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Tom Kapinos on Californication

Published August 14, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of Showtime.
Californication Californication
Remember when you were a kid and you'd watch Dream On just to see the boobies on HBO? Then when you were older, you actually got the jokes. Well, now we're all older and Showtime's Californication offers plenty of nudity, but also a deep storyline that may even make us feel bad about all the indulgences.

Kapinos on Californication Nudity

"It actually never felt important to me at all," said series creator Tom Kapinos. "I see it as a family show. It just happens to be a very fractured, f*cked up family and it just seemed very germane to Hank as a character."

Hank (David Duchovny) is a failed writer and failed husband who keeps sleeping with meaningless bimbos and drinking and drugging himself into stupors. It's a distinctly Hollywood tale.

"From the beginnings it's always been about a guy who came out to LA almost as a sense of fulfilling some kind of manifest destiny. He wanted to come out here and seek his fortune. It could not be set in any other state as well."

Hank is not the typical commitment phobe though. "I think his only problem is he's committed to telling the truth at all costs and that's what he's ultimately gotten into his way. It's a very noble thing but I think it gets exhausting for the people around him. I think that's maybe contributed to his crisis."

The title may remind modern audiences of the Red Hot Chili Peppers song but Kapinos' inspiration goes back further. "Actually, I had first heard of it as it was Oregon, actually. Apparently in the '70s there were bumper stickers that said, 'Don't Californicate Oregon' because Californians were coming up there and I just thought it was a great, great title for this show."

Music on the show dates back to Hank's youth, and therefore costs appropriately. "I always saw Hank as a guy who is probably not updating his record collection a whole lot. So the music that we used in the pilot was reflective of what was going through his head on a daily basis. So yeah, it was very much important to us to get those songs, and I would love to repeat that as much as humanly possible given the Showtime budget. They've actually been very kind in paying for that stuff for us."

Californication airs Mondays on Showtime.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Showtime.

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