I made a spur of the moment decision on my next series to watch – Californication. It was available on Netflix and something about the style of David Duchovny’s hair made it appealing to me. I’m most of the way through the second season and I quite like the show.

It’s like Sex and the City for men. (Coincidentally the two series share an actor, Evan Handler, the bald stocky Jewish guy who somehow keeps managing to land roles in heavily sexual sitcoms.) Obviously this is not in New York, but on the other coast – in L.A., hence the name of the show. The comedy is the conflict that comes out of sexual promiscuity and the strain it puts on real relationships. Using the impression from these shows, giant metropolises (metropoles?) like New York and Los Angeles have a lot of casual, practically anonymous sex. And it makes sense, with the giant populations and moral reputations of these escapes from the “real America”.

What appeals to me about Californication is the bad luck of a big city turning out like a small town. I can relate to that living in Winnipeg, where everyone you meet independently already knows someone you know, and you can’t escape gossip circles if you misbehave or something hilariously embarassing happens. I can relate – well, more specifically, my self-conscious anxieties can relate – to the troubles of everyone knowing someone who knows anyone you do. (Double entendre – interpret as you like.) What I can’t relate to is the short-lived embarassment with no lasting shame.

At least L.A. has the culture where there is no shame. It’s why there are 10 million people in and around there. In Winnipeg we have to apologize for everything, and casual encounters – or even early dating stages of budding relationships – bring about a lot of “sorry”s to friends and partners. It’s almost as impossible for me to escape these existing networks as it is for me to escape myself. What’s worse – going out there, or staying at home?


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