Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Californication: “Waiting For The Miracle”

Illustration for article titled Californication: “Waiting For The Miracle”

Karen’s closing monologue during “Waiting for the Miracle,” in which she expresses genuine concern for Hank’s pattern of impulsive flings and warns him against holding a torch for their love, serves as a metaphorical gauntlet for Californication itself.  If we, the audience, are waiting for Mr. Moody to lick his wounds, grow up, and move on, or, alternately, woo his ex-wife back into a passionate but destructive tango, we may as well hold vigil for the Virgin Mary.

That final scene was a sobering one, and not just because Hank’s crazy former NYC flame, Carrie (a returning Natalie Zea), flew all the way to L.A., bullied him into makeup sex, and then humiliated him in front of an entire dinner party when she finally realized he wasn't the one. After all, any Californication fan knows that in the Moody-Runke-Bates-Baggs universe, dinner parties almost always spell disaster. And not even because Hank and Karen got confrontational about Becca’s reconciliation with Tyler (Hank was right, by the way, and it’s nice to see him sometimes be the grown-up), or because his honest confession of immortal love for Karen was essentially rebuked as a dying fantasy. Mostly, the very heavy concluding minutes were in manic contrast to the broad and ribald humor that preceded them.

In fact, while Hank was pining for a divine intervention, Charlie was literally shtupping a virgin named Mary (we can assume this will be wryly observed by Charlie and Hank next week) whose idea of dirty talk was ad-libbing PG-13, Victorian-era Penthouse letters. MADtv alum Gillian Vigman was hilarious as said blind date/mutual friend of his nanny, Lizzie. (Will those two just sleep together already?) Charlie claimed he wanted a “normal” L.A. woman, and what he got was a bespectacled bookworm who counts awkward silences, apologizes after high-fives for her sweaty hands, and opens up about a morbidly obese girlfriend who fingered her after eating McDonald’s French fries in the seventh grade.

Mary’s character was so refreshing, and her laughs came from an entirely different, neurotic comic voice than the regular characters’ ego-driven nonchalance. Sure, her fling with Charlie was ill-advised and poorly executed, and it ended in tears. But in comparison, all the supposedly “adult” chatter at Richard and Karen’s dinner table—not to mention Carrie’s compulsive desire to be “drunk on cock” and plaster-cast Hank’s dick as a dildo—felt very cynical and decidedly unsexy. But as Carrie so cruelly observed, all that candor about anal pegging and semen-swapping was mere confection for Stu and Marcy or Richard and Karen, who were all truly in love. For Hank, it represented his entire interpersonal diet, and she’d merely been swallowing his bullshit.

Still, Carrie was kind of a loathsome and possibly crazy person, and her dismissal of Hank as a loser was a tad hostile and not exactly fair, given he did break up with her, and she did subsequently set his apartment on fire. Zea kind of excels at that sort of role, though (see The Other Guys), so she might have brought a bit of that loony energy to it, and someone should have maybe yelled “cut.”

“Waiting” was an interesting episode, despite some tonal chaos. Samurai and Kali were missed, and hopefully, they don’t fade in and out of the season. On the flipside, panning from Charlie’s adolescent exploits to Hank and Co.’s X-rated pillow-talk feast, while wedging in Becca’s rollercoaster with Tyler, picked up from last week’s notion that we’re all always starting over, even if it seems like we’ve made progress or are just standing still. And in Californication, that continues to make for mostly arresting television. Now it’s just time to get back to the business of Santa Fuckin’ Monica Cop.


Stray observations:

  • For all Hank’s urban patois, he doesn’t know what “blowin’ up” means?
  • Loved the cameo from Charlie’s tramp-stamp.
  • Charlie, occasional thoughtless putz, about Carrie’s return: “Maybe she killed Karen and Becca.”
  • Re: that hot tub scene, and much of the episode: You do have to admire their boundary-less lack of self-consciousness. It’s intimidating when it’s not gross.
  • Hank speaks for all New Yorkers about L.A.: “You don’t want to come here and become a cunty gym-face.”
  • Hank is not just a great love, but an “emotional safecracker.”
  • Very funny when Mary took Charlie saying, “Tell me about it” at face value. And then turned out to be the real Medieval Times freak.
  • Genuine, mature Moody: “She’s not right, and even if she were, you’re her parent. It’s your job to make her feel like she’s wrong.”
  • “You pan-sexual fuckin’ weirdo.”