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'Californication' Season 4, Episode 7 Recap

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Feb 21st 2011 5:20AM
'Californication' S04/E07['Californication' - 'The Recused']

So, what happens when you have that inevitable sexual encounter with the friend, co-worker, or person from high school you bumped into at the reunion who used to look like a troll, but now has a whole "used to be hideous, now I'm hot" thing going on? What if that person is your lawyer, set to defend you on your statutory rape charge and frustrated over how much of a hapless prick you are in spite of that fact? But the biggest question of all is: How do you use the entire situation to win back your daughter and her love-of-your-life mother?

I can guess how Hank Moody will answer these questions. The morning after will be a tale of two reactions: Hank, having brokered any number of these "whoops, we just hit it" situations, will rise with a quip and a fart and be on his way, to relish in his memory until the next one rolls around. Abby, will be all wrapped up in the ethics of it, and possibly a tad skeeved when she stops to think about how many notches came before her. As for winning back Becca and Karen, the "hey I'm powerless to stop my sexual prowess" well is running dry, and with it the pity. He can only hope he was good enough in bed to re-hire Abby. Not quite your typical job interview.

It was the morning after the sex we saw coming episodes ago, went down, and boy was it a doosie. It had both Hank and Abby questioning the nature of their relationship and the amount of lube a person can accidentally ingest before getting sick. As they exchanged jokes about penetration, Hank commented that he "hadn't been f@#ked like that since I was an altar boy," but Abby was a little less cavalier about the affair. She fell prey to the wiles of Hank Moody, and now a conflict existed. He wasn't just her cross to bear anymore. Now he was her cross to bear that was also awesome at sexing her.

Hank had to choose between his lawyer and his lay, but what always hits me is how excruciatingly charming and witty TV characters are after sex. The repartee was bubbly and sharp, expelling all the dismay and stench that usually accompanies such an escapade. On top of all that was the fact that, only hours after Karen confiding in Abby about Hank's trials and their past, Abby was mounting him. Not only was it not nice, it was a weird thing to be turned on by.

An understandably chipper Hank ventured over to Karen's place only to find Ben and assumed the worst. He launched into a diatribe against their relationship that flailed all over the place: mocking Ben, bragging about sleeping with Abby, accusing Karen of two-timing him when that's all he's done for the past fifteen years, and hating on pretentious artists like he assumed Ben was.

Ben was, as always, the voice of reason. He had such a kind of "bro, why can't we all just get along" vibe that it's most likely just a ploy to convince Karen he's nothing like Hank. That would be the shortest way into her pants. Ben has been confronted by Hank a number of times, and never taken the bait. A lesser man would have taken a swing at him, or at least called him a stupid-head, but Ben listens to too much Jack Johnson to fall for that.

Stu and Marcie seemed to be hitting it off, even if that hitting was based largely on what Stu can do for Marcie from a career/financial standpoint. They had a meeting with Charlie about pitching a show based on Marcie's life as a foul-mouthed waxer to the stars, an idea that Charlie immediately got behind, perhaps using a similar wooing approach as Ben. The less he freaks out about his split with Marcie, the better chance he has of reuniting with her.

World's then collided when Abby set Hank up with her stiffy of a boss, Lloyd. She figured Lloyd could handle Hank's case without Hank bringing sex into the equation. This way, she could have her cake and have sex with it too. Lloyd was everything Hank hates about lawyers, a country club snob as vanilla as something that's like, super-vanilla. Hank took the opportunity to have some fun, unbeknownst to and at the expense of Lloyd, much to Abby's tempered enjoyment. "You made your bed and then you f@#ked me in it."



The rest of the Hank story was pretty lame. They played the whole fish-out-of-water thing while Hank went golfing with Abby and Lloyd. The two men made the odd couple look like twins separated at birth as Lloyd tried to civilize Hank, and Hank tried to see how much he could heckle Lloyd before Lloyd ever picked up on it. He picked up on it when he found Hank urinating in a sand trap, by the way. The grand total of all this was Hank and Abby back in a professional relationship.

I love it when shows go to the classic "show within the show" technique. This meta-show had the added bonus of incorporating the actual show's network. Stu, Marcie and Charlie went to pitch their show to Showtime, and once in the meeting, Stu's runs got the better of him, leaving Marcie and Charlie to win over the seemingly disinterested execs.

Remember, Charlie seemed to be playing the whole "I'm cool with this split" angle with Marcie, so when Stu had to bail and Marcie was left fumbling with her gutter-mouth, Charlie swooped in with his agent savvy and pitched the show to the moon giving Marcie the confidence to close the deal with the tag line, "It's about getting some, giving it away, and keeping it clean."

To execute Charlie's plan properly, he needed to add the "I'm cool with you being with other guys" attitude to the "I'm cool with this split" angle. It's foolproof, actually, and when he saved the day in the board room it was clear that things might not be dead with the Runkles just yet.

Hank and Abby ended up in bed once again, and the circle of sex was complete. This time, however, would be the last, at least until Hank's case was finished. The two quibbled over who the sexless streak would be harder on, but if nothing else it should give Abby the incentive to get a deal done quickly as I'm sure Hank won't be waiting around too long.

Hank did show a look that we've only seen Karen elicit until now. It was a look that said "I've ventured into plenty of valleys in my day, but only stopped to smell the roses once, this might be the next and last." There was definitely something there for Hank to eventually ruin through impulse and shoddy decisions.

The final scene at Becca's gig may be hinting toward my prediction. Hank talked to Ben without calling him a name that ends in "head." He was apologetic and understanding, possibly setting himself up for the possibility that he and Karen are best if apart, and looking to start anew. Ben revealed that he's getting nowhere with Karen, but that he wasn't going to stop trying, and Hank, taking a page out of Charlie's book, seemed pretty okay with that.

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

Dr. Vaughan teaches English/Media/Humor courses at Binghamton University in upstate New York, and he's not gonna pay a lot for this muffler. You can also check out his blog at drvtv.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Vaughan/21931402981

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Garrett Brown

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February 21 2011 at 5:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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