And don't fret. Actress Julie Benz has already racked up an interesting role on ABC's Desperate Housewives.
And when I say "interesting," I mean "smoking hot." Her character, Debbie, is a stripper who is trying to earn a Master's degree in education. Think of it as a late night "Skinemax" movie but with a better acting coach.
Clyde Phillips, the show's long running showrunner, has decided that the fourth season of the show which ended Sunday will be his last.
Phillips said he made the decision during a long drive to his family's home in Connecticut and is leaving so he can spend more time with them. He described it as a "hugely difficult decision" and that he had "complicated feelings about it."
Frankly, the timing couldn't have been better. It ended on a climax that was so well done and gripping that my mind cannot even wrap itself around the possibilities of how to top it. It could, but it's giving me a headache like you would not believe.
Last night's shocker season finale wasn't just the most watched episode in the show's history, but it was the most watched, well, anything in the Showtime network's history.
The finale (you can read my review of it here) racked up 2.6 million viewers. That topped the previous record held by the second-to-last episode of the current season of 2.1 million viewers, which at the time was the highest rated show for the network in the last 10 years.
I really feel sorry for the poor bastard who has to write the fifth season. Not only does he have to craft a plot that tops the genius of the Trinity Killer angle, but he has to top the ratings record the show has just set. And I thought I was the most sleepless writer on the face of the planet.
Benz got her first big break on the small screen way back in the early 1990s on the extremely short-lived ABC and Nick-at-Nite sitcom spoof Hi Honey, I'm Home! She played the show's archetypal '50s sitcom teenage daughter Babs Nielson. I don't know why it's so amusing to watch her on the show now. Maybe if it's because we knew that Babs would end up dating and marrying a successful serial killer, the original show might have lasted a little longer.
(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.
(S0308) "For someone who loves women so much, you sure don't understand them very well." - Jackie to Hank
Hank makes for an interesting character because there is never one single, solitary way of looking at him. Some people see this alcoholic horndog as a success while others look at his cavalier exterior and think of him as an utter failure. He's certainly one of the most complex characters on television for a guy who has one thing on his mind, two depending on how much booze is in the house.
So naturally all of his bad decisions and mistakes will come back to haunt him, and this week, he got hit with them all at once in a bizarre clusterf#$% of sheer craziness. It's as if a tornado of tail just leveled Hank's house and life in the process.
Dexter and the Trinity Killer aren't the only ones on the show who have been paying back their anger for the pain the world has dealt them. The audience is in on the same game.
We've been sitting through weeks of boring and dry subplots about secret affairs and office romances that we couldn't care less about if we were actually one of their co-workers. But now we've been rewarded for our patience with some seedy and very interesting details about Dexter's main prey, the Trinity Killer, a man held in a very weak cage of despair and anger.
(S03E07) "L.A. has made us soft. You used to be able to run for Lexington Avenue with the best of them. Elbowing the investment wankers out of the way. Your cell phone in one hand, mammoth ball sack in the other hand, Hollywood Reporter between your teeth. Not even breathing so you wouldn't inhale the $&*$ing piss stench." - Hank to Charlie
So now that the No. 1 Missus wants the family back, with Hank included, he's got to get the rest of his conquests out of his system. In the real world, such a thing would be easy to do. Call each one of them up, tell them it's been fun but we've all got to settle down eventually and this is that time. Hang up the phone and never leave your home or greet another human being in person until the big settle down day.
But this is television. Nothing is ever that simple, especially for a cat like Hank Moody, a man who sees simple as a wussy excuse to go through life.
(S03E06) "L.A. is no place to raise a daughter...or a dad." - Hank to Karen
If I ever procreate and God curses me by turning said offspring into a female teenager, the last place I would raise her is Los Angeles. In fact, I would get as far away from that cesspool of pretentiousness and greed as possible; its literal polar opposite, in fact. That's right, I'd actually raise her in the Indian Ocean.
The idea had always been hidden in the back of my brain, but it was yanked into my consciousness by Becca and her snooty, drugged-up pal Chelsea. Both of them are really starting to piss me off. They are vapid, whiny and annoying. In other words, they are perfect Californians.
(S04E06) "We both have skeletons, which means we both get a closet to keep them in." - Dexter on him and Arthur Mitchell, the Trinity Killer
Now that Dexter and his faithful followers have discovered Trinity's true identity as a family raising, student teaching, hymn congregation leading all around nice guy, it's made him twice as creepy. The fact that he can turn such a blind eye towards causing so much painful mayhem and in the blink of that eye pretend that everything is all rainbows and jellybeans twists my spine into a monkey fist. John Lithgow has not only reached into the bloody depths of this depraved character, but he's done a marvelous job of walking around in his skin, both figuratively and (I sure hope not) literally.
Now that Dexter is on the hunt, he seems more reserved, held back and less willing to pounce on his weakened prey. I'm sure part of him feels the need to put this man out of our misery and avenge the attack on his sister, but now he sees him as a mentor, a role model, a zen-like Yoda who can teach him how to strengthen his mask while he's doing the bidding of his "Dark Passenger." But will this moment of philosophy for madmen drag things down to a screeching halt?
But while watching that iconic opening of Dexter's mourning routine, I noticed the credit to Jeff Lindsay, the author of the first Dexter novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter on which the whole show is based. I picked it up in the library and even though I knew most of what happened from the show's first season, it was still a very enjoyable read. It was dark, funny, foreboding and every other adjective you would expect to hear from a review of a great mystery novel.
The best part is that even if you watch the show, you can still enjoy the books since they take very different paths that still provide plenty of good twists and turns. Any Dexter fan would enjoy them.
The comedian and film director will host a new Showtime show next year called Behind the Green Room Door. It's a talk show featuring a rotating panel of comics having the kinds of hardcore conversations that can only be heard in dressing rooms and empty comedy club bars.
And if you've never been to a comedy club, then you can get an idea of the conversation when you realize Provenza directed the acclaimed comedy documentary The Aristocrats. And if you've never heard of The Aristocrats and you're sensitive to foul language, you might want to see if your DVR comes with ear plugs and a soul scraper.
(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?
Moving an unsuspecting serial killer to the burbs sounds like a pitch for a UPN sitcom. "What happens when a wacky serial killer moves into the wackiest suburban neighborhood in the wackiest town in America? You've got 'A Real Cutup.'"
Instead, this is where we find loveable ol' Dexter Morgan, played by Michael C. Hall, at the beginning of the fourth season of Showtime's most popular Sunday night drama that isn't all drama. It still plays heavy on the complex emotions and relationships that make Dexter's life so interesting, but it also features shimmers of laughter as Dexter tries to juggle the life of a father, wife, blood spatter expert, and avenging serial killer without relying too much on one device or character.
The promos for the new season probably made you think, as did I, that Dexter would go from kill room to kill room with a baby slung across his torso in a cute little mini rubber smock and welding mask.
Boy, the eggheads are certainly pissed about this one, I tell you what!
A deal between Showtime Networks and the Smithsonian Institution has some researchers and historians a bit freaked out. It seems they're fearful that this new agreement could limit or completely cut off their access to the collections and/or the curators of the famous institution. This is due to a clause in the new agreement that states the combined Showtime-Smithsonian has first refusal rights to commercial documentaries that rely heavily on the numerous artifacts the institution keeps in its museums and beyond.
A spokeperson for the Smithsonian, as quoted in an article for The New York Times says that the collections will remain open to researchers and makers of educational documentaries; however, scrutiny will be applied when a commercial documentarian wishes to record certain activity that is a specialty of the institution and will be used in future television broadcasts. For example, why that pendelum at the Museum of American History doesn't stop!
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