Thursday, April 17, 2014

PHENOMENOLOGY OF CALIFORNICATION

The protagonists of the series are very interesting because they cover social roles which are typical of the Western World, particularly in the U.S.

In a very superficial, wannabe hedonistic and hectic reality as that of the Los Angeles substrate what emerges is the desecrating element of the creators; sometimes it appears even excessive: extinguishing a cigarette in the holy water, rolling joints using pages torn from the Holy Bible, oral sex in a church; just to demystify the creed of the naive Christians.

There's also another kind of demystification, the one which concerns Hollywood stars.  

Writers, agents, producers, actors and rock stars appear as an absolute fraud. The only thing they aspire to in life is success, to be considered more than their competitors. There ‘s no passion for their  profession, if it ever existed as an initial impetus to pursue a career it quickly faded into pure vanity: all they want is alcohol, drugs and easy  women who never wonder whether or not it would be appropriate to satisfy the odd whims of  "the artists" .

The world around Hank is made of cocaine-addicted producers, alcoholic / toxic artists, vicious individuals with many perversions and not much virtue.

Harry James "Hank" Moody, on the other hand, is not superficial in spite of living in such a world. He is light and enjoyable as an ideal road trip companion, but he has a soul and feelings for his lifelong girlfriend, his daughter, his agent. 

His spontaneity is his strength but also his limit: the former is represented by his ability to empathize with almost every person he comes across; the latter is manifested in his almost total lack of will, resulting in a natural unreliability.

He’s got the classic traits of the damned, a post-modern version of Charles Bukowski: talented, aloof, sincere, spontaneous, irritating, conceited, narcissistic though not overly vain
The credit he’s given originates almost exclusively from his ability to feel emotions, show them and transmit them without filters.

The opposite of the “celebrities” who show humanity only when in the midst of crisis, often due to lack of opiates; in those rare moments they admit of being spoiled kids, unable to live in the real world and collapsing on the role guaranteed to them by their fans, another category that is massacred for their naivety: they believe in people who are miserable.

Charlie Runkle, Moody 's best friend and agent, is an ambivalent character who tries to navigate the stormy seas of artist representation in Hollywood. On the one hand he bends to the will of his odd clients, on the other hand he tries to act like a shark to get what his clients want, in the name of that 10% on their earnings that allows him to live the California dream: beautiful cars, expensive villas, young and uninhibited girls who see him as a means to enter the world of cinema. When he’s given the opportunity to stop for a moment he realizes the senselessness of running after this hedonistic world, and that the happiest phase of his life was the one with his ex-wife.

Karen, Moody's lifelong love, despite being free from defects, looks like an alien because of her normality shown in contexts where even university professors are twisted stoners with no predictable values. Architects of houses worth millions and not attracted to drugs (except the occasional marijuana and booze) she looks like a monster of virtue in comparison to the vicious inhabitants of Beverly Hills.

Marcy, Runkle’s on and off wife, alternates an extreme cynicism to a crude and funny spontaneity. Comfortable in any Californian context, she shows how every woman can be a femme fatale for rich and creepy producers, as well as a whim for the "artists ".

Rebecca Moody, the only child of Hank and Karen, is nothing but the product of that reality she has ever breathed:  intelligent and inhibited by her maternal modesty, she tries to emulate her father by experiencing sex, drugs and rock & roll, resulting dystonic. Being the daughter of a writer of (discrete) success creates the classic complex that leads her to try following the footsteps of her father though not having the same natural talent.  

The overall image is a substrate of failures posing as stars, having fans that allow them to take themselves a little too seriously. The mechanism of the star system is proposed as extremely perverse: on the one hand we see the misery of the “celebrities”, on the other hand the same people struggle not to fall off this system risking to fade into anonymity, a perspective which would make them even more miserable than what they are already.

As per this TV show common people shouldn’t dream too much of a life style that exists only in their mind



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