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September 20, 2014

Huff: Maps Don't Talk

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Apr 2nd 2006 11:13PM

Huff; Showtime; Hank AzariaEasily the most unique. Definitely one of the most entertaining. And arguably the only show on TV right now that can successfully make you feel like bawling your eyes out and then laughing hysterically within a ten second span. Season two of Huff, from creator Bob Lowry, picks up just a few weeks after the events that finished out season one. Teddy is still on the run, reeling from his mother's neglect. Huff isn't on speaking terms with Russell, following the discovery that Russell and Izzy were sleeping together. For those who missed last season's finale, Izzy is Huff's mother. Now you see why he no longer speaks with his best friend? Beth and Huff continue to move away from each other as Beth deals with her mother's spinal cancer. Byrd doesn't seem to be around too much, but he has developed a liking for scotch and he hasn't attended anymore rainbow parties. After everyone's current status was revealed, tonight's premiere took off and didn't look back.

The first thing that caught me off guard about this episode was an unexpected guest star. When he finally returns to work following his injury (Huff pushed him down some stairs), Russell is greeted with a new client played by Sharon Stone. Dauri Rathburn is essentially the female version of Russell. She's obnoxious, greedy, full of herself, and consistently intoxicated with who knows what. It was interesting to see them interact because, for Russell, it was like looking in a mirror. Their conversation over drinks essentially changed his mind about the child he's about to have. To recap, Russell had a fling (surprising, huh?) about six months ago. But he's now committed to supporting the mother-to-be.

Over at Casa de Huffstodt, Izzy is fairly well removed from the family. Byrd visits her in the guest house and they drink together, but it's clear that Izzy isn't doing very well. She seems very lonely and I'm curious to see how long it will take for Huff to forgive her and offer his help. He is her son after all. Meanwhile, Beth and her mother Madeline (Swoosie Kurtz is absolutely fantastic in this role) make some concrete decisions about where she'll spend her final months (weeks? days?). A nurse is brought in, and Beth's father makes the trip from New Jersey.

I personally found the scenes between Beth and her mother to be the best of the episode. I recall when my grandmother died of cancer. I was old enough to know what was happening to her, what was going on. But I was still young enough that it didn't impact me the way I know it impacted my mother. Watching those scenes, I couldn't help but see my family members in that situation. That's the way this show is written and acted though. It's honest and real.

Teddy finally contacts Huff - he's fled to Tijuana looking for an experimental drug that may help his manic delusions or it may kill him. Huff is able to find his brother but they can't cross the border because Teddy entered Mexico with no ID at all. Russell is able to smuggle a driver's license across the border but Teddy disappears in the meantime.

At this point, the show threw a curveball at me. I had completely forgotten about Huff's imaginary Hungarian friend. He appeared to give some advice near the end of the two hours. I say I had forgotten about him because he was there all the time in the first season so when he hadn't been in this episode at all... he just slipped my mind. This is one of my favorite parts of the show. Huff is a psychiatrist but he still has a guy in his head that he speaks to. Eventually Teddy is found. Without giving it away, Huff comes to Teddy's rescue but it may have been too late as we leave him in limbo. How Teddy is doing is still up in the air and for those who saw it, no pun was intended there.

I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season. It seems clear that Madeline is going to pass away within the next few episodes. How that will affect Huff and Beth's marriage remains to be seen. I also wonder if we'll see the return of Allison, Byrd's on again/off again older girlfriend. Next week's episode ("Whipped Doggie") will hopefully answer some of these questions.

 

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Yme Sandelmann

I've got to agree with you, the scenes between Beth and her mother were heartbreaking. Both my grandmas passed away with cancer when I was a teenager and this show just completely gets the horrible, horrible way the disease is f*cking with you and your relatives.
I'm so glad "Huff" is back on the air, it is among the best 5 shows on TV right now. I just love it when shows go the thin red line between humor and tragedy which "Huff" does perfectly.

April 03 2006 at 6:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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