S4E9: Californication's season four has been about the build-up to one thing: the trial of Hank Moody. So now, since we're only two days away from the court date, it makes sense we have a "calm before the storm" episode and that's what "Another Perfect Day" was. Sure, some of the moments -- like Becca and Pearl taking the car -- felt a little convenient and unearned, but the episode did an excellent job providing every major characters' feelings about the situation before the inevitable trial. Plus, for the first time in great while, we had an episode that focused pretty much only on Hank's positive traits. It gave us the opportunity to remember why he's such a likable and charming guy.
"Why shouldn't I be happy that my ex-wife and her new boyfriend of six weeks are expecting a child? Mazal fuckin' tov, really."
Meanwhile, Stu and Marcy invite Charlie over for dinner to tell him about the baby. Charlie brings a date -- the crazy real estate agent who likes to fantasize during sex that it's with her brother (yeah, I know) -- and the evening turns sour quickly. Before Marcy tells Charlie about the pregnancy, she pours herself a glass of wine to help with the nerves and just as she is going to take a sip, Stu leaps in, grabbing it from her hand, screaming "the baby!" and, boom, the secret is out. As expected, Charlie isn't the happiest about the whole ordeal, which is understandable. For their entire marriage, Marcy had not only been against the idea of marriage -- but ruthlessly against the idea of marriage. She constantly claimed that she hated kids and didn't want to have any with Charlie. So, now that she's out of the marriage and pregnant, it's understandable that Charlie is upset. Except there's one underlying theme in this whole debacle -- I have an inkling that Charlie is the father. With the hints that have been dropped regarding his botched vasectomy, and Stu's overbearing dorkiness, it just makes sense.
"Look at me, I take a breath and I make a mistake."
Since Hank doesn't have a place to stay, Karen says that he can stay the weekend at the house -- that way they can be sure he "makes it to court on Monday." Obviously, Hank is thrilled, but he quickly learns that things aren't the same as they've always been. Karen is going out on a date with Ben, which leaves Hank not only heartbroken, but responsible for watching Pearl and Becca. He makes them dinner and then falls asleep on the couch. While he's asleep, Becca and Pearl steal his car keys and go for a joyride, but end up crashing the car.
Like I stated earlier, this part of the plot felt a little too easy and it was a little expected. Pearl is a bad influence on Becca so of course they'll steal Hank's car and of course they'll end up crashing it. But, whatever. I'm actually pretty okay with it because it gave us the opportunity to see Hank be a father. He talks to Becca in her room after it happens, finally able to use all of the mess-ups in his own life to help comfort someone else. Becca is old enough now to have a wider world view and understand that her father isn't perfect by any means, so this conversation was charming on both ends. Hank actually understood where Becca was coming from, and was able to offer some genuine parental advice.
"Monday will come and we'll take Becca to school and I'll take you to court so you can stand trial for raping a teenage girl -- because that is the reality of our lives right now." -Karen
But, alas, the "perfect day" wasn't enough to keep us hid from reality. For the majority of the "Another Perfect Day," I felt like I was watching an episode of Parenthood or something, not a series about a Bukowski-esque writer who spends his life mixing alcohol and sex. But, leave it to the beautiful Karen to make things real.
Personally, I thought the end played out very well. Sure, things got tied up into a nice little bow, but this "calm before the storm" episode needed to come back to reality. When Karen vocalized that Hank "raped a teenage girl," every moment of that day -- breakfast, driving, dinner -- was gone. It didn't matter anymore. All that could be thought about anymore was the fact that Hank is a charged rapist -- nothing more, nothing less -- and in two days, must face that reality.