Saturday, November 15, 2014

Franklin & Bash: Reaction To Cancellation

Age, and the audiences' intelligence,
finally caught up with them...

For Jared and Peter, The Party's Over...

Well, in what can only be called a shock to absolutely no one, Franklin & Bash was cancelled.   America, it seemed, had tired of two himbos with law degrees getting more and more stupid and insulting our intelligence; frankly no one cared anymore about either Peter Bash or his lifelong partner, His Royal Highness Elmo, Duke of Landingshire.

Maybe the fact that Jared Franklin, aka Elmo Franklin, aka HRH the Duke of Landingshire BECAME an HRH was one of the contributing factors to Franklin & Bash's demise.  I think the fact that we had a character find himself with a royal title was flat-out insulting to the audience, but Franklin & Bash had been sliding for, well, at least three of its four years.

Is it a coincidence that Season One of Franklin & Bash is the ONLY season to be released on DVD?  Could it be that its creators, Kevin Falls and Bill Chais, pretty much knew that everything after that fantastic first season was pretty much garbage?  My feeling is that they indeed knew it, and either didn't care or thought that its fanbase would go along with whatever silliness they threw at us because was Franklin & Bash.

As I have not completed my full retrospective on Franklin & Bash, I feel I'm giving away a bit here.  However, a quick look at Seasons Two to Four showed that the show was sliding further and further down. 

Season Two Average: 4.6.
Season Three Average: 4.0.
Season Four: 3.2.

For three seasons the show wasn't even average.  The show was getting stupider and stupider, the cases becoming sillier and siller, and the characters regressing.  Again and again I hollered that rather than have Peter and HRH grow up a little, they were actually growing more juvenile and more dim-witted to where you genuinely wondered whether they were functioning humans, let alone brilliant attorneys. 

She couldn't save the show,
but she helped sink it.

These lawyers, who were suppose to be so clever and bright, didn't know the military doesn't need search warrants to look at the troops' property, didn't know FDR was in a wheelchair, thought Galileo discovered gravity and that Louis Pasteur invented milk. 

Seriously, one of them thought Louis Pasteur invented milk. 

How'd Peter Bash graduate elementary school? 

It didn't help that Bash was always the one who was made to undergo humiliating practices for silly laughs.  Given that Mark-Paul Gosselaar appears to be the more likeable of the two, and Breckin Meyer never shook off his jerk-like persona, sometimes you just wanted to pelt both Meyer and His Royal Highness Elmo, Duke of Landingshire. 

There really were so many bad moments in Season Four that I'm shocked that anyone thought Franklin & Bash would have survived past that season.  The Curse of Hor-Aha was just a total mess.  Kershaw vs. Lincecum reduced the vaguely homoerotic subtext the show had played with (particularly with Jared, who had made some really curious comments and seemed oddly possessive towards Peter) to a stunt by having them kiss each other as part of a dare.

Two forty-year-old men still play Truth or Dare?

Many fans point to Heather Locklear's Season Three arc as their new boss Rachel King as the moment the show jumped the shark.  I think the show began to die at the Season Two premiere of Strange Brew.   Rather than let them accept adult responsibilities, the show and episode allowed them to have their cake and eat it too.  For myself, that was the moment the magic was gone, and while Franklin & Bash pulled itself from its own inanity from time to time (the Season Three finale Gone in a Flash was a welcome return to form), most of the stories were really dumb...even for Franklin & Bash.

Nothing more infuriated me than the episode Freck, which to me was just one of the worst hours of television I have ever seen.  The story was stupid, the people on it were stupid, and I felt such anger and disgust that for me, the show was dead.  I kept watching as one watched a freak show: appalled but fascinated how it kept limping along. 

This isn't to say Heather Locklear's turn (which didn't go over well with fans) made things easier.  It to me, however, captured the slide of F&B in its full spectacular disarray. 

The final death knell rang with The Curse of Hor-Aha.  Apart from it being a Freck-like episode in terms of stupidity, it did a disservice to the Franklin & Bash fans who had hung on.  It threw out two characters with nary a reason.  Worse, they were two good characters (or at least fan favorites): Dana Davis' Carmen and Kumail Nanjiani's Pindar.  Pindar was very divisive (loved and loathed in equal measure), Carmen was universally liked.  To not only write these characters out but write them off, to not give an explanation as to why they left, was an unfair cheat.

So Davis and Nanjiani are no longer on the show.  Fine.  The actors might have other jobs, but that doesn't mean you just say to the fans, "Well, they USED to be here, but now they're not, we don't have to tell you why two integral parts of the show aren't here anymore, just focus on the new guys". 

That's what we did, and that's where more problems became apparent.  I don't blame Toni Trucks and especially Anthony Ordonez, who were asked to perform a thankless job: be replacements for two characters (and in Ordonez's case, be a mix of two of them).  Ordonez's Danny Mundy, the boys' new investigator, was a disaster from the get-go.  Falls and Chais were determined to make him 'quirky' but he came off looking like a certifiable psycho (or at least, either mentally unstable or a wild-eyed stalker).  Later episodes tried to tone down the weird factor Ordonez had been asked to do, but by then simply too much damage had been done.

That's not counting the decision to take Reed Diamond's Damien Karp (Jared and Peter's favorite foil and the only really good thing on the show) out to have him pop in every so often.  Too many changes in too short a time with no explanations as to why certain characters left and with poor replacements were simply too much for those who kept the faith to hold on.  Ratings, and more importantly respect for the show, had fallen to where nothing, not even the lip-lock between the homosexual-in-denial Jared Franklin and the overt man-whore Peter Bash could revive something that had died.

I'm sad to say that I'm thrilled Franklin & Bash was cancelled.  I loved the first season's mix of heart and irreverence.  I grew to hate its stupid himbos with law degrees, its nonsensical cases, the leads' smug self-assuredness, sense of entitlement and juvenile thinking.  Pity, because if Falls and Chais had kept things a bit more grounded and realized it was the bromance, not the idiocy of the bromantic partners, that we watched, Franklin & Bash could have continued to be breezy fun.  Instead, it became sad to watch. 
I read the best comment about Franklin & Bash's demise, mocking the Season Four cliffhanger ending (which to my knowledge, was a Franklin & Bash first since it had never attempted a cliffhanger ending).   

We'll never know which one was Franklin and which one was Bash.

Franklin & Bash: The Final Thoughts

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