“Californication”

I like Californication (2007- ), except that it certainly does propagate the unreasonable characterization that everyone in LA is so good-looking. I suppose the Venice Beach area is well above average in this respect, though! I remember David Duchovny (this show’s Hank Moody) notoriously giving interviews around the later years of The X-Files (that show’s Fox Mulder) that he loved watching porn, so I guess it’s somehow fitting that he ended up in such a naughty, sex-oriented, yet oddly-literary show.

Duchovny is well-suited to presenting something along the lines of self-loathing and a frequently-“mumbling” spoken presentation, both of which are also present in the character of Mulder. However, combined with the actor’s family and educational backgrounds (a teacher/administrator mother, a writer/publicist father, attending an independent NYC boys’ school, a B.A. in English/poetry at Princeton, and an M.A. and an incomplete Ph.D. in English literature at Yale), these characteristics actually conspire to work much better as applied to the character of a prematurely has-been writer than to the character of a “flaky” FBI agent.

Hank is vaguely aware of pop culture and self-consciously espouses retro-hipness, saying things such as “B to the I to the double-L” and preferring LPs and mid-’70s Bob Dylan, and he also disparages not only LA (favouring New York) but also the “non-literary” context of his current occupation: blogging. Moreover, the character’s unforced level of discourse can be as erudite as: “Is there another mode of egress?” when trying to sneak out of a girls’ high school. Even more than with Mulder, you can’t help but wonder: How much actual Duchovny is there written into fictional Hank?

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3 thoughts on ““Californication”

  1. I think the writing is geared toward an intelligent, adult audience. Duchovny is obviously comfortable with the sharp and witty dialogue, so it seems to be a perfect fit. But I don’t think it’s Duchovny being written into Hank, it’s an actor taking a well-written role and making it his.

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