Californication – Pilot Episode

David Duchovny as Hank Moody in the pilot episode of Showtime’s Californication (2007).

In honor of Wednesday being hump day, I present the first article on someone who does plenty of humping as well.

A far cry from Cary Grant or William Powell, Hank’s simple but individual style has been one of the most inquired about and copied since Californication‘s debut in 2007. This is interesting (and ironic?), because what maks Hank so appealing is the way that he avoids copying anyone else.

Vitals

David Duchovny as Hank Moody, womanizing novelist with substance abuse issues

Venice Beach, Summer 2007

Series: Californication
Episode: “Pilot” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: August 13, 2007
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Costume Designer: Peggy A. Schnitzer

Background

The first time we meet Hank Moody is cinematic and instantly and hilariously establishes his character. With the operatic intro to the Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” playing, he pulls up to a grand-looking California church in his dirty and beat-up black Porsche. He exits the car, his permanent hangover causing him to squint at the sun through his sunglasses. A half-smoked Camel dangles from his mouth. He removes the sunglasses, looks at the church with agony, and raises his hand to the cigarette.

In the next shot, the cigarette is dropped into holy water. We are now inside the church. Hank begins a self-deprecating monologue about his inability to write, directed towards Jesus on the cross. A nun interrupts him and Hank’s monologue transitions into a dialogue that ends with the nun removing her habit, revealing a wave of blonde hair, and going down to perform oral sex.

As the vignette is revealed to be a dream, Hank smiles, covers Jesus’ face from the scene, and announces:

Sweet baby Jesus, Hank is going to hell.

What’d He Wear?

Throughout the show, Hank wears a self-styled uniform (he even calls it such during a third season episode) that is established right off the bat in the pilot episode. Hank’s core outfit is a dark shirt and jeans, with jackets and shoes varying but always keeping to Hank’s simplistic and masculine attire.

Hank, as we first meet him.

Day 1

Hank’s smoking jacket is a 2-button single-breasted sport coat in dark olive brown constructed of a thin-waled corduroy that appears suede from a distance. It has a single vent and 3-button cuffs as well as a welted breast pocket and flapped hip pockets. Hank generally wears the same smoking jacket throughout the show, with a heavier-looking one making a few Season 3 appearances. At one point, a Yves St. Laurent logo is visible inside. As it would be against Hank’s personal style to pay however many hundreds (or possibly thousands) for a brand name jacket like that, it’s probably something he would have found in a consignment store in the ’90s and liked. Since Hank doesn’t care what he looks like, it is probably the most comfortable look for him and certainly shows a number of years on it the first time we see it.

His T-shirt is a dark blue cotton, just slightly lighter in shade than the dark wash jeans he is wearing. His boots are also a staple throughout the show – a pair of dark brown suede Timberland “Torrance” slip-on Chelsea boots with elastic sides. They may be Timberlands, but they aren’t the hiking boots now seen worn by rappers and idiots. Wearing those while not hiking would be a great way for a guy like Hank to call you a “douchebag” and then sleep with your girlfriend.

A jealous husband forces Hank to flee without his pants. Hank finds a way to sport non-douchey Timberland boots.

After his opening dream in church, Hank wakes up next to a blonde and – hey, what do you know, it’s the nun from the dream. She turns out to be married, and, when her husband returns home, Hank is forced to flee, leaving his pants at the woman’s house and speeding off in his Porsche as her husband (“K-Fed” according to Hank) bashes in the right headlight.

Hank arrives late to pick up his daughter while wearing his T-shirt, sunglasses, boots, and no pants. Thankfully, he at least has his black boxers on.

Day 2

The next day, Hank is on his own in Santa Monica. He wears a simple black T-shirt with his dark jeans and black socks. His shoes are black Converse lo-tops with white laces, soles, and toe caps. Since it’s a windy day, Hank wears a black long-sleeve button-down shirt with red piping inside the collar. The shirt has two patch breast pockets with 1-button closures. It also has barrel cuffs that Hank leaves unbuttoned.

Hank makes book shopping more interesting by reading his own book and, naturally, going home with a young woman who was doing the same.

Layering a button-down over a T-shirt is not a typical look for Hank, who prefers jackets, and he only does this about 3 or 4 times during the show’s run.

Day 3

Hank goes to a parent-teacher meeting with ex-girlfriend and baby mama Karen wearing his smoking jacket, jeans, and boots with a black T-shirt. He wears his sunglasses inside to cover up a black eye obtained while sexing the previous evening, a ruse that Karen quickly sees through (Pun. Since I’m talking about sunglasses.)

Poll: If a guy wearing sunglasses inside went for a high-five, would you:
a) Leave him hanging because he’s wearing sunglasses inside
b) Give him a high five because why not
c) Realize he is covering a black eye that he got while banging a random girl at his apartment and give him two high fives

That night, Hank wears the same thing while getting drinks with his agent and best friend Charlie. When Charlie surprises him by turning the evening into a double date, Hank shows his disdain by ditching the jacket and sitting through the evening in a T-shirt and insulting his date (but in the funniest way possible). Naturally, Hank catches the eye of another woman across the room and ends up going home with her.

Hank’s Accessories

Finally, Hank has four distinct accessories that he is almost never without: sunglasses, a ring, and two wrist straps. The sunglasses are dark brown Izods (model #725), often mistaken for Ray-Ban Highstreets on other blogs and Hank-related posts.

Just because he’s inside doesn’t mean Hank wants to take off his Izod 725 sunglasses.

His silver ring often switches in styles during the first few episodes. In a few scenes, it looks like a spinner, but it is typically a thin solid ring with two ridges around it. He wears it on his right index finger.

Hank’s choice of a silver ring is interesting, especially since some young Catholics choose silver rings to represent abstinence.

On his left wrist, he wears a black snap bracelet with silver round and hexagonal studs around it. Interestingly, and appropriately for the womanizing Hank, this bracelet was initially a Doc Johnson style of cock ring that has since been discontinued. Reproductions of the bracelets are now made by designer Joe V. and sold on Urban Wrist.

He also wears a thin black braided leather bracelet that is tied around his wrist. Of all accessories, this last bracelet is permanently on Hank’s wrist and – as seen in flashbacks – has presumably been there for at least fifteen years.

Hank’s bracelets are seen while smoking in the first scene. These round studs are only seen in the pilot episode. By the time of the next episode, the bracelet now has hexagonal studs.

The flashback

In a flashback to prior, happier times, the costumers show how Hank’s wardrobe has changed with his attitude. In the flashback, he is still true to himself, with a button-down, T-shirt, and jeans, but the button-down is purple and the T-shirt, while black, has a logo. Neither of these sort of items – a colored shirt and non-solid T-shirt – are seen until later in season 2, when Hank is happier.

Happy Hank!

Also, Hank doesn’t have his studded bracelet. Instead of being pissed and eating two gallons of ice cream after Karen dumped him, he evidently went out and bought a black studded bracelet. That’ll show her.

Who knows, maybe he ate the ice cream too.

Go Big or Go Home

Hank’s personality is somewhat based on post-Beat novelist and poet Charles Bukowski (whose alter ego in his works was “Hank Chinaski”). Like Bukowski, Hank is a writer who chain smokes, drinks Scotch and beer like they’re water, washes down pills with booze, and womanizes like the world is ending. Unlike Bukowski, women actually find Hank attractive.

Hank pours himself a Glenlivet, neat.

Hank also digs great classic rock, from the Rolling Stones (whom he will tell you are better than the Beatles) to Warren Zevon and Elton John. Songs heard in this episode:

  • The Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
  • Quantic Soul Orchestra, “Pushin’ On”
  • Ive Mendes, “À Beira Mar”
  • Peepin’ Tom, “Mojo”
  • My Morning Jacket, “Rocket Man”

Of these songs, the most Hank-like is “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, which becomes an unofficial theme for the series. You should especially listen to it if you’re driving to church for a mid-afternoon blowjob from a nun like Hank.

Hank shuffles around Venice Beach in his beat-to-shit 1990 Porsche, which would be black underneath all the dirt. It is in this pilot episode that the front headlight is broken, naturally, as a result of Hank’s dalliances with women. His daughter Becca later comments on the car’s “funky smell” which may have something to do with the fast food bags and condom wrappers littering the interior.

To be like Hank, find your own style and make it your own, without caring what people think. Being you is about being you, even if you suffer the occasional bout of self-loathing. I would suggest taking it easy on the pills (Hank learns eventually that he should heed this advice), but otherwise have fun.

And although Hank may have a new woman every night, he is always loyal when dating someone. Don’t be a dick.

What to Imbibe

If you’re new to the single malt Scotch world, Glenlivet 12 is a great place to start. It’s affordable and enjoyable.
If you’re a veteran of the single malt Scotch world, please send me a bottle of 18-year-old Laphroaig. Thanks!

Disclaimer: you will probably reduce your life by about twelve years by imbibing like Hank. Never seen without a cigarette in one hand and a glass (or bottle) of Scotch in the other, Hank isn’t a health nut. Or healthy. As a woman tells him in the fifth episode, the only exercise he gets is in the bedroom.

In the first two episodes, Hank chain-smokes filtered Camels. He drinks plenty of Scotch, keeping a bottle of 12-year-old Glenlivet single malt on his kitchen counter, conveniently placed next to a glass. To drink like Hank or any other man that appreciates good whisky, don’t add ice. Just drink it neat.

Hank also chugs a Budweiser Select – one of the few non-fictional brands seen in the series – while in his bedroom after an awkward encounter between his 12-year-old daughter and another naked married woman.

Finally, Hank is poured a red wine by Karen. Red wine isn’t the most Hank-like drink to choose, but if given the choice between red and white, Hank would always go red. If given the choice between red wine and whiskey, you know what to do. (Plus, wine makes me sleepy.)

How to Get the Look

You probably already have Hank’s clothes – dark T-shirts and jeans aren’t exactly hard to come by – but the accessories and added touches, like the smoking jacket, are what make Hank stand out. Keep in mind that to pull off a smoking jacket without looking fruity, you have to wear it like it was anything else. They are actually pretty comfortable and, if you like the smell of smoke, are a nice way to bring a bar’s atmosphere home with you. Of course, if you’re like Hank, you’ll come home from the bar with more than just the atmosphere.

  • Dark olive brown single-breasted thin-waled corduroy smoking jacket with notch lapels, 2-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and a single rear vent
    • Hank’s is likely made by Yves St. Laurent, but many manufacturers make similar jackets; my personal brown smoking jacket is a 3-roll-2 model from Kroon, purchased at Nordstrom
  • Dark navy blue short-sleeve cotton t-shirts
    • Hank typically wears James Perse t-shirts in black and navy blue, also available at Nordstrom
  • Black casual shirt with swelled edges, 2 open patch chest pockets with 1-button closures, unbuttoned barrel cuffs, and red piping inside the collar
  • Dark wash blue denim jeans
  • Brown sueded leather Timberland “Torrance” slip-on Chelsea boots with black elastic side gussets
  • Black canvas Converse All-Star lo-top sneakers with white laces, white leather toe caps, and white rubber soles
  • Black socks
  • Black boxer briefs with a thin gray stripe around the band
    • Hank’s are usually Calvin Klein (as seen in the third season), but H&M makes a cheap pair that is very similar
  • Izod 725 sunglasses with brown lenses
    • Izod’s pair is discontinued, but I bought a pair of Ray-Ban RB 3364s that, while not exactly similar, are still very Hank-ish
  • Silver ring with two ridged bands, worn on the right index finger
  • Black leather bracelet with silver hexagonal and round studs, worn on the left wrist
  • Thin black braided leather bracelet, also worn on the left wrist

Despite the cover art, Hank never drinks a martini and would probably eschew a drink that takes more preparation than opening the bottle.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the first season.

The Quote

Oh, I know that look. That’s the look that shrivels me testes.

Footnotes

Hank’s bracelets are available at Urban Wrist.

5 comments

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