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September 5, 2015

Californication -- A look at the pilot script

by Isabelle Carreau, posted May 14th 2007 12:22PM
David DuchovnyBefore reading the script for Showtime's Californication, I read up on the potential series. Here is how the network describes this comedy series:

"Following in the footsteps of the successful and highly-acclaimed series Dexter, Weeds and Brotherhood, Showtime has ordered 12 half-hour episodes of a stylish new comedy series schedule to premiere in August. [...] Sophisticated and unique, this comedy centers on novelist Hank Moody ([David] Duchovny) who struggles to raise his 13-year-old daughter (Madeleine Martin), while still carrying a torch of his ex-girlfriend Karen ([Natascha] McElhone). His obsession with truth-telling and self-destructive behavior -- drinks, drugs and relationships -- are both destroying and enriching his career."

I had also heard that the David Duchovny we grown to love in The X-Files was in a totally opposite role if we compared Hank Moody to Fox Mulder. With that info in hand, I started my reading.

After reading the script, I can tell you that none of us will see Duchovny the same way. Actually, those of us who always see Mulder when he is on screen may be quite disturbed when watching Californication.

Spoilers ahead!

Not having Showtime available in my area, I never watched Dexter, Weeds or Brotherhood, so I cannot compare Californication to those. However, I can tell you that this new Showtime series has a few similarities with Nip/Tuck, especially when sex scenes and racy stories are concerned. I stopped counting how many times Hank has sex with a different woman in the pilot but let's say that he could be seen as the Christian Troy of Californication. Hank is as screwed up inside as Christian is and loves sex (and, from my understanding, uses sex as a way to escape reality) as much as the Nip/Tuck character does.

The pilot script introduces us to 30ish-year-old Hank Moody. When we first meet him, he is entering a church and wants to speak with God in order to get guidance as his life is getting off track. He is stopped mid-conversation with God by a really hot nun who offers to perform a certain sex act with him. Even if this is a dream sequence, it helps set the tone of the show and let the viewer know how screwed up Hank Moody is. He sleeps with various women including a woman who is cheating on her enraged and muscular husband and a 16-year-old girl who he thinks is in college. Moody also has to interact with ex-wife Karen (note that in the press release they said she was his ex-girlfriend) who still seems to love him but knows that he is not what she needs and wants right now. With her, they share custody of their 12-year-old daughter (again, a discrepancy between script and release) Madeleine who is wise beyond her years but is starting to have a sex life (mostly to fit in), which freaks out both of her parents. To add to Moody's problems, Karen has accepted her boyfriend's wedding proposal!

Hank also has to cope with the fact that he wrote one highly popular book that was made into a hit movie that he hates. Right now, he is faced with a sort of blank page syndrome and doesn't seem to be on the right path to write another hit novel.

Once I finished the script, I replayed the scenes in my head and tried to find the funny moments. After analyzing it, I'm not sure the series can be qualified as a comedy. I mostly thought that it was a drama with a hint of comedy and a whole lot of racy scenes that would never see the light of day except on cable TV.

In all, the series seems interesting. Especially if you like twisted and dark characters, racy storylines and sex scenes à la Nip/Tuck. As I've said in my intro, fans of Duchovny must do their best not to think of Fox Mulder when watching this as they may find the series not fitting at all. For sure, it seems to be a series right up Showtime's alley. It'll be interesting to see how fans react to it when it finally hits the small screen.

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August 05 2007 at 8:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

FINALLY, david duchovny the way every woman has been dying to see him since the x-files, in a meaty role...and in bed!
can't wait!

July 29 2007 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


Yes I do think many of his fans are aware of David's 'racier' side from his early work. I also think it's great he's getting to play a character so far removed from Fox Mulder. I loved his X Files persona but hopefully the press/critics and some of these die hard XF fans will start to finally realise this man can portray more than just that FBI agent!

I was happy to discover Channel 5 has picked up 'Californication' here in the UK and look forward to seeing this.


July 23 2007 at 4:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


May 30 2007 at 4:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really like Duchovny. I'll give any show with him in it a shot. Unfortunately, I don't get Showtime, so I'll have to wait for the DVDs - if it makes it that far.

May 14 2007 at 7:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Isabelle Carreau

Jack: I live in Canada.

Others: Shows me that revising my text when suffering from jet lag is not the best idea. I fixed the "Frank" to "Hank". Thanks.

Kathy: Indeed, many of Duchovny's fans are used to seeing him playing racy stuff. I wrote this article from my point of view being stuck with a clean-cut Duchovny in suit (when playing Mulder) in my mind when I read the script so that image is total opposite of Moody.

Personally, if I had Showtime, I would certainly give that series a try. I enjoy Nip/Tuck and I can see a few similarities between the two. I do hope that one of the Canadian stations picks it up.

May 14 2007 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm confused....is it "Hank" or "Frank"? Or is it two different characters?

May 14 2007 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ms. Carreau - Firstly, the character's name is Hank, not Frank as you referred to him a few times in your blog. Secondly, many fans of Mr. Duchovny are quite familiar and comfortable with his film/TV roles prior to The X-Files, which often contained racy storylines, sex and nudity. We are greatly looking forward to his new series Californication!

May 14 2007 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The previews they've been showing on Showtime are actually pretty funny, in a shocking way. "Daddy, the lady in the bedroom doesn't have any hair down there, do you think she's okay?" To which he replies, "I'll go check, honey." Or something similar to that. Definitely Christian Troy-ish. Made me laugh.

May 14 2007 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sounds like it will paired up with Weeds.

May 14 2007 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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