Run like the wind.
Run like the wind.
Hey, everyone. Who here likes the devil? Now, I don’t mean you LIKE him like him, but just that you see him as more of an abstract concept, or a silly cartoon character, like a skinny guy with a goatee, painted red skin and silly horns, and you think, “hey, I like the Devil. He’s funny and I bet he’s pretty misunderstood!” Well, according to beloved author C.S. Lewis, you’re going to Hell. No two ways about it! Really, just punch your ticket now, bucco. You should probably be ashamed of yourself, but since you’re already on a one-way trip to eternal fire and torment, I suppose there’s really no use in it.
While you’re there, taking part in having your teeth smashed in with a lava rock, please ask the Devil (he’ll be the guy in charge) what he thinks about episode 40 of Franks and Beans, the aptly-named “666″. I’ll bet he just looks at you and spits snakes into your eyes or something, but what if he was like “Franks and Beans? That’s a great episode! I love the chaos montage! They’re performing over in subsection five, right before we force them to eat their own intestines stuffed with razor blades.” And then you could both laugh and laugh, and maybe Hell would be just a tiny bit more tolerable at that point. But probably not, because, you know, Hell and all.
666 is a higher-concept episode than usual, with a lot of buildup and an immediate callback that, on a lot of levels, really works for me. It does take a moderate-sized leap of faith in that we’re apparently professing that just saying the phrase “666″ brings forth demonic possession and wild spasms of uncontrollable rage, but once you’re there, everything else falls into place.
If I had to change one thing about this episode, it’d be to add just a little more buildup. I think that we would have benefited in taking things a bit more slowly; specifically, I wouldn’t jump right into the gravely “666!!” line right away. Instead, I’d add up the numbers and say something like “and that comes to…six hundred and sixty-six dollars even. Six…sixty six.” And then pause for effect, look up to Larry, and THEN launch into the “SIX SIXTY SIX!” tirade. I think that would have sold the joke better than what actually transpired, but overall I think it worked out fine, and hindsight is a tough sonofagun in any case.
Here’s an amusing anecdote that should possibly make you sad and a little ashamed to know or even know OF your pals at Franks and Beans: it took both Larry and I several times to figure out how to subtract $6.66 from $10.00. At first I embarrassed myself by saying $4.44. In the editing process, Larry’s Mom (“got some mail for you”) pointed out the obvious flaw. Contrite, we re-filmed the scene and I instead said “$3.44.” This is ALSO incorrect, but we were lucky enough that you never see me saying it – so I just recorded myself saying the correct numbers (whatever they are) and we slapped it in. This is what an educational system that doesn’t put enough emphasis on science and math produces, world! What a damn shame.
A few months ago, I went to the store and bough, apparently, three squeeze pops. The price of three squeeze pops, plus 6% sales tax, some out to exactly $6.66. This was a fun coincidence, and I took full advantage of it by looking at the cashier and saying “666!” in a gravely voice before gesticulating wildly. The cashier didn’t enjoy the reference, as she perhaps hadn’t yet watched Franks and Beans, but I’m sure that has been rectified in the time since the encounter, because who ignores a sign like that?
Our “NO!” ending features another of Larry’s many costume changes. Since we’ve slowed down in filming episodes lately, it seems that all of the endings are just Larry in various Halloween costumes, but this one here is memorable for sure, as Larry had some fleeting Internet fame (that is, other fame than what is allotted to us from Franks and Beans, which is considerable) in the same outfit.
Around the time we filmed this episode, Larry and I went to the New York Comic-Con, where Wagon Wheel Comics had a booth for one of the first times ever. On the Saturday of the show, Larry dressed as Lion-O, and everyone loved him. LOVED him. It was something to see. In face, searching for “Lion-O NYCC” on Google shows that Larry is still well remembered:
Look at that exchange of money for goods! After the show, we took the parade to the streets of New York:
This blog took a strange turn. Perhaps the Devil made me do it.
Mark of the BEST!
One day, either Larry or I (probably not both at the same time) will have a job that we will be unceremoniously fired from for the above image. I imagine myself called into an executive office, high above the bustle and din of the New York City riffraff. I’ll be escorted in by a no-nonsense, 34-year-old receptionist (other role: to run after an angry client yelling, “Sir, you can’t go in there! I told you, he’s in a very important meaning! I’m sorry, Mr. Peterson, I tried to stop him!”) with bangs and full-length sleeves as the man in charge, a straight-laced William Daniels-type character who stands by the floor-to-ceiling windows, peering out over the landscape that he feels a part of as much as his own family, fold his hands behind his back and waits, exuding the power that befits one of his position.
“Sit down, Mr. McClelland”, the silvery gentleman will say to me, if it is indeed me who is employed in this corporate giant that I am apparently destined to join, despite having no background or interest in business. Unsure of the nature of this meeting, I sit but nervously shift in my leather-bound seat. ”I want you to do something for me, Mr. McClelland.”
“O-of course, sir,” I respond, my pulse rising as I adjust my uncomfortably constraining necktie, my actions giving away the uncertainty I feel, the quiet desperation I keep inside bubbling to the surface. Still looking out of his window, a private balcony on the other side, he responds. ”Turn around my computer monitor, if you would.” The words are spoken with a cold courtesy.
“The monitor?” I stammer, unsure of the purpose to this exercise. ”Yes, the one on my desk,” he answers, a hint of frustration welling up in his voice. I lean over the desk, kept neat and tidy in a manner that belies the many responsibilities that are dealt with there. I notice a picture of a dog, a cup full of golden paperclips and a hastily-written phone number of one “C. Clinton”. I take hold of one of the corners of the paper-thin monitor and slowly swivel it toward me, and I see the picture. The Franks and Beans “Naked Chicken Dead” picture.
“S-sir, I…I can…” I begin, trying to formulate a response that can explain the purpose behind the all-male, all-nude scene. ”I expect,” Peterson answers before I can finish, “that you’ll have your desk cleared out by noon. Security can see you out.” He then turns, for the first time, from his position overlooking the city. In a moment of introspection, a crack in the foundation, he removes his glasses and looks at me – and through me. ”You know, Mr. McClelland, I was just about to make you partner. But now…” his voice trails off, the rest left unsaid, and he turns back to his window, his city in the clouds. An elderly, uniformed man enters and I leave, my shoulders slumped, my dreams dashed, my career in a spiral from which it may never recover.
In other news, IT’S OUR 39TH EPISODE! NAKED CHICKEN DEAD! And what a fun, unique episode it is. Despite a few issues, I think that it’s one of our best. It’s got shock value and lots of strange humor that really sings to me. It may not flow or have the plot that some of our other well-recieved episodes do, but what this episode lacks in plot it makes up for in punch and effect.
There are a few things to note about this episode, starting with the “please stand by” graphic. This is, of course, a slightly altered image that was once commonplace for stations that would go off the air at night, of which a solid tone would be played over. Larry and I are just old enough to vaguely remember that this would happen on a few stations, though this particular graphic is a few more years before our time. If I had my way, I probably would have just left it as is, but Larry pushed to have our pictures overlaying the image as well, and it does have a certain effect that makes it work, I think.
Both of the pictures we used were taken at the wedding of none other than longtime fan Mark Moncheck. I’d show one or both of them, but I’m fairly certain that they also contain Larry’s girlfriend in them, which means they will never be posted to this site. As an interesting aside, Larry, Mark and I also began filming an episode the night of Mark’s wedding (at the reception, even), but due to certain restrictions, such as the fact that IT WAS MARK’S ACTUAL WEDDING, the episode was never finished despite having a pretty good joke attached. Maybe one day we’ll release the footage as something of a “lost” episode.
In this episode, Larry and I fall back on some of our traditional themes – namely, nudity. There’s something inherently funny about naked people in different contexts, especially when there’s a censor bar present (though I’m unsure as to why it takes up nearly half my body in the scene). Everything else plays upon this absurdist theme, with chickens and death following in a pretty natural order.
If I had one issue with this episode, it’d be in the sound quality of the voiceovers. I suppose that sound recording is my biggest source of consternation with the series in general, as the in-camera microphone often doesn’t cut it. It’s sometimes especially noticeable when we’re recording voiceovers. There are times when it works perfectly, but others when it’s a real hindrance. I’d love to get a shotgun microphone for the camera and maybe one day we will have one. Watching this episode, though, convinced me to address the voiceover problem, at least, and a few days after I posted the video to this site I went out and bought a desktop mic…I’ll show pictures of that shortly – I’m pretty happy with it and I think that it’ll bring a better audio quality to the show, at least in some capacities.
There’s an embarrassment of riches on display when it comes to this episode, and the “NO!” ending is no exception. Taking a cue from…well, Hanna-Barbera cartoons in general, Larry gives his best overly-expressionist performance in this great sequence. Music and sound effects can really add something that might not come across otherwise. Audio isn’t something that we think of very often when we consider some of the programs we watch, but I think it plays a bigger role in our enjoyment than we might think or realize.
Well, that’s it for this time. Back to my nudity.
Franks and Beans would like to apologize for the following episode.
“Who Do You Think You Are”, in the running (because this isn’t something objective and measurable, of course) for the shortest Franks and Beans episode, has one joke in it. This puts it ahead of some other Franks and Beans episodes (hey-ooo!).
And with THAT joke, this blog post now has more than some others. Hey…hey-oo…ooo.
Oh well, the first one was better, but what can you do.
The joke in this episode is easy to spot but perhaps is more difficult to define. Simply, we’re posing a rhetorical question and then answering it even though it is both rhetorical as well as visual. So the obvious nature of the answer, and the fact that dammit, we still go ahead and answer it, is what I enjoy about this little clip.
Larry, undoubtedly, enjoys the fact that we’re using his Halloween costumes as a sight gag in episodes and not just as a sight gag at the end of episodes. But really, why would you want to waste a perfectly good Hulk Hogan costume, anyway? So it’s almost like we had to use it, and thus we did for a second time in the show. That’s a pretty nice mustache, Larry.
The “NO!” ending to this episode (according to the screen shot, complete with a tiny “0:18″ in the bottom right corner) is bittersweet considering the recent past for the Steelers. This was filmed in advance of Super Bowl XLV in early 2011, and as with any great team, time marches on and situations have changed for our beloved black-and-gold squad. It seems the last few pieces, with a couple notable exceptions, of the Super Bowl XL-XLIII-XLV teams are moving on. Hines Ward, whose jersey Larry wears in this literally head-shaking ending, has retired, and today news comes that the Steelers have released 2008 defensive player of the year James Harrison. It’s a shame that these things have to happen, but I hope that it’s merely a precursor for more glory to come in the near future. Thanks for all the memories, Silverback.
Larry has some explaining to do.
Campbell’s Chunky Soup is a notable sponsor of the NFL and has been for years, though perhaps not as much as in years past, when Donovan McNabb and his mother starred in a long string of commercials for the soup (that eats like a meal). During the run-up to Super Bowl XL, Campbell’s took full advantage of the Jerome Bettis media blitz and sponsored several events with Bettis and McNabb, even going so far as putting each of their mothers on people-sized scales (with cans of soup on the other end) to raise money for charity.
But now, Bettis is retired and no one likes McNabb anymore for some reason. Time goes on. But our barf-tacular 37th episode, “Chunky” is here to stay, oh yes. Do you hear that, world? Franks and Beans will never leave you! We’re like a best friend, a guy living in your basement, or an unfortunate and stubborn rash, and this episode exemplifies that idea.
The main thrust of this episode, I suppose, comes down to the idea of “wouldn’t it be gross to eat vomit?” And as someone who has thrown up a few times in the past, I would have to say that yeah, it probably would be.
If there is a problem with this episode, it may lie with the fact that there’s really no surprise in what the joke is ultimately going to be. Once Larry puts his container of puke (patent pending) on the counter, it’s pretty obvious that something terrible is going to happen with it, and we lay it out pretty clearly once Larry tells Jeff that he can have some of the soup that’s on the counter. I guess, though, that whether it was obvious or not, the joke depends much more on the gross out factor than it does on the element of surprise, so in a way it can still succeed.
One thing that I learned from this episode is that clam chowder is actually pretty gross in and of itself. Larry loves the stuff, so I went ahead and bough a can of it for the episode. We ate it cold, for some unknown reason, and that may have had something to do with it, but I’ve never been a fan of seafood before and this event didn’t change my opinion. I also don’t like to eat barf.
The “NO!” ending for this episode comes from, of course, the GI Joe cartoon. We chose it because – get this! – “Joe” sounds like of like “No” and that’s all we were really looking for. So if there is any significant catch phrase that ends in “bow”, “doe”, “foe”, “go”, “hoe”, “low”, “mow”, “oh”, “Poe”, “quo”, “row”, “sow”, “tow” or “woe”, chances are that we’re going to get to it one day. So…look out for that.
It eats like a meal!
This episode of Franks and Beans, the Jerome Bettis-like 36th installment, is a pretty good example of a solid idea that could have used a little more fine tuning before unleashing it upon the world. Overall, I think that the joke of the episode comes across well and that, unlike a few other episodes (*cough*eBay*cough*), it doesn’t run on too long before the payoff, leading to perhaps a logical but nonetheless satisfactory ending.
Let’s break this episode down, then, at least just a little bit. I mean, I probably could just leave this blog as is with the first paragraph in tact and be done with it, happy that I’ve written yet another exciting blog to post on the site that’s already full of them (literally bursting!). But that would be a cop-out, and if I’m going to update this site on average three times a month, then dammit, these blogs are going to be more than two paragraphs long. If this were a Twitter site, I would perhaps add the hashtag #qualitycontrol or maybe #TheLeastICouldDo, but this is not Twitter, and damn you for implying that it is. Also, you can follow both me (@JeffMcClelland) and Larry (@LarryAFranks) on Twitter if you choose. I don’t know why I brought that up.
This episode follows in the same theme as previous ones like “How To”, which also dealt with the idea of the “making of” Franks and Beans followed by a quick, one-off joke surrounding the idea that Larry does more than I do in regard to the show. It was fertile ground enough, though, that both episodes can peacefully coexist without having one overshadow the other.
One of the big reasons, honestly, that Larry and I wanted to do this particular episode was to give us a chance to feature the terrible, horribly out-of-date JVC linear editing machine before we threw it off a bridge or something. This was the machine that Larry and I both cut our teeth on (#old) in high school as we were creating embarrassing videos at whim (#FranksAndBeansLite). We never, ever, ever actually used it in the production of an actual episode, and as the video featured on the tiny screens (#KillSwitch) can testify to, as it flickers and jumps, it would have been a disaster if we had even tried for novelty’s sake. Why didn’t we just film that damn scene over again? I can’t even guess, other than to guess (#hypocrite) that we were trying to go with a very conversational, improvisational approach to the episode come hell or high water.
My tiny scene near the end does a good job at capturing the essence of Franks and Beans, the irreverent nature and the fact that we’ll always go for a joke regardless of how crass it might be (#toilethumor). Rest assured that in real life, I only come up with ideas in a highly sterile, hypoallergenic room with no furniture and four bright white walls with, perhaps, a hole in the middle of the floor where I can, in moments of despair, jump to my death in the event a good idea never does come to me (#gallowshumor). But isn’t it fun to pretend that I do come up with ideas for Franks and Beans in mundane, common places like the shower, in the car or on the can? Only the Shadow knows (#pulphumor).
Our highly-anticipated NO! ending (#noooo) features Larry’s at the time…I think…new piece of technology, the PlayStation 3, otherwise known as the gaming system that refuses to play “Return Fire” for the original PlayStation, no matter how awesome a game it is. In fact, I remember playing that game in high school as well. #Synchronicity!