Thursday, June 18, 2015

It's no secret that Charles Bukowski was an inspiration for Hank Moody, the main protagonist of Showtime's cult series, Californication. There are a few differences between Hank and... well, Hank, but they're mainly superficial. What do they have in common and what not?

                 1. L.A. impacted them greatly

Charles Bukowski loved L.A. and disliked New York. He stated that numerous times. Los Angeles was in his opinion the best city in the world. All of his novels deal with Los Angeles in one way or another. He only disliked the whole pretentious Hollywood scene. It would be interesting to hear Bukowski’s opinion on the current climate in his city of angels.
Hank Moody loved New York and disliked L.A., just the opposite of Bukowski. The plasticity of the whole L.A. scene, people chasing dreams and stopping at nothing, fake glamour, and hypocrisy made Hank look at L.A. haughtily. But nonetheless he adopts L.A. as returning to New York becomes more or less a pipe dream.

             2. Women couldn't keep their hands off them 

For some reason, women adored Charles Bukowski. He wasn't particularly handsome (he considered himself ugly), yet they were all over him. He was a wonderful writer and a great poet, so naturally, many women could relate to him through his work without actually knowing him. You want to get to the ladies? Writing seems like a good start.
Similar to Bukowski, Hank Moody doesn't seem to have too much trouble finding company in the bedroom department. The difference between the two is that Hank Moody is way more handsome. Apart from that, it seems that the main attraction of the both is their wit and literary opus, which makes women drool all over them.

3. They both drank extensively, smoked and led a wild life style.

Charles Bukowski loved to drink. In fact, he stated once that he didn’t write even one poem sober. There seems to be a certain connection when it comes to alcohol and writing, as many of the world’s greatest writers were alcoholics, like Hemmingway and London, to name just two of them.
Similar to Bukowski, Moody’s drug of choice is whiskey. Like Bukowski he also smokes and hangs around in bars, usually half in the bag, with crazy mad people.
Like Hank Moody would say: “I'm a writer. I think, I type, I drink."

   4. They both had a kid daughter, who they were very fond of

Both of Hanks had a daughter they adored. Bukowski’s daughter was born in 1964. He and her mother didn’t live together long, but he did all the fatherly stuff (picking her from school, etc.) He also dedicated a few poems to her.
Similar is the relationship between Hank and his daughter Becca Moody. In fact, Californication is just as much about Hank and Karen (Becca’s mother) as it is about Hank and his kid. David Duchovny accepted the role mainly because of the father – daughter dynamic between Hank and Becca.

             5. They wrote mainly about their life.

All Bukowski’s work is mainly about his life: novels, poetry collections, short stories, you name it. When he started writing he mainly wrote funny absurd stuff which happened to him through his life. That later changed and he wrote more about his meditations on random issues. The same is with Hank Moody, whose novels seem to be highly autobiographical.

       6. They were both best friends with their agents.

And both of their agents were bald! Well, to be fair, Bukowski was best friend with his publisher, not really an agent. And if it weren’t for him, Bukowski’s fame would be very questionable. When he encountered some of Bukowski’s poems, he was immediately convinced of his incredible talent. He backed him up financially and Bukowski slowly but surely started rising to fame. Later he was Hank’s best man at his wedding.
Hanks Moody’s agent Charlie Runkle is always there for and with Hank. Their bromance is one of the best we have ever seen on television screens. In season 1 of Californication, we get a hint that Charlie actually discovered Hank, scouting for new young writers.

                7. They hung with L.A. celebrities.

Charles Bukowski made it really big later in his life and with that came hanging out with upscale artists and other cream de la cream of Los Angeles. When he wrote a screenplay for a movie called Barfly (which was loosely based on his life), he got the chance to meet some of the biggest names in the film industries. He wasn’t impressed.
Similar to Hank, Hank (you see what I did there?) got his big chance in Hollywood when film rights of his book God Hates Us All were bought by a major studio. He wrote the screenplay, but was later disgusted with the whole L.A. Hollywood scene, as they practically destroyed his book with a shitty movie. Hank Moody encounters several huge movie stars and actually sleeps with one of them.

               8. Both of them had a cult following.

Bukowski’s writing was raw, without the pretentious phony artsy (whatever that means) bull crap. People could relate to his writing with ease, yet his works were also deep and had a core of intellect in it. Bukowski, before his rise to fame, had a cult following which sustained his writing career until he reached high peak.
Similarly, Hank also has a cult following. Like Bukowski he isn’t a mainstream well known writer, but nonetheless, people know who he is.

        9. Both were slightly depressed, Bukowski more so

Due to Bukowski’s childhood, he had his “moods” all his life. He writes about it a lot, like when he describes how he lies in bed for three days, just drinking beer and using the toilet. After that, he said, he would feel recharged.
Hank Moody isn’t at Bukowski’s level when it comes to depression, but he’s close. Hank jokes all the time, even when he’s in trouble, which seems to be just covering his fear of being, well… sad. He always longs to get back together with the love of his life Karen, and when he manages to impose himself back into her life, he somehow blows it, maybe even by intent (subconsciously). There are a lot of episodes where you can see Hank’s pain, usually when the music starts to roll and he stares from a hotel balcony or imagines Karen in his Porsche, saying “I love you”.

If you are Bukowski’s fan, check out Californication, you’ll probably fall in love with it, like you did with Hank Chinaski (Bukowski’s alter ego in books).
If you’re a fan of Hank Moody and haven’t heard of Bukowski, do check him out, start with his novel Women, which shares the show’s spirit.

    Check out Bukowski's and Hank Moody's websites, by clicking on the pictures.
 Charles Bukowski Website Hank Moody Website

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