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Like HBO's The Sopranos, Showtime's HUFF shows us as much about the
interior lives of its characters as it does their exterior
relationships and problems.
Azaria is brilliant as a well-known, highly paid psychiatrist whose practice overlaps into his family's life in countless ways, often at the expense of his own interior self-expression (except through fleeting appearances of a phantom character) and his family's safety and security. The rational approach he has to display at all times -- in other words, is practiced in displaying -- almost becomes his downfall.
Oliver Platt -- as Huff's longtime friend and successful, raunchy attorney -- and Blythe Danner -- as Huff's mother -- practically steal the show because they're both great actors and they've both been given off-the-wall, fascinating, likable characters. Platt and Danner provide some of the funniest moments. Swoozie Kurtz guest stars as the mother of Huff's wife, and is compelling in her struggle with cancer.
Drama, marital conflict, mother/son problems, unmet needs, occasional frightening violence, drugs, teen sex, kids acting more mature sometimes than their parents: HUFF has it all. And it's relieved by quirky, sometimes laughing-out-loud comedic moments. As well as the consistent solid acting and interesting story lines.
I'm not sure I can wait a year to see what happens next. The last episode left me on the edge of my chair.
Frankly, I signed up with Showtime so I could get the Sundance Channel. But, I'd keep subscribing just to catch HUFF.
Incredible writing, fantastic performances. Padget Brewster and Hank Azaria are finally getting the spotlight they both deserve. Oliver Platt's character Russell Tupper is the most entertaining character on television today. And Blythe Danner, nobody does it better. In just a few episodes,this show has renewed my faith in today's television. TV is getting creative again and it doesn't involve eating bloody gasoline soaked pig rectums or a reality show about being on a reality show because you were the winner of a dumb reality show! It's a little melancholy, a little mysterious, and sharp witted. It's one of the best shows on TV right now and definitely the best show on Showtime.
I recently discovered this show and I've been watching the first season
all week now, 2-3 episodes a night, thanks to Showtime On Demand. This
is the kind of series that's been growing on me, more so than something
I've loved from the get-go, like say Queer As Folk or Weeds. But grow
on you it does, and now I would say I am addicted and when ya get a
chance, I think I might need therapy, Dr. H.
The characters are all deeply flawed and also deeply human, and you grow to understand and even love them as the episodes go on. I like the son, Byrd, in particular; as portrayed by the incredible Anton Yelchin, he's sensitive and not afraid of being so. And there's Teddy, Huff's mentally-challenged brother, magnificently brought to life by Andy Comeau. The show ALSO features a tour de force weekly performance from Oliver Platt (as the insanely drug/sex addicted lawyer Russell), and even though he provides a lot of the series' comic relief, he's not a caricature either, he's a genuine person with genuine feelings, genuine pain.
Hank Azaria and Paget Brewster get the pleasure of portraying beautifully-drawn characters week after week as well, of course, 3-dimension people who are coping the best they know how with the monumental challenges of their lives, and Blythe Danner (as Huff's mother) is equally blessed, with a sublimely conflicted character whom I couldn't stand at first but now I think I wanna give a big hug.
Last night I watched the Christmas episode, "Christmas Is Ruined", which I would say is one of the best family holiday episodes I've ever seen. It felt true, pure and not in the least bit derivative, which is a huge compliment considering how many family holiday episodes on TV and holiday films there have been in the recent past.
If you're a feeling, intelligent human being on this planet, and you are currently subscribing to Showtime, there's no excuse for your not checking this series out. If you don't have this channel available to you at this time, I have one word for you: DVD.
Added on 6/28/06: So Showtime cancelled the series, after only 2 seasons, citing 'low ratings'. Is this exasperating or what? Isn't the entire point of premium cable supposed to be to run programming for reasons OTHER than ratings? Hopefully another more forward-thinking network will pick up this brilliant series. To leave the show in the lurch, the way they're doing, is tasteless, tacky and pathetic, in my opinion. Showtime viewers and everyone connected with the series deserve better, much better.
Sometimes US TV shows just click, and produce something that goes
beyond the slick, expensive productions and network push that define
such forgettable water-cooler 'classics' as Desperate Housewives, Lost,
and most reality TV. Here, Huff brings together a fascinating set of
actors who are really allowed to flex their abilities on this riveting,
passionate and touching show.
Despite the development of plot generally feeling slow and episodes ending with slightly over-the-top and shocking twists, the dialogue in particular is expertly written and interpreted in standout performances from all of the leading cast, from Hank Azaria in the lead to the delicious extremes of Blythe Danner, Oliver Platt, Paget Brewster and Andy Comeau, with a full introduction to a remarkable young talent Anton Yelchin. The only shame so far has been the under-use of Kimberly Brooks as Huff's secretary, given how much fun has been had with her opposite number in Platt's character's office.
Destined to be cruelly overlooked throughout its run on television as a 'cult show', this is a real treat for fans looking for something original, made by people who care about their work and perform it with mastery.
What a great TV series Huff is. Hank Azaria plays the part with extreme
reality and never shirks displaying the many foibles which makes a
character leap off the page and onto the screen. Huff has odd
hallucinations - I guess you could call them daydreams- where he
imagines what might happen or he will see an odd refugee who keeps
popping up to judge him. The refugee is like one of those cartoon
angels or devils that sit on a character's shoulder in judgement.
Huff's wife played by Paget Brewster is in my opinion the best actor in
the ensemble and this is from a superb group cast. Page's take on Beth
is so realistic you feel like a nosey neighbour peeking through their
windows. Oliver Platt plays Russell Tupper, Huff's lawyer friend and he
too is a fine actor. I started out disliking his character but soon
warmed to him as he has a childlike quality but in spite of some of the
foolish things he does (such as drugs and hookers) he can then turn
things around and go out of his way to put the world to right - usually
with the help of his faithful assistant. Izzy, Huffs mother, is played
by Blythe Danner and it is the first time that I have seen her playing
a part that isn't subservient or slightly ditsy. She actually play
quite a determined, opinionated part but even so, like most of the
cast, has a tender side - just takes a lot more for her to reveal it.
Anton Yelchin plays Huff's son Byrd and that boy is gonna be big!
Huff's younger brother Teddy who is mentally troubled is played to
perfection by Andy Comeau. Huff also has a great receptionist played by
the sassy Kimberley Brookes. If you are not too keen on extreme cursing
stay away but personally I think it is the cursing that makes it so
very real, so believable and I hope that it gets enough attention and
doesn't get cancelled because that would make me angry and you wouldn't
like me when I'm angry (oops - slipped into Hulk mode there!)
I started watching the show to get me through to the next major shows,
i.e. HBO Sundays. From the first episode, I was hooked. Not to mention
the line and sinker that goes along with being hooked. You love
characters... You hate the characters.
By next season... this show will rival any on television. Many Emmys and Golden Globes to come.
I don't know which I love the most.
Izzy's Prejudice's and Flakiness.....(she great!)
... Russell's .....what can I say? (Oliver Platt continues to be one of best actors I've ever seen).
The show stars Hank Azaria as psychiatrist Dr Huff(stodt). Without
revealing too much, I'll just say the show basically revolves around
his work and his personal life and all the trials and tribulations the
Right from the start, you realise, "this is quality television". The characters are interesting and appear convincing, the script is brilliant and everything is pretty well executed. At the end of most episodes you get that burning desire to watch the next one ("oh, what's going to happen next?!"). That's always a good indicator for a good show.
Hank Azaria is convincing in his depiction of a troubled psychiatrist. The actor who plays his kid is brilliant, as is Oliver Platt in his portrayal of the libertine lawyer who always seems to get into trouble of his own design.
For those of you wondering why there have only been two seasons: I can't quite fathom why the execs decided not to renew the show for another season. But I do know this, though: often it's best to quit while the going's good. Otherwise, by trying to top something that's already peaked, you run the risk of ruining something special - take Nip-Tuck, for example. By just going on and on they've ruined a great show that, after season 3, I think, was a mere shadow of its former self. So, don't worry about the cancellation of Huff. The end of season 2 was the point to stop, and by so doing the show was wrapped up admirably and with a good resolution at the end.
SHOULD YOU WATCH THIS SHOW?
I can recommend 'Huff' wholeheartedly and without reservation. This show, albeit largely unknown, is certainly a gem among television shows. Though I must say: It took some getting used to seeing Hank Azaria in this role after having seen him as Agador, the hilarious gay waiter in 'The Birdcage'. The contrast between the two roles is so stark, it'll make it even more enjoyable watching him in 'Huff'.
This show is likely to grow on you if you enjoyed 'Six Feet Under', 'Nip/Tuck' or 'Californication'. All these shows are somewhat brutal and unrelenting in depicting harsh realities and unusually offensive (for American television) language. It'll definitely keep you interested and you may enjoy it with a clean conscience as it is intelligently made.
"Huff", a truly excellent show, contains some of the best acting you'll
ever see on any screen, large or small. Every one of the cast members
is astonishing in their ability to illuminate the human condition, and
those on the show who won awards prior to cancellation - the peerless
Blythe Danner, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, et al - deserve all the
praise that has been heaped on them.
That being said, can we please hear a HUGE round of applause for Andy Comeau? Mr. Comeau's embodiment of the nightmare world of schizophrenia - the euphoric highs, the paralyzing lows, the terrible logic of a psyche at war with itself - has been such that, when he's on screen either alone (as he's been required to be a great deal given the nature of the role) or with others, he is such a convincing vortex of desperate, heart-rending activity that you simply can't look away, no matter how painful. His changes, his reactions are so subtle that he becomes the centre of every scene he's in, no matter what else is happening.
In short, his portrayal of Teddy Huffstodt is a remarkable achievement. Congratulations, Andy. May significant roles be yours for years to come. I suspect that I'm not the only one who noticed - not by a long shot - and predict that plenty of people will be watching whatever it is you choose to do next.
Wow. The best series yet since the first season of Soprano's. This
series has story lines that happen in everyday life but with wonderful
twists and witty commentary. All the characters fit in perfectly with
each other and each individual character brings a life to the show that
keeps you watching.
The actors are talented and strong so it leaves you wanting more. Each week I have never been disappointed with the concepts and ideas the show produces. Again, the actors are very talented and the script is perfectly written for each of their character's leaving the viewer to thirst on what will happen to them next. The show in it's entirety is by far outstanding and commendable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The first season of Huff was one of the most daring I've seen since the
Sopranos. It took things beyond just saying the 7 words that can't be
uttered on regular TV, by having characters do the (more than 7) things
that can't be done on regular TV. We have a charming and functioning
drug user that has *fun* with sex and drugs. We have a smart, nerdy
teenager who respects his parents but also has casual sex AND doesn't
go blind. We have parents that aren't Ward and June Cleaver but run the
whole gamut. Huff's parents, are both decent people that happen to be
not very good parents. The mother, Lizzie, in the first season was one
of the most real characters I have seen in a long, long time. Her
relationships with Huff, his wife, and non-relationship with Teddy, a
schizophrenic son were spot-on. In short, the show tried to depict life
as it really happens outside of Falwell's Pleasantville.
But then the barbarians caught up and started pounding at the gates. The second season backed off on every innovation. The functioning drug user morphed into a tragic figure and his drug use had to have consequences like death and pregnancy, (neither done in a believable manner btw). The story arc which I'm positive was leading to the use of medical marijuana abruptly ends with a faith healing by the suddenly born-again and incredibly annoying PTL secretary. The well adjusted sexual teenager began to act out by committing felonies (obviously - this is what blow jobs lead to...). The eccentric but harmless schizophrenic brother suddenly became a danger to society. The beautifully narcissistic mother suddenly develops a conscience; her drinking becomes a *problem*; she courts more age suitable men; and she is given a nice pat excuse for disowning one of her sons. Huff's marriage suddenly becomes an issue - (I'm not sure why - but it probably has to do with him being a liberal humanist...).
The second season was the worst dumbing down of a series since House. I don't blame Azaria - I can see the blood spatter in the second season as he resisted as much as possible the clueless and gutless executives' imposition of "family values" to make the show less offensive to the prissy lady in Peoria who didn't watch it anyway. So the cancellation of the show was a mercy killing before the it became a complete zombie. I am grateful for the fond memories of Russell's horsie, Lizzie's martini lunches and catty remarks, Huff's Hungarian musician and of course the rainbow parties from a show that Showcase was not ready for.
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