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  • alexhornbye315 September 2005
    I have just had the pleasure of seeing the entire season of The Comeback. I cannot believe the poor reception this series has had with the viewing public of America. The writing and performances from all concerned are outstanding. The situations are extreme, but then how many of us have the insight into the makings of a TV sitcom. Even so, it always seems believable. Kudos to Kudrow for creating one of the most likable, infuriating, delicious, yet tragic characters to grace TV for a long while. And special mention to Lance Barber for instilling Paulie G with so much venom and hatred to create one of the most loathsome. So many good moments crammed into each episode this series demands repeat viewing. I caught an ep. of Friends shortly afterwards, and could not watch Phoebe (or indeed any of the contrived, poorly scripted nonsense I had so previously enjoyed) without seeing Big Red behind the drippy one-liners. I will most definitely watch it again and again when it comes to the UK.

    (To Tom Selleck on the phone: "Well, maybe I'll call you again if they decide to revive my big beaver...")
  • davelit18 July 2005
    This show is brilliant and Lisa Kudrow is amazing in it. If you've ever lived in LA, you already know this is closer to reality than any of the shows it satirizes.

    Comparisons to the BBC version of "The Office" are inevitable. This show is probably as good as that critical darling, and it might be even better.

    I've heard that it hasn't been renewed, which is a shame, as it's certainly much smarter than Darren Starr's other HBO hit, the long-running "Sex and the City.

    Kudos to HBO and all involved for taking a chance on this risky and smart and painfully funny show.
  • Lisa Kudrow truly shines in her new HBO vehicle, "The Comeback." Playing Valerie Cherish, a former B-list sitcom star, Kudrow injects her outstanding comedic timing and delivery into every joke, whether it be an embarrassing situation or a humiliating video confessional. The former Friends star has surrounded herself with very little big names, leaving Kudrow herself to carry the show. While the world of failed actors and actresses in Los Angeles will probably not take too kindly to this, one who truly understands the inner- workings of pilot season and the Hollywood community will find the jokes hit their target dead-on. HBO has found their next hit in this dramedy, and pairing it with Entourage makes perfect sense. Be sure to check this out.
  • I have not been too happy with some of the shows portraying people in the business. They have usually been SO over the top that it sucks the jokes right out of it. Having seen THE COMEBACK tonight I'm very happy to say that this one is right on the money! It's funny and has a fresh take on what it means to be in this business and Lisa Kudrow is quiet Genius in her delivery (the way comedy should be!) A mockumentary should be just that...making fun without hitting us over the head with the punchlines. I think HBO has delivered yet another first rate show that of course I'm already hooked on. Thanks! and I can't wait for the next episode.
  • I ran into this one on my HBO on demand last Sunday. For the first time I can remember, I was riveted to my TV. I watched all six or so (the total taped) episodes in one sitting.

    The show is an interesting mix of TV-land looking at, and poking fun at itself. Keep in mind that this is a show within a show. We are supposed be be watching the outtakes from a reality show where the reality is a washed up, over aged (by TV standard) actress gets the nod to first star in, and then have a bit role in a new TV show. The show within the show is an updated version of Three's Company.

    We get to watch the Kudrow character's attempt at being the center of attraction until she wises up that she's not the center of this universe as she was on her show of 20 years ago. The catch is watching this actress play an actress who evolves and adapts quickly to her new situation. She absorbs a lot of ridicule along the way - more than most folks could take. Rather than lash out and risk her gig, she smiles, pretends to go along with the gags where she is the butt of the joke and then makes minor adjustments based on her new perception of her role in this new world where she is no longer the star, but the comedic relief.

    Like a Woody Allen movie, Kudrow's place both as the star and producer of the show give her too much time to make a lot of noise and too much screen time emoting monologues. However, even at her worst, she's not the ego maniac that Allen is so at worst, it's a bit too much, but still tolerable.

    Whatever the outcome of this show, I think Kudrow has proved that she has range and talent well beyond what most folks thought she had.
  • Network: HBO; Genre: Comedy, Satire, Parody; Content Rating: TV-MA (profanity, adult content, nudity, sexual humor); Available: DVD; Perspective: Cult Classic (star range: 1 - 5)

    Seasons Reviewed: Complete Series (1 season)

    In early 90s Valerie Cherish (Lisa Kudrow) was the It girl on a hit sitcom called "I'm It". Now, in the new millennium with the death of the sitcom looming on the horizon and reality shows (band-aids on a problem that are themselves starting to peel off) providing has-been celebrities a temporary life-line back onto TV, Valerie gets a chance to make a comeback in the form of a reality series. "The Comeback", the show within the one we are watching, documents her new career taking a bit role on a network sitcom called "Room & Bored". As the documentary cameras intrude on Valerie's life and her not-so-photogenic real life intrudes on the reality show and "Room & Bored" (plagued with problems from the beginning) itself continues to fall apart, Valerie all the while maintains a phony smile and naively optimistic attitude about the whole thing.

    "The Comeback" is a triumph for both co-creators. An acting triumph for Kudrow who explodes in a volcano of talent that laid dormant for 10 years on "Friends". A creative triumph for Michael Patrick King who answers the call to follow up one of TV's all time best shows in "Sex and the City" by making not one new show, but three in one. Now, that mean streak the bubbled under the surface of "Sex", but was forced down by the show's romanticism gets to break out and attack.

    Kudrow is absolutely brilliant here, effortlessly carrying the series with naturally comic instincts. As a personality that was associated with everything that is young and hip for so long, it is incredibly bold the way Kudrow fully embraces a role as an unlikable out-of-touch, over-the-Hollywood-hill actress. She disappears into Valerie, who is something like Shelly Long and Katharine Hepburn doing David Brent. "Comeback" is a one-woman showcase, built around Valerie suffering one indignity after another (many involving "Bored's" co-creator, Paulie G, who absolutely hates her) while she smiles for the cameras, pushes her emotions down and explains away every disaster unfolding in front of her face. It is often heartbreaking and painful to watch. When Valerie could just as easily have been a punchline, Kudrow gives her a nuanced depth with layer upon layer of repressed, passive-aggressive behavior. She gets buy out of a sheer single-minded fortitude for attention and "to be heard". So much of this performance is in what she doesn't say, a pain behind her eyes. She was Emmy robbed.

    I've always admired King's desire and ability to make TV more than the audience's low expectations allow. He respects his audience and trusts our intelligence to get it. Not many people will be comfortable with a comedy like "Comeback" symbolically structured like a Greek tragedy or take the time to analyze King's endless world of visual metaphors. "Comeback" is a deeply thought out show about shallow TV. Here King breaks apart both the reality series and the sitcom, then cobbles them together flawlessly.

    Kudrow and King hopelessly cage Valerie in an entertainment chasm where sitcoms are dying but the quick-fix solution of reality shows turns out to be even more dangerous. Every other show that has poked fun at this genre always does so with an admiring wink and nod. On the contrary, King has no love for reality TV. He shows the clutter of a 3-man camera crew crashing through a room before its subject walks in. He shows the participants editing, re-editing and contriving their own lives for the cameras. He goes beyond showing the participants being manipulated in editing, he shows them being violated by the cameras for cheap laughs that are celebrated by a public that takes pleasure in mocking celebrities. "Comeback" gives us the sharpest and most honestly ugly look at the reality of reality TV you will see. Valerie slowly has the hope that this forum will get her back in the spotlight drained as she looses more and more control over her show.

    That same downward glare is applied to sitcoms. As the other show within the show, "Room & Bored" is a perfectly awful parody of every youth-pandering network series that is fun to rip on but would probably be a solid hit if it was really on NBC or Fox. The sheer straight-faced nature of everything and the intricate detail King puts into making "Bored" believable makes it all the funnier. Just about every joke here works. From Juna (Malin Akerman) the sexy break-out star whose popularity swallows up the show to a retooling attempt that jams 2 new characters into an already crowded mix, "Bored" appears to Jump the Shark several times. A combustible piece of fitful hilarity, "Valarie Hangs Out with the Cool Kids" maybe my favorite episode.

    To the outside observer Lisa Kudrow's appearance as a once-sitcom star might make it look like "The Comeback" is sponging off her own sitcom. No, "Comeback" is a dark series, raw, messy and miserable. Valerie Cherish will probably scare the bejesus out of the average "Friends" fan. The laughs are found in humiliation, awkward silence and King's pension for injecting real world details everywhere. If there was any thought that the cringing humor of "The Office" couldn't be replicated in America, "Comeback" busts that up.

    More consistent than "Curb Your Enthusiasm", a better Inside Hollywood show than "Entourage". King has laser-focused "The Comeback" as a contemporary satire about its specific time and place in the television timeline, yet the show so richly satisfying, complexly rendered and its breakout classic lead character is so unique that it is hard to forget or easily dismiss. A TV show for TV fans, "Comeback" is audience-challenging, utterly hilarious and very highly recommended.

    * * * * / 5
  • "The Comeback" is a well done blending of "The Office", "The Larry Sanders Show", and "Curb Your Enthusiasm". It is a fake reality show about an idiotic TV star that offers a parody of both reality TV and network sitcoms.

    The show is composed of reality TV footage filmed during the life of a TV star from the 80's, played by Lisa Kudrow, trying to wage a career comeback by staring in a new TV sitcom. The twist is that rather than showing us a final edited fake reality TV show, the show is composed of outtakes from the fake reality TV show. We get to see the character redo lines that are supposed to be spontaneous reality, we see her continually tell the filmmakers to stop filming -- which they never do. And we even see the filmmakers themselves dealing with some of the logistical problems inherent in making this type of show.

    What makes it all work is that Lisa Kudrow's character is a buffoon. She is totally delusional about how big of a star she is and the show asks us to laugh at her vanity and idiocy. She is a lot like the boss on BBC's "The Office", because she is a lead character we are meant to laugh and cringe at. At the same time, Kudrow gives her character just enough empathy that as much as we hate her we also feel sorry for her just a little bit. Knowing that Kudrow was so intimately involved in a network TV sitcom, makes the parody directed at sitcoms come across as very realistic and especially funny.

    As long as you know that the show itself is supposed to be bad, and if you like the kind of comedy that is filled with cringe inducing moments of embarrassment, then you will like this show.
  • I was initially unimpressed with The Comeback. Never having been a fan of Friends, I didn't feel any particular connection with Lisa Kudrow. But since I watch Entourage and it is the lead-in show, I kept the TV on. The first few shows had me wondering why Lisa Kudrow would want to do such a crappy show...but for some unexplainable reason, I kept watching. I feel like, now at nearly the end of the first season, that I "get" the show. I am glad that I stuck it out. There have been some very funny moments on the show. In fact I decided to watch the season over again with a different perspective and have gained more from the second viewing, (with On-Demand). The Palm Springs episode really did it for me. Since then the show has only gotten better. There are a lot of long pauses to the show. I think this is indicative of the character's inability to say what is really on her mind, but usually ends up putting her foot in her mouth anyway. The premise of the show seemed a little confusing at first, but it's not hard to put it all together. Valerie Cherish is a washed up TV actress trying to gracefully get back in the groove, but she really isn't all that graceful. At the same time a reality show is being made to follow her on her comeback trail. The characters grow on you--Valerie Cherish, her husband, step-daughter and text- messaging friends; Valerie's young cast-mates on her TV show Room and Bored, and the humorless writers; her longtime gay hairstylist who is still only half-way out of the closet; her always present reality crew waiting for something awful to happen so they can boost ratings on the possibly-dying reality TV genre. It is subtle comedy and it just needed a little bit of a chance to find its ground. Without the irritating laugh-tracks and corny music of most TV comedies, the quiet pauses on the show are not the negative, uncomfortable ones that I first disliked--now it is off and running. And I really do look forward to the show!
  • I have finally finished The Comeback. I started it because of the raves I heard about Kudrow, and let me tell you, they are completely deserved. Kudrow is magnificent here, she not only handles the comedy perfectly with the unique touch that she also had in Friends, but she develops Valerie with many different layers. It's not until the series goes by that those layers are peeled away, and we really truly understand Valerie as a whole. In the pilot episode, one is ready to say that Valerie is a little too full of herself, or naive. Her flaws are recognizable, and yet as more episodes go on, you not only learn to recognize her flaws clearly, but also learn to accept her as a human being. It's very easy to empathize with her, and Kudrow is completely mesmerizing in her most vulnerable moments.

    Take a scene in the 12th episode where she tells the audience and the crew about her experience when she was younger, as a girl with a back brace. Kudrow plays it amazingly, with her character's usual sugar tone and with her deep sadness and hurt rising to the surface. But most importantly, she plays it all with her eyes. Moments like these are crucial to her character, and Kudrow is dynamite when it comes to playing the most hilarious moments and also the darkest. The show is pretty great, but it's great because Valerie Cherish is an expertly- written character, and because Kudrow gives one of the best comedic performances I have ever seen, both on the small and big screen. Anyone who hasn't seen this, do! Such a shame it only ran for one season, especially because the ending promised even more interesting things to come.
  • Lisa Kudrow stars in this new HBO vehicle as Valerie Cherish, a newly has-been actress who joins the cast of a "Three's Company" type show complete with bouncy, young newcomers who are the true stars of the show while she is relegated to playing the uptight, frumpy Aunt who lives above her niece and roommates. While she still feels herself relevant, youthful and sexy, she is by Hollywood's standards, day old bread. It's very interesting to watch someone who once was tabloid fodder descend to being incidental. Valerie Cherish is treated with polite, yet little respect from the young cast while the writers obviously feel disdain towards her. On top of all this is a reality show that is being filmed about her experience with her new show.

    A brilliant portrayal of a person coming to grips with not having the world at her feet anymore and having to deal with watching the success that she once enjoyed and probably thought would never end being granted to the pretty blonde young star of the show.

    I think this show is terrific and it always leaves you wanting more. Definitely worth checking out.
  • Lisa Kudrow's HBO Special Series "The Comeback" is a rare hybrid that combines reality TV and satire directed to the television industry and the people behind the scenes.

    Ms. Kudrow's persona of a dippy untalented actress pays off big time in her take of this larger than life personality she is portraying, Valerie Crash. She is hopeless, but what most people don't get it, the joke is on the viewer because this series wants to make it appear that way. In fact, Ms. Kudrow seems to know perfectly well what to give to her public, as shown in the different episodes we have seen.

    "The Comeback" has some of the best writers working on television these days. The creators, Michael Patrick King and Michael Lehmann, direct with great style. They seem to know what goes on during the production of some of what we watch as comedy on television. The writing is pretty accurate and again, some great minds are behind this.

    Ms. Kudrow seems to be having great fun with Valerie, a woman who has no clue about anything.
  • This show is perfection !! I'm actually kind of...furious cause it seems like people are only realizing it now that they're finally releasing a second season ( 9 years later !!! ).

    When it first aired, there was neither Kardashian Family showing off their uselessness or Tori Spelling divorcing on cam and YET Lisa Kudrown and Michael Patrick King saw that coming !!

    It's like a trip in the mind of some desperate actress we see on magazine covers week after week only to talk about her diet or boyfriend of dog.

    November couldn't come faster !! Can't wait any longer.
  • theparkmans2 January 2011
    The only thing wrong with The Comeback is that it came out a few years ahead of its time.

    Lisa Kudrow is pure genius. She finds a way to turn the contemptible into the endearing and feel for a character despite how deeply she's flawed.

    The show came out in 2005 just before the reality television industry truly spun out of control and those in the industry were probably less than amused by HBO's dead on parody of their pathetic, narcissistic excuses for entertainment.

    The Comeback is so good that it hurts.

    GOD I wish this show had gotten more than one season! If HBO had had the balls to stay behind it, it would go down in history with Larry Sanders as one of the greatest shows ever made about the entertainment industry.
  • HoldenSpark12 April 2007
    You feel bored at first.

    You're kind of embarrassed for Lisa Kudrow at first. Don't we all feel on some level that she's somebody we already know and love and sort of our friend because we've all had the great experience of watching her as a part of "Friends"?

    At first you kind of just feel weird about "The Comeback".

    And there's all this kind of stuff that isn't exactly groundbreaking, and the first episode you see, regardless of which of the first 12 episodes you happen to watch, as the initial episode that you watch, no matter which of the first 12 of these thirteen episodes that you watch, whichever one it is, it will probably leave you wondering, why in the world would I (me, now, this guy who's writing all this for you to read) why in the world would he start by telling you that any episode you choose to watch first will leave you feeling bored?

    That's not a very good way to start a review, is it? And yet that's exactly the way I've started this review of it. So, let me give you a little of my backstory....

    I missed the original airing of this series and happened across all 13 episodes of it being offered 'on demand' on HBO cable his past weekend (April 2007). I'd never heard of it at that point but I did notice at that moment when I happened across it, that it had Lisa Kudrow in it and so I thought I'd watch it just because of that. That she was in it.

    So I watched episode six first.

    And I was kinda bored.

    And when I was finished watching episode six I just thought ...oh .... uh ..... whatever. So, following that viewing of episode six of "The Comeback" I watched something else next.

    But, well, that day was a slow TV day plus it was cold outside plus I'd flipped around through the other umpteen channels that day and nothing else was on that was even remotely watchable, so I came back to "The Comeback" and decided to just jump ahead and watch the last episode -- episode number thirteen, thinking that, well, even if it was a boring episode too at least I would know what happened. That at least I'd know how the whole thing ended...cause ...well... that one episode that I'd already watched, ... you know... episode six, ... it had kinda sorta already made me kind of wonder what had happened, you know... wondered how it ended...

    So, regardless of how boring it was and probably was, I watched the last episode (#13) as the second one of this series that I watched. And I was drawn in a little more, cause there are some really awful feelings that come out during that episode, the last episode in the series, which I felt really strangely and really deeply about. Mostly because I didn't know what was going on. But I kinda sorta did. And I felt kind of embarrassed for them all. But I couldn't help noticing how deeply this story bored into me as I watched that episode, drilling into me down to a level that was unusual for me to feel, especially given the show's (still, to me) tepid hollow nature.

    I did notice, however, that episode #13 did gave a decent payoff.

    So, I decided to watch another episode and thought I'd better just watch the episode before episode #13, in case all the episodes really were all boring and that maybe this, episode 13, the last episode, was the best it was going to get. So I watched episode 12. And I was stunned to find myself being drawn in a little more. And so I kind of wanted to watch #11 by then so I did. Then I just decided I'd better watch the rest of them.

    So I did. In order. But backwards, counting down from then onward to the first episode, counting down to number one.

    And, as I did, I began to "get it".

    And I began to understand what they were doing, and how incredible Lisa Kudrow was actually being, in this remarkable achievement. And each time I dropped back an episode I became more and more incredulous at how they had, and were, and did, and were still doing, the whole cast and crew, were, impossibly, yet still doing it, were turning all this boring stuff into something ...something... incredible.

    And as the episodes rolled backwards I actually changed from being bored to being totally engrossed.

    I began to laugh out loud once I began to "get it". And I started to actually tear up a little, and I begin to understand that somehow, this was a show how, from the seemingly dull and boring and slow and kind of mindless they were being, which was more than just the obvious wickedness they were also being, after I got past the idea it was boring, I realized they were creating something much much more, much much richer. They had looked into this woman's soul and they had found not only her, but had found her, the character, her humanity.

    And it became clear that all of the cast were actually being all they could be in these roles and building a platform upon which Lisa Kudrow stood. And then marvelously, way up there above and beyond, she delivered something so worthy of all the effort it took to hold her up there, that I began to realize (with a breathless kind of start and shock and awe and in reverence), that she did them, the cast holding her up there, justice. And she did us, the audience, justice. And she did her own self justice. And she did the character justice.

    And she brought honor even upon her own family, for this is something they can be proud of from her in a way that is universal.

    Which, if you think about it, is a really weird yet weirdly wonderful thing for a casual reviewer to say. Yet here I am, typing it out for the whole world to read.

    For, in fact, she brought humanity to this woman, the real humanity of exactly how this woman would live in our world as it is today.

    Ms. Kudrow (she's so good, I can't just call her casually by her first name anymore) portrayed, in this character, life as it really is.

    No matter who you are or what you do, most people, when it comes down to it, deep inside, have the same fears and hopes and dreams and ways of getting along in the world. But, like we all do, we all still remain wanting what ever it is we want.

    By the time I'd come to the end (or really to the beginning, the end of episode one) I was enormously sad that this was all there would ever be of this series and that I would never again be able to have the joy of seeing it all for the first time.

    And I'm so glad I watched it in the way I did, for it was the best way to see it.

    Though there will be no more episodes, its okay. For this series, these 13 episodes, compose a masterpiece. It's the Citizen Kane of the work of our generation of storytelling. I predict that over time "The Comeback" will rise in esteem just as "Its a Wonderful Life" did. "The Comeback" is just that good and worthy.

    I hope you "get it". I sure did.

    (I revised this review in 2019 and know there eventually was a second series, but I left my original thoughts about how I thought then I'd never get to see more episodes and what it meant to me at that time. If you haven't seen "The Comeback" you really should. It's a masterpiece.)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Contrary to the widely-held perception that Lisa Kudrow's character of Valerie Cherish is a total loser for whom nothing ever goes well, I've found that every time something humiliating happens to her it is mitigated by something positive. The audience is often set-up to expect her to be completely ridiculed and thwarted at every turn, but just when this appears to be happening she is saved from being truly crushed. Waiting to be introduced at the up-fronts, putting in a call for Tom Selleck to guest-star on the sitcom, and of course the spectacular season finale all prove that things can always get better. Valerie ISN'T surrounded by people who hate her. For every Paulie G there's a Tom Peterman, for the hateful stepdaughter there's the often exasperated but still loyal husband, and for the cocky cast-mates there's the sweet Juna. I found myself really rooting for Valerie Cherish, who makes up for her lack of true talent by being a "trooper"; always ready to do her best albeit for her own advancement. Yes there are uncomfortable moments but that's part of the show's premise. It's odd that people are not made uncomfortable by rampant violence on HBO shows like "Rome" and the beloved "Sopranos" find an aging sitcom star being made to wait by the valet parking attendant so off-putting.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    To call it a comedy though would be wrong. It's far too deep a character study for that. It's so satisfying when she has moments of honesty, be they positive or negative. That's what made the Paulie G punch so satisfying. Like the drunken phone call. Also, her talk with Jane in her dressing room was killer too. Guh. Pure genius.

    I think maybe it's because The Comeback is so good that you sometimes do forget that it isn't real. The unpredictability is also a high point of the series. How many people were waiting for Valerie to do her back in? And instead she sucks it up (I think she was in pain) and punches Paulie G. And you know when she brought the poster of herself in to show Juna for a laugh. And the writers for the first time ever saw her as being attractive and desirable. That was a brilliant moment too...

    Who really shines on this show are Jane (Valerie's reality crew) and Juna (who is developing a mentor-ship bond with Valerie and you see Juna flourishing while Val is floundering no matter how hard she tries).

    After the show, so many things seem mediocre.
  • I never watched "The Comeback" while it was on. But having just watched the series, I cannot believe how short-lived this show was. This is one of the funniest, sharpest show-within-a-show comedies to have come on TV in recent years. It's a funny but scathing look at Hollywood's decent down the Reality Show / Anything for Ratings drain.

    Lisa Kudrow is stellar as Valerie Cherish. She blends vanity and selfishness with an underside of cluelessness and pity that makes you never able to hate her. In fact, as the show goes on you begin liking her more and more despite her shortcomings. The support cast are wonderful, especially Mickey as her flamboyant and loyal hairdresser/assistant.

    Shame on HBO for giving up on this series so soon.

    Highly recommended: I watched the entire series on DVD in two days!
  • In the tradition of "Waiting For Guffman," "Best in Show," "A Mighty Wind," and then on TV, "The Office" (both British and now American) and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," this is truly one of the great "mockumentaries"--I can watch the episodes again and again and still laugh (or cringe!). Lisa Kudrow is so believable and therefore so heartbreaking as Valerie Cherish that she must truly be a genius, a rare talent. Though the viewer is invited to laugh at Valerie's shallowness and shameless narcissism, Lisa Kudrow is able to portray Valerie in such a way that her vulnerabilities and humanity lead the viewer ultimately to cheer for her success. The supporting cast, too, are so believable that when I look at cast pictures I have a hard time thinking of them as actresses and actors.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I bought this as a long-time fan of Friends and of Lisa Kudrow as an actress (The Opposite of Sex and Wonderland are two *good* performances). I have just finished watching the last episode.

    I can understand why this show did not get taken to the American public's heart. It depends too much on one character, and is not funny in the Friends, 30 Rock or even Ugly Betty style. Much of the "humour" lies in the continual humiliations that the central character Valerie Cherish undergoes, often self-inflicted - indeed, the readiness to be at the centre of a reality show is a source of continual embarrassments that, because seen by the reality show crew, are bound to be humiliating. Her high opinion of her own worth is constantly being undercut by what happens to and around her. The subtleties of the script in bringing out her character are one of the major features of the show.

    At first I simply felt embarrassed for the character. But as well as all the relentless attempts at self-promotion and dizzying over-estimation of herself she does increasingly show sympathy for others, builds a relationship with Jane the director of the reality show that is suggested to make Jane sympathetic towards her, and goes against all her own principles in supporting an actors' strike that the other actors then duck out of. She then shows the nerve to confront the chief writers with their responsibility for the situation that led to the strike. This is in the second half of the season, when she begins to notch up some real if minor successes. Finally, she does what anyone with any heart will have been wanting her to do for ages and hits the odious Paulie G., one of the two chief writers, right where he lives, in his big fat gut.

    There is a splendid irony in the fact that this, taped by the reality show crew and made part of its first episode, catapults her to real (if perhaps temporary) fame again, being featured on the Leno talk show, and ensures a second season of the reality show as well.

    It would be interesting to know what ideas Kudrow and King had for a second season, because in many ways this was a natural end. Pushing her back into the swamp would have been an artistic mistake, I think.
  • spt-221 August 2006
    This show is so special, so unique, it parodies reality shows 1,000,000% It is a great comedy. This show is very accessible. It should have done more seasons following Valerie from a TV comeback through movies, or a her own talk show, or her doing a voice over for a documentary. I have a lot of ideas that HBO should have done with this movie. I have seen Lance Barber (Paulie G) at Second City in Chicago, he kills !!!!!! Lance is a great talent, yet he is tasteful enough to underplay his role in the comeback and not be a cartoon. I am now a life long fan of him. I love this show, my wife and I have the video and we savor every carwreck moment like a fine wine.

    I personally hate all reality shows, I think they are an absurd waste of time. But this is my favorite reality show. It shows truth.

    This show is too good for TV, that's why HBO did it. And as for the cancelling, Shame on you HBO, your losing your edge. I'd rather see this than ROME anyday ! Please don't f*ck up Curb Your Enthusiasm, I beg you !!!!!!
  • Once again, another superb, hilarious, stellar US TV show gets the axe... The Comeback is up there with Arrested Development as an astonishingly clever, deeply crazy comedy that seems to be wasted on the average US TV viewer. Never a huge Friends fans, I have always felt that Kudrow was the 'interesting' Friend, and as Valerie Cherish (as well as in her Roos collaborations) she proves her skill, talent and 'barking' sense of humour in spades! Aniston plays Aniston plays Aniston... it's Kudrow who has the chops, the smarts and the timing here, millions of miles away from Phoebe. Shame on the viewers and the TV companies for losing this masterpiece... shame on you!
  • Excellent excellent excellent when I saw this back in the day I loved the show I thought Lisa kudrow was fantastic. Uncomfortable funny. This time around I wasn't sure what to expect; it was uncomfortable funny once again, but we get to see Valerie grow & when I get choked up at the end and I'm telling my self not to cry WoW I never thought a show especially this show could do that. Like I said excellent and it is a must see. Hopefully they will continue Valerie journey.
  • Wow. I just saw the first episode and I feel as if I've watched Nicholas Nickleby twice. Backwards. Tepid jokes, consistent discomfort. I saw a tape of a pilot Linklater shot for HBO which was total genius, but this is what HBO chose. Whatever. Anyway, Lisa Kudrow delivers an unimaginable litany of poor jokes in bad situations. There is also a long list of interesting cameos, all delivering performances that make Hayden Christensen look like John Hurt. I wonder if HBO is committed to airing all the episodes they shot. I'd rather listen to Larry Merchant pontificate about obscure Chinese eyeball tonic. Honestly, I'm angry. I want my half hour back. Dreadful.
  • buffalls11 September 2006
    This show could be one of the most significantly honest views you will ever see. In 5 or 10 years this series will come into view as a masterpiece of depicting reality in its time. There is an grim honesty portrayed in the episodes, so contrary to the crap on television now, and this show blatantly and repeatedly slaps them in the face. For those of you who have passed off The Comeback as 'funny' or 'just OK' your missing something. If you are open to the complexity of this show then watch it. I know it sounds overly dramatic or fanatical but the context of this show is intense. Watch it. Really WATCH it. Art that comes from truth is rare, and its ever more rare for it to translate, and boy does The Comeback ever.
  • I am lucky enough to be one of the few outside the US to see this program and am very grateful I stumbled across it. Much has been said about the comparisons with the English "The office" which, I guess, is now the benchmark for this type of show. The comparison is valid but "the comeback" is no way a ripoff. The skill and restraint the writers and actors show makes this the equivalent. To be honest, most US shows are made with the "1 is good, ten times is better' attitude. Those responsible aspire to something called quality. well I hear it has been cancelled, congratulations to the creators. Considering all the good shows that finish before there time, you should wear like a badge of honour.
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