Just when it seems like it's impossible to be surprised by Californication's off-centered depiction of rich, wacky Los Angelinos, we meet Tyler's (Scott Michael Foster) parents: two lesbians with a penchant for live-model phallus photography. And with that the season continues on the upward path, with another strong outing courtesy of this week's episode, "Raw." That's the title of Tyler's script that Hank (David Duchovny) is forced to read; the Drea de Matteo business is now public knowledge, but once again Becca (Madeleine Martin) uses her only-child charm to help Tyler get a desired response. But coercion is the episode's rampant theme, as both Hank and Charlie (Evan Handler) find themselves in rather helpful positions.
Fucking And Punching: The Tweener edition
Surprise, surprise, Tyler, the manipulator has been working an angle this whole time. It's no coincidence that Becca's new man just happens to be an aspiring writer. As his quasi-autobiographical screenplay spells out, Tyler bagged Becca to get to Hank, who is apparently his idol considering the way his mothers gasp when he shows up at their house. (He claims the love is real now, but he's not the most trustworthy guy, is he?) Hank is mortified to read what is essentially a vivid account of his only daughter's sex life, but weirdly enough a visit to Tyler's house softens his perspective.
Do Tyler's stoner, free-love moms seem like they run the sanest of households? Not one bit. But their ease with Tyler and Becca's relationship, and comfortably raising a sexually aware teenager in general, are enough to make Hank feel self-conscious about his own parenting. So Tyler wins another battle of the wits with his favorite writer, but if anybody should reconsider their parenting skills, (besides the Runkles, but more on them in a second) it's Karen (Natascha McElhone). Is it just us or does it seem like she's falling over the line between cool mom and neglectfully blase? Either way, while Becca has been disgustingly manipulative towards Hank most of this season, it was nice to see Karen reassure Hank that he's a good father, and thank him for having Bates' (Jason Beghe) back in the last episode, "Here I Go Again."
Just in case the audience was in danger of forgetting about the Santa Monica Cop opus-in-the-making, Samurai (RZA) shows up at the tail end of the episode, and he's got company: Eddie Nero (Rob Lowe, killing it once again) the enigmatic, wildly disturbing actor who portrayed Hank on-screen (seriously, whatever happened to that movie, though?). The pair of oddball actors want Hank to write a role in SMC for Nero, but things get really interesting when Eddie finds Tyler's script—and loves it. Is Tyler about to take Hank's spot in the industry?
The Runkle-Lizzie-Begs sex odyssey
We've recently complained about Marcy's (Pamela Adlon) unfortunate sidelining for most of Season Five, but last night she made a triumphant return. While she and Stu (Stephen Toblowsky) are away, Charlie and Lizzie will play, and right there in the master bedroom. The disrespect is only topped from there, though, as a hiding Charlie and Lizzie discover how Marcy and Stu like to get going in the bedroom: Runkle-bashing role play, and each scenario is more demeaning than the one before. Runkle sitting upstairs paralyzed while contractor Stu bangs his wife? Stu-as-Charlie, after a penis enlarging surgery? Charlie can't go a day without getting publicly embarrassed.
As for his future embarrassment, it's been decided: Lizzie is definitely conning him. While their first encounters may have been in earnest, the career confused au pair is now clearly using Charlie to finance whatever whimsical notion she's onto now. Even after reaching his one-hundredth lay, sex is still a sublimely easy way to manipulate Runkle into well, anything. This isn't going to end well, but we have to admit we're disappointed that things didn't lead to an orgy in the Begs household. Which seems so inevitable that it's borderline predictable writing, at this point.
Best Lines Of The Night
"Sometimes I think you wish I stayed a little asexual goth Muppet creature." - Becca
"God I'm so hard right now." - Stu and Charlie
"Man can only shoot but so many loads in his lifetime...literally, you can run out." - Eddie
"You wanna sink the pink ever again in this lifetime?" - Marcy