ⓘ Californication (TV series)
Californication is an American comedy-drama television series created by Tom Kapinos which aired for seven seasons on Showtime from August 13, 2007 to June 29, 2014. The show follows New Yorker Hank Moody, a troubled novelist who moves to California and suffers from writers block. His drinking, womanizing, and drug abuse complicate his relationships with his longtime lover Karen and their daughter Becca. The shows other main characters are Hanks best friend and agent Charlie Runkle and Charlies wife Marcy. Recurring themes are sex, drugs, and rock and roll, all of which are featured regularly, as well as the seedier side of Los Angeles. The show has won several awards, including two Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe Award.
1. Series overview
The series revolves around Hank Moody, a novelist plagued by alcoholism. He blames his longtime writers block on reasons ranging from the hedonism of Los Angeles to the departure of his partner Karen. Hank constantly deals with the consequences of his inability to say "no" to temptation while trying to show his family that he can be a responsible, caring father to Becca and a reliable partner to Karen.
The show was renewed for a second season on September 7, 2007. The Season 1 finale, titled "The Last Waltz" in homage to Martin Scorseses concert film, originally aired on Showtime on October 29, 2007. Season 2 began filming in April 2008, and was underway as of June 2008. The premiere episode of Season 2 aired September 28, 2008. The first season was released on DVD in the US on June 17, 2008. Showtime renewed Californication for a third season, which premiered on Sunday September 27, 2009 at 10 pm.
The show is laced with rock culture references. It frequently alludes to Warren Zevon and featured Henry Rollins in a guest appearance; some episode titles, such as "Filthy Lucre" and "Turn the Page", allude to album and song names Sex Pistols "Filthy Lucre Live" and Bob Segers "Turn the Page", respectively. Hanks lawyer in Season 4 is called Abby Rhoads; his first three novels, South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss and God Hates Us All, are all named after Slayer albums. The books Crack the Sky and Blood Mountain by Richard Bates are also the names of two Mastodon albums. A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, the movie based on God Hates Us All, is named after the song by the rock band Queen from their album The Game. The segment before the Opening Theme is the intro to The Stooges song, "I Got a Right".
1.1. Series overview Season 1
Season 1 August 13 – October 29, 2007 followed Hank and the other main characters in the months leading up to Karens planned marriage to Bill, a Los Angeles publisher. Hank wallows in self-loathing following the release of A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, a drastically altered and watered-down - yet commercially popular - movie adaptation of his most recent novel, God Hates Us All.
Hank spends most of his time drinking and not writing. One day he picks up a young woman in a bookstore; after they have sex, he discovers that she is Bills 16-year-old daughter Mia. Mia proceeds to harass Hank during his visits to his family. She uses the threat of illegal sex charges to extort stories from him that she passes off as her own for her high-school creative-writing class.
The death of Hanks father drives Hank on an alcohol-fueled binge and a sexual encounter with Karen. After the funeral, Hank stays in New York to finish a manuscript for a new novella. Upon returning to L.A., he believes the original copy to be lost when he is carjacked, but Mia had previously stolen the pot, and now she takes credit for it herself and attempts to have it published. On Karens and Bills wedding day, Hank chooses to be unselfish and accept the situation so as not to destroy his beloveds wedding day. But that evening, as he and Becca leave the reception, Karen runs out and jumps into his car, presumably to resume their life together.
On June 3, 2008, Showtime released the Season 1 soundtrack Temptation: Music From The Showtime Series Californication, which features music from the original series. Included artists are The Rolling Stones, Peeping Tom, My Morning Jacket, The Doors, Tommy Stinson, Bob Dylan, Harvey Danger, Madeleine Martin, Gus Black, Mexican institute of sound, Warren Zevon, The Heavy, Champion, Steve Earle, Elton John, and two original tracks created for the show by Tyler Bates and Tree Adams.
1.2. Series overview Season 2
In Season 2 September 28 – December 14, 2008, Hank and Karens relationship seems to be working out, Becca seems happy again, and their house is on the market as they plan a move to New York. Hank gets a vasectomy and attends a party thrown by Sonja, a woman he had sex with in Season 1. A mistake and a fight with an obnoxious police officer land Hank in jail, where he meets world-famous record producer Lew Ashby, who commissions Hank to write his biography.
Office masturbation costs Charlie Runkle his job. Circumstances lead him to go into the porn industry, as he becomes the agent/paternal-figure of a porn star named Daisy, and spends the majority of his and wife Marcys nest egg financing the artsy porn movie Vaginatown a take on Chinatown, starring Daisy. Marcy goes into treatment for her cocaine addiction, and Charlie starts an affair with Daisy. Hank proposes to Karen on the night they discover that Hank could be the father of Sonjas child. Karen refuses his proposal, leading him to go back to his old ways and continuing the shows central focus on clandestine sexuality.
Hank moves in with Ashby, who - to Hanks dismay - starts a romance with Mia. Becca finds a boyfriend named Damien. Mias book is a hit and Ashby holds a party in her honor, where Damien cheats on Becca while Charlie announces he wants to leave Marcy for Daisy. After the party, Hank sees that Ashbys old girlfriend, the one who got away, has finally resurfaced. Hank then heads to Ashbys room, finding him with girls and cocaine. After Hank convinces him to rekindle the relationship, Ashby snorts some of what he believes is cocaine but is actually heroin he had grabbed from a pile of drugs earlier in the party and overdoses. This incident is believed to be an homage to Mia Wallaces overdose in Quentin Tarantinos Pulp Fiction.
Hank finishes Ashbys biography. Charlie ends up working at a BMW dealership in the Valley, introducing himself as Chuck Runkle. Sonjas baby arrives; it is biracial, which proves that Hank cannot be the father. Hank and Karen slowly move toward reuniting. Karen is offered a job in New York and Hank is happy to go there with her. But when Damien apologizes to Becca and they reconcile, Hank decides it would be wrong to take Becca out of L.A. and stays there with her while Karen starts her job in New York. The season closes with Karens plane leaving for New York and Hank and Becca walking on the Venice boardwalk.
1.3. Series overview Season 3
Season 3 September 27 – December 13, 2009 began where Season 2 ended. Key elements include Hank becoming a creative writing teacher and the various shenanigans he gets into when let loose on a college campus.
The father/daughter relationship between Hank and Becca becomes decidedly moodier as she progresses through her teenage years. Hank keeps questioning his fatherhood ability as he watches his daughter become more like him than he ever wanted. He also continues to complicate his relationship with Beccas mother, his longtime love Karen, with various relationships with women of all ages. Hanks various relationships include a female student, his teaching assistant and the deans wife, all of whom fall for Hank.
In the season finale, Hank has recurring nightmares of floating in a pool, drinking heavily while talking to his most recent conquests, who are swimming naked around him; Karen and Becca watch poolside. In reality, Mia returns to Hanks home and invites the family to the media launch of the paperback edition of her book. At the after party, Hank talks to Mias manager, who is also her new boyfriend, who says he knows of Mias history with Hank and offers Hank a way out by coming clean to the press about how the novel came about. But as it will affect Karen and Becca, Hank must decline.
When they meet again, the men fight and the manager/boyfriend threatens to call the police. Hank hurries home to Karen and confesses that he slept with Mia when she was 16. Karen breaks down uncontrollably, the argument bursts onto the street, and a police car arrives as Hank is trying to calm Karen. When an officer grabs Hank from behind, Hank belts him and is bundled into the back of the car as Becca runs out to try to stop the police. The final scene shows a dream sequence of Hank in the pool again, drinking out of the bottle. He falls from his seat and drops his drink. The last shot shows Hank sinking while the bottle remains visible.
1.4. Series overview Season 4
Season 4 filming began on April 19, 2010. Guest stars included Carla Gugino as Hanks lawyer Abby; Zoe Kravitz as Beccas new friend who gets her to join Zoes band, Queens of Dogtown; Addison Timlin as Sasha Bingham, a movie star; and Rob Lowe as Eddy Nero, a famous actor who wants to play Hanks character in a movie. Zakk Wylde, singer and guitarist for Black Label Society and former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, has a cameo as a guitar-shop employee in episode 2, the title of which, "Suicide Solution", comes from the Ozzy Osbourne song. Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee also has a cameo in the episode "Lights, Camera, Asshole" where he performs his solo version of Motley Crues song Home Sweet Home, on a piano at a bar at the end of the episode. Michael Ealy played a new love interest for Karen in four episodes, and Madeline Zima returned as Mia for four episodes.
The story picks up 72 hours after Hank is arrested at the end of Season 3 and revolves around Hanks thoroughly destroyed life. His secrets have come to light: the world knows that he penned Fucking & Punching, and that he slept with the underage Mia. Karen is disgusted and Becca is disappointed, so Hank goes to live at a hotel. Season 4 follows his new legal troubles, such as his lawyers attempts to get him acquitted of statutory rape charges, plus the development of a film adaptation of "Fucking & Punching" and his sexual involvement with Sasha and Abby. Other developing storylines include Charlie learning his vasectomy may have been botched, Marcy moving in with a movie producer and learning she is pregnant by Charlie, Becca joining an all-female rock band, and Karen finding a new boyfriend.
On January 11, 2011, the Season 4 Soundtrack was released. Exclusive tracks include Tommy Lees solo version of "Home Sweet Home" and three rock covers from the shows on-screen band Queens of Dogtown. Other artists on the soundtrack are Shooter Jennings & Hierophant, Eagles of Death Metal, Better Than Ezra, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Monster Magnet vs. Adrian Young, Cracker, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Warren Zevon, and Gregory Alan Isakov. The soundtrack was co-produced by Nora Felder and Budd Carr, the shows music supervisors.
1.5. Series overview Season 5
The show returned to Showtime for its fifth season in January 2012. Creator Tom Kapinos said that the show needed to take on a completely new direction to stay fresh. The narrative takes place 2 years and 9 months after Season 4, almost at the end of Hanks probation. Hank has since made New York his home, but he returns to Los Angeles for a short, business-related visit. His family issues end up extending it. Karen is married to Professor Bates, 19-year-old Becca is in college and has a new boyfriend, and Marcy is married to Stu Beggs, sharing the custody of her son Stuart with Charlie. Hank meets with rapper-turned-actor Samurai Apocalypse RZA, who wants Hank to write a screenplay for a movie starring Samurai. Hank originally turns down the job, but eventually ends up writing "Santa Monica Cop" because he needs the money. Hank has a hard time working with Samurai, and their strained relationship leads to some unpleasant situations. Hank is disgusted with Hollywood after his book God Hates Us All was adapted into a movie that he hated and is not thrilled with the prospect of working on another movie.
1.6. Series overview Season 6
Season 6 started on January 13, 2013. Its storyline revolves around Hanks relationship with Faith played by Maggie Grace, whom he meets in a rehab facility, in parallel with Hanks artistic participation in the music industry. Initially, Hank reluctantly agrees to rehab, not because of a drug dependency, but rather because of depression over his role in ex-girlfriend Carries suicide at the end of Season 5. After being dumped by him, Carrie, emotionally devastated, drugs Hank as well as herself, but Hank is the only one who awakes, making him lose control over his alcoholism for feeling deeply guilty. At this point, Hanks family and best friends intervene, sending him to rehab.
Faith is a famous rockstar groupie/muse who is in rehab dealing with the recent death of a rockstar with whom she was involved, ultimately becoming Hanks muse. Faith and Hank seem to be made for each other as they take off in a bus to follow a tour of Atticus Fetch played by Tim Minchin, a rockstar who recruits Hank to write for him during the season, but in the end Hank is too weak to move on from Karen and even though it appears that their relationship has run its course, he leaves Faith and goes back to see Karen.
1.7. Series overview Season 7
Production for the seventh season began in 2013. In December 2013, Showtime announced that Californication would end its run after the seventh season. Mary Lynn Rajskub plays a neurotic writer, whom Charlie Runkle takes on as a client. Michael Imperioli plays Rath, a television producer for whom Hank begins to work.
On June 4, 2013, actress Mercedes Masohn announced she will have a guest role as Amy Taylor Walsh, a TV star whose plea for Hanks help ends up putting him in an uncomfortable, compromising position. Amy apparently has ties to a Season 4 character, Sasha Bingham. Roger Howarth plays Karens yoga teacher.
Oliver Cooper plays Levon, Hanks son from a previous relationship; Heather Graham plays Levons mother, named Julia. Comedian Jim Florentine plays a pimp, and Rob Lowe reprises his role as movie star Eddie Nero.
2.1. Cast and characters Main characters
- Karen Van Der Beek Natascha McElhone is Hanks long-term, on-and-off girlfriend and mother of his daughter. She is an interior designer and an architect.
- Rebecca "Becca" Moody Madeleine Martin is Hank and Karens daughter. She is 12 years old at the start of Season 1. Main; Seasons 1–6, Season 7
- Lew Ashby Callum Keith Rennie is a record producer who comes to Hank with a book deal; to write his biography. The character is believed to be based on the real life producer Rick Rubin and the scenes in Ashbys house were actually filmed in Rubins house. Seasons 2, 5–6
- Charlie Runkle Evan Handler is Hanks agent and best friend.
- Mia Lewis Madeline Zima is Bill Lewis teenage daughter. In the shows pilot, Hank has a one-night stand with her, oblivious to her age and identity. Her pen-name is Mia Cross. Main; Seasons 1–2; Guest Seasons 3–4
- Henry James "Hank" Moody David Duchovny is an erratic but esteemed writer who frequently becomes embroiled in bizarre, scandalous situations. One reviewer likens Moodys character to that of writer Charles Bukowski. In the fourth season, his daughter, Becca, notes that he behaves like a "poor mans Bukowski". Similarly, in a flashback scene to the night they met, his girlfriend Karen calls him Bukowski. Charles Bukowskis main creation was the semi-biographical, Henry Hank Chinaski, who was also an alcoholic writer struggling in LA.
- Marcy Runkle Pamela Adlon is Charlies wife, later ex-wife, then wife again, with whom he has a son, Stu. Recurring Season 1; Main Seasons 2–7
2.2. Cast and characters Recurring characters
- Bill Lewis Damian Young is Karens ex-fiance, Mias father, and Hanks nemesis in season 1. Seasons 1 & 4
- Sonja Paula Marshall is a friend of Karen. She has a brief affair with Hank. Seasons 1–2
- Julian Angus MacFadyen is Hanks season 2 nemesis, Sonjas husband and spiritual guru. He is the author of The Artist Within. Season 2
- Chelsea Koons Ellen Woglom is Beccas best friend and the daughter of Hanks bosses, Felicia and Stacey Koons. Season 3
- Ronny Praeger Hal Ozsan is a porn director and Charlies business partner in the Vaginatown project. Season 2
- Ophelia Robins Maggie Wheeler is Marcys man-hating spiritual guide. Season 6
- Jackie Eva Amurri is Hanks student who moonlights as a stripper. They engage in a brief affair. Season 3
- Pearl Zoe Kravitz is the vocalist for Queens of Dogtown, the band in which Becca plays guitar. Season 4
- Paul Rider James Frain is Mias manager and boyfriend. Season 3
- Melanie Tara Holt is Ricks assistant and Levons crush. Season 7
- Sasha Bingham Addison Timlin is an actress scheduled to portray Mia in Hanks upcoming movie. She and Hank engage in a brief affair. Season 4
- Samurai Apocalypse RZA is a rapper-turned-actor, and a business associate of Hank. Season 5
- Stacey Koons Peter Gallagher is the Dean of the college where Hank teaches. Hank once teasingly called him Dean Koontz. Season 3
- Carrie Natalie Zea is Hanks girlfriend in New York. Seasons 5–6
- Faith Maggie Grace is a famous rock-star groupie who makes a serious emotional connection with Hank and seems to be the only woman in Hanks life with the potential to replace Karen in his heart. Season 6
- Felicia Koons Embeth Davidtz is the wife of Dean Koons and a teacher at the college. She and Hank engage in a brief affair. Season 3
- Jill Robinson Diane Farr is Hanks TA. They engage in a brief affair. Season 3
- Julia Heather Graham is Hanks ex-girlfriend and Levons mother. Season 7
- Lizzie Camilla Luddington is the nanny of Marcys and Charlies son and she later becomes Charlies occasional sex partner. Season 5
- Mrs. Patterson Justine Bateman is Damiens mother and Beccas English teacher. She and Hank engage in a brief affair. Season 2
- Amy Taylor Walsh Mercedes Masohn is the female lead in Hanks show. She is also best friends with Sasha Bingham. Season 7
- Peggy Melissa Stephens is Charlies realtor and occasional sex partner Season 4
- Levon Oliver Cooper is Hanks alleged son from a previous relationship. Season 7
- Meredith Amy Price-Francis is a friend of Charlie and Marcy, who is introduced to Hank in the shows pilot. She and Hank have a short relationship. Season 1
- Rick Rath Michael Imperioli is an old-school TV producer and former writer. Season 7
- Goldie Mary Lynn Rajskub is Hanks co-worker and Charlies new client. Season 7
- Sue Collini Kathleen Turner is Charlies boss and occasional sex partner. Season 3
- Krull Steve Jones is Atticus Fetchs bodyguard. Seasons 6–7
- Michelle Surfer Girl Michelle Lombardo is Hanks friend and, on at least two occasions, lover. Seasons 1–2
- Damien Patterson Ezra Miller is Beccas boyfriend, son of her English teacher, Mrs. Patterson Season 2.
- Richard Bates Jason Beghe is Karens old professor and later husband in season 5. Bates had published Blood Mountain, which Stu Beggs bought the rights to turn into a movie. Seasons 3, 5–6
- Janie Jones Madchen Amick is Lew Ashbys long-lost love. Season 2
- Stu Beggs Stephen Tobolowsky is a movie producer and Marcys boyfriend and later husband. Seasons 4–7
- Kali Meagan Good is a singer and Samurai Apocalypses former lover. She and Hank meet on a plane flight to Los Angeles and immediately hit it off. Later, they engage in a brief affair. Season 5
- Eddie Nero Rob Lowe is an actor set to portray Hank in his upcoming movie. Seasons 4–7
- Trudy Alanna Ubach is the widow of Atticus Fetchs former guitarist with whom Faith was involved up until his death and previous to meeting Hank. Hank and Charlie both engage in brief affairs with her. Season 6
- Todd Carr Chris Williams is the director of A Crazy Little Thing Called Love, the movie adaptation of Hanks novel God Hates Us All. Seasons 1 & 4
- Dani Rachel Miner is an ambitious agent who was formerly Charlies assistant. They had a brief affair. Seasons 1–2
- Atticus Fetch Tim Minchin is a rockstar writing a musical with Hank. The name is a play on Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. Season 6
- Abby Rhodes Carla Gugino is Hanks lawyer. Besides business, she and Hank have a short relationship. Season 4
- Tyler Scott Michael Foster is Beccas boyfriend, disliked by both Hank and Richard. Season 5
- Ben Michael Ealy is Pearls father and Karens love interest. Season 4
- Daisy Carla Gallo is a porn star. She is Charlies client, and later his extramarital lover. Seasons 2–3
- Beatrice Trixie Judy Greer is Hanks prostitute friend. Seasons 1–2, 4–5
2.3. Cast and characters Guest stars
- Rick Springfield plays a depraved version of himself. Season 3
- Artie Lange plays himself, AA member. Season 6
- Drea de Matteo plays a stripper who has sex with Richard, Karens then-husband. Season 5
- Sebastian Bach has a cameo as the dead rockstar. Season 6
- Henry Rollins has a cameo as a radio personality that interviews Hank. Season 1
- Tommy Lee has a short cameo as himself. Season 4
- Peter Fonda plays himself as Sue Collinis first client. Season 3
- Pete Wentz has a cameo as a guest at Mias Party. Season 2
- Zakk Wylde has a cameo as a Guitar Center employee. Season 4
- Peter Berg plays himself in one scene, where he ends up fighting with Hank. Season 5
- Marilyn Manson plays himself, a friend of Atticus Fetch. Season 6
- Fisher Stevens as Zig Semetauer, a potential investor for the movie adaption of "Fucking & Punching". Season 4
- Amber Heard plays herself, an actress on the set of A Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Season 1
3. Critical reception
The critical reaction for Californication has been generally favorable, with a rating of 70 on Metacritic. However, American critic Nathan Rabin gave Season 1 an "F" rating on The A.V. Club, calling it "insufferable".
The show and the lead actor, David Duchovny, were both nominated for Golden Globes in 2007; Duchovny won the lead actor award, but the award for best TV series in this category went to Extras.
3.1. Critical reception Awards and nominations
American Cinema Editors ACE
- 2007: Best Edited Half-Hour Television Series for "Hell-A Woman", nominated
BAFTA Television Awards
- 2007: Best International nominated
Casting Society of America
- 2007: Outstanding Casting - Television Pilot: Comedy nominated
- 2008: Outstanding Casting - Television Series - Comedy nominated
- 2008: Outstanding Casting - Comedy Series nominated
- 2009: Outstanding Cinematography - Half-Hour Series
- 2009: Outstanding Casting - Comedy Series nominated
- 2008: Outstanding Cinematography - Half-Hour Series
Golden Globe Awards
- 2009: Best Actor - Musical or Comedy Series Duchovny as Hank Moody, nominated
- 2007: Best Series – Musical or Comedy nominated
- 2010: Best Actor - Musical or Comedy Series Duchovny as Hank Moody, nominated
- 2012: Best Actor - Musical or Comedy Series Duchovny as Hank Moody, nominated
- 2008: Best Actor – Musical or Comedy Series Duchovny as Hank Moody, won
- 2008: Best Series - Musical or Comedy nominated
- 2010: Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Television - Comedy
- 2009: Comedy Episode for "The Raw & the Cooked", nominated
- 2008: Best Actor – Musical or Comedy Series David Duchovny as Hank Moody, nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards
- 2008: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series Duchovny as Hank Moody, nominated
Telekamery Tele Tygodnia
- 2010: Nomination for Best Foreign Television Series
The Red Hot Chili Peppers filed a lawsuit on November 19, 2007 against Showtime Networks over the name of the series, which is also the name of the bands 1999 album and hit single. They state in the lawsuit that the series "constitutes a false designation of origin, and has caused and continues to cause a likelihood of confusion, mistake, and deception as to source, sponsorship, affiliation, and/or connection in the minds of the public". Pointing to Dani California, a character who appears in both the series and three songs by the Red Hot Chili Peppers including Californication as well as confusion when shopping for their album and that of the series soundtrack, the lawsuit asks for unspecified damages, and requests that a new name be found for the show.
Showtime Networks argued that the band did not in fact create the term Californication. They point out that the term appeared in print in Time magazine in 1972, in an article called The Great Wild Californicated West, while show producer Tom Kapinos cites the inspiration as coming from a bumper sticker he saw in the 70s that read "Dont Californicate Oregon". Canadian art-rock band the Rheostatics released an album called Whale Music in 1992, with a song called "California Dreamline". In this song, the word Californication appears in the phrase "Californication, spooning in the dry sand".
Kim Walker, head of intellectual property at Pinsent Masons, states that the band should have registered Californication as a trademark. Instead, the only application for such was filed in April 2007 in the US, by Showtime. The mark has not yet been registered. Walker has also stated:
Successful songs, albums and movies can become brands in themselves. Whats really surprising is how few songs and albums are properly protected. The Chili Peppers could almost certainly have registered a trade mark for Californication, notwithstanding Times article. They made the word famous, but it doesnt automatically follow that they can stop its use in a TV show.
If they had registered the title as a trade mark covering entertainment services, I very much doubt wed have seen a lawsuit. The TV show would have been called something else. As it is, the band faces an uphill struggle.
In the United States, character names and titles of works are only subject to trademark protection, not copyright protection.
According to an article on Hollywood news site The Wrap in 2011, the lawsuit was settled out of court.
The Season 2 December 14, 2008 finale drew 615.000 viewers, with a combined total of 937.000 for the evening, retaining less than 50% of its lead-in from the season 3 finale of Dexter. Season 3 steadily gained viewership, and the show was quickly picked up for a fourth season by Showtime.
White Famous, a TV series that premiered in October 2017 and was co-created by Californications creator Tom Kapinos, features some secondary characters first introduced on Californication, such as Stu Beggs played by Stephen Tobolowsky and Kali played by Meagan Good.