Saturday, August 31, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Hey Dude - The Fifth and Final Season

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Many good laughs and enjoyable moments
Cons: A few clunkers, but especially “Baby”
The Bottom Line:
Final Bar None laughs
Standard series weaknesses
Fans will still enjoy

"Are You Going to Help Me, or Are You Going to Drive Me Crazy?"  "I Hate Multiple Choice."

We’ve reached the final season of Hey Dude, the Nickelodeon comedy from 1989-1991 that centered on the teenage staff of a dude ranch over the course of a summer.  This is also the only season to include all the characters in the opening credits.  And while there are still plenty of laughs, the poor episodes are weaker this time around.

I must admit that not many of these shows were familiar to me, which was a bit of a surprise.  True, I was never a faithful watcher of the show, but I did catch quite a few reruns when it was airing on Nickelodeon.  All that meant was I got to enjoy some laughs for the first time.

And the characters are still fun.  There’s senior staff Ted (David Lascher), lifeguard Melody (Christine Taylor), riding instructor Brad (Kelly Brown), and ranch hands Danny (Joe Torres), Jake (Jonathan Galkin), and Kyle (Geoffrey Coy).  Rounding out the cast are ranch owner Benjamin Ernst (David Brisbin), his son Buddy (Josh Tygiel), and Lucy (Debrah Kalman), the adult in charge of the horses.

So what actually happens in these thirteen episodes?  The highlights include the teens inventing a new staff member named Jed and then having to keep the illusion going.  After one practical joke too many, the rest of the group decides to convince Ted that he’s shrinking.  A double date goes very wrong for four of the members of the gang.  When Brad’s father loses his job, she suddenly has to live on what she makes at the Bar None.  And in the series finale, the old staff and the new staff square off in a game of capture the flag to determine who gets to be senior staff next summer.

On the other hand, there are some episodes where the show just doesn’t work so well.  Mr. E. getting amnesia was one of those.  It was almost funny, but it was more painful than funny.  But the worst episode involved a mother leaving one of her twins behind at the ranch because she is so forgetful.  Yes, the characters interacting with the baby was fun, but I never could get past the premise.

The show is definitely a product of the late 80’s and early 90’s.  A couple of the guys sport mullets.  Their clothes scream the time period.  And one episode finds Ted trying to earn extra money so he can buy a tricked out tape and CD player.  I just had to laugh at that one, although the episode was good.

Now if I’m being honest, I’ll freely admit that none of these episodes break any new ground.  Even though I hadn’t seen them before, I could predict what was going to happen early on.  It’s a sitcom, unexpected plot twists just aren’t the genre’s specialty.

Likewise, the acting is still bad.  The main cast’s acting works, although it is a bit over the top.  But the guest stars can really be bad.  This is especially true in an episode that finds Jake having to fight a bully.  Wow was there some overacting there.

But if you grew up with the show, none of that will matter.  These characters are old friends, and I enjoyed getting to visit with them again.  This is a single camera comedy, which means no laugh track, but I still found myself laughing at their antics.  It’s still entertaining, and that’s all that matters.

Those who have bought the previous sets will know what to expect here.  We’ve got 13 episodes on two discs, just like always.  And just like always, the shows are in full frame, stereo, with no extras.  But if you want to watch this show again, you’ll snap it up.

And if you have fond memories of the show, you’ll enjoy catching the final adventures of the Bar None gang.  While there are a few clunkers, there is still fun to be had in Hey Dude Season Five.

Season 5 Episodes:
1. Miss Tucson
2. The Legend of Jed
3. Incredible Shrinking Ted
4. Rest in Pieces
5. Baby
6. Jealous Guy
7. Amnesia
8. Presumed Stupid
9. Crush
10. Low Budget Brad
11. Jake's Fight
12. Double Date
13. War

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