A black polished Porsche darts along the streets of California. A bright sun shines on its bonnet, as it proceeds between traffic lights and skateboarders in the pollution of L.A.
This was a typical image for a TV Series that literally hit in the United States. The show is Californication, a creature by Tom Kapinos, the screenwriter of some episodes of Dawson’s Creek.
Californication follows the life of Hank Moody (David Duchovny), a talented writer who juggles between different kinds of accomplishment like writing for films and novels, dealing new contracts with his faithful agent Charlie, and trying to win back Karen, his only true love in life and a mother of his daughter Becca.
…they’re often in a relationship that I would define full of love and sweetness…
At the beginning of the first season Hank poses as a classical Charles Bukowski (his character is actually inspired from the famous novelist), spending his time between Hollywood studios, inhabited by pompous and spoiled movie stars, bars where he drinks himself to death with whiskey, and a gorgeous house in Venice beach, the place where Becca and Karen live along with Karen’s new fiancée Bill. Karen and Hank stayed together for a decade, but they are indeed tough personalities to cope with. Therefore they’re often in a relationship that I would define full of love and sweetness but also of fear, rage and anger.
There are several episodes that should be remembered throughout the seven seasons produced for this show. Hank’s life is a glamour and eccentric ride where anything is possible, where weirdos and foolish characters appear not sparingly. Another main point is Hank’s passion for the weak gender, and despite his true and profound love for Karen, Hank is often attracted and intrigued by other women, and usually he ends up sleeping with them with pleasure and satisfaction. Between the characters that populate the irregular universe of Californication there is Lou Ashby, crazy music producer for whom Hank writes a biography. Hank and Lou’s period is characterized by wild nights of sex with strangers, parties that rock the bricks of Ashby’s house and make them tremble, and by hard consumption of narcotics.
…Hank’s goal is always on focus and his attempt to start again his relationship…
In the next seasons Hank is involved in different affairs, like teaching for a semester in a university college, a period in which he gets stuck in a triangle between one of his students, his assistant teacher and the director of the faculty. Another one is the conviction for a rape that is charged to Hank when it comes out he spent one night with a 16 years old girl without being aware of her age. In the fifth and sixth season Hank collaborates with musicians and he passes through a very tender time with Faith, a groupie who’s murmured to be able to pull out the real artistic vein of each talented person. Nevertheless Hank’s goal is always on focus and his attempt to start again his relationship with Karen is much stronger than any other amenity he gets lost in.
Besides of the depicting of Hollywood rich and unrealistic life style, the characters that are all at the edge of nonsense and snappy madness, the show’s target is to describe Hank’s love for Karen. All he wants is to be with her, to wake up in the morning and see her sleeping on the other side of his bed, to hear the sound of Becca’s electric guitar in the aisle out of his bedroom’s door.
…he can be in such way only with a woman like Karen…
Hank is a romantic and very sensitive writer who fills his pages with love, sex, extreme experiences and the weird uncommon life he has the fortune to live. Of course, he can be in such way only with a woman like Karen who, although is often a dream or a lost love for him, is the perfect trigger to keep Hank up.
In the show, there are often moments of sadness, melancholia that afflict Hank and make him feel the bitterness of life deep inside his heart. Fortunately, he has his friend and agent Charlie, the wife of him Marcy and the support of his close people who, despite they usually beat hard on him, are always available to give him a helping hand.
…moulded together by a soundtrack that is absolutely heart-breaking…
The beautiful scenario of L.A. and this struggle of emotions and out of limits experiences, are moulded together by a soundtrack that is absolutely heart-breaking and that always fits the moment, both with melody and lyrics.
The only thing that I wonder about is why they’ve made seven seasons for a show like that. Hank’s character and also the others are quite motionless, they don’t evolve or change during the story but they remain with the same characteristics, passions and goals. The propulsive engine of Californication is the adding of new particular characters, of new wry and hilarious episodes that give colour and originality to the whole narration. Just to remind one of them, let’s mention when Hank and his friends introduce some drugs into rehab, creating a big messy situation amongst the patients of the clinic.
…what was really important to tell was Hank’s fight for love…
With situations like these it was possible to close the show at the fourth season, but happily the authors didn’t do so. They thought that what was really important to tell was Hank’s fight for love and for staying again with his family. The artistic Californian life and the absurd facts are only a side dish for what is the real core of the story: the battle of a man who wants to get back the love of a woman, which is one of the easiest and most common themes ever, but also one of the most universal and emotional topic that someone can bring into live action.