reading-book 4

Episode Two – The Great Ashby


Who’s Who At This Point

  • Hank Moody = Nick Carraway
  • Lew Ashby = Jay Gatsby
  • Janie Jones = Daisy Buchanan (Only mentioned, not seen)

Parallelisms & References

  • The title is an obvious play on The Great Gatsby.
  • During the scene where Hank and Lew interact inside the jail there is a brief pause before Lew recognizes Hank as “…the writer?”, much akin to when Nick comes to the realization/is informed that he has been sitting beside Gatsby all along; Hank and Lew are also sitting beside one another.
  • A reoccurring theme in both Gatsby and Californication, Hank and Nick have much disdain for their current cities and its people, yet both find a glimmer of hope in Lew and Gatsby.
  • Lew tells HankGod Hates Us All; that was your Gatsby”.
  • Lew has a book deal,  the publisher wanting to know why “…everything I (Lew) touch turns to gold, platinum, zirconium, some shit…”. There is a lot attached to this quick comment. It gives an answer to why Lew has wealth, yet it is kept incredibly vague, much like the origin of Gatsby’s money. We can deduce that Lew is either a music producer or a musician, yet we would be guessing beyond that. Also, Lew’s comment portrays an apathy toward his career by dismissing the music industry’s tiers of achievement (Gold = 500,000 records – Platinum = 1,000,000). This gives an underlying belief that there is something more to Lew than making money and being successful.
  • At the end of the jail scene, Lew tells Hank, “…get writing again.” This, combined with Lew commenting, “…be my Boswell.” (found under cultural references) is carving Hank into Nick, the narrator of The Great Gatsby.
  • Lew mentions that he split with Janie Jones (Daisy) so that way he could “…drink what he wants, snort what he wants, fuck what he wants…”, yet completes his thought with  “…all I want is her.” This connects Lew and Gatsby as two men with countless wealth and fame, yet emotionally broken and empty without the women they love.
  • When Lew bails Hank out of jail he says, “It’s only money.” Fortifying the fact that Lew has little interest in his wealth.
  • The character Daisy is introduced, which is a name-only reference to Daisy Buchanan.
Cultural References
  • Lew tells Hank, “…be my Boswell.” James Boswell was an 18thcentury, British writer who spent time in the lives of prominent figures in order to compile their biographies. The term ‘Boswell’ has come to represent a companion.
  • Lew comments to Hank that “Your writing always had this in your face, rock ‘n’ roll energy to it; Hunter S. Thompson meets a Stooges album.” Thompson was a pioneer in the gonzo genre of journalism, and was considered a maverick of writers, much like Hank – while the Stooges were purveyors of punk and explosive, jar-shattering music – much akin to Hank’s personality.
  • The overweight, bearded, “…sweet sexy ass…” jailmate is a reference to Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society – especially his outfit and facial hair. Lew even makes reference to him as being “one of the greatest rock and roll guitarists of all time”. There is also a Black Label Society poster seen as Hank tucks-in Becca at the end of the episode.
  • Hank saying to Lew, “…you were born a poor, black child…” is a reference to Steve Martin’s ‘The Jerk’.
  • The ending scene of Hank and Karen snuggled upon their bed is a reference to the Rolling Stone cover depicting Yoko Ono and John Lennon.

Episode Three

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