Sunday, January 18, 2015

Franklin & Bash: Franklin Vs. Bash Review


Friends Don't Let Friends Argue Cases...

It's a bit surprising to me that Franklin & Bash decided to have our leads go at each other in the first season.  Franklin vs. Bash might be a good idea, but it is so badly executed and has a subplot similarly stupid that it is the first real failure of the season.  Granted, there would be more to come, but that is for the future. 

Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) are representing two aerobic pole-dancing instructors, Amber North (Jud Tylor) and Simone Winters (Marisa Petroro), who are accused of stealing thousands in cash and jewels from their clients after a particularly wild party involving drugs slipped into drinks to knock them out.  However, there are too many skeletons in the other girls' closets to make them effective as a team, with both suspecting the other of being the culprit.  With that, it's decided that the boys will split the girls (Franklin gets Simone, Bash gets Amber) and then fight against each other in court even though they have a mutual enemy. 

It's "Franklin vs. Bash".

Damien Karp (Reed Diamond) is particular unthrilled with his case, Alex Carlisle (Uriah Shelton), a precocious pre-teen who wants to kayak down the Amazon River.  For some odd reason, his father Mr. Carlisle (Mark L. Taylor) will not agree to this.  He and Hanna Linden (Garcelle Beauvais) think he's too young despite the fact that he has vast experience in these sort of outdoor treks, but agree to defend him against his father.  We learn that Mr. Carlisle is virtually incapable of taking care of himself, so his opposition to Alex's Amazonian sojourn may have less to do with his son's safety and more with the fact Mr. Carlisle apparently can't buy groceries.

As for Peter and Jared, in court they soon start tearing at each other.  When examining one witness, Franklin does his best Bash impersonation, aping his mannerisms and at one point, pulling out all the screws on Peter's chair, causing him to fall backwards in front of everyone.  Peter, for his part, is not above exposing Simone's past as stripper Sherry Pie, including her arrest record for theft from her fellow strippers in Arizona. While their antics help the prosecution, even the ADA (and Peter's former flame) Janie Ross (Claire Coffee) is embarrassed for both of them.

In the end, we find that Peter and Jared work best when working together and find that "the Chinese wall" that they built has to come a'tumblin' down. 

As I finished Franklin vs. Bash, a thought occurred to me.  Both cases were incredibly stupid.  Of particular note was the subplot of the Carlisle family.  The fact that the elder Carlisle was unaware of such things as grocery shopping or paying bills or functioning on his own undercuts what would be a rational reason why he didn't want his son to go down a dangerous river.  I figure a good case could have been made to allow Alex to go down the river, but instead we were treated to a virtual invalid whom the child had to take care of.

Not that the 'adults' acquitted themselves better.  How and when exactly did Jared have the time and ability to unscrew Peter's chair between when he got up to examine the witness and when he sat back down to fall on his ass?  All these acts and counteracts made them look even more juvenile than usual.  Not only that, but it made them look incompetent and foolish to the whole jury.  I would have dismissed them, and not just as capable attorneys but also as rational figures.  I in short would have fired them on the spot.

The only real positive with Franklin vs. Bash was Stanton, a competent young actor who made things plausible.  Just when you think he's about to break down in tears on the stand, he pulls a fast one and makes both moments feel real.  His attempts at romancing Hanna was also amusing and pleasant, as was Diamond's at times irritated, at times bemused, at times compassionate views on Alex. 

Franklin vs. Bash could have been a fun and clever way to have our leads match wits.  Instead, we found that our leads are pretty stupid.

Signs of things to come.  


Next Episode: The Bangover

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