Blog 28 – Replacement Larry


Originally Published 4.01.10

This is one episode that I don’t mind watching again (as opposed to some of which I am IMMEDIATELY ASHAMED!), and I think it holds up.  Josh, my brother-in-law, really stepped up and made this work.  Larry did okay too, I guess.

Sometimes it’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Other times it just makes Larry mad at you for not writing a new Franks and Beans blog for months and months.  Which is it this time, I wonder?  Only the wind knows.  And Larry.  Because he knows all.

Franks and Beans returns this week with an all new retrospective look at the fantastically super episode 26, affectionately known in some circles as “Replacement Larry”.  This episode features a number of memorable lines, but more notable is obviously the inclusion of a brand new character in the F&B universe.  Before this episode, the only secondary character not played by superfan Mark Moncheck was a member of Larry’s immediate family.  To start pulling my weight around here (because really, I should stop riding the coattails of my past success) I brought someone in from my side of the family, namely my brother-in-law Josh Rager.

Josh is, as you can see in this episode, a natural when it comes to Franks and Beans.  And by this I mean he sure is good at playing up his part to the point where it becomes a caricature of himself, which I believe Larry and I tend to do as well.  Josh is really like this in real life – kind of.  By looking at the roles we all play as just characters who are part of a larger story, it was just a matter of time before we came up with something similar to the plot we have in this episode, where one of those characters gets replaced by one a little more agreeable.

The majority of this episode is filmed – ON LOCATION! – a mile or two away from our normal location of Larry’s house; interestingly enough, when deciding what the best place to film outside, walking down a sidewalk, we chose a spot right outside of a house Larry’s grandmother owns.  Keeping it close, I guess.  Outside shoots always add a different element to the process; namely, there are more distractions.  Sometimes it’s a car blowing its horn, sometimes it’s a dog barking, sometimes it’s a nudist sunning himself in a conspicuous location.  This time it was one of Larry’s neighbors, who decided that a few guys setting up a video camera on a tripod was a good time to shoot the breeze.  Such is the price of stardom, I suppose.

We here at Franks and Beans have referenced Ed McMahon twice on the show – once in the pilot episode “High School” (“I have this recurring nightmare where Ed McMahon’s chasing me…and I’m naked”) and now just slightly more subtle in “Replacement Larry”.  I am, of course, referring to the catch phrase “HEY-OOO!” which we repeat a few times during the episode.  Other than the fact that I apparently always have Ed McMahon on the edge of my thoughts, this was very much unintentional.  It has had, though, an unintended consequence: because of this episode, I have begun saying “HEY-OOO!” in real life situations whenever I get excited.  And I don’t know how to stop!  Perhaps Ed McMahon’s ghost is haunting me; perhaps it forever will.

Larry plays an understated role in this episode – perhaps we both do when compared to the over-the-top character that Josh plays – but he has a few memorable actions that are worth mentioning.  Even if they aren’t, I’m still going to mention them, so I guess you just have to deal with it…or stop reading.  Please don’t stop reading!

When Larry first approaches me in this episode – we just happen to be the only people walking down this desolate street – he comments on all of the various ways in which he’s tried to contact me in recent days.  Here’s one thing you need to know about Larry – he likes to add references to his stuff in episodes, whether they fit or not.  (And he hasn’t grown out of it yet.)  This is why Larry never refers to his vehicle as a car in any episode, which normal people would do.  No, Larry ALWAYS refers to it by the proper noun “Jeep”.  In “How To” he even backtracks so he can include a reference to his beloved emitter of greenhouse gas.  In “Replacement Larry” he mentions my Blackberry mobile device, by which of course he’s mentioning HIS new Blackberry mobile device.  But the joke’s on you, reference Larry, because you took your Blackberry back to the store just days after filming this episode!  That’ll learn you.

Another Larry-ism that bears mentioning is the long walk Larry takes after leaving Josh and me to discuss our future plans.  None of the things Larry decides to do in the background – trip over a rock, check his shoe while leaning on a telephone pole, etc. – were planned, at least by me.  All of these improvisations really add a level of humor to the episode that I think raise the quality to another level – a level that couldn’t have been achieved simply through dialogue alone.  Seeing it come together as seamlessly as it did was truly an auspicious moment, and one I hope we both can learn from.

I honestly wonder if anyone gets offended when Replacement Larry goes into his “maybe we could make out a little” speech.  The humor in this episode, as it’s intended, comes from the prospect of having a jovial conversation take a very unexpected turn.  I do actually fret that one day someone will watch this episode and think that the gay proposition is the only joke we’re making – and while shock value does of course come into play, as it has to, I’d like to think that the overall intention is much more innocent.  If you’re reading this and you are a bit miffed…you have my apologies.  Maybe I’ll buy you a Coke or something.

The final scene in this episode, which should be quick enough to have the right effect, probably would have worked better if I could have stopped myself from smiling after saying my line.  I’m working on it.

Our “No!” ending for this episode reaches hall of fame proportions, as I’ve heard that it surpasses all previous and surely all future efforts in this regard.  This would normally be daunting and just a little bit insulting, but I have to admit, the “silent movie” effect combined with “The Entertainer” music really does make for a nice effect.  What really sells this scene, though, is Larry’s dramatic acting and dramatic choice of wardrobe – who just has a hat like that?!  In any case, like many things in this episode, things really came together nicely for the ending.  We’ll be trying to live up to this as season two rages on.  And by “rages on” I mean “violently surges forward”.  Hope to have you on board for what is sure to be a fun ride!