Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The Comeback

Over New Years Eve weekend I watched the entire HBO series The Comeback, starring and co-created by Lisa Kudrow. The show was very uncomfortable to watch sometimes. Actually during the red carpet scene before the People's Choice Awards, I ejected the disk and sealed it back up in the Netflix envelope. The next morning I changed my mind and ripped it back open to watch the end of the series. I'm glad I did because the series had a happy ending.

The series was supposedly raw footage from a reality show called "The Comeback". Lisa plays a mid-grade sitcom star returning to a new show after being out of the business for ten years. She gets a part as the Mr. Furley type character on a new sex-romp show. One of the show creators and writers clearly hates her and tries to make her look as bad as possible with horrible costumes and very few lines.

What I liked about this show was how it followed the behind the scenes development of a new sitcom. They start with the filming of the pilot, which they change completely half way through. Then they head to the upfronts to present before the advertisers. When they start regular production, there is the politics of dressing room assignments. Then the ratings come out and it's not great. Slowly we see the show shifting focus to the rising star Juna who is a superstar by the finale. The show shuts down for a re-tool. A technical problem makes for a very late night of taping. The show gets nominated for a People's Choice Award. By the end the sitcom seems to have found its grove and the overedited reality show debuts.

What I didn't like about it was the really awful situations Valerie (Lisa Kudrow) gets in. Sometime it is her own ambition that backfires but most of the time it is just bad luck or the dick writer who make things terrible for her. Overall the happy ending on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno made the cringeful situations worth it. The premise of showing it as "raw" footage made it hard to watch also. There is no music or sound ques so it can get stale. I fell asleep one time. In the end the show lasted just one season on HBO which is fine by me.


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