Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Write Stuff - Californication

If you've ever watched Californication, you've probably heard references to how blogging is not really writing at all. Hank Moody, the character played by David Duchovny, is stuck. He has writer's block, has succumbed to the "California" lifestyle, screwed up his relationships, and taken on a paying gig doing a blog, rather than following his true muse of novel writing.

In an interview about the series on ShowTime, Duchovny explains why he did the pilot, "I really liked the writing." In that same interview, in explaining Hank Moody's problem, Duchovny says that Hank has "fallen into blogging", a kind of "instant gratification and publishing" - a clear sentiment reflecting the angst of his on-screen character who too believes blogging isn't really writing at all.


Hank is a "walking id", someone who "cannot lie", but always "speaks the truth", no matter how socially inappropriate.


There is one scene from the season finale which "showcases" this character flaw iconically. Hank appears in the room where his former girlfriend Karen waits in the wedding dress she has chosen for her forthcoming marriage to her new, stable and prosperous boyfriend, Bill. Hank, in top form and true to his "I-cannot-tell-a-lie" character says, "Wow...you look incredible...except for the makeup which is a little hookerish...if that's what you're going for, is it?"


She responds anxiously about why it took him so long to arrive and wondering where their daughter is. That is followed by an agitated monologue about how nothing turned out the way it was supposed to. Hank then answers, "All those things that weren't supposed to happen...they happened. What happens next is up to you."


I think Duchovny is right. The show has great writing.


I think Hank and Duchovny are wrong. Blogging isn't just about instant gratification and publishing. At it's best, it's about accepting who we are, rehearsing all the things that weren't supposed to happen, but happened anyway, and then - here's the crucial aspect - deciding what happens next. Like real life and like Hank himself, it's about being a "walking id", telling the truth, no matter what the consequences.


The hard part - deciding what happens next - isn't just a question of freedom and willpower, about merely surmounting difficulties, about courageously scaling the mountain. It's also about determining what cannot happen next, about putting the id on a leash, no matter how short, no matter how fragile.


That's where blogging and the write stuff become identical.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Check out the show's blog:
Californicationblog.sho.com