BY DANNY HAMILTON
What happens when you create a story about a novelist who hasn’t written anything in years? Hank Moody ladies and gentlemen!
Struggling with the dry spell, Moody (played by David Duchovny) can’t seem to write anything worth even taking a glance at, although, that hasn’t stopped the ladies from melting over his “devilishly handsome looks” as he would put it himself.
The basic story of “Californication” is well written and strongly structured, but there are times when I want to jump through my T.V. screen and punch him in the face. This is what makes me keep coming back to it in the first place.
“Californication” does something extremely correct for its viewers, it makes you connect and feel sorry for its main character. Now, being a male viewer, this story does contain a lot of different ‘partners’ for you to watch him indulge his wildest fantasies with, but none of these partners make the show deteriorate the way True Blood did.
True Blood contained mindless sexual encounters in its later seasons where with Californication, each person Moody sleeps with comes back to either ruin the relationship with the woman he truly loves (“Karen, Mother of my demon spawn daughter Becca” as he would say) or to make him feel worse about himself and push him to find a fulfillment in someone else.
The relationship between Karen (played by Natascha McElhone) and Hank booms off in the first few minutes of the first season when Hank is trying to win back the mother of his demon spawn. Things didn’t work out when they moved from New York and that caused them to split their ways. The reasoning being that Hank didn’t want to tie the knot and stay tied down to Karen. Hank realizing his mistake does everything in his power to win her back but to no avail. This whole situation creates an agonizing urging for their love to come back.
When I watched their interactions I noticed small things that point out their longing for things to work. For example, Karen makes a certain face when Moody makes a sarcastic comment. This one face lets viewers know that Karen still has feelings for Moody even though she is getting sick of him talking. Like I stated in the previous paragraph, nobody that Hank sleeps with ruins the story, in fact, they enhance it; with that being said the show introduces you to Mia.
Mia (played by Madeline Zima) is someone Hank met in a bookstore after he was admiring his own work. After a few minutes of talking they quickly got to “the business”, and while doing so Mia punched Hank in the face hard enough to give him a black eye. Later, when Hank is visiting Karen at her new boyfriends house, Mia comes out and says Hank looks awfully familiar (of course teasing, knowing who and what she did with him). This then spawns the reveal of Mia’s actual age which is below eighteen and that she is the daughter of Bill Karen’s boyfriend. This is not only a shock but the reveal was superb and timed greatly.
I couldn’t wait to start that next episode and see how things unravel and that feeling lasted all the way through season one.
Throughout the whole season, there is also a back story of Charlie Runkle (played by Evan Handler), Moody’s agent and best friend. In the down moments of Moody’s story you can always look forward to seeing Runkle’s struggle of trying not to sleep with his secretary. Not only does this create a struggle for Runkle to be faithful but this creates an element of “bromance” with Runkle and Moody where they vent their problems over a few drinks which makes the show more interesting and in the process attaches you more to Runkle’s character. I should note that when I was pissed off at Moody for doing something stupid (which he does more frequently than I would like to admit) the show would always transition to Runkle to add some comic relief with his typical marriage problem or his secretary issue. I enjoy watching Charlie Runkle as a character and hope to see more of him in the seasons to come.
Californication is one of the most in detailed shows that makes you feel sorry for everyone, yet, love the characters it presents to you. Moody is starting to be one of my favorite T.V. characters ever created.
All seven seasons have recently been added to Netflix, so, if you’re even debating on watching this show, I highly recommend diving into Hank Moody’s highly sarcastic misogynistic world. You’ll be in for a treat.