Friday, August 18, 2006


Most members of my esteemed social circuit have probably heard me wax poetic on the merits of Showtime's Huff, a show that, in its first season, totally blew my mind. Hank Azaria (as Craig Huffstodt), who must have been restraining himself in every frame from belting out "Who Needs A Quick-E-Mart," strikes this perfectly relatable tone of normalcy-- which, as you might suspect, turns out to be a particularly nasty brand of insanity. And what praise could possibly do justice to Oliver Platt's historic performance as a messy slop of legal advice shaken up with major drug problems and endless philandering? I spotted Platt outside the Tonys this past year, and although I just (barely!) missed the opportunity to speak with him, witnessing the sheer size of the guy enhanced my appreciation for his powerful physicality even more. He's born to play Orson Welles playing Falstaff, and with Russell's character, he basically is. And Blythe Danner clearly understands the satiric nature of Izzy, exuding an eerie upper class snobbiness as Huff's mother that suggests the ghost of Oscar Wilde may have lent a hand on the script. She wasn't even this scary as a serial killer.

Sadly, this past season left something to be desired. The overall tone moved from dark to bleak, and most of the cosmic humor went out the window in favor of endless attempts at profundity. Things got worse and worse for the Huffstodts, with poor Craig's marriage crumbling through the hourglass of midlife crisis, and Russell became a dad, went to jail, got fired and...let's just say it's intense. So yes, the drama drew me in, but so does Entourage. And it still makes me laugh. What gives? We'll have to wait and see. I do hope that Huff returns for a third season in good form, so that I can go back to my justifiably histrionic declerarations of its merits. But until then, there's always Weeds.


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