Monday, September 29, 2014

MILF Does A Buddy Good


FRANKLIN & BASH:
HONOR THY MOTHER

There are three selling points to Honor Thy Mother, the newest Franklin & Bash episode.  One: Breckin Meyer (His Royal Highness Elmo, Duke of Landingshire) co-wrote the script with Franklin & Bash co-creator Kevin Falls.  Two: Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Peter Bash) directed his co-star's script.  Three: Kumail Nanjiani (Pindar Singh) makes a return guest appearance after his character disappeared without a trace and barely an explanation (which if memory serves right, has changed from between it was mentioned in the season opener The Curse of Hor-Aha and now).

We also have sex between HRH and his best friend's mom, a silly send-off for a divisive character, and a really boring case.  Not even Reed Diamond could lift Honor Thy Mother from the Meyer of Breckin. 

After the previous night's debauchery, HRH (Meyer) wakes up to find he's slept with Colleen Bash (Jane Seymour), his best friend Peter Bash's mom.  All those jokes about how hot Peter's mom was hot have come to fruition, but poor Landingshire is crying like a little baby over all this.  Colleen, fo her part, sees their romp as therapy, a freebie for her work as a sex surrogate to help HRH get over Ellen Swatello.  Now, most of the episode HRH has to try to keep this terrible secret from his best friend, not easy given how often mothers come up in conversation, which instantly throws him into fits of panic.

However, there is some levity in Peter and HRH's life: Pindar Singh (Kumail Nanjiani) has returned.  The exact nature of why he had to leave is still a bit muddled: in Curse of Hor-Aha I was pretty sure they told their new investigator Danny Mundy (Anthony Ordonez) Pindar left to help a friend, I think in Europe.  Now, as I understand it, it was to try and track down his new love, who happens to look exactly like Carmen Electra.  Despite Peter and Landingshire's protests, nothing will dissuade our panphobic former aide that this is not some sort of scam and that 'Bridget' is using Carmen Electra's image to get money from Pindy.  Pindar and Danny instantly bond, the weird attracting the weird I guess.

Well, the case the boys have involves Tara and her brother Seth (Allison Smith and Mackenzie Astin respectively), the owners of the diner the boys frequent.  They are in danger of losing the business because of failed health inspections.  Could Eckhart Smith (Kurt Fuller), the evil fast-food king who has tangled with Franklin and HRH before and has his eyes on the diner be setting them up to failure?   Smith denies he would deliberately sabotage them.  He knew their family, and as he tells them all, "I would never screw your mom.  A friend wouldn't do that to a friend".  Wonder if there's a double meaning in that.

He certainly is chummy with the health inspector (George Wendt), but now he throws a little surprise at the boys: the diner failed the inspection fair and square, thanks to particularly nasty cockroaches.

HRH is still struggling with his actions (a rarity) and it is now affecting his work life to (two miracles in one day).  Danny, who refuses to investigate "Bridget" (he doesn't spy on friends, only family, he says), does find that these cockroaches are particular to Thailand.  When Colleen shows up at court, a rattled Landingshire drops the jar containing the evidence, causing chaos.  This time, it isn't a F&B stunt, which leaves Bash puzzled. 

A chat with Stanton Infeld (Malcolm McDowell) doesn't help.  First saying he'll treat anything said in strictest confidence, he quickly turns around and tells HRH that he has no obligation but to tell Peter.  However, thanks to an offhand comment by Danny, Peter puts it all together.  However, he appears to be nonplussed by it all.  He tells HRH to be good to his mom.  As the day progresses, it's clear that Peter is being extremely passive-aggressive about the whole thing.  However, because Damien Karp (Diamond) overheard HRH's confession, he now has the nuclear bomb to launch at Landingshire any time he feels like it.  No matter what HRH and Peter throw at him, Karp will merely remind Franklin that he banged Bash's mom.

Colleen is displeased with the way both of them are behaving: Peter's thinly-contemptuous manner towards the one-night stand, HRH suggesting he could become Peter's stepfather.  However, they do have to work together, especially after Smith managed to get the siblings to sign away the diner.  Tara confesses that she planted the specially-ordered bugs to fail the inspection because she doesn't want to carry the burden of the restaurant anymore but doesn't want to be disloyal to the family's history. 

It is difficult for them to work together after all this, but work together they must.  They find a way to save the restaurant, and their friendship.  At the party to celebrate, poor Pindar finally produces the long-awaited Bridget Barnes (who is Belgian, I think), and guess what...she looks like Carmen Electra!  Pindar announces he will marry her, and invites them to his wedding as his best men.  "Only if he can be theirs", they tell him, to which he replied that if the NFL is ready, so is he.  With that, Pindar is finally written out of the show.



I know I said I hated Franklin & Bash after Freck, but now I find that this show is just terrible, terrible, terrible.  I just don't see why I watch this show anymore, except perhaps because I get some sort of thrill watching train wrecks.  What I say, I say out of love: Please Cancel Franklin & Bash.  This show is not what it started out to be.  The stories are bad.  The acting is terrible.  The situations patently absurd.

I see that Gosselaar, in his directorial debut, thought he was Alfred Hitchcock or Stanley Kubrick.  He loved sweeping camera moves, and when Bash realizes his best friend had banged his mother, the camera goes wild with the camera circling him as the realization and shock come to him.  Yes, we get that Peter is stunned to make this discovery, but a.) I'm not a fan of camera work that draws attention to itself, and b.) the subliminal work there doesn't enhance anything, but it does distract. 

I could also point out something I generally don't point out, at that is continuity errors.  Now, I'm a pretty forgiving person on that front, realizing that it takes many takes of a scene before a director is satisfied, so we won't always get things right.  HOWEVER, this one error is glaring because it sets up a vital moment that I could not let it pass by. 

In this scene HRH is holding the jar containing the cockroaches.  Freckin Meyer clearly held the jar from the bottom when he is facing the judge.  Then, when he turns around to see Colleen sitting at court, Meyer is holding the jar from the side, which allows him to drop the jar.  It is physically impossible to go from holding the jar from the bottom to holding it from the side in one fell swoop.  Obviously it was done to allow this 'dramatic/comic' moment, but I could not shake the idea that someone should have noticed Meyer was holding the jar in a way that would have been impossible to drop.  Try as I might the whole thing fell flat (no pun intended).

It also didn't help that the script was pretty bad.  I figure Meyer and Falls thought they were being clever with all the 'mom' talk going on, but again, as Colleen was scampering away the way it was shot you'd think Bash would have seen her leave.  The passive-aggressive nature of the boys was so poorly performed and a big part of that was due to the lousy script.  The idea that the beautiful woman who looks like Carmen Electra turns out to be real is, well, unreal.  When Infeld says he's treat whatever is said in his office in the strictest of confidence, who here thought it was a 'shocking twist' that he turned around to say he would tell Peter.  The idea that Peter would take this as well as he is also clichéd (as is the scene when Peter finally has a meltdown over it; who'd guess it would be when they were at a hearing), and as for the case itself?  

First, the ham-fisted way Infeld mentioned how 'historic' the diner was, I suspected he was deliberately hinting to Peter how to solve his dilemma.  Either that or the boys poor writing and directing really showed.  Second,  I kept thinking, Tara, why'd you go through all the trouble of importing these Thai bugs?  Aren't American bugs good enough for you?  Why don't you do what the rest of us do: torch the place and collect the insurance money?  Really, you went through a lot of trouble for something that didn't need to be done.  Just tell your brother you want out and grow up.


We now turn to Nanjiani's Pindar, a character beloved and hated by the fans in equal measure.   Was it good to have him back?  Well, seeing him vomit on his first scene does have the odd effect of capturing Franklin & Bash's current condition.  However, I found myself frankly not caring one bit about his return, seeing how unimportant his character was to Honor Thy Mother.  You could have cut Pindar out altogether and it wouldn't have affected the story.  You could have had a new character face this 'Carmen Electra' situation and it wouldn't have affected the story.  I think Nanjiani's guest appearance was a way to satisfy the F&B faithful (of which I suspect is a dwindling crowd) and close that character's storyline permanently. 

It is highly doubtful Dana Davis' Carmen will have a similar send-off.

I never bought that Pindar/Danny connection, and found this bit of dialogue really strange.

Peter Bash (to Danny and Pindar): How's the cast of Big Bang Theory
Pindar: That's racist.
His Royal Highness Elmo, Duke of Landingshire: How's that racist?
Danny Mundy: How isn't it?

The Big Bang Theory has a Jewish and Indian character, but as far as I know, there are no Hispanic nerds.  Then again, in a state like California, there are relatively few Hispanics if television is to be believed. 

Truthfully, I frankly no longer care about His Royal Highness & Bash.  I don't care what happens to these Himbos with Law Degrees (given how generally stupid they are, one genuinely wonders if they slept their way through college in every way possible).  Honor Thy Mother was flat, boring, predictable, and pretty much a sad and sorry thing to see.  With all that, why then does Honor Thy Mother not get the absolutely lowest score possible?

Well, at least it was better than either The Curse of Hor-Aha or Freck...

And people STILL wonder if we're gay...


2/10

Next Episode: Falcon's Nest

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