I was able to attend a secret screening of the pilot for TNT’s new legal hourlong Franklin and Bash. Also invited to the proceedings: Frank Sinatra, Jr., Kirk Franklin, legendary stand up comic Franklyn Ajaye, recording artist Baby Bash, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco (the Bash Brothers), Dean Portman and Fulton Reid (also the Bash Brothers), Don Cheadle playing his character from the Ocean’s 11 trilogy (named Bashir), and the guy who played Mr. Belding. Also, Frank Stallone was given $400 to legally change his name to Frank “Lynn-Ann Bash” Stallone.
I’ve seen an advanced screening of the first episodes, and there were quite a few unexpected turns. Here were some of the biggest surprises:
* Includes a disturbing amount of hot Franklin-on-Bash action.
* The duo takes part in outrageous hijinks like setting legal documents on fire, making out with witnesses, and smoking in the courtroom. Within the first 20 minutes, the two are charged with multiple counts of contempt and are immediately disbarred. The show is mostly about them trying to get jobs at Target.
* By the end of the first episode, you’re still not quite sure which one is Franklin and which one is Bash.
* In a special commentary feature available OnDemand, the producers reveal some other rumored titles for the show: Bishlin and Frank, Frishlin and Bank, Bangbros and Fish, Bucklin and Freak, Freakback and Benz, Buckbeak and Frunk, Bishbosh and Frash, Frickfrook and Brunk, and finally, Frickfool and Shoob.
* In a somewhat jarring cameo, the judge during all trial scenes is played by Judge Joe Brown.
* The writers clearly have no idea how the U.S. Justice system works, for example: all rulings are made by judges with no juries, the lawyers wear powdered wigs, and half of the episode is just courtroom scenes from A Time to Kill.
* Obvious product placement: in a gratuitous sex scene, we see that Breckin Meyer has the Pringles moustache logo guy tattooed on his ass.
* In a Saved By the Bell, callback, Mark Paul Gosselaar directly addresses the camera at several points throughout the show. However, the rest of the crew isn’t in on it, which leads to Breckin Meyer yelling, “Stop that man! You know we don’t have enough film to do separate takes, so we’ll have to leave this in the show!”
* A title card during the end credits reads, “Please watch this show. If it doesn’t work out, we’re just going to add these guys to the cast of Men of a Certain Age as Scott Bakula and Ray Romano’s respective prostates.”
* In yet another Saved by the Bell callback, Mario Lopez shows up on set and starts calling Gosselaar “Preppy.” Clearly not part of the script, all the cast members look frightened and then attempt to ad lib around the presence of a clearly deranged Lopez.