Top 5 Reasons I Love Californication!

Californication started its sixth season last night! That is pretty impressive. The show centers around a super talented but troubled and flawed writer, Hank Moody (played by David Duchovny). Hank is a major fuck up in pretty much every aspect of his life, but his redemption often comes with his ability to mean well, his quest for redemption, and the love he has for certain people in his life.

Some people say that this show is nothing more than Hank Moody bedding a lot of women and treating them like complete garbage and blah blah blah. I disagree. I think it showcases a troubled soul, someone who wants to do good but often fails to do so. Someone who tries his best, but sometimes that just isn’t good enough. We want Hank to succeed, to find redemption, and the sad thing is he probably never will. People think he is a miserable character, one that doesn’t change. And if a character doesn’t change, learn, and grow, then is he worth watching? Well, people watched Tony Soprano for many seasons…same with House and Sherlock and countless others.

So, with all that being said, here are 5 reasons I love this show:

HM – Lew Ashby – Lew hasn’t been around since season 2, but he was basically the same person as Hank. When the writers of the show introduced him, they gave Hank a mirror to look into and we found out that it is really hard to have two Hanks occupying the same space. When Lew was around, we almost saw Hank change, we almost saw Hank realize that his life wasn’t supposed to be like this. Alas, Lew didn’t make it and Hank moved on.

5. Hank’s Letters – Hank, as a writer, tends to write sometimes. Although he often writes books or screen plays or autobiographies, there are moments in the show where we see him write heart felt letters to other people. Always using his typewriter or writing them by hand, Hank has penned some of his best lines by way of letters to his loved ones (see later on the list). The one to Karen in the first season was especially full of love, and might actually be the best scene the show has produced.

“It is a big bad world out there and people have a way of blinking and missing the moment…the moment that could have changed everything.” In the scene above, we see Hank at perhaps his most vulnerable moment. That is, until we see his letter to his daughter, Becca. This letter had different circumstances around it, but it is touching all the same. You can watch the scene with the letter further down in this post, but perhaps the best line descrbing Hank comes from this letter: Your father is a child in a man’s body. He cares for nothing and everything at the same time. Noble in thought, weak in action. That, ladies and gentleman, is Hank Moody.

4. Hank’s vocabulary – Hank is truly a poet in a man’s body who acts like a child. The way he speaks is perhaps one of the coolest, funniest and simplest parts about him. Hank can talk about anything from cars, to music, movies, women, or as to whether New York is better than LA, but it always comes out flowery in some way. He says things the way we feel sometimes but can never find the words to express them ourselves. Here are a couple of his lines:

“It’s my purgatory, really, inner drinks, whatever. I’m never really all that interested, but I find myself telling her how beautiful she is anyway. ‘Cause it’s true, all women are, in one way or another. You know, there’s always something about every damn one of you, it’s a smile, a curve, a secret. You ladies really are the mostamazing creatures, my life’s work. But then there’s the morning after, a hangover, and the realization that I’m not quite as available as I thought I was the night before. And then she’s gone, and I’m haunted by yet another road not taken.”

“Just the fact that people seem to be getting dumber and dumber. You know, I mean we have all this amazing technology and yet computers have turned into basically four figure wank machines. The internet was supposed to set us free, democratize us, but all it’s really given us is Howard Dean’s aborted candidacy and 24 hour a day access to kiddie porn. People…they don’t write anymore – they blog. Instead of talking, they text, no punctuation, no grammar: LOL this and LMFAO that. You know, it just seems to me it’s just a bunch of stupid people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other stupid people at a proto-language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the King’s English.”

Those are just a few examples of course. And I understand the irony of including the line with his hatred of blogs into this one. However, it is still a priceless take on society at large and it is said and spoken better than any other character on TV could say it. Well played Hank.

3. Hank’s Love for Karen – Karen is what keeps Hank moving forward and what keeps staying the same all in one. She is an enabler and a changer. Karen is like a drug for Hank, one that could be positive sometimes, but often times leads to Hank’s misery. She is wonderful and terrible all rolled into one and that is the hardest part for him and for us. But Hank loves her. I mean really loves her. He loves her the way a child loves something, that ‘ouuu, I want it because it is shiny and better than what the other kids have!” and he also loves her as an adult, that “I want to be with you and only you, and if there is one thing in the world worth living for, it is you and your love.” The tragedy of this entire show is that Hank has had, many times, his chances to be with Karen (starting with the letter mentioned about) and every time he has found a way to mess it up. Karen, on the other hand, truly loves Hank as well. She has been remarried two times on the show, and has moved away. But despite all of that, she has always found her way back to Hank. The question soon will be, do they love one another or just need one another because that is what is comfortable? I lean towards the fact that they truly love one another, and that is what keeps them going. Someday, I hope, it works out.

2. Hank’s Love for Charlie – Californication does a couple things well, and one of them is the relationship of two heterosexual men who probably love each other more deeply than almost any other relationship on television. Not since the show Rome perhaps, have we seen true love between two straight men that would do anything for one another. Charlie, Hank’s one and only agent, and Hank are as much a couple as anyone else in any other show and the result is funny and touching all at once. When Charlie  has a crisis, gets divorced and loses his job, Hank is there. When Hank has trouble in his life, sometimes the only person there for him is Charlie. They have seen almost everything together, highs, lows, naked women, dead men, rappers, hookers, fights, brawls and just some really weird shit…and when you share that sort of stuff together over a long period of time, you eventually have to form a bond with that person. Eventually, there won’t be anyone left to understand what you just witnessed and partook in. Charlie is easily Hank’s most trusted and truest friends, and vice versa. So much so that I think those two love each other just as much as Hank loves Karen.

1. Hank’s Love for Becca – Number one on this list was incredibly easy. More than anything in the world, Hank loves his daughter. It is an unconditional and profound love that if we have it, we want to hold on to it and be around it every second for the rest of our lives and if we do not have it, we strive to get it. In the early seasons, Hank always did right by Becca. He messed up a lot of things with Karen and with other characters, but never with Becca. It is sad to see him starting to mess up life with his daughter now. But Becca loves him as well and often times proves she is too smart for her age and parents Hank, instead of the other way around. If there is a truly a victim in this show, it is not Hank or Karen or anyone other than Becca. Hank always means well with Becca, and tries to do what is best for her, but often times fails. But he keeps fighting. Hank often gives up on things for long periods of time, but never his daughter. Becca is the thing we see him fight for over and over and over and over. He fights for her with actions, words, and letters:

The tragedy of this all is that Hank needs to get his shit together and chances are he probably never will. It is sad and frustrating to see someone circle the drain for so long, especially when there have been so many chances to grab the safety line. Perhaps this show is a metaphor for all those ultra talented, demonized humans on this planet. People like Van Gough, Elvis, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain. People that were so popular and yet, died feeling so alone. Will Hank follow the path of these people or will he redeem himself to his daughter and other loved ones? I guess time will tell.

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