Episode Title: "Dead Rock Stars"
Writer: Tom Kapinos
Director: Adam Bernstein
Previously on "Californication:"
If "Dead Rock Stars" felt like familiar territory, that's probably because it was. Even though "Californication" is in its sixth season, Hank (David Duchovny) and Charlie (Evan Handler) are still up to their old tricks.
In Hank's case, it's partying with with cartoonish rock stars only to have Karen (Natascha McElhone) come across him, passed out in a pile of half-naked women. Meanwhile, Charlie's gotten himself into another sexual conundrum. Yes, the "Charlie is gay" joke is still happening and it's still not that funny.
"Californication" is generally a pretty smart comedy, but it's not immune to bouts of juvenile humor. And this kind of comedy usually involves Charlie. The joke this season? He's posing as a "gay-gent" to snag a client and will thus be forced to perform homosexual acts against his will. It's the kind of comedy that appeals to insecure adolescent boys and "Californication" is so often a much better show than that.
While Charlie attempted to get out of his "big gay pickle" by paying off his Grindr date, Hank was a stand up guy, accompanying Faith (Maggie Grace) to her rockstar boyfriend's funeral, and then proceeded to get falling down wasted, when Atticus Fetch (Tim Minchin) insisted he do an eight-ball with him.
And so we're left to wonder if and when Hank will ever get serious about, like, anything. We've seen this pattern play out over the course of the past five seasons – Hank does the right thing and yet somehow winds up in the wrong place with the wrong person, usually in some state of intoxication, to Karen and Becca's perpetual disappointment. It's definitely fun to watch, but after a while the joke gets old.
What doesn't get old is "Californication's" pop culture send-ups. In "Dead Rock Stars," it was the larger than life hologram of Atticus Fetch's dead guitarist, Tony (played by Sebastian Bach!) urging everyone to celebrate rather than mourn at his funeral. And then there was Atticus lamenting how modern music technology has dulled his songwriting ability – way funnier than Hank and Faith walking in on Charlie watching gay porn.
Whether "Dead Rock Stars" was just a minor detour down Hank's road to recovery or a total derailment, we'll have to wait and see. Rehab might not exactly suit him, but maybe it will give Hank a chance to finally show us something we haven't seen before.