Washed up writer Hank Moody spends his time getting drunk and lusting after his engaged ex and trying to be friends with his teenage daughter, whilst his previously illustrious career plummets downwards. Hank moved his family to LA in search of making money in Hollywood, but ends up losing pretty much everything due to a series of mistakes and his abrupt personality. Californication follows the hedonistic lifestyle of Hank and his best friend/agent Charlie Runkle.
Hank is the main character in Californication but he is also the most important. Normally the most important characters in texts or movies are the side characters that teach not only the viewer/reader but the main character important lesson. In Californication the character of Hank Moody teaches the viewer the important lessons. Hank constantly makes mistakes, hurting the people he surrounds himself with. Hank’s most important trait is his sincerity. Even though he manages to hurt most of the people in his life and ruin all the good things he has, he isn’t an inherently bad person which is why most people can relate to him. No one is perfect. Hank isn’t rich and isn’t driven by money yet he still manages to find some happiness in his chaotic life. This can be linked to the cliche “Money can’t buy happiness” which in the case of Hank Moody is true.
Hank dates a girl called Carrie for almost year before breaking up with. He doesn’t realize how much this hurt her until a few months later she turns up out of nowhere and gives both Hank and herself a lethal dose of anti depressants. Hank survives but lives with the guilt that he was the reason she killed herself. He blames himself so much that it drives him into a downwards spiral of alcoholism. “Just tell me you love me. Tell me you love me.” Carrie says this as the dose of anti depressants take off Hank’s mind and he can’t stop the words from echoing through his head. People find themselves in bad situations or even bad relationships and end up blaming themselves for the bad things that happen. Hank isn’t responsible for Carrie’s death but he blames himself and it tears him apart. People need to see that blaming themselves for the decisions and action of others that are close to us aren’t always our fault. I feel that Hank’s toxic reaction to Carrie’s suicide taught me to not blame myself for other peoples action and to try move on with my life.
“Why are you living beyond your means?, It’s the only way I know how”, This quote is from a conversation between Hank and Charlie after Charlie gets fired from his agency. Charlie has spent his entire life living expensively to fit in with everyone else and impress people. He spends so much of his money that when he losses his job he has no money to pay rent or even by food. This is the intense desire to fit in that everyone experiences at some point in their life. Charlie is surrounded by all of Hollywood’s biggest stars and that drives him to spend his money on meaningless things in the pursuit of “fitting in”. This is the director trying to teach us that we don’t need to fit the ideals presented or created by industries or people that surround.
Although heavily crass and often stupid Californication paints a realistic view on life. It doesn’t flaunt unrealistic ideas making the viewer feel like they need more new things to feel happy. Hank shows that literally anyone can find happiness in their life. The characters seem to be real people instead of the usual unrealistic characters that are created purely for entertainment.