Madeline Zima: Gracie grows up

I’ve been hesitant to admit that I watch Californication, mostly because of the name. It certainly fits the show, though, which spends a good portion of each episode showing us the sexual escapades of main character, Hank (David Duchovny). But even though I started watching primarily because it comes on after Weeds, Californication is witty and quirky enough that I’m getting attached. And then there’s Madeline Zima.

Although Zima’s first appearance on Californication didn’t exactly call attention to her face (ahem), later scenes found me wondering where I’d seen her before. A quick Google later, I knew. And I was ashamed. I had been lusting in my heart for little Gracie Sheffield.

I felt only slightly less dirty when I realized that The Nanny ended in 1999 and Madeline Zima will turn 22 in a few weeks. Zima’s character, Mia, certainly had one of the most memorable scenes in the first episode of Californication — and not because of her lack of clothing. Mia punctuated her lovemaking with Hank by socking him in the face. And then (spoiler alert), she turned out to be the 16-year-old daughter of Hank’s nemesis, Bill, his ex-lover’s fiancé. Mia has already used that night of passion to her advantage, and we can expect more discomfort for Hank as the season progresses.

Zima, who has been acting since age seven, views the role as a chance to make a clear transition from child star to adult actress. She’s philosophical about the nude scenes.

“I was looking forward to it in a way. I don’t think there’s any way to be false when you’re naked. You have to really be committed.”

And she sees Mia as truly vulnerable.

“Underneath her scheming and manipulation she’s really just like anybody else — she wants to be seen, she wants someone to get her. And she feels like Hank gets her.”

Why, then, did she punch him in the face during sex?

“I would say that she’s leaving her mark, so that there’s proof that they’ve been together, and I think she wants to be remembered.”

Well, she certainly accomplished that.

Is anyone else watching Californication? If you’ve seen it, what do you think? I have a feeling this show is a love it or hate it kind of thing. So let us know what it is for you.