Reflecting on ‘Californiacation’
I’ve heard him gloat and bellow and prance around screeching the good word of the hustle and puffing up all of the shysters he’s brought down with his gall and skill and economic ballsiness, but take it from me; it’s all shit.
I have also seen the reckless peacock ass-quiver in a sputtering huddle as he hunkered down with a phone in his hand, shaking too badly to even type in the number of a prospective client. So here you me, his heart is there, but his crank is tired.
And so, it was with these thoughts spinning as they seem to lately with more frequency, whether it’s the stress of a catastrophic academic career slashed on the rocks of petty meanness, or the extreme consumptions of ancient liquor, or the feeling of conservative desperation and a reluctance--or at least an inherent difficulty--in accepting and being forced to admit that I have no fucking clue about anything, it was with those thoughts that I was skeptical when he told me about “Californication.”
I’d heard of it last year, this radical new show that was hilarious and setting the Showcase’s of the world on fire. Sparky said, “It’s about this author who gets drunk and fucks as many girls as he can. You’d like it.” The premise as he described it didn’t endear itself to me, but I thought I should at least give it a chance, if, for nothing else, so I could scratch it off my list of ‘Modernist Shows I Should Watch,’ leaving only “Weeds,” “Lost,” and “Six Feet Under” left for me to explore.
And so here I am, late on a Wednesday night with Elton John cranking his sphere around me and Wild Turkey carving along in a rugged and nostalgically destructive trek through my psyche as I finish another episode.
Becca saves the show. Short of Becca, “Californication” is the Curb Your Enthusiasm for the idle rich: a rollicking atavistic lust-hump mash with no spine and no heart. But she saves it. The secret to good comedy is heart. “Friends” had it. “Mash” had it. Even “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” had it and so that’s part of it. But “Californication” isn’t a strict comedy. The humour is intentionally downplayed and provides (at most) a small, low note rumbling through the background. The much more obvious storyline focuses around the theme of Morbid Success. Duchovny, fatted on the success of a book and a film, but alone, desperate and struggling. This seems to be his type of show. In “Californication” he’s on the other side of his barely coping spectrum to what he was as Jake in Red Shoe Diaries.