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Published July 11, 2008

Mustaches.  You never can trust ‘em, and that’s the subject of this entry’s look back at our illustrious seventh episode, titled…well, “Mustache.”

There are flaws to this episode, and I know it.  But the underlying hilarity of mustaches was just too much for me to pass up, and I’m glad that Franks and Beans was able to cover this controversial subject with tact and tasteful detachment.  Or whatever.

The joke behind this episode stems from my theory about men who have mustaches – but only have mustaches: no beard, no muttonchops, no deluxe van dyke – just mustaches.  To test out this theory of mine, go ahead and turn on the news.  It doesn’t matter which channel, just find a devoted news program and watch until the inevitable piece on child molestation sees the air.  Note the particular features of the perpetrator, keeping in mind that this is almost always a “he.”  Does this criminal have any distinguishing characteristics?  Any…facial hair?  Like a mustache?  Of course he does.  That’s because while not every man who only wears a mustache is a child molester, every child molester wears only a mustache.  It’s like that whole square-rectangle rule, and it is 100 percent accurate.  It is!  I mean it.

Regardless of my libelous allegations, the mustache-only look just has something creepy about it, like someone is trying a little too hard to either A) catch some soup from falling out of his mouth, or B) look like a porn star straight out of the 1970s.  And in either case, you don’t want this guy to be shoveling out your popcorn at the movie theater.  Have you seen Jason Giambi’s new ‘stache?  I rest my case.

Because of my feelings on this subject, I naturally didn’t want to have to walk around for two weeks trying to grow my own version of Dr. Strange’s mustache (look it up) for what would amount to a two-minute episode, no matter how funny the end product would be.  Thankfully, being lazy has many benefits, one of which being a wonderful-looking beard every now and then.  And since Larry and I were going for different looks in the previous episode (“Commentary”), which was filmed on the same day, I had the perfect hiding place for the mustache you see in this episode.

Obviously, to pull this stunt off, we filmed this episode back to front – that is, I shaved to the point where all I had was a mustache, filmed the ending “Hey mustache buddy!” scenes, and then shaved the rest of my face and filmed the first kitchen scene.  It’s an easy trick that I’m sure everyone picked up on.

I am the type of filmmaker who loves opening a scene with an extreme close up (you’ll notice that the episode “Grapes” has a similar opening).  Larry is the type of filmmaker who likes to incorporate his ravenous appetite into anything he can think of, and so our opening shot was born.  Oddly enough, we had trouble getting it exactly how we wanted it, and by the time we figured out the best angle on which to shoot, Larry had taken his tiny tomatoes to the other side of this sink.  Because of this, he’s seen picking up his snack with one hand in the first shot, but when we cut to the second shot he’s holding it with the opposite hand.  I reconcile this gaffe by thinking that he somehow flipped the tomato from one hand to the other in the picosecond it took to go from an extreme close up to the medium/wide shot of the two of us.  If anyone else can come up with a better excuse (THAT FITS IN CONTINUTIY!), I’m open to hearing it.

The tomatoes, by the way, were stuffed with some kind of (I think) tuna mix.  Or was it crab?  Either way, it was delicious.

I am a big fan of Michael Cera and pretty much anything he does.  I first saw him on Arrested Development and couldn’t get over how this kid who’s eight years younger than me could be so funny, and he hasn’t disappointed me since, from SuperBad to Juno to some of the videos he has uploaded to this random website called Funny or Die.  So I’m doing my best to channel his nonchalant, whimsical attitude in this opening “Did you ever think about growing a mustache?” scene.

I tried to go back to that awkward time in high school when the prospect of growing facial hair was seen as a way to solve all of your problems.  If I could only find a way to separate myself from the rest of this pack of losers, you’d think, I could finally stand out to that girl in the back with the huge breasts and I’d be HOME FREE!  Ah, youth.  What if you took that 15- or 16-year-old version of yourself and took him ten years into the future – what would he think was cool?  Well, waking up with the scratchy stubble of a beard would probably be on that list.

Larry deserves a lot of credit for editing the next scene together, if for nothing else than in meshing the mustache close up in with the rest of the mix.  I don’t know if anyone else picked up on this, but he’s using the audio from one take and overlapping it onto another, and I think it is all quite seamless.

The beginning of the second scene is the payoff, the funniest part and probably where we should have stopped.  The mustache itself fills our quotient for physical comedy, and we throw in the tossing of the stack of papers (which were actually finals for my Communications 101 course that I had been avoiding grading to that point) for good measure.

To drive the point home, we have our first appearance of the character known as “Larry’s Mom,” who must be deaf if she didn’t hear me screaming the phrase “I look like a child molester!” just seconds before.  I had originally intended to have someone come in the door from outside – to presumably help people understand that this person would not have heard my earlier rant – but instead we have someone walking in from around the corner.  Why?  I’m not sure, I think it’s just because she didn’t want to go outside (I’m pretty sure it was raining or had just stopped), and when it comes down to it, sometimes you just have to give in to an actor’s demands.  We were running short on available extras that day, anyway, heh.

So in the end, this was not a perfect episode, if there even is such a thing, and much of that blame lies with me.  But it was a good episode with a funny premise, and it’s something that I think we built upon in later episodes.  It’s good to see progress, and there is some here.

If nothing else, the “No!” ending with this episode is one of my favorite variations and also one of the simplest…maybe because it’s one of the simplest.  I was hoping for an even more drawn out display by Larry, but you’ll notice that he runs out of steam with about a second left to go, which, in and of itself, is also pretty funny.

Since we’re continuing our backwards path, next week we’ll talk about episode six, “Commentary.”  That polarizing bastard.

See you then!

 

- Jeff M.

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