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My “It Clicked” Episode: TNT’s Franklin & Bash “Jennifer of Troy” 

Photo Credit: TNT

Every time a new TV series begins, there’s another process that also begins. And that’s the one that determines how long to give a show before deciding whether it’s going to get a weekly spot on the DVR; it’s going to be an occasional only-when-there’s-a-special-guest-star type of thing; or it’s going to hit epic fail territory and is never going to get sampled again. Sometimes the decision comes immediately after tuning into the first episode. Other times it takes a lot longer to get to that Oprah Aha! Moment, where the decision is made that this show is, indeed, a keeper. It’s that second where things just click and you realize you’re in this for the long haul.  Well, I finally got to that moment with TNT’s Franklin & Bash. Don’t get me wrong, the show isn’t perfect. The cast is wonderful, but has some chemistry issues; the dialogue feels overworked, like the writers are trying too hard to show us how the Jared Franklin and Peter Bash characters are these overgrown frat boy/bad boy lawyers. Thankfully, there are some layers forming — slowly — but I’m willing to invest my time to see where this all goes. And Mark-Paul Gosselaar is one of my Summer TV Crushes, so his presence is always helpful. Just saying.

Things just gelled with the third episode, “Jennifer of Troy.” The woman at the heart of this story is Jennifer Putnam, who has been fired from her job for being “too beautiful.” And I hate to say this but all you had to do was look at her and wonder where she got such a healthy self esteem. She’s a cute, somewhat plain girl but she has this positive outlook that’s beyond contagious; she usually wins over everyone including the owner of the men’s magazine where she’s an assistant. This magazine (think Playboy) deals in beautiful — often plastic-looking — women on the cover and in the office. So for a good portion of the hour we’re treated to these shocked looks and inappropriate comments about Jennifer’s “beauty.” On top of that, Jared and Peter are taking on this case as a bet. If they lose, they have to give up their big double-wide office to Damien Karp (Reed Diamond); if they win, they get his expensive Jack White-guitar. So the stakes are relatively high, at least in their world.

Really, I enjoyed watching Jennifer’s positivity take hold of everyone including Bash. And when we do get to the real story, it makes sense. You see, the magazine owner’s daughter fired Jennifer as her assistant because of sheer jealousy. Not that she was too outwardly beautiful but because her dad treated Jennifer more like a daughter and she was envious of that relationship. So, to me, Jennifer was really fired for being too beautiful on the inside. Sappy sentiment? Yes. Completely. But it still got to me.

In the end, Jennifer gets her job back (this time as the owner’s assistant) and the daughter gets to forge a better relationship with her dad. Everyone wins. Except for Damien, that is. The banter was especially good between the characters this time around too; the b-story was not as good but still was entertaining; and I actually saw some more chemistry between not only Hanna and Damien but Hanna and Jared. I’m sorry but I still can’t get past that awkward love scene between the two in the pilot. But, ultimately, my mind’s not closed where these two are concerned.

Photo Credit: TNT

Something else that won me over were the guest stars: Jillian Bell was excellent as Jennifer. Robin Thomas, last seen by me on the CW’s Life Unexpected as Baze’s messed up dad, played Big Mack, the owner of the men’s magazine. I can’t tell you guys how much I love this actor. Somebody get him a series regular role please. Is that too much to ask?

Jacqueline Obradors

Also, it was a veritable NYPD Blue reunion in the courtroom scenes. Jacqueline Obradors played the attorney for the magazine. On the ABC cop drama, she was Detective Rita Ortiz. If you recall, Ortiz was in love with Gosselaar’s character, Detective John Clark, Jr. Their relationship went nowhere because John was just too screwed up for words. Garcelle Beauvais, who plays Hanna Linden on Franklin & Bash, was also on NYPD Blue at the same time. In fact all three started on that show the same year, in 2001. Last year, Obradors played someone firmly entrenched on the other side of the law on three episodes of NCIS — she was drug dealer Paloma Reynosa.

I pretty much enjoyed Franklin & Bash’s “Jennifer of Troy” episode on all levels and I hope this pattern continues because I’ll be watching.

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