googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: The Real Californication

The Real Californication

Back in the 1970s a neighbor of mine who was a real good singer / songwriter / guitarist told me he wanted to record an album and title it Californication. Eventually another L.A. band, The Red Hot Chili Peppers took the name for a CD and then tried to sue the Showtime original series, Californication, for stealing the name. I don't believe you can legally own a title, especially if the title is for a work in a form other than the original as in Californication the TV series is not a music CD. Apple Computers only had to pay Apple Corp., the Beatles' company, after they moved from being strictly a computer company to a company that also was involved with music. This was pre-iTunes and I think they had to pay Apple Corp. more money than Apple Corp. ever made before because Apple Computers put a music chip in their new MACs.

Californication the TV show is about a fifty-something year old man (David Duchovny, I really don't know how old the character's suppose to be) who is a professional writer, lives in Venice, CA, and is seemingly irresistible to good looking woman, even teenage girls. Yes, it's a fantasy, a middle-aged man's fantasy. The main character named Hank Moody isn't terribly likable, unless you've got a plentiful supply of estrogen flowing through your veins, apparently, is smug, insulting, an alcoholic, a drug user (if he isn't paying for it), pretentious and thinks he's way wittier than he actually is (a side effect of inebriation). I can forgive him all those faults for the sake of entertainment, but the one thing that I can't overlook is how fast he is to throw a punch. This guy is a real doucebag who can dish it out in spades (he's only being honest, and/or funny), but he can't take it. Come back at him with a comeback and he'll come back at you with a fist. And he SUCKS at fighting! He either runs away or gets the crap beat out of him. This is the kind of guy that if I knew him I would never go anywhere with him.

That being said, I watch the show which will be over by the time this is posted, at least for this season, because much of Hank's world is my world. Well, it was my world. I spent a lot of time living at my friend's beach house in Venice in the 70s when we were in college and working in Hollywood in the film business I am very familiar with that world as well. I think of Californication as the L.A. Weekly series in that the way Hank speaks and the world in which he lives seems very similar to the style and content of the L.A. Weekly, a tabloid paper that, if it had been published in the Sixties, might have been considered "underground". A typical cover story in the Weekly will be ten percent about what the story is suppose to be about and ninety percent how the writer got around to writing it. Because, after all, what's really interesting is how someone starts their day in Los Angeles and how just living life will eventually lead to writing genius, when the writer finally gets around to actually writing.

Although Hank Moody does seem to accurately capture the spirit of L.A., it seems to me that either nothing much has changed in the past forty years or the show, Californication, is actually set in the past, only with modern model cars and music. In this season the main storyline concerns a rock star named Atticus Finch who is straight out of a Seventies Metal band. When he's on his own he even chooses to sing Elton John songs. Even his name is from To Kill A Mockingbird, not exactly new literature. Everyone still does cocaine (do they still?) and there is no mention of AIDS or STDs.

One thing about this show that I totally understand is how Hank can be uber romantic to his ex-wife and mother of his teenage daughter and immediately cheat on her the minute he walks out the door. As beautiful as actress Natascha McElhone is, and she is, her character, Karen, is duller than dish water (same color as her hair). Hank cheats on her because he forgets she exists when she's not in his immediate field of vision, and I don't blame him. The promos for this Sunday's season finale suggests Hank gets back together with Karen. Why would he do that to himself, or to us?!

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