Fun never ends with 'Franklin & Bash' stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Breckin Meyer


June 04, 2012|By Curt Wagner | RedEye

With their sharp thinking and irreverent courtroom shenanigans, Jared Franklin and Peter Bash won many cases in the first season of TNT's "Franklin & Bash," and the show won many fans and earned a second season.

A large part of the show's success is due to the playful chemistry between its stars, Breckin Meyer (Franklin) and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Bash), who don't turn off the funny when they're not on set. Like when I ask Meyer about writing an episode this season, and Gosselaar teases his buddy that he gave his character more lines than he usually gets.

"I had a lot more lines," Meyer responds, laughing. "I had the funny stuff, too."

In the new season of the comedy procedual, which premieres at 9 p.m. June 5 on TNT, the lawyers' own success at the powerful LA law firm that recruited them last season will have them struggling to maintain their "fight for the little guy" values. But you can bet that inner turmoil won't keep them from the courtroom hijinks fans love.

Gosselaar and Meyer were in Chicago recently to talk about the show's success, how much of it is improv and what will happen to their characters this season. (I'll have more about the episode Meyer wrote in a later post.)

We're you surprised by how popular the show became in Season 1?
Mark-Paul Gosselaar: Yeah. We wouldn't be our humble selves if we thought that, you know, everyone was going to like the show as much as they did.
Breckin Meyer: I mean, yeah, pleasantly. No, I think we were happy that people liked it, honestly, as much as kind of we enjoyed making it. When we found out we got through to the second season we were really happy, 'cause we have a really good time doing it.
MPG: I don't know if it's us, but I was also surprised fans caught all the little nuances.
BM: Yeah.
MPG: The things that we enjoy as fans of our own show, which sounds really pretentious but it's really not, but...
BM: But it does sound pretentious.
MPG: But we're such fans of our show and find little nuances in our show and then it just...
BM: That make us laugh.
MPG: And make us giggle and a lot of the fans picked up on those things. When we talk to a lot of them they usually express their appreciation for those kind of little moments, those asides and stuff that don't seem scripted.

But are they scripted?
MPG: Most of the time.

Really? Many seem so natural that I thought they were just you guys riffing.
BM: Yeah, there's a lot of that. We stick to the script and then there's usually one or two takes where they'll let us riff. It's usually the ins and outs. It's usually the buttons of the scenes you riff on and they change, just to keep it fresh with us 'cause we have such long days it's like we'll just--
MPG: It's a handwriting course. We stay within the lines and then at the end we put our little signature on there, you know?

MPG: It's like a little thing and that's how the whole show is.
BM: But it tends to work as it goes in line with the characters; it doesn't take you out of the show.
MPG: No.
BM: That's the thing with like [doing] improv. If it takes you out of the show, it's like, yeah, it was funny but it's not what the characters would do. As long as it tracks with what the guys would do usually it makes it in the show. I don't know if you've seen the season, but [in the first episode] there's a Jimmy Stewart impression I do and [Mark-Paul] riffed on it. We just did that 'cause we were having fun. Honestly, we were having fun goofing off with the actor playing the other lawyer. And he sounded like Jimmy Stewart.
MPG: A lot of times we'll just do it one time. Someone says to us, "Oh, that was great. Keep it." And we'll maybe do four takes on a scene or an angle and we'll do four different endings or four different reactions.
BM: And just a riff every now and then. That Jimmy Stewart riff, I just started doing it 'cause this guy to me sounded like Jimmy Stewart so I goofed off with it and then Mark-Paul riffed in the way Peter Bash would, 'cause Mark-Paul knows exactly what Jimmy Stewart sounds like, but Peter wouldn't necessarily...
MPG: And it was just such a Peter/Jared moment.
BM: We were happy it made it in the show.
MPG: A lot of the credit has to go to the editors because there's so much weeding through [takes] and they know the tone of our show. We've seen shows of ours where they don't have any of the Jared-and-Peter riffing, or the episode's very static.
BM: We've seen early cuts where it just feels like a procedural show, a very normal procedural show. And then you see the same episode once our editors and producers have gotten through it and it's like, "Oh, that's 'Franklin & Bash.'"
MPG: "There it is. There's 'Franklin & Bash.'" A lot of credit goes to them because they know how much to give and when not to give, so a lot of credit goes to them.

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