Californication, Season 1

My first observation: Damn, David Duchovny is a fine man. Second: Wow, he’s also really funny. Why doesn’t he do more comedies? Third: Holy crap, this show is pretentious.

Look, I’m a pretentious person. The next item on my queue is Entourage Season 2. I’m a TV critic for chrissake. But Californication is not a great show. It’s a good one, and an entertaining one, but it’s not great. Here’s why: None of the characters are likable, and none of them have any intention of changing. Seinfeld’s fab four were equally terrible people, except they were funny. Hank, Karen, Charlie, Marcy, Mia, all of these people are terrible, corrupt, selfish sorts with no intention of making anyone else’s lives easier, ever. And that’s why I won’t continue with this show.

I like to see characters evolve. I’m not talking about changing jobs or getting married. I’m talking about motives. I like seeing good people go bad, bad people go good, all that. And I just don’t see it with these folks. They spend their lives in a downward spiral, circling back to their old behaviour, selfishly pulling away for a bit, relying on each other for moral support when they’re doing something they know is wrong. Who wants to watch that?

I do think the first season wrapped up very nicely, in its own self-contained way, and after reading the synopses of the second and third seasons, which basically turn Hank into this incredibly depressing tragic anti-hero douchebag, it just gave me another reason not to watch. That, and the over-produced artsy-ass shots of LA, which contribute nothing to the show other than to say, hey, LA is pretty sometimes, but I’m going to distract you from its beauty by putting some weird shit all over the lens of this camera as I’m filming it. Screw that. I’ll watch David Duchovny, and I rather like the other actors too (Natasha McElhone, you are a goddess), but as one big Californication family I’d rather not be invited to dinner.

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