“No matter what you did, don’t give up. Do not give up. If she loves you, she’ll forgive you.”
“You really believe that?”
“I have to. Otherwise there’s no point. There is no life without love. Not worth having anyway.”
Those are the wise words of Hank Moody; a self loathing, misogynistic, self destructive, womanizing, famous, lonely, writer, parental figure, and undying romantic. Played elegantly by David Duchovny, Hank Moody is an impulsive character with complete disregard for consequences, very little regard for others feelings, and an Id that steers his ship most of the time. As the show is based on the life of a writer, there are a lot of fun literary references and listening to Hank converse is, at times, like listening to an author write in-and-of-itself.
Like most things in the artistic video medium, I discovered this show on the recommendation of my brother and if the first episode doesn’t pique your interest, I’m not sure what will. I’ve managed to finish season two and, in Hank’s defense, he has done a lot of growing up over the past two seasons. Due to his out of control pleasure impulses, Hank has learned to rationalize his decisions and, because of his career as a wordsmith, he’s very convincing when he articulates his thoughts. However, towards the end of the second season Hank’s arguments for his outrageous behavior seemed to become much more self reflective instead of avoiding the obvious; Hurricane Hank leaves a path of destruction in his wake. His daughter, Becca, a miniature female version of Hank, had to scream, ‘I’m a child! I can’t raise both of you!’ to his face before Hank really became self aware of his shortcomings as a parent/human being.
To me this show lives and dies by Duchovny. The scripts are solid, the storylines are interesting, and there’s a solid cast surrounding him, but Californication is all about Moody and his interactions with everyone on the show. Duchovny plays Hank Moody so convincingly that I have a hard time envisioning him talking, walking, or banging any differently than he does on the show. Occasionally I’ve found the show takes a stroll down the cliche (a few flashbacks that seemed clunky, some Cobain references that didn’t seem to work) and sometimes the storylines can be a little bit barbarous, but as long as Duchovny is there, so am I.
Now for the disclaimer. This show is extremely graphic, so if you have a weak stomach or a moral compass that may not enjoy profanity, excessive sexual references or nudity, or drugs, you may want to shy away from this show. However, for all of the decadence on this program, what again appeals to me is the way the characters, (specifically Hank Moody) connect to me. I know that just about everyone can connect to that conversation with which I opened my blog. For the very few shortcomings that I can nitpick at about this show, it really hits home when it counts.
I can’t promise that you’ll love Californication, but if you give it a chance, I promise you will love David Duchovny as Hank Moody.