The Wise Women of Californication and Some Musings on Academic Life
While these episodes continue to grow in how ludicrous they are – an ambush luncheon of lovers past and a duel to top it off – what gets me even more is the level of self-referentiality that Californication has reached. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but it seemed like the writers were using the mouths of the women to describe not Hank or even their own lives, but rather to describe the show itself.
The first happened when Felicia looked at the boys rolling around on the ground fighting and wondered, “I can’t tell if they’re joking or not”. This is how I’ve felt about this whole season of Californication. Are they trying to take themselves seriously or are they just taking the piss? They come close to real emotion. They come close to actual human interactions. They come close to telling a real story. And then Charlie gets a tramp-stamp or Karen stares overly-googley-eyed at her old prof. And as the show oscillates between real human emotion and the silly silliness of it all I, like Felicia, wonder – are they joking or not?
The second happened with Marcy. I’ve got to say, I really hoped those crazy Runkel kids would make it. Every relationship has its ups and downs and, sure, their ups and their downs are of the manic type. But those two do work so well when they’re working. And so when Charlie asked Marcy if the beginning was great for her and she responded, yes, of course, it’s the end that’s the disaster, I was right there with Charlie thinking, well just make the end the middle! Keep it going so that the “shitty part” ends up creating something magical that becomes the real ending. And as I thought that I realized that Marcy too was describing the show – whether the writers intended it or not, she was describing the show. The beginning was great – I was hooked. We hit these sections that suck, but then they become the middle and it all works out and I love it again. I want Marcy to stay with Charlie because I want to believe that the show too can sort itself out and get great again. Marcy might be right. There’s always going to be a “shitty part”. But hopefully Charlie is right as well and we’ll get back to the magic.
As an academic myself, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this picture of academia, though – in my world, there is way, way less sex…at least, I think there is. Maybe I’ve just gotten left out. But I think Felicia was on to something when she said that none of us can really function in the real world; that we function within the confines of this strange little world of the university, and only do that in limited ways. That is sort of the sense one gets from being an academic – we do this because we don’t know how to do anything else…sure there’s passion and there’s excitement about the craft. But there’s always that nagging suspicion that we’re all stuck in the eternal return of the semester, playing the same game over and over because that’s the game we know.
But perhaps that’s just life.
Argh, see – Californication has made me a cynic. Sigh.
Posted by Natalie.