Thought Red Hot Chili Peppers Loved Californication? No, They Sued the Show
The show's creators managed to avoid getting charged in the most elegant way.
One of the most successful and popular shows of the 2010s was Californication, the story of Hank Moody, brilliantly played by David Duchovny.
Hank has a talent for writing, but he is lazy and writes extremely rarely, instead preferring to occupy his free time with alcohol, drugs, and casual relationships with women. At the same time, he tries to reconnect with the love of his life, played by Natascha McElhone, with whom he has a teenage daughter.
Seeing the name of the show, one cannot help but think of Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose album and single of the same name were released in 1999 and became the main hit of the band.
It seems that such a connection with the popular series, which was praised by critics and viewers to the skies, should have flattered the musicians, especially since the series was actually similar in spirit to the work of RHCP, but everything turned out exactly the opposite.
As a result, the group sued Showtime Networks for using the word "Californication" as the title of the TV series. RHCP did not accuse the show of federal trademark infringement, but of unfair competition, trademark dilution and unjust enrichment.
The creators of the series explained the name as follows: Californication is California + Fornication. This formally fits the theme of the show, since the whole story of Hank Moody's long troubles began with his romance with Karen and the birth of their illegitimate daughter.
But the Red Hot Chili Peppers put a different meaning on the word, and it fits the show even better, because Californication is also a Californian way of life. After all, the whole show is about how a very New York writer is forced to live in Los Angeles and try to become part of a whole new way of life and worldview.
So how did the lawsuit end? Showtime took no responsibility because the show's creators were able to prove that the term "Californication" was in use before 1999, when RCHP named their album and single as such.
But let's be honest – it's unlikely that the show's creators would have chosen the name without looking back at the iconic song, which reveals all the unpleasant aspects of living in California that have become an integral part of Hank Moody's life.