Life in the entertainment industry is fast-paced, unfair and full of surprises. One slip-up can create a domino effect. Hollywood isn’t as cracked up as some would hope. Granted, Californication has shown us that before, but we get an even closer look as we watch Hank’s first day producing an episode of Santa Monica Cop. As is often the case, he’s sidetracked by many issues, but they make for one entertaining viewing.
The episode begins on the set of Santa Monica Cop, where Hashtag discusses kissing his on-screen bitches, Julia and Amy. As in he actually refers to them as such, much to their chagrin. Amy isn’t into making out with Hashtag, but Hashtag wants to be bold.
Hank isn’t as up to date on television rules as others, but according to the director, the idea should be to milk the sexual tension as long as possible. Hashtag wants that rule changed. Either way, Rath makes the final call, but Rath isn’t there because he finds the set a huge waste of time. So Hashtag has a second suggestion: kiss Amy in order to make Julia jealous. Sounds perfect. When Julia asks Hashtag to stop referring to the women as bitches, Hashtag becomes defensive- he likes to be expressive, so people should let him be free with his language. It’s a fair argument, since Amy and Julia can always quit and let Hashtag have all of the screen time, but then we’d probably be left with him kissing his mirror image.
But I digress. The director considers Hashtag’s proposal: network television is on its deathbed. What? Has this not been paying attention to the last few years-oh, forget it. However, in confidence with Hank, he hates the idea. However, he needs to play nice with Hashtag or the crew will be in for a long season. Hank just thinks Rath will reject the idea, but the director assures him that things will work out for the best. Sometimes it’s best to indulge children. I thought that’s what us viewers did with this show every week.
Off the set, Hank meets up with Amy, who would rather kiss him than anyone else. The director has made a few advances on her, including sending a picture of his penis. How sweet. In response, she asked where the rest of it was. I feel like I’ve watched a conversation like this before.
There it is. Don’t ask.
Anyway, since then, the director has backed off. Amy wants Hank in her trailer to discuss and probably to see his cock, but Hank wants to be a good boy this week. That’s very funny, Hank. Amy sees no fun in being on your best behavior. Besides, Hank already has to meet with Rath, so Amy wants him in her trailer after that.
Suddenly Rath! Hank gives details of the on-set nonsense, but Rath reminds Hank that he put him in charge for a reason- it’s his call as long as he’s on the set. Oh, and he warns Hank to stay away from the infamous man-eater that is Amy Taylor Walsh. Now there’s a backstory we didn’t get during her introduction. He also wants to know how to get back into Amy’s good graces. Hank advises Rath to either let it go for now or wait until production on the show has finished. Or when it’s canceled. Whichever comes first. Rath cuts their conversation short when he remembers he has to meet with Eddie Nero. The network is desperate for stunt casting, so Nero may be right for the show.
Before Hank can get on with his day, Julia calls him to her trailer, where she has flowers from Rath. Her one note for Hank- shut up and fuck her. Sonja said something similar, and we remember how that ended. Before the two can get hot and heavy, Levon the cock-blocker arrives to save the day.
Indeed, the spawn of Julia comes in and senses some weird energy. He’s here to ask Hank to sit in on his audition. He thinks the casting director is only doing this as a favor, which it is, but Levon would still like Hank to say positive things to Rath about his audition since Julia probably will not.
In the office, Hank evades Hashtag for the moment. He and Levon head to the casting room where Levon makes it perfectly clear that he’s fine with nudity. The casting director, played by Rebecca Metz, tells Levon that nudity won’t be necessary at all. He just wanted to make it known. Sensible, I guess, if not excessive. It goes as well as you’d expect. His nervous tummy causes him to let one rip. And scene!
Hashtag didn’t believe Hank’s ruse that he was on-set, so Hank just goes to meet him. In the process, he ducks into another room. This, I feel, is our proper introduction to the character of Jade, played by Jade Catta-Preta, because although we’ve seen her before during the writers’ meetings and she’s had a few lines, this is when we get to learn a bit about her. And what do we learn? She’s got the hots for Hank and thinks that he brings more fun to the job than someone like Hugh would. She’s totally into an interoffice romance, but Hank tries to deflect her advances by reminding her that a moment on the lips means a lifetime on the hips.
The hell does that mean?
Jade still wants the sex since she considers herself the hottest woman on the staff. She is pretty banging, I must admit. In enters Hugh to tell Hank that his manager is there to see him. For some reason, Hugh follows Hank just to tell him how much he wants to ask Jade out instead of doing exactly what Hank suggests: asking her out.
Charlie arrives to support Hank on his first produced episode, but Hank correctly guesses that he’s there for more than that and it has to do with him. He’s right. Charlie brings up Stu’s deal to Hank, who can’t even imagine Karen being subjected to such a thing, even after putting up with Bates having sex with her. And despite how horrific the deal sounds, Charlie can’t help but get turned on by the possibility. Hank believes that Charlie thinks, deep down, he doesn’t deserve to be happy, but Charlie needs to tell his dick that he can.
Suddenly, Stu! He’s not there to help out with production. He’s a hands-off executive producer, meaning he’s every executive producer ever. He’s hands-on when it comes to money, which brings him to Charlie. His offer does have an expiration him, but Charlie says nuts to this and punches Stu. That’ll show him, even though Marcy is still open to the offer.
Terry arrives to tell Hank that, to no one’s surprise, Hashtag wants to see him. At least Hank doesn’t have to go very far, as Hashtag is standing right behind him. Though Hank is in no mood to talk, he’s not really in a position to say no at this point, so the two chat and blaze. Hashtag levels with Hank. He’s unsure now whether he can handle superstardom. Mate, if you could handle being on Tropic Thunder, I think you handle anything at this point. Hashtag is worried that if the show flops, it could hurt his reputation since he’s on billboards promoting the show. How does this show have billboards already? It hasn’t even finished production.
Anyway, Hashtag wants a scene written where he gets to make out with Amy since things are very complicated with Julia. Huh. He brings in two other writers to spice up a scene that Hank wrote and is about to shoot. Hank didn’t want to write that scene anyway, so chances are Hashtag would have found others to do it.
But now Amy wants Hank’s attention again. This time, she needs his opinion of her wardrobe, which consists of a bra and jeans. I think the wardrobe is fabulous. Actually, she just wanted Hank to see her in her undergarments. Mission Accomplished on that front. The two kiss and…that’s it. After all, Amy didn’t think it was right that Hank went down on her first and they hadn’t even kissed. At least Amy knows a thing or two about etiquette. Before Amy can return the favor, Hank brings her up. He doesn’t think is a good idea.
You know who else doesn’t? Hashtag, who bursts into the dressing room. I guess knocking isn’t a thing on the Santa Monica Cop set. Amy wasn’t expecting visitors. Well, other visitors, anyway. Despite Hashtag proclaiming himself as top dog, Amy still won’t fuck him. She suggests he go fuck an extra instead. After all, that’s what they’re for. Hashtag leaves in a huff as Amy proclaims she can’t believe how unprofessional people can be. Seriously! Why can’t Hashtag just go fuck an extra like a sensible person instead of barging into unlocked dressing rooms?
Well, he barges in again just to call out Hank’s betrayal, but a set PA pops in to let everyone know that they’re ready on set. Time to make some television.
En route to the set, Hank calls Karen, who is on her way for their meeting. Karen isn’t looking forward to what may be an unpleasant conversation, but the two need to discuss how and when Hank will tell Becca about his new life.
On the set, Rath returns from his meeting with Eddie Nero, and it went about as bad as expected. Oh, come on! Quit teasing Rob Lowe and just show him already!
Hashtag goes off script, to no one’s surprise. He uses this opportunity to point out Hank fooling around with Amy, which kicks off a domino effect that leads to Julia being upset about Hank fooling around with Amy while inside of Julia. He never got that far in the trailer, Julia.
Amy herself isn’t pleased with having to play second fiddle to Julia, and Julia doesn’t think that’s very nice at all. Heather Graham, you can be meaner than that.
The director goes off on everyone and even goes as far as firing Levon, but Rath steps in and shuts him down, reminding him that he calls the final shots. Anyone looking to be fired has to go through him.
Hank isn’t sorry about fooling around, but he comes to Julia’s defense. Who she screws is her business and she doesn’t exist to service men.
Well, there was that one time she was a stripper, so that’s not entirely true.
Regardless, Julia can’t get upset at Hank after defending her honor.
Hank leaves the set to take when he gets a phone call from Karen. To his surprise, it’s Marcy’s voice on the other line. She’s at the hospital and Karen has been in an off-screen car accident.
Like “Kickoff,” “30 Minutes or Less” gives no one a moment’s rest for some private time. Not for long, anyway. Like Hashtag going off the cuff during rehearsals, each event felt like an unscripted event. Nothing goes according to plan. But Californication would be pretty dull if everything occurred without a few bumps in the road since most of what happens this week is a distraction from something else.
For Hank, we see him trying to do the right thing again. And we see him get tempted again. And he gets caught in compromising situations again. And he’s got problems on multiple fronts again. It’s funny, but I want to see Hank actually try to grow up and say no. As is, he still succumbs to the power of the pussy. Maybe he just needs a chastity device.
Also, like on “Kickoff,” Hank is the problem solver and man in charge. But as Rath points out, his toxic personality infects everyone around him and keeps him from setting a good example.
And yet, he’s still witty and charming- a testament to the sharp writing of this show. I liked his line to Rath about Julia choosing to do what she likes instead of succumbing to his every whim. This doesn’t excuse Hank fooling around with Amy or Julia, but it shows that he’s not some sex crazed brute.
In addition, he’s still supportive when he sits in on Levon’s audition or tells Charlie to man up. Hank should be an adult more often, but he’s still a kid growing up and adjusting to the real world. He can’t take control of a situation and be the responsible adult, like Rath does on set.
I’m getting mixed signals from Julia and Levon. With Julia, she and Hank both said that hooking up and rekindling their romance was a bad idea, yet here she’s pursuing him. Maybe that’s a result of spending so much time with him, but she should still prioritize.
And Levon, who didn’t want Hank fooling around with Julia, is suddenly ecstatic about the possibility of them getting back together, even though that would inevitably mean they’re going to fool around.
And is Charlie saying no to Stu’s deal? Because I can’t imagine Marcy will just go along with that, given how much she’s open to the proposition.
As for Karen’s off-screen car crash, it felt like a way for the show to create easy drama and leave the episode on a cliffhanger to entice viewers to keep watching.
It’s also the second time, I believe, that we’ve had a Moody in a car crash, as was the case with Becca and Pearl took the Porsche for a ride and crashed it in Season 4, so it felt a bit too familiar. The tone shift was radical and, in my mind, came off as a last minute addition.
There’s a lot wrapped into this episode. Hank and Charlie need to take ownership of their respective situations and not be tempted by an enticing, but morally wrong decision. But if characters had their sex drives under control, I say again, this show would not be nearly as fun as it is. The episode suffers from a somewhat forced ending designed to tug at our emotional heartstrings, but felt more like a way to give Hank another problem. Sure, the stakes are much higher this time, but did they need to be?
Any questions, comments, concerns, issues, complaints? If so, would like to hear them.