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A Painful Hollywood Portrait Makes For Great TV On 'The Comeback'

Pop Culture Happy Hour

A Painful Hollywood Portrait Makes For Great TV On 'The Comeback'

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Lisa Kudrow plays actress Valerie Cherish in The Comeback. i

Lisa Kudrow plays actress Valerie Cherish in The Comeback. Colleen Hayes/HBO hide caption

toggle caption Colleen Hayes/HBO
Lisa Kudrow plays actress Valerie Cherish in The Comeback.

Lisa Kudrow plays actress Valerie Cherish in The Comeback.

Colleen Hayes/HBO

In 2005, Lisa Kudrow starred in a little HBO show called The Comeback, a show styled as — get ready for this — the raw footage for a (fictional) reality show about a (fictional) actress named Valerie Cherish, getting her big chance to come back in the (fictional) sitcom Room And Bored. The show was well reviewed but low-rated, and it was canceled after 13 episodes.

In the kind of reversal that's very rare in real life, The Comeback has just debuted a second season on HBO, catching up with Valerie and almost all of the original cast to find out what's happened in the 10 years since Valerie became a reality star who signed vomit bags. (It's a long story.) To mark the occasion, Pop Culture Happy Hour panelist Glen Weldon, a longtime fan of the show, sat down with me, a new convert, to talk about the things the show gets right and the humanity it finds in a very unconventional lead character.

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