On several occasions we’ve all discussed the opportunity to binge watch TV shows thanks to the advent of Netflix, Hulu, and the like. What was life before being able to stream three or four seasons of a single series in one week?
I honestly don’t remember.
I am currently indulging in Californication. For those of you who haven’t watched yet, opening warnings should consist of something like this: Viewers must be at least thirty years of age, and not faint of heart. Seriously.
That crooked smirk on the Duchovny face we all learned to love in the episodic quest for Mulder’s knowledge of the truth is now attached to a guy named Hank who can’t quite make it through an evening without setting proverbial fire to his own ass, and to his precious and precarious definition of family. He’s a mess. Why do I indulge? Well, I like that smirk, and I absolutely adore the dialogue.
Now, let’s say, for a moment, it’s entirely plausible that a mostly average looking male author of a book or two would win this much sexual attention just by stumbling into the corner convenience store, or attending a parent-teacher meeting. Let’s go with that.
Also, let’s say, for a moment, it’s entirely plausible that one guy on the brink of a mid-life crisis brought on by a failed relationship and writer’s block could actually stumble into as many effed-up situations as Hank does and still come out smirking. Let’s go with that.
Yes, the premise of the show is somewhat questionable. The saving grace is not Hank’s sexual exploits—they usually end up kind of gross and sad. The saving grace is the intelligent, spicy, fun, emotionally wrenching, profound, goofy, and revelatory dialogue. The conversation is always plausible.
Hank and his surrounding characters range in age from 13-70. They are a mismatched group of L.A. stereotypes, counter-stereotypes, anti-heroes, klutzes, fresh-faced beauties,and miserably confused philosophers. They rationalize, rage, plead, lie, and make the most glorious verbal side-steps! The conversations are often surprising, delivered with deadly precision. So, I keep going back to find what mess Hank has fallen in to, and faithfully expect him to recover by the next episode. As of the second season, he doesn’t.
With regard to Californication’s conversations, do you agree? Disagree? What is one (or two) of your favorite TV shows that makes dialogue magic?
Later on in the workshop, we’ll be exploring the use of dialogue in creating necessary tension and suspense, and speeding up scenes. Keep your favorite TV shows in mind as we enter this segment.
Let’s bring out some healthy numbers to the voting poll this week my darling Flames! Check out the reading list and poll for Utopia: Tradition & Ritual. The January contest ends with Utopia: Search For Meaning. Get your entries in by Sunday!