Review: Franklin & Bash – “Pilot”
Really, it should be easy to er… bash a show that calls itself Franklin & Bash (it’s in the TITLE, for chrissakes) especially when it’s the latest drama offering from TNT, a network whose drama slate boasts such “luminaries” as The Closer and uh… the one with Jason Lee as an Elvis impersonator/cop and wait… the one with the wacky mismatched lady cop and medical examiner.  I mean, when you’re part of that craptacular stable of crap the critical whips and chains are easy to employ. And don’t get me wrong – Franklin & Bash is generally terrible – but it’s also mildly (and I stress MILDLY) watchable against all of my better instincts. Starring Zach Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and the guy who acted against a lasagna-loving CGI cat (Breckin Meyer)  as two morally bankrupt ambulance chasing lawyers named Jared Franklin (Meyer) and Peter Bash (Gosselaar) who are inexplicably handed jobs at a cushy firm by a senior partner (a clearly slumming Malcolm McDowell), the first thing you notice about Franklin & Bash is that this doesn’t seem like your typical TNT show . It’s much lighter in tone and in personality and feels like it could be one of the Characters Welcome ™ shows on USA. Of course, at one point Franklin refers to Bash as “scrotum-face” in a courtroom hallway in front of Bash’s former girlfriend and at another they win a case in court by getting a witness to take off her top and shake her tits in open court, so it wears its immaturity on its sleeve like a badge of honor and is more willing to offend than any of USA’s bland slate of comedic drama hybrids . Lest we mistake what kind of lawyers these two duuuudes are, we actually see them race out of a diner to the scene of an accident to hand out their business cards like so much candy in the pilot’s teaser and witness them start a full-on fistfight with each other on the courtroom steps to deflect media attention from a colleague’s (a slimy Reed Diamond) bungling of a case. Yes, it’s THAT kind of show. It also falls into the lazy cop/hospital/law drama crutch that sees its protagonists work cases that reflect what’s going on in their own lives in very obvious fashion (i.e. Bash defends a dominatrix who tries to get her john to admit that he had feelings for her all the while pining for his ex-girlfriend, who is obviously and conveniently the opposing counsel). Gosselaar is mildly decent as the more principled (relatively speaking) Bash  while Meyer is essentially an incredibly annoying cartoon character as Franklin (who it’s hinted at is running away from his prominent lawyer father, blabbidy blah blah, I don’t care). Bar exam, nothing. I want to see this dude literally get hit by a bar. Or a car. Repeatedly. The show’s supporting cast (Diamond, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, Dana Davis ) will be recognizable to anyone who’s watched TV closely over the past ten years but it’s clear that Franklin & Bash is going to live and die on the likeability of the leads and Meyer’s terrible, so that leaves a heavy load for Gosselaar to tote. You’re left believing that there has to be a better vehicle for him out there somewhere that’s not this . Honestly, the only reason this show’s getting any latitude from me is because it’s airing in the summer and pickings are slim but, best case? It’s a mildly inoffensive background show. Do your laundry or catch up on your emails while you’re watching it. It’s completely disposable. It’s generally terrible. But, eh… I’ve seen worse.
Where To Watch: TNT | Wednesday | 9:00 ET
 Although, to be fair, I’ve heard good things about the Ray Romano-starring Men Of A Certain Age but I’ve had neither the time nor the inclination to catch up on it. Someday, perhaps.
 And how can you go wrong with that combo? I mean, really. Ratings bonanza if we’re being honest.
 Interestingly enough, Franklin & Bash was originally developed for TBS. Strange that they didn’t see it as a fit with their 357 Tyler Perry-produced sitcoms.
 At least it has the good sense to reference The Big Lebowski at one point. So it has that going for it.
 Honestly, part of the reason I’m even watching this is out of goodwill born from Gosselaar’s out of nowhere remarkable turn on NYPD Blue ten years ago, but even that goodwill is only going to go so far.
 Maybe someday, someone will put the winningly attractive Davis in a good show because God knows that this (along with previous tries in The Nine, Heroes, and 10 Things I Hate About You) ain’t it.
 But at least Natalie Zea (Justified) is in the second episode. I mean, Natalie Zea. Come on.