Judge Daryl Loomis wants to market a salad dressing to men called Dude Ranch.
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.
Facts of the Case
Thirteen episodes make up the third season of the series.
• "Inmates Run the Asylum"
• "Hey Cinderella"
• "Date Nite"
• "New Kid on the Block"
• "Sewn at the Hip"
• "Dueling Ranches"
• "No More Mr. Nice Guy"
• "Killer Ernst"
• "Melody's Brother"
• "Bad Seed"
• "Stick Around"
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.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
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