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Californication aired from August 2007 until June 2014 on the Showtime Cable Network.

"I?m disgusted with my life and myself, but I?m not unhappy about that" - Hank Moody

David Duchovny made a triumphant return to television in Californication, a fiery, raw and sexy comedy series which centured around novelist Hank Moody (Duchovny). Hank's obsession with honesty and his self-destructive behaviour - drinks, drugs and sex - were simultaneously destroying and enriching his career. He was just holding it together and he didn't mind it one bit.

The apple of Hank's eye was Becca (Madeleine Martin), his 13-year-old daughter with exgirlfriend Karen (Natascha McElhone). She was smart, possibly too smart for her wayward father, as Hank struggled to combine his duties as a father while still carrying a torch for her mother. Simultaneously, Hank was trying to re-launch his writing career after the dismal screenplay of his best-selling novel flopped. His agent, Charlie (Evan Handler), was desperate for Hank to put a stop to his compulsive behaviour and concentrate on writing new material but Hank was on a rollercoaster of ecstasy and he was going too fast to stop. All of this thrown in with a scandalous one night stand with Mia ( Madeline Zima), who just happened to be the teenage daughter of Karen's new boyfriend Bill ( Damian Young), made Hank's life very, very messy. Dani ( Rachel Miner) was Charlie's secretary who he was having sex with despite the fact that he was a married man.

A Review from Variety

(Series -- Showtime; Mon. Aug. 13, 10:30 p.m.)

Filmed in Los Angeles by Aggressive Mediocrity and Totally Commercial Films. Executive producers, Tom Kapinos, David Duchovny, Stephen Hopkins; co-executive producer, Melanie Greene; producer, Anne Kindberg; co-producer, Kate Garwood; director, Hopkins; writer, Kapinos;

Hank Moody - David Duchovny
Karen - Natascha McElhone
Becca - Madeleine Martin
Mia - Madeline Zima
Bill - Damian Young
Charlie - Evan Handler

David Duchovny just played a miserable screenwriter in Jake Kasdan's indie feature "The TV Set," so his role as a miserable, semi-blocked novelist in "Californication" falls into the same, rather peculiar niche. Seeking the same jaunty, jaundiced tone as Showtime's "Weeds" -- while incorporating attention-grabbing helpings of nudity and sex -- the premiere is watchable but not fully arousing, often feeling as clenched, dour and indecisive as its brooding protagonist.
The aptly named Hank Moody (Duchovny) ostensibly seems to have it all, bedding beautiful women and having seen his book, with the pretentious title "God Hates Us All," adapted into a successful movie -- starring "Katie and Tom," no less.

Unfortunately, Hank hated the movie, and he's finding it difficult putting two sentences together on paper -- largely because his beguiling ex Karen (Natascha McElhone) has left him, found a new mate and taken their 12-year-old daughter (Madeleine Martin) with her.

So while Hanks pines for Karen, he finds solace, as she puts it, by "sticking your dick in anything that moves trying to get back at me." There are certainly worse ways to pass the time, and this form of revenge allows for liberal glimpses of bared breasts (at least a half-dozen in the pilot, which isn't a bad breast-per-minute ratio), but not much in the way of emotional connection, either with Hank or anybody else.

As written by Tom Kapinos and directed by Stephen Hopkins, "Californication" (a pretty stupid title, really) has trouble delineating where the viewer's sympathies are supposed to reside. Hank doesn't need to be likable any more than Tony Soprano did, but watching him stagger through the premiere -- drinking too much, rudely insulting a fix-up by his agent (Evan Handler) and bedding women who are all inappropriate in various ways -- makes it increasingly difficult to care about his fate.

Perhaps that's why the best scene -- in which Hank confronts a lout who answers his cell phone during a movie -- feels like a cathartic throwaway, serving the dual purpose of having the show's protagonist finally do something that's easy to applaud.

Duchovny has always possessed underrated comedy chops, as evidenced by his brilliant guest shots on "The Larry Sanders Show." Still, his detached, distant qualities as an actor -- and in particular, as this character -- have the effect of sapping the show's vitality.

As for the already much-discussed sexual content, it's hardly racy enough to make anyone forget Duchovny's earlier stint as the lovelorn narrator of Showtime's "Red Shoe Diaries." Trying to have it both ways, those sequences appear designed to simultaneously titillate and convey Hank's emptiness, though seeing how quickly his conquests stack up brings to mind Woody Allen's line about how even "the wrong kind" of orgasm is still A-OK.

Tonally, the series feels like a logical companion to "Weeds" -- a show that's also star-driven and equally sour. At first blush, anyway, "Californication" isn't necessarily a bad place to be, but unless the series finds viable avenues to pursue beyond wallowing in Hank's self-pity, it'll be Showtime subscribers before long who wind up feeling screwed.

A Review from USA TODAY

Duchovny delights in 'Californication'
By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY

Who doesn't love a lovable rogue?

Ranging from dashing to dissolute, raffish womanizers have long been a staple of comedy, though few have ever been as desperately in need of redemption as Californication's Hank Moody. Smart, funny, almost despicably honest and seemingly eternally hung over, Hank is a blocked writer whose two conflicting goals are to bed every woman in sight and to win back the woman he lost.

Even more than most roles, Hank had to have been a challenge to cast. It wasn't enough to find a star who could do comedy and drama equally well. He also had to have enough sexual appeal to make us believe he could seduce so many women and enough charisma to stop us from resenting him for it.

How lucky for Californication that it found David Duchovny, who makes the unlikeliest twists believable and the most heinous behavior forgivable. And how lucky for Showtime that it found Californication, which may just be the perfect match for Weeds and gives Showtime one of the best sitcom combos on cable.

When we meet Hank, he's suffering from a crisis of faith brought on by a Hollywood system that turned his thoughtful novel God Hates Us All into a romantic comedy starring "Tom and Katie." His solution to his writer's block is to win back ex-girlfriend Karen (Natascha McElhone), the mother of his precocious 12-year-old daughter, Becca (Madeleine Martin). That will not prevent him, however, from having sex with a bookstore pickup played by an all-grown-up Madeline Zima, the youngest daughter in The Nanny.

He may be sexually loose, but Hank is not unprincipled, which helps keep the character from becoming reprehensible. This is a man who, when caught cheating with a married woman, pauses to give the husband a lesson in pleasuring his wife which while not nice is kind of noble. Or at least funny, as is a terrible blind date set up by his agent (Evan Handler).

If you haven't guessed by now, Californication is an adult comedy, and a premium cable one at that, so few holds are barred. The language is earthy, the situations border on the obscene (what is it with TV and nun fantasies this summer?), and partial nudity is not just expected, it's apparently required.

Granted, pay cable exists to give a paying audience what it wants. Still, exposing the breasts of four women in one half-hour does seem to go beyond freedom to exploitation. (You'd think at least the naked woman who got caught in bed by Hank's daughter would have covered up.) The show is not designed to appeal to prudes, but the writing and the acting are too good to be wasted on the prurient.

Just a word to the wise, Hank. A rogue, we like. A cad, not so much.

A Review from Entertainment Weekly

TV Review
Californication (2007)
SEX AND THE PITY The naked truth is out there for David Duchovny in Californication

By Gillian Flynn

Join David Duchovny for an odyssey of self-loathing, despair, bitterness, and projectile vomit in Showtime's ''new comedy'' (huh, comedy?) Californication. Here, Los Angeles is a grotesque nihilopolis and Duchovny's writer Hank Moody is its pissy chronicler, indulging in cocktails and revenge sex and anonymous sex and angry sex and massive doses of wallowy self-pity: After seeing his brainy best-seller turned into a mindless date movie, the guy can't get it up, literarily speaking. He's losing his longtime partner (Solaris' Natascha McElhone) and precocious 12-year-old daughter (The Pillowman's Madeleine Martin) to a safe, boring rich guy whose teenage daughter he slept with, unknowingly.

Hank's a man in crisis, and the crisis is distinctly Duchovnyesque: sarcastic, understated, and buzzing with sly humor. This character, in fact, probably wouldn't work without Duchovny, so oft-infantile Hank is. As with his X-Files persona, the actor brings just enough playfulness, and a goodly amount of sorrow, to make Hank palatable. And bless McElhone's Karen, because if a woman that sensible and earthy still sort of loves the guy, it's a pretty solid voucher. She banters with Hank, brushes him off, rails against him and it's in those scenes that Hank becomes a real person, engaged in a genuine dissolution of love.

Unfortunately, all the sex in Californication overshadows the heart of the show. This is rarely frothy sex-romp stuff; this is dark. Sometimes poignant (anyone who saw Nicole Holofcener's L.A. drama Lovely and Amazing will notice echoes), but mostly dark. And that'd be fine, if it gave real insight into Hank. Who is this guy? He calls one lover a ''cadaverous lay,'' but then becomes gentle and sad when another conquest-to-be debates plastic surgery. He's kind to a woman who stands naked before him and demands to know her faults; but in another scene he verbally dismantles a blind date, stripping her down to a pitiful, pointless figure for sport. Certainly, it's brave to depict a serious jackass, and sure, we're all shades of gray, and yes, we're all entitled to moments of pure aggression toward the opposite sex. But Californication is so busy bopping and bumping and chest-thumping it doesn't go past these provocative glimpses. Several scenes of Hank's blas cruelty toward women seem intended to be funny: They cross the line just like HBO's Entourage has of late, where women aren't in on the joke anymore, but the butt of it. At one point, Hank wearily blogs: ''Why is L.A. so bent on destroying its female population?'' But he seems equally bent on that mission. Californication is flirting with incredibly interesting questions about the state of male-female relations here's hoping it actually gets there.B

An Article from The New York Daily News

David Duchovny sees the soul in his "Californication" character Hank Moody
Friday, September 25, 2009

"Californication" star David Duchovny finds it freeing to play a guy who is equally liked and disliked on the show.

Duchovny plays Hank Moody, a novelist with a penchant for drugs and women, who offends many along the way by freely saying what he thinks.

"A friend said this is the guy you don't want in your house, but you're going to invite [him] to the party and you know something is going to happen," Duchovny said. "That's really the magic trick of the show. ... Somehow he gets punished just enough in life, but we don't want to punish him too much."

The third season of "Californication" starts Sunday at 10 p.m. on Showtime. The first episode has Hank hitting on the mom of his daughter's friend and then going to a dinner party where he's - again - the life of the event.

"The guy's obviously not happy," Duchovny said. "You could say, very easily, he's manipulating the world. He's punishing himself. His relationship is not working out as he wants it to. Nothing is working out as he wants it to. Yet he is somehow the guy you want to spend time with."

Besides Duchovny, the show stars Natascha McElhone as his true love, the mother of his daughter, played by Madeleine Martin. Evan Handler plays his friend and Pamela Adlon plays Handler's ex-wife.

Since launching, the show has earned a reputation for biting commentary on life and loads of sex.

"I never thought the show was about sex," Duchovny said. "But I can see where people might have that perception. It certainly is the publicity lead line."

Instead, Duchovny said the through line is about finding the right one, letting them go and trying to get them back.

"That's what gives the ballast to the shenanigans that are absurd," he said. "Weirdly, it's a show about family."

However, it was the sexual aspect of the show that generated heat last summer when Duchovny entered rehab for sex addiction, followed by the announcement that he and wife Tea Leoni were separating. The couple is together today and understandably, Duchovny doesn't want to talk about that period in his life.

Still, for a while, his life was splashed in newspapers and tabloid magazines.

"Personally, for me, it's not a problem," Duchovny said of the exposure. "I try to be grateful for the interest, sometimes I try to think of it as people actually caring. I welcome the question. Thank you for asking. Everything is great. Everything is fine. That's for me. The problem comes from people around me that didn't ask for that scrutiny. My children. My wife is an actress, so she's aware, but for the kids, it becomes sticky. Sometimes these are issues or things that are said that they possibly couldn't understand. That's the difficult part."

An Article from The Los Angeles Times

Acting the part is OK for Madeleine Martin of 'Californication'
But actually watching the show? The 16-year-old's mother won't let her see all of the racy Showtime series.

November 07, 2009|Josh Gajewski

Here are the ups and downs of being a teenage actress on a television show with strong adult themes: Your training at a prestigious ballet school has to be dropped, bad. But you get to spend your summers on the beach in California, good.

You get to kiss the boy you've had a crush on because it gets written into the script, good. But this is your first kiss -- like, ever -- and so your first kiss will take place on camera, beneath a boom microphone and in front of the crew . . . along with your mom. Bad.

You're on TV, cool. Your Mom still won't let you watch the entire show. Uncool.

This is the yin-and-yang of Madeleine Martin, a 16-year-old from New York who plays the daughter to David Duchovny's bad-boy novelist on Showtime's racy "Californication," which will complete its third season next month.

"I'm sure she'll watch the show in a couple years as she gets older," said Margaret Martin, Madeleine's mother, "but I usually have the remote and I just fast-forward" past the raunchy stuff to Madeleine's scenes, most of them opposite Duchovny and of the PG-rated variety.

OK, maybe PG-13.

In the show's pilot, one of Madeleine's first scenes involved the following exchange with her on-screen dad:

Can I ask you something?

Anything, my love.

Why is there a naked lady in your bedroom?

You wait right there, OK?

(There was a bit more, but nothing printable.)

Remembering the scene, Martin blushed. "They were laughing about it for days," she said of her friends back in New York, who aren't allowed to watch "Californication," either, but the exchange had made it onto a commercial for the show.

Before "Californication," Martin was a regular Broadway actress, appearing in six shows -- innocent shows, shows her friends and family could see.

Now she gets stopped on the street for being on a series that's notorious for the adult misbehavior to which she isn't privy; she gets to read only about half of the scripts, and at table reads before filming, she must listen to her iPod when the raunchy stuff is discussed or rehearsed.

Her character, Becca Moody, is a little less innocent herself, dabbling with weed, mushrooms and booze. In Sunday's episode, she lets a friend borrow her bedroom for unsavory activities, which leads to an emotional confrontation with Duchovny's Hank, who, of course, uses his home as a sort of bordello.

Off screen, Martin insists that she's a good kid who never really gets into trouble. Her mom agrees.

"Her biggest indulgence, which she didn't get to have a lot of when she was in ballet school, is chocolate tea" from a French boutique on Madison Avenue, her mother said, also noting that Madeleine did not return to Broadway this fall so she could prepare for the SAT test.

On set between scenes, Duchovny and show runner Tom Kapinos agreed that Martin does come off as fairly reserved and shy, which would seem to be odd characteristics for an actress cast to play the daughter of such an eccentric character. But, Kapinos said, "then we saw her [audition] tape from New York. She was just so unique. She seemed like this little, I don't know, she was like Emily the Strange meets Christina Ricci or a young Janeane Garofalo."

Her look -- the pale skin, the straight bangs, the dark eye makeup -- was a little more Goth and a little less magazine-cover perfect than most of today's (and yesterday's) television teens. This intrigued Kapinos, who was once a show runner for "Dawson's Creek."

"When I worked on 'Dawson's Creek,' " he said, "I always wanted to cast unusual kids but you were never allowed to. Just casting Busy Philipps was a trial because she didn't look like Katie Holmes or Michelle Williams. So yeah, the idea that I could put a kid like that in my own show, that was a thrill."

Standing nearby, Duchovny noted, "I tease her because she never makes a mistake. Never shows nerves, always prepared and she cries at table reads, which is ridiculous. If it's called for, she'll sing, she'll cry, she'll do anything. She's ready at the table read to shoot, which makes you want to shoot her."

Kapinos grinned. "And it makes me love her."

An Article from The New York Daily News

McElhone's 'Californication' continues with show's fourth season debut on horizon

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A TV role seemed out of the question for Natascha McElhone before she landed the part of Karen van der Beek on Showtime's "Californication."

"I thought the parameters of television were it gets written in bold and those were parameters you couldn't step over," she says of TV characters.

However, she found working on "Californication," returning Sunday at 9 p.m., there were no set parameters and that the show was constantly changing.

McElhone plays the on-again, off-again partner of Hank Moody, the troubled, self-centered novelist (played by David Duchovny) at the heart of the quirky comedy. They have a daughter together and still love each other, but can't live together.

Hank has a penchant for having sex with any woman who looks at him, though all roads tend to lead back to his ex, who isn't always welcoming.

"This is not about finding true love, it's about having found it perhaps too early in life. And screwed it up, regretting that and trying to rebuild it," she says.

"When you smash them against the world and put them back together, they've both grown in different ways," McElhone says.

It was the unpredictability of the part, which veers wildly from the typical wife role, that drew McElhone to the job. Karen, she says, is critical to the show, because she says things to Hank that others might not.

"I was worried about that when I took the job," she says. "Why is this wife role any different than any other wife role I've turned down? When it's less exciting than your own life, you have to say no. The point of acting is to go on weird adventures you wouldn't go on in any other life."

McElhone got her leading-actress start in 1995 in Merchant Ivory's "Surviving Picasso." She's gone on to star in "The Truman Show," "Ronin," "Solaris" and others, as well as the miniseries "The Company" and "Revelations." She was recently seen in the British film "The Kid."

"Californication" keeps her in Los Angeles about 12 weeks a year for production, after which she heads home to London. And four seasons in, she's still positive about the project.

"I never go to work feeling that I know what's going to happen, or any sense of, 'Oh, here we go again,'" she says. "This isn't any actor's bull-, to sell a show. It's still a very fun pair of shoes to put on and I hope to do it for a few more years."

When not working, McElhone spends time with her three sons in London and looks for future roles. She's lucky enough to be at a career point where she can turn down offers she doesn't want.

She's also still recovering from the sudden death in 2008 of her husband, Dr. Martin Hirigoyen Kelly. She wrote the book "After You: Letters of Love and Loss, to a Husband and Father," which led to connections with others in the same situation.

"Grief and loss, like everything else in life - you go through in phases," she says. "In no one time can you define it in any absolute way and describe what it is and what it feels like."

To watch some clips from Californication go to

For a Website dedicated to David Duchovny go to

For an interview with David Duchovny go to

For an article about Californication go to

For reviews of Californication go to

To watch the opening credits go to
Date: Thu August 9, 2007 � Filesize: 276.7kb � Dimensions: 470 x 626 �
Keywords: Californication: Cast Photo


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