Prying Parents, Nine Inch Nails and the Most Metal Moments From Last Night’s Californication
Last night’s Californication episode was about a crisis of faith…literally. As the show’s Bukowskian author antihero character Hank Moody (David Duchovny) has gotten to know the groupie character named Faith (geddit?), played by Maggie Grace, she’s been a bit more than just some magic muse trope, she’s shown real heart and even proven herself to be a bit of an ethicist. Newly evicted from her bungalow, which incidentally belongs to Atticus Fetch’s brother, she takes Moody on a Hobbit journey down the 405 to meet her parents. As Hank tells his daughter Becca earlier in the episode, “Things that seem romantic very seldom are,” and this getaway is anything but, considering Faith’s father, Jack, is a regretful, softcore-porn-obsessed milquetoast and her mother, Mary (of course), is a Bible beater par excellence who hasn’t really forgiven Faith for abandoning the righteous life for self-righteous musicians. With a rather awkward, gender-reversed Meet the Parents-like scenario in place, the episode had quite a few metal moments, including one particularly blasphemous depiction of Christ set to Marilyn Manson’s cover of “Personal Jesus,” all detailed below.
The Parent Trap
As Faith and Moody enter her childhood home, the author says, “You didn’t tell me you grew up in a religious supply store.” Faith’s response? “That’s why I’m such a slut.” But for whatever temptations Moody might be feeling, he doesn’t get much of a chance to express it because of Faith’s mom, Mary, played by actress Mary Kay Place (who played an almost equally maniacal Jesusfreak in Big Love). Faith’s dad, Jack (Bill Smitrovich), attempts to watch a little porno—which is nothing more than a woman’s behind in daisy dukes—but that doesn’t go far and when Hank profanes the pope, Jack tells him, “You better watch it, Pal. That woman will burn you at the stake for talking like that.” Later, she voices her opinions when saying grace, thanking God for “watching Faith while she’s been out whoring with the Devil’s children” and “keeping her from sexually transmitted diseases.”
This sort of story is anything but uncommon among metalheads—if it’s not your story, you know someone with this story—so it was one of those relatable moments that showed a bit why Faith became a muse. As she says later in the episode, “The funny thing is I’m still looking, searching [for meaning]; I still believe that it’s all connected somehow—even sex and god and rock and roll.” But, as we all know intimately, her mother wouldn’t appreciate that. After Moody tells her mother that musicians have written songs about Faith, she replies, “Sure after she’s sucked their filthy penises.” I have to say, Faith had a good reply when she said, “Why do you just assume that they’re filthy? And what’s so bad about a blowjob between friends? Men love it when you suck their dicks.” Her dad concurred, “Amen.” (Spoiler) The real revelation, though, is that Faith was once training to become a nun, until some of the sisters caught her masturbating. “They told you not to make a ‘habit’ of it,” Moody deadpans. Overall, though, this episode revealed another side to Faith’s character…and not just in the scene where she goes down on Hank in a church.
One of the things I’ve liked about Californication from day one are the references to heavy music that are hidden throughout the dialog. Obvious ones are the names of Moody’s books, God Hates Us All, South of Heaven, and Seasons in the Abyss (Slayer!), but there are a lot more subtle ones. In this episode, when Jack is talking about his daughter he lets loose a little Smashing Pumpkins love, “This house was too fucking strict. She msut have felt like a rat in a cage.” Although it ain’t something most middle-aged men would just emit, it fit and it worked. And later, when Faith is talking to Mary in her childhood bedroom—which is strewn with posters of Kurt Cobain, classic Robert Plant, Metallica and a few less awesome ones—Mary describes Jack as “a raging alcoholic on the highway to hell.”
Nine Inch Nails
In a moment of extreme surrealism, Faith sees Atticus Fetch (played by Tim Minchin) on a crucifix actually playing Jesus. I’ve slowed the scene down, just for some extra nail-biting fun. Until next week, stay free…
Production stills by Jordin Althaus/SHOWTIME