Snorting Ashes, the Mile-High Club, and the Most Metal Moments from Last Night’s Californication
First things first, how great was it to watch an episode of Californication and not see actor Evan Handler, who plays the lovably defeated agent Charlie Runkle, bare-ass naked? Last night’s episode was titled “In the Clouds,” and all that clothed Runkle really did feel like a dream. Runkle’s “rock” jacket and experimentation with guyliner made for a great respite from seeing his tramp stamp. Wonder how long that will last, especially since the ever-demented Marilyn Manson will appear in next week’s episode.
As for “Lost in the Clouds,” the episode was a satirical sendup of rock-star excess, since it mostly took place on the New York-bound plane belonging to Atticus Fetch, the show’s overindulgent coke-loving, sex-obsessed rocker played by Tim Minchin. Or as the show’s Bukowskian author Hank Moody (played by David Duchovny) says, “He’s like a retarded rock-and-roll puppy.” Not only was the plane named Air Force 69 but it has two stewardesses who claim, “Your every wish is our command.” Or, er, “Atticus makes us say that shit. But we will make out with each other if you want.” And they do! And with that opening, thus began one of the dirtiest episodes in Californication history (that doesn’t feature nudity), complete with mile-high-clubbing, snorting cadaveric ashes, hand jobs, adultery, and sodomy—just for those keeping track. Culling from those excesses, here are our picks for the episode’s most metal moments.
Air Force 69
Although Fetch’s plane was briefly seen in the first episode of the season, let’s take a closer look at its many wonders. As far as rock legends go, this is how we’d all like to imagine Sabbath, Zeppelin, Nugent, Def Leppard, GN’R, and all the other drugs-n-groupie-loving Golden Gods of rock travel. In addition to its lesbianic stewardesses—who take quite kindly to Sex Pistol Steve Jones, who plays a security guard this season—the plane features many stairways to heaven-on-earth: there’s a Clockwork Orange–esque white porcelain bar, a couple of Marshall stacks (including one upholstered in white fur), a drum set, a piano, and what Fetch calls his “erotic chapel.” The latter chamber is basically a mile-high fuckpad, complete with a statue holding one of those orbs with lightning in it, a waterbed and fur blankets, and posters and gold records on the wall to remind Fetch why he’s so awesome.
It’s in the “erotic chapel,” where he propositions the season’s groupie extraordinaire Faith (actress Maggie Grace) to be his muse, referencing the “Dead Rock Star” of episode three, named Tony, who was played by Sebastian Bach. “Tony said when you came into his life, he was blocked and bloated and strung out on China white, and two days later, he had a double album’s worth of material,” Fetch tells Faith. “I would very much like to receive the same benefits. In exchange for which you would receive first-class travel, pharmaceutical grade narcotics, the occasional trinket, and a solid 5.9 inches of rock-star penis.” Which, he clarifies with a twinge of nervousness in his voice, “That’s from taint to tip. And that’s the high end of average. Don’t believe what you read.” Uh, no comment.
And before we totally move on from the topic of Fetch’s frisky fellow, I’d like to address his masturbation rant. When Moody calls the rock star out about cheating on his wife, Fetch protests by saying, “That’s different. Do you urinate, Hank? Do you defecate? There are elements in the human body that need to take flight. Ejaculate’s just one of them.” To which Moody says, “Right, that’s what masturbation’s for.” And Fetch says, “No, masturbation? Masturbation’s for the poor, the downtrodden, the silent unfuckables. I walk down the street and women present themselves. They want to extract my fluids. It’s an honor and a privilege, Hank. What sort of asshole would refuse such a kindness?”
Although Moody once again brings up Fetch’s wife, whom the rock star drugged with Ambien so he could hit on Faith, I’d like to point out Moody’s hypocrisy: For a man who is constantly trying to get back with his ex, he very rarely turns down sex. It’s the thing that keeps the series going, and it’s what makes Moody a rock-star character in his own right, but at a certain point, you gotta wonder when he’s going to start questioning his own culpability, especially now that his daughter is asking him about blowjobs, as she does at the beginning of this episode. I don’t want to protest too much, though, since Hank’s hankerings are what keeps the show going.
The Dead Rock Star’s Widow, Trudy
She may be in mourning, but Tony’s widow (played by Alanna Ubach) is not giving up on good times. Not only does she intend to sprinkle Tony’s ashes around Madison Square Garden (see her trying to snort them in the image) but she makes no bones about getting fresh with Runkle. When the agent tells her he’s afraid of flying, she relaxes him by giving him a handjob. “Stand up and shout for Trudy,” she says, forever sullying the title of a Dio classic with images of Runkle’s little Runkle. It doesn’t take long, though, before Runkle puts his seat back in its upright position. “You’re a speedy one, ain’t you,” she says. “Good for you. You got yours. I might ask you to put it in me bum later. It’s too small for the front, but just right for the back.” (Spoilers) And she does, right before the plane goes into a nose dive à la Lynyrd Skynyrd. See for yourself:
“What’s your favorite Radiohead album?” Faith asks Moody mid-episode. “Oh that’s easy. None of them. That shit’s way too cool for me.” She playfully says, “Fuck off.” That’s score one for Moody. Then he turns it around: “Here’s one for you. Side two, track three, Houses of the Holy, by a little band they liked to call the Led Zeppelin.” She smirks and goes, “Mmmm, ‘No Quarter.’” In my book, that’s match point for Faith. Moody’s beloved ex, Karen, better watch out, because this may be love. At the end of the episode (spoilers again), she tells Moody, “You made it to the next round,” right before she invites him into Fetch’s fur-covered bed. “Is it naked naptime?” Moody asks. I’m guessing next week. Karen will not be a-mused.
Production stills by Jordin Althaus/SHOWTIME