Huff Season Two

Sunday 4 February at 9.35pm on Prime

PRIME is pleased to present new episodes of the critically acclaimed drama HUFF.

The show stars Hank Azaria as psychiatrist Dr Craig ‘Huff’ Huffstodt who is suffering from a mid-life crisis. Huff’s world includes his lovely but complicated wife Beth (Paget Brewster), a teenage son named Byrd (Anton Yelchin) who is mature beyond his years and Huff’s overprotective and domineering mother Izzy, played by Blythe Danner. Complicating matters is Huff’s best friend Russell Meeks (Oliver Platt), a fearless attorney with somewhat questionable ethics.
At the conclusion of Season One, Huff’s entire family believed him to be crazy. HUFF writer-creator and executive producer Bob Lowry adds some perspective…

“The first season ended with what I call the ‘convergence scene,’ which had Huff assaulted by everybody in his life. He had pushed his best friend Russell down a flight of stairs because he caught him in bed with his mother, Izzy ; his wife, Beth, was leaving indefinitely to be with her dying mother (played by Swoosie Kurtz); his schizophrenic brother, Teddy, went over the edge by what he witnessed; and his son Byrd further disengaged from the family.”

While Season Two attempts to resolve the issues left dangling at the first season’s end, Lowry points out that the series will not just continue the arc of each story, but also emphasise the growth of each character.

“It’s really not the same show because they are not playing the same beats. For example, Huff redefines his manhood, realising what he envisioned as strength has been just a caricature, and that all his care-taking and helping everybody is still not taking him where he wants to go. Hiding his own identity from himself by helping others isn’t working too well for him.”

In terms of marriage, Lowry says he’s attempting to chronicle a monogamous relationship between two people deeply in love and supportive of one another, despite undeniable strain and caustic disagreements.

“To write a healthy marriage with problems is challenging, and Season Two examines that even further. When people are together, I believe, there are three relationships: the two individuals – which are one and two – and then there’s the couple, which is three. How to remain separate in a relationship is the trick. It’s not easy to maintain one’s individuality and identity and still survive, living with each other.”

With the Huffstodt family ties slowly coming undone, Beth’s sense of self-preservation kicks in as she becomes less and less reliant on her husband and marriage to define who she is.

“It has everything to do with self-worth, identity and redefining boundaries, which all sounds so cerebral, but when you watch it play out, it’s vibrant, alive, funny, sad and real,” explains Lowry. “Our stories and characters undergo twists and turns that you don’t normally see a lot on television because we’re not linear, with the traditional beginning, middle and end.”

No truer words were ever spoken when applied to the multi-faceted life of Russell Tupper, laid out in all its raw glory in Season Two.

“Oh, yes, dear Russell,” Lowry laughs. “He continues as an alcoholic, sexaholic, misogynist and drug addict who is just as adorable as ever.”

Adding a pregnant girlfriend, Kelly (Faith Prince), and a sexy new client, Dauri Rathbun, who is in desperate need of his legal advice, to this mix raises the volatility quotient to the max.

Hollywood screen siren Sharon Stone, who plays Dauri Rathbun, appears in the first three episodes of the new season, as a high-powered public relations executive whose recipe for cooking her company’s books has attracted the attention of the IRS. Russell has pledged to exonerate her from the mess, but not before they create one of their own, fueled by sex and alcohol, of course.

Sharon Stone’s casting was effortless in that she virtually did it herself.

“I was watching HUFF obsessively and thought it was the best thing I’d ever seen on television, and so I had to meet Bob Lowry,” Stone recalls. “I called and asked if I could take him to lunch.”

Emmy-winner Stone says that she is impressed with the types of characters that inhabit the world of HUFF and Oliver Platt’s character is no exception.

“I’ve always had such an acting crush on Oliver Platt. There are a lot of things about him that I thought would make us compatible. He’s a big guy and I’m a big girl but a featherweight even though I’m tall. It has worked so wonderfully, well comedically, because Oliver can pick me up like I’m his cat and so we’ve been able to do all kinds of fantastic physical things.”

Another high-powered guest star is Oscar-winner Anjelica Huston, portraying Dr. Lena Markova, an old-school psycho-pharmacologist, who becomes Huff’s doctor and confidante.

“Huff and Lena are truly a mental match, who can help each other,” Huston says. “My character is shedding light on stuff he already knows as a psychiatrist, but has never really applied the information to himself. I think all of us are mysterious and hold an ocean of mystery inside and sometimes it takes something very simple to release that mystery.”

Like Sharon Stone, Anjelica Huston also became intrigued by HUFF through watching the show.

“I loved the acting and the writing is extremely good. When I was offered the part, I kind of jumped at it. I work largely on instinct and this character is beautifully written and I actually think it’s the best part I’ve had in a long time.”

Swoosie Kurtz – who continues on into Season Two as Beth’s cancer-stricken mother – is also enamored of her part.

“The inspiring thing about Madeline, my character, when she is dying of cancer, is that her concern is not for herself. Her attention is on everyone else. And she gives these little ‘gifts’ to people…She tries to make Beth feel at ease, and comfortable about it. Like, ‘I am ready to go. It’s fine.’”

In the first episode Huff is lost in his thoughts following Russell’s affair with Izzy that caused him to push his best friend down a flight of stairs. As well that he is consumed by Teddy’s sudden disappearance, to the extent that he cannot concentrate on his new patient, Art.
So, with Beth’s mother dying and a pain that has him convinced that he may have cancer, too, Huff accepts Paula’s offer to have her police officer boyfriend help look for Teddy. Amid tensions that have left her and Huff barely speaking, Beth tries to get Madeleine to fight back against her cancer. And as he’s coping with his own injuries in the wake of his fall, a grudging Russell meets with Dauri Rathburn, a new client who’s facing a possible prison sentence for defrauding her company’s clients.
With Izzy drinking heavily after the encounter with Russell, Byrd does his best to snap her out of it. After refusing to join the family for dinner, she then stuns Byrd with the truth about how she helped her terminally ill best friend die. As Huff looks to help Madeleine feel better with a joke, domestic tensions mount as Beth prepares to return home with her ailing mom. Meanwhile, having agreed to meet for a drink, Russell is surprised when Dauri orders three martinis after telling him that she is in rehab. But when the volatile combination of alcohol and her anti-seizure medication sends Dauri into an embarrassing stupor, Russell must drive her to her Beverly Hills home.

As he is in the middle of trying to come up with an arrangement to satisfy both him and Art, Huff gets word that Teddy is on the phone. Much to Art’s dismay, Huff takes the call and learns that Teddy is stranded in Tijuana where he’s gone to buy the anti-psychotic drug Clozaril. Worried that the medication will kill him, Huff begs Teddy not to do anything until he arrives. So, after heading home to start making things right with Beth before arguing with Izzy over the way she’s handled Teddy’s illness, Huff hurriedly leaves to find his brother before it’s too late.

Don’t miss season two of HUFF.
Sunday at 9.35pm on PRIME.

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  • Penny

    Where has Huff gone? I was watching it and it stopped for bloody rugby! Is it coming back on?