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October 1, 2014

'Californication' Season 4, Episode 11 Recap

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Mar 21st 2011 6:40AM
'Californication' S04/E11['Californication' - 'The Last Supper']

Hank Moody was running out of options, especially options that end with him and his family intact and happy. He Loves to talk about how much Karen and Becca mean to him, but rarely exhibits behavior that would corroborate such an outrageous claim. He's a classic test case for a communication study: Which form of language -- our words or our actions -- do we trust the most in others?

Hank's words would have us believe that Karen and Becca mean more to him than anything, but his actions put them somewhere between enemas and getting punched in the junk on the list of things he truly cherishes. It took Karen way too long to shift her trust, and that's a comment on either Hank's mysterious allure, or Karen's stupidity.

The news of Hank's guilty verdict rippled through the ranks of 'Californication,' and quite nicely represented a wide range of emotions: Karen -- despondent, Becca -- pissed, Charlie -- saddened, Marcy -- annoyed, and Abby -- happy that the case was over because now they could get hammered and have sex again.

The whole opening scene had a 'Sopranos' feel to it, as they gave little snap-shots of everyone reacting to the news that Hank was finally a rapist. That feel continued with a flashback to an Episode 1 dream sequence at a church and a super-cool nun that gave him head and sage life advice, not necessarily in that order or proportion.

The harsh reality was that maybe everyone Hank was clinging to would have been better off without him around. That's not an easy pill to swallow, even if it's being administered by a hot nun. But would it finally be successful at changing Hank's actions? Had rock bottom finally consumed him? Apparently not, as he woke up all over Abby.

Hank seemed torn on how to react, himself. He was assuming/preparing for the worst with Abby in the face of Abby's optimism, however obligated to give it to him she was, but in a private moment with Becca, he just wanted to forget that anything ever happened. This avoidance angered Becca who wanted to face the grim realities head-on, and start seeing her dad for what he really is: A selfish a-hole.

What do you do when you're convicted of rape? Buy a new Porsche sounds about right, and this random act of avoidance did not go unnoticed. It allowed Becca to see her father in a light that she either hadn't seen or had been trying with all her might not to see. All the things that make Hank the "cool dad" get tired and played out as you start to acknowledge the harm they can inflict. You can't choose your parents ... yet, but if Becca could she'd trade in her Moody model for a Ward Cleaver.

Hank was just looking for someone to tell him what he wanted to hear, and Charlie was too much of a blubbering fool to be of service. Hank's old hooker friend, Trixie, was the shoulder he would indeed, cry on -- or at least the lap he would indeed fall asleep and have another fantasy on.

Cue up the 'Leave it to Beaver' parody, shot in black and white with Hank, Karen and Becca going through the motions of the idyllic 1950s TV family, right down to the post-work martini. It's not difficult to imagine Hank as a traditional dad, but it's oddly troubling, and it conjures up the conflict between being a parent and a friend to your child. When has Hank ever been a parent?

On his way out of town, and presumably the country, Hank got a call from Marcy leading him straight into his own "Hank's Innocent" party. They had the dysfunctional family moment they all wanted, getting back to what made them such a great group of friends: Airing all their dirty laundry for Becca, recounting their escapades, and overall just basking in the reverie of each other and their shared history.

Things get real when your shared history is a teenage girl, and she's there to tell you how badly you've messed such a good thing up. Each "adult" took their turn staring pensively into the candlelight while Becca reminded them all about their own faults and flaws, and how they affected more than just themselves.



What do you do when your kid tells you, you suck? Go out on the patio and get baked, sounds about right. The Fab Four (Hank, Karen, Charlie, and Marcy) got loose, and Becca's words made them re-evaluate everything in a "how did we get here?" kind of way. The bottom line is, they all know how they got there, and it shouldn't take a little girl to force them to be honest enough to admit it. No one held anybody to any sort of standard.

The only thing left was for a vulnerable Karen to let her guard down enough to give Hank more than he ever deserved. She did express her relief that it was all over between them, almost in the same breath as her proposition to sleep with him "one last time." "One last time's" are like voice mails to Hank: He hears them every day but doesn't have nearly enough time to get to them all.

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

Dr. Vaughan teaches English/Media/Humor courses at Binghamton University in upstate New York, and his repertoire is vast. You can also check out his blog at drvtv.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Vaughan/21931402981

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Can't wait to see what happens in the season finale tonight! I thought they set it up really well with this last episode. I especially liked that scene after the dinner party where they were hanging out getting high and just reminiscing about everything...it was the perfect mix of humor and just real strong character connection that has marked this show from the beginning (there's a clip of that scene up at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... ).

My only complaint was I wish they played that song in the background a little louder, it's "Slippery When Wet" by The Acorn and I feel as thought it really would've added more to the mood of everything just to have that mellow tune playing along with their conversation.

March 28 2011 at 10:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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