Binge Guide

Weekly Binge: The Comeback

by | October 23, 2014 | Comments

To prime yourself for season two of The Comeback, premiering on Nov. 9 at 10 pm on HBO, here’s what you need to know before spending a weekend with Aunt Sassy.

The Comeback

The Comeback

What’s the premise? A fading TV star (Lisa Kudrow) attempts to reboot her career with her own reality show.

What’s it like? One of the ultimate cringe comedies of the last decade, The Comeback shows what happens when a narcissist confronts irrelevance. Valerie Cherish, once a TV star on the fictitious 1990s sitcom “I’m It,” nabs a minor role as “Aunt Sassy” on the fake series Room and Bored — so long as she also lets cameras film her for a reality show called The Comeback at the same time. For Cherish, the humiliation of trying to fit in with a much younger, more popular cast is hard to watch at times, but also makes for some delicious satire. There’s nothing else really like The Comeback, which practically prophesied what was to come on reality TV when it first aired in 2005. It’s also a fine example of meta-television with one of the first-ever TV shows within a TV show within a TV show!

Where can I see it? The complete first season is available on DVD, HBO Go, HBO On Demand, Amazon Prime, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu. HBO2 will also air a marathon of the entire season on Nov. 8 from 10:30 am to 6 pm.

How long will it take? Season one of The Comeback is only 13 half-hour episodes, so you have plenty of time to catch up before season two. You may, however, need to take a few breaks to de-cringe from your binge.

What do the critics think? The Comeback was not overwhelmingly popular with critics in 2005, and at 46 percent on the Tomatometer, season one was rotten. Don’t let that deter you, however. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine
wrote, “The Comeback quickly reveals itself to be not just a satire of the fickle, bottom-line-oriented sitcom world, but a depressing examination of sexism and ageism in Hollywood as a whole.” And Brian Lowry of Variety
lauded Lisa Kudrow (a 1990s sitcom star herself) in his fresh 2005 review, saying that “Kudrow is gifted and believable enough to sell Valerie as more than just her alter ego.” Years later, The Comeback has earned cult status and in 2012, the Guardian published an article in which Michael Hogan called the series “too far ahead of its time,” and Entertainment Weekly, in spite of having given it a rotten review in 2005, named The Comeback one of the 10 best TV shows of the decade in 2009.

Why should I watch this? Lisa Kudrow, who co-created the series, delivers a comedic tour de force with a performance so subtle that you forget she and Valerie Cherish are different people (Kudrow was nominated for an Emmy in 2006 for the role). Yes, there’s something sad about The Comeback, but the way Valerie Cherish acts self-conscious to the point of actually making herself look worse never fails to be funny. Also, Robert Michael Morris as Mickey the hairdresser, Malin Akerman as the new clueless “It” girl, and Damian Young as Valerie’s disinterested husband are hilarious. And don’t let the fact that The Comeback is 10 years old fool you; Valerie’s look was dated then too.

What’s my next step? Tina Fey’s 30 Rock is the next logical step, as are Ricky Gervais’s Extras and The Office. You should also check out HBO’s Hello Ladies, Family Tree, Veep, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. For movies, look no further than the filmography of Christopher Guest, especially This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, and For Your Consideration. Also, for fans of Kudrow since her Friends days, check out the Showtime series, Web Therapy, coming back for season four tonight at 11 pm.

Isn’t it time The Comeback made a comeback? Tell us why!

Tag Cloud

franchise Superheroes cops BBC docuseries 2020 renewed TV shows Bravo Brie Larson Vudu worst movies comics Infographic Quiz Extras National Geographic Nickelodeon Fall TV Masterpiece Marathons Video Games psycho pirates of the caribbean cancelled TV series royal family Reality Awards Tour sequel WarnerMedia Emmy Nominations Britbox 45 twilight golden globe awards Martial Arts dceu trailers Opinion Avengers wonder woman Writers Guild of America Sundance dogs versus game show comedies PaleyFest Spectrum Originals deadpool Hallmark Christmas movies Tomatazos OWN game of thrones 99% italian spy thriller theme song BAFTA Lifetime Christmas movies concert anime war basketball archives 007 73rd Emmy Awards CW Seed Broadway Travel Channel SDCC Fargo Universal stop motion Thanksgiving YouTube Podcast miniseries FX on Hulu popular video on demand boxing Pet Sematary sag awards Acorn TV best HBO Go book obituary comic books Mary Tyler Moore cartoon Emmys Tags: Comedy aapi medical drama spinoff Prime Video free movies Super Bowl cinemax action-comedy halloween tv CMT TV renewals science fiction Teen dragons Reality Competition Red Carpet VICE spider-verse target asian-american spanish Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt kaiju Starz vampires unscripted Year in Review cooking Black Mirror Television Academy lord of the rings technology VOD Action NBC Tarantino diversity Disney streaming service worst Comic Book MSNBC Film Festival Syfy sitcom Star Trek HBO Max Logo Character Guide feel good BET Awards disaster Food Network true crime The Walt Disney Company Arrowverse 2017 24 frames natural history hispanic heritage month rt archives transformers Polls and Games Pride Month El Rey FXX Showtime genre Captain marvel golden globes marvel comics Black History Month GIFs Trailer space Comics on TV criterion indie FX Baby Yoda A&E laika crossover olympics elevated horror Warner Bros. independent children's TV slashers video jamie lee curtis 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Oscars adaptation TNT stand-up comedy Apple sopranos finale hispanic singing competition movies Walt Disney Pictures Mudbound Hear Us Out Comedy Lionsgate toronto international scorecard king arthur Interview LGBTQ supernatural live event cancelled television Disney+ Disney Plus chucky kong BBC One Sci-Fi slasher 4/20 razzies NYCC Musicals IMDb TV American Society of Cinematographers 2019 spain crime thriller Certified Fresh Hollywood Foreign Press Association universal monsters new zealand indiana jones TIFF TCA 2017 Awards all-time comic book movies anthology 93rd Oscars TCA ID DC Universe spanish language The Arrangement HBO godzilla Crackle RT21 Turner Apple TV+ telelvision rotten movies we love The Walking Dead Election mutant zombies black Endgame LGBT Amazon rt labs nfl Spike breaking bad 2015 emmy awards Paramount Plus scary movies Women's History Month Toys Film Mary poppins discovery USA reboot Television Critics Association richard e. Grant debate parents Academy Awards DC Comics Biopics Summer Lifetime book adaptation First Look Paramount Network hidden camera dramedy critics TV latino APB adenture Music Musical TV One japan AMC Plus DC streaming service satire TV movies composers comic book movie remakes Hallmark tv talk Schedule Tokyo Olympics christmas movies Sundance TV period drama Winners ghosts blockbuster 2018 Ovation Trophy Talk rom-coms OneApp GLAAD award winner cults Turner Classic Movies Shudder australia IFC The Purge Cartoon Network YA A24 Holiday E3 Pop TV zombie high school mission: impossible mockumentary 2021 2016 doctor who Tubi Sony Pictures Heroines Netflix Star Wars President critic resources Pixar Mystery Watching Series Fox Searchlight rotten History BET Esquire know your critic Dark Horse Comics animated Mindy Kaling facebook batman cats Western boxoffice Fantasy Cannes Rom-Com festival nature suspense mcc festivals politics venice 79th Golden Globes Awards gangster die hard Exclusive Video See It Skip It Funimation toy story monster movies movie blaxploitation thriller Lucasfilm Netflix Christmas movies Amazon Studios 90s Cosplay Fox News series TBS E! 1990s 71st Emmy Awards women Tumblr X-Men black comedy romance Pirates hist police drama Rocky adventure DirecTV YouTube Premium Image Comics nbcuniversal james bond child's play stoner sequels Christmas dreamworks Crunchyroll Ellie Kemper SXSW Discovery Channel TCA Winter 2020 Comedy Central Creative Arts Emmys posters Calendar leaderboard mob Superheroe Box Office green book documentary classics Rocketman PlayStation Anna Paquin young adult revenge binge Country art house Epix teaser canceled TV shows Columbia Pictures Chernobyl Song of Ice and Fire rt labs critics edition Countdown Adult Swim Amazon Prime Video Nominations king kong Mary Poppins Returns dc Apple TV Plus TLC prank ABC Ghostbusters biography TCA Awards Shondaland japanese scary dexter 72 Emmy Awards PBS crime drama ITV fresh Valentine's Day serial killer TruTV talk show psychological thriller TCM Neflix comiccon foreign First Reviews french Trivia ViacomCBS scene in color Marvel Studios zero dark thirty Comic-Con@Home 2021 Disney Channel The CW crime TV Land screen actors guild Sneak Peek cars comic superhero DGA SundanceTV docudrama Classic Film marvel cinematic universe new york VH1 Legendary trophy YouTube Red IFC Films a nightmare on elm street Set visit Grammys hollywood Universal Pictures television CNN Winter TV Animation Horror football what to watch Sundance Now Disney aliens Rock harry potter Wes Anderson name the review Marvel Nat Geo Instagram Live MTV Pacific Islander Paramount romantic comedy robots San Diego Comic-Con quibi dark justice league heist movie travel Freeform documentaries vs. sports New York Comic Con Drama ESPN films Premiere Dates screenings FOX halloween live action saw AMC Pop werewolf Elton John Holidays Disney Plus cancelled TV shows USA Network spider-man RT History ABC Family based on movie south america Family Kids & Family Photos Spring TV news new star wars movies HFPA 20th Century Fox Chilling Adventures of Sabrina MCU Peacock Best and Worst casting jurassic park social media strong female leads WGN The Academy CBS All Access ABC Signature Marvel Television blockbusters The Witch kids directors historical drama superman ratings 21st Century Fox Alien joker political drama reviews GoT canceled biopic streaming Stephen King CBS cancelled Hulu legend Binge Guide Amazon Prime witnail BBC America NBA fast and furious streaming movies