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The Mobile Huff

1:30 PM -- Last night was the second-season premiere of Showtime's series Huff, which is now the best dramedy on TV (sorry, but The Sopranos, with the interminable dream-sequence that took up most of the first two episodes this year, has definitely entered its baroque phase), and it featured mobile technologies prominently.

Huff, for those who haven't found it yet, is the story of L.A. shrink Craig Huffstodt (Hank Azaria) and his dysfunctional, often hilarious, extended family. Last night's feature-length show had a recurring motif of in-dash GPS systems that talk to you ("I call him Elliot," said guest star Sharon Stone, "he's my imaginary friend"). The episode's plot turned on Huff going to Tijuana to search for his schizophrenic brother, Teddy, who'd fled there after swiping Huff's car in search of prescription drugs to quiet the voices in his head. ("The car was talking to me, Craig," Teddy told his brother in the climactic scene. "Even I know cars don't talk.")

In a bit of creative license, Huff was able to contact both his wife and his lawyer (the inimitable Oliver Platt) by cellphone from Tijuana. Unless he'd found time in his desperate hurried departure from L.A. to contact his cell provider, that's bosh: Even though Tijuana is only half-an-hour from San Diego, to access cell service there you have to set up an international roaming account in advance. Even then, cell service is "spotty at best."

Who knows, maybe Huff thought to call Verizon Wireless before he drove across the border. That'd be quick thinking, even for a shrink.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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