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    Tuesday, 8 July 2008

    Californication, Season One


    Fuck! I hate this show. I hate it because it is so ridiculously amazing that I have watched the first season twice through now and already want to watch it again. I hate it because as a very wannabe writer, it's achieved so much of what I'd love to accomplish.

    If you've been hiding under your rock (Go out! Stand in the sun, laugh at the petrol prices), or didn't watch the show because you were afraid of the show's "steamy" nature (Tsk tsk, we're livng in the naughties people, it's okay to watch swearing and sex on TV now), or you just plain ol' managed to miss the show because of other commitments (Your priorities are askew), here's the gist:

    Hank Moody (David Duchovny) is a best-selling novelist who hasn't written a word in years. He also missed the boat on his beautiful ex-girlfriend Karen (Natascha McElhone), who is now engaged to the slighty douchebag-y Bill (Damian Young). Hank is doing his darndest to avoid both of these issues by living to excess, sex and alcohol being the main poisons of choice. Also, despite being immensely charming, witty and intelligent, he is way, way too painfully honest for his own good. He's as subtle as a porn star's boob job and not likely to change his ways anytime soon.

    Hank and Karen's precocious twelve year old daughter, Becca (Madeleine Martin) still loves him and his best friend and agent, Charlie (Evan Handler) still puts up with his shit, but the clock is probably ticking on both of those relationships too and Hank knows it.

    Then Hank meets and is seduced by a beautiful girl (Madeline Zima) in a book store and they have punchy sex. Really punchy sex. This is a good thing because it finally gets Hank writing again. Unfortunately, the bad may outweigh the good: the girl is actually Mia, Bill's daughter. And Bill's daughter is only 16 years old.

    Duchovny won an Emmy in 2007 for his portrayal of Hank and deservedly so. I've thought he was fantastic ever since the first episode of the X-Files, so I guess I'm not a hard sell, but in my humble and absolutely non-hyperbolic opinion, he was born for this role. He portrays the character with so much depth and realism that it's difficult to remember at times that it is just a character and not that friend that almost all of us have tucked away somewhere - you know, the one you love but want to kill at the same time.

    The rest of the main cast are equally great, given the amount of screen time and characterisation they get. Each character is well-realised and unique, bringing something different and essential to the show. I can't single out any one other actor for particular praise above the others because they all put in such a solid effort.

    The writing is good. Heaps good. Gooder even than mine, for seriously. I think it all stems from the simple yet delicious concept of the show - the writing team are obviously in love with their characters and content and it shows. They combine outstanding adult humour with genuinely poignant scenes, as well as the occasional naughty moment, in just the right balance of each. Direction and cinematography are also excellent.

    So does it have any flaws? Any chinks in the armour for you to complain about so that you can pull the show down and feel superior? A few, but they're more my problems than the show's: 1) At only 28 minutes apiece, each episode is ridiculously short and always leaves you wanting so much more; 2) It's definitely adults only (not actually a problem for me at all but don't say I didn't warn you); and, 3) The first season is only 12 episodes long. ARGH!

    Thank Zeus's girdle, it's been renewed by Showtime and will be coming back for a second season.

    If you want to be challenged by a TV show, if you're looking for inspiration in your own writing, or if you just want to remind yourself why 'Big Brother' isn't real entertainment, watch this series. Better still - buy the DVDs so you can watch it repeatedly!

    I want to marry this show but, failing that, I guess I'll just have to settle for watching it again. Such is life.

    1 comment:

    Mike said...

    Well 1st of all, i find your choice of tv show to be very interesting. I think you picture yourself as Hank. who is chasing his xgf because he still loves her. maybe the way that i am still chasing my x because i still love her. but i am having debaucherous sex with underage girls. its different between american and australian laws, because we can have sex with a 16 yr old girl. yet the people in the states find it appaling that someone can have sex so young. But thats because they are a bunch of prudes. Oh but am i comparing my life or your life. Maybe you should go have sex with some young girls, but maybe not, because its not allowed because your wife will say no... But still it could be good reserach into your screen play :P

    but then again this could all be the ramblings of a hungover guy that you know. And if i say LOL something then you would know who it is. I find the ending to califoication to be very disapointing and may or may not be watching the second season due to the fact that it has gone so long and the writers strike fucked up alot of shows for me... But then again yes.... im hung over and this water is tasting like jacks still

    Much love roborob