Lot of favors, lot of do’s and don’ts, a lot of hard, messy lessons learned, and an unfortunate incident in a pool. Only at Rick Rath’s.
The episode begins with actor Hashtag Black, played by Brandon T. Jackson, discussing his potential role on Santa Monica Cop. Hashtag brings the funny and isn’t interested in delivering lines that only serve as exposition. He wants a banging script, damn it! And not the pitch that Goldie doesn’t get a chance to deliver. Oh, and he makes Hank his set-bitch. Well, it at least sounds more interesting of a title than writer. Anyway, the crux of this episode takes place at Rath’s, who is throwing a kickoff party. Just one vital rule: no fucking in the pool.
Hank and Charlie arrive at Rath’s swinging mansion just seconds before Levon and Julia get there. Levon’s ready to meet some banging women, prompting his mother to remind him that she’s not afraid to spank him in a room full of strangers, which…I’ll be frank, if Heather Graham threatened to spank me, I can’t say I’d consider that a bad thing. Levon and Charlie head inside while Julia pulls Hank aside to discuss their son: something’s different about him. He feels more confident and relaxed, as if he’s got a spring in his step. Julia’s not used to it, but regardless, she’s just glad Hank’s been there so he could bond with Levon. Oh, Julia, there’s more to it than that. Her date with Rath went well, though. Too well, as if he tried too hard to be a gentleman instead of just himself.
Inside, Hashtag speaks with Hank in confidence: he doesn’t like the way Rath is writing his character, but Rath is too stubborn to hear him out. Rath is more about drama, but Hashtag wants to do comedy. He needs Hank’s help since Hank is good with wit, but he soon sets his eyes on Julia.
Which leads Rath to come and ask Hank about what, if at all, Julia said about their date. Rath clearly likes Julia, but he doesn’t want to potentially screw things up, so he’s taking it easy.
He leaves when Levon enters due to an urgent need: he needs money because he wants to bone Nikki, even though she’s attending the party with Stu. Also, such a score won’t be cheap. After having sex the first time, Levon feels that sensation again. Hank suggests that he just go pound one out in one of Rath’s many bathrooms, but Levon finds masturbation so lame after getting his dick wet for the first time. Um, no, Levon. Hank assures Levon that masturbation will most definitely still be a part of his life since women don’t just hurl themselves at you.
And not sure why he’s still trying to win her favor after last week, but Charlie is again meeting with Goldie, who is again drinking, which means that she will probably again throw up. Calling it. We do learn one interesting tidbit about Goldie: she can’t swallow or spit because she’s allergic to semen. That’s a thing, apparently. True story, it burns the back of her throat and once made her break out in hives and blotches. Blowing a load on her is like throwing holy water on Linda Blair. Where do these writers come up with these lines?
Goldie believes that Rath let Hashtag humiliate her during the meeting, but when Rath shows up, both play it totally nice. Well, Rath doesn’t to Charlie, whom he calls a degenerate lunatic.
Upstairs, Hank runs into some of the writing staff. Hugh is failing to put the moves on the new female lead, Amy Taylor Walsh, played by Mercedes Masöhn. The two head into a room and Walsh admits that she knows quite a bit about Hank, not the least of which includes his involvement on Fucking and Punching. Now she wants to confide in Hank about something: she doesn’t like how Rath is writing her character and thinks that he’s blowing her off. Amy has a proposition for Hank and promises to make it worth his while.
Stu envies Charlie’s remarriage to Marcy and makes it known. As hard as it is to move on, he’s not there just to focus on the past. He has an indecent proposition for Charlie: he will pay the both of them $1 million if he can have Marcy again for one night.
Amy indeed made it worth Hank’s while with some impressive weed. The two talk about how people with their abilities ended up on such a television show: Hank needed to grow up, but Amy just needed a job. She’s not so interested in growing up. Hell, she’s not so interested in the show, either. She’d been given an offer for a fancy program on the BBC, but her agent talked her into Santa Monica Cop instead. Sounds like a terrible agent. She wants Hank to ask Rath to kill off her character.
Onto Hank’s life, though, Amy is familiar with Sasha Bingham, who is the star of Fucking and Punching. Rumor has it that Hank is great at cunnilingus. How? Hank treats the woman the same way he’d treat a woman- important. And as a writer must show, not tell, Hank offers to show her.
In another television convenient oops moment, Julia walks in before Hank can show very much. Julia isn’t really peeved since it’s none of her business and she’s not Karen. Hashtag wants her to ride with him in his Bentley, which Hank thinks is a bad idea. It also doesn’t help that Rath is jealous of Hashtag hitting on Julia. Stressed by it all, Julia thought having a job would be fun, but it comes with these attachments.
The two wind up on the bed in an actual tickle fight before another convenience: both Rath and Hashtag enter. What, were they both looking for Julia or something? Julia shuts them both down: she’s not won over by his image and while she’s grateful to Rath for a job, it shouldn’t have strings attached. When Julia leaves, Hashtag wants Hank fired even though he a. isn’t in charge and b. has no real reason to outside of anger.
Hugh comes in with the worst news of the night: there’s fucking in the pool.
And wouldn’t you know it? It’s Levon and Nikki having a quick one in the pool. When the crowd arrives, Nikki explains to Stu that she wanted to make some extra cash. Levon tells Julia that Hank would take care of it. Luckily, Nikki gets tested all the time, so she’s straight. That’s good to know, I suppose. When Levon almost admits to his mother that he lost his virginity to a hooker, he then does just that by admitting that this isn’t the first time he’s had sex. Levon just can’t lie to his mother. Admirable. Stupid, but admirable. Hank thought he did the right thing, but he earns himself a slap in the face from Julia for trying to be a good father.
So yeah, the party is turning into a disaster and Goldie takes this opportunity to tell off Rath. Charlie doesn’t back her, which prompts her to insult him. Hashtag finds this funny, but given how he insulted Goldie earlier, she’s not pleased. So she swings a bottle in his direction and misses. She then tries the same thing with Charlie and also misses. What the actual hell is wrong with this woman? Uh-oh, she’s stumbling toward the pool and…
…oh, come the fuck on, woman.
Meanwhile, Hank and Charlie, fucked as they are, prepare to bear through it all because they’ve been fucked before and still came out on top. That’s the kind of men they are.
Things just sucked for almost everyone this week, didn’t they? If “Getting the Poison Out” was about not knowing anymore whether the choices we make are right or wrong, “Kickoff” focused on acknowledging that, yes, some of the decisions we make are indeed wrong and shows the consequences of poor judgment. It also showed the consequences of trying to do the right thing when our priorities are not in order, as was the case last week with Hank and continues this week. Not just with Hank, but other characters like Charlie and Levon as well.
What I like about the characters of Californication is that they’re willing to admit when they screwed up, it takes a lot for them to start changing. Or when they do, they meet massive resistance. And Karen’s not here to be the moral compass, so we don’t have a voice of reason this week.
The episode also focused not just on taking responsibility for your actions, but also having to shoulder the blame. Hank mostly saddles responsibility this week and has to be the catalyst that gets things happening. He doesn’t do that, but whether dealing with Rath, Hashtag or Amy, Hank has to be the ear that will hear people out since they don’t have the fortitude to handle their problems on their own. Hank is seen as a problem solver, and he is, though his solutions aren’t all that great, as we see with Levon.
As was the case last week with the student, Hank cannot escape his sexual escapades from way back when. What he did back then wasn’t the right thing to do, and now he’s trying to make up for his mistakes. So it feels like a step backwards when he’s caught in compromising positions, whether between a woman’s legs or having to explain to the mother of your newly discovered son that you paid a hooker to take away his virginity.
Again, I get that Levon doesn’t want to lie to his mother, but really, kid, could you have picked a worse time to explain how you popped your cherry? Levon’s naïveté really comes out here in stark contrast to the cool confidence he displayed earlier in the episode. That wasn’t going to last long. Levon’s had a taste of the non-virgin life and he wants more of it, but since that doesn’t just readily come at a moment’s notice, he’s become antsy and unable to keep his urges buried until the right time comes.
It was quite ridiculous of him and Nikki to try and boink in the pool when there were nine perfectly good bathrooms to choose from. Maybe they thought being in the water would reduce the chances of diseases. I dunno. What I do know is Levon needs to restrain himself or he may end up showing his cock to another woman besides Melanie. Also, a little over the top of him to wish he was still a virgin so wouldn’t have had a glimpse of the promised land. Man, Nikki must have had one hell of a vagina.
Julia’s reaction wasn’t as over the top as I expected. Hell, her rant to Hank in the studio felt more extreme than the simple slap in the face he got. But she’s got to understand that she can’t keep Levon tethered to her forever. Like Karen, Julia wants Levon to make the right choices that don’t compromise his character. Levon is changing. He’s not going to remain an introvert who is afraid to talk to girls in person. Now that he’s lost his virginity, that sensation will return every now and then and unless Julia wants to lock him in a chastity device, she better prepare for more poolside encounters.
And when it comes to Charlie and Goldie…I honestly don’t know what the hell to make of this. If last week wasn’t enough of an indication to let things go, Charlie really needs to let Goldie go not because she’s batshit insane, but completely paranoid. I honestly don’t think Rath is as out for her as she claims.
We’ve yet to learn about Goldie’s writing prowess outside of learning from Charlie that she wrote an episode of Dawson’s Creek, so I can’t understand why she thinks she’s so great. We’re not given any indication of it since, as far as I know, she hasn’t been slated to write any episodes of Santa Monica Cop. She thinks the world is out to get her, but I think she’s just not as great as she would like Charlie to believe. At least we learn she can’t spit or swallow.
I don’t think he’ll agree to Stu’s proposal, despite telling Hank about his money woes. He and Marcy hopefully have more integrity than that.
Oh, and Goldie throwing up in the pool? Not only is that just a disgusting image- not unlike the scene in Porky’s 2 when Wendy fake vomited into a pristine looking fountain- but come on! She was surrounded by plenty of grass and could have just puked on the lawn. Heading to the pool, like the barf scene last week in Charlie’s car, just felt predictable, but this one was just way too over the top.
“Kickoff” was another example of Californication showing how messy of a world these people live in, but still find a way to weather through it. Hank’s line to Charlie rings true about a constant throughout the show’s run: they’ve been fucked so hard by the world before and still come out on top. Despite being in a low place yet again, they always find a way to bounce back.
Any thoughts, questions, comments, concerns, issues? Would appreciate them if you have any. Thanks.