Sunday, July 7, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Hey Dude! - Season 3

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters having plenty of fun
Cons: Poor acting and production values.  80's styles
The Bottom Line
More fun episodes
As weaknesses continue
With new cast members

Warning: Cast Changes Ahead

I doubt any kid that grew up in the late 80's or early 90's doesn't have memories of Hey Dude!  How could you not love the Nickelodeon show about the adventures of the teen staff at a dude ranch in ArizonaSeason 3 has been released, which means we are over half way through the show now.

It also means we've hit the year of the cast changes.  After only two episodes in season two, Ted (David Lascher) leaves because he has to attend summer school.  But before he does, he becomes a dictator when placed in charge of the ranch for a day and finally gets Brad (Kelly Brown) to go on a date with him.  Her reaction to finding out he has to leave is so touching.

That also means that they bring in some new cast members.  For most of this season, that's Jake (Jonathan Galkin), nephew of ranch owner Mr. Ernst (David Brisbin).  Initially, he wants to leave, and his cousin Buddy (Josh Tygiel) wants him gone just as much.  But then he changes his mind and tries to fit in.  And in the season finale, we also meet Kyle (Geoffrey Coy), the teenage son of a friend of adult ranch hand Lucy (Debrah Kalman).  And the sparks start to fly almost right away between Kyle and Brad.

So what else is happening around the ranch this season?  Brad enters a jumping show.  Lifeguard Melody (Christine Taylor) gets visits from both her best friend and her brother.  Buddy tries to reunite his parents and decides he needs to move out…to the guy's bunkhouse.  And Danny (Joe Torres)?  Well, Danny just tries to hang on with all the other hijinks happening around the ranch.  And there's plenty of fun going on as Melody stops being a nice guy and the ranch gets into a baseball game with their rivals down the road for water rights.

Okay, so it's not exactly great TV.  The production is adequate at best.  The acting from the returning actors has gotten better, although even then it's just okay.  You can tell why most of the cast hasn't done much else since then.  The new additions to the cast are a little stiff, although Jonathan Galkin seems to be settling in by the end of the season.  Even so, I've never like Jake.  Feel the same way about Kyle.  The episodes with Ted were always the best.  (My understanding is that David Lascher left for another show which got canceled, which is why he showed up again in season 4 and 5.)

Another thing about the show - you can't miss the time period.  The fashion just screams 80's.  In fact, I think I owned some of those shirts.  What was I thinking?

So, with all these flaws, what is the appeal of the show?  It's the characters and the humor.  Yes, this is a sitcom, although it doesn't have laugh track.  Still, you'll grin or laugh at the antics of the cast.

More importantly, the characters are awesome.  The friendships among them is still very appealing, even as an adult.  It makes me want to show up at the Bar None Ranch to hang out with the characters in person.  And that's why the show was so popular back in the day.

Each season of Hey Dude! was 13 episodes long, and once again those episodes are contained on two discs.  The full frame and mono sound are fine since that's what the show originally aired in.  The one exception is "Melody's Brother."  Apparently the masters of this episode have been lost, and the episode is included with less than perfect presentation.  It looks like someone's old VCR tape copy.  However, it's a weak episode over all (very special anti-alcohol episode), and given a choice I'd rather it be included this way than not at all.

Unless you already love the show, the flaws in the show will probably overwhelm you.  But for fans of the show, nostalgia will definitely make you want to own season 3 of Hey Dude!

Season 3 Episodes:
1. Inmates Run the Asylum
2. Hey Cinderella
3. Date Night
4. New Kid on the Block
5. Sewn at the Hip
6. Superstition
7. Dueling Ranches
8. Ex-Static
9. No More Mr. Nice Guy
10. Killer Ernst
11. Melody's Brother
12. Bad Seed
13. Stick Around

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