Valerie Cherish is coming back. But could she come back yet again?
HBO’s short-order Comeback revival doesn’t air until November, yet critics are already wondering if the limited series could be the start of a full series revival. Co-creator Michael Patrick King and star Lisa Kudrow told the Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday that the six episodes will have a fully contained story with a beginning, middle and end.
“Even when we did the first season, we ended like it was contained,” King said. “This felt like a very full experience…I’m not sure how we did it this time.” And HBO comedy executive Casey Bloys says the show’s return deal was made for this one stint, without an option locking in King and Kudrow for a potential second round.
“Valerie is a powerful being,” King said. “She doesn’t go away—she may power down, but she doesn’t go away.” And Bloys conceded that another round is remotely possible, though didn’t make the prospect sound particularly likely.
The original 2005 mockumentary followed a fading TV star so desperate to stay in the spotlight that she agrees to have reality TV cameras follow her everywhere (then disaster ensues). King noted the show in some ways seemed too far-fetched for some viewers at the time—that a wealthy woman would agree to let cameras capture so many embarrassing and personal moments. Times, of course, have changed: “Nine years ago, they had never seen a female character doing this to herself in front of a camera, and since then there has been The Real Housewives.” Added Kudrow, “What we did nine years ago is so tame compared to what is going on [in reality TV now].”
The new limited series (which, like the original, is never improvised—it just feels that way) will look and feel like the previous version (“the show is the same as it was nine years ago,” Kudrow said). Instead of a reality TV angle, The Comeback: Part 2 will focus on Valerie being cast in a fictional new HBO series, with the cameras following her as part of the network’s behind-the-scenes documentary series—so expect plenty of meta-jokes. Critics were shown a promo that had Valerie touring a hallway at the network and remarking on various iconic HBO series.
“The DNA that we liked was Valerie in front of the camera,” King said. “This time we found a new way to get her in front of the camera … we wanted to evolve the character to where we are now in TV.”