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October 13, 2015

Huff: Bethless

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Jun 4th 2006 11:38AM

Huff; Showtime; Bethless; Oliver Platt; Hank Azaria

(S02E10) I was starting to wonder what the story arc for the rest of this season would be and it's finally starting to take shape: the similarities and comparisons between Craig and his father, Ben. It comes at a poignant time too. Now that Ben is gone for good (I honestly don't think he'll be back), it's left Craig to inherit all his father's flaws and mistakes. As much as Craig wants to not become his father, he has and it'll probably take him the rest of the season to realize that. Also, you might notice that I'm referring to Huff as "Craig" and not as "Huff." I have a point to make there, I swear. But I'll get to that later.

This was actually a pretty sad episode. Just about every character, major and minor, reached some kind of breaking point. Lately, though, it seems like just about any remotely sad thing on TV gets me to well up and I blame the series finale of Six Feet Under. I finally got around to watching it a few nights ago. Talk about a tear-jerker. That's beside the point though. We can talk about how big of a ninny (that's a word, right?) I am another time.

Craig and Beth are officially separated. He's moved out and shacks up with Russell. Naturally, that spells frat-boy disaster. The first night he's there, the two of them down martinis and eat a KFC family feast. Even worse, this is not good for whatever is going on inside of Craig's stomach. Ulcer? Acid Reflux? Who knows, but I'm sure we'll find out. The Hungarian wasn't around this episode to remind him about it though.

Since moving out, it's caused Izzy to relive when Ben moved out and as a result, she's very anti-Craig right now. As is Byrd. Beth too. Hell, I'm not a big fan of Craig right now. Byrd finally said what needed to be said though: "Dad, you've been messed up since that kid killed himself in your office." Which is 100% on the mark. Especially when Craig keeps telling people to stop making excuses for their behavior, yet Craig has been using that one incident as his crutch for emotional instability for two years now. Kudos to Byrd for being the wise voice.

Izzy's alcoholism was a hot topic. Byrd mentioned it and even Izzy herself brought up her excessive consumption. Now that Craig is gone though, I think we're going to see Beth move in the same direction.

On the Russell and Kelly front, they're still fighting. Surprise. But I'm still pretty confident they'll be fine. Russell means well (he bought a kiddie pool for Kelly to use as a birthing tub), but he keeps messing up. He'll figure it out. Sooner or later he's going to realize that he needs stability in his life and not coke lines smeared on some hooker's breast.

The real shocker was Teddy's storyline. He finally came clean with Alyssa and I wasn't expecting that until the season finale. He told her everything - his entire life story, including how he attacked Izzy years ago. She's incredibly sad about the whole situation and she leaves but I think she'll be back. Her character has been set up as someone who's very accepting and I think she'll come around to respect Teddy for telling the truth. It was a big step for him.

Now we wait because what happens when Craig wants to move back in? Oh, and here's why I keep saying Craig. Everyone calls him Huff. His wife. His mother. It's a nickname. It's almost as if he's not being taken seriously because everyone refers to him by a name that was probably first concocted in front of a jungle-gym back in third grade. That's just my take though. Until next week.

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The negative reviews of Huff often imply it's over the top without a sufficiently cohesive story line to tie it all together. I would argue those reviewers want their television drama spoon fed to them in little easy to understand bites? Huff is a wonderful tangle of interwoven story lines. And who says they all have to be tied together in some unrealistic way? There's plenty of mindless television if that's what you want.

Huff can be hard to watch and this episode ("Bethless") is no exception. For anyone who's split up with someone they've been with for years, the scenes related to Huff moving out were painfully realistic. High drama, yes, but still 100% believable.

Beth tells Izzy she couldn't find two words for Huff when he was around but now she can only think about all their good times together, and all the things she wants to tell him. Isn't that the way it is?

Byrd wasn't sufficiently punished for his breaking and entering escapades by his parents but, karma being what it is, he's now being punished by a fellow teen. Finding a dead rat in your bed is a bit over the top, but I had friends when I was his age who did that sort of thing. So again, it's not unrealistic.

Byrd has been perhaps the most "together" character on the show despite the lipstick party and dead animal escapades. I think that's about to change, however? He's likely in over his head with his partner in crime and the stress of Huff leaving might push him over the edge?

I so wanted Huff to finally get himself to a doctor when he was in obvious pain. Just like it was hard to watch Teddy lie to Alyssa, it's hard to watch Huff ignore what's likely going to be a serious medical problem. I think we're talking more than acid reflux here?

The bottom line is Huff can be hard to watch because it IS so realistic. Those of you looking for some overly simplistic premise to tie all the drama together in a nice easy-to-swallow package should probably stick with old Friends episodes?

June 06 2006 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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