Blog 29 – Honesty

Originally Published 4.06.10

There’s just something about openly weeping that I find funny, which is why I think our robust 27th episode, “Honesty”, is one of the more underrated gems in the Franks and Beans crown.  And before anyone thinks I’m making some kind of metaphorical reference to pride or confidence, please realize that both Larry and I own bejeweled crowns that we often wear around the set.  They’re pretty great.

This episode plays out in contrast to some of the episodes that immediately precede it, such as “Studio Audience” and “Replacement Larry”, in that “Honesty” is fairly understated.  As much fun as the more involved episodes – ones with different characters and location shoots – are to produce (and watch, I’m sure), there are also times when simplicity is a welcome change: times when Larry and I forego the frills and stick with a single wide shot of the kitchen table and three minutes of steady dialogue.

You’ll notice (YOU WILL!) that at the beginning of this episode, Larry is reenacting what I’m certain is an epic He-Man/Skeletor battle.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: one of the biggest challenges with this series is in coming up with realistic ways for episodes to begin.   I should probably, I don’t know, do some actual research and watch a few sitcoms now and then, but apparently I’d rather wander through the filmmaking wilderness (ok, now THAT was a metaphor) and continue doing what I almost always do: have someone reading a book/the newspaper/some mail to open a scene.  I’m sure there are different, interesting ways to offer establishing shots of characters, but when I try to think of any the best I can come up with is, evidently, Larry showing off new additions to his action figure collection.

Also featured in this episode is another ambiguous reference to my character’s relationship status, which without me realizing has become something of a running joke on the show (just not a very funny one!).  I’ve been seen hitting on the never-to-return character of “Lauren” in “Grapes”, looking to pick up girls in “Mustache”, hiding my girlfriend from the clutching grasp of Larry in “iChat”, and in this episode I mention that I’m having some sort of trust issues with an unseen girlfriend – all the while (with the exception of “The Gift”, in which I actually cared about these things) I’m doing nothing to hide the fact that I’m wearing a wedding ring.  At this point it’s too funny (in a relative sense…it’s not funny in any real context) for me to take it off or include some episodic answer, so my apparent adulterous ways will continue for the foreseeable future.  I hope my wife doesn’t read that last sentence.

The joke in this episode – the one that perhaps takes too long to get to – stems from one character saying something inappropriate that he can’t take back, as much as he tries.  This in itself is nothing new in a comedic sense, but I tried to extend this joke to its absolute greatest extreme to create what I hope is a memorable scene.  The huge difference in borrowing a Led Zeppelin shirt and murdering someone’s father is one that can never be reconciled, and I think this is the second, underlying joke: the “I killed your dad” line is funny in and of itself, but when you look at the wide gap between my character’s big secret and this more violent one, it becomes even funnier.

I think more episodes of Franks and Beans should end with sobbing, as this one does.  Plenty of episodes feature physical pain as a proper ending, but adding emotional pain to the mix really heightens my level of satisfaction with “Honesty”.  Perhaps that indicates some sort of festering mental illness, but even so, I’ll take it – my ability to act-cry notwithstanding, this is one of the stronger endings I think we’ve had during the series.

Our “No!” ending is fairly simplistic, but sometimes the simplest jokes get the biggest laughs.  In this case it’s not the slow motion video that gets me, but the audio.  To be honest, if I had this to do over again (and I think we all know that we don’t revisit episodes of Franks and Beans – once it’s done, it’s done FOREVER) I might try and tone down Larry’s wild flailings, because his rubber arm trick looks kind of weird when I watch it.  The noise, though, more than makes up for it, and I’m more surprised than I should be that we could get such a good effect from simply slowing down the video.  It’s the little things that make me happy (that’s what she said).