My night with Valerie Cherish

9498__lisa_lAs the great philosophers Kool & the Gang once sang: ”Cherish the love we have/We should cherish the life we live.” And last night, even though it was a balmy 127 degrees in my apartment when I got home from work, that’s exactly what I did, curling up on the couch with a glass of wine, some spicy tilapia, and a very special lady… a very special lady named Valerie Cherish.

Indeed, PopWatchers, yesterday not only marked the first day of August, but also the official DVD release of The Comeback. As many of you know, I was a late convert to Lisa Kudrow and Michael Patrick King’s 13-episode masterpiece about a vain, C-list sitcom actress. But after experiencing the Six Stages of The Comeback, I succumbed fully to the cult of Valerie, memorizing and regurgitating choice bits of dialogue (” What’s funnier than a sexy, dirty aunt?”), steering dinner-party conversation to the show’s Emmy chances, raging against HBO for canceling it (and replacing it with the hateful Lucky Louie), even doodling ”Michael hearts Aunt Sassy” on the cover of my Trapper Keeper till I managed to creep myself out.

Getting back to last night, though, I decided to revisit the pilot episode with fresh eyes. And while Kudrow’s masterful ability to inhabit her character (Must. Win. Emmy.) is evident from the show’s opening seconds, this time around, I was equally impressed with the way her total commitment filters down to even the smallest supporting roles: Kim Fields and Marilu Henner bitterly flipping the bird during their cameos, Lillian Hurst’s Esperanza getting caught on camera peeking around a hallway corner, even Marla Garlin’s casting exec offering a grinning dismissal to Valerie’s film crew. It’s all utterly priceless. And, better still, I was able to clear up the ongoing debate about Aunt Sassy’s signature line. Members of both the ”I don’t wanna see that” and ”I don’t need to see that” teams can rejoice: Valerie ends up using both permutations, and that’s something everyone needs to see.


Comments (31 total) Add your comment
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  • EP Sato

    Slezak, you hit the nail on the head. Why in god’s name did HBO replace a geniunely funny show with Lucky Louie? That show is pretty darned bad. I tried to get into it, but the writing is lousy and the characters don’t show much depth. BRING BACK THE COMEBACK!

  • ChrisLao

    Mmmmmm… TILAPIA!!!
    Uhm, oh yeah… The Comeback! Somebody revive the comeback! (Wouldn’t that be something though? A show called “The Comeback” actually coming back…)

  • bejohnce

    Thank you for rallying behind this show. I hope the people who read this blog will give it a chance. I just watched every bit of commentary and special feature the DVD has to offer till about 2:30 in the morning. I was totally hooked on the show since the first minute it aired. The first time she interrupted herself to say, “Jane, I’m sorry, the camera keeps moving in and out” making a time-out sign with her hands, I was completely sold. This show embodies Lisa Kudrow’s style whole heartedly. I have always been a devout Kudrow fan (Clockwatchers and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion are in my top three favorite movies of all time), but she has never had a vehicle to show just how deep her talent runs quite like this one. The Comeback is detailed, hysterical, and incredibly moving. I hope the DVD captures a new set of fans because I need other people to quote the show around or, “I’ll have to let Ol’ Mr. Schmit hang a satan flag in the window!” My friends are pretty sick of it… Thanks again for your constant support of the show. On Emmy night, Cherish is the word.

  • cj

    I love this show so much…I was genuienly moved then Jane and Val embrace at the realization that the show was picked up for a second season…and was heartbroken when I learned HBO had cancelled it. I trully hopes she is recognized with an Emmy.

  • ChrisClassof1988

    HBO !!!!

  • susanb

    Michael, you are so right about this show. Lisa Kudrow is BRILLIANT! As someone who was never a huge fan of Phoebe on Friends, I can honestly say her multi-layered performance…Valerie as “true” Valerie…Valerie as “on camera” Valerie…Valerie as Aunt Sassy…and always that flicker of true emotion across her face in the midst of very broad comedy. To have cancelled Comeback for the misanthropic abomination that is Lucky Louie…and then Deadwood on top of that. We’re heading towards cancellation, HBO…

  • Celeste

    HBO… please bring back The Comeback. Lisa Kudrow was absolutely brilliant in it… there’s never been anything like it. And I want to see the continuing dynamic between herself and that piggish head writer!

  • rbk

    thank you. thank you. thank you. that post was heaven.
    I pre-ordered the DVD and am praying for a speedy arrival.
    also, lisa was on the tonight show last night — it was hilarious, but a bit depressing: she made a joke about how her husband said her dress looked very valerie cherish…and NO ONE laughed. She was like, “Oh – you didn’t see the show…”
    ahhh I’m in pain thinking of how badly I NEED TO SEE THAT!

  • rozziecarol

    I bought the DVD set yesterday and can’t wait to watch. Lisa Kudrow was so amazing in the series, as was the entire cast. I found a few people here and there to discuss with, but most people didn’t “get it.” Kudrow does more than a tone in her voice or a raised eyebrow than a lot scene-chewing actors I can name. She is so fearless and fierce in this role, just an amazing portrayal that got better every week. The last episode which allows her to switch from anger and humiliation at the way she was treated on her reality show to utter joy at being back in the spotlight again was a marvel.
    Lisa Kudrow, you are my hero! I will love Valerie forever. I will be glued to the set on Emmy night.

  • jlowe

    I picked up the DVD on the way home from work and put myself into a Comeback trance last night for HOURS! Rewatched my favorite episodes and the DVD extras which are BRILLIANT!! I cancelled my HBO right after they cancelled The Comeback. Wrote a scolding letter to them as well. One of the biggest mistakes in the history of television!!!

  • mike

    We will have to resign ourselves that intelligent, well written, quality shows usually don’t last long on any network. Maybe viewers don’t like to have to pay attention to what they are watching. There is a large segment of the population that enjoy having According to Jim or King of Queens not tax their brains.

  • Ed

    I ordered The Comeback and am also waiting for the arrival. I can’t wait to hear the commentaries that Michael Patrick King and Lisa Kudrow have for the show; he does such a good job on SATC.
    I’m over the fact that HBO cancelled The Comeback. My greatest revenge is that none of their new shows are working and Rome (which probably sucked the production money out of such shows as The Comeback) won’t be renewed after the second season – too expensive!
    With the exception of Entourage, HBO doesn’t really have anything big happening soon. Look for their new schedule on Sunday nights when they start showing movies instead of original programming.
    Lisa, hope you get the Emmy, you deserve it!

  • Jon

    I am a HUGE fan of the show, although I have to say I think the first two episodes are the best of the run. Something shifts after that, as if the writers/producers were afraid it was becoming too one-note. Small criticism in light of my opinion that The Comeback was the best show on TV in 2005, and maybe the best of the last 5 years! Lisa Kudrow if you’re reading this, know that you have a HUGE fanbase because of this show and that you should be extremely proud of such a brilliant creation!

  • EP Sato

    I really liked Mike’s comment and agree 100%. How do shows like Arrested Development and the Comeback get cancelled, when unfunny fare like King of Queens or the World According to Jim gets to last forever? Maybe it’s because these shows didn’t feature ugly guys with uber pretty wives?

  • Martin

    If Madonna was a fan she’d sing:
    “Cherish is the word I use to remind of
    Val’s looooove!”

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