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.

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Blog 02 – Perfect

Originally posted 12.09.08

One of the reasons that Franks and Beans was created was to air episode two, “Perfect”.  Its inception was born out of distance and a longing to reconnect with friends through visual expression, something that both Larry and I have been involved with, in different capacities, for much of the last decade.

This isn’t to say that either of us necessarily felt like we were missing something.  Sometimes the world looks perfect – nothing to rearrange.  But that doesn’t mean that Franks and Beans hasn’t become a welcome outlet for our creative energies.  It doesn’t mean that it hasn’t allowed us to take what we had and add something new to the mix.  I mean, after all, sometimes you just get a feeling like you need some kind of change.

The challenges of creating a new program are many in any circumstance, and Larry and I have our share – from having to do most everything ourselves to our obvious budgetary restraints – but I’m happy to say that we’ve taken these challenges and have made most of them work to our advantage.  It’s as if we looked at this daunting task and said that no matter what the odds are this time, nothing’s gonna stand in our way – and we’ve certainly reaped the rewards that have come as a result.  By this I’m not just talking about spreading our particular brand of humor to the far reaches of the globe (though that does have its own appeal to it) or in hearing from people who have seen the show and have enjoyed it.

No, the show has taken on its own life with the two of us, as if it is its own person.  And that’s encouraging, because we each have a great deal of passion for it – a flame in our hearts, if you will, like a long lost friend.  And because of this, we both can take solace in the fact that while we are of course the custodians behind this Internet program, Franks and Beans can resonate to people who have never met us – each vignette can mean something different to someone else, but even so, there’s interpretation, there’s understanding, there’s enjoyment at different levels with each view an episode of ours gets, and I’m comforted by that.  It’s like, from a metaphorical standpoint, every dark street has a light at the end!

…STANDING TAAAAAAALL!!!

A-hem.

While the above follows an obvious pattern, everything that I wrote it true – episode two, “Perfect”, IS one of the reasons that Franks and Beans was created.  In fact, it’s one of the first thoughts I had in mind when I contacted Larry with the idea of creating some skits for online viewing more than a year ago.  And if one of your friends (you have friends, right?) called you up and asked you, “I’ve been hearing a lot about this ‘Franks and Beans’ thing lately…what’s it all about?”, I think that this episode would be the perfect answer.

Larry and were both born in the early years of the 1980s, and as anyone from that particular period can attest, one thing that connects us is the TGIF television lineup.  Regardless of race, gender or religious preferences, if you grew up in the 1980s you inevitably watched shows like Family Matters or Step-By-Step (which was Patrick Dufferific).  If you are anything like me, you not only watched shows such as these, but you also grew to hate them and their cookie-cutter plotlines and asinine humor over time.  But even with these obvious flaws, I still relate to them, still feel an attachment to Bob Sagat’s sugar-sweet “aw shucks” humor or Urkel’s litany of catch phrases.  One show, airing a little earlier than many of the TGIF mainstays, has stuck with me more than many, though, and that is without a doubt Perfect Strangers.

I don’t know what exactly did it for me, but Perfect Strangers has either enriched my upbringing or scarred me for the rest of my existence, because I couldn’t forget its particular brand of sitcom-ness if my life depended on it.  Looking back on the show, I wonder if the humor was as simple as it seems now – are we really just laughing at Balki because of his foreign, eastern European antics?  Is Perfect Strangers a reflection of American perception in the 1980s?  Surely, it had to be more than that, but at age seven, I was probably just taken in by lines like “Get out of the city!” even though I didn’t even understand that there was a proper phrase that the character just couldn’t grasp.

No matter what mark Perfect Strangers has left on society, it has indelibly left its mark on me, and episode two of Franks and Beans is nothing more than a love note in regards to that fact.  Yes, Larry catches me singing and I display embarrassment both for being caught and for being caught signing THAT song.  But the catch, the subtle nod, is that Larry remembers, Larry sings, Larry can’t escape Perfect Strangers any more than I can.  It’s something that we all have to live with.

Plus, Larry’s character was totally named after Larry Appleton, not Larry Franks, as he would lead you to believe.  How did he get his hair to curl like that?!

(This final paragraph makes absolutely no sense anymore, but I’m leaving it is originally was…for…uh…posterity.  It’s like an archaeological dig – you don’t always understand everything you find at first.  I’ll probably just delete paragraphs like these in the future, like when you’re on an archaeological dig but some of the stuff you find gets lost in a moment of shortsighted rage. – JM)  As you’ve noticed, there are some new episodes of Franks and Beans online.  You may be wondering why there aren’t any blogs for those particular episodes.  Firstly, get off my back!  Secondly, I’m working on them.  We’ll catch up in the next few days.  So keep an eye out for those, and check back next Monday for another new episode!  We’re hoping to put together a nice long run.