Posts Tagged ‘Parenthood’

I resisted watching Californication for quite a while.  There were a couple reasons why I didn’t want to give the show a chance.  First was the name of the show.  I thought it was a pretentious and juvenile name when the Red Hot Chili Peppers came out with the song years back, and found both the music and lyrics supremely lame.  It didn’t help things that the song was a radio “hit” and I heard it all the time.

Second was that it struck me as weird and strange that the role on its surface seemed to hew so close to star David Duchovny’s personal life.  He was married to Téa Leoni, an actress who I’ve always thought was both beautiful and talented, and his marriage fell apart due to his sex addiction.  Duchovny’s role on Californication, Hank Moody, ruins the most important relationships in his life in large part because of his inability to stop sleeping with any willing woman who crosses his path.  Like, if you’re struggling with sex addiction I’m baffled as to why you would take such a role?

So I resisted for six years, despite quite a few actresses on the show that I find gorgeous (Natascha McElhone, Madeline Zima, Mädchen Amick, Eva Amurri, Carla Gugino, Natalie Zea).  Then about a month ago while channel surfing I ran across some reruns on Showtime and, since there wasn’t anything else on settled in and watched a couple shows.

Somehow, I got hooked and went back and started watching the show from the beginning.  I mean, Hank Moody is an emotional wreck, an alcoholic womanizer, self-destructive and emotionally devastating to the people he loves.  But damn it, David Duchovny is so charming and charismatic in the role that I kept finding myself rooting for him despite his many, many flaws (though I did find out later that it’s not just Duchovny but his acting and the writing together that makes the character appealling– the writing took a noticeable dip in Season 3 and the Hank Moody character wasn’t nearly as good as the 1st two seasons, but thankfully the writing seems to have picked up in Season 4).  And the other main characters are largely quite colorful, engaging and entertaining as well.

As I realized that I really liked the show and was going to be watching all the seasons On Demand, I pondered why the show had really hooked me so and realized that it catches me from a lot of different directions.  The core appeal I think is the relationship Hank has with his daughter Becca, and how much he desperately loves her and attempts to keep that relationship alive despite the chaos he brings into his life.  It appeals to me as a dad who tries hard to stay close to my own children despite not living with them.  It also resonates as the son of  an alcoholic womanizer, who was just as self-destructive and emotionally devastating to the people he loves… only my father didn’t make nearly the effort with his kids that Hank Moody does.  So I can watch Hank Moody from his daughter’s perspect as a sort-of “do over” as to how it might have been if my father had made the effort.

Also, Hank Moody is a writer–  a novelist who has also dabbled in screenwriter.  I have long had aspirations of doing both myself, so it’s nice to see a little bit of writers-craft popping up here and there in the storylines.

He’s also madly, deeply and thoroughly in love with fairer sex and admires everything about them, an outlook that resonates with me as well.  Of course, Hank Moody looks like David Duchovny so with those looks and that attitude the character has women dropping their clothes for him far more often that most of us mere mortals out here in the real world.

There are quite a few layers to Hank Moody that make for a compelling character.  At his core, Hank is a damaged boy looking for love and acceptance, which makes him sympathetic.  Wrapped around that core is a self-destructive alcoholic that doesn’t seem to really want to change his ways, which makes him unsympathetic.  Woven into this layer is the womanizing, which taken as a whole is a bad thing, but individually it generally plays into Hank’s love of women and fascination with every woman he meets, which makes it feel less bad and more sympathetic.  The writers also tend to use his encounters with women to generally wreck major havoc in Hank’s life, often in quite humorous ways.

Draped over top of those layers is a mix of funny stuff — a healthy dose of life knocking you down when things are looking up, life kicking you when you’re down, and a revolving door of hilarious recurring characters and guest stars.  Rob Lowe in particular is fucking brilliant in his over-the-top role as a big name Hollywood actor.  And then there are some people who play twisted versions of themselves– Rick Springfield had a recurring role as a total degenerate version of himself.

Particularly fascinating is watching daughter Becca grow up, from a pre-teen in Season 1 to a college freshman in Season 4, and how her relationship with her father has evolved.

When I started watching the show I thought that the series had ended, but I’ve now learned that there will be a final season next year.  I’m certainly curious to see how the stories end for Hank Moody and the characters in his life.  I suspect there are going to be at least a few sad endings in store, but the eternal optimist in me is hoping for more happy endings in the balance.  It’s been a heckuva ride so far.

Have any of y’all watched the show?

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A couple months ago, Subtlekate had a great post on non-conventional parenting, which had me thinking about what sort of parent I am.  Being a parent is a huge responsibility, and it is totally transformational– once you put on the parent hat, it’s something you wear forever.  Most of us want to be the best possible parent we can be.  So reading Kate’s post had me thinking about the choices I made as a parent, and if I could figure out how to describe my parental “style.”  This is what I wrote in reply:

I dunno what sort of label I have as a parent, I haven’t really checked in on that sort of thing. My ex and I didn’t get a book on parenting, we just let instinct, common sense and tips from family and friends guide us. I do know the one thing I made a conscious effort on was to make sure that I showered them with affection from the get-go. Lots of hugs and kisses, snuggling, holding hands, running fingers through hair. Even now at their ages of 11 and 9. Pretty easy since I’m very affectionate by nature, but I’m aware that there is cultural pressure for men to not necessarily be that way and I just didn’t want my kids to imprint on that. I want my son to grow up being a very affectionate man, and I want my daughter to grow up expecting the men in her life to be affectionate.

I’ve thought a lot about those last two sentences over the months since I wrote it, and on this Father’s Day I thought it was good to reflect on it a bit and put up a blog post about it.  I spent a lot of time with the kids this weekend, and just really basked in fatherhood, listening to what my kids wanted to talk about, asking them lots of questions on what they were up to, what they thought about stuff.  But what touched me the most as we walked to and from various places throughout the weekend, how each of them would periodically reach out and put their hand in mine, even if it was just for a minute or two.  My daughter, six months to 12 and my son, just a month shy of being 10, holding their old man’s hand.  Giving that affection right back to me in spades.

Affection is so affirming, it fills you with love, warmth, happiness, security.  My ex was so non-affectionate to me for much of our marriage that I was terrified the kids would somehow become imprinted with the idea that that was what they would expect in their adult relationships.  Thankfully, their mom is very affectionate with them so between the both of us being very affectionate parents it’s my hope that they will grow up and find affectionate people to pair up with.  Love, looks, sexual chemistry– all that stuff is great when it comes along, but it can also ebb and flow or be fleeting.  Affection though… affection is the bedrock of happiness in a healthy relationship.  If you can reach out and hold hands with your partner, no matter how old you are or who’s around, then you know you’re home.

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Just wanted to give a quick shout out to Miles Heizer, who plays the painfully shy Drew Holt, Sarah Braverman’s son on the TV show Parenthood (I did a Women of TV review on Parenthood).  His character gets to experience “first love” with Amy, who’s played by the lovely Skyler Day.  This consists of lots of touching and kissing scenes with Ms. Day, who’s 20 years old.

the lovely Skylar Day

Miles is 17.  I can only imagine the goofy grin he must have gotten on his face when he heard she’d gotten cast as his love interest.  She’s got a very approachable, down-to-earth beauty that makes me instantly love her character, and I certainly hope her role on Parenthood is a long one, and look forward to her future roles in TV and movies.

And Miles, dude… consider this a virtual hi-five!

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My life is too busy and hectic to sit down and watch some of my favorite television shows at airtime, but thanks to the miracle of DVR I can still enjoy them during what free time I can eek out here and there.  I thought it might be fun to talk about some of the shows here but given the theme of my blog, I’ll be doing it focusing on the actresses and the characters they play on the show (similar to what I did regarding my post on Happy Endings).

First up, Parenthood, which just fired up Season 3 this week.  I’m a total sucker for this family-oriented show, which has just the right mix of humor, drama, and sentimental moments.  If you are a parent it’s hard to resist this show’s charms.

The center of the show is Sarah Braverman, played by Lauren Graham.  Her character is very appealing on the show– quirky, creative (last season she wrote a play and got it produced) and smart, and Lauren Graham is far from unattractive.  And yet she stirs no amount of lust in me and I can’t figure out why.  It’s like she’s my sister or cousin– I can acknowledge her fine physical features, but she doesn’t enter into any fantasies and or naked imaginings.  She’s got nice legs (as featured in the photo above), a nice body, and that killer combination of light eyes and dark hair.  So what’s wrong with me?  Anyone out there have lust in their heart for Ms. Graham?

Next up is Sarah’s little sister Julia, played by the luscious Erika Christensen.  Mmmmmm, I loves me some Erika Christensen!  Her character Julia is a high-powered lawyer who’s high-strung and is nearly always dressed in very conservative business attire… and I have to say it’s a damn shame to cover up a body as delicious as Erika’s… I mean, just check her out:

I mean, I guess it’s okay that she’s usually extremely covered up in the show– I have a pretty good imagination.  Erika is only 29 and has no kids, but she does a nice job of playing a mother in her mid-30s.  Her character is appealing– smart, driven, compassionate, a feminist, with some flaws and insecurities that bubble up sometimes.  And when she had full-on babymaking fever last season, several of those scenes were smoking hot!  I can attest that few things are better in a married-man’s life than when his wife has the fever.

Next up is Sarah & Julia’s sister-in-law Kristina, played by Monica Potter.  I’ve never seen Monica before Parenthood.  She’s a very attractive lady, as we can attest here:

The thing is, Monica gives me much the same sister/cousin vibe as Lauren does.  What’s wrong with me?  Hot bod, not too skinny, nice curves, cute and quirky face.  I guess I blame the role, Kristina is so very married, so very much the frazzled mom, I suppose there’s not much erotic material for my gray matter to latch onto?  Anyone out there hot for Monica Potter?

Next up is Joy Bryant, who is Sarah’s brother Crosby’s baby-mama Jasmine.  Joy is hot, and Jasmine is hot.  Oh yes indeedy.

It’s certainly not difficult to summon up erotic scenarios with Joy, dark and sultry good looks, nice curves, athletic and strong… and yet last season Jasmine’s character burned away any vestige of lust from my brain.  Why?  It was like the writers had a psychic link directly into my ex wife’s psyche– everything that Jasmine did was like a page torn directly out of my life with my ex, and most of the pages weren’t good pages.  It made me paranoid that there’d been some sort of covert recording of the last 10 years of my marriage.  Much of the sentiment I expressed in ...Would Be Strong Not Stubborn was Jasmine.  I kept shouting at the TV “Run, Crosby– ruuuuuuunnnn!!!!!”  She was stubborn, prideful to a fault, she’d overreact and take things the wrong way, lay down My Way or the Highway laws… I mean, it made for good drama but it was like I was living through a horrible flashback.  So when Crosby had an affair with a minor character named Gaby played by Minka Kelly, I was rooting so hard that he’d dump Jasmine in the dust and live happily ever after with Gaby.  Gaby was sweet, smart, good with children… and she looked like Minka Kelly.

Mmmmm…. Minka Kelly….

Oh my.....

Gaby didn’t show up in the new episode of Season 3, but Crosby and Jasmine are still on the outs, so I have my fingers crossed that Charlie’s Angels will fail miserably and Minka Kelly will come back to Parenthood.  Hey, a lonely guy can dream!

I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on two other lovelies in the cast.  They both play teenagers, which makes thinking of them in that way a bit awkward, but thankfully both of the actresses are in their 20s so if you want to go there you can.  I don’t really look at them as hot per se because I didn’t really become aware of them until these roles so I still a bit hardwired to see them as teenage kids.

Sarah Ramos plays Haddie, a smart and headstrong teenage girl who’s a pretty cool character when she’s not driving her parents nuts being a smart and headstrong teenager (which is most of the time).  And girl– whoever advised you on the perm you sported for the first episode of this season needs to be fired immediately– it looked awful, and you’re a very attractive gal.  I mean, I really don’t care about hairstyles but YIKES!  Here’s a pic of her (with an older hairstyle):

Then there’s Mae Whitman, who character Amber spends most of the time on the show wearing all-black frumpy clothes… she’s cute and I know if she wore more flattering clothes she’d be quite attractive, but for the first two seasons I just saw her as the sullen, smart and headstrong teenager who drove her mom nuts.

When she's out she lightens up

Then I saw the awesome, amazing, funny, awesome Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and saw Mae in a whole new light… the lesbian ninja evil ex with orgasmic knees… aye karumba!

You punched me in the boob! Prepare to die, obviously!

I’d like to see more of this Mae Whitman!

So anyway, that’s the Women of Parenthood.  What do you think of Lauren Graham, Erika Christensen, Monica Potter, Joy Bryant, Sarah Ramos or Mae Whitman?  Do you watch the show?

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