So, I haven't done much of anything on this blog of late nor have I done anything since the start that involved me in any more personal a way than my short stories. I'm sure no one's really been following this and few people are even poking their heads in for a second date but hey, a guy can pretend, right?
Well, I recently synched my Xbox 360 to my Netflix account. This means I can now stream some of Netflix's rather copious television and movie selection through my Xbox. Not everything can be streamed, but it's still a solid deal and I've been catching up on all kinds of fun X-Files episodes. In need of a break from the X-Files but with nothing really catching my fancy I scrolled through their library and found Californication. I've never really had HBO or Showtime or anything like that so I knew next to nothing about this show before I started off. But it starred David Duchovny (Mulder from the X-Files) and the description of the pilot episode was sufficently entertaining to draw me in.
It's about Hank Moody (Duchovny) and his fucked up life. He's a writer who drinks too much, fucks too much, and writes nothing of any real value anymore. It's a Showtime series, so there is a wholesome abundance of partial nudity, profanity, and fist fights, but it ends up meaning more than such menial ingredients would suggest. The profanity is rather excessive, but it fits. Hank is an astounding prick. He's clever and quick on feet and not bad in a fight. He drinks too much, accepts more pot than a grown-man really should, and has sex with any and all female takers (seriously, the man's game is both impressive and tongue-in-cheek entertaining). Most of the sex scenes show all kinds of breasts and ass, but this is intentional. Hank's addiction to pointless sex is all but parodied by the lack of modesty and self-respect demonstrated in the show. You can tell when he really values the sex he's having simply by how much classier it is handled by the directors.
His writer's block is one of the more difficult parts of his life. His first three books were nearly universally praised, but when the viewer jumps into the show Hank's been five years without anything new worth publishing. He eventually gets offered a job blogging for a HelLA magazine. He loathes the idea. He's a man with a fiery hatred of all of humanity's pointless and petty idiocies and he feels that texting and instant messaging have wrecked people's ability to communicate intelligently. The problem is that he needs the money and they want him to write about what he loves to write about, bitching about humanity. His latest novel's title was God Hates Us All and I always got the impression that he truly believes the sentiment. He accepts the job and everyone seems to hope it will lead to something bigger.
Worse than his writer's block though, is his ex-"wife", Karen. They were never officially married, but they were obviously quite serious and Hank is still crazy about her. She and Becca, her daughter with Hank, live with Bill (husband to-be) and his daughter, Mia (important character to-be). Hank hates Bill, Bill hates Hank, Hank loves Karen, and Karen still cares for Hank. Many of Hank's vices can be traced back to his failings with Karen. On top of his troubles with Karen, his daughter Becca is reaching her teens. She's a sharp little girl, but a child nonetheless. For all the times she coolly and clinically announces the presence of a shaved vagina in his father's bedroom, she a moment of utter childish naivety, namely her questioning the possibility of a reunion between Hank and Karen.
This troubled family though, is what offers Hank the greatest ability to put his quick wit and quick fists to good use. There a enough moments littered through the show to show-off Hank's decency. He's really a good guy, he's just a bit more fucked up than is healthy. This kindness on Hank's part rarely feels cheesy or contrived, it's too honest for that. This is not a show bent on exposing the world's ills or an enormous government conspiracy, this show is about the life of one Hank Moody. He's a flawed character, but one I can relate to in a great amount of detail. That is what drew me into the show so fully, it's funny and entertaining but it's also easy to relate to. I found Hank offering turns of phrases and twisted cynicism up that I myself say on a regular basis. I'd like to be a writer someday, but I have all kinds of person issues that can easily fuck up the works. I hate the world's petty idiocies, but find myself falling short of the expectations I set down. I can relate to his generous dose of self-loathing. All of this takes an entertaining show and elevates it to the kind of show that can hold audiences captive.
If you have the chance, check this show out. It's great.