Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tube Steak: The Demise of Californication

Oh, Christ, make it stop! 
- Charlie Runkel, in "Suicide Solution" - Season 4, Episode 2

Maybe I am misremembering things, but it seems like there was a time in which Californication was not hackneyed shit. 

I think I tend to not be brutal in my evaluation of most of the media I consume here. Despite the name of the blog, I try not to make this an exceedingly negative space. This can be partially chalked up to the fact that I tend to only take in things that interest me in the first place. I won't be talking about American Idol any time soon. 
That is why this is particularly painful. Listening to the dialogue in the second episode of this newest (and hopefully last) season makes me seriously wonder if this show has become the worst on television. Every character on the show talks like they're in Mallrats. I mean this in the worst possible way. 

There was a time that Kevin Smith's way with words had some value. 

It is apparent that Tom Kapinos & Co. are operating under the assumption that we are still there. 

There was always the lingering doubt that someone as pithy as Hank Moody could actually be a great writer, but now every time Hank opens his mouth it seems shocking that he ever could have been paid to write at all. His hedonism is now just irritating. Whenever Marcy opens her mouth, it is to spew out some of the worst lines imaginable to man. The tête-à-tête between her and Charlie is unfathomably grating.

Somehow they even manage to infuse the show with awful music cues, further solidifying the shows entrenchment in the ways of 1996. Every bit of music screams crossover alt-rock from likes of Uncle Kracker and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

And the puns. Oh, dear lord, the puns. It is as if after having gotten his first show to run following his gig as Executive Producer on Dawson's Creek, Tom Kapinos decided that he had to infuse that style with the faux edginess of Sex and the City, filling the now six year void in which there were no shows featuring characters that somehow manage to speak entirely in puns. 

My earlier Mallrats comment rings even truer upon further introspection, as each character on the show basically talks like characters from the movie. Hank = Brodie. Karen = Brandi. Charlie = T.S. Marcy = Rene. This show really is operating in 1996. Becca was riffing on Hendrix for Christ's sake, and there is nothing more mid-90s than the Jimi Hendrix renaissance.

The thing that pains me the most about all of this is that I like David Duchovny. I want him to be working, making money, and producing worthwhile media for me to consume.

Californication no longer qualifies.

 If you need further proof, witness this clip. Fisher Stevens. Awful content. Joyless.
For a differing opinion (which I was shocked to find), feel free to read this.


Young Man Duggan said...

It's unwatchable to the point where I know people who've invested the last three years who don't even care to finish watching it regardless of the fact that they haven't missed an episode.

Big Hatt said...

I, too love Duchovny, and am saddened by what this show has become. A friend recently called it "worse than Entourage" and made some compelling arguments.

Old Man Duggan said...

@ Big Hatt - Entourage is bad, but Californication is definitely worse at this point. As much as everyone is reprehensible on Entourage, it was never as good as this was at its high point. And now every time four characters open their mouths, the shit that comes out is cringeworthy.

flowtilla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
flowtilla said...

How could the one dimensional portrait of Hank Moody's smug irreverence be considered cool (or even watchable) by anybody at this point? Tom Kapinos must be surrounded by slathering sycophants and no one has told the emperor he has no cloths on.

Josh "Old Man" Duggan said...


You have no idea how much I agree with you. It is also totally awesome that you still commented on this post almost a year after it first went up. I'm glad others are still as pissed as I am. Keep reading, brotha(/sista?).


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