Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Huff's Inner Demons

If you haven't seen it already, Huff on Showtime is one of the best shows on cable today. While the pilot episode was an attention-grabbing one, with the protagonist witness to a patient's suicide, subsequent episodes have slowly and surely developed the characters, and expanded the storyline. Slow-paced and reasoned, the vignettes of upper middle class American life are true to life, well shot and acted.

Tonight some key pieces all fell together. One now feels that the show is about grappling with our inner demons in a wishful sinful way, striving for transformation and healing. The challenge of being innately good, despite our flaws, is addressed.

It is also about finding our way home, when we do not know where home is.

Superlative acting by Hank Azaria is complemented by the other characters and good writing. This week's episode, "Is She Dead?" particularly gave depth to the characters of Blythe Danner as Huff's mother, Izzy and superlative acting by Andy Comeau as her mentally ill younger son, Teddy. The enigmatic nature of reality in Huff's world is delineated by a homeless Hungarian character who has a message of some import for Huff, but who delivers it in a Zen-like manner, so the listener must follow the meaning beyond the words themselves.

Perhaps it's all a dream in Teddy's world.

Hank Azaria is known among other things for providing numerous voices on the Simpsons. Blythe Danner was in a number of notable films, including "To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything", which will finally be out on DVD post-Christmas this year. A number of leading actors appear as guest stars on the show, including Robert Forster as Huff's estranged father.

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