I swore to myself that I would not give in, and watch season five of the Showtime series, Californication. Lot of good that did me. I’m already two episodes into the self-destructive adventures of the over-sexed anti-hero, Hank Moody (played by David Duchovny). Granted the show may not be your particular brand of …booze—heavy doses of amoral, gratuitous sex and coarse vulgarity are understandably hard to swallow for many—but I have my reasons. Blame it on the “A*#hole in Me.”
Whatever the case, as Hank rode off into the California sunset in last year’s season finale, I thought that was it. By the open-ended way they left things, I figured the series was over. I couldn’t conceive of a plot line that would be much different from any of the previous three. It starts getting old after four years watching Hank be the cynical writer/cool dad, still in love with the same women who he always manages to win back only to hurt her yet again after a string of bad choices and dumb luck lands him in some twisted, sexually dysfunctional love triangle (or square, or pentagon, or—you get the picture).
Was it entertaining and funny? Yeah, but there’s something bothersome about the fact that despite every stupid set of circumstances Hanks seems to find himself wrapped up in, almost always by his own doing, he never ends up paying any serious consequences for his actions. Everyone he cares about bears the brunt of his screw ups instead. Not so this season, or at least not so far anyway.
Things have changed for Hank. The woman he loves is happily married and his daughter who has been his staunches supporter up till now, is in college and has a boyfriend—a boyfriend who’s just like Hank. And Hank doesn’t like it. Ah hah! The table is now turned, Mr. Moody. How do you like those apples? I’m sure somehow, things will work out as they always do in the show, but the story line at this point has been enough to grab my attention.
They say the daughters marry their fathers. I not aware of any proof behind that, but it makes sense, which is why I often speculated, sitting in front of the TV, how things might turn out for Hank and his daughter. It’s the same thing I wonder about when it comes to my stepdaughters.
Biologically, of course, they’re not mine, and so they do exhibit a lot of his personality. At the same time, though, I’m the one that they see every day. It’s how I treat them and their mother that will have a big, big impact on their impression of what a guy is supposed to be. Knowing this sometimes freaks me out, but it also keeps me conscious of my behavior.
The other aspect of this that I often think about is the affects my wife’s father had on her. As we watch Californication together she’ll randomly make comments like, “Yup, know how that one goes,” or “Seen that happen before.” In other words, my wife’s father and Hank Moody share a lot in common, the only major difference being that there were real consequences for her somewhat famous, rocker dad. He overdosed on drugs and died.
My wife was a teenager at the time, and as you’ll hear in this audio essay, the mark he left on her and his many other daughters will be lifelong.
Author’s note: There is a Part 2 where I accidentally desecrate a baby’s grave from the 1800’s and a Part 3 about conjuring demons (yes, all on the same trip and all related to the theme of fathers and daughters), but I haven’t released them yet.
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Ron Mattocks is a father of five (3 sons, 2 stepdaughters) and author of the book, Sugar Milk: What One Dad Drinks When He Can’t Afford Vodka. He blogs at Clark Kent’s Lunchbox, and lives in Houston with his wife, Ashley, who eternally mocks his fervor for Coldplay.
Photo Credit: Wiki Common (for character clarification purposes only)