Ted.
It’s gonna rhyme with dead.”

No, it already rhymes with dead, Melody.

05-26-wood-looseUnfortunately, the piece of wood comes loose, and Melody falls.

05-27-Melody-shaft05-28-Brad-concernedMelody screams for help. Brad is checking her pack for her compass when she hears the screams. At first, she’s delighted, but then she grows concerned and runs to find Melody.
05-29-Melody-despairIn the shaft, Melody is in despair over possibly no one finding her. It’s a nice performance where she answers her own question without saying aloud that she’ll die. I just wish it went on longer, because Brad finds her immediately.

05-30-Melody-wristThe girls catch each other up on what happened. I like that Melody doesn’t know exactly why she fell, guessing the knot came undone. She hurt her wrist when she landed hard, so she can’t climb back up.

05-31-Brad-ropeBrad lowers her rope for Melody to tie around her arms and climb up with her good hand.

05-32-Melody-gets-rope 05-33-Brad-tied 05-34-Brad-rescues-Melody 05-35-Brad-wraps-MelodyThe girls make up, and Melody will talk Brad through wrapping her wrist.

05-36-stashLater on, when they stop to rest, Melody admits to stashing chocolate and graham crackers in her blanket, and Brad admits to stashing marshmallows. They decide to make s’mores. Fun fact: this episode (supposedly) originally aired on the day after National S’mores Day in the United States.

05-37-moon 05-38-fireI’m guessing they didn’t want to actually tape scenes in the desert at night, so we get a voice-over of the girls as they’re camping. They chat for a bit, mostly about what to do to Ted, and they get a bit frightened over a howl heard in the distance.

The next day, while hiking, Melody talks Brad into trying out rap.

Brad:
“My name’s Bad Brad, and I work on a dude ranch.
People eat so much, you could call it a food ranch.”

Melody:
“And if it smells so bad, you could call it a crude ranch.”

Brad:
“And if they all went naked, you’d call it a nude ranch.”

05-39-Brad-Melody-hikingYeah, it’s really stupid, but it feels like something that real teens would make up, unlike, say, the Cinderella rap from “Saved by the Bell”.

05-40-Brad-leadsBrad leads the way, unsure, with Melody’s compass. Wait, I didn’t see Melody take her pack out of the shaft with her. Maybe they retrieved it later.

Later, Brad realizes the compass is broken, and Melody remembers she dropped it when she walked into the cactus. If she’s talking about the needle-butt incident from earlier, I didn’t see her drop a compass. She must be referring to some off-screen incident.

Melody realizes the ranch is two miles away. She first explains it by science, amazing Brad, and then she points out the Ernst Line Drawings, which read “The Best Dude Ranch in the West – Bar None”. The girls decide to dick with it.

05-41-girls-mess-adBack at the ranch, Ted tells them that neither of them passed the test, because they helped each other.

05-42-eat-snakeMelody tries to make Ted eat the rubber snake, and Ted says he’ll recommend to Mr. Ernst that both girls take overnights as a team. They agree to it. They also want Ted to do Melody’s bathroom detail and Brad’s turn waiting tables, or he chews rubber. After jokingly considering the snake, Ted agrees to do the chores.

Wait, weren’t those yesterday’s assignments? Were they postponed to today due to the testing? Or was Brad looking at the following day’s assignments?

05-43-photoThe pre-credits scene at the end has Mr. Ernst and Danny returning from a plane ride to check out the Ernst Line Drawings. Ted reads the ad off a photograph: “The Best Nude Ranch on[sic] the West – Bar None”. Brad and Melody laugh, and then Melody excuses them, and they quickly get out of there. Mr. Ernst sends Ted and Danny out to fix the ad.

05-44-nudistsPredictably, a nudist couple shows up, and Mr. Ernst, not thinking anything strange until the man walks right past him, sends them to the front desk to register. He then nervously waves to the woman and goes into shock.

05-45-Ernst-shockedSo ends another day at the Bar None.

This episode was pretty good, silly moments and all, and even the ad subplot proved useful to the main plot in the end. Ted was an ass for taking Brad’s compass, but there’s no indication that he actually knew about the mine shaft.

I love the spotlight on Melody and Brad’s friendship. Christine Taylor and Kelly Brown both give good performances. I wish this could have been a two-parter to more deeply explore the rift that develops between them and give Melody a longer period of hopelessness in the shaft, perhaps exhausting her supplies and having a breakdown.

Overall, a nice episode.