Season 6 Episode 9

Franklin the Coach / Franklin Plays it Safe

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Jun 20, 2004 on Noggin

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
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  • Franklin and Beaver share coaching duties, Franklin learns to play it safe in two of the program's best stories. "Plays it Safe" is the stronger of the two, but "Coach" is excellent as well.

    *** Warning - Review is detailed and contains spoilers throughout ***

    In "Franklin " Mrs. Porcupine, the kids normal soccer (football for those of you not in the U.S.) coach, has to leave on a trip. She's decided that while she's gone, one of the players will take on the coaching duties. Her choice is Franklin. Franklin seems to have a lot of trouble taking charge of the team. He's unable to provide firm guidance when they make mistakes, lets them slack off, and won't organize proper drills. Beaver thinks that she could be a better coach, and after failing at the job, Franklin decides that maybe she's right. He hands the reins over to her, but this doesn't work out either. Unleashed at this job, Beaver's naturally bossy tendencies come out in full force. She berates players for making minor mistakes, refuses to actually teach anyone anything, and wants everything done her way. Finally, when she catches Bear eating marshmallows, she declares, "You are what you eat, and I won't have any marshmallows on my team!"

    Everyone is so upset with Beaver that they're ready to quit the team. They want Franklin back -- anything would be better than Beaver, they feel. Franklin, however, doesn't think that this is a good idea, because he doesn't think he's a good coach. As he talks with Goose about it, Beaver shows up. It turns out that Beaver wants to apologize for being so harsh on her. She realizes that her bossy ways didn't make things fun for anyone. Thing is, they're still not sure what to do, until they realize that they both actually have strengths that they can pool together, as well as keeping each other's worst tendencies in check.

    Together, the two put together a new coaching regimen that will actually work. Franklin provides encouragement to the team when they need it, but Beaver makes sure that they know the fundamentals and even teaches them some new things. And Bear is over the moon when she actually brings them all cookies as a treat. When Coach Porcupine returns, Franklin explains to her what happened. They each discovered that they were good at different things, so they decided to share duties. Coach Porcupine is impressed.

    A fantastic story. Beaver's "marshmallow" line stands out as one of my favorites from the series. And I really like how it showed that teamwork can work, but only if everyone is on the same page, and everyone recognizes each other's strengths. In "Franklin Plays it Safe," Franklin and his friends are all having in the ol' treefort. They rock it back and forth as if it's a pirate ship, but it seems that it wasn't designed to take that kind of stress. One of the branches cracks. All the kids except, Franklin, however, don't seem to be too worried about it and decide to simply go on playing. Franklin lets it go for the time being, but you can tell he's worried.

    On their way home, Franklin and Bear come across Mr. Marmot. He's the village safety inspector, and he's putting up barriers to warn people away from an eroded bank. They ask him what's wrong with it, because it appears to be perfectly safe. Mr. Marmot explains that that's the problem -- it looks safe enough, but it's actually treacherous. If anyone were to walk on it, they'd probably fall into the stream and get carried away. "Better safe than sorry" warns Mr. Marmot.

    That night, Franklin has a nightmare. It's very well done, and one of the most realistic I've seen on the series, or any show like this for that matter. Franklin and his friends are once again playing in the treefort and rocking it back and forth like a boat. Franklin urges them to stop because it's not safe, but they tell him that he worries too much. As they continue to play, there's a stiff wind. Because of the broken branch, it blows the treefort and sends them tumbling down. Franklin wakes up just before it hits the ground. *Very* scary.

    Franklin shares his nightmare, but only with his best friend, Bear. Together, the two become junior safety inspectors. They nix unplanned shortcuts, make sure everybody is well-protected, and put up barriers to keep everyone out of the treefort. Because they don't know any better, their friends get the idea that they're just trying to spoil their fun. They can't see how the safety precaustion are actually helping. And when Franklin and Bear start missing out on fun stuff, they too get to thinking that maybe they're going a bit overboard.

    Things come to a head when the friends decide that they've had enough of following Franklin and Bears' safety ideas. They run off to play in the treefort, only just then, a wind blows it down, just like in Franklin's nightmare. Unlike in the nightmare, however, nobody is it and everyone is safe. Franklin has turned out to be a hero.

    From there, Mr. Turtle and Mr. Marmot get involved, and they all work together to build a new, safer treefort.

    A wonderful story. I like how it showed that while it's important to be safe, *knowledge* and action are also power. If you have a problem like this, it's good to want to keep your friends safe, but talking with someone else about the problem can help too. They might know how to fix things up so that everyone can both be safe and have fun.

    I like about this show that isn't afraid to sometimes show genuine scary situations. The program can move from tender to funny on a moment's notice, but the mood always suits the story. All behavior seemed to be in character. Personally, I think Franklin's friends would have understood his fears better if he had shared his nightmare with all of them, and not just Bear. But I can understand why he didn't.