Latley, Aaron and I have been watching a whole lot of Showtime’s addicting series, Californication. After devouring the first season over the last two weeks, we knocked out three episodes of season two last night, which got me thinking… why are we inclined to hole up in our teeny condo and watch 1.5 hours of Hank Moody and friends? (main character) What is it that we LOVE about this show?
I’ve decided it must be because this show exhibits some of the most well developed, love ‘em and hate ‘em characters of all time. Our (anti?)hero, Hank Moody, is a cynical, marginally depressed and definitely over-sexed author with a potential drinking problem, who struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with the beautiful ex, Karen (baby mama), who he never married and only realized he SHOULD have married, once she was ready to marry someone else (Bill). Karen, on the other hand, is good-humored and beautiful, obviously still madly in love with Hank, but it doesn’t seem like she’ll ever accept him for who he is. Their robotic and wise, well beyond her years, offspring, Becca, makes us uncomfortable with her blunt cut black bangs and dry, witty remarks. Mia, is the over-sexed, under-supervised 16-year old daughter of Bill, Karen’s former fiance, whom Hank inadvertently beds in season 1 before he knows that she’s 16 and/or Bill’s daughter. There is also the lovable supporting character, Trixie, a high-class hooker with whom Hank spends one rock star evening in a hotel room, snorting lines and getting it on, after his father dies. Finally, we have Charlie and Marcy Runkel, Hank’s best friends, who provide the comic relief in this story. Both shallow, and slightly perverted, the Runkels keep what could be some very heavy issues, very light.
All-in-all, this series is full of very flawed individuals who we’re in love with. Why is that?
Hank: We love him because despite his inappropriate love of women in general, his bedroom conquests and his poor judgment, we all want to be desired that way he desires Karen. He’s a romantic. He spents the entirety of season one trying to get her back and we know that every girl, woman and drug that passes through his life is only meant as a temporary upper until he can, once again, be with Karen. So, we forgive him for these women and drugs. Somehow, he is a good father too, communicating in a language unique to he and Becca, that seems to be a mixture of clever banter, cussing and tech talk. (LOL, TTYL, etc) Hank seems to be the perpetual victim of poor choices and ill circumstance. Hank is many things, but he is never, intentionally bad to Karen or Becca. We like that about him.
Karen: Karen goes as far as to marry Bill and run-off with Hank at the end of season 1, on their wedding night. We hate her for marrying Bill and ruining the illusion that the Moodys can, once again, be a happy family unit. She is demanding and while she loves Hank with all her heart, she does not accept him for his flawed self. Yet, when she flees her wedding reception and jumps into the back of Hank’s car at the end of season 1, our hearts skip a beat and we love her for this valiant, romantic gesture. We love that she loves Hank this much, because so do we. We also love her because she’s etherealy beautiful and she understands Hank in a way that we never will, we only hope to.
Becca: A curmudgeon from the womb, Becca provides the one thing this show desperately needs – morals. Becca is always lingering around a corner or doorway, waiting to put Hank or Karen in their places. She’s smarter than us. She’s a little rock n’ roller. She’s the kid we all want in some perverse way, relating to her parents in ways many of us will never relate to our parents.
Mia: A manipulative little back-stabber, we like Mia because we feel sorry for her. She’s also beautiful, but seems to have no sense of her true beauty or potential. She has little parental involvement in her life, despite Bill’s best efforts to appear involved, and lost her biological mother at a young age. She craves family and continues to hang out with Karen, Becca and Hank, even once Karen leaves Bill.
Trixie: She’s a hooker with dreams and we like her sassy little personality. Who knew not all hoookers wanted to grow up to be hoookers? Trixie wanted to be a vet. We also love that she asks her pimp to protect Hank’s beautiful face when beating him up in season 1. And we love that she has a perpetual crush on Hank.
The Runkels: Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. But, in all of these often morally reprehensible situations, hilarity ensues. The Runkels remind us that coke and three-ways are bad for a marriage…. We also love Marcy’s blunt, call it like it is, personality, and that Charlie is always right around the corner to save Hank.