Blog 50 – The Rating Game

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Franks and Beans Actor Spotlight #1: Matt Easton

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Who: Matt Easton
Episode: 48 – The Rating Game
Character: Sycophantic Thief

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Location: Los Angeles, CA
Profession: Actor/Producer
Wait, really?: Yes, why do you think I created this post if not to marvel at the fact that Franks and Beans convinced someone with actual acting credits to appear in an episode?
So you’re saying he’s acted in a legitimate capacity before, not just like in a high school play: Yes.  That is what I’m saying.
Does he have a listing on IMBD? Huh?: Yes.  He’s actually listed first among all of the Matt Eastons:

Matt Easton IMDB

Holy…is this seriously from IMDB?: Dammit!  Yes!  What don’t you trust me?  Here’s the damn link:
I did not expect this.  I am honestly taken back.  This is pretty cool: I agree!  Is there a question in there?
What kind of stuff has he done?: He was one of the actors who played “LizardMan” in “LizardMan: The Terror of the Swamp”.
…is that a real thing?: Look, I’m not going to confirm every answer I give.  Believe it or don’t.
Okay, okay…I’m sorry: He’s also done some motion capture for a few video games:

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Oh man, that’s so cool!  I’ve always wanted to do that!: Yeah, it’s pretty neat.
You mentioned that he’s not just an actor, but also a producer: He even started his own company: Legacy Features, based out of Burbank, California.
So…how did you get him to be on an episode of Franks and Beans? He’s good friends with the guy who plays Replacement Larry.  And we got lucky.

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Do you think if he gets super famous, other people will watch the Franks and Beans episode?: I…really hope so.  Maybe they’ll watch it and think, “what the hell kind of deal with the devil did these guys make to get Matt Easton on their Internet show?”
If he gets super famous, will he…put you in a movie?: C’mon, man.

…I hope.
How many times did you have to film the “*#$@ you, Frankenberry” shot?: Ugh, too many times.  I thought someone was going to report us.  Matt was shouting the f-word in a crowded parking lot as confused onlookers walked by.

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What is he working on now that he’s moved away from his lucrative career as a Franks and Beans guest star?: Hey.  Don’t be mean.
But seriously, what is he working on?: He’s producing the film “The Summer I Died“, currently in pre-production.  He’s a production coordinator for the upcoming “Savage Mountain” film.  He has a role in the film “Darling Nikki“, due out in May 2015.
Think he might be interested in the FUBAR film rights?: Maybe he’ll Google his name, find this page, read up on FUBAR and immediately fall in love with it!
That’d be something!: Yeah, but, you know.
Do you have any pictures of him with a mustache?: Actually, I do:

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Like Franks and Beans, BE IN FRANKS AND BEANS

Jeff Lauren Franks and BeansHere’s a nice shot from an upcoming episode (yes, we still make them) of Franks and Beans.  Despite what many of you are thinking, Larry has not yet had his much-discussed sex change.  Instead, we’ve got a new guest star in the form of Franks and Beans fan Lauren.  In between shots, Lauren and I took a surprisingly intimate picture that seems to intimate (yes, this word has two different pronunciations and meanings…look it up) that the two of us are dating, which was never the case despite what my private journal may “allegedly” divulge.

Sharp-minded viewers will remember that the name “Lauren” was used for a character in an early episode of Franks and Beans.  I will confirm now (ONCE AND FOR ALL) that the character was named after our good friend Lauren here, with the idea that she would never actually show up in Pennsylvania and ask to be on the show.  This means that we will have to come up with a different character name for Lauren, which should be difficult because there just aren’t that many names for girls to choose from in existence.  We’ll see what we can do.

Look for this new episode to air as soon as Larry and I edit the damn thing.


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!