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'Californication': Playing nice

December 6, 2009 | 10:31 pm

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Someone sprinkled a little sugar on our "Californication" characters Sunday night, most of them acting far sweeter toward each other than they have all season. The real storm was behind them now. Bygones. Squashed. Let's have a picnic and begin anew. And I suppose the dumb little grin I had on my face meant that I ate it all up with a spoon.

Except for Dean Koons (Peter Gallagher) dressed up as a general and challenging Hank (David Duchovny) to a fake gun fight, which had its moments but got a little cheesy once the boys were rolling around in the grass, this episode worked on multiple levels. Most satisfying was seeing our man in the middle, Hank, completely off balance for the duration. First he couldn't satisfy Karen (Natascha McElhone) in the boudoir, then he watched as she endlessly flirted with the professor she once had an affair with in college, a man who also happens to be a writer Hank once admired.

The whole thing was like an assault on the manhood of a man whose manhood is never the question. Last week during the holdup, we saw Hank truly vulnerable and shaken. This week we saw him jealous and in many ways inferior. These are the never-before-seen shades of Hank Moody that make his character infinitely more interesting, and Duchovny plays these just as well as the rest. Here's hoping we get to see much more of this.

As for jealousy, that shade also colored Marcy (Pamela Adlon) this week as she found herself walking in on Charlie (Evan Handler) getting it on with "a waitress with a screenplay" ... on the floor of their home. "You said not to mess up the bed if we're showing the house," the husband said to his wife.

Later at the bar, Marcy pestered and Charlie smiled. "Marcy Runkle is jealous -- I never thought I'd see the day," he said. But "I've said all along, I still love you," he added, intimating that the impending divorce between them doesn't have to be so. "It's not what you say, Charlie," she said, probably speaking for every female on this show. "It's out of sight, out of mind. See Marcy, want Marcy. No see Marcy, want boobies."

Ultimately they successfully sold the house, celebrated by defiling one last room of it and then Marcy noticed the butterfly tattoo he'd gotten on his lower back last week, her name attached. It could be the best drunken mistake of Charlie's life, because Marcy seemed touched enough by the gesture that she just might reconsider. On this show, the tattoo is a very powerful thing.

And so we're now left with a seemingly happy bunch headed into next week's season finale, with one main question hovering over us: Will Hank and Becca (Madeleine Martin) actually join Karen in New York this time? Hopefully that kid Damien isn't around with another playlist.

Your predictions and comments are welcome below.

-- Josh Gajewski

Photo: It was a happy day ... sort of ... for Hank (David Duchovny, right) and Jackie (Eva Amurri) on Sunday night's "Californication." Credit: Showtime.

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