Shout! Factory // 1990 // 300 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // July 1st, 2012
Yipee-ti-yi-ay, till the break of day.
Hey Dude was must-see television for me during its run between 1989 and 1991. Between the western theme, the corny kid-centric comedy, and an undeniable crush on star Christine Taylor (Zoolander), I don't know that I ever missed an episode. As much as I enjoyed it, though, I basically haven't thought about it since, until now, with the arrival of Hey Dude: Season 3 from Shout! Factory, the gold standard for television nostalgia.
Thirteen episodes make up the third season of the series.
* "Inmates Run the Asylum"
When Mr. Ernst (David Brisbin, Erin Brockovich) has to go into town for a horse deal, he puts Ted (David Lascher, Blossom) in charge of the ranch. Despite everybody's objections, Ted turns the ranch into a police state and causes a revolt in the process.
* "Hey Cinderella"
Melody (Taylor) has fallen for a handsome upper class boy who just arrived at the Bar None Ranch for a stay. She forgets her name tag when she meets him, and he assumes she's a rich kid just like him. Not wanting to stop a good thing, Melody steals the identity of Brad (Kelly Brown), pretending that Brad's debutante upbringing is her own.
* "Date Nite"
After wearing her down, Brad finally agrees to go out on a date with Ted. They have a great time loaded with misadventures, but Ted has a secret he's trying to keep from the group: he's leaving.
* "New Kid on the Block"
After Ted leaves for summer school, Mr. Ernst's crazy drummer nephew, Jake (Jonathan Galkin) shows up to fill in. He may be different, but the gang quickly embraces him as one of their own.
* "Sewn at the Hip"
Melody's best friend from school shows up for a visit and, while Melody has grown up, her friend is still the same girl from their youth. Melody now must reckon with the fact that people change and close friendships may not be forever.
The gang tries to convince Jake to try out for a local TV game show, and he wants to, but he has a host of bizarre superstitions that get in his way.
* "Dueling Ranches"
A neighboring ranch has started damming the creek next to the Bar None so they can build a monster truck track on their property. To solve the problem, Ernst challenges them to a baseball game, with the winner getting rights to the land.
After an angry call from Ernst's son, Buddy (Josh Tygiel), his mom shows up to take him home. She and Mr. Ernst have been divorced a long time, but the friction and the sparks quickly emerge once again.
* "No More Mr. Nice Guy"
Melody's tired of being treated like a sucker by her co-workers, who know she'll do whatever they ask. When both Brad and Danny (Joe Torres) ditch her during the lunch rush, she's had enough and goes on strike.
* "Killer Ernst"
To make more money for the ranch, Mr. Ernst arranges a wrestling match featuring Captain Lou Albano against the Masked Marauder. When the Marauder doesn't show, though, Mr. Ernst is forced to wrestle under the mask or lose his ranch altogether.
* "Melody's Brother"
Melody gets another visit, this time from her brother. This one doesn't go so hot, either, as she discovers that her brother is an alcoholic, just like their dad.
* "Bad Seed"
Buddy is put in charge of a rotten little girl, who runs around committing crimes all over the ranch. Unfortunately, her nice girl act works on the rest, who all blame Buddy for the acts.
* "Stick Around"
When an old flame shows his face after five years, Lucy (Debrah Kalman) starts to think about marriage. Meanwhile, his son Kyle (Geoffrey Coy) meets Brad and decides that it might be a good idea to stick for a while and see if he can get anywhere with her.
If Hey Dude was airing for the first time today, I likely wouldn't look at it as anything but dumb kids programming, and the reality is that the show isn't much more than that; but I certainly understand what I saw in it at the time and I can't help but still like it a little.
The acting isn't great, and few of them did anything substantial afterward, but the characters are all perfectly charming and likeable. A lot of the episodes hinge on the consequences of telling lies and keeping secrets, which is easy stuff, but unlike previous seasons, too many in this set feel like very special episodes. There's some crying, a lot of hugging, and everything's always okay by the end, so nothing's all that heavy, but episodes like "Melody's Brother" are played a little bit too seriously.
For the most part, though, the whimsical western fun is all here. Danny's as easy-going as ever, Melody's still cute and wholesome, Brad still downplays her wealth, and Mr. Ernst continues to exasperate everyone with his lovable goofiness, so that's all normal. The big change this season is the influx of new blood to the Bar None. Lucy is almost completely gone and, by the fourth episode, Ted leaves entirely and, with it, the only romantic conflict that existed in the series. The additions of Jake and Kyle help that out a little bit, but they're generic '80s preppies, so it doesn't help all that much. Still, it's definitely a fun look back at one of the best shows of Nickelodeon's early life.
Shout! Factory has done a decent job on their release of Hey Dude: Season 3, though it isn't perfect and has no supplemental features. The transfers of the episodes accurately represent the look of the series. Colors are as strong as I remember and there's a fair bit of detail in the image. The only episode that keeps it from looking completely consistent is "Bad Seed." Clearly, there was no decent version of this available, because it looks like a multi-generation VHS dub. Otherwise, though, it looks good. The sound is perfectly acceptable, though nothing special, and the bad looking episode doesn't sound great, either. There are no extras on either disc, although the case is fairly attractive.
Nostalgia works its magic on me, in this case, and I come away from Hey Dude: Season 3 with surprisingly positive feelings. I'm not sure that kids these days will appreciate its charms, but those who watched the show during its original run will appreciate the memories.
Review content copyright © 2012 Daryl Loomis; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Release Year: 1990
MPAA Rating: Not Rated