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Twice the Californication

FROM TODAYONLINE: DAVID Duchovny is mildly shocked that there will be so much rampant Californication going on in family-friendly Singapore. Starting tonight, we get to enjoy a double dose of his famously naughty Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning show.

Fans will be eager to herald the return of Californication’s latest season to FX and to discover more of the challenges that face disillusioned writer Hank Moody, who is constantly just out of reach of the woman he loves, and hopes constantly that one more bottle of beer and one more one-night-stand really couldn’t make things any worse.

This season, Hank becomes a teacher at a college, which means he’s surrounded by impressionable young girls eager to score an “A” for effort.

“Wait a minute,” you’re thinking. “A show about sex, drugs and alcohol on free-to-air TV?” Don’t worry, we’re sure the censors have gone snippety-snip accordingly. Besides, Duchovny himself is eager to play down the racy aspects of the show, calling it “good clean fun”.

Of course, since he was speaking over the phone from Los Angeles, we couldn’t tell if he was holding up his sarcasm sign. But following the actor’s little sex addiction escapade in 2008, it’s little wonder he seemed to want to distance himself from his character, saying: “When I played, for instance, Mulder, I didn’t have to believe in aliens. You don’t have to believe the things the character says … We can all relate to all of the basic human emotions, and those are all of the things that are in any show.”

Anyway, it’s pretty easy to see through Hank’s boozing and fornicating to what’s really all-important to him: His relationships with his daughter and with the woman he loves in a very monogamous manner. See? Good clean fun.

Which have you enjoyed more: The X-Files or Californication?

Well, X-Files was much more demanding – physically, and of my time. Certainly it was a special time in my life; my career.

It was really my first taste of big success, and that was all a heady experience, and fascinating, and life-changing.

The show itself I always felt was terrific. And, you know, I was one of the main moving parts of that. It was a big, big machine. Californication feels smaller, in a way, and satisfies my desire to do comedy.

So, they both satisfy very different aspects of what I consider to be my expressiveness, or whatever. I don’t know if one’s more enjoyable than the other. One was certainly more tiring than the other!

At first glance, Californication seems to appeal more to a male audience. Is it a testosterone-fuelled show that women will have no patience for?

It’s funny you should ask that, because I would’ve thought as well that it was for a male audience, but during the first year, they came to us with the demographics, and it turned out that more women than men were watching.

We were confused at first. And then one of the producers said: “It’s actually a woman’s world in this show.”

Every woman in the show has got all of the power. Hank is desperately in love with Karen; he’s being manipulated by Mia; he’s in love with his daughter and she’s got him wrapped around her finger. On the surface it may look like a man’s show, but I think it’s actually a woman’s show.

How would you describe the show’s brand of humour?

As “adult”, really. It’s articulate, it’s verbal and it’s also slapstick. You’ve got this protagonist, Hank, who’s hyper-articulate – he’s a writer, and his sense of humour is often based on language.

And then you’ve got these physical situations – not just the intimate ones, but there’s a lot of slapstick, and there’s fighting. He gets hit a lot; he falls down a lot; he’s a clown in a way, a physical clown.

So, it ranges from intelligent, articulate humour to the silly slapstick that I love as well.

What can we expect in Season Three?

Well, certainly more of the same comedy that we’ve been doing, but in Season Three there’s a couple of new characters – new foils, new enemies – for Hank and I think it’s always important for Hank to be fighting with some kind of ideal, and people who personify that ideal. There’s this self-help author that just galls Hank. He’s got a good enemy in Season Three.

What do you think is going to get cut from Season One when it goes on free-to-air TV in Singapore?

That’s so difficult to say. There’s language, too. I don’t know. I can’t imagine.

I have thought about this for syndication for when it airs on free-to-air TV in America or other territories, and I’ve wondered how it can be re-cut or how it can be dubbed to make sense.

It’s a big task, and the fact that they’ve done it is wonderful and surprising to me. I’m glad that I didn’t have to make those decisions! I would love to see it. Now I’m curious.

Do you think it will subtract from the essence of the show?

Well, I don’t know. Certainly the essence of the show is the human situation and not people’s bodies or curse words. So I would hope that the humour and the heart of the show would remain.

And of course it’s all good clean fun, right?

Well, that’s what I’m saying. It really is. We’re not making any statements. We’re making a comedy for people over the age of 15.

A lot of comedies, it seems to me, are aimed at kids like, 12 to 16 or something, and I sit there and I’m kind of flabbergasted as to what’s funny. So this is a comedy that I might watch as an adult, and not the other more obvious aspects of it that people like to talk about from time to time.

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