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Finally Californicated...A rough review
ChuckWriting
farawayeyes4
Hey,

Well, I'm all caught up on Californication, and I was right, Hank and I get along really well. I really enjoy the show, although I can't wait to get it on DVD to watch it on a real TV screen rather than my computer. I know there are people out there who don't mind watching things on their computer screen, and some only watch TV on their computer, but me? I find it to be less comfortable and not as enjoyable. Besides, I'm more analog, like Hank. LOL makes me cringe when anyone writes it in an email or other medium outside of the Instant Message. Please, help save the English language!

Anyways, about the show itself. It's such a brutally honest show in so many ways, and while a lot of the extreme things that happen are heavily sensationalized, it's not entirely impossible to believe that Hank and friends could be existing in this strange, twisted, dark world, either. I also think it's a misnomer to describe it as a "comedy," but only in the conventional TV sense. It's not really a comedy per se. It's too smart to be a comedy the way people anticipate it will be. There aren't really any moments of physical comedy the way one might find on network television, although there are physical moments. It's more of a comedy of errors. If it should be described as a comedy, it should be described as such because to label it any other way does it a disservice.

The relationships are complex. Hank, as he is our main character, is the center of all of these relationships in some way or another. And despite all of his vices and his mistakes, he knows that the world of LA is far more messed up than he'll ever hope to become. He's also very honest with himself, which sets him apart from those around him. He knows he's messed up, that he has problems, and that he's screwed things up, but he's also not quite sure what to do about it all. All he wants is his family back and to go home to New York, away from the crazy world of LA. It's his reactions to and relationships with everyone else that seem to only make it all worse---all except his relationship with his daughter, Becca, that is.

The closest person to him, other than his daughter, is his ex-girlfriend/common law wife/whatever you'd like to call her. He has set out to pay her back for cheating on him with a client only to find himself hurt more. Karen claims to be happy with her new fiancee, Bill, but everything points to the contrary. She's decided that since she's here and can settle down with someone who is not as crazy as Hank can be on a good day that she'll find the happiness that's been lacking since their arrival in California. Her vice is delusion, and Hank knows it.

Hank's relationship with his agent, Charlie, is also very twisted. Charlie tries to exemplify virtue to the public, convince Hank to move on from Karen and find a "nice girl" and possibly get married, and most importantly to write again, all the while nursing his own set of peculiar vices. Charlie may be married, but he certainly isn't dead, nor will he turn away a gift horse. His young secretary has started a strange BDSM game, and Charlie is more than willing to play along. Unfortunately, when his wife tries to get involved, it gets messy---and lands Charlie in the ER with an embarrassing injury! If anything, Charlie should be seeking moral advice, and not giving it. Hank doesn't judge him, but that doesn't mean he won't tell him that it's crazy, either.

Hank's relationships with Karen's finacee Bill and his daughter Mia are far more disturbing. On the surface, Bill and Mia seem to be a perfect father/daughter pair. Bill seems to provide well and be a good role model, and Mia a good girl, but nothing can be further from the truth as Hank will discover to his horror. Mia is sixteen, and on her first meeting with Hank, fails to tell him this---even though they have a one-night stand. She's been holding it over Hank ever since. Bill, however, appears to be polite and mature on the outside, but enjoys nothing more than taunting Hank about Karen. Of the characters, they're the most hypocritical. Bill criticizes Hank about parenting Becca, all while not knowing how badly he's screwed up with Mia.

The relationship that balances this, though, is the one Hank has with Becca. The most endearing moments happen when they interact, and instead of being saccharine in nature, they're honest and real in the midst of fakery and decadence. Hank is truly trying to be a good father to his daughter, and only wants to her to be happy. Conversely, she seems to be the only one to truly understand him---or is at least willing to try. She may be only twelve, but she understands more than she lets on, and knows just how to ask the most revealing questions of both her parents. Without this relationship, Californication would be nothing more than a show about the underbelly of LA, how decadent, disgusting, and fake it can really be. Becca is Hank's redeemer in more ways than one. It's their scenes together that make it alright to like Hank, and keeps the viewer coming back for more.

Besides the actual relationships and story lines of the show, the use of music is superb. It is not just there as background. It has a true purpose to compliment the story as cream and sugar do to coffee. Most of the music seems to be in Hank's personal record collection in some way, as he constantly references different musical artists. It's only fitting that the majority of the music has a bluesy characteristic. It also completes the package of the show. Without it, there is something missing, as is not the case in a good portion of situation comedies on network television today.

While we see a world, Hank's world, falling apart in Californication, we can't help but go along for the ride. It's a dark view exposing the truth about LA in a new and ingenious way. Each of these characters are human on some level, and while we may be afraid to identify with some more than others, the fact that we can allows us to delve into this dark world. Unlike other shows that deal with the superficiality of appearances, Californication keeps its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, letting the serious tones subtlety underscore the dry and twisted view it has on life in LA. However, it knows not to take itself entirely too seriously, yet knows how to bring a dose of sobering reality to its fabric without losing its flavor. Much like other series, though, such as Nip/Tuck or Boston Legal, dark, black comedy is very much an acquired taste. Once someone's grown accustomed to it, however, one will not go back to the light and creamy!

Oh, and God help us all if the Nip/Tuck characters crossed paths with the Californication cast---I hear McNamara/Troy is moving to LA, so who knows---anything is possible, I guess!

For those of you who would like to see the show, you can go to this site here. The odd thing about the show on this site is the Japanese/Chinese/Whatever it is subtitles. Just think, we've all been reading a lot of English subtitles with Japanese audio. Here's your chance to see their subtitles and hear it in English!

In other news, I've actually gotten some writing done. I started a different original short story, incidentally about working in retail. I have six pages double spaced thus far, but my character doesn't have a name as of yet, and I"m not at all entirely sure just WHERE it's going or what the significance of it really is. I don't want to write a story just about my gripes. I want it to be something more, say something about our society with a look at the life of a retail worker. I figure I'll just keep free writing on it as I get inspired and figure out how mold it into the shape I want later. I have the character's wants firmly in mind, but still, it's not something with any real meaning just yet. It has a "so what" flavor to it so far, and I want it to be more.

I also have gotten a bit further on the chapter---kinda. Shippo really is resisting this chapter, and I have to yet wrestle him into the corner. I haven't had as much time as I'd like to have to do it, and considering I was supposed to have tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday off, I was hoping to do it then, buuuuuuuut you know what happened to that plan. Say it with me! They called me into work for Friday and Saturday. Boo YAH! We'll see. I know everyone wants a new chapter. I do, too.

Other than that, I've been running around trying to do so much stuff all at once. We'll see what I all get done. Now that I've been caught up on both Californication AND Tudors, I should be less distracted. It's a good thing I don't have ShowTime ALL the time.

Until next time,

Far Away Eyes

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I know what them bad boy characters can be like. Two chapters ago, InuYasha was determined to get into a shouting match with Sessh and wouldn't let me get past it...I had to leave them alone to yell, and went into another room. But Kagome helped me work it into the story. They can be onery.

I don't dare even watch a movie right now, much less anything like a series. I know I wouldn't get any work done on my writing. I'm too much of a coward to give myself the chance...

Hank's not a "bad guy" character, he's just severely messed up. Under all of those vices, he's really a good man.

And yeah, getting into some new series has gotten me into trouble. That, and I'm re-reading a Jane Austen novel right now, too.

LOL..actually I was talking about how Shippou was misbehaving...LOL...

Of course we like characters who are good guys under their messed up defensive mechanisms and vices...If you don't like guys like that, how could you like InuYasha? ;)

Enjoy.

I've been going to read Jane Austin for decades. Even have the books. Just never got a roundtuit....sigh.

She's fun. Try Northanger Abbey first. She really does a fine satire of the "heroine" story.

And yeah, Shippo, he's gonna get his schooling rather he wants it or not. . .trust me.

Yay!!! A bloggy thingy on my bday!!! Ummmm...
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Yay!!! A bloggy thingy on my bday!!! Ummmm... <_< >_> Yay for softcore porn shows!!! XD

BFSnorlax in the house

(Anonymous)
Yay!!! A bloggy thingy on my bday!!! Ummmm...
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Yay!!! A bloggy thingy on my bday!!! Ummmm... <_< >_> Yay for softcore porn shows!!! XD

Re: BFSnorlax in the house

Glad I could make your day.

Journey fan and ex-retail sales worker

Hey. I'm glad you're writing again. Good luck on the original story. As someone who worked in convience stores/gas stations for yeeaarrs, I don't know how you're going to get the real feel of crazy customers down on paper. (It may not be real retail sales but it's customer oriented.) I mostly worked nights, alone. I then found out that the US Government considers working in a convience store at night one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, Oh Fun!

Well good luck on your writing and maybe update Journey when you can. You left Miroku in a tough spot. :)

Luv: Patty

Re: Journey fan and ex-retail sales worker

I work in retail, in a department store, with the customers in my face. I have a few customer types of which to draw from: the bitchy, the demanding, the mother with the screaming child that screams forever, the oh-so-important-I can try on clothes even though the store is closing or is closed, the women who unfold every shirt I JUST folded a minute ago, the bratty teenagers really trying as many things on as they possibly can, the list goes on. Trust me. . .it's possible to get it on the page---making it mean something other than a narrative rant with no purpose, well that's the toughie.

Oh, me and Shippo, we're going to sit down for a long chat in a minute. The brat is holding the story back and he knows it. . .he doesn't like the, ahem, discipline measures I have in store for him.

Re: Journey fan and ex-retail sales worker


I had a customer come in one time and buy some little something then go out and (I kid you not) use the pay phone to call the police and tell them that I was trying to blackmail her because I'd seen her with her pants down in a bathroom in Texas! Never been to Texas. The kicker was when she said that I'd threatned her with my older brother. (I'm the oldest of three girls.)

I'm from a very small town in Northern California, where everyone knows everyone. So the police had known me most of my life and I actually went to school with one of them!
She had come in off the highway, and just wanted to start trouble, I guess. :)

Patty



Re: Journey fan and ex-retail sales worker

Oh yay! I don't think we get that level of trouble, mainly cause there's more than one worker, but yeah, I hear you on crazy customers. I've had to stalk some people who were trying to steal stuff, too, and then my supervisor had to boot them from the store cause they got caught and thought they'd still be able to buy stuff, fools. Always fun, them customers. Just because we have the whole adage that the customer is always right doesn't mean they should ABUSE it.

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