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Californication: Season 3 - Review

Californication: Season 3

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

SPECIAL FEATURES: Campus Tour; Sounds of Californication; Casting Couch; OMG! Is That Rick Springfield?; Guest Relations; Pamela Adlon’s Video Diary; Marcy’s Pajama Party.

AFTER the relative under-performance of Season 2, David Duchovny and his Californication rediscovered their mojo with the wickedly perverse third season.

With Natascha McElhone’s Karen gone to New York, Duchovny’s Hank was left to his own fornicating devices in LA and immediately got himself in trouble by landing himself a job as a college professor.

Best friend Charlie (Evan Handler), meanwhile, manages to move back in with estranged wife Marcy (Pamela Adlon), but only on the understanding that they’ll still divorce.

And Becca, Hanks’ daughter, is trying to remain in LA and cope with her dad, while blossoming into a rebellious teenager herself.

By focusing more on its principal players and upping the sexual shenanigans involving Hank, Californication got back to the filthy fun that marked out its debut season as so much fun.

Hank remained a loveable rogue but was supported by a superb ensemble of supporting characters who clearly thrived on the witty, outlandish script that fuelled much of proceedings.

And boy was there plenty to savour… not least Hank’s attempts to juggle three women in the form of the Dean’s wife, Felicia (Embeth Davidtz), fellow teacher Jill (Diane Farr) and promiscuous student Jackie (Eva Amurri) (who moonlighted as a pole dancer by night).

Being Hank, this proved more than he was capable of doing. But being Californication, his misdemeanours were discovered in hilarious fashion when all three women descended on his apartment mid-season… along with the returning Karen. The episode in question was one of the season highlights.

Californication: Season 3

But there were many more and Californication’s ability to mix promiscuous, outrageous laughs with moments of poignant emotion were never more evident than during the episodes Slow Happy Boys (in which Hank receives a visit from an old friend) and season finale Mia Culpa, which ended with the jaw-dropping cliff-hanger ending involving Hank’s arrest.

Evan Handler’s Charlie continued to shine, too, as he desperately tried to get back with Marcy and turn his life around. He remains an endearing ‘loser’… someone who clearly wants to do the right thing, but frequently finds himself succumbing to his (and Hank’s) desires.

With further guest appearances from Kathleen Turner (playing it for maximum laughs) and Rick Springfield (poking fun at himself at every opportunity), Season 3 was continually hilarious viewing that just seemed to get better and better.

It has firmly re-established itself as the ‘go-to’ programme for adult laughs, scintillating drama and quality performances thanks to a set of characters we’ve really come to love.

Certificate: 18
Number of discs/episodes: 3/12
UK DVD Release: February 7, 2011