The Sound of the Crowd

You’re supposed to be thinking about what I’m feeling here*

Boxes swim across the screen with dreamlike images – a baby, cigarette smoke, lips that change color, men in suits sitting on chairs on the beach, a faceless man in a hall. A knife cuts a tomato. A razor cuts cocaine. Shoes sit on a ledge. There’s a gun, then splattered blood. Voices of men and women weigh in from a distance…

“You are so beautiful…I had no idea how beautiful you would be”…*

Once again thanks to the joy of On Demand, I’m spent the last two or three days watching a little mini-marathon of Huff. The Showtime drama that debuted last year, starring Hank Azaria as a psychiatrist who may have a little too much going on inside his own head, is severely underrated and higly recommended.

And I mean that–“underrated”–literally. If my information is current, it gets about half the ratings the inferior L Word does. Maybe there was a backlash to the excessive promotion. But folks who missed it are missing a lot.

“Oh my god. It just doesn’t stop”…*

The series gives Simpsons voice and character actor Azaria his best shot as an in-front-of-the-camera leading man and he does surprisingly well with it. At the time of the show’s premiere a reviewer wrote:

Hank Azaria is an actor with talent to burn: His voice characterizations on The Simpsons (Apu, Moe the bartender, Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy), like his former role as Nat the nerdy dog-walker on Mad About You, are masterpieces of comic exaggeration. But stripped of his funny tics, Azaria seems as naked as his character on the promotional poster. He’s a quiet, inwardly focused actor, and while his performance grows on you (as does the show itself), I’m not sure whether he radiates the necessary magnetism to draw viewers in.

I agree with all of that except the last sentence, I think–and even if it were true the series’ impressive writing, great opening credits sequence (with one of W.G. “Snuffy” Walden’s best themes ever) and great supporting cast would be enough to keep me hooked. The show also does a neat line in recurring guest star parts.

A few quick words about the leading ladies of the cast that are in no way meant to merely objectify them. Paget Brewster is very sexy here while chosing to forgo explicit nudity, something which actually impresses me. And I’ve maintained for a while that Blythe Danner is not only a better actress than her daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow, she’s also hotter. Yes, even now–which would seem to mean that dude from Coldplay has nothing to worry about as his wife gets older.

If you have Showtime I suggest looking out for reruns of the first season if you don’t have On Demand. It’s not yet availble on DVD, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. The second season is scheduled to start next year, and releasing the first on DVD to promote it is a no-brainer.

“I’m afraid we have to stop.”*

*Sound bites, opening credits sequence, Huff


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