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October 9, 2015

'Californication' Season 4, Episode 4 Recap

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Jan 31st 2011 5:45AM
['Californication' - 'Monkey Business']

For all Hank Moody's trials, tribulations and blackout-induced personal abuses, he has known all along that there's one thing that could save him. It's the thing that, from an outside perspective, should come most easily to him, but that outside observer probably never had to sit down and write something for money.

Writing is ultimately what Hank is running -- or at least hiding -- from, and every day that he doesn't write is a day when his idle hands and mind get into more mischeif. When he's writing, manipulating language and finding the way, he's at his most content -- and so is everyone around him. We last saw Hank alone in a dark room, banging away at a typewriter. Good times.

Well, it took a lot of booze, a lot of hardship, a lot of heartache, and a lot of precarious sexual scenarios, but Hank Moody finally wrote something, and with the "F@#king & Punching" script finished, Charlie couldn't be more ecstatic. Hank, on the other hand, not so much. While Charlie found his words "downright boner-inducing," Hank still had "much self pity in which to wallow." Wallowing would have to wait, however, as Charlie set up a meeting with Zig, the film's prospective financier.

One goal of 'Californication' is to openly mock Hollywood and all its emptiness. This season especially, with Hank's longtime hatred of everything showbiz and the antics of its most focal representatives: The flaky director, Eddie Nero (the crazy celeb), Stu (the maniacal producer), Charlie (the despised agent) and now Zig (the eccentric financier). There has yet to be even one character connected to the industry that isn't a complete a-hole, and I'm assuming that's intentional.

The night started with a meeting where everyone hated on Charlie, and Zig professed his love for Hank along with his alarmingly low erection rate, among other unnecessary tidbits. From there, the evening moved to Zig's mansion where Hank read through the screenplay with a pair of sister-bimbos until Zig broke his ten-year erectionless streak. Zig is nothing if not one of the creepiest, most disturbing characters Hank has come across.

What happened next was simply escalating craziness that I will attempt to sum up succinctly: Zig's newsworthy erection, his monkey taunted Charlie, the sisters slept with Charlie and the director, Naked Monkey Fight, Charlie killed it, went to tell Zig, found him auto-erotic asphyxiated in his bathroom, Stu bailed, Hank was flattered, Charlie panicked, Hank called Abby, punched a cop, and got out of there unscathed.

The female side of things may not have been as loopy, but they were impactful nonetheless. Karen and Becca spent the evening at Marcie's so Becca's new band, Queens of Dogtown, could rehearse. The whole Becca/band thing is pretty lame for a show of this caliber. It just reeks of '90210' or some other neutered teen drama. Someone must have said, "Hey, we need something for Becca to do," and all of a sudden they're running ads for the real-life Queens of Dogtown during the closing credits.

Karen and Marcie went out to get snacks for the band when Marcie demanded that Karen feel her breasts in all their painfully engorged glory, and the pregnancy plot slowly began to unfold, but far more boldly than has probably ever been seen before on television with Marcie's inimitable way with words making a tired trope interesting once more.

Marcie was understandably freaking out at the prospect of having a Craig's List baby to contend with, and some spirited banter between Marcie and Karen about taking the test and keeping or aborting, ensued. This kind of news could put quite a wrinkle into what has so far been a relatively painless divorce for Charlie and Marcie.

After all the tumult, Karen went downstairs to find an oddly sexy male stranger taking random photos of the girls in the band. Upon further review, he was Ben, the father of the lead singer, who shared one of those looks that only television can afford, the "I know we only just met but I'm going to majorly mess up your life soon enough" look.

Sure enough, when Hank dropped Charlie off, and Charlie convinced Hank to come in to see his ladies, he caught a glimpse of Karen and Ben chatting in what might be classified as a "flirty manner." Hank left unseen, presumably to drink a keg of scotch, but hopefully to the solace of his typewriter.

'Californication' airs Sundays, 9PM ET on Showtime.

Dr. Vaughan teaches English/Media/Humor courses at Binghamton University in upstate New York, and he rarely puts his laptop on his actual lap. You can also check out his blog at drvtv.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Vaughan/21931402981

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