Californication: Smile Review

Here is this week's relationship advice column... we mean Californication review.

The question has come up before on Californication in a few different ways.

What makes a good relationship?

I know I’ve pondered this when writing about the show in previous seasons, but now seems like a great time to revisit it with Dental Dan positing his thoughts on the matter and two different relationships bookending tonight’s seventh episode of the seventh season of Californication, “Smile.” 

There is no smile on Karen’s face these days, at least when Hank drops by. There is nothing to smile about because their relationship is broken. They’re drifting away without a paddle. Karen seems fine with it. Hank led us to believe can’t swim so he’s clutching onto the raft for dear life. By the end of the episode, and for the first time in the show’s history, I really thought that there is a chance that the series doesn’t end with Hank and Karen together in wedlock. Maybe it took casting the exceptional Heather Graham to see that Hank Moody hit the jackpot in life. There’s someone for everyone, but the really lucky ones get two somebodies.

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After the intimate moment between Hank and Julia, I started to think about the biggest thing that makes that relationship work. My first thought was timing. Even when Hank and Karen’s stars aligned, it never felt right. There was always something in the way, or the imminent threat of disaster that hung over their headboard like a black cloud. For Hank and Julia, everything from their stability in their careers to their rekindled chemistry to their affection for their son, aligns. If you had told me this was the direction the show was going in before the season, I would have laughed. Right now, I’ll be damned. It works.

Timing is something Julia’s boss, Dental Dan, needs to work on. He thinks good teamwork is fine attribute for a couple. He’s not wrong. Hank says that laughter, hot sex and the occasional Dutch oven are keys to a happy and healthy relationship. He too, is not wrong. As we’ve seen in the past, the timing has to be right. Dental Dan proposes to Julia and Levon rightfully kicks him in the nuts. Well, you can’t propose to someone you’ve never been on a date with. Likewise, the scene perfectly illustrates Julia’s frustration with my gender. “No one does anything decent without wanting something in return,” Julia says. “Especially a guy.” Dental Dan didn’t want to be an astronaut or play for the Yankees when he was a kid. He just wanted to check your teeth after his busty blonde hygienist cleaned them. So when Julia walked in the door he hired her and plotted to win her hand.

Julia’s point holds true for relationships. It may even answer my question. A good relationship is about giving your all to someone. If you find that man or woman that changes the way you look at life, go for them! Give them your all. But you need something in return to make it last. Karen gave the relationship her all and Hank didn’t return the favor. When he finally decides to give it one last push, we’ll see if she comes back to make a sour relationship good again. If not, we’ll take solace in the fact that there is hope for Hank Moody. There can be life beyond Karen and it’s starting to sound the like the best thing for everyone.

Best of the Rest:

This might be Hank’s most self-aware quote of the series: “I may be an unconventional parent and father does not always know best, but my heart is in the right place. I see a problem and I try to fix it.”

In other Californication news, Charlie stumbled onto a potential gold mine. After Charlie runs into Krull (Steve Jones), the rough-around-the-edges Brit who you might recall as Atticus’ butler last season, he learns that his work history is perfect fodder for a juicy memoir. Who wouldn’t love to read “The Dirty Life and Times of a Rock and Roll Butler” with names like Bowie, the Stones, The Eagles, The Pistols, Clapton, Sabbath, Ozzy attached to it.

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Even with the potential for a book deal, Charlie and Marcy are strapped for cash. Things have gotten so desperate that Marcy has to go to Stu and ask for a loan. Of course, Stu doesn’t do loans. But he is a sick fuck and he’s willing to pay a cool million to be inside Marcy. It would be the most “delicious orgasm of his life.” That scenario has so much potential. Stu is easily one of my favorite additions to this cast over the last seven years.

All the talk of illicit sex gives Charlie enough wood to go to “fucky town.” It’s been hard on (get it!?!) all of us seeing his engine broken. Good for you, Runckle. 

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3 out of 5