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 Better watch out for those man-eating jackrabbits... and that killer cacti!

Hey, Dude! was a sitcom that aired on Nickelodeon during the late 1980s and early 1990s. It followed the misadventures of the teenage summer help at the Bar None Ranch in Arizona, as well as its owner, an incompetent Mr. Benjamin Ernst. Mr. Ernst, after years of being a nebbishy pencil-pusher, gets the urge to be a cowboy; so, he buys the Bar None and becomes its manager. Since his only qualifications (if you can call them qualifications) are his enthusiasm for bolo ties and ten-gallon hats, he's quickly in over his head. Consequently, he has little time to supervise the young staff, who leap on the opportunity to romance each other and concoct the most wholesome possible way, of course. The staff are:

  • Brad, the horseback-riding instructor, who has rich parents and occasional snobbish tendencies, but also works hard and can take care of herself when need be.
  • Ted, who does most of the scheming, and constantly tries to hook up with Brad.
  • Danny, a Hopi Indian who is always on hand to warn Ted that he's proceeding down an unwise path.
  • Melody, a bubbly blond lifeguard. She isn't exactly The Ditz, but generally shown to be a bit more naive and immature than the rest of the staff.
  • Jake, Mr. Ernst's nephew, who appears when Ted leaves for a brief interval, and remains for the rest of the series' run. Jake is a surfer, a drummer, and a general space cadet.
  • Kyle, a late-in-the-run addition who is a bit lunk-headed, but possesses more cowboy-like qualities than any of the other staffers. Also likes Brad.
  • Lucy, the only other visible adult, who makes up for what Mr. Ernst lacks in managerial skills. A bit of a tough customer.
  • Buddy, Mr. Ernst's son, who is not part of the staff, but usually is a part of the plot. He is basically a younger version of Mr. Ernst, except he knows he is a City Mouse and constantly whines that he wants to go back to New York.

Although it didn't have a Laugh Track, Hey, Dude managed to use many well-known sitcom tropes in the short time that it was on. Its first season was released on DVD on July 19th, 2011.

Tropes used in Hey, Dude! include:

  • Alpha Bitch: Brad's a borderline case.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: Mr. Ernst, who, in one episode, thinks he's wearing a fake snake around his neck.
  • Betty and Veronica: Melody and Brad fit the character types, without the romantic rivalry. Melody and Ted have more of a Like Brother and Sister thing going.
  • Beauty Contest: One in which Brad and Melody are the only contestants. In the talent portion, Brad's talent is packing a suitcase. Melody begins to have a break-down when she thinks she could lose to 'packing luggage.'
  • Blatant Lies: In one episode, Melody essentially passes off Brad's entire history as her own to impress a wealthy and snobbish ranch guest.
  • Capture the Flag: The ranch's traditional method of choosing the head staff member (Ted) is to have the job go to the winner of the annual game.
  • Chained Heat: Brad and Ted get handcuffed together in the well-remembered "Arm Spasm/Leg Cramp" episode.
  • Cooking Duel: In one episode where Ted and Danny compete with Brad and Melody to see which gender is better at certain tasks, Buddy is selected to be the judge of the cooking contest. The 'muffin' served by Ted and Danny is practically inedible, but the girls cook a meal containing fish, which Buddy is allergic to.
  • Copy Protection: In the beauty contest episode, Melody plans to sing for the talent portion, but discovers that because of the contest's copyright rules, she can only sing a song which is in the public domain. As a result, she serenades the judges with "Home on the Range."
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Mr. Ernst is totally out of his element with the cowboy life, but is also an effective administrator and financially savvy (it's suggested that his buying the ranch saved it from complete ruin).
  • Dawson Casting: Despite playing a teenager, there's no way the actor playing Jake was under the age of 25.
  • Ear Worm: It's a little wild and a little strange~
    • Better watch out for those man-eating jackrabbits, and that killer cacti...
  • Fake Nationality: Danny Lightfoot was a Hopi Native American. His actor, Joe Torres, is Mexican-American.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: One episode revealed Ted's middle name to be Aloysius, a fact he was trying to keep hidden.
  • Fish Out of Water: Mr. Ernst, despite massive denial on his part. Brad is a milder case.
  • Game Show Appearance: Newly emergent genius Jake does one.
  • Gender Blender Name: Brad.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Hey, is that Ben Stiller's wife?
    • David Lascher (Ted) would later go on to play Sabrina's coffee shop boss-turned love interest. (and before that, Blossom's boyfriend)
    • Laura Innes (from ER) played a guest on two episodes.
    • Toby Huss (aka Cotton Hill/Kahn) also guest starred on two episodes, as "Mr. Ernst" according to IMDB. He would later return to Nickelodeon as Artie on The Adventures of Pete and Pete.
  • Hypno Trinket: Buddy orders one from a comic book, and tries it on Jake while he's eating a bowl of cereal. Jake pretends that it works, interpreting Buddy's command to pour the cereal "over your head" to mean "over your (Buddy's) head". Later on Buddy demands that he pour it "over my head" and again gets it dumped on him.
  • I Got Bigger: Buddy's actor got progressively bigger between seasons (justified as he was a kid when he was cast and was a teenager when the show ended).
  • Locked in a Freezer: Happened at least twice... darn that abandoned mine shaft.
  • Long-Lost Uncle Aesop: Melody's visiting brother and his drinking problem.
  • Lottery Ticket: Ted wins a substantial amount of money via a scratch-off ticket and starts using his newfound wealth to arrange drastic changes at the ranch, such as adding a water park. It all comes to nothing when the lottery people discover he's not a legal adult and is therefore ineligible for the payout.
  • Magical Native American: Actually Danny is an aversion (most of the time) and while closer to Earth it's because he's more laid-back than the rest of the staff at the ranch. He even becomes exasperated when Mr. Enrst tries to invoke this for a promotional video.
  • Malaproper: Kyle thinks he is being "chil-lay-vrous" when he is polite to women.
  • Mistaken for Dying: Happens to Mr. Ernst, when the gang thinks he has a fatal disease. In actuality, he's fine; the staffers overheard Lucy talking about a disease contracted by a horse and assumed she was talking about Mr. Ernst being sick.
  • Mistaken for Special Guest: One episode had the staff on the lookout for a guidebook writer who was expected to be coming to review the ranch...only to have them realize that the person in question had just checked out.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Jake wants to be a writer and can frequently be seen narrating into a hand-held tape recorder.
  • One-Hit Wonder: The actors who played Brad, Danny, Lucy, Kyle, and Buddy never had any acting jobs outside of this series. They all debuted on the show and never acted again after it ended.
    • Justified as Danny and Buddy's actors were Arizona natives who pretty much never left the area after filming.
  • Put on a Bus: When it was discovered that Ted didn't pass all his classes the previous school year, he had to leave the ranch for summer school. He made one later guest appearance (in which he snuck back to the ranch cause he missed everyone) before returning for good a little while later.
  • Real After All: "The Legend of Jed"
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: A minor example -- in the beauty contest episode, Melody states her hometown as being Allentown, Pennsylvania, which is Christine Taylor's Real Life hometown.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Mr. Ernst is usually patient and friendly with his staff.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Brad and Ted.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A subversion. Jake joined the cast to fill the temporary vacancy left by Ted, but even after Ted returned, Jake stayed on the show.
    • Not to mention Kyle, who joined even later in the series.
  • Ted Baxter: They even called him Ted!
  • Token Minority: Danny.
  • Tomboy: Brad.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Brad and Melody.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Between Brad and Ted. Although she usually thinks he's childish, there are lots of hints that she really likes him. Ted succeeds in getting her to date him once, or maybe twice, during the series.
  • Women Are Wiser: Played with a bit most of the time. While the girls are generally closer to Earth than most of the guys, Brad is typically only slightly closer, and Danny is typically closer than either girl (probably because he's a Native American). Played perfectly straight in the Battle Of The Sexes episode, where the guys were suddenly incompetent at everything.
  • Write Who You Know: In one episode, Danny starts a comic based on the staff, using thinly-veiled expies (e.g. Melody is "Harmony"), and uses it as a vehicle to reveal the worst of their personalities. It's a hit with everyone but the main cast, but Danny eventually realizes the friction in his personal relationships isn't worth it.
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