When the fifth season of Californication comes to and end, people will remember Episode Eight: “Raw”.
It is in this episode that we see a massive shift in the relationship between Hank Moody and his daughter’s boyfriend and seemingly talented writer, Tyler. After stalling for some time, Hank finally caved and read Tyler’s script after Becca, his daughter and girlfriend of Tyler, threatened to hit the stripper pole. Hank not only read it, he thought it was actually quite good.
Hank did notice one minor detail; the script, titled “Raw”, featured descriptive stories between an older man and his younger girlfriend. Essentially, Hank just read a movie script detailing his teenage daughter’s love life.
Hank would never admit this script was actually good to anyone besides his confidante and agent, Charlie. Oh no, rather, Hank schemes to use the graphic descriptions of sex against Tyler and begins his crusade with a visit to Karen. The conversation that follows is beautifully done by these two actors. It is an awkward back and forth reminiscent of those playground arguments that usually ended with “NO! YOU’RE STUPID” followed with a “NO! YOU’RE STUPID”.
The true highlight of this episode occurs when Hank decides to go visit Tyler at his home to talk about his script. Instead of finding Tyler, Hank runs into Tyler’s very attractive and very high mother. One thing leads to another and we find out two very important details that fill in Tyler’s backstory as a character--he was raised by two lesbians who both have an extreme fascination with male genitalia. In fact, they photograph their son’s penis as it grows for a giant picture book of penises.
The memorable aspect of this episode is Hank’s paradigm shift in the way he views Tyler. After a pleasant conversation with his mothers, Hank commits to give Tyler notes on his script. Hank seems to have moved past his unadulterated hate for Tyler and may actually form a relationship with the aspiring writer.
The end of this episode brings back one of the most interesting characters from previous series, Eddie Nero, played by a spastic Rob Lowe. This character is extremely high energy and anal retentive much like Lowe’s character on Parks & Recreation. Lowe’s hyper and intense character is a perfect foil to the calm and mellow mood of Hank Moody. Nero’s arrival always seems to bring problems and the end of this episode reinforces that: Hank awakes to Nero claiming he found his “next big project”. That big project? Tyler’s script that Hank accidentally left out for Nero to find. Insanity is sure to follow.