Hey Dude was my very first favorite show. I'm not counting cartoons and Sesame Street and stuff, because that's just ON when you're a kid and you don't really choose it. Hey Dude's the first show where I remember seeing commercials for it on Nickelodeon, thinking to myself, "Oh, yeah. That is my kind of show," and then making a point of seeking it out and watching it. It had more heart than Salute Your Shorts but it wasn't humorless like that Fifteen shit. Hey Dude was my thing.

So I can't fucking believe I didn't know about the Hey Dude cast reunion at the ATX Television Festival. For years I've been meaning to pitch an in-depth Hey Dude oral history (are there Bar None bowler hats sitting in a warehouse somewhere? What is the formula for Ernst's Magical Desert Sod?), but I never got around to it. Also, it sounds hard. And I guess I'm too late now! (I'll have to do Ghostwriter instead.)

Some revelations from the reunion, via CNN:

The youngest star, Josh Tygiel, got the role of the skateboarding Buddy after responding to an open call notice in a local Tucson newspaper. Tygiel lived at home during the show's filming, but as Taylor recalls, the rest of the cast were in much closer quarters.

"Being away from home, we bonded very quickly. We were at the Ramada Inn, and then we upgraded to the Radisson Suites."

There were two major absences from the reunion: Kelly Brown, who portrayed strong-minded rich girl Brad Taylor, and Joe Torres, who played the easy-going Danny. Brown had to pull out at the last minute due to a family emergency — and no one in the group is still in contact with Torres or clued in to his whereabouts.

"We don't really know," Goodman said. "We just know the same rumors that everybody else knows that reads the Internet. There was a rumor he died, there was a rumor he was selling cars in New Jersey, but I don't know if anybody has confirmed any of these things. He's been hard to find."

DANNY, WHYYYYYYY??? The rest of the CNN write-up is definitely worth reading. Did you know that Jake went on to found DFA Records? Did you know that Mr. Ernst looks exactly the fucking same?

In closing, here are some of the lessons I learned from the five magical seasons of Hey Dude:

  • You can't skateboard on sand.
  • Don't leave your friend blindfolded with a broken compass near an abandoned mine shaft.
  • The first rule of comedy is fall in the water trough.
  • Why would you EVER date a Ted when you could date a Jake?
  • Don't coerce your Native American coworker into doing what you want by telling him that the "Great Spirits" are angry.
  • Don't force your teenage staff members to go out in the desert and arrange stones into enormous letters to advertise to passing airplanes, because they might write "BEST NUDE RANCH IN THE WEST" instead of "BEST DUDE RANCH IN THE WEST" and then a bunch of naked people will show up and you'll have to see their penises.
  • "Melody. This is silk."
  • If your boss falls off a ladder and hits his head and gets amnesia and thinks he's his high school alter-ego T-Bone, MY GOD, CALL THE FUCKING HOSPITAL. WHO CARES IF THERE'S A NOTED TRAVEL WRITER VISITING THAT WEEKEND?!
  • Don't organize a promotional wrestling match against a rival dude ranch and then agree to fill in when your wrestler doesn't show up, because your opponent might turn out to be Captain Lou Albano.
  • Capture the Flag can be brutal. BRUTAL.

I Can't Believe There Was a Hey Dude Cast Reunion and I MISSED IT