Mitchel Waite © 2020

Californication

Hank Moody returns for a 5th season of Californication, and behold, it was….different!

Hank has been in a “stable” relationship for around 12 months in the time between seasons, living back in New York whilst Karen and Becca are still in LA and he seems to have curbed the drinking habit. SHO, what have you done with the real Hank and where is he? Female beauty and charm still remain his Achilles heel, but Hank really does seem to come across as a changed man.

I was a little apprehensive of how one TV source summarised the new season; “Hank ventures into rap music!” Alarm bells faintly rang in the distance as Hank is, by trade, a novelist and I thought the rap scene would be an easy target for cringe worthy moments. Think Michael Scott/David Brent in The Office. Thankfully, over halfway through the current season they seem to have avoided those pot holes.

The quirky, quick and dry wit of David Duchovny and outrageous situations he gets into is a big highlight of the show. 5 seasons in and it hasn’t yet saturated and become reliant on fart or dick jokes. The writers manage to contrast the comedy well with the right levels of spiralling drama of the core characters (Hank, Karen and Becca). One moment Hank is surrounded by LA egos and next the whole plan seems to fall apart. Hank “struggles” to keep things between them together, but there are always external demons (mainly women) tempting him. He is also not afraid to put his neck on the line in order to protect them, even if that means sacrificing his chance of redemption. He is a conflicted character with very liberal moral values which makes for exciting and unpredictable TV viewing.

To me, the show has always been about Hank chasing (his version) of the American dream with Karen and Becca whilst trying to keep his temptations in check. Season 5 Hank seems to still want this to a degree, but ultimately he has accepted that they have moved on. It creates a fresh story arc, but I’m still unsure of what direction the writers wish to take the show. They’ve flushed out a few elements of the rock and roll lifestyle that Hank was associated with, and now Runkle (Hank’s agent) seems to be the one getting the most female attention! There’s a few episodes left, it will be very interesting to see where the story arc’s finale ends up.

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