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RECAP/REVIEW: Franklin & Bash - Episode 1.01 - Pilot


Warning: This here is cable land--there will be cursing!(and possibly drug use/ghetto-stomping women in a karate dojo/awful impromptu guitar-driven-minute-long songs that reportedly make people suicidal!)

Tonight, TNT premiered one of its new dramas before the return of their ever-hyped Men of a Certain Age (Seriously TNT, we get it. Critics love it... The only reason I'm not watching is because everywhere I go, I see one of your ads... over and over and over again! It's like you're trying to tell me something... "Don't watch our show because we are frak'n desperate here!")

Originally I had very little reason or motive to watch Franklin & Bash, however I DVR'd it at the last minute on an impulse, because I realized that all the shows I am currently waiting for will not premiere for at least a month...(ALAS, MY LIFE IS BORING!) Anyway, onto the review!

As the opening scene took place,(after the mandatory mention AND following commercial about Men of a Certain Age) it felt like I was watching a USA buddy cop/spy/fake psychic/etc. show with the pseudo witty banter between two friend-co-workers. Well, that is until I started listening... Suddenly, it was like every other word was "bullshit" or "pussy" and then Franklin started up his dirty jokes, and a woman was stripping in court. (Ok, so I might've been wrong initially in trying to figure out what kind of show it is...) Anyway, honestly it was a promising thing to have characters speak in such a crass manner, I felt like maybe this show wouldn't be formulaic, boring, and utterly lame, as many shows on cable television lately seem to not be trying so hard (TNT and USA seem to have all these new shows coming out that sound almost exactly like the dynamic in every other show on their respective networks...) so, I continued, in a slightly more hopeful mindset. The more they spoke, the more I was like "Jeez, these guys are just pigs... And I really don't mind!"

Damien (aka the tightass lawyer nephew of F&B's new boss) telling the client to shut up in front of dozens of cameras was great. The diversion fight was even better. And then the following scene played out well with their boss apparently kicking the shit out of his karate sensai. (I mean, what the hell was that!? Did they have to get rid of her body or something? He was totally putting the hurt on her face!) Next Cue the mandatory issue between the two main characters, as Bash decides that Franklin is being a little too frat-dude-annoying, and Franklin calls Bash a sellout. (For the record, I side with Bash on this one... Franklin crowding a meeting room with his wii games? For someone who seemingly calls people for their douchiness, he seems quite the douche himself... Have the sea of underlings install a 60-incher in your damn oversized office you ninny!)... Alright, so that seed is sewn as the pilot continued...

As the the little twists started to pop up here and there regarding the airline pilot's case as well as the prositute-not prostitute-but really actually a prostitute in love storyline developed, the atmosphere of the show seemed to become slightly more balanced and realized. It still felt like every line was forced out of the writers' heads to somehow be poignant and snarky (which I find common in pilots, but also as common in pilots are the hit-and-miss tendencies that come with these over-thought clouds of one-liners consisting of old or worn-out jokes that just make me feel awkward) but it also felt like the supporting characters were shaping up, and the general story was slightly more fluid.

As the two cases started to climax, Bash was able to use the current case against his client to poke his ex about the fact that he still loves her while simultaneously using his problems with her to fuel his own actions to further have the jury sympathize with his client and make it look like they were more than just sexual junkies. Franklin realized Hannah was only over there to spy for Tightass... er Damien, and Franklin has a run in with Damien himself. Things turn more dramatic and less frat party as Franklin decides to do his best to thwart Damien's efforts to be generally despicable and stuff.

So, when F&B's ...friends? subservients? (don't even really remember their names at this point...I will have to fact check that later) are on their way to court, hilarity ensues. Suddenly they're both throwing up, and I'm actually laughing pretty hard. Of course Damien has his way, and throws their client's pilot under the bus...figuratively. He is thrown out as fodder so that the company can look better for it and be cleaned of his name. F&B decide this would set precedent for their time spent at the law firm if they just let it slide, and say HECK NAW, (or was it YEE-HAW!? oh well...) and Franklin sets out to take the fight to the boardroom while Bash ditches him--er--goes back to his trial proceedings.

So, in the end, things are resolved, and Damien is made to look like a fool in front of his uncle. There's a few lines about possible upcoming plot lines (that sound awfully boring to me...hopefully I am wrong, though...) and it seems Bash's little rant about love struck a nerve with the jury, as they suddenly proclaimed the sad not-prostitute "Not Guilty"... But wait! Bash's ex has moved on, and is currently engaged! Cue the angsty feelings and awkward sing-along scene.

So how did the pilot fare?
It seems as though it is one of a few shows lately trying to do a classic (read:overdone and boring) premise while maintaining a difference via eclectic characters. The important thing in shows like these (much like all shows of course!) is --Oh excuse me, I have to mute my tv, on access hollywood, they are pimping out Men of a Certain Age again--the acting. It is really important that the actors actually LOOK or SEEM eclectic, or unique... not just written to be... I see potential in this cast. Malcolm McDowell is exceptional in his role as the quirky co-founder of the oversized law firm. The agorophobe was exceptionally funny the whole time, and both of the main actors play to their strengths--playing arguably the same characters they have their entire careers, but hell that's what they do: dudes that practice law.

While watching this, it became obvious to me (as I pointed out in the above paragraph) this show is doing the "quirky law firm" thing. There are a few other dramas I am aware of that are currently very similar in this broad definition: There's Harry's Law, a David E. Kelly show, where the ever-cynical Harriet Corn opens up a practically free law firm in the hood. It borderlines on over-preaching and cheesiness at times with its (seemingly) genuine heartfelt lessons learned, but Kathy Bates is spectacular in her role as Harry. Her one-liners could sink ships. In the other corner, we have "The Good Wife" which is possibly the most critically-acclaimed drama on network television. They have an unbelievable cast, and the writing is out of this world, which usually incorporates underplayed drama juxtaposed with quick twists and a ton of character development at every turn. Others include the outrageously twistedDamages, as well as USA's upcoming Suits. This can mean that it will either find a good niche on TNT or it may sputter out, much like Dark Blue did last season, or Gosseler's previous TNT drama Raising the Bar failed in its second season.

I personally enjoyed it. It has potential, as long as it tries to make the storyline less predictable, more interesting/ control the pop culture references, as they were kinda bleh / develop the characters, don't turn them into completely unwatchable assholes who keep falling for people they legitimately have no chance with, no matter what look those girls have in their eyes.

Episode 1.01 Rating:
3.2/5 Stars

*They obviously didn't actually say that. But they might as well have.

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