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'Californication': Don't put Daddy in a corner

October 11, 2009 | 10:31 pm
Hilarity, heart and David Duchovny in a Snuggie. Welcome back, “Californication”; this is the episode I’ve been waiting for.

We had Hank and his shortcomings, along with his charm, but then we had the consequences of crossing paths with such a man -- women who want a little more of him than he wants of them, matched with a daughter who continues to wonder about dear old dad … while hallucinating on mushrooms, for lack of a better alternative.

Arriving, of course, in the dirty Porsche, these were Hank and Becca’s respective play dates: snooty English Department colleagues for him, and a new best friend intent on showing her the light (boys, substances) for her. “Becca, this is your last chance to change your mind,” Hank said as they pulled up, him not wanting to be there. “Just do me one favor,” she answered. “Try not to get too hammered.”

That’s when he uttered the title of this blog, but he spent the rest of his night backed into many a corner indeed. Of course, these were corners with booze, beautiful women and even in one case, action figurines.

First in the attic, to the dean’s wife, he opened up about dating:

That’s my purgatory, really -- dinner, drinks, whatever. Never really all that interested, but I find myself telling her how beautiful she is anyway. Because it’s true -- all women are in one way or another. You know, there’s always something about every damn one of you -- there’s a smile, a curve, a secret. You ladies really are the most amazing creatures. My life’s work. But then there’s the morning after, the hangover and the realization that I’m not quite as available as I thought I was the night before. And she’s gone, and I’m haunted by yet another road not taken.

She kissed him. And then embarrassingly scurried off when Jackie --  student-bartender-Hank Admirer No. 863 -- walked in on them. One down …

Then in the dean’s office, to a teaching assistant made vulnerable by being stood up by another man, Dr. Moody offered up advice.

You get to be pissed off, but maybe if you just relaxed for half a second and stopped looking so hard for the appropriate life mate then you might wake up one morning next to one. … You’ve got a serious game up in the matter. Because you’re scary smart and you’re crazy beautiful. … You’re a sexy nerd. Some women just shut off that part of themselves and they expect Prince Charming to come along. Not you.

She kissed him. And more. Two down …

And then there was Becca (Madeleine Martin), outside with her friend, having moved from weed to mushrooms but still unable to leave that state of angst. Her dad would probably be happier without her, she thought aloud. And about her friend’s eagerness to get her laid, “No rush,” she said. “Sometimes I think I’d be happy to stay a virgin forever. Seems like once you get laid,” it all turns to mess.

Truth, consequences and fun adult behavior. Aside from Kathleen Turner’s Sue Collini, a sex-obsessed caricature that I just can’t even remotely get interested in, this episode was that right “Californication” mix. Perhaps it just took this season a beginner’s two episodes to get us sauced just enough -- kind of like the dance that happens at parties like these -- for the good stuff to finally come out: the honesty, the boldness, the fun and those pesky little consequences that follow.

Oh, and as for Charlie, he’s still an idiot. All it took for him to finally succumb to Sue Collini’s (disgusting) overtures was a little encouragement about his job performance after signing Rick Springfield to the agency. But bedding Collini meant couching it at Hank’s for another lonely night. And in the end, the two of them sat there, wishing for someone and somewhere else.

“We are not complicated creatures,” Charlie said, and I’ll drink to that.

-- Josh Gajewski

Photo: Hank (David Duchovny) and Charlie (Evan Handler) in "Californication." Credit: Showtime.