Saturday, September 17, 2011

CALIFORNICATION: Hank Moody – A character study

This one is strictly for Californication fans. And for some who are adventurous enough to peek into one of the most endearing characters ever seen on television.

Californication, the show is a situational comedy / drama / soft porn, depending on the scenario, and let me tell you the scenario is mostly fucked up :D. It has been criticised in the most liberal of countries, about the extensive adult content and programming slots. With its tongue in cheek humour and witty screenplay and endearing central character Hank Moody, the show has seen 4 seasons being wrapped up straight and I believe the guys are currently shooting for Season 5.

Hank Moody - Devil may Care
Hank Moody, as we all know is a writer. Successful / failed or there and there in between we can’t say, because this character is in continuation. He is an enigma, capable of surprising everyone including himself. Impulsive, old school, reckless, lazy and passionate beyond repair are a few words that may define him, but you never know which side of him might show up at what time.

Which is why, despite being a gifted writer, this person has managed to squander it all away. There is no ulterior motive or extra logical reasoning behind his downfall. All the man did was wear his heart on his sleeves and call a spade a spade and thus the world conspired to bring him down.

While in the first few seasons we saw Hank loiter after anything with sexy legs and get lucky invariably, he also settles down pretty much as the family guy later on. But as they say, your future is just the past coming out from another door. And hence Hank’s past never leaves him in his utopia-like situation of living the quiet life with his beautiful wife and lovely daughter. Complications arise, misunderstandings happen and we have Mr. Moody going back to ground zero and square one once again.

It would be unfair to term Hank as a womaniser. He is a lady’s man in the truest sense and has been known to give in to the situation, when he sees no other option but to comfort a woman or keep her self respect  intact by playing along. Of course he is attracted, and who isn’t, with the bevy of women around in the sitcom? This somehow questions the validity of the show, as to how come soooo many women fall for this jackass. But the explanation comes rightly in the way Hank seduces or gets through each one of them. Of course it’s all a little flimsy and has to be taken in with a pinch of salt, but we anyways aren’t watching a classic here are we?

Hank breaking down after Becca confesses a
bout losing her virginity
Hank has been described by his two closest women, Becca (daughter) and Karen (Wife) as a kid who refuses to grow up. It’s as if he is a kid in a man’s body, doing recklessly impulsive things, afraid of taking responsibility. This, given Hank’s personality does hold true, but only partially. Because we as the audiences, know this hugely caring and brooding self of Hank, that Becca and Karen do not get to see. Hank always keeps up the fa├žade of being the charming, lucky loser and smiles even in distress. But he loves and cares and pines for his family, doing anything possible to be together with them. He is pre historic in his ways and treats women with respect and insists on people doing the same. He is post modernistic in thoughts when he says he wouldn’t mind Becca turning into a Lesbian, because of his deep admiration towards the fairer gender, but also goes ballistic in an interview about how the internet has destroyed social and creative freedom, with everyone going LMAO and ROFL on the world wide web and being aware about unnecessary bits of news items.

Happier times - Hank teaching Becca
 how to Drive and Karen looks on
Hank has his share of shortcomings. He is a man, after all and does show his feelings after pangs of heart ache, although most of it he keeps to his brooding self. But when it comes to Karen and other men that she seems remotely interested in, Hank can’t hide his feelings of jealousy and loneliness. This is contradictory to Karen, who is ultra comfortable knowing Hank’s super active sex life. Maybe she accepts him as an adult, maybe she doesn’t love him as much, but it is Hank and his innocent childishness that comes into foray when complicated situations arise involving Karen.

Besides having a great sense of humour, Mr. Moody generally, and very liberally, crosses the line of sarcasm while dealing with mostly anyone.  This calls for conflict and as we all know Hank isn’t the right guy to handle conflicts. Infact he is self-conflicted most of the times and causes emotional damage on self at various points. Does he like self-pity then? Given the amount of worldly possessions he’s loved and lost, we cant agree on that.
The show, Californication, wouldn’t be what it is, without the superb music woven into the plot at various times. My favourites are:
·         Second Life Replay”, played when Hank is going through a major depression and has had too many pills before sitting down on the typewriter, to write a letter to Becca.
·         California Dreaming”, by Shaw Blades (original sung by The Mamas and the Papas). This is played at the end of the Second season, when Hank bids goodbye to Karen and stays back in California with Becca. Kind of a fitting moment.
·         Rocket Man” by Elton John, played during another lonely moment in Season 3.

So many songs, so many episodes, heartbreaks, sexcapades, broken Ferrari headlights…Hank Moody lives on..the non-conformist way!!!