The Idol has been a surprisingly controversial series for HBO, with its five weeks of broadcast being filled with public reactions that spanned all across the board. I’m of the opinion that the show hasn’t really been controversial or interesting enough for either strong reaction, but there’s one aspect of it that has kept me watching every Sunday — Hank Azaria’s Chaim.
Azaria is likely best known for his numerous iconic roles in The Simpsons, where he’s voiced memorable Springfield icons like Chief Wiggum, Moe Szyslak, and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. That’s not to say he hasn’t had an impressive live-action career as well, appearing in films like Pretty Woman, The Birdcage, and Mystery Men. I didn’t keep up with much news involving The Idol prior to its premiere, so I was pleasantly surprised to see him pop up in the unexpected role of Chaim, one of the managers for the titular idol, Jocelyn (played by Lily-Rose Depp).
Hank Azaria’s Chaim serves as one of the few characters in The Idol who seem to have potentially not bad intentions. To be fair, part of this is comparative, as the show’s cast of characters is primarily made up of intensely troubled aspiring actors and singers. Even though he’s hinted at as having a messy past, Chaim’s devotion to Jocelyn and his willingness to do anything for his client makes him stand out as one of the closest things to a moral compass for the show.
Throughout The Idol, Chaim and Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s Destiny are the consistent voices of reason amongst the many bizarre characters that populate Jocelyn’s home (Destiny and Chaim even discuss killing Tedros at one point, though they decide to not go through with it). Sometimes he’s awestruck by the strange events he’s sees, quipping about how unusual things have gotten in Jocelyn’s life. At other times, he’s all business, showing his teeth to serve his client however he can.
The best encapsulation of the character as a whole comes in the season finale. Chaim not-so-subtly threatens Tedros with an entertaining retelling of Little Red Riding Hood that casts himself as The Hunter and Tedros as the wolf, followed by a scene of him relishing in the idea of using ‘Plan B’ on The Weeknd’s character. It’s fairly intense but comical as well, just like Chaim himself.
So while a lot of The Idol isn’t necessarily worth your time, Hank Azaria manages to at least provide the series with consistent comedy and a bit of humanity. If there ends up being a second season, I’d hope that Chaim would make a grand return, as I’m not sure The Idol can keep my interest without him.