‘Californication’ Review – ‘Blind Faith’
Genre: Comedy, Drama
-Dialogue/conflict between Hank and daughter Becca is realistic
-Hank is sympathetic as father figure to Becca
-Symbolism in Faith's dream of Atticus over-the-top and not subtle enough for audiences to relate to
-Dialogue between Hank and Becca constrained to only the episode prologue before opening credits
Hank Meets Faith’s Parents In This Week’s “Californication”
The “Californication” episode “Blind Faith” revolves around Hank Moody’s meeting with Faith’s parents. Hank’s meeting with her folks successfully helps him reflect on how he can improve as Becca’s father.
The episode starts with Becca telling her parents that she wants to go abroad and travel the world like the Beat Generation writers and their peers. Hank discourages her, telling her that the primary part of being a writer is actually working on writing, and that every miscellaneous non-literary stereotype of the “writer” persona is, in his own words, “nothing more than posing.” Instead, he wants her to go to school and study, so she can be successful in whatever future career that college provides for her. As Becca’s mother, Karen sides with her and disagrees with Hank about his expectations of Becca.
The family dynamic is realistically portrayed, especially with the Freudian “Electra” element of fathers being over-protective of their daughters and mothers having conflicted disagreements with fathers. The dialogue is very witty and the family conflict is portrayed in a way that many people can easily identify with.
When Hank sees his muse, Faith, on his own private time, she refuses to answer a cell-phone call from her parents. Hank wonders about the phone call and Faith’s adamant refusal to answer the caller. Faith tells him that she refuses to stay in touch with her parents because of their overbearing religious household.
Hank’s curiosity and friendly, casual insistence for her to reconnect with her parents leads Faith to go with him to meet them. Her mother is surprised that Hank isn’t like the typical rock-and-roller that Faith would spend the night with. Nonetheless, Hank gets along well enough with Faith’s mother that he helps her take the groceries out of her car.
Hank gets along so well with Faith’s parents because both of them have such a different lifestyle than he does. Her mother can relate to Hank because he is much less provocative than Faith’s typical sexual conquests. Her father can also talk openly with Hank because her dad portrays extreme examples of Hank’s vices.
Faith’s father is an alcoholic whose religious and self-righteous wife won’t let him buy beer. He stays at home compulsively watching soft-core porn on the TV. Hank has sympathy for him because of his character flaws, and these lead Hank to talk openly with him. Hank tells her father how wonderful a daughter he has, and that he should get to know about her wonderful strengths and talents.
At the end of her stay, Faith has a sex-dream about her strict religious upbringing, in a dream where the rock-star Atticus Fetch is hung up on a cross like Jesus. Marilyn Manson’s cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” plays in the background to emphasize the hilarious and sexy blasphemous overtones of the dream.
Some of the dialogue and interactions between Atticus (as the Christ figure) and Faith border on being too up-front and over-the-top, which makes the allegory feel more forced and less natural. There isn’t much done with the religious symbolism that uniquely sets Faith’s psychological experience as being different than canned and non-dynamic rebellion against the establishment in terms of subverting asexual and puritanical symbols into sexualized symbols of rebellion. The dialogue and imagery could have been more unique in the ways that her parents religious fundamentalism encouraged her to rebel and explode with all her repressed energy. More unique allegories that would have pertained to Faith instead of tired and overdone “shock” symbolism would make the scene much more erotic and exciting to watch. However, it does successfully show how attracted Faith is to Atticus, especially his rebellious nature.
When Faith wakes up from the dream, she immediately rushes out of her parents’ house with Hank. They drive back to Los Angeles. Hank reflects on how he can be a better father to Becca than Faith’s father was to her.
His epiphany leads him to tell Karen that she should encourage Becca to travel abroad and experience exciting new cultures. He doesn’t want Becca to become traumatized from having a father who’s as overprotective as Faith’s mother is.
The episode successfully provides insight into Hank’s psychology in regards to women in general. The transition from Hank’s meeting with Faith’s parents and his input as a father to his ex, Karen, is gracefully executed. The sexual/romantic chemistry that Faith brings to Hank’s life doesn’t only lend a spark his creative writing, but also learning-experiences for how he can improve on his important inter-personal relations and improving dialogue with his daughter.
Next week’s episode will go back towards the musical of his novel “God Hates Us All” as he will continue to work on the project with Atticus Fetch.