It seems to take some kind of event to make me open up a word processor these days. I read and watch things every day that I want to write about but I never seem to get around to it. Today I watched the second episode of the new Showtime series Californication and I have to say that I never expected that show to cause me to have an opinion strong enough to write about.
The first episode seemed like some kind of exercise in an over examination of a man in the midst of his mid life crisis. The characters all seemed one note (with the almost notable exception of the daughter character played by relative newcomer Madeline Martin) and their interactions were trite and overwrought. Somehow Tom Kapinos (Dawson’s Creek) and company have taken a badly conceived pilot and turned it into something I am eagerly looking for to.
The main plot revolves around Hank Moody (David Duchovny) and his many MANY issues revolving mostly around his split with long time lover and mother of his child Karen (the lovely Natascha McElhone). She has taken up and become affianced to a new love who himself has a teenage daughter and has moved herself and her daughter into what Hank sarcastically refers to as her “Barbie dream house”. The interactions between Hank and his witless foil Bill make for some awkward fun for everyone.
The title Californication is apt as there is someone having some kind of sexual exploit about every fourth scene. In the first episode these seemed like random nudity that had nothing to do with the plot but in this episode its much less forced and makes more sense to the story. Hank is obviously obsessed with sex as a way to escape his lonely life. He’s a writer who can’t write, a father who can’t parent and a lover who has lost his one true love.
Even with the wall to wall sexual exploits I think even the most hardcore of feminists will appreciate Hank, and really the show creators, attitude towards sexuality after 40, the obsession with body modification and the need to meet society’s standards of beauty. This should be available through Showtime on demand and while it may be painful to get through, I suggest watching the pilot to get a sense of what is going on before watching the second episode. There are a couple of plot points in there.