August 14, 2012



With far less fanfare than last night’s farewell to The Closer, tonight TNT rang down the season’s curtain on FRANKLIN & BASH, a show that can barely be bothered to remember that a season finale is different from any other episode.  This isn’t a series very interested in story arcs or even continuity; it just repeats its breezy formula every week of having the heroes pull some outrageous stunt to carry the particular day.  Franklin and/or Bash will have a romantic interest who disappears after an episode or two, and that’s about it for characterization.

Tonight’s season-ender, written by series co-creator Kevin Falls and Supervising Producer (and creator of CBS’s new Made In Jersey) Dana Calvo, and directed by Elizabeth Allen, was pretty lame even by the show’s standards.  The legal storyline, such as it was, had the politician friend (Chris Klein) of Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) being sued by his campaign manager (Nurse Jackie‘s Paul Schulze) because his leaving the race was somehow a breach of contract–after some ridiculous byplay about Bash being temporarily suspended from the bar, it turned out that the politician’s wife had slept with the campaign manager’s wife, everyone was fine with it being disclosed publicly, and he stayed in the race.  The main plot was outside the courtoom, as Franklin’s (Breckin Meyer) devious father (Beau Bridges) tried to buy the firm away from kindly, eccentric Stanton Infeld (Malcolm McDowell), forcing Infeld to confess the supposedly stunning news that he’d only hired Franklin & Bash in the first place as a sort of poison pill to any acquisition.  After sulking for 5 minutes, the boys obediently acted out like frat boys, and the buyers fled for the hills, prompting drinks for all.  Somewhere in all this was Shiri Appleby, earning a paycheck as Franklin’s newest about-to-vanish girlfriend.  (She’ll be on Girls next season, so things are looking up.)

Franklin & Bash is like the video equivalent of one of those coded messages whose ink disappears even as you’re reading it.  It’s pleasant enough for those instants that its images reach your retinas, then it’s wiped from your memory almost instantly.  It’s been getting about a 0.6-0.7 rating, very much on the low end for TNT, and not particularly compatible with its lead-in Rizzoli & Isles (it loses half that show’s total viewers, although it is younger skewing).  The best that can be said is that it probably draws more young men than most of TNT’s original programming.  Still, one has to think it’s on the bubble for next season, especially since by this time last year it had already received a renewal.  If the series were to pass away, there wouldn’t be many to mourn or for that matter remember it, even among those who watch.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."