It has to be said that Season 3 was nothing like the first two, and that's what made it work. Those of you that dug the callous and depraved nature of the first two seasons can avert their eyes now because this review will only praise the new and rebuke the old.
Season 3 opened with "Wish You Were Here" speaking of Hank's absent wife, but this was ironic because Hank was the happiest and least depraved-looking in this episode than the whole of the first twenty-four. It's true that the season opened where so many other episodes had before, in the bed of an unnamed and unkempt woman, but the pace and color of the show was entirely different. The humor moved from "hits off a dead hooker's ass" to plays on the "Live Strong" campaign. Not that Californication became good-humored or wholesome, just that it was no longer anguished and painful to watch.
Then we were given the gift of 'Dean Stacy Koons.' Koons, played by the ever browbeaten Peter Gallagher of The OC fame, was a hilarious addition to the cast. He and wife Felicia welcomed in the new surge of civilized story, but underneath their chappy accents and well-groomed exteriors was a wealth of intrigue that drove the entire season. Their daughter Chelsea even impacted the story by luring young Becca into the traps of lost virginity and drunkenness.
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