'Californication' Season 4 Premiere Recap
by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Jan 10th 2011 11:10AM
When we last saw Hank Moody, he was banging co-eds and punching cops, and it seemed as though the much maligned and misunderstood lothario had hit rock bottom, having recently told the love of his life that he had sex with an underage girl who was set to be her step-daughter (Mia) before the vixen stole his second great novel detailing the particulars of their affair.
But for Hank Moody, that's like a typical Wednesday. Hank Moody's rock bottom makes other people's rock bottoms look like Sunday afternoon fro-yo -- with sprinkles -- and if you asked Hank where he goes from here, he'd come back with a hearty, defiant, "I have not yet begun to almost impregnante every woman in California while trying to raise my daughter right!"
Hank was getting out of jail, and his bald pal/partner-in-crime/enabler, Charlie Runkle was there with a drink and a smoke to ensure that Hank didn't run the risk of getting himself together. It was right back on the vice train. All Hank wanted to do was go home and make things right with ex Karen and daughter Becca, but Runkle was under strict orders from both Karen and his own ex-wife, Marcie, to keep Hank away at all costs. Turns out being duped into raping a young girl doesn't sit well with loved ones, FYI.
It doesn't seem complicated: guy is an a-hole, sleeps with entire area codes, daughter and lover want him to die in a scrotum accident. But there's a sensitivity to Hank Moody, something that sets him apart from the Charlie Sheens and Tucker Maxes of the world. It's heart. Hank Moody has an aesthetic that makes us feel like his actions are not only justified, but noble in some effed up way.
We can really see this during a scene later in the episode where he and Charlie were joking with each other about their sexual conquests. Runkle wanted to know how many women Hank had slept with, and he refused to say, because that's not what it's about for him. It's not about objectification or power or running up his sex numbers. While Runkle wants to get his score from 11 up to at least 100 to die happy, all Hank's encounters end wih both parties scoring.
But all Hank really wanted was to go home. But there, everyone was pissed: Marcy -- staying with Karen for support -- at Runkle, Karen at Hank, Marcie at Hank, Becca (if she were home) at Hank. But Hank knew this wasn't going to be a "send her some flowers and go down on her" fix. This one would take some time, and presumably some humiliatingly shameless begging.
Hank didn't just have his home life to worry about, however; his public life had taken a hit as well. Hank would be needing a lawyer for his assault charge, and Charlie set him up with Abby (Carla Gugino), who was so good that she successfully defended "that poor guy who kept showing his penis to the Laker girls."
Another thing that we should all understand is that Hank has incredibly high, if not elitist, standards of personal cool and social decorum. If someone doesn't meet his specifications, he pushes their buttons and eviscerates them for being a shell of a human being. Lawyers, as you can imagine, are very high on this list, which made for a rather tense sit-down. That being said, I'm going to say he sleeps with her by episode four.
Next stop on the fresh out of prison tour, UTK talent agency where Charlie has set up a pitch meeting for the film based on "F@#king & Punching." A Hollywood pitch meeting is at the top of Hank's list of places that suck, right before the lawyer's office. The hot young actress, Sasha Bingham (Addison Timlin), set to play Mia insisted on doing all the nudity, even flashing her exquisite assets to the whole meeting -- but said she'll only do the movie if Hank writes the script.
Hank met with Sasha at her hotel room, and they might as well have cued the porn music, because when they insist it's not on with Hank Moody, it's so definitely on. With nowhere to go and his defenses down, Hank fell for the timeless "let's bone so I can get into this character's head" scam, with Sasha attempting several punches on Hank until she nailed one and knocked him out.
Hank predictably dreamed about Karen and Becca, and their reactions in dream land were more nightmarish -- Becca trashing her room and Karen venting the frustration of a woman heartbroken and disappointed one too many times. Not exactly the prelude to arraignment that Hank was hoping for. He showed up late to news of a dropped assault charge! Yay! But it came with a statutory rape chaser. Boo! And Hank ended the show the way he began, in handcuffs ... the bad kind.
'Californication' airs Sundays at 9PM EST on Showtime
Dr. Vaughan teaches English/Media/Humor courses at Binghamton University in upstate New York, and his game is tight like... something really tight. You can also check out his blog at drvtv.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Vaughan/21931402981