Sunday, December 8, 2013

Franklin & Bash: Shoot To Thrill Review


Mutiny On The Bounty Hunter...

I wonder, is there something in Breckin Meyer's contract that prohibits him from being made the butt of abuse and/or ridicule on Franklin & Bash?  I ask this because regardless of his short stature, it's his taller, better-looking partner Mark-Paul Gosselaar who is always put in humiliating circumstances.  Maybe Gosselaar wants it that way, I don't know.  Shoot to Thrill is a small step forward to lifting Franklin & Bash from the mediocrity it willingly is (and those weren't Breckin Meyer short jokes).  However, some of that lift comes, not from our dimwitted duo but by Reed Diamond's Damian Karp, who has some of the best moments in both Shoot to Thrill and Franklin & Bash in total. 

Jared Franklin & Peter Bash (Meyer and Gosselaar) find they must defend Harley Walls (Thomas Lennon) a bounty hunter who needs a major arrest.  He did so with Tony Ventress (Lucan Melkonian), who works for the guy that swindled Harley, a major white-collar criminal named Paul Fitzgerald, currently on the lamb.  Tony now charges that Harley assaulted him during his arrest, forcing Harley to temporarily surrender his license.  It's up to the boys to prove Harley's innocent and find Paul so that Harley can collect the bounty and clear his debts. 

Of course, because Jared and Peter are involved with the original bounty arrest, and because they are on probation themselves, Rachel won't sign their probationary forms.  Eventually this goes up to Stanton Infeld (Malcolm McDowell), who takes over their case over Rachel's loud objections.  When she complains that she should have some power given her name is on the door, he replies so is his...and it's higher. 

Yeah, we can't believe
this show's a hit either...

The case and infighting, however, is not the big shocker.  The BIG shocker comes in the form of Damian Karp (Reed Diamond).  After the murder charges were dropped against him, it looks like Damian has gone insane.  No longer the stuffed shirt we've all come to know and love, he seems to no longer care about anything.  He shows up in shorts and a T-shirt, says he longer is going to play by the rules and ends with a passionate kiss on Rachel King (Heather Locklear), the woman who supplanted him at Infeld Daniels King.

Karp's new attitude does not sit well with Franklin & Bash: how can they go on without an antagonist?  Who will play Hans Gruber to their John McClane?  When the formerly uptight Karp goes so far as to go to a meeting in his casual wear (and I think pooka shells) and tell the prospective clients that they should go to IDK because, "the bottom line rarely helps the people at the bottom," it becomes all too much for everyone. 
Karp can be many things.  A Democrat is not one of them.

Even worse, when Karp appears to be the ringleader of "Beach Wednesday", it overwhelms Franklin & Bash.  NO ONE can be cooler than them.

Well, the boys stumble into victory.  Being the immature beings that they are these two get excited about using the bean bag gun Harley used on Tony.  While actually fighting over who would get to use it in court, Jared accidentally fires it, hitting Peter in the eye.  At first, Peter looks all right, but wouldn't you know it, a day later he has injuries, similar to those of Tony. 

Karp, fortunately, returns to sanity.  A chance for a judgeship opens up and that snaps him to reality.  Infeld goes to Pindar (Kumail Nanjiani) with the subtle suggestion that 'change is coming' to the firm.  Could there be a place for him (and maybe, not for Rachel)?  Tune in next week, where we also can find what Charlie's (Nicky Whelan) relationship with Rob Lowe (the boys' next-door neighbor who has endured Pindar's drone camera) exactly is.

I used to care,
but Things Have Changed...

I remember thinking that I enjoyed Shoot to Thrill, but in retrospect I cannot recall why.  I think my primary enjoyment came from seeing Reed Diamond show his comedic abilities.  Karp has apparently had a complete meltdown, and to see him be so off-character into almost Franklin & Bash-like is hilarious.  Still, it's a credit to Diamond that he never goes overboard with making him be completely unbelievable.  Instead, he makes Damien someone who has pretty much given up, seeing his dreams, his goals, his aspirations (which are all commendable) constantly frustrated, in particular by these two himbos who are flippant about everything and who work to make him miserable.  Damien isn't attempting to BE Franklin or Bash, he's just tired of trying to be himself and receive nothing for it.

This is a man who has given up, who does his best and is constantly thwarted for no other reason than that 'the cool kids' dislike the 'nerd'.  Franklin & Bash is a celebration of the jocks and smartasses over the diligent students, showing that high school never really ends. 

Minus that I can't recall much about Shoot to Thrill in terms of interest or plot.  I detested how co-creator Bill Chais' screenplay continues to cause damage to other characters not named Jared Franklin.  It is Peter who gets it in the eye, just like it was Peter who was so out of it due to pain medication that he could barely function but his buddy forced him to go to court.  The more we watch, the more we dislike Jared Franklin. 

The relationship between Charlie and Peter is constantly up in the air.  Last week, it looked like Peter was finally over Charlie, now he can't seem to let go.  Make up your mind, you man-slut.

Then there is the subplot of Pindar's fixation with Harley and the bounty hunter business.  For someone who is terrified of everything, to see him suddenly want action and taking on bad guys is so bizarre and oddly, more out of character than Karp's hippie phase.  We also get the return of Assistant District Attorney Helen Swatello (Rhea Seehorn), perhaps to show that Jared Franklin is indeed as heterosexual as his life-partner Peter Bash.  However, as much hostile flirting as there is between them, hearing Jared shout, "See you at the office, honey," to Peter is indeed rather odd.

Well, Shoot to Thrill is neither all bad or all good.  It shows that there is something of an upswing to the show, which is so out-of-character for them...

I feel the same way too, Zack...

Next Episode: Gone In A Flash

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