Now that you’ve had plenty of time to fully come to terms with which side of the Tommy/Chuckie Rugrats spectrum you fall on (don’t worry, Adam, I’m a Chuckie, too), it’s time to look in the nostalgic mirror once more and reflect: Would you still want to stay at the Bar None Ranch from Hey Dude?
Because, let’s face it, if you watched Nickelodeon as a youth, you either wanted to spend your summers at the Bar None Ranch, Camp Anawanna, or playing a warped version of Field Day with Omar Gooding (you, Wild and Crazy Kids, you!) Really, anywhere but your own actual summer camp or family vacation. So the staffers of the Bar None Ranch really had to earn their spurs (see what I did there?) to get us to start our horses and come along. Because, as the old saying goes, you can’t get a ride if you can’t hold on.
Horse troughs to comically fall into
Live entertainment, including murder mystery nights, wrestling
Staff activities, including capture the flag, “Employee of the Week” contests
Pet-friendly. Unless your dog is Cassie, who will inexplicably disappear and never return.
Couple-friendly. Handcuffs are available, but may cause “arm spasm, leg cramp”.
On-staff therapist. Just ask for Lucy!
On-staff Rick Moranis look-a-like. Just look for Mr. Ernst!
In the midst of the vast Arizona desert lies the quaint Bar None Ranch. What it lacks in modern technology and remotely wearable clothing, it more than makes up for in wacky situations and charming staff. You’ll be greeted by the grounds’ owner Mr. Ernst, who is likely up to some hair-brained scheme to make more money. But don’t be put off by him — while dopey, he’s a well-intentioned guy who is just trying to do right by his staff and his son Buddy, Jr. (Go Mets!) If Mr. Ernst isn’t around (he may have wandered off due to his sleepwalking), don’t be alarmed, just keep an eye out for Lucy, the always-helpful ranch hand. You can’t miss her, as she is literally the only other adult on staff. Speaking of those teen staffers, what a delight! There’s Girl-Next-Door Melody, who, while a little boy-crazy and too nice for her own good, is a great swim instructor and bears a striking resemblance to actress Christine Taylor. If you’re more of a Ginger than Mary Ann type, then meet Brad. Don’t be fooled by her pretty, rich girl demeanor; she can ride horses and rough it in the wild, wild west with the best of them. Also, no matter how much she may deny it, Brad is crazy in love with a seasonal staffer, a cute, but overly cocky guy named Ted (catch him while you can before he leaves for
Blossom school!) When Ted isn’t around, you can crush on Mr. Ernst’s nephew Jake or Kyle Chandler (no, not that Kyle Chandler, but that would have been awesome.) Of course, your trip won’t be complete until you meet Danny Lightfoot, a real Hopi Native American with a rich, proud heritage and dazzling collection of tie-dye shirts. In conclusion, a stay at the Bar None Ranch is terribly outdated, but still an entertaining, nostalgic and lighthearted experience. Just remember to keep an eye out for those man eatin’ jack rabbits and those killer cacti!
Rating: 4 stars
But, I’m curious how many of you have re-visited the Hey Dude gang at the Bar None Ranch? (Well, at least season 1, which is on DVD). Was it a good experience the second time around? What was the best thing about the ranch? Who was your favorite staff member? Which episode made Hey Dude your #1 destination on Nickelodeon? Take the poll below and let us know whether you’d travel back in time (1989 to 1991, to be exact) and stay at the Bar None Ranch.