The Most Metal Moments in the Third Episode of Californication
“It appears that I have had a relapse of some sort,” says David Duchovny’s Hank Moody character near the end of this season’s third episode of Californication, titled “Dead Rock Stars.” Without revealing any spoilers (at least for a show that’s all about decadence), the unraveling of Moody seems to have begun again. This time the catalyst is Moody’s rehab counselor releasing him into the real world, after a scene where comedian and, at least in the fictional reality of this episode, food addict Artie Lange chokes on some random snacks.
With Moody back in the overindulgent fêtes of gritty West Hollywood, he succumbs to his old ways quickly, as he accompanies the last episode‘s muse-cum-groupie (no dirtiness intended) to the funeral of her recently passed rock-star paramour. The “service”—in which Californication‘s producers attempt to imagine what a rocker’s grand finale looks like—starts to bring this season’s hard-rock thrust back into focus, thanks in no small part to cameos from the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones and Sebastian Effin’ Bach as the deceased guitarist. With that on the table, here are our picks for the most metal moments in “Dead Rock Stars.”
Groupie Etiquette Defined
As Artie Lange nearly chokes, the last episode’s groupie-muse character Faith, played by Maggie Grace, tells the rehab counselor that the funeral services for the guitarist she was adulterating were happening that day. When he tells her she should go, she says, “That would be a pretty serious breach of groupie etiquette.” She elaborates by saying, “I can’t just show up there all alone. The chick who rolls up solo to the funeral is usually the one who was fucking a dead guy.”
While Robert’s Rules of Road-Dog Order has never officially been published, Faith may have hit on something by outlining the parameters of groupie protocol. Should she respect the boundaries of common decency with regard to STD-riddled fretboard fornicators? Moreover, since she was in love with this man (and we assume he loved her back), how dutifully should she dodge his widow and the friends who hid her from the widow? Which side of the plate does the salad fork go on? Somehow she knows how to work around these burning questions (and probably other burning things) and we should commend her respectability in the manner. The only downfall, as we learn, is Hank Moody, whom the counselor sends along with her to the funeral.
Fictional Rock Stars Have Epic Funerals!
The scenes depicting Faith’s dead rocker ex (who, just so you don’t think we’re being cagey, is officially named Dead Rock Star) showcase one metal funeral. There’s a dude passed out on a headstone, fans are holding black T-shirts, biker types pour out alcohol and cheers one another, paparazzi take pictures, there are merch tents(!) and tour programs and lots of crying. In the merch area, vendors pour vodka from coffin-shaped bottles and tow fans are kissing and pissing simultaneously. It’s a funeral with VIP Access passes! The rocker’s coffin is studded with skull-encrusted guitars and iron crosses and lined with leopard print, adorned with backstage passes. Giant stacks of Marshall amps flank the coffin. Best yet, the “tour manager” on set is played by Steve Jones and the rock-star corpse is none other than Sebastian Bach!
Fictional Rock Stars Say Goodbye Like Real-Life Rappers
Taking a cue from 2Pac and his Coachella hologram, Bach’s rock star alter ego gets beamed over his coffin. “If you’re seeing me in this badass holographic form, that means I must be dead, which totally sucks for me,” he says in an English accent that really doesn’t sound like Sebastian Bach. “I don’t want any of you people feeling sorry for me,” he continues. “I’ve had a great fucking life.” Then the at least 30-foot-high hologram does another thing we’ve never seen Sebastian Bach do: He rips out a shredding guitar solo!
After the guitar solo, it seems like Faith’s groupie etiquette has paid off. After having a confrontation with Bach’s widow, they reconcile. “I’m sorry I was such a bitch,” says the widow. “I’m sorry I fucked your husband,” Faith rejoins. All is well in the world.
The Orgy Scene
“You’re all invited back to my place,” says Atticus Fetch, actor Tim Minchin’s (living) fictional rock star introduced in episode one of this season, at the funeral. “We’ll consume narcotics and listen to Exile [on Main Street, by the Rolling Stones] and get our penises out in honor of our fallen comrade.” And damned if they didn’t do just that. Back at the mansion introduced in the last episode, Fetch approaches Moody naked, holding an acoustic guitar. “I’m going to play you the greatest song ever written in the history of the universe,” he says. “After which, we shall snort cocaine and have our assholes tongued by the angels.” And again, damned if they don’t do just that—just not onscreen. (Spoilers ahead!) The next day when Moody’s ex Karen arrives to start the interior design job Fetch’s wife hired her for, she finds Moody in a drugged-out sleep on a pile of topless women. “We shared an 8-ball, amongst other things,” explains Fetch. Moody has relapsed indeed.
Production stills by Jordin Althaus/SHOWTIME