The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

It’s Time to Answer Becca’s Questions

with 2 comments

What could have happened if Karen and Marcie had answered Becca’s question seriously?  What is so great about being married?  Is it more than a guy making you laugh and fixing things around the house?  Perhaps if either of them had taken her question seriously, we would have gotten somewhere in last night’s episode.  But once again, we eschewed digging a little deeper into these characters and really developing their relationships by ignoring Becca’s questions.

Last night I officially gave up on Hank and Karen (and maybe, by extension, Charlie and Marcie).  In the beginning of this series, and even this season (see my initial post), they were all pretty messed up, but still sweet and trying to get it right.  At this point, it seems like they’ve all given up!  Hank’s boyishness is no longer endearing, but desperately childish and annoying.  And Karen is starting to feel pathetic for sticking around.  Becca asks if Karen really thought that moving to New York for a few months would change Hank, and once again the question is avoided and the possibility for character development skipped over.

And so in the end, with the usual moment of redemption, as Karen started to make breakfast for Hank, it was sweet, but it also felt sad…like she’d resigned herself to her lot.  She was right to shrug off his tattoo – it wasn’t a declaration of love thoughtfully inked; it was a drunken game with about as much value as Charlie’s butterfly.  And if that little anchor symbolized anything, it symbolized Karen and Becca being dragged down by the weight of Hank rather than any lovely image of them being what holds him in place.

Because they don’t hold him in place!  With a gun stuck to his head, Hank’s love for them flashed before his eyes and then he still stayed out all night drinking with his buddy.  I’m starting to think Hank’s just a guy who wants to think that he’s a guy who truly loves, but he’s deluding himself because all he loves is himself.

Hank and Karen are a couple relying on their history rather than cultivating a present or really living into a future.  And I think the same can be said of Californication itself right now.  We had a number of references to previous episodes last night (the squirting, the artist within, the bookstore wanderings, and even Charlie’s description of his own life as a television show watched on tivo) as if the writers were trying to remind us of some of its former glory.  But the present was messy and chaotic and the future promised nothing except a frantic wind down into the series closer.

I’ve been a staunch defender of this show.  I’ve found its play with sexual morality and family structures to be interesting and insightful.  But something’s slipped in the last few episodes and its chaos now feels too silly for insight.  With what seemed to be Sue Collini’s last out, I realize I’m only hanging on now because there’s only 2 episodes left and I may as well see what happens.

Posted by Natalie.

Read the entire Californication conversation from start to finish

Written by themothchase

November 30, 2009 at 9:59 am

2 Responses

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  1. Hank…oh, I just want to smack him sometimes, but I don’t put all the blame on him. Karen and those other women enable him waaay too much! When Karen was cooking him breakfast, I wanted to shake her and say “wake up and SMELL the coffee.” In 10 years do you really want to be doing more of this same crap? I loved what Becca said, but of course Karen’s not going to take heed. I realize this isn’t exactly PC, but I’d love to know what is it about men that make perfectly reasonable women so damned desperately afraid of being alone that they’re willing to take the crap they do?


    November 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    • Thanks for the comment, Sabrina – yes, I absolutely agree with you! That breakfast scene was the nail in the coffin for me on hoping that Karen has any sense. Taking up such a domestic acquiescence to Hank only affirmed the continual playing out of problematic gender roles…gender roles I had hoped they were playing with, but it turns out in the end, they’re only affirming in a new and sad way. Sigh!


      November 30, 2009 at 3:21 pm

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