Got a Bit of Hank Moody In Me

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Not in the way you’re thinking, you degenerate.

Showtime series “‘Californication,” responsible for the second Golden Globe of David Duchovny’s career (if you have to ask what the first one was for, just… OK, you’re reading the wrong blog. OK?), basically suggests that half of LA is comprised of naked or nearly-naked women whose greatest ambition in life is to know writer Hank Moody biblically.

Hot male nudity is pretty much nonexistent on “Californication” (though we were recently treated to a flash of some unappealing aging rock star ass at a jail urinal – awesome!), although we are told, repeatedly, that the nearby celestial spheres and pretty much the entire galactic core rotates around the fabled entity known as the cock, which makes me kind of wish they’d just go ahead and show more of it.

This show is not a hard sell for a country used to female nudity and squicked by male nudity, though. And in many ways, “Californication” is already refreshing merely for daring to suggest that the ladies like to get laid… especially by wealthy, powerful men who may willingly or unwillingly advance their careers. We’ve yet to see a wealthy, powerful woman advancing anyone else’s career – and my guess is that when we do, she will be an awful shrew in need of serious, hardcore taming. I’m kind of hoping that I am going to be proven wrong on this one, though.

There’s a surprisingly touching quality to “Californication” – and I don’t just mean that when it comes to libertine Hank doting on his daughter or gallantly fighting off the advances of every beautiful woman in his zipcode in order to remain faithful to his One True Wuuuv – there’s something about the sadness and awkwardness of daily life that the show gets precisely right. The idea that women are creatures with their own sad and awkward stories, stories that do not cross them out of the narrative, is integral to the show’s weird charm: a beautiful woman puking during sex, or a call-girl making a sarcastic remark about who she wanted to be when she grows up, or a situation involving a run on tampons at the local store. These incidents are portrayed without contempt or breast-beating dwaaama.

But I don’t watch the show because “omigod I can totally relate to these chicks” or even because “David Duchovny is sexxay” (he is, but that’s not the point). I watch it because I KNOW Hank Moody. I have seen Hank Moody: mostly in the mirror, particularly in a mirror as it is roughly at four a.m. (everyone knows that mirrors change with the time on your watch).

Like Hank, I believe in love, not the greeting card kind of love, but the love that’s part chivalric and part Spice Channel. Like Hank, I also tend to make an ass of myself. Social injustice makes me want to go around punching people in the crotch, and romantic disappointment turns me into a quivering mess. I tend to be a diplomat, until a couple of my unassailable moral standards are pissed upon, at which point I start baring my little teeth and going for people’s ankles. I’m the sort of person who is capable of saying “I love men” to a disgruntled shop clerk. I need a rock in my life, someone who imbues my daily comings and goings with meaning, and shoulders me with the kind of responsibility that allows me to stay fettered to the surface of the Earth – and I have found it in Boyfriend (and am in no hurry to get married, hah). I also write things.

I’m not celebrated or hot, and guys do not suggestively proffer popsicles to me in public, and I don’t really want them to either. I do see the potential of a similar show with a female protagonist; unless it goes off the rails and becomes a tragic cautionary tale with lots of brooding montages. Until then, I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that I will be Hank Moody when I grow up.

It’s disturbing. Also, exhilirating. I’ve got no idea where this show will go next, or whether or not it will crash and burn like the “X-Files” did toward the end, but until all of the chips are down I’ve at least got an avatar that doesn’t come equipped with a set of boobs I must first get over envying before going on to enjoy the character.

OK, it’s not that simple.

Or maybe it is that simple.

I’m not sure.

This show also makes me wonder if David Duchovny is channeling his inner Beckett, plus a whole lot of glamour and conversation on come-stains (perhaps despite, and not because of, Beckett’s lack of interest in realism):

Spend the years of learning squandering
Courage for the years of wandering
Through a world politely turning
From the loutishness of learning.

4 thoughts on “Got a Bit of Hank Moody In Me

  1. I love House.

    With House, I get to enjoy seeing someone from the outside in.

    With Hank Moody, it’s like seeing a hidden door inside of me open, and all of my anxieties and fuck-ups spilling out for the world to laugh at.

    It’s profoundly uncomfortable. Also, brilliant. I love it. I love Hank. I love him like I can only love me. Heh heh.

    I guess this is the part where someone slags me off for being “male-identified” or something.

  2. I really relate to Hank, I live in LA, I hate the corruption and the people who forgot what morals and ethics are. I’m in love with a woman who probably won’t work out for me. A real human being if you will. I really see Hank as a “tragic hero.” An Everyman. That’s basically what Californication is a modern version of.

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