Sunday, September 2, 2012

Franklin & Bash Back For Second Season

Anyone else out there who thinks as I do --that it's the supreme irony to find the American series Franklin & Bash on the Canadian TV weblet bravo?
Back when it was being spelled Bravo! this was a network licensed by the CRTC to run upscale Canadian made productions highlighting ballet, classical music and opera.
And now?
The classics stink in terms of ratings and bravo has bought up many of the down scale series populating the USA and TNT networks.
When we first met them last season Peter Bash and Jared Franklin were two young up-and-coming attorneys whose knockabout style frequently had judges finding them in contempt.
The TV critic for the Boston Globe rightly compared the show to Animal House with its frat humor and male bonding. another critic called it "Ally McBeal with balls".
As The Globe guy wrote "The goal is to drop a Judd Apatow bromance between Brecklin Mayer's Jared Franklin  and Mark-Paul Gosselar's Peter Bash into a wacky Peter E. Kelly courtroom dramedy."
And resemblance to a real, functioning courtroom is strictly coincidental.
When I watched the first new episode of season two I thought more of Simon And Simon where cute situations make for a lack of dramatic tension.
But, hey, the formula worked the first year and the childlike men are back for another go.
Here the situations are so cutsey as to become fey. In Situation A they're charged with keeping Cybill Shepherd's pet dog away from another woman who claims she's the rightful owner.
The episode is titled "Jango And Rossi" and in court they're up against a seedier team who use the same stunts played to the hilt by Eric Mabius and Seth Green who is even shorter than Brecklin Mayer who finally gets to utter some short jokes at another's expense.
But it was nice to see Mayer and Green from Robot Chicken together again.
The B plot was almost as good all about a cheese maker who is coached into robbing a pizza delivery shop if you can believe that.
Getting the big name guests is one key to this show's popularity.
As Malcolm McDowell's second and fourth wife Shepherd was a scream. Asked why she married the guy multiple times she jokes "It was so good we did it twice."
And I liked Mayer's retort to Green: "Why don't you just grow two inches and call yourself Franklin?"
And who should trot in to also claim dog ownership but football star Rick Fox.
What F&B lacks is any sort of dramatic tension.  And, yes, this is cable but how to excuse such lines as "What are we doing with this turd of a case?"
Feyness is surely creeping in, the stars sometimes seem to feel they're so funny that a spot of overacting is called for.
You'd never see cases like this on Law And Order, a solid reason it lasted for a decade. F&B has to fight its innate drift to superficiality. Or audiences will grow tired very quickly.

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