This week, David Duchovny’s nudie show Californication hit a significant landmark, with a shocking lack of naked flesh. By my count, there were two nipples (excluding Duchovny’s; no offence, Dave), with an on-screen time of approximately one second. While I was a little taken aback by this initially, in the overall scheme of things, it’s not really that surprising. It’s a tactic I’ve seen before; the producers fill the first few episodes with sex, drawing you in, and then they just stop, but by then you’re already hooked.
As a red-blooded male, I mourn this loss (although I’m sure it’s only temporary), but I welcome the chance to fully focus on the show’s other plus points. With the distraction of numerous sex scenes removed, the viewer is more able to concentrate on Hank and his struggle to work out his life. For example, after a dressing down (figuratively speaking) from his ex, he opts to keep his blogging job, even though it makes Bill his boss. His motivation for doing so is to set an example to his daughter. For Hank, this is a great personal sacrifice, and it adds a new dimension to his character.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Californication if Hank didn’t have another new woman, but this time, he actually manages to stay with her until the end of the episode. He even goes as far as stealing a dog and a painting for her. I very much doubt she’ll turn out to be the love of his life, but it means he can take a break from his constant pining after his ex, which is actually a teensy bit annoying.
Although this episode didn’t quite match last week’s, it good to see more of Hank’s personality, and less of his naked arse. However, it also confirmed my main criticism of the show – its length. Minus ad breaks, each instalment lasts approximately 20 minutes, which is, quite frankly, inadequate for this kind of programme. A sitcom, packed with laughs, can get away with it (I’m thinking specifically of the excellent 30 Rock, which follows Californication of Channel Five), but with a comedy-drama such as this, 30 minutes should be the bare minimum.
However, it does manage to achieve a lot with its limited airtime, and as always, I’ll be eagerly tuning in next week.