Back in 2005, a small little comedy starring Lisa Kudrow (in her first role post FRIENDS) hit our screens and received little fan fare. It was called The Comeback and saw Kudrow playing a washed-up actress named Valerie Cherish who allowed cameras to film her quest to reclaim her fame for a reality television series.
Despite the critical acclaim, HBO canned it after one season due to poor ratings. Says creator Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City) “In the beginning, my joke was that The Comeback fans were like the early Christians — they were small groups hidden in caves who knew there was a message but they were afraid to get it out.”
The message was that here was this incredibly funny series about a former star who slowly comes to realize that her star quality may never be reignited yet tries in vain to avoid becoming a joke. It was depressing, for you wanted Cherish to come out on top and earn the recognition we’re supposed to think she deserves yet her inability to let go of her former fame and focus on the task ahead only forced us to face her bleak reality.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, says King “It was such a unique show, and remember there wasn’t a Real Housewife anywhere,” King tells EW. “There was no one who looked like Valerie — people were just sort of eating bugs on Survivor or, like, trapped in the jungle on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. Everything that’s really unique is ahead of its time. Anything that you can’t identify as something already runs the risk of being misunderstood because it’s never been seen yet. Even our weird camerawork — it was before The Office made that common.”
King explains, “Lisa and I actually have had a couple of lunches lately where we’ve been missing Valerie and wondering where she’d be. That’s just a creative exploration Lisa and I are doing. We care so much about Valerie and the work that we did that, in hindsight, felt so edgy. Lisa and I have been amusing ourselves, and maybe somebody else might be amused in the future.”
And both King and Kudrow know exactly what Valerie Cherish would be doing if the show came back. “Valerie getting what she wanted and what fresh hell that would be,” laughs King — and it seems apparent that in 2014’s selfie-happy world populated by Real Housewives and instant viral sensations, Valerie would be just as desperate for the spotlight as ever.”
Right now, it’s all just talk, but if The Comeback ever makes a comeback, count me in to be a very happy viewer!