(Below is a slightly edited piece I’ve written for a blog that has gone offline for more than a year now and was posted in 2012 when I was still working for InterAksyon.com.)
Everyone wants to be Hank Moody.
That is, everyone who’s a straight, red-blooded male who has either beaten deadlines, written books, or at least seen Californication. [See: Californication]
Straight and/or superficial men have something to new rave about. Again.
And its not the latest issue of FHM or Maxim.
Nor is it a stolen sex video of a starlet giving the waiter a generous tip.
It’s Californication, a television show that has given the words “boob tube” a more literal interpretation.
The series — featuring the life and times of novelist Hank Moody, played by David Duchovny — offers what appears to be campy soft porn on cable, a gratuitous T&A show that is just a few shots short of an X-rating.
Of course its not for everyone.
Not especially if your idea of entertainment involves a writer who dreams about receiving oral action from a nun, accidentally sleeping with a minor, or having his young daughter stumble upon a naked girlfriend in his bedroom.
All three incidentally take place during the pilot episode, introducing audiences the world over to Moody, who, from all appearances, is a lucky bastard.
He possesses everything any man from eighteen to eighty would presume to want — a lovely, loving wife (Natascha McElhone as Karen), a cute, quirky daughter (Madeleine Martin as Rebecca), and a successful, lucrative career in the arts.
And that’s just for starters, proving once more that television shows are a fantasy and that life is unfair.
But that’s another story.
The novelist, who drives a beat-up black Porsche, also happens to be charming and good-looking, making him popular among women, including those outside his status, age range, income, citizenship, and hell, even religion.
With just a wink and a smile — and sometimes a little less than that — every other hottie (or cougar, as the case may be) drops their panties faster than anyone can say vajayjay.
And that’s when the good parts, voyeuristically speaking, begin.
Moody, the babe magnet, hooks up with Jackie, a stripper and college student, played by Eva Amurri, who is unafraid to show off her upper body advantages.
Same goes for Madeleine Zima.
As Mia, Moody’s ex-wife’s stepdaughter, Zima refuses to be outdone, proving that she is as privileged as anyone else to offer her puppies up for public scrutiny.
In the meantime, Laura Niles, a generously-endowed model, refuses to hold anything back, displaying what may well be an unforgettable performance while in an unconventional three-way with Moody and his agent, Charlie Runkle, played by Evan Handler.
However tittilating, sex alone does not a good show make.
Although it deals with the complications of a man who appears to have everything, Californication also offers literary one-upmanship in generous amounts.
The wordplay and the witticisms come quick, fulfilling viewers’ literary expectations since the show, after all, is about a writer.
“At the end of the day, if you can do anything else telemarketing, pharmaceutical sales, or ditch-digging, major league umpire I would suggest you do that because being a writer blows: Its like having homework for the rest of your life,” Moody says, addressing a high school class of would-be writers.
Californication also gives a nod in the direction of Dorothy Parker, by way of recognizing the contributions of Kathleen Turner, who appears in the third season as Runkle’s boss, Sue Collini, who “always gets her wienie.”
After witnessing Runkle enduring Collini’s mocking yet funny tirade, Moody asks him: What fresh hell is this?
Besides being an original gem from writer Dorothy Parker, it is also the same line uttered by Turner more than two decades ago when she played Barbara Rose in War of the Roses.
Turner may have lost some of her looks, but as Collini, she is as spunky as ever, providing an exciting dimension to a show that has pushed the limits of television.
With quirky characters like Collini, partnered with an clever script, Californication is more than just Sex and the City for Men — it is entertainment, however risque, at its finest.
From the Gratitude Dept. Some words of inspiration came from Karl Kaufman. Photo of Laura Niles astride David Duchovny from Seat42f.com, which says it was taken by Randy Tepper.
“At the end of the day, if you can do anything else — telemarketing, pharmaceutical sales, or ditch-digging, major league umpire — I would suggest you do that because being a writer blows: it’s like having homework for the rest of your life.”
— Hank Moody, protagonist of Californication, played by David Duchovny