“Morning Sunshine. The first day of the rest of your life. Rise and shine.”
S4E3: Last week’s Californication ended on a sour note. Hank was, once again, self-medicating (this time using a nice combination of sleeping pills and alcohol) and writing a letter to his daughter, apologizing for everything that he’d done. The result? He wakes up in a hospital bed and learns that his stomach was pumped. In typical Hank fashion, he gives the doctor who saved his life (played by Jonah Hill-knockoff Josh Gab) some smartass remarks about his overdose. At this point, it’s clear that Hank really doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation. But that’s the way Hank lives, right? Everything’s a joke; and like always, it takes seeing the reaction from his loved ones to understand the actual impact of his decisions.
“What do you guys call yourselves?”
“Queens of Downtown.”
-Becca and Girl on the boardwalk
Now we come to the worst part of the episode — and really, a problem that the writers need to figure out quickly. In the show’s three seasons, we’ve seen Becca grow up from an innocent girl to a rebellious teenager. Unfortunately, the writers don’t really know how to write for rebellious teenagers. Becca’s always been forced to be older than her age, mainly because her dad is a complete idiot, and she’s had quite a few moments of greatness in previous seasons (last season’s scene where she pleads with her father to let her “be the kid for once” comes to mind). Anyway, Becca is out playing her guitar in public when a group of girls steal her money, so she’s forced to run them down and take it back. She gets the cash, and we learn that these girls are in a band called Queens of Downtown, and they want her to audition. She gives them a maybe, then the girls laugh and run away.
Now, maybe it was poor acting, maybe it was poor writing, but damn, this scene sucked. The group of girls were about as non-realistic as you could get, feeling more like the Jets from West Side Story than an actual threat to Becca. Yeah, most kids would probably act out if they were in Becca’s position, and I do agree with giving her a group of friends to act out with, but damn. This scene and the characters could not have been more cliche.
“Are you sorry for being such a fucking coward?”
Back to Hank. Remember how I said that the sympathy for his “suicide” didn’t last too long? Well, we’re to that point. As awful as Madeleine Martin played Becca with the group of girls, she showcased some pretty talented acting skills as she confronted her father about the truth of the overdose. Becca’s always had a keen sense of how her father’s mind works, and she knows that he would never get to the point of wanting to kill himself. He’s too prideful. So she does the smart thing and attacks his pride, calling him a coward until he admits the truth: he just fucked up, again. Then Becca forces him to tell Karen, and after everyone knows, once again, Hank is thrown out. But this time, he doesn’t turn to pills and alcohol. He takes his frustration with the situation and uses it to finally write the script of Fucking and Punching.
Was this Californication’s best episode? Eh, not really. But it packed a few solid scenes and the writers gave us a much-needed break from everyone just being upset with Hank.