"I'm a writer. Non-practicing."
Californication official site
Opening your entire series with a dream sequence was a bad move for a show that purports to be darker and less cheesy than typical TV fare, but we all got past it because as dream sequences go, it was pretty dark and kinda funny. I mean, it's a cheap shot to have a blow-job-giving nun, but it's irreverent and you got points for that.
But why would you do the same opening schtick for two episodes in a row, and make this one into a sappy daydream? Is this going to be like, a recurring pattern? See House for a show that does the patterned opening scene well -- aka, not with a dream -- or Battlestar: Galactica for one of very few shows in which a dream sequence was used as more than a cheap, obvious insight into the character's mindset. See Dawson's Creek for shows where dreams are used to explain character thoughts when the writers aren't sure you'll get it from subtext. Which show do you want to be? Hmm?
OK, whew. Now that that's out of my system, here's a summary of last night's episode: Hank's daughter Becca forgives him for embarrassing her at a party last week, while Hank's ex's future stepdaughter Mia, whom he accidentally slept with last week, keeps flirting with him. Karen sets Hank up with a recently-divorced Scientologist, which backfires when the two get high together, fall off the bed during sex, and then puke all over Karen's bed and painting. Whoops.
I liked this episode a lot better. Some of the jokes were cheap or obvious, but at least they made me laugh out loud. And yes, the puke scene was funny, if painful. Hank did a lot of things to embarrass himself in "Hell-A Woman" -- making fun of Scientologists and then discovering his dinner companion to be one was certainly a highlight. And his bemused reaction to the concept of vaginal rejuvenation surgery was actually somewhat endearing.
Californication definitely got sexier this week -- well, there was less actual sex, but what there was made more sense in the plot, rather than seeming to shout desperately, "See? This show is daring! And, and original!" Because we've seen it all before, dudes, so I'm glad you got over yourselves and had some fun with this episode. As mentioned before it got funnier, and I enjoyed getting to see more of Hank with his young daughter, who has a great scene where she tells a tableful of her parents' friends and dates the unabridged story of their first meeting.
It remains to be seen how much more awkward the Mia situation can get, and how interesting the show can manage to make the inevitable split of Karen from her current fiance (who's obviously doomed when Karen answers the "how's-the-sex" question with downcast eyes and "Yeah, it's different, you know...").
In Summary: A fun, solid episode that builds on and improves from the pilot.
8/16/07 Californication Review -- 1x01, "Pilot"