So Californication. It shits on every ounce of your decency as viewer, and stretches the very boundaries of your definition of acceptable. It’s shits, with a lopsided self satisfied smile, on everything. And I love it. Nothing inspires me to live, love and write more than Duchonvy’s character, the lovable, roguish self-hating screw up, Hank Moody. His character is in constant turmoil, scaling a jagged rock face towards normality and family values, against the onslaught of the salty, wet sea, normally personified by a depraved sexual encounter, from the unwitting statory rape of a minor (the step daughter of his wife) to a well meaning prostitute who’s honesty drives Hank to protect her core values to the detriment of all else. All that is good for him that is. The viewer is sucked into this vortex of confliction, willing each potential romantic reunion with his ex wife and love of his life to this time stick, to rejoicing in the debauchery that seems to run like an pandemic through Hollywood and Venice Beach. The soul numbing scenarios of the rich and beautiful are glamorised by its setting, and the level of naked brown flesh abundantly adorning the screen, inviting an abandonment of societal values – hence my internal conflict between wanting to see his family reunited and rejoicing in the simple attitude that says nothing is too far, rules are fucking boring, being bad is sexy and happiness is an illusion best solved with drink and sex.
For me, the concept of ‘living’ in the romantic, deathbed ‘look at my life’ sense of the word, is truly explored through the fallable yet infinitely sympathetic character of Hank Moody. He makes me want to embrace life, say yes more, and most importantly for myself as a writer, explore spoken and written language in ways that are not typical. The genius of his character is no matter flawed he may be, and how many unforgivable mistakes he inflicts upon his daughter as a father, his writing only ever benefits from it. His mastery of the English language adds an insurmountable barrier of charm to his character, adding poetic fancy, not as an excuse for his behaviour, but perhaps as a cause. For Hank Moody is a romantic at heart, and his sense of poetic justice is central to his character, whilst often at odds with what sense would dictate as the right thing to do, both for his family, and himself. This is the reason I forgive him time after time. His genius is flawed, like all exceptional men. But art is a reflection of self, and he drives the artist within us to live a more interesting life so that we may share our experiences with the world. Of course, Hank would say ‘the Fuck if I know what I’m doing’. And for that honesty, I’m a big fan.