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August 20, 2014

Review: Californication - Slow Happy Boys

by Danny Gallagher, posted Oct 26th 2009 9:29AM
Kevin Corrigan and David Duchovny on Californication
(S03E05)
- "Once upon a time's gotta count for something." - Zloz to Hank

Ah, the old friend from back home trick. It's been done so many times before in television. Remember when Rob's old Army buddy came to town in that one episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show or that one time when Don Rickles met up with his old pal Maxwell Smart on Get Smart? Those were some good times.

Imagine those episodes with a lot of hookers and copious amounts of beer, whiskey and vodka. Now they are twice as better, even if the hangover isn't as warm and friendly.

Zloz's one episode appearance felt like the makings of another "Guys Gone Wild" episode where the boys do some drinking, make with the smoking and then get into some fighting, but it turned into something much deeper and helped you appreciate the characters more for what they are. The ride was fun, even if you didn't really want to get back in line for it.

Hank's old chum Zloz, played by Kevin Corrigan, has been dumped by his wife who was once the hottest girlfriend in their clique and comes to the Smog State for a little R-and-R (rutting and regretting). Hank clearly isn't looking forward to spending his first weekend without his forever disgusted daughter with a high school buddy who only reminds him of everything he has been running away from since he came to New York. And from the looks of things, it appears that Zloz is the thing he ran away from.

Sure he drinks a lot and he's loud and obnoxious, but he's the worst pick-up artist in the history of mankind. He makes my game look goddamn "Beckham-ish." He uses lines that were clearly meant for nothing higher than novelty fortune cookies, either because he has nothing to lose or clearly thinks they work. In other words, Corrigan, who is the Sir Lawrence Olivier of Brooklynish blue collar schmucks from his performance in the underrated Grounded for Life to the crime lackey in Pineapple Express, makes for a great doppleganger for Hank Moody, the master of the game, tamer of the tang, the Gen. Rommel of rug burns.

But the show sinks back down into that sappy moment when we learn the true nature of Zloz's visit to the west coast and while it felt genuine and fitting for the story, it didn't sit well. It felt too wrapped up in itself and a bit cliched for a show of this caliber. Maybe it gave more dimensions to Zloz's character and a motive for his actions, but it could have been stretched out for a couple of episodes and at least ended the episode on a laugh. At least Karen's surprise return to LA left me looking forward to next week's show and how the rest of Hank's girl squad would react to it. I'm praying for a cat fight!

Speaking of ending on a laugh, Charlie's never-ending battle with his on-again, off-again, on-again, then off-again, then on-some other guy and back on him again was back on again and this week's scene made for more depressing comedy than a Wes Anderson movie. The STD he contracted from Daisy, that harlot porn star with the petri dish between her legs, just gave you another great reason to laugh at that poor pathetic schlub. But the fact that it took place Sue's bedroom, an X-rated McDonald's playland that looked like it was designed by Annie Sprinkle, Hugh Hefner and Boy George, was even more hilarious.

The man or woman in props who put that swinging dildo ottoman in the scene deserves a raise because, God help me, it just had me giggling the whole time. There was no way to draw your attention away from it. It's the Californication equivalent of Masuka's truck on Dexter. You can't not notice it, long after you've seen it. Big props for the props department. If the Emmys awarded art direction based on comedic value, Californication would win it in a heartbeat.

[Watch clips of Californication at SlashControl.]

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