If read this blog, you know I love David Duchovny. As in, loooooove David Duchovny. The X-Files was my first fandom and David Duchovny was pretty much my first celebrity crush. Also, please bear in mind that I was 13 when the show started. The perfect age for crushing.
So I approached Californication with trepidation. My impression of the show from hearing people talk about it/read about it was that DD played a character whose sole purpose was sleeping around with other women. While the prospect of seeing DD naked was appealing, the show sounded like it might be light on plot. Also, I was concerned that DD could not play a character other than Mulder, I mean I love him, but that mumbly swagger thing seemed to be his schtick.
Yeah, I was pretty much wrong.
While DD does the mumble and swagger thing, Hank is definitely a new and distinct character. He's more unhinged, loopy, and mercurial than Mulder.
The central conceit of the show is that Hank is a brilliant novelist (in the vein of Chuck Palahniuk and Kurt Vonnegut) but since his ex-wife, though technically they never married, and mother of his daughter, Becca, left him, he has not been able to write. But he has been able to have sex with many random women. But he's not a misogynist or anything, in fact, usually the women seduce him. And let's be honest, it's DD, who wouldn't want to hit that? (And yes, I know he is now in rehab for sex addiction, how bummed am I that I didn't meet him the day before he sought treatment??) Despite all these random hook-ups, Hank's goal is getting back his ex-gf, who is now engaged to be married to another man.
For me, the best part of the show is Hank's interaction with his 12 year old daughter. She's smart, is lead singer of a rock band, and pretty much takes everything in stride. Oh, and she doesn't like it when people touch her hair. Yeah, she knows her Dad is fucked up, but she loves him anyway. And that's life, you know?
There are, of course, a myriad of other wacky supporting characters, including Hank's best friend and agent played by Charlie Runkle (whom you will recognize from Sex and the City as Charlotte's Jewish husband), but Hank is the real star of the show. Frankly, the subplots involving the other characters are kinda boring.
And while the show is often very very funny, I would not say it's a comedy. Television has really embraced shows that fall into the dramedy category lately (like Weeds, and the originator of the genre, Ally McBeal), and this show for me is firmly entrenched in that tradition. Californication is capable of portraying strong human emotions when it comes to love and sex, and it all feels very genuine. All in all, I really liked it, more than I was expecting, and I eagerly look forward to the second season, which I believe is starting very soon. Too bad I don't have Showtime. *sigh*
Favorite quote from the season 1 finale "The Last Waltz"
Hank: "Becca got her period."
Ex-wife: "What!? She did!"
Hank: "Makes perfect sense it would happen on my watch, doesn't it?"
Ex-wife: Oh my God! How is she? What did you do?"
Hank (very proud of himself): "What do you think I did? I handled the fuck out of that shit."