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Hey Dude Season 1 DVD Review

The classic Nickelodeon live-action teen comedy finally makes its way to DVD.

The lowdown: “Hey Dude” was a live-action Nickelodeon teen comedy about 4 teenagers (Brad, Ted, Danny and Melody) working at the Bar None Ranch in Arizona under the nerdy ranch boss (Benjamin Ernst) from New York. In this 13 episode first season, plots involve horse wrangling, a man vs. woman competition, Mr. Ernst’s son Buddy (and his dog Cassie) adjusting to camp, Brad learning to become a waitress, Ted trying to get a saddle, a test for Melody and Brad, Melody going out on a date, thieves, an enemy of Brad’s, Mr. Ernst promoting the Ranch, a water drought, Brad and Ted handcuffed together, a suspicious customer, an Employee Of The Week contest, and Danny’s irresponsibility.

By today’s standards, “Hey Dude” appears to be nothing more than a corny low, low budget teen series, but for those that watched it when it aired back in the late 80’s/early 90’s, it’s a nostalgic classic. As one of those folks who grew up on “Hey Dude,” I was thrilled to see this show finally get a DVD release. It may come as a surprise to some, but despite some goofy jokes and sight gags and a pinch of awkward acting, the show still manages to hold up for the most part. Unlike many of today’s shows which are focused on serialized plots, production values, and gimmicks, “Hey Dude” focused on what matters most- characters. It’s a simple, charming, identifiable show that touches on themes of responsibility, friendship, learning and so forth. In other words, it does what a good teen show should do.

Characters aside, the show primarily works because of the cast. While it’s true it takes a few episodes for the cast to adjust to their characters, it’s evident in the tail end section of the season that the cast is more comfortable in their roles. This is quite noticeable in the notable episodes “Ted And Brad Get Handcuffed” and “Employee Of The Week” which do a fine job of showcasing the chemistry between the characters (and cast members).

While it’s very much an ensemble series, there are a few actors and actresses that stand-out here such as Christine Taylor (Melody), David Brisbin (Mr. Ernst) and David Lascher (Ted) (all of whom went on to have successful careers). Their characters are certainly the most likeable and they often have the best scene stealing moments.

Summary: This is hands down one of the best DVD releases of the year. The home video release of “Hey Dude” has certainly been a long time coming and Shout! Factory deserves much praise for releasing an exceptional first season set. I can only hope Shout! releases the remaining seasons and perhaps even season sets of other Nickelodeon classics like “Salute Your Shorts” and (U.S. releases) of “Are You Afraid Of The Dark?”

Video/Audio:

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much in regards to the picture quality, but it’s a fairly impressive. Having been used to poor quality reruns or lousy Youtube esque quality episodes, the picture on the DVD set is as good as it gets (especially on a Hi-Def TV).

The unspecified audio does the job. It sounds like a Mono track, but the dialogue (and the great theme song) sound clear which is what matters the most.

The only extra here is a solid 17 minute interview with Christine Taylor. She talks about her auditions, doing the pilot episode, life on set, the fashion, the shooting schedule, chemistry with the cast, Nickelodeon, and fans. I would have liked to have seen more interviews, but maybe they are saving those for future season sets.

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July 18, 2011 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , ,

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