Saturday, 14 August 2010

Californication 3.3 'Verities & Balderdash'

"Are you sexually harassing me right now? Because if you are,
I think I'm going to have to report you… For giving me a serious boner…" - Hank

 This week’s Californication opened with a scene featuring Susan Sarandon’s best ever work…

…Her smokin’ hot daughter Eva Amurri and her remarkable norks, which seriously, could win the Turner Prize.

I’ve become a little bit obsessed with Eva Amurri since she first appeared last week as student turned stripper Jackie but I’ll try and reign in the pervy comments as much as I can for the length of this review.

Maybe not everyone is as perverted as me but I genuinely thought they might build up to the big reveal of Jackie finally getting naked on screen for the majority of the season. But no, her second episode opens with her writhing around topless in a dream sequence no less!

I’d love to have heard how they sold Amurri on that scene:

“Eva, we need you to go topless”

“Oh, ok – is it an important scene”

“Not really, just a dream sequence with no real bearing on advancing the story…”

Still I’m not complaining, at least now I can focus on the show for the remainder of the season rather than wondering what Jackie looks like naked… Sorry, I know I said I wouldn’t harp on about those magnificent mammaries but honestly they should be on display in The Guggenheim.

Enough about that spectacular opening scene though, because surprisingly the show didn’t go down hill rapidly after we saw some exquisite boobies (last time I promise!)

After the rather dark ending to last week’s episode I was surprised there wasn’t much follow up on the Hank-Becca profanity-laced argument that closed out last week’s instalment. Although there was clearly tension still there the two were at least civil to one another for the duration of ‘Verities & Balderdash’.

The episode mainly centred around Hank being invited to the annual English department mixer hosted by the Koons’; after initially refusing to attend, instead opting to play Guitar Hero with Becca, a phone call from Karen changed Hank’s mind and he and Becca headed over for the “wine and cheese”.

At the party, Hank seemed almost irresistible to the three women he has been spending time with recently – Felicia, Jill and Jackie who was working the bar at the party.

First after a rare moment of honesty and openness Felicia kissed Hank, only to be interrupted by Jackie, who then suggested Hank could have his way with her if he so desired.

Then, after she had seemingly been stood up by her date for the evening Jill gravitated towards Mr. Moody in Dean Koons’ private office whilst they were searching for his good liquor.

It would have been rude for Hank not to reciprocate the advances and the two got down to business on the Dean’s floor.

I was glad to see this tryst hadn’t seemingly destroyed the relationship between Hank and his T.A. as I like Diane Farr as Jill and hope to see her for the rest of the season; there will obviously be some awkwardness there now but hopefully that will only add to the witty repartee between the two of them.

Elsewhere, we got a little insight into Becca’s damaged mind as she and Chelsea took mushrooms together. The fact she is still a virgin must mean that Damien, whose whereabouts I have questioned thus far, didn’t last as a boyfriend and merely was the MacGuffin to keep Hank and Karen apart this season.

Over in Runkle’s world his joy at finally signing a client, Jesse’s Girl himself Rick Springfield, quickly turned to despair as Marcy caught him inside his boss Sue as she stopped by to celebrate with him.

Kathleen Turner continues to be absolutely amazing in this role and is clearly having the time of her life chewing the scenery for all it’s worth.

When will poor Charlie catch a break? After weeks of rejecting Sue’s overly aggressive advances he finally caves and Marcy catches him in the act.

This did lead us to a nice closing scene though as Hank, in Slanket, and Charlie shared a somewhat poignant moment wondering when they will both get their respective families back together again.

All in all I’d have to say probably the weakest episode of the three thus far but still a hell of a watch. Maybe it’s just the fact that absence has made the heart grow fonder but I can’t think of a show in the last year that has made me as happy and joyous to watch as Californication.

It is definitely the only show I feel the need to watch twice as well, purely just to pick up on all the great one-liners and banter that goes on.

Roll on next week…

Other Thoughts:

- I love Peter Gallagher, and it’s almost a shame to see him in such a stuffy role, the way he plays off Duchovny though is great and any time the two share a scene it is uniformly great.

It was also nice to see Dean Koons a little more relaxed this week as he entered his office singing and dancing, in a nice touch singing the same song that Richard Bates sung as he “tucked and did the pee-pee dance” back in the season premiere: “blow on my dice…”

- Merely an introduction for Rick Springfield, hopefully he’ll be a big part of episodes to come; the writers can definitely have a lot of fun here as Springfield seemed to be up for playing a much exaggerated version of himself after only one scene.

- Judging from that opening day dream, Hank is obviously smitten with Jackie, but do we think he’ll end up acting on his impulses? I’m torn at the moment, last week I would have said no but now I’m not so sure.

Personally I don’t really think we need to see Hank sleeping with a student, I know she’s obviously of consenting age but given the whole Mia statutory rape blackmail it’d just show that Hank has learned nothing from his dalliance with a very young woman. Then again, however much of “a world class a-hole” Hank is it’s impossible not to root for him.

- Although you could see Marcy walking in on Charlie and Sue a mile away, it was still superbly done by all concerned a raised a huge laugh, especially Marcy knowing straight away what her estranged husband was up to.

I’d assumed Charlie was under the table going down on Sue so when he poked his head round from behind her it was a very funny and, for me at least, unexpected moment.

And again, Kathleen Turner has just been sensational thus far and with the exception of Duchovny has been the season’s MVP thus far.

Californication Season 3 continues on Fiver Wednesday @ 11.25pm


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