I caught up with castmembers Pamela Adlon, Evan Handler and Madeleine Martin, as well as guest star Carla Gugino, to hear about the ups, the downs and the big changes happening in Hank's universe this season (Sundays, 9PM ET on Showtime).
We also dished about the show's strict nudity policy (I imagine it's simply: There Must Be Nudity) and who holds the show record in that regard. And for the youngest castmember Martin, David Duchovny's TV daughter admits she wasn't always allowed to watch -- and now she chooses not to: "I don't like to see Hank naked, because Becca wouldn't see him naked ... so I've stopped watching." Awesome.
What do you think of this season? And are you happy it already got picked up for Season 5? Sound off ...
(S03E12) "That's the thing about secrets, Hank. They have a funny way of coming out." - Mia Cross
If last night's episode was the first episode of Californication you have ever seen, it might have left you more than a little confused. Your friends who gab about it around the office water cooler have always been telling you how its the raucous and dirty sitcom of the decade, a show that takes the wit of Robert Benchley and combines it with the out-of-control plot of those Spring Break party movies that used to play late at night on the USA Network.
You're tired of feeling like you're missing out on something awesome, so you finally decide to tune in and instead what you find is a rather heavy and deep emotional look at the effects of a life spent partying, boozing and philandering.
Hank Moody is the very definition of a man who deserves a serious ass-kicking.
He may not mean to act like the world's biggest douchebag. In fact, out of the entire world lineup of douchebags, he's certainly towards the end of life's long line. That still doesn't mean he doesn't deserve one less than the guy at the very front of the line, whoever that poor bastard may be. My money is on the mutant offspring of Attila the Hun and Spencer the Pratt.
But why does that guy who gets to deliver said ass-kicking have to be the world's dorkiest jilted man? A man who when confronting the man who gave his way a ride down the Pleasure Expressway challenges said man to a duel with blanks? And before you even think of asking, yes, copious amounts of alcohol were involved. Just another Sunday for Californication.
(S03E10) "I think that ultimately, [women] are going to have to raise the white flag and just accept us for the emotional retards that we are." - Hank to Charlie
This was a real uplifter from last week's dull and otherwise boring episode, if not for the courageous and outrageous efforts of Charlie and his quest to score Rick Springfield a bag of the Colombian itching powder. And I mean uplifter in both the quality and emotional sense of the word ... that I just made up.
The girls in Hank's life, Karen, Becca and Charlie's ex Marcy, go for a girls' night out, and Hank gives Charlie one of his world famous benders after he gets canned for losing Springfield as a client. But it's more about seeing how much greasy California cuisine and $10 a bottle booze they can shove into their systems. Like all great drunken road trips, it's a night of story-telling, story-making and personal exploration, if the memories can make it through the vodka and wine haze that follows them wherever they go.
(S03E05) - "Once upon a time's gotta count for something." - Zloz to Hank
Ah, the old friend from back home trick. It's been done so many times before in television. Remember when Rob's old Army buddy came to town in that one episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show or that one time when Don Rickles met up with his old pal Maxwell Smart on Get Smart? Those were some good times.
Imagine those episodes with a lot of hookers and copious amounts of beer, whiskey and vodka. Now they are twice as better, even if the hangover isn't as warm and friendly.
Zloz's one episode appearance felt like the makings of another "Guys Gone Wild" episode where the boys do some drinking, make with the smoking and then get into some fighting, but it turned into something much deeper and helped you appreciate the characters more for what they are. The ride was fun, even if you didn't really want to get back in line for it.
Hank is normally the kind of guy most average heterosexual males would form mobs against, complete with rows of flaming torches and pitchforks (used both as weapons and Freudian references to using one's phallus as a weapon).
Still, he's become the most likable monkey in the Californication barrel. And it's not because he's living a life that would make most Arabian princes jealous. It's because there is a method to his manliness tendencies. He's vulnerable and sees those vulnerabilities in people around him, especially those of the opposite sex with genes that get saved in the secret cabinet in most high priced fertility clinics.
(S03E03) - "Don't put Daddy in a corner." - Hank to his daughter, Becca
Something spectacular happened on last Sunday's episode of Californication, something I've been hoping and waiting to see from a big-budget television show ever since I was old enough to realize what life was worth living for, what makes television worth watching.
Jackie showed us her boobies!
That being said, there was much more to the most recent saga of Hank Moody and company worth mentioning, and Lord knows I could spend a whole review on Eva Amurri's "revealing" opening scene of Hank imaging his star pupil at her night job. Hell, if Joel would let me do a list of TV's best racks, I'd put Jackie's on the number one and two spots, left and right respectively. I have my reasons.
(S03E02) - "All work and no ass play makes Chuck a dull boy." Sue Collini to Charlie Runkle
A show like Californication might seem like just another rude, crass and completely tasteless sitcom that gets away with speaking Kinsey from cover to cover because it's on pay cable.
But if you actually sit down and watch the damn thing, you'll realize it's actually much deeper and more emotional than that, or at least as deep as a group of flesh lusting horndogs can go ... and I do mean "emotionally" deep, sickos.
(S0301) - What's with all the parent plotlines on Showtime? First Dexter Morgan becomes a new father, and now Hank Moody on Californication? Granted, it's the perfect penance for a man who has flaunted the consequences of the reproductive act more than the entire British royal family, but it seems eerily similar and way overdone in the world of television.
It does, however, work as an obstacle and a vehicle for conflict for Hank, whose only daughter Becca moves into that awkward living hell on Earth known as "teenagerhood." The opening scene of Hank catching Becca and her new best friend Chelsea stoned out of their gourds pretty much set the tone for some, if not most, of Hank's problems.
How can he tell her to do as he says while still doing what and who he loves most?
What would be at the bottom? Probably the Vatican. Then again, an unrepentant sexaholic like Moody always loves a challenge.
The third season follows Moody as he navigates his way through the student body of a local college as an English professor, his relationship with his growing teenage daughter Becca and the rest of his other relationships -- or at least the ones that alcohol hasn't erased from his memory.
Great news here for fans of the short-lived HBO sitcom, Lucky Louie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, LL alums Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon have been tasked with writing a new sitcom for CBS, where surprise - they play a husband and wife.
Sounds a lot like Lucky Louie to me.
CBS being network TV and all, there will obviously be some changes though. For one, the trademark raunchiness of the original Honeymooners-inspired half-hour will be gone, but I'm sure we can still expect plenty of laughs. The yet-to-be-titled series will focus on a married couple with too many children. Louis C.K. will executive produce.
While I'm thrilled about the return of something even remotely similar to Lucky Louie (they'll reach a much broader audience on CBS), I do have one worry. Between her duties as the voice of Bobby on King of the Hill and her role with this new project, is Adlon still going to have time for Californication? Her character was one of the best parts of season one.
(S04E07) "The helmet threw me." - Carl Sack
I am starting to feel that my statements regarding the extreme disinterest I feel for Saffron Burrows and her character on Boston Legal are becoming repetitive. Therefore I am going to comment one last time on how extremely unsexy the kiss was between her and Alan. All I could think was how much hotter it would be if she were Rhona Mitra. From now on, whenever I feel a longing for Ms. Mitra while watching BL, instead of commenting on it, I will go and rent The Hollow Man instead.
James Spader has to be to television what Christopher Walken is to movies. How he can go from a defenseless, lovesick puppy to a slimy, lecherous shyster in the blink of an eye is an acting skill I would kill to have. Pamela Adlon is certainly sexy in her own way but as an actor, I would have a hard time putting the moves on Bobby Hill.
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