‘The Comeback’ makes a comeback


Nine years later and they pull her back in! Yep, hello, hello, hello, Valerie Cherish is back this Sunday on HBO. In 2005, “The Comeback,” a show ahead of its time, premiered on HBO, only to last one season before the network pulled the plug. Skip ahead nine years, and that same network needed a little more Valerie Cherish. Hey, we all did.

The series stars Lisa Kudrow as Valerie, which is enough of a lure to get me to watch anything. Granted, I did not watch the series when it originally aired many years ago. It was one of those shows I always meant to watch, but never did — until I heard the news that HBO wanted to bring the series back to life for a limited run. It was then, early May to be exact, when I finally went back and watched all 13 season one episodes for the first time. I’ve since watched them a few more times. What I found was something extraordinarily brilliant. From the first five minutes, I was fascinated by Valerie. I am not sure there are words to express how much I love Valerie Cherish. Well there are, but it’s probably far too many four-letter words for this publication. Nonetheless, let’s just say I love her a lot — a lot.

The show initially centered on Valerie, a veteran sitcom actress who had went under the radar in Hollywood and had been out of the spotlight for more than a decade. In 2005, she made a bid to return to the industry that made her a star. She did so by allowing camera crews to follow her on a quest to regain stardom in a show titled “The Comeback.” You see the connection? It was about a show within a show. It was reality TV before reality TV was a huge thing.

 Valerie ends up landing a role on a new network sitcom; however, she struggled with taking a backseat to the main cast and only playing a lesser role. “The Comeback” showed how she struggled with the matter of being an aging actress in a youthful craving Hollywood. Kudrow is simply amazing in her portrayal of Valerie. She is funny, loveable and painfully awkward at times, and you just cannot help but root for her. The writing on the series proves outstanding and is shown great justice by the talented cast.

As I mentioned earlier, it is quite brilliant how it ended up being shown. That’s probably one thing that hindered its success. There’s no doubt in my mind that if this had first aired in the reality television world we live in now, it would have been extremely successful. That’s not the card it was dealt, and the show was canceled after a stellar first season. Luckily, here in the last year or two there has been an increasing amount of buzz around the show and the calling for its return. HBO listened, and announced the show’s return earlier this year for a limited 8-episode run with the possibility of more. Not only was star and co-creator Kudrow on board, but so was co-creator Michael Patrick King. Joining the creators will be a lot of the original cast, along with some fun new and familiar faces.

In the newest season, Valerie has been cast in an HBO series entitled “Seeing Red.” This new show is based upon the writer/producer, Paulie G. (Lance Barber), of the show she starred in during the first season. It’s an interesting plot, and based upon the trailer, there will be not shortage of brilliance, hilarity and fun.

I strongly suggest catching up on the first season and jumping right into the new one. I promise, it’s a choice you’ll be glad you made. It’s Lisa Kudrow at her best since Phoebe Buffet on “Friends.” I might even say better, but that would be like sticking a knife in my heart, so I won’t. Valerie Cherish is back, and hopefully she’s back for a while this time around. This is her comeback, and she’s got it.

The second season of “The Comeback” premieres this Sunday at 10/9 CDT on HBO.