Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hank Moody: The Californication Conundrum

Hank Moody - The epitome of 'tragically flawed', Californication's lovable loser is a chain-smoking alcoholic, a self-destructive sex-addict. Actually, scratch that - he's not so much self-destructive as he is destructive, since his destruction not only has to do with him but the 'loves' of his life: Karen and their daughter, Becca.

So why do we love him and continue to take his side, even when he does literally the unforgivable? Hank isn't exactly a stand-up guy, so why does the audience keep tuning in to see his never-ending downwards spiral? Why do all the ladies love him, and how is every single woman he meets, drawn to him, no matter how secure and independently successful she is? And despite how gorgeous Karen's new man (Michael Ealy) is, why do I keep hoping she'll go back to Hank?

As humans, we enjoy watching those around us fail, maybe because it makes us feel better about ourselves. We like train wrecks like Jersey Shore and Lindsay Lohan because they're far enough away from our realities that it's OK to watch and laugh at. Or, maybe we appreciate characters like Hank because they're not perfect and therefore we relate to them and their many flaws.

He is good-looking and has a way with words that's pretty swoon-worthy. And sometimes it's bad-ass that he's nonchalant about everything, even if that happens to include the two people he claims to love, Karen and Becca. Ultimately, I think we care because despite his shortcomings, he's a dad that would literally do anything for the few people he cares about.

Either way, despite his issues, we love him, and as Karen so eloquently explained to Abby, here's why:

“I think the world see’s Hank as this fabulous fuck-up. And I know that guy – I’ve spent a lot of time with that guy. But I’m better acquainted with the other guy. The one that listens and hears everything. The one that looks at you and sees right into your soul. The one that makes you believe in every fucking fairy tale that you’ve ever been told. Ultimately, I may not even be the woman who gets to enjoy the man that I know he can be, but I still want the best for him because I want the best for my daughter.” - Karen

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