Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What I’m Watching: Californication (Season Premiere)

Californication: Season 3, Episode 1 “Wish You Were Here” (A-)

After dragging a bit in its second season, this show is back full-force with a stellar premiere that sets it in new directions and introduces several fantastic new characters. Hank’s back to his normal life, though not everything is the same. Becca isn’t the good girl she always was, and having her show up stoned with her bad-influence friend at the start of the episode is a great reintroduction to her character and a sign that something has changed for at least some of the characters. Becca’s new friend is a great addition not just for the way she talks to Hank but mostly for the fact that her parents are joining the show too. Embeth Davidtz and Peter Gallagher are both great performers who are perfect for the roles they’ve taken. Hank’s first meeting with the bushy-eyebrowed-dean is so completely in character and awesomely typical. The wonderful Diane Farr is also terrific, and if there’s any actress besides Natasha McElhone who could spar with David Duchovny, it’s her. I’m so happy that those three will be on the show for at least a good portion of this season, and Hank’s inevitable working with them is going to be incredibly fun. Hank shaping young minds is an entertaining prospect, and it’s going to be incredible to see him interact with students. The best part of this premiere, and what makes this show so great, is the ending phone conversation between Hank and Karen. Their relationship has always been a unique one, and the way they can so comfortably and jokingly discuss their sex lives while proclaiming their devotion to each other is amazing. The closing fadeout reminded me of the end of a great “Sopranos” episode where Tony is on the phone with Carmela, sees the sun rise and asks her what time it is where she is. This premiere has restored my faith in “Californication,” and I can’t describe my excitement for this season.

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