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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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So another great season of Mad Men is in the books.  This season has been an interesting ride, with some rather strange twists and turns, and some stuff that almost feels hallucinogenic – which, given the time frame (1968) is apropos.  I’m not going to go into details too deeply here, and the spoilers will be light… however, I’ll put the rest under the cut just in case you want to remain spoiler free.  But I think the questions raised in this season of Mad Men deserve some consideration and thought, so I’m doing that here.  And how is that relevant to the theme of My Ideal Woman?  Well, for starters, My Ideal Woman would watch great television like Mad Men and enjoy pondering the meaning, the issues raised, and engage in discussion about what they thought about the episodes.  Also, I think this season of Mad Men in particular reflects on a flawed man trying to connect to people – especially his children – and while I’m certainly not nearly as fucked up as Don Draper, I can relate to some extent not only as a father trying to raise his children well but also as the son of a fucked up father.

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The other day Sex Nerd Sandra put up an interesting post on her blog called Sometimes a Girl Just Wants Good Head.  Here’s some of what she wrote:

I’m inspired by a play I saw tonight. Set in 1963, The Magic Bullet Theory was a fun who-shot-JFK ride rich with witty dialogue. One topic that came up several times was blowjobs. One man-character says “women were put on this earth for 2 reasons: to suck our dicks and take our balls.”

Now, contextually, that remark fit with the character and his point, so I don’t mean to get all up in feminism’s business, but it did stir something in my psyche. Later in the story during a fabulous montage scene, a blowjob is artfully woven into the dance number for a brief few moments.

That blowjob business got me a little, well, distracted. First in the hot kind of way. Then I got kind of mad. The passionate voice in my head said, “Why do I never hear women saying, ‘oh man, all I need right now is a good eating out,’ hmm? Why do I never get to see cunnilingus depicted in such a fun & casual manner? I’m not ALL flowers and cuddling, ya know!”

I’ve just never seen a woman portrayed that way. The character in the play receiving aforementioned head was a lawyer. He was a professional going about his job and having a little fun on the side. Good times all around. What if a woman were playing the part?

My first thought reading this was:  YES!  I would totally love to see that.  A woman lawyer professional having a little fun with a guy going down on her on the side.  Good times all around!

My second thought was… would we ever see such a role?

It’s hard to imagine now, especially in the context of a renewed assault on women’s rights we’re seeing in the political arena right now.  But I think we will, and likely sooner rather than later.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.  And if there’s any justice in this universe, this country will eventually shake off the Puritanical morals that put a real damper on expressions of female desire and sexuality.  Not to mention I’d imagine such a role done well would likely be a gigantic hit for whatever network was bold enough to try it.

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Great effin' show!

I kept hearing the praises of the Showtime series Shameless– TV critics swoon, I’ve got friends that tell me how good it is… so I finally started watching it and man– they are right, what a great show!  I’ve been trying to put my finger on what it is about this show that I really enjoy so much.

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New Years Day always gives us a chance to reflect back on the things we did in the previous year.  One big thing I did was create this blog.  I’ve been a writer at heart since I was in middle school, with dreams of being a published author, and years later, dreams of being a screenwriter.  Things didn’t work out that way (as of yet) but I did get into writing about a hobby of mine, and have proudly been a paid professional hobby writer for well over a decade.

Even though it’s a lot of fun to write about a hobby you love, it’s a pretty narrow niche potential audience, and it occurred to me last year that starting a blog might be a good way to stretch my writing chops and expand my audience and network of readers and other writers.  When I was contemplating what to write about, the fact that I was going through a divorce and needing to start my life over seemed like the perfect thing to write about.  Not only would it be much more accessible to readers, but it could also be cathartic to write, providing me with a way to shape my thoughts and feelings going forward, to help me learn from mistakes in the past and focus on the sorts of people I want to be in my life going forward.

The concept was that the blog name “My Ideal Woman” be the first part of an affirmative sentence, with each blog post title “… She’d be (something something)” as the second part of the sentence.  Eventually ideas for posts came that didn’t exactly fit the paradigm but that was my original framing.

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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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