TV Gal Is Unsure About 'Californication'
David Duchovny returns to TV with the new Showtime series "Californication," which premieres Monday at 10:30 p.m. As the tongue-in-cheek title suggests, the former FBI man plays Hank Moody, a writer who can't write but does have plenty of time to bed any woman who crosses his path. Hank has a 12-year-old daughter Becca (Madeline Martin) and an ex-girlfriend Karen (Natascha McElhone). The fabulous Evan Handler (I just pulled him out of my "always happy to see you file") pops up as Hank's friend and agent Charlie.
After watching the pilot (only one episode was available for review), I'm still not quite sure what to think. The nudity is to the point of distraction (there are probably better ways to demonstrate lack of control when it comes to women than showing lots and lots of breasts) and I can't decide if these are characters I want to check in on every week. Hank is amusingly unlikable (his rant against a blind date is uncomfortable yet simultaneously entertaining) but I fear his self-destructive path could get old very quickly.
Oh, and so you don't have the same moment of jaw-dropping shock that I experienced, consider this my gift to you -- one of Hank's paramours is played by Madeline Zima. That's right little Grace Sheffield on "The Nanny" is all grown up and I'm not going to lie to you it's a little traumatic. Right now I'm giving the show three out of five stars. After you've watched the show, write me at email@example.com and let me know what you think.
Where Have I Seen Them Before?
Alas, my email hasn't been working all week long (all together now "booooo") so I'm not able to include any of your familiar faces, quotes or thoughts on TV. As you know, I hate not being able to communicate with you. Hopefully this will be resolved soon and I'll be able to include all your comments in next week's column.
Jason and Randy Sklar were the brothers fighting on "Entourage." We saw them last season as conjoined twins on "Grey's Anatomy."
Jason Brooks was Scott Mason, the assistant DA whose wife was murdered on "The Closer." I remember him from his days as Peter on "Days of Our Lives." He was also Thomas Gates on "The Pretender" and Sean on "Baywatch."
Kevin Kilner was Evan's father on "Greek." We've seen Kilner as Larry on "One Tree Hill," Mike on "Almost Perfect," William on "Earth: Final Conflict" and, this season, we saw him on "Hidden Palms" and "The Unit." Kathryn Harrold was Evan's mom. She was John's mom on "Desperate Housewives," Dr. Karen Wilder on "Chicago Hope," Christina on "I'll Fly Away" and Francine on "The Larry Sanders Show."
Jennifer Rose is Rusty's new girlfriend Jen K. Many know her from her web-based series "Lonelygirl15."
Amy Sedaris was the Chief's daughter who Tommy went on a date with on "Rescue Me." She was Geraldine on "Strangers with Candy," Carrie's book publicist Courtney on "Sex and the City" and, most recently, was the voice of Cinderella in "Shrek the Third."
Quotes of the Week
"You see I've arrived at that place where I can't imagine life without you." Fritz proposing to Brenda on "The Closer." Sigh.
"Those bookends are hideous. Take them home." Patty to Ellen about the bookends that eventually become a murder weapon on "Damages." Creepy.
Highlights of the Week Ahead
All times listed are Eastern Time for August 13 to 19
I never really got into "Heartland," did you? Either way it's having its first season finale Monday at 8 p.m. on TNT.
Mary-Louise Parker is back for a third season of the fabulous "Weeds," Monday at 10 p.m. on Showtime. As you recall, when we last left Nancy she was in quite a pickle: dead DEA husband, two rival gangs holding her at gun point, one son under arrest, another kidnapped. Suffice to say she wasn't having a great day. The first two episodes untangle her from this quandary and quickly plop her into an even more serious situation. It's not a good thing when you owe a drug dealer named U-Turn money. The performances remain pitch-perfect. Justin Kirk, who plays Nancy's fun-loving brother-in-law Andy, has reached that stage where his mere appearance on the screen is hilarious. Particularly impressive are Hunter Parrish and Alexander Gould as Nancy's two sons. Actors with decades of experience aren't as good as these two. The humor remains biting, Nancy remains an infuriating parent and the show remains so compelling that I wish I could watch all of this season's episodes in one sitting. Four stars.
As many of you correctly predicted, Brenda's symptoms were indicative of menopause on "The Closer" (Monday, TNT, 10 p.m.). With cable's recent love affair with women who aren't 25, it's great to see a popular TV series tackling this subject and addressing it as a part of life. But I am concerned with this last episode where Brenda went to interview a witness. Since when does she go to the witness, don't they always come into the station to be interviewed? And why was she not the least bit curious that someone would outsource the cleaning up of a murder scene (I instantly knew the boathand was guilty, didn't you?). "The Closer" is one of my favorite series because Brenda is smart and cunning. I'm hoping this recent episode was the rare exception and not a new direction for the series.
When I finally sat down to watch "So You Think You Can Dance," I only had one thought, "How have I not been tuning in all along?" You guys were so right -– this show is so for me. But I need your help. Who should I be rooting for? I like Pasha and Sabra. How do you feel about this? I really like Adam Shankman as a judge, is that okay? The finals are this Wednesday at 8 p.m. on FOX and the winner will be declared Thursday at 8 p.m. All I know is that I'm definitely watching this show from the beginning next summer. I can't believe this took me this long. I hang my TiVo in shame.
I had pretty much made a pact with myself that I would not continue to watch "Rescue Me" (Wednesday, FX, 10 p.m.) if Tommy killed his baby. The whole scene made no sense at all. Why would Tommy, who clearly cherishes children, harm a baby? Why would he be so convinced that the child isn't his (as so many of you have pointed out, his daughters also have brown hair) and why is Janet's postpartum depression going unaddressed? The writing about Tommy's personal life seems to be on a collision course this season. I'm not enjoying it at all, are you?
Those crazy singing, dancing kids are back in "High School Musical 2" Friday at 8 p.m. on the Disney Channel. Can it live up to the original? Even though I'm well past the show's target demographic, I'm not ashamed to admit, I can't wait to find out.
That's all for today. I'll be back next week with thoughts on "Greek," "Last Comic Standing," why I'm still watching "Side Order of Life" and much, much more. Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hopefully my email will be fixed and we can begin communicating again.