Monday, June 15, 2009

californication, most of season 1

Finding it fitfully amusing, always watchable, for the most part disposable. Whenever the show gives us "writing" - i.e. the work of its central character, or anyone else, it's invariably a complete shitshow. And yet...

There's something really odd and fascinating about David Duchovny on this show. He frequently operates within the framework of the show, as a normal actor will do under normal circumstances. He is a part of the cast, the leading man. But there are times, mostly during the first few episodes, when he seems to operate like a loose cog, and it wakes you up. I wish I had a specific example, and it's sometimes very subtle, like if you were watching an ensemble cast rehearse and you pick out an actor who's very gently off-rhythm, just slower or just faster, just a shade lighter or darker. In a show that very blandly pitches us the charm of a loser's existence, Duchovny gives the producers what they may not have known they were looking for (and would reject if it rose to the surface); the gallery of forgettable (and frequently nameless) L.A. ladies, you wonder, "How are they going after this creep, but for the fact that he's created in the self-deprecating/self-loving image of the show's writers/producers/critics?" And the answer may lie not in the presentation but in the effect Duchovny creates in the show's fabric - an offhand assortment of rips, contusions, and imperfections.