"There is this whole generation of, they're not man, they're not boy -- they're just kind of 'guy,'" says Breckin Meyer at a press event at the Beverly Hilton. He's sitting beside Mark-Paul Gosselaar, his costar on Franklin & Bash. The comedy procedural follows the antics of Jared Franklin (Meyer) and Peter Bash (Gosselaar), formerly small-time plaintiff's attorneys recently recruited by a powerful Los Angeles law firm. Winning cases with sharp thinking and clever shenanigans, they quickly become formidable litigators, while still spending nights playing video games or drinking in the hot tub.
They've used Van Halen song titles to present their defense, they've hit on the jury, Franklin has gotten drunk in court to challenge the breathalyzer test and thrown up in the elevator. Preposterous, of course, but metaphoric for the social phenomenon the show has set out to explore: the generation that sees traditional maturity as a choice.
Created by Bill Chais and Kevin Falls, the show is a depiction of this extended adolescence, a philosophy that's yielded some slackers, and also a workforce filled with young professionals well into their 30s who still have roommates and parties, yet in the morning clock in and produce. Heading into their second season on June 5, the two wisecracking high-achievers of the TNT series are back to their courtroom curveballs, but this time with a question: does having real responsibility mean it's time to grow up? According to Meyer and Gosselaar, there may be some change brewing at the firm of Infeld Daniels.
"I think Franklin, more than Bash, embraces it," Meyer suggests. "Bash is kind of ahead of the curve. I think he knows that it might be time to grow up soon, which is one of the struggles of the second season -- especially when you're representing people."
"There seem to be these undertones," remarks Gosselaar, "where Bash wants to mature a little bit faster than Franklin. It's in the very first episode where Bash turns to him and says, we've got to do something. We're at that age now where we can make this leap into making more money, having more stability, more responsibility. In the second season there is a bit of contention between the two, and how they go about this whole feeling of whether or not they're selling out."
Meyer, himself, is a classic example of the crop of hard workers who excel on their own terms. He hit it big as the lovable skateboarding slouch in Clueless and when he's not busy with Franklin & Bash, he's a writer and performer on Robot Chicken, having a blast and making a living bringing action figures to life. And when he and Gosselaar tune out the reporters to discuss Howard Stern's interview with the guy from Hoarders, it's clear their bromance is more than screen deep.
Malcolm McDowell, who plays eccentric senior partner Stanton Infeld, sees Franklin and Bash's freewheeling perspective as their greatest strength. "It's really difficult to teach that kind of stuff," he says, "to come at problems from another angle, an angle that we haven't even thought of."
With any luck, the new season will take on the idea that maturity can be adopted selectively, choosing the elements you need to progress and rejecting the parts that dampen your stride or compromise your principles. It's likely going to be an issue of balance for Franklin & Bash. There will be bikinis, dirty jokes, and possibly Gosselaar's naked butt, and the question will be how much to cut back on and how much to enjoy.