Thursday, 16 September 2010

Californication 3.8 'The Apartment'

“Nothing like the sound of a stripper's head on a hard-wood floor…” – Rick Springfield

‘The Apartment’ was probably the funniest episode of the season so far and, in a weird way, also one of the most heartfelt.

The action takes place, as the title would suggest, entirely in Hank’s “bordello” of an apartment, save for a shot of Karen in her place in New York as she and Hank talk on the phone. Over the course of the episode all of Hank’s chickens come home to roost, unfortunately all at the same time.

After some “Skypus interruptus” with Karen, the now ridiculously clingy and needy Jackie and two of her stripper friends turn up at Hank’s door looking to “party” – Hank’s attempted break-up with Jackie last week obviously not having taken.

Cut to a morning after scene that didn’t quite rival the one from ‘Slow Happy Boys’ but still raised a chuckle – the cheeto up the ass was a great visual gag.

Karen’s early morning phone call to Hank is then disrupted as Jackie discovers that one of her stripper buddies is comatose; this is merely just the beginning of Hank’s troubles though.

First Charlie and the caricature of Rick Springfield arrive for a meeting over Rick buying Hank’s Porsche, presumably as Hank is trying to prepare for the big move back east. Charlie seemed quite at ease with Springfield to say that he had recently made the beast with two backs with his beloved Marcy, or maybe that was just because he knows his job kind of depends on getting along with Springfield.

This was finally the Rick Springfield I’ve been waiting to see, he’s had some good lines previously but in ‘The Apartment’ almost every word he uttered was unadulterated genius - “Guess what? I shit a pint of blood this morning” being my favourite, along with Hank’s reaction – “why!?”

As Hank guilts Charlie into getting rid of the prone, naked stripper and Springfield gleefully assists, a knock at the door sends Hank scurrying to the peephole through which he spots Jill. Hiding the strippers, Charlie and Springfield in his bedroom, hank ill-advisedly lets Jill into his apartment.

Now buoyed with love more than ever after Hank’s diss of her ex-fiance last week Jill proceeds to profess her love for Hank before revealing that she is sans-clothes under her trench coat. Another knock at the door leads Hank to dump Jill in Becca’s room and again, foolishly, answer the door, this time to Felicia.

If things weren’t already bad enough for Hank, Felicia drops the bombshell that she’s revealed all about her dalliance with Hank in ‘So Here’s The Thing…’ to her husband Dean Koons, she to then began to profess her love for all things Hank.

After returning to his room to find Rick Springfield and Charlie spit-roasting one of the strippers, Hank heads to the balcony where, in a nice touch, Jackie is enjoying Mia’s book, which she of course stole from Hank.

Hank is then mortified to see Dean Koons standing in his apartment.

This allowed for some Peter Gallagher gold as Dean Koons began to rather graphically detail the problems in his marriage to an increasingly bemused Hank. Surprisingly Dean Koons wasn’t overly fuming at Hank for sticking it to his wife, instead being more philosophical about things.

His diatribe was cut short though after his comments about Felicia’s lack of enthusiasm for fellatio caused his wayward wife to come out from her rather poor hiding place under Hank’s dining table.

Hank’s apartment then became more like an episode of Dr. Phil, a scenario exacerbated further by the arrival of Becca and Chelsea. Becca soon discovered the rather naked Jill in her bedroom, Chelsea discovered Hank had boned her Mum and encouraged her Dad to man up, then a fire from one of the candles Rick Springfield had been using during his roasting session caused Charlie, Springfield and the strippers to evacuate Hank’s bedroom.

As all of Hank’s conquests bickered and discussed what a mammoth asshole he is, Hank stormed his bedroom and put out an actual fire, as opposed to the metaphorical ones he’d been dealing with all morning.

Some time after the commotion had died down, Becca sat in a near catatonic state amazed at how much of a screw-up her old man could be, but in a weird sort of way it kind of brought the two of them back together.

The way Becca defended Hank when the loathsome Chelsea referred to him as an asshole was sweet and showed just how much she loves her Dad, as much as she almost wishes she didn’t.

Her line about not being mad and likening Hank to a “big dumb dog” that shits on the carpet shows that she has accepted who her Dad is but she just wishes she understood why he is the way he is.

Hank explaining that he did what he did to make each of the women feel special might not stand up in court, but as an audience we know that he at least believes that’s what he was doing.

He was trying to show Jackie she could be more than a stripper, Jill that she wasn’t some undesirable destined to spend her life alone and Felicia that if she was intent on cashing in her free pass not to waste it on some uber-douche who uses phrases like “word tea”.

It was a touching, almost poignant moment to end an episode that was almost slapstick in some of the comedy that featured within it; needless to say the moment was typified Moody-style by the formerly comatose stripper wandering in to the room in just her tiny underpants enquiring to the whereabouts of her clothes – just another day at the Moody house then…

Bullet Points

- No appearance for the brilliant Sue Collini this week, she wasn’t exactly missed but I can’t help but feel if she’d also happened to stumble upon the clusterfuck going on in Hank’s apartment that she’d have had a couple of amazing one-liners to fire off.

- I kept waiting and waiting for Karen to walk in on the debacle that was occurring – I know she was shown in New York as the episode began but I thought her concern for Becca could have been setting up a last reel appearance after a red eye flight in to LAX.

- I know he’s not really doing much else, but Rick Springfield has been so game throughout this season to just play himself as this drug-fuelled, sex obsessed asshole it really is surprising just how far, and low, he’s willing to go. I really hope it leads to something more for him because every time he appears this season he brings the funny, and hard.

- Was Becca leaping to Hank’s defence against the awful Chelsea the first signs of cracks in their friendship – we all know Chelsea is taking advantage of Becca but hopefully now Becca may start to see just what a damaging influence this girl has become on her life.

On the subject of Becca, although her teenage angst has almost been cartoonish at times this season, Madeleine Martin has done a splendid job of making Becca seem both young and innocent yet wise beyond her years; and her relationship with Hank is probably the show’s most touching aspect – hats off to both Duchovny and Martin for creating such a visceral relationship amidst all the debauchery.

Californication continues on FIVER next Wednesday @ 10.45pm


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