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Californication. Why David Duchovny Being Bad is so Good


If you haven’t been watching Californication on Showtime then you’ve been missing a fornicating good show. Unfortunately, I can’t, in good conscience, tell you that you should start watching it now, because if you don’t know the backstory you’ll hate it. But, I can tell you that you should get Season 1 on Netflix immediately. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Now spring for Showtime on Demand and then you will be as infatuated with it as I am.

I find David Duchovny’s deadpan I’m a prick-but-I-know-it-therefore-it’s-endearing style makes his character, Hank Moody, author and New York transplant, incredibly appealing. In a totally “I hate myself for loving you” sort of way. His real-life internet porn addiction only makes it more titillating, like when an on screen couple is dating in real life (Anna Pacquin and Steven Moyer)—it’s a beautiful collision of art imitating life imitating art.

Hank will “put his dick in any hole that will accept it” as Karen (played by Natascha McElhone--the women for whom the word “lanky” was invented) says. Although she is the mother of his daughter, Becca (played by Madeleine Martin), and his one true love, that doesn’t stop Hank from sleeping with any woman who...no, that's it, any woman. And, because it's LA, and TV, of course they're usually super hot.*

Hank is a drunk, a drug user, a man-whore and charming as hell. Here’s a little peek—

By the way, he ends up sleeping with the teacher a few hours later.

I’m always intrigued by shows that can take reprehensible characters and make them likeable, Tony Soprano, Al Swearengen (Deadwood) and Dexter for example. Something about these guys is appealing even though they are completely unattractive. Even with the epic forehead, the squinty eyes and the substantial nose David Duchovny is so charismatic and cool that I want to "meet him for a drink." (And by "meet him for a drink" I totally don't mean ride that Crazy Train--Hi, Honey!) What can I say, I think women really do have a thing for "Bad Boys."


Hottie cuz they're naughty?

We should pause for a moment to notice that Hank, Tony and Al are all characters from either HBO or Showtime series. Show-BO? HOtime? (® by me) These networks realized early on that creating characters who have depth and complexity (like a fine wine or 7-layer dip) is not too straining for our little pea brains to handle. The other major advantage these shows have over network programs is that they are not beholden to advertisers, so there no unreasonable pressure of securing tens of millions of viewers each week.

Which means that these shows give their characters time to evolve, which in turn gives audiences time to discover the good beneath the bad. We know right off the bat that Tony is very conflicted about his life when the series begins with him seeking psychiatric help for his panic attacks. Al Swearengen lets down his guard long enough, between brutally beating people to death, to reveal that he grew up in an orphanage and is tormented by deep sadness. Then there is Hank, who, as a writer, is prone to introspection. He knows that his lifestyle means a life perpetually spinning out of control and that it will prevent him from getting the one thing he truly wants—his family.

God that’s hot.

So kudos to Showtime for creating such a shocking, smart and well-written show like Californication. Just lay back, relax and enjoy it--you can even have a cigarette afterwards.

*Having watched the clip above I think you can see why I couldn't say all the women Hank sleeps with are totally hot. I think we can agree it's been a long, hard fall from Malory Keaton to Becca's teacher for Mr. Justine Bateman.


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Suzy Q

Why the dis to Justine Bateman? She grew up into a woman, for pete's sake!

Gray Matter

There is very little evidence of that. :-)


I think the supporting cast also kicks ass. Why couldn't I be like Becca when I was 15!? Oh yeah... TV. Damn!


Justine Bateman was on the short-lived and 2-marriage-ruining "Men in Trees." Yeah - I was surprised to see how she looks.


Yegods, Natascha McElhone becomes more gorgeous every year.


right on gray matters! this show rocks. justine bateman was a sad sight but at least she hasn't joined the club and gone for the plastics.

alice, uptown

Californication actually makes L.A. appealing, and that's no mean feat.

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