Why was Californication canceled
Californication describes L.A. as a large candy store for adult children with something for every taste. But is it worth following the writer Hank Moody for seven seasons?
From Simon Gottwald
Sex, drugs, rock'n'roll and a little literature - that's how it works Californication sum up. Troubled writer and protagonist of the series, Hank Moody spends more time with drugs, alcohol and women than with writing, although after a rather stuffy family life he actually finds himself with his (ex-and-then-again-and-then- again-not-and-then-again) partner and "baby mom" Karen and their daughter Rebecca longs for. During the seven seasons over which Moody is accompanied by the audience, one thing becomes clear above all: You cannot get out of your skin, however much you may wish.
Hank has the rare gift that almost every woman he meets falls for him, which in the superficial world of Hollywood and the surrounding area means that once (rarely more) they sleep together and then go their separate ways. But no matter how many women Hank sleeps with, no matter how many of them fall in love with him, he only longs for Karen, the love of his life. His relationship with her is still subtly titled “difficult”. Karen endures his behavior, which is mainly characterized by immaturity and irresponsibility, only in stages, although she basically reciprocates Hank's love. The relationship between the two is made even more complicated by their daughter Becca, who sees through her father's behavior at a young age and is accordingly disaffected.
Hank Moody isn't the only character in the series with an extravagant sex life. The libidinal disorientation of the prominent and semi-prominent upper class manifests itself in the exploration of ever new fetishes, the consumption of ever more aloof pornography and, in the case of Hank's agent Charlie Runkle, an erectile dysfunction resulting at some point from oversaturation and desensitization, Charlie initially tried to counteract with a cessation cure and the concentration on quite ordinary sex. But this is only overcome in the moments when Runkle gives in to his newfound cuckolding fetish and fantasizes about how his wife sleeps with her ex-husband. Runkle is the character who brings most of the compassionate laughs to the series - barely able to last longer than a minute in bed and therefore called "Prema-Charlie" by his wife Marcy, he loses his job because of repeated masturbation at work, tries As the agent of a porn actress, pretends to be gay in order to get back to work with his old agency, accidentally kills the monkey of a producer who practices autoasphyxia ("That monkey was a deviant and a cockblocker!") and in the end comes after various escapades back together with Marcy, who had separated from him in the meantime.
Despite this, in places, almost monomaniacal focus ’on sexuality in all its forms Californication but not just a series of soft porn. Rather, the decadent pastime in the form of nipple clamps, taboo-breaking role-playing games ("Let's do the one where Charlie is still your husband but he's upstairs in a wheelchair") and sexual violence ("I think we should kill someone tonight - I mean, like a hobo or something «) provides the background for the diagnosis of a general boredom, an ennui: The world of characters from Californication is a world where oral sex is a currency and "ordinary" sex is ubiquitous and always available. It is this commodification and simultaneous devaluation of human intimacy that makes the characters resort to drugs and alcohol, sometimes to promote advances, sometimes as their consequence or as a means of dealing with the consequences of a failed love affair, and often as an attempt at the boredom of prosperity to escape.
It is a wealth that allows parents to dump their children with the nanny and to burden her with the upbringing of the offspring. If the child does not speak because of this parental neglect, the fault is sought in him and the preoccupation with him is only expanded as much as therapy visits require. Given all this, it is hardly surprising that the first word of Runkle's two-year-old son is "blowjob".
Author: Tom Kapinos
Episodes: 84 in 7 seasons
Californication, Seasons 1-7, will be streamed on Netflix
The big city, a multitude of sex practices and writing about it - hasn't that existed before? Californication is definitely not just a ›grosser one Sex and the City‹Or whatever formulations you want to use to construct a relationship between the two series. There are parallels (the ubiquity of sex, the quest for soul mate Mr. Big / Karen, the sex-impregnated considerations of the respective main character, which are expressed in written form), but Californication addresses his own artificiality as well as the artificiality of the relationships between his characters. That David Duchovny professed his sex addiction in 2008, has a Masters in English Literature and is in Californication Playing a sex-addicted writer is only a small part of that self-reflection. When Duchovny as Hank Moody in his role as series writer reveals the secret of successful television series ("Milk the sexual tension for as long as inhumanly possible"), it is, on the one hand, an ironic look at Hank's almost eighty episode endeavors, Karen finally to win for himself, on the other hand, a clear allusion to the relationship between Fox Mulder (played by Duchovny) and Gillian Anderson's character Dana Scully in The X-Files. How long had the fans waited back then to see at least one kiss between these two, which only became reality in the movie, and how disappointed many must have been when this kiss no longer came about, despite the ›sexual tension‹ between the two persisted.
Moments like this, showing how silly it is to worship simulacras, are at the heart of the Californication. The constant and ubiquitous sex is just an excuse to spread the real theme of the series: Of course, at a rock star's funeral, it's silly when friends fall on their knees in front of a guitar-playing hologram of the deceased and pay homage to him; Of course you can hardly take it seriously if a shot goes off in the music studio because some members of the crew of the rapper Samurai Apocalypse argue about which of them is crying because the singing of Hanks and Samurai's common ›love interest‹, the singer Kelly, is so touching, but that's what it's all about. Almost everything in Californication is exaggerated: the people, their appearance, their feelings, the sex. Nothing lasts, everything dismantles itself, you just look closer. The spontaneous sex in the men's toilet turns out to be a porn shoot, the supposedly gay agent lied about his sexuality in order to win a new customer, the “Slam Van”, one of those porn studios that serve a single branch, here the scenario “willing hitchhiker” shows itself recognizable «, is a dingy two-man company with gag contracts and hardly any income worth mentioning, the alleged feminist with the significant name Ophelia would like to castrate all men or at least put them in a» male chastity device «and cites her as proof of her crude theses own self-help books.
The only exception to this is Hank and his small family. Because despite all the emptiness in interpersonal relationships is Californication full of hope that true love exists. In a world where addicts can eloquently justify their addiction, where rehab is a necessary evil, and sex is just one pastime among many, there are feelings that even L.A., with all of its negative impact on people, cannot destroy. Hank loves Karen and Karen loves Hank, no matter what happens or who is slept with in the intervals between their relationships, so it is not a spoiler if the good ending is revealed for everyone involved.
Californication is without question a clever series, especially in the first few seasons of literary works like Nabokov's with admirable ease Lolita mixed with the filth of punk and rock music, the writer modeled after Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Bukowski and who cannot do anything with thin, fine spirits (“Most writers aren't handsome. They are usually pale, sun-starved, man-titted little weaklings like your friend here «). But unfortunately, from season 5 onwards, a lot of things freeze into a pose: Again some kind of fetish has to be introduced, again Runkle has to experience some embarrassing sexual escapade, again Hank suffers from how unreliable he is and drowns his grief, again there is some bizarre figure, hers Drug use and their sex life is not under control. This pattern can also be found in the previous seasons, but there is not yet the feeling that a list is being worked through soullessly, just to stick to the tried and tested and not to take any risks. But what is even worse: After the 4th season, the tone of Californication evil, sometimes even downright hostile. The big laugh of a season 5 episode is that Charlie Runkle poses as a cop and gets a prostitute to have oral sex in this way, but then finds out that she is a transsexual. Even rape is kind of funny after all, at least for the writers of Californication. When a woman forces himself on Hank in the rehab clinic, it should be laughable, after all, men always want to have sex, and so Hanks' first shock, which almost leads him to leave the clinic, is also lost in his further reactions on what happened. "You think rape is funny?" I think it's awful! Unless it's a woman raping a man. That's inherently funny ", and the woman who forced him to have sex is greeted by him with a grin with" Hello rapist ". Of course, one could argue that from a series like Californication no sensitivity and tact are to be expected on any topic, but then you often lose your breath.
This viciousness makes the attempts to portray the relationship between Hank and Becca as something pure, sometimes quite embarrassing: Of course, the precocious and highly intelligent daughter emulates her father and also wants to become a writer; the teenage analities she presented are enthusiastically received by the audience of an open mic and honored with great applause, and her first draft novel is panned by her father, but he limits his criticism and states: “You know what I really dug about your work was ... was the relationship between the daughter and the asshole father [...] it felt authentic to me and ... and I think if you flesh it out you could turn it into a novella «. That happens in Season 6, and the show has long since reached a point where Hank's relationship with Becca and Karen is still defined as special, but basically, as mentioned, it's an extension of Hank's inadequacies in everything. what goes beyond one night.
It is as if the series only allowed the small world of Hank Moody to count, and as if all other ways of life, whether pan- or asexuality, voluntary or involuntary single being, all pursuit of happiness that does not coincide with Hanks, were wrong and despicable. Everything is a big joke, everything is ridiculous, except for the tragic main character who suffers from his own genius.
This leaves a mixed impression of a series that abhors superficialities and has a borderline, yet entertaining sense of humor (except in places where one's own decency really forbids even smiling), but with advancing age it becomes, what she so despises: an accumulation of meanness suffocating in self-mystification and constant navel gazing.
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