HBO made it official today. The Comeback is coming back. This news was already more or less confirmed, but Valerie Cherish needs to know that she's being heard, and what better way to ensure than than with an official announcement from HBO? The announcement not only confirms that The Comeback will return for a 6-episode limited series this fall, and that Kudrow will reprise her role as the lovable and "ironically self-unaware" (Kudrow's words) Valerie Cherish, but we also have some vague plot clues about The Comeback's comeback.
First, the confirmed cast and writer details noted in HBO's announcement include the return of Kudrow and co-creator Michael Patrick King, who will write the show alongside Amy B. Harris and John Riggi. The confirmed cast includes Lance Barber, Dan Bucatinsky, Robert Michael Morris, Laura Silverman and Damian Young. In the original series, which aired in 2005 for one season, Barber played the obnoxious Room and Bored writer Paulie G., while Bucatinsky played Valerie's occasionally over-aggressive publicist Billy Stanton. Robert Michael Morris played Valerie's hairdresser and best friend Mickey. It's hard to imagine Valerie without Mickey's commentary and hair touch-ups, so it's great that he's coming back. Finally, there's the excellent Laura Silverman, who played Jane, the producer of the Comeback reality show. Jane's efforts to stay off camera and out of the drama while she got her job done were some of my favorite parts about the original series.
When E! broke the news that The Comeback's return was a go, late last month, they mentioned Malin Ackerman and Kellan Lutz were expected to return, however HBO's announcement makes no mention of either of them. Of course, it's entirely possible that their deals haven't been finalized or something, but hopefully we do see the Room and Bored cast members in the new season. We're also hopeful that Robert Bagnell -- who played nice-guy Room and Bored writer Tom Peterman -- will also return. Same for Damian Young, who played Mark Berman, Valerie's husband. Switched at Birth star Vanessa Marano was also among the original cast, playing Valerie's stepdaughter Franchesca. No word on her or some of the other excellent supporting players in the series, but fingers crossed for all of them.
Moving on to what snippets of information HBO offered up on the plot of The Comeback's 6-episode limited series, the premium cable network described the show as:
“B level” TV star Valerie Cherish was a pioneer of reality television. Now, it’s ten years later – there’s more TV than ever and she wants back in.
So it's a decade after the events of the original season, and Valerie's looking to get "back in." To reality TV or just TV in general? In the original series, Room and Bored was always kind of struggling, so it wouldn't be a huge surprise if the comedy was long gone, or just gone-gone. Ten years is a long time for any comedy to survive. And it's highly doubtful Valerie's Comeback reality show lasted more than a few seasons. What happened to her once that wrapped up? We'll have to wait and see, but from another part of HBO's description, it sounds like Valerie still have some learning to do...
Lisa Kudrow (Emmy® winner for “Friends”) stars as the embattled Valerie Cherish, a fading TV “It Girl” who was once so desperate to stay in the spotlight that she allowed cameras to follow her every move as she appeared on a new sitcom – with disastrous results. When the comedy series THE COMEBACK returns as a new six-episode limited series this fall, exclusively on HBO, Valerie thinks she has it all figured out this time. She doesn’t.
Finally, this last clue indicates that Valerie's search for the spotlight brings to light a whole new set of problems when she finds it...
In the new episodes, Valerie continues her search to attain the spotlight, but this time around, it illuminates a whole new series of problems when she achieves the visibility she wants.
I'm half expecting plenty of things to go wrong, because that's kind of what worked so well with the original series. Kudrow played Valerie Cherish brilliantly as an insecure but well-meaning woman who just wanted to be on top again, and to be loved (and heard). That insecurity was always very close to the surface, which was often what made the show so funny in an almost (but not quite) uncomfortable sort of way. It was probably crucial that Valerie was so likable despite her flaws, and I think Kudrow's performance deserves a lot of the credit there. The whole cast was great though, as was the writing. It's beyond exciting that the show is coming back. We can't wait to see what's ahead for Valerie Cherish!
Watch the original 1-season series on HBO Go.