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Last month, I went into my DVR to check out a new show I had recorded called Franklin & Bash. All I knew about it was that it was a legal comedy with Zack from Saved by the Bell and Josh from Road Trip. This Wednesday, it will not be out of curiosity that I will be watching the new episode. It will be out of complete devotion.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer star alongside an exceptional supporting cast that includes Kumail Nanjiani, a hilarious stand-up comedian and the proud owner of some of the funniest lines in the series to date; Reed Diamond, Franklin and Bash’s jealous colleague and a brilliant straight man; and Malcolm McDowell, who has his eccentric boss down pat and who steals every scene the second he appears in the frame.
The series revolves around two longtime friends, Franklin (Meyer) and Bash (Gosselaar). They are “unconventional” lawyers, but for all of their apparent insanity, they are great at their job and they continue to make money and win cases. They catch the eye of Stanton Infeld, senior partner at the big law firm Infeld Daniels. He hires the two young lawyers and throws cases their way for them to prove they belong in the deep end swimming with the sharks. To make one of the funniest comedies I’ve had the pleasure of viewing in recent memory out of this seems quite difficult, but the creative team on Franklin & Bash pull it off with style.
Initially, I just watched the show to check up on Zack, Josh, and Alex DeLarge, but now, I have tremendous respect for this show and everyone involved. The only thing that I respect more than excellent writing is the perfect delivery, and the tag-team of great lines and great delivery in every scene of every episode won me as an instant fan. I can see how people could give this show a cursory glance and move on to something else, but it would be a mistake on their part, because no show on any other network’s summer line-up will be able to offer the same kind of consistency of writing or performance, and to be perfectly honest, if Franklin & Bash continues at this pace, it will give Cougar Town some serious competition in terms of the consistently high level of comedy at which the respective shows operate.
Of course, everybody’s taste is different, and some people might find Franklin & Bash to be merely juvenile hijinks written by frat boys who thought it would be a funny idea to make Law & Order into a comedy. If you give it a real chance, however, I have a hard time envisioning a response other than respect for the comedic talents on display, and after that initial viewing out of curiosity, I expect that, much like myself, you will end up tuning in week after week as a proud and devoted fan.
Kyle Barrowman is the Senior Editor of Film Monthly. He is studying film theory and criticism in Chicago.
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