Wednesday, August 22, 2007


David Duchovny's new Showtime series Californication is being sold as a comedy, but it feels a lot darker than that...not quite Kalifornia dark, but close. That said, there's been some very clever lines of dialogue. And I did laugh out loud a couple times in both the pilot and episode 2. "It's all good!"

For the uninitiated, here's an overview clip:

But as Alex shuns and Denis mulls, there are more things bugging me about the show than loving about it right now.

Like Duchovny's character name, Hank Moody. He's a sarcastic, self-loathing, mid-life crisis case...oh, I get it now.

The opening title sequence felt wrong. Jittery home-movies (a la Wonder Years) of Duchovny and his ex-wife and his kid in what appear to be happier times set to a rockin' upbeat diddy just didn't jive with the show I was watching. Too bad The Red Hot Chili Pepper's tune wasn't available (I read somewhere it had already been bought by Disney for a theme park ride).

Moody smokes, but Duchovny's not a smoker. Sorry, but non-smoking actors trying to pull off smoking always comes off unconvincing...major buggage.

Duchovny's ex, played by the lovely and talented Natascha McElhone, smiles too him and his little quips especially. He's been nothing but clingy and annoying while clearly living in the past and yet she won't just tell him to F*** off. If this is to set up the two of them getting back together, I won't buy it.

The blogging gig Duchovny takes to try to break his writers block clearly points the series in the direction of being a male variation of Sex In The City (with some of Entourage's west coast attitude thrown in). I don't know why that bugs me but it does.

And speaking of sex...all that sex, I now seen it's being depicted like Sex In The City sex...or more specifically, Kim Cattrall SITC sex - as in: Smash cut to the bedroom for effect or shock or laughs, as opposed to sexy sex. That wouldn't bug me per say, but the series has been sold so far as 'ground-breakingly' sexual. Misleading.

And the biggest bugaboo...believing that 21 year old actress Madeline Zima (Mia) is supposed to be sixteen. The big shocking twist of the pilot hung on that fact, and a lot of the complication of the second episode hinged on it as well. She looks and acts too old. Never. Bought. It. For. A. Second.

Californication feels like it's still trying to figure out what it is or what it wants to be. A single man in his 40's tries to find sex, love, happiness, and more sex in LA? Or a writer distraught by the breakup of his family tries to get back together with the mother of his child?

The XXX Files? Or The Ex Files?

We shall see.


Bill Cunningham said...

The titles are that way because this is what Hank is trying to get back to -- the "wonder years" in his life. A bit too obvious for me.

As Hank tries to get his life back, I think that Californication is a play on the idea that California (the state and state of mind) is screwing us over. Certainly that was part of the theme of this episode "Hell-A Woman." Just how do women come around to the idea that they "need to fix" themselves with plastic or hair removal? That's so freaking sad...

I'm all for everyone doing what works for them, but the word "need" comes into the whole body mod dialogue waaay too much for my taste.

Madeline Zima freaks me out because I know she's 21 playing 16, but all I can see is that little girl from THE NANNY.

But Paula Marshall?

Oh yeah.

Everything that Hank says about her in bed - so true and so right. She IS in her 40's and all the things she brings to the table because of that make her so damn attractive.

CAROLINE said...

I watched two episodes and I am left devoid of feeling, really. I don't think I like it, and I don't think it's really very deep at all. Pathetically shallow, but not in a social commentary way, more in a non-judgmental chronicling of daily life kind of way. There's a difference. And I agree with Bill about Madeline Zima!

Juniper said...

Some of the shock value dialogue isn't as shocking as it is 'where the f*** did that come from'...

Example: first ep when he's trying to belittle a woman who liked the movie...'you look like I just fingered f***ed your cat.'

What the?

I'll watch the second taped ep.... but can't say that there's much to hold me.