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'Californication': Girls night

November 16, 2008 | 10:31 pm

Kudos to Karen. This round of “Californication” clearly went to her.

All along, she's been more or less the victim. The reactor. The counterpunch. But Sunday night, after Hank (David Duchovny) spent his day as he usually does – drink, fornicate, research, repeat – Karen (Natascha McElhone) actually hit him where it hurt.

And in a show that at times veers too far into the male fantasyland of a world in which some very bad behavior goes improperly punished, something about Karen's striking back felt very good and just. First, she told Lew what no one else could: “You're pathetic.” Then, after Lew tried to kiss her (further proving Karen's point), she used the moment to mess with Hank's already messed-up mind. Was it mean-spirited or a little unfair? Yes. But did Karen, after all she's been through, deserve a little time as the devil? Hell, yes.

The exchange:

“Hey, about the Mia thing with Ashby,” Hank told Karen, “I'm gonna take care of it, protect her.”
“Oh, it's already taken care of.”
“No, it's unforgivable, she's still a kid.”
“I took care of it.”
“How? How did you do that? I mean the guy's an animal, a moving train. He's a pure ... id.”
“Yeah, you're right. But he is a great kisser.”
“I think you heard me.”
[Hank mumbles.]
“So, if you'll excuse me,” she said, spinning the phrase he'd used right around, “I have to go see a man about a horse.”

Man down. Man alone. The latter: Hank's nightmare.

She closed the door, following Becca's lead, and there he stood, holding a bag of sushi to go with an upset stomach. It was a nice ending to an episode that otherwise felt a bit flat, mainly because of the weighted Runkle storyline.

With Marcy gone, having left for her mother's in order to deal with her drug problem, Charlie did what we expected him to do: he cheated on her with his porn star client. Call me old fashioned, but the whole thing made me wince.

Meanwhile, Hank's visit to the Janie Jones household certainly had its laughs,  particularly when he spoke to the maid in his own version of Spanglish.

My favorite samples: “No banos. So I use the sinkos.” ... “I don't do this nearly as much as you think. Makes me paranoid. Paranosio – yo.” ... “Hey, uh, how does uh, Mrs. Jones seem to you? ... She contento?”

Naturally, he came to discover that she spoke his language, in more ways than one. It was Hank Moody's world, until Karen knocked him cold.

-- Josh Gajewski

Artistic references:

When Hank knocked Mia for her out-of-tune crooning, she said, “I'm not interested in the opinion of someone whose cultural significance went out with Hammer pants,” referring to MC Hammer, and a beloved time in my childhood. ... On Lew Ashby's bedroom door was a poster for the band Jucifer, a two-piece “sludge metal” band from Georgia that's been playing since 1993. ... Hank said that the movie “Spanglish” was “an underrated movie of mine,” referencing the indeed-underrated 2004 comedy that David Duchovny's real-life ex, Tea Leoni, starred in, along with Adam Sandler.