Blog 11 – An Old Joke

Originally posted 5.27.08

In this far-flung blog, I reference the San Diego Comic-Con.  Coincidence?  Or UNINTENTIONAL FORESHADOWING?

As the title suggests, the monumental 10th episode of Franks and Beans takes its cues from the old “You don’t say!” telephone joke.  The joke we’re parodying here is, in my opinion, one of the worst, most ridiculous jokes even invented, which is why I have such fondness for it.  No one has EVER picked up the phone and immediately said “you don’t say!”  One of these days, I’ll let that go.

Like You’ll Never See it Coming before it, An Old Joke is a one-trick pony.  You get one joke and no more!  You either like it or you don’t.  Well, hopefully you like it.

I come by this joke honestly, but I’ve actually used it before in another setting.  I’m going to go way out on a limb and assume that no one who actually reads this production blog knows that I also write comics.  Well, I try to write comics.  I mostly fail.  But one of my successes is Mr. Massive, of which I managed to squeeze out one whole issue(!), selling it at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con.  Chances of the artist working on a second issue were always slim, but once he joined up with the Army and shipped off to South Korea, they bottomed out to, maybe, one sixteenth of a percent.  I worry that he’s gonna get shot one day, and then we’ll NEVER make more comics!  That would be a shame. (Life update: the artist is, as far as I know, still alive.  YES!!)

At any rate, I wrote a one-page script for the comic in which the two main characters played out the exact scene you see in this episode.  It was never produced, and because I hate wasting good ideas, it was an easy convert to Franks and Beans.

If there’s ever a trivia show that specializes in the most obscure questions in the history of earth, take solace in what I’m about to tell you: the video game we’re playing during this shoot is the new Madden football game for the Playstation 3.  What I thought would be a lively round of button smashing and joystick toggling is in reality rather boring to watch (the game is more replays and strategy than rushing and sacking), but Larry, to his detriment, owns a total of zero fighting games, which probably would have better served out purposes.  I did take some comfort, however, in playing as the New England Patriots, purposely humiliating myself as Larry trounced me as the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I hate the Patriots (as we all should), and seeing them lose, even though it was simulated losing, made me feel pretty good.  (It also felt pretty good seeing them lose in the Super Bowl…for the second time in two appearances.  Ha!)

Interestingly enough, we’ve paired this extra short episode with our longest ending yet, which, on some distant planet, could count as a joke in and of itself (thereby negating my one-joke comment from a second ago).  Now that we’ve established that we’re going to do the same basic thing after every single episode, we’re a little more free to vary from the core concept, and that’s what we’re beginning to do.  It’s becoming one of my favorite things to do with F&B, and this is a great example of that.

First of all, Larry deserves a lot of the credit for how well this turned out.  In my original vision, I was the one doing the filming and my angry comment would have come from behind the camera.  Larry suggested that we should both be in the shot, and the scene benefited from that.  He also dusted off an almost forgotten megaphone (apparently from a time when people were half the size they are today) which served as an absurd but surprisingly well-blended prop.

What made this scene work, though, was the apparent wellspring of hate and anger that both Larry and I have stored behind our good-natured personas.  We decided to shoot this scene with simple dialogue cues but no out-and-out script, relying on our natural abilities to argue about nothing in particular.  I hope you agree that the result was one of the funniest scenes of the series, even if it means that I have to reevaluate my newfound hatred for Larry.

Thanks, as always, for watching!

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