One Lesson We Can All Learn from Californication

One Lesson We Can All Learn from Californication

One Lesson We Can All Learn from Californication

Prior to my recent relocation to the West Coast, I was enjoying brunch with my father, sister, and future brother-in-law on Chicago’s north side. After stuffing my face with some sort of Mexican-style egg concoction, I found myself in the middle of a conversation all too familiar: what to watch next on Netflix.

As someone who is trying to binge watch less and explore more, I am always unenthused by such small talk. At any rate, I abided by the laws of conversation and suggested one of my favorite shows of all-time: Californication.

This genuine recommendation was met with mixed reviews. On one hand, my sister was a fan of the series, watching every episode. On the other hand, my father had watched a few episodes and couldn’t stomach any more. Naturally, I immediately went on the defensive and started to assert my opinion and affection for Hank Moody, the show’s protagonist.

To me, Hank Moody represented the essence of cool. He’s a rebellious writer with no filter. A quick-witted smart ass with an expansive vocabulary. A pacifist, but never shies away from conflict. Most of all, he is persistent about chasing what he truly loves. I find all of these traits admirable.

After trying to force my convictions on my father, I was met with an eye-opening counter argument.

“So you want to be like Hank Moody? A drunk, washed-up writer who can’t help but burn almost every single bridge he has?” he countered.

Well…when you put it that way…

My father had a point. And while I still do think his distaste stems from his hatred of Agent Mulder, he presented valid facts about David Duchovny’s character. Confused by this new-found perspective, I did what any right-thinking individual would do: I studied the film.

Consequently, I started re-watching the Showtime series with a new lens. This time, I was consciously searching for the things that made Hank’s character so magnetic. I was actively looking for the traits that I had admired.

Initially, it was easy to see all of the flaws my father had pointed out: the alcohol, the hedonism, the failed relationships. But after about six episodes, it clicked. I finally understood why I had thought so highly of Hank.

The reason I aspired to be like Hank Moody wasn’t his ability to win arguments or seduce women. It was his unyielding freedom and unrelenting ability to not give a single fuck that won me over. Hank is one of the few characters in modern television that doesn’t care what anyone, aside from the people he truly cares about, thinks of him.

“I don’t just say shit. I mean, I do talk a lot of shit, but I generally mean what I say and I say what I mean.”

— Hank Moody

He says what he wants to say. He wears what he wants to wear. He drives a dirty car with a broken headlight. None of these things phase him. He simply doesn’t care. He controls what he can control and pursues what he desires, but when things don’t go according to plan, he doesn’t hesitate to move on.

When I take a step back and look at all of the behaviors he exhibits throughout the entire seven seasons, it is clear that this conviction is the foundation for the persona of his character. This belief opens the door for authenticity and compassion. It allows us to see him for who he really is, the good and the bad.

His unwavering commitment to his core values and overall outcome independence are what infuriates other men while driving women crazy. And while Hank Moody is (very, very) far from perfect, there is at least one lesson that we can learn from him: stop caring so much about what other people think of you.

Because you don’t get any “points” for pleasing anyone else. The truth is, people care substantially more about themselves than what you are wearing or your career path or even where you got your fancy degree from. In the end, you will only get happiness from knowing that you led the life you wanted to lead, not pleasing anyone.

So show yourself some respect this year and let go a little bit. Do something that you have always wanted to do, but always were too afraid to do. As always, small steps are usually the best way to start. Please share how you are planning to express your inner Hank Moody in the comments below.

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