Does ‘Californication: The Sixth Season’ Jump the Shark?

The wild comedy Californication comes to an end with its seventh season, debuting this April, and for good reason. While the show is still funny and entertaining, you can tell that the David Duchovny-starrer is on the verge of jumping the shark. Increasingly absurd and relying on recycled conventions, the sixth season of the Showtime award-winner is relatively satisfying but lacks the sincerity of its younger years.

Following the fifth season’s cliffhanger, (SPOILER) which had Hank Moody’s psychotic ex trying to murder him with a mixture of drugs, the writers miss an opportunity by using his overdose, and subsequent assignment to rehab, as nothing more than a device for Hank to meet sexy rock star groupie Faith (Maggie Grace), which means that the show has put off Hank’s true reconciliation with Karen (Natascha McElhone) for another year.

Most of the season, like the last several seasons, has Hank and Charlie (Evan Handler) getting into all kinds of crazy situations involving drugs, sex and rock’n’roll, most of which is pretty entertaining but sort of par for the course, especially when you compare events to what occurred in the first few seasons.

The introduction of a new character, rock star Atticus Fetch (Tim Minchin), is pretty obnoxious and exists to grease episode flow more than provide any more direct value. In turn, the show fails to take full advantage of a few guest appearances by Marilyn Manson, though he manages to evoke a few laughs.

On the flip side, the addition of Ophelia, a psychotic man-hater played by Maggie Wheeler, manages to evoke more than a few laughs, largely thanks to her liberal use of tasers.

Californication: The Sixth Season fails to push the character arcs forward for Hank and Karen, and as a result the entire 12-episode run feels like a wash. Nonetheless, on an episode-by-episode basis the show still delivers lots of laughs and silliness, and at this point, there’s nothing wrong with that. Still, it’s refreshing to know that Showtime is finally going to drive Hank, Charlie and the rest of the crew to resolution later this year.

By Erik Samdahl
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