Lisa Kudrow Makes Her Comeback On HBONovember 20, 2014
On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: “The Comeback-Season 2.”
I had always heard good things about The Comback, but I didn’t have HBO, and it only lasted one season. When I heard it was worth resurrecting after nine years, I figured I better finally hop on it!
Last weekend I binged the whole first season of The Comeback in two days. My face, neck, and shoulders are sore from all the cringing, but it was so worth it!
The Comeback (HBO)
Poor Valerie Cherish. At one time she was the IT girl. She was the star of a sitcom, and everyone laughed and applauded with delight at her every utterance. Then it all went away. The sitcom was cancelled. She aged. In her head, she knows that is the way of the business we call show, but in her heart she can’t quite believe that it is all really gone. She fervently, desperately believes that if she just gets that one chance, she could have all that adoration back. She could be IT again.
That desperation leads her to a reality show deal with a network. As she hopes for a role in a sitcom, her reality show cameras watch every humiliating step of the way, from being cast as the older aunt in a hideous Golden Girls style sweat suit while a bunch of frisky twentysomethings gad about to the demeaning and disdainful treatment dished out by the writer, Pauly G.
The Comeback (HBO)
Lisa Kudrow is amazing. The way Valerie’s feelings travel across her face as she tries to control them is like watching a caught fish wriggling a foot or so beneath the water. When she hears something offensive or appalling, you can see her face register it, then she will laugh that awful nervous laugh, make a not-very-witty comment, and try desperately to keep a smile on her face and nod oh-so-enthusiastically. All the while you see the muscles under her facial skin tick and twitch as she tries to keep the happy look going.
It is sheer brilliance.
Aided by a marvelous cast, particularly Robert Michael Morris as Valerie’s faithful hairdresser and Damian Young as her patient husband, Michael Patrick Smith and Lisa Kudrows’ scripts perfectly capture Hollywood in all of its who is seen where with whom vapidity.
As much as she makes you cringe, you have to admire Valerie Cherish’s optimism. She takes the ridiculous role and gives it her best, hoping at a minimum to create a catch phrase, and at most, to have her role expanded. The ultimate humiliation is reserved for the opening night of her reality show when she realizes that the producers had no intention of letting her look good.
This was back in 2005. There were reality shows, but they mostly involved a competition of some kind. This was before The Real Housewives or Honey BooBoo. Valerie’s idea that she had some control over what the reality show would become was believable back then. And in a way, she was triumphant in that even though her sitcom was cancelled, her reality show was picked up. Unfortunately, The Comeback was not picked up, and Valerie’s fans were left bereft.
But, thanks to HBO, she’s back. Is she better than ever? Well, she’s at least as good, and that is great! This time she is producing her own reality show, which puts her back in control (she thinks). There is a new sitcom on her horizon. Unfortunately, that sitcom is poised to humiliate her even further as it is Pauly G.’s take on their previous writer/actor relationship. Even more cringes to come, and I for one, look forward to it!
Available on HBO OnDemand.
Jean Tait is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. Currently the Director of Programming for the Connecticut Film Festival, Jean has programmed for the Jacksonville Film Festival and Sundance Channel.
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