Review: Californication - Dogtown
by Danny Gallagher, posted Nov 30th 2009 3:47AM
(S03E10) "I think that ultimately, [women] are going to have to raise the white flag and just accept us for the emotional retards that we are." - Hank to Charlie
This was a real uplifter from last week's dull and otherwise boring episode, if not for the courageous and outrageous efforts of Charlie and his quest to score Rick Springfield a bag of the Colombian itching powder. And I mean uplifter in both the quality and emotional sense of the word ... that I just made up.
The girls in Hank's life, Karen, Becca and Charlie's ex Marcy, go for a girls' night out, and Hank gives Charlie one of his world famous benders after he gets canned for losing Springfield as a client. But it's more about seeing how much greasy California cuisine and $10 a bottle booze they can shove into their systems. Like all great drunken road trips, it's a night of story-telling, story-making and personal exploration, if the memories can make it through the vodka and wine haze that follows them wherever they go.
Hank and Charlie start out at (where else?) the bar, sizing up their lives in their usual machine gun style of ranting dialogue. But in the midst of the rapid fire exchange, things slow down as Hank recalls a very lovely story about the best breakfast he ever had because Karen made it for him. It shows that Hank is at least willing to embrace change and accept that there is more to a good woman than what she does for him physically.
This wonderfully touching speech is brought to a dead halt when a bar patron spills a drink on Charlie, refuses to apologize, and calls both of them a fairly nasty word, something Hank proves by kissing Charlies dead on the lips and then knocking the patron's block off to next Sunday. Both of them get thrown out of the bar by their belts and announce it's time to go on a bender. Don't you love it when something manages to surprise you while it is surprising you? It's like walking in on your surprise birthday party only to go into the bathroom in between drinks and discover that someone else is throwing you a surprise birthday party.
Meanwhile at the "girls night out" or GNO as Marcy calls it (glad to see the California public schools haven't failed everyone over there in Lalawood), the girls are going off on their various man whores, except for Becca who prefers to just listen and MST3K every word that falls out of Marcy's mouth. That may or may not be because she doesn't have a boyfriend, but I'm not here to judge ... people. Marcy is still lamenting the fact that Rick Springfield dumped her. Mix that with two bottles of red wine and you have one bitter woman. Sounds like she needs more than just a night out.
The boys, however, are getting in all sorts of crazy shenanigans, especially when they wander into a bookstore and find Hank's first editions autographed and going for $100 bucks, none of which he'll ever see. If this were a Dukes of Hazzard episode (and I know that's stretching things a bit, nevertheless), this would be the point that the shot would freeze-frame and Waylon Jennings would come on in a voiceover and say, "Now can you believe these two alcoho-aholes are about to shoplift their own book ... why there ain't no way they are getting out of this quesadilla of trouble?!?" But then, the scene manages to take things even further when the two spot Julien Self's new book and decide to leave their own ... uh ... unique bookmark.
But then, a few scenes later, all of this Animal House style hilarity reaches the high watermark when Hank and Charlie find themselves staring down the business end of a snub-nose pistol in a grocery store robbery. The two make it out bullet-wound free but learn something that no amount of booze and personal pain can teach them: their true place in life. Hank says he realizes that the only thing he was thinking about while his life ran before his eyes was seeing Karen and Becca again. Maybe a man can change on his terms if he's willing to realize what's most important to him. And with that, they continue drinking.
Meanwhile back at the GNO, Becca becomes the sage one and helps Karen realize that trying to change the person you love isn't really showing them the love they deserve. In the end, she ends up making Hank a hangover breakfast. Who knew a show about fornicating could be so uplifting, in every sense of the actual word?