Blog 50 – The Rating Game

Ratings Game screenshot 10

The second season of Franks and Beans comes to a close with episode 48: The Rating Game, and Larry and I wanted to go out with as “big” an episode as we could possibly muster.  With no budget and one camera, the idea of “big” is relative, but we wanted to do as much as we could.  Our luck was running high on this day, as we were able to (gasp) shoot at a different location and (coronary) include five guest stars in one of our longest episodes of the series.

Ratings Game screenshot 01

Our first guest was Larry’s mom, who revived her role as “person who hands mail to Larry”.  Judging by how Larry takes the mail out of its envelope, she is apparently also the person who reads Larry’s mail beforehand and then doesn’t do anything to hide the fact that she is committing a federal offense.  Oh, and she interrupts a perfectly improvised scat in the process.

Ratings Game screenshot 02

There are many things that I learned from this episode, which in itself is a bit of a commentary on the show, as Larry and I openly refer to Franks and Beans as a concept, while filming for the show we are discussing (whatever).  The first of these lessons is that I should probably not wear this shirt anymore (which I still have), because a dark black top makes my skin look like it is being deprived of oxygen or something.  Maybe it’s the lighting.  But then there’s Larry, who comparatively looks like a bronzed Adonis (which is a really laughable concept if you think about it) when sitting next to me.

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The Franks and Beans official YouTube ratings have always been an…interesting point of discussion between Larry and myself, and our next guest, “Hardcore Mark” Moncheck (Larry, did Mark give himself that nickname?) illustrates our plot point by laughing at the “NO!” ending to one of our first episodes.  Oh!  And check out that Tree Hugger shirt!  It almost constitutes a guest appearance on its own.

Ratings Game screenshot 05

Larry’s beloved Jeep was literally traded in in the “Cash for Clunkers” program, and here we debut Larry’s new-ish Honda.  I love the scene where Larry and I, after a bout of depression, bolt out of the door, putting clothing accessories on as we run.  The “new car” joke is a callback to, among other episodes, “High School”, and is probably not that funny, but Franks and Beans is nothing if not self referential.

Ratings Game screenshot 07

Let’s take a minute to talk about the day that this episode was filmed, an early spring day in which Larry and I drove up to Homestead and the Dave & Buster’s parking lot, and all of the favors we called in to make this happen.  This day in March just happened to be the day of my brother-in-law’s wedding rehearsal.  Rather than try to be a supportive groomsman and help make an important day less stressful, I thought it’d be a good idea to get everyone to film an episode of Franks and Beans, shooting some scenes like the one pictured above as others went about fulfilling obligations.

The groom-to-be was Josh, known to the Franks and Beans word (as explained earlier: Mark) as “Replacement Larry” from the episode, uh, “Replacement Larry”, even took the time to be in this damn episode as everyone else waited on him to start eating.  After his scene, which took two takes, he ran very fast back into the building where he was probably yelled at.

Ratings Game screenshot 08

Josh is a well-connected individual, and by that I mean something other than his obvious ties to organized crime.  He was able to put me in touch with two people who are ACTUALLY ACTORS (I cannot stress this enough) and were in town, from Los Angeles, for the wedding.  First up is Heather Comstock, who, among other things, has at times painstakingly and meticulously entered in closed captioning text for various industry productions (her IMDB page proves that I am not a liar).  Heather, without ever having actually met either of us, graciously provided the line “Franks and Beans sounds like a gay porno troupe”, which to her (and, I guess, everyone else) had absolutely no context.  The fact that she did not know who we were probably helped in getting her to agree to be on the show.

In any case, I was pretty stunned at how well she acted out the scene, which caused me to be 1) embarrassed at how poorly Larry and I act, and 2) a bit starstruck at how well someone else could do it.  To this day, Larry tells me that he thinks I have a crush on this poor girl, to which I have no reply other than to remind Larry that there exists plenty of blackmail-able information on his part as well.

Rating Game screenshot 13

Next up is Matt Easton, of whom we discusses extensively in our last post, so I won’t bother with the obsequiousness here, other than to say that Matt is a legitimate actor who might one day have his SAG membership revoked due to his appearance on Franks and Beans.  Check out his IMDB page.

Oh, and he was the best man in Josh’s wedding.

Ratings Game screenshot 11

Second only to the “gay porno troupe” line must be “#$%$ you, Frankenberry”, made in the quickly fading light as unsuspecting people, just looking for a night out to distract them from their terrible, stress-filled existences, walked by and into Franks and Beans immortalit as unintentional extras.

The idea of my character being more concerned with views for our videos than losing my wallet or, say, grand theft auto, was a bit of an understated end to a more ostentatious episode, but hopefully it wasn’t lost on anyone.  And it’s nice to know that I still look deathly pale in that damn black shirt from beginning to end.

Overall, the point is, watch Franks and Beans.  Watch it, damn you, and tell your friends to watch it.  There are more than seven billion people on this earth.  Is it too much to ask that at least half of them watch out show?  I don’t think it is.

Ratings Game screenshot 12

Our “NO!” ending is actually a “YES!” ending, as Larry and I switch roles for the final episode of all seasons.  That might not have been clear earlier, as before this there was only…one…such ending.  Larry was totally jealous of me as we finished editing, late into the evening.  “You always get the best ones”, he said, which I suppose meant that he was impressed with our work on “The Rating Game”, but I just took as sour grapes.  #$%$ you, Frankenberry.

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Blog 49 – Green

Green screenshot 02

 

Come with me
And you’ll be
In a world where Franks and Beans posts updates

Take a look
And you’ll see
This is actually an update

What a day!  A nice day to come back to this damn website and act like I’m not ignoring it.  If it makes you feel any better, content-starved reader, I’ve also been ignoring my other website obligations over at teddyandtheyeti.blogspot.com.  Go ahead, click the link!  It’s the same as it’s been since October.  This probably does not make you feel any better.

Let’s not let that get us down, though.  Let’s talk about the psychedelic 47th episode of Franks and Beans, the barely named “Green”!  Why is it called “Green”?  That’s a mystery for another time, folks.

And that time is RIGHT NOW!  You may be saying, “but time hasn’t passed at all!”  To which I reply, the barely noticeable portion of existence that has moved inexorably forward counts as “another time”.  Also, I just remembered that the title actually had two meanings, one obvious and the other…slightly less obvious.

This episode of Franks and Beans marks the very first appearance of the official Franks and Beans green screen!  I am legitimately proud to have this item, even though I bought it from eBay and it’s basically just an oversized table cloth.  But it’s one of the few props we own and we’ve put it to good use in both this and subsequent episodes.  It currently sits in the Franks and Beans vault, folded neatly in an airtight container.

This episode also features a Larry who is very…green with envy (see what we did?  That’s called depth).  Why does he feel the pull of avarice?

Green screenshot 01

Because of another Franks and Beans prop…a big pile of money.  There is easily $500 here, enough to buy things like sound equipment or something, and most of it is thanks to Larry’s real and strange need to carry hundreds of dollars around on him at any given moment.  That’s right – if you see Larry out in public, rob him and gain access to hundreds of new (to you) dollars.  If you rob me…I will have less.

What follows next is an obvious take on the “angel on your shoulder” gag:

Green screenshot 03

We honestly learned a lot about what we could and probably shouldn’t do with the green screen from this sequence here.  Simply to fit on Larry’s shoulders, it might have been a good idea to shrink tiny Larry and tiny Jeff down a bit more, but at that point we started to lose character recognition.  It’s also a good thing that Larry has since cut off his Samson-like locks, as his ponytail phases through our tiny doppelgängers more than once.  Maybe next time we’ll use one of those tennis balls on a string or something.

Our goal for this episode was to devolve into weirder and weirder things as Larry’s fantasy went on, which started off with a lovely rendition of “Pure Imagination”, straight from the 1971 classic “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” as we explored the solar system (from a since-lost YouTube video) in the background.

Green screenshot 04

Our green screen worked overtime as Larry and I flew in the background of the scene.  We draped the screen over a stool and tried our best at planking, which I’m not even sure was a thing at the time we filmed it.  Sharp-eyed viewers will notice a tiny cameo in this sequence from Mitch Mitchell, who I think stopped over to take some pictures of baked beans or something.  He shows up again in a few episodes.

Green screenshot 05

The final freak-out sequence concludes with multiple versions of Jeff, all singing the same note, and wouldn’t that be something?  But alas, it was not to be, as one by one, as clones all straining to share the same life force, they started to fall.

This brings us to our big conclusion, in which we discover that Larry has a terrible medical condition that should probably be termed seizures, but for some reason I call a stroke.  In either case, we’re making fun of a serious condition, and I for one couldn’t be happier with the payoff.  All of the genuinely weird things that happen all come to a head in one tragic incident.

Green screenshot 06

Our “NO!” ending continues what I feel is a very ambitious episode as Larry, apparently, has been transported to a world where people only speak by foghorn.  The double foghorn at the end (which really sells the ending) is actually just another version of the “same note” joke that multiple Jeff performed earlier in the episode.  I don’t know why repeating the same sound on top of the original does something for me, but it does.

Well, we’ve got one more episode to go in our illustrious second season.  How long until we get to season three?  Um…2015.  Let’s go with that.

Blog 48 – Previously

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Ideas are funny things.  They inhabit a plane of existence outside the physical universe…the same universe that holds everything else, known or unknown, with the exception of these ideas.  When you think of something, and you picture it in your head, electrical signals are shooting around your body, but where does the idea itself exist?  Where is this image you’ve pictured in some ethereal capacity?  Nowhere, of course, but if that’s the case, how do we have those ideas?  How can something exist and at the same time not exist?

This is not to overmysticize the whole process and try to make it sound like something it’s not.  But the point of this all is WHERE DO WE COME UP WITH THESE GREAT IDEAS FOR FRANKS AND BEANS?  Another level of existence, that’s where.  And you can tell your friends this, because it’s true.  If they call you a liar, punch them right in the throat.

Previously screen shot 02

This brings us to our 46th episode, “Previously”.  The idea for this episode sprung from two places: the unknowable nothingness that I just spoke of, and the desire to do a “backwards” episode, which is not a new concept but is probably attributed to Seinfeld more than anything else, at least as far as television and the like is concerned.  Now, you may be saying to yourself that this episode of Franks and Beans is not in fact filmed in reverse sequence, and you would be right.  Ideas, fleeting as they are, sometimes change in the process, and such is the case with “Previously”, where instead we ended up with lots and lots of fake buildup, only to have no real payout in the end (just like every other episode of Franks and Beans, amIright, fellas?).

Previously screen shot 03

Speaking of change, there’s an interesting easter egg-y moment happening in this episode, as for once we try to be subtle about something.  Larry and I wear the same shirts throughout the episode, swapping them at times for no other reason than to have a background joke tossed in.

The episode took some strange turns but I think it worked to its full effect, poking fun at the really long and expository recaps that some shows put at the beginning of new episodes.  The tension builds and builds and builds (“You, all right? I learned it from watching you!”), and we even manage to keep a fairly consistent continuity throughout the “previously on…” sequence, with the exception of the non sequitur of the two of us laughing for no apparent reason.  Larry’s mysterious letter is the driving force!  What could its contents reveal?

Previously screen shot 04

Somewhere out there in the universe (but in our real universe, not the strange abscess of reality where ideas exist), there’s an extended clip of our penultimate scene, where the apparently non-long-for-this-earth Jeff takes us to the cliffhanger.  This deleted scene lasts about three times as long as the actual episode, and I go on and on about whatever I can think of.  I’m pretty sure we put it on the season two DVD.  Whatever.  Maybe Larry can dredge it up for you one day, blog readers.

Previously screen shot 05

The joke of this episode plays on all of our expectations, or more appropriately, the complete turn we take from everything that had come before.  Instead of answering any of the questions we post, either explicitly or implicitly throughout the episode, we end with us (in new shirts!) eating ravioli and spouting a “that’s what she said” line, which, let’s face it, is always sure to please (that’s what she said).

Previously screen shot 06

Not to let the backwards theme go, our “No!” ending features a backwards scene…of sorts.  It’s a stretch, but…it is what it is.  Such is the life of ideas.

Oh, and I finally (we knew it was coming) messed up with the sequence of these episodes, as I forgot we had a commentary episode lined up for “Why So Misleading?”.  We’re all probably surprised that it took this long for it to happen.  Please watch it, and listen to Larry sound like he’s happy that he’s throwing up.

Blog 47 – Long Distance

Pittsburgh Comicon Spawn

The Pittsburgh Comicon used to be big time.  Back in the 1990s, when Larry wore South Park t-shirts and I wore hats for reasons other than to cover up hair loss, the yearly Pittsburgh Comicon was something to look forward to, especially as a way for young fans to meet up with professionals and other fans in a way that didn’t involve weird newsgroups that would inevitably devolve into searching for naked pictures of Pamela Anderson.   The Pittsburgh shows of the 1990s featured celebrities and big-time comic book creators whose work went all the way back to the Golden Age of comics in the 1930s and ’40s.  Heck, we even got our picture taken with Spawn, both some guy dressed in a costume and the actual Al Simmons, who I’m pretty sure got a booth and handed out stickers or something.

Jeff and Larry Action Comics 1The Pittsburgh Comicons of today just aren’t the same.  When the old Monroeville Convention Center closed down several of years ago, I remembering thinking, “thank goodness, now the show can move to a real location, like the state-of-the-art Pittsburgh Convention Center (located conveniently downtown)”.  But it turns out that the Comicon did not heed or receive my well-constructed thoughts, complete with parentheses, and to this day they remain in Monroeville, the least convenient location for an event that identifies itself by the adjective “Pittsburgh”.  These days, they don’t haul out copies of 1938’s Action Comics #1 anymore only to have a 16-year-old Larry almost knock it and millions of dollars worth of other comics off a shelf, no siree.

Pittsburgh Comicon Mart NodellAnd the Pittsburgh Comicon doesn’t seem to have guests like Mart Nodell, creator of Green Lantern, anymore.  One good reason for this is that Mr. Nodell has been dead for a few years.  Another is that…well, I’m not exactly sure why.  But when I think back to the heyday of the show and compare it to what it is now, well…there’s really no comparison, and this is a shame, because Pittsburgh deserves a nice mid-level comic book show.  It doesn’t have to be a media extravaganza like those in New York, Chicago or San Diego (or Toronto…or Seattle for that matter), but a comic-centered show with new talent and a better location are musts for the Pittsburgh Comicon to recapture its former glory.

Pittsburgh Comicon Chase Masterson

If the show ever regains some of its luster, perhaps I’ll wear a nice silver jumpsuit like our friend Chase Masterson, here.  As it is, Larry and I will settle for what we’re now able to do at the Pittsburgh Comicon, which is hastily film an episode of Franks and Beans while getting yelled at to not film an episode of Franks and Beans, namely our 45th episode, “Long Distance”.  I believe that at one point we were thinking of naming the episode “Comic-Con” or something of that nature, which would have been a bit of an overstatement, all things considered.

Long Distance screen shot 01Our episode begins with a collection of establishing shots, which is one of Larry’s editing signatures.  There are more exciting ways of introducing the necessary setting information, but with time constraints, this served well enough to get the point across: the episode apparently takes place at a convention with a disinterested Margot Kidder…

Long Distance screen shot 03…Scott McDaniel…

Long Distance screen shot 02

…some booths — WAIT, IS THAT THE WORLD FAMOUS WAGON WHEEL COMICS?  Publisher of Teddy and the Yeti?  Boy, what a coincidence to get that booth, empty in this shot for some reason, captured in a seemingly random sweep of the convention floor.

Long Distance screen shot 04 And also “Franks and Beans” star Jeff McClelland using a flip phone.  Oh, wait, this is part of the actual episode.

When I look back at this episode, I think that it’s got a decent joke that’s executed fairly well, but there’s always room for improvement.  I’ve often wrung my hands over the quality of the audio on this show.  Some times there’s nothing to be done about it, and this is the case with “Long Distance”.  In general, convention center employees don’t enjoy productions taking up floor space, and a boom mic (even if we had one) is a pretty big giveaway that you are doing more than just taking creepy videos of the person dressed as Black Cat.  Trying to keep a low profile dictated many of our shots and how quickly they were filmed this day…and in our first few shots, we get soft-talking Jeff, the bane of video editing Jeff’s existence.  But even so, it’s pretty clear as to what’s going on, and it serves as a pretty good setup for what’s to come next.

Long Distance screen shot 05 If I could change one thing about this episode (besides having Margot Kidder as an actual guest star), it’d be Larry’s first shot, where he talks on the phone and lies about his current whereabouts.  A medium shot reveals the same colored walls and what is obviously the same location.  Editor Jeff wants a tighter shot that doesn’t reveal the main joke quite as soon.

Even with this early giveaway, the main joke – where Larry and I still talk on the phone even after running into each other – is still a satisfying one, I think.  And the “head chest cold” line is a nice addition.

Most episodes of Franks and Beans are filmed over the course of a day.  Few span different days, and sometimes this is out of something other a very long shooting session.  This episode, though, was probably shot the fastest, because we literally had people telling us to leave as we were trying to get the last shots.  Someone even came over the intercom system to tell us to get out of there as they closed up shop.  It was a good exercise in getting the hell done really quickly.  And then we went and had some Mexican food.

Long Distance screen shot 06Our action-packed “NO!” ending for this episode features Larry’s worst nightmare.  An interesting thing to note is that unless Larry decided to jump out of his bedroom window, he was running toward the flames and not away from them.  I’m going to imagine that he was desperately trying to save some of his more unique Dukes of Hazzard memorabilia, and really, can any of us blame him?  Other than people who think that running into fires for material possessions is a shortsighted and irresponsible idea that might leave someone dead or horribly burned?

A few years after we filmed this episode, Wagon Wheel Comics got another booth at yet another installment of the Pittsburgh Comicon.  It is much the same as it was in this episode, except now they give out panels to people like me, who have no business running a panel.  If you’ve got an hour to kill, feel free to relive the magic, just like tens of others have on YouTube:

Blog 45 – Why So Misleading?

Why So Misleading screen shot 01

You wanna know how I got this internet show? My friend, had a camera, and a computer. And one night, he goes off crazier than usual. I write a script to defend myself. He likes it. Just. A little. Bit. So, me watching, he puts together a set, laughing while he does it. He turns to me and says, “Why so misleading?” Turns the camera on. “WHY SO MISLEADING?” He points the camera at my face… “Let’s put a smile on the faces of audiences everywhere.” And…

And the rest, my friends, was HOLLYWOOD MAGIC.

Welcome to the blog for the video for the show for the computer, this one titled “Why So Misleading”.  If you didn’t notice, this episode marks the second Christmas episode in Franks and Beans lore, the other being “The Gift” way back at the beginning.  And while “The Gift” was fairly slow moving (I like to think of it as “understated”), this episode features a number of interesting tidbits that I would talk about if only I had the online space in which to do so.

Oh, right.  Moving on, then.

Why So Misleading screen shot 02

Our 43rd episode revolves around two separate soundtracks, at least one of which is easily recognizable.  Both Larry and I were (and are) fairly taken by the newest Batman movie trilogy, and it’d be a tough sell to claim that “The Dark Knight” weren’t the best of the three.  One of the things that stands out about the film is, of course, the ominous music that plays every time something truly awful was about to happen.

This, of course, speaks to a larger convention of music in films, and the almost hypnotic power that music holds over audiences, to the point where it’s almost become a parody of itself every time a hopeful or sinister tune plays.  Well, I guess we’re parodying it now, so you’ll just have to find some new tropes, movies.

The joke in this episode, then, revolves around the scene playing out in the exact opposite manner in which the music might indicate.  The Dark Knight music that lends an eerie tone to anything it touches?  It’s just me wishing Larry a Merry Christmas.  That happy “Peter and the Wolf” music near the end?  I GET A FRIGGIN’ KNIFE TO THE CHEST!

Why So Misleading screen shot 03

Perhaps I even die.  Perhaps.

Some notes from this episode:

– Larry is reading some pretty interesting material, in a manner that is not at all promotional or obvious, at the beginning of the episode.  What could it be?  Oh, it’s none other than Teddy and the Yeti #1 from Wagon Wheel Comics, probably still available for sale from fine online retailers!  We must have been reading it and enjoying it right before this was filmed.  What a fun story.

– If I get one, then Larry gets one: the gift I give to Larry is none other than a Dukes of Hazzard DVD.  True story: I actually did get this for Larry for Christmas this year.  Also true: Larry hated it.

– The happy music you hear at the end of the episode is from “Weird Al” Yankovic’s collaboration with Wendy Carlos in the semi-obscure album “Peter & the Wolf: Carnival of the Animals part II”:

Weird Al Peter & the Wolf

 

I got the synthetic orchestra album for my birthday a long time ago.  I’ve actually listened to it straight through a couple times.  It’s pretty strange and very different from any other album from Weird Al.  Anyway, it has some pretty light and airy stuff on it, which I thought would be perfect for the sequence of me getting stabbed in the chest (and let’s not forget…I might actually be dead).

There are some technical issues with this episode that keep it from being as good as it can be: sound being one of them (which is unfortunately not something new), and the fact that we should have made the knife more clear at the end.  I think that most people get the point (pun!) when they see me clutching the knife, but a close up or, heaven forbid, a clearer shot wouldn’t have killed us, either (obvious pun!!).  Overall, though, I enjoy the way that we incorporated music into the episode and I think that this turned out to be a pretty solid episode, front to back.  And Larry makes his bid for a catch phrase at the end with his very convincing “Today has been so misleading!”

Why So Misleading screen shot 04

 

Our wonderful “NO!” ending makes its return…for the 43rd time…with a bit of auto-tune.  We also used some auto-tune (I figured out how to make it work in Garage Band…which I’m pretty sure that I now forget how to do) for the episode “Perfect”, which featured quite a bit of singing, but it didn’t come across nearly as well as it did here.  I guess there’s nothing inherently funny about the auto-tune process, but I’ll take it if I can get it.  Obviously, I couldn’t let Larry steal all of the spotlight this time around (because I’m a terrible friend), so I stuck my head in there at the last second.  Classy.

Blog 44 – Beans and Franks

Beans and Franks screen shot 01

And there we are!  It took 44 episodes for Franks and Beans to do an episode about beans.  I believe that both Larry and I should be commended for, if nothing else, our patience in introducing something that we all probably saw coming – Franks and Beans Beans and Franks.  Our show is, after all, named after baked beans.  Oh, and Larry’s last name is whatever.  But the point is, we held off until the time was right, and the right time was…episode 44, “Beans and Franks”.

Beans and Franks screen shot 02

The premise of this episode is fairly simple: Larry and I decide to branch out, and what property doesn’t attempt to do this after it’s been established for a while?  We put a lot of money into a product that ends up being a bust.  We decide to forge ahead anyway, passing the bill of goods on to whoever would decide to eat some baked beans with our faces on the can.  Any one of these concepts could serve as the primary focus, but economical as we are, we put them all into one episode of Franks and Beans, in which we spend a lot of time spitting beans into a bowl, and then making Larry’s dad eat them afterwards as we watched in horror.

Beans and Franks screen shot 03

The episode was pretty easy to follow, if I can say so, but it did include a lot of dialogue and not many cuts in the action.  To combat this, we might have taken some time to study our lines, but instead we pulled a Marlon Brando and wrote some of our lines down, placing them by the camera so we could cheat and look at them while the camera rolled.  This is easiest to spot when I’m listing off the fake ingredients in our fake baked bean product, as I’m looking just a little bit to the side during the whole thing.  As is often the case, though, the low definition quality of the upload to YouTube certainly covers up some of our shame.

“Beans and Franks” also includes a few VERY TECHNICAL effects, including the picture-in-picture deal that is sure to be a feature on all televisions from the years of 1999-2003.  Seriously, who has the multitasking capabilities to watch two different shows at the same time, only one of the shows is on mute and is tiny and in the corner of the television?  Maybe this was just a feature developed specifically for pornography, like the “private browsing” feature on Internet browsers.

In all, this was a simple concept, but one that I thought worked well, to the point that I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of other comedy shows have tried different variations on the same themes, which is valid, I’m sure, in its many forms.

Beans and Franks screen shot 04

Our “No!” ending this episode gets some special attention, as it lasts nearly as long as the main segment itself.  In this extended feature, we say goodbye to Larry’s trusted (but not always trustworthy) Jeep, which took him to places like Grindstone, PA and, presumably, other places in the many years in which he had it, stretching all the way back to when he was in high school, whenever that was.  A loyal friend to the end, the Jeep, in its later years, took on the persona of a car that wouldn’t really go anywhere, with a window that wouldn’t really roll up or down, with a radio that wouldn’t really play music other than “All Star” by Smashmouth, and so we at Franks and Beans decided to give it one last sendoff by destroying it in a hellstorm of fury, complete with a sad montage from earlier episodes and a song that expressed the longing and regret Larry and I both felt about using the Jeep to kill that guy that one time.

This episode comes with an “alternate audio version”, which means that Larry and I couldn’t ultimately decide on which song to play over the final montage.  The original choice, mine, was “I Will Wait for You” by Connie Francis, which is one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard, though this is most likely because I associate it with the “Jurassic Bark” episode of Futurama.  If you’ve never seen this episode before, enjoy the fact that you haven’t been subjected to what is possibly the most heartbreaking episode of any television show in the history of the world.  If you have seen it…then go and hug your dog.

Larry, as is his right, chose the Michelle Branch song “Goodbye to You”, which, as you might know, is actually about a car.  Also, Larry played softball with Michelle Branch one time and he won’t stop talking about it, which is cool, I guess.  Take a listen to both versions (I’ll post 44.1 in a few days) and choose your own ending, just like those books…what’re they called?  Whatever, it’s not important.

Beans and Franks can

Here’s a picture of the can itself, which looks like it contains delicious, delicious beans and doesn’t have a label that was just printed at home and then slapped onto a can of Campbell’s baked beans or anything.  This served as the theme to our highly successful (…) Franks and Beans volume 2 DVD, the case for which contained a fake nutritional guide and everything.  This was a fun episode from start to finish, and in an alternate reality where people watch this show, it’s become one of our signatures.

Blog 43 – Chariots of Mire

Chariots of Mire screenshotIn nine years, I will be 41 years old.  Perhaps at that time, a time at which I will most certainly be evaluating my life (41 seems to be a good age to do that, as opposed to 32, when I pay attention to nothing except basic emotions like hungry and sad), I will come back to SuperYouTube and watch Franks and Beans episode 41, “Chariots of Mire”.  I wonder what type of reaction I will have to this, an episode that features a number of common F&B tropes.  Perhaps I will remark at the already dated cultural references, or note the effort we made for special effects.  Maybe I’ll look back and say, hey, I still have a little bit of hair here, and punch a window.

In any case, “Chariots of Mire” does in fact show off some of the best of Franks and Beans.  If you watch this episode and hate it, well, then chances are you might not like too many other episodes.  Except for “Mailbag/Bloopers” or “The Sandwich”, which lots of people like.  Whatever.  What I’m trying to say is that this episode of the show features a lot of things that I like: physical comedy, irreverence, quick timing and callbacks to previous jokes.  And shouting.

Let’s tackle the first topic.  Did you see what I did there?  I used the word “tackle” in reference to a scene in which I bowl over a wagon full of, well, leaves and things.  Wow.  In filming this, I learned that it is really hard to purposely fall over things.  This is why, no matter how many times we tried (and we did several takes), I still braced myself before ultimately tumbling over.

Our music for this episode is, of course, the classic “Chariots of Fire”, which has been used for comedic effect to the point that it’s almost certainly used for that purpose more than it is in a serious manner.  It’s also very tough to find without a laugh track when you’re searching the Internet for a sample.  Music tends to add something intangible to a video, something that can’t be recreated with just ambient sound, and this is an extreme example of it.  And it gave me the opportunity to add in two more Franks and Beans favorites: word parodies and running.  I really do run a lot in this show.

Larry in bed, and the implication that he sleeps fully clothed (and later, the line “let’s go!”), is a reference to our sort-of popular (it depends on how you define “popular”) first episode, “High School”.  The reference to Avril Lavigne was about as random as they come…I wanted to think of a pseudo-celebrity that neither Larry nor I particularly liked, and her name was one of the few I thought up and was considering.  Plus “Avril Lavigne” sounds funny to say.  Also, here’s a funny “Weird Al” Yankovic video featuring Ms. Lavigne:

I enjoy that this episode, in contrast to basically everything before or after, features a fairly honest critique of Avril Lavigne.  She wasn’t really relevant at the time we filmed this episode, and she REALLY isn’t relevant now, but seriously, what was up with her image?  She’s a preppy blonde Canadian (hi, Lauren) who suddenly pains her fingernails black and wears socks on her arms and now she’s punk?  Come on, Michael.

The Oreo callback is one of my favorite sequences of the entire show.  “Hey, last cookie!” is a fairly generic line, but the callback to the “Chariots” music, the quick pace and Larry’s disinterested reply really makes is work for me.

Our “NO!” ending is a pretty good one, if you can make out what the heck I’m saying.  Basically, Larry is waking people up, and I’m not happy about it.  It may not seem like much, but I do get to say the line “for crap’s sake!”, which makes it all worth while.