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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the main character of this mature pay-cable comedy smokes cigarettes, acts hungover, receives oral sex from a nun (inside a church), curses prolifically, talks in detail about oral sex, and appears in bed with a topless woman whose husband comes home and chases him out of the house -- and that's just in the first few minutes of the pilot episode! The rest of the series follows much the same course, with lots of graphic sex, nudity (full female, partial male), uncensored swearing (including "f--k"), drinking, smoking, and drug use (some, briefly, by teens). The main character (an adult) also has sex with a teenager who he assumed was an adult.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Hank Moody (David Duchovny) is a talented, successful writer in the midst of a personal crisis. His best-selling book has been turned into a Hollywood romantic comedy, hitting his sense of dignity in the gut. His ex, Karen (Natascha McElhone), is about to marry another guy, while his 12-year-old daughter, Becca (Madeleine Martin), is beginning to experiment with sexuality and parties. To deal with his writer's block and emotional struggles, Hank drinks and beds everything he can find -- and yet somehow remains likeable.
Is it any good?
Duchovny turns in a fabulously wry, cynical performance as Hank, a Los Angeles-based writer with a particularly active sex life, in this adults-only pay-cable series that packs brilliant humor, wild sex, and poignant moments into each half-hour episode. Along with the show's graphic sex scenes -- which feature full female and partial male nudity -- expect hilarious conversations between Hank and Karen, Hank and Becca, and Hank and his agent that bristle with brilliance.
Adults who are heading toward or in the midst of a midlife crisis will surely identify with Hank, even if he's cooler (and more messed up) than any normal viewer will ever be. Though teens might enjoy the witty repartee between Hank and his cohorts -- as well as the show's depictions of the wild lifestyle of a successful Hollywood player -- Californication's graphic sex (not to mention uncensored language, smoking, drinking, and drug use) will likely have parents saving this one for after kids of all ages are in bed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how sex tends to be portrayed in the media. Do you think many real people are as sexually active as many movie and TV show characters? Do you consider these characters promiscuous? What are the consequences of sexual habits like Hank's? Though Hank says he's unhappy, he seems like he's having lots of fun having sex with multiple partners -- what do you think of that conflicting idea? Is there a "right" age to start having sex?