'Californication' Season 4, Episode 3 Recap
by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Jan 24th 2011 5:15AM
['Californication' - 'Home Sweet Home']
Hank Moody has been down before, both literally and figuratively, but we've never seen him this low. So low that he has to reach up to touch bottom.
I'm hoping that the fading moments of last week's episode of 'Californication' showed a man who thinks he knows everything, completely out of answers, humbled and terrified by a life that has been chasing him for years and has finally caught him from behind.
That's my hope. It looked a lot more like the last act of a desperate psycho girlfriend playing the "I'll kill myself" card for one last chance at happiness. Say it ain't so, Hank. Say it ain't so.
Hank's recent bout of indulgence landed him in the hospital for a stomach pump and some spirited and condescending banter with a doctor who failed to see the humor in Hank's nonchalance over the recent turn of events. Karen came in concerned, and seemingly over the fact that Hank had made her life a living hell. Then an old man showed his bare ass and proceeded to get the runs in an odd and arbitrary comedic twist.
Hank then moved back home, and it was apparent that making Karen believe he attempted suicide was tantamount to his needling his way back into her life. It's funny how a man who is hated for spending all his waking hours narrowly avoiding death by his own doing (drugs, alcohol, sex, a big mouth) can be so easily re-loved under similar, but more desperate circumstances. All you need to do is almost die to get people to forget who you really are, and Hank picked up on this immediately. He knew his episode was just another in a long line of excesses, but keeping Karen in the dark was what he needed to get back home.
Karen even said "I had no idea how much pain you were in," which makes me lose respect for her to some degree. It implied that she thought all Hank's addictive behaviors were simply recreational and that he never drank or had sex to bury his pain or forget what a d-bag he really was. Suicide or not, Hank had her in the palm of his hand again.
Next we saw Hank with Charlie, enjoying the simple pleasures in what was hopefully a "new lease on life" kind of way. Charlie knew the alleged suicide wasn't nearly the melodrama that Karen thought it was, and took this time of reduced awareness and heightened vulnerability to continue hounding Hank about the screenplay for 'F@#king & Punching.' Stu, the producer, was all over Charlie to the point of Charlie ducking him, and Hank wanted nothing to do with the movie, considering his current situation and his history with Hollywood.
We then found Marcie in all her uncouth glory, bragging about her exceptional horniness over the phone. Stu came to the house looking for Charlie, and instead ended up asking Marcie out. He reminded her too much of Runkle to accept, but after hearing that Stu was "also rich as f@#k and hung like a moose," she wasn't about to close any doors just yet. It also prompted me to do some research on moose penises.
Becca had chosen to take her pain and turn it into cash by playing her guitar on the street. Hank tracked her down and sought to reconnect with her on her own turf. Becca's saving for her own place, and while Hank tried to joke his way around the grim reality of everything, Becca deadpanned, "I guess things aren't as funny as they used to be." Becca was the only person in Hank's life who held him to anything, and she's cautious. Hank has cried "hootch and snatch" one too many times for her to let him back in as easily as Karen.
Charlie finally met with Stu, presumably to get verbally abused for avoiding him, but Stu was in a chipper mood after meeting Marcie and simply wanted to ask for Charlie's blessing. In return, Stu set Charlie up with his smoking hot Asian development girl as some sort of warped sexual barter system, even noting that she was "DTF," as 'Jersey Shore's' tentacles of obnoxiousness contaminate yet another cultural avenue.
Whenever Hank and Karen are on a rebound, Hank gets talky. He started asking her all the old questions about why didn't they go to New York, and why did they stay, and when could things be back to normal. She held him at a distance with the classic "it's never going to be the same, Hank," but it kind of looked like it already was the same.
Runkle's encounter with the D-girl was so matter-of-fact that Charlie didn't really know what to make of it. She mentioned possibly shaving his junk -- not in a mean, judgemental way, but in a more pragmatic "who wants a mouthful of pubes when you're sucking on balls," kind of way. And when she asked him to take her from behind in order to catch up on e-mails, he seemed to be longing for the days when Marcie would scream epithets at him in the throes of passion.
Becca finally showed up back at home. After having her money and gear stolen, she was not in the mood for her father's "I'm sorry" act. She was also operating under the assumption that he tried to kill himself and was, as a result, a coward as Karen entered. Now, he's caught again. He needed Becca to believe he just made a mistake, and Karen to believe he tried to kill himself, and now he didn't have either, and was back where he began ... alone.
Would Hank take a familiar turn and go on a sex rampage, or would he finally start to take his second chances as an opportunity for change? At first glance, the latter. Hank checked himself into a hotel, broke out the typewriter, and channeled his pain into a more productive form of self-medication: Writing.
'Californication' airs Sundays, 9PM ET on Showtime.
Dr. Vaughan teaches English/Media/Humor courses at Binghamton University in upstate New York, and his hips don't lie. You can also check out his blog at drvtv.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Vaughan/21931402981