Category: Californication

Showtime renews 'Shameless,' 'House of Lies,' 'Californication'

Showtime renews "Shameless," "House of Lies" and "Californication"

Showtime has picked up "Shameless, 'House of Lies" and "Californication" for new seasons, the network announced Wednesday.

"Californication" will return for a sixth season, "Shameless" for a third and "House of Lies" for a second. Production on the shows will begin later this year in Los Angeles.

"Shameless," an hourlong dramedy from John Wells, has watched its ratings grow in its sophomore season. It recently exceeded the viewership of the series debut of HBO's "Luck" -- with 1.4 million viewers to "Luck's" 1.1 million viewers. "House of Lies," which airs after "Shameless" on Sundays and stars Don Cheadle, had a strong premiere by the cable network's standards, with more than 1 million viewers, and has built on that as the season has progressed.

Veteran "Californication" is averaging 3 million viewers across all platforms (On Demand, replays and DVR), according to the network.  

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-- Yvonne Villarreal
twitter.com/villarrealy

Photo: William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher in "Shameless." Credit: Showtime

The 9 lives of Rob Lowe: a video tribute

Lowe2 Watching Rob Lowe this season in his new role on “Parks & Recreation,”  it’s obvious that he’s a great comic actor. But is Lowe himself a man with a sense of humor?

The producer and writers of "Parks & Rec" decided to test that concept recently when they asked Lowe to appear in a video in which he would play himself being a creepy diva. Lowe’s response? “We’re totally doing this. It’s hilarious.”

 "What can be limiting or get in the way of actors — and especially with handsome actors or beautiful actresses — is they just don’t want to look stupid,” “Parks and Recreation" colleague Amy Poehler told us for this LA Times profile of Lowe. “They let their vanity get in the way. From Day 1 Rob was down to go for it.”

Lowe is on a TV high these days, starring on “Parks and Rec” and guesting on “Californication” and coming off a four-year stint on “Sisters and Brothers.” But Lowe’s career has been anything but smooth — he has zigzagged through Hollywood for more than 25 years, racking up scandals (including an infamous sex tape and legal battles with former household employees) and comebacks with great regularity.

Here are nine of his many lives, in video form:

Rob Lowe cast as Sodapop Curtis in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Outsiders”

  Rob Lowe romances his sister (and a bear) in “Hotel New Hampshire”

Rob Lowe walks the '80s edge in "St. Elmo’s Fire"

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Rob Lowe to guest star on Showtime's 'Californication'

Rob_lowe Guess there’s some truth to the old saying, “It takes one to know one.”

Or at least that’s the case on the set of Showtime’s “Californication.”

Rob Lowe will guest star in an upcoming episode of the comedy series, the network announced Monday. He’ll play Eddie Nero, a  “charismatic yet self-possessed award-winning movie star” in contention to play Hank Moody (David Duchovny) in the film version of his hit novel.

Is it another case of life imitating art? Duchovny, who plays a sex-crazed writer on the show, made headlines in 2008 when he entered rehab for sex addiction treatment.  A place all too familiar for Lowe.  The former teen heartthrob and member of the infamous ‘80s “Brat Pack,” was involved in a sex scandal of his own in the late 80s after a sex tape -- featuring an underage female -- was leaked.  He also entered rehab for sex addiction. 

Lowe will appear in at least one episode, but could possibly be a recurring character. A premiere date for the show's fourth season has not been announced.  

He currently stars as Sen. Robert McCallister on the ABC drama “Brothers & Sisters;” he'll leave the show at the end of this season. He was recently added to the ensemble of NBC’s “Parks & Recreation.”

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Rob Lowe poses on the press line at the 2008 Hollywood Legacy Awards in Los Angeles. Credit: Associated Press 

'Californication': Punch, drunk, love

Californication_312_0715a[1] For the first time in too long, the show about the artist felt inspired. It felt original. It again made you feel.

Then, too soon, it was over. The old friend you hadn't seen in so long was gone again. And now, you don't know when or even if he'll return.

Yes, there will be a fourth season of "Californication" next year. No, we don't know which version will arrive. Will it be the show we saw Sunday night, with such soul, such life, such artistry? Or will it be what we saw for the better part of this season, a show that seemed to accept and even embrace the reputation given to it by those who never watched, or only casually -- nothing more than a guilty pleasure in which David Duchovny jumped from bed to bed? Even the star, Duchovny himself, said this on Page 68 of a September issue of Rolling Stone: "The show is more intelligent than people give it credit for, because they're blinded by the [sex]. But that's just human nature. In the business, you have 10 seconds to advertise your show. You can say (a) it's about a guy who is trying to get back to his first love, or (b) it's about a guy who [has sex] every week. OK, we're going with (b). That's it's calling card."

Those of us who'd invested in the first two seasons knew there was more. In Season 1, there were those Hell-A blogs, the hilarious but dead-on musings of a New York writer trapped in Los Angeles. In Season 2, there were episodes so fully infused with artistic references both subtle and not that I had to devote a separate section of this blog just to keep track of them and do them justice. "The Great Gatsby" provided the outline for the season, but in a rock-n-roll world, we got such diamonds as "In Utero," a beautifully written and shot flashback episode in which the show borrowed both the title and themes from Nirvana's final studio album to creatively introduce us to how the Hank-Karen-Becca dynamic began 14 years earlier.

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'Californication': Playing nice

Californication_311_0309[1]
Someone sprinkled a little sugar on our "Californication" characters Sunday night, most of them acting far sweeter toward each other than they have all season. The real storm was behind them now. Bygones. Squashed. Let's have a picnic and begin anew. And I suppose the dumb little grin I had on my face meant that I ate it all up with a spoon.

Except for Dean Koons (Peter Gallagher) dressed up as a general and challenging Hank (David Duchovny) to a fake gun fight, which had its moments but got a little cheesy once the boys were rolling around in the grass, this episode worked on multiple levels. Most satisfying was seeing our man in the middle, Hank, completely off balance for the duration. First he couldn't satisfy Karen (Natascha McElhone) in the boudoir, then he watched as she endlessly flirted with the professor she once had an affair with in college, a man who also happens to be a writer Hank once admired.

The whole thing was like an assault on the manhood of a man whose manhood is never the question. Last week during the holdup, we saw Hank truly vulnerable and shaken. This week we saw him jealous and in many ways inferior. These are the never-before-seen shades of Hank Moody that make his character infinitely more interesting, and Duchovny plays these just as well as the rest. Here's hoping we get to see much more of this.

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'Californication': South of heaven

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For a brief and almost startling moment Sunday night, we saw something in Hank Moody that we’d never seen before: fear. Gunshots were going off, the rifle-toting owner of a market chasing out the two punks who had just seconds before pointed their own pistols at Hank and his best friend, Charlie. In the aftermath, Hank and Charlie slumped over in a state of shock. We’d never seen them so shaken, so genuinely vulnerable. It was an odd and somehow wonderful thing.

Then they settled into the dirty Porsche, still silent. Until … 

“I thought that was it, Hank. The End,” Charlie said, Hank nodding. “What was going through your head?”

“What do you think?” Hank said. “Karen and Becca. How much I love them. How much time I’ve wasted being a selfish prick.”

Charlie talked about his life flashing before his eyes like a TiVo on fast-forward, and “it was really pathetic,” he noted. “OK, so what now? Where do we go from here?”
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'Californication': That's my girl

Californication_308_0320 “Californication” is certainly intended for adults, but Sunday night’s episode got me thinking: What if this show spent just a little bit more time at the kids’ table? Or in the kids’ room? Or at the kids’ school?

This line of thought stemmed from watching this latest episode twice. The first time I found it amusing but felt as if this was more or less one of those bridge episodes that come along during the course of a TV season, a half hour that serves as a connector of sorts between what was and what’s next. Nothing much seemed to really happen, other than Marcy finding out what everyone else already had — that Rick Springfield is a degenerate (no offense, Rick Springfield). The rest was merely further fallout from last week’s romp.

But then I watched it again and realized that something major had happened; we just didn’t see it, and perhaps the show — like its parents — glossed over the event just a little too passively. Becca (Madeleine Martin) and her best friend, Chelsea (Ellen Woglom), had gotten into a fight, the physical kind, the kind that got them both expelled from school — a posh, all-girls private school, from what we can tell. But we only discovered this through Hank getting that phone call from the principal’s office and not by actually seeing the fight itself. Hank’s reaction? A big smile and an “Ah, that’s my girl.”

That response — and especially with David Duchovny’s always-hilarious line reading — made me laugh. But then later, when Hank’s ho-hum ways continued both at Becca’s school and at home, I felt Karen’s pain. “Do you know how frustrating you are?” she asked. Becca, meanwhile, whined to her parents as she usually does (and usually has reason for) before escaping to her room, slamming the door. Hank and Karen then fought with each other, and she kicked him out. Then Hank whined about the whole thing to Charlie.
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'Californication': David Duchovny, literarily speaking

Californication_308_0427

Marty Beckerman of The Daily Beast wrote an interesting piece about David Duchovny earlier this week, in which the actor spoke of his teaching and literary ambitions of the past. In short, he wanted to be a teacher and use his summers off to work on his own poetry and prose. This idea led him to Princeton, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English literature, and then later to Yale, where he received his master’s but dropped out before earning his Ph.D. because his acting career had by then taken hold.

The Beast interview reminded me of a similar conversation I shared with Duchovny this past summer, when I visited the “Californication” set to write about Madeleine Martin, who plays his daughter on the show. Duchovny, along with series creator Tom Kapinos, was kind enough to talk to me between takes about not just Martin but a few other topics, including his literary life. And so after watching him do several takes of pulling up to a Venice house in the filthy Porsche that has become Hank Moody’s signature vehicle on the show, the actor arrived for a chat, though he had to cut away a few more times for a few takes inside the Venice home.

Duchovny stood in his typical Hank Moody uniform – black shirt, dark jeans, dark sunglasses shielding his eyes. He came off as warm and witty, though I got the sense that he wasn't one to give a reporter too much, no matter how personal the question was. Even before I talked to him, one of his handlers asked that the questions not get "too personal" in the first place, and it doesn't take a genius to know what that means. To that end, I actually admire the consistency with which Duchovny has not discussed (at least in any great detail) the personal issues that were once frequent tabloid fodder; for one, it's old news, and second, it really is none of our business, we just want it to be our business. But even a question about the kind of prose he's written, as you'll see, yielded little more than an "I dabble." Duchovny just won't give up too much, though there is actually something refreshing about this, despite the fact that my occupation is to actually pry into people's lives.

Here, now, is an edited version of the interview with Duchovny and show runner Kapinos, which centered primarily on literature's effect on both Duchovny's life as well as this show.

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'Californication': Hank, meet consequence

Californication_the_apartment The score card from Sunday night’s “Californication” will show that there were three naked ladies, a threesome involving Rick Springfield and a house fire that had to be extinguished by David Duchovny, who was wearing a kimono. But what made this the best episode of the season wasn’t so much what we saw but what we actually felt. Feeling, in fact, is what this show has sometimes lacked this season, the balance between flash and substance more often teetering to the former.

Here, though, the show reverted back to its best form, when it manages to trick us into really caring about the individuals on screen rather than just amusing us with their wild behavior. Here, behavior had consequence. Here, the hurt feelings of those who’ve crossed Hank Moody’s path continually swelled, carrying the story forward. Here, Hank Moody wasn’t let off the hook. Not once.

The episode was titled “The Apartment,” a nod to the 1960 Billy Wilder film of the same name, but it might as well have been titled “The Reminder,” for this was also a nod to just how good this show can be. See? You can have both: hilarity and emotion, the absurd and also the sweet.

And while the maestro in the middle, Duchovny, was at his usual brilliant best, the writing, too, was fantastic. When Becca Moody pressed her father to explain himself, she wouldn’t allow him to get away with his too-simple explanations of “I don’t know” and “I’m an idiot.” She pressed further this time. Finally, people were pressing him further.
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'Californication': Growing up is hard to do

Californication_307_0315
On the Venice boardwalk, hope appeared, jogging toward us. Yes, jogging. Hank Moody. Jogging.

You see, to begin with, Hank Moody wouldn’t seem to be a jogger. Joggers wake up early, wear Lycra, that kind of thing. Joggers jog to challenge or better themselves, or maybe just look better than the rest of us.

Hank Moody? Well, he writes and he drinks and he sleeps. Late.

But here he was at the start of Sunday night’s “Californication,” beneath the palm trees and beside the bums, maybe smelling the incense and then finally making sense. “It’s time for me to grow up, do the right thing,” he told his buddy as they stopped on the boardwalk to catch their breath. These were the most welcomed words from a refreshing scene; Hank (David Duchovny) was caring again. 

Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the outfit yet. 

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'Californication': The return of mother and muse

Californication_306_0196

All season, “Californication” has searched for fresh air. First, it put Hank Moody in a college classroom, where he could spout his warped wisdom to aspiring scribes, including a hot coed who took a liking to him (naturally). Then it introduced us to Kathleen Turner’s character, someone who took the concept of a “cougar” and turned it into more of a lion. She’s the hungriest sexual creature on earth, and she roars. Peter Gallagher? Sure. Rick Springfield? Why not, bring him the party too.

But maybe the answer was in the nest all along. Karen, Hank’s One True Love and the mother of his child, returned Sunday night and not a moment too soon. Deftly played by the lovely Natascha McElhone, her immediate presence proved far more effective than her absence.  She'd been kept on the fringes of the story since the start of the season. Late-night phone calls, iChat, that sort of thing.

But here she was in the flesh on a visit from New York. She was auditing Hank’s class, auditing his life. And it was only because she knew him so well that there were no surprises. She suspected the coed as well as the teaching assistant. And if she wasn’t so instinctive in sniffing out the resting desires of the dean’s wife, she made up for it by making fun of her “ridiculous accent,” a moment made more hilarious if you were aware of the fact that McElhone was in fact British and faked an American accent to play Karen.
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'Californication': The plane from 1987

Californication_305_0272
A man called "Zloz" stepped off the airplane, looking like a landscaper, because he was a landscaper. “Where’d that plane come from, 1987?” his old pal asked. “You look exactly the same. And that smell -- what is that, booze, cigarettes and Drakkar Noir? Takes me right back.”

A crazy weekend in Los Angeles unfolded, though at times I swear it seemed as if these two had taken the return flight right back to ’87. Isn’t that when awful pickup lines still existed? And when bar fights so easily broke out? (At least in the movies.)

After a delightful beginning, this was an episode that went backward after the opening credits, which is when Zloz arrived, favoring a dry hump to a handshake. And this is by no means a knock on actor Kevin Corrigan, who inhabited Zloz -- technically Mike Zlozowski -- the guy from Long Island who came to visit our favorite (anti-) hero, Hank (David Duchovny). It’s just that I didn’t really feel that there was a point to this episode, other than maybe getting Corrigan (“The Departed”) and Duchovny together to do their thing, hoping some on-screen magic might unfold. But the story itself didn’t seem to lend anything to the overall story arc, other than providing a little 25-minute filler before we finally got somewhere, Karen (Natascha McElhone) arriving in Los Angeles as a surprise. We don’t know how long she’ll be staying, but her L.A. arrival is welcomed; this season has suffered without the tension of her immediate presence.

The best part of this episode was without question the very charming opening scene between Hank and Becca at the airport, her going to New York to visit Karen -- reluctantly, though, for her best friend had tickets to a Lakers game, home of “a killer scene.” Dad didn't get it, not understanding her lack of enthusiasm for New York, especially New York in the fall, where Becca would be “stepping into a Woody Allen film. Old Woody Allen, not recent Woody Allen. ‘Manhattan,’ ‘Annie Hall’ Woody Allen.” She got up to go, and as she headed for the gate entrance, Dad stood there, desperately hoping for the quick look-back from his daughter. “Come on, turn around just once, then I’ll know you still love me,” he whispered. “Come on, come on, come on…” When she did, he hopped with glee. It was a golden Duchovny moment.
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