The Comeback recap: 'Valerie Tries to Get Yesterday Back'
Is The Comeback’s comeback even better than the first season? Hello. Hello. Hello. Definitely. This week’s second installment just cemented the fact that this series was ahead of its time during the initial run and feels even more timely and relevant now. It also just feels sooooooo funny. I watched this week’s episode in my office and laughed out loud. Granted, I’m an incredibly loud fella, especially given my diminutive size, but still. Valerie be funny.
So we opened with Val giving a bathroom vlog to her legions of fan(s?). Or maybe it’s just the one “subscriber” who admitted to liking her impressions. Val then proceeded with her best Edith Bunker, which I confused for a bad Sharon Osbourne. Anyone else? Val headed to HBO for a meeting with her Seeing Red producers which led to one of my favorite moments so far: Val basically revealing she has seen nothing on HBO. Well she knew Sex and the City and The Sopranos, but then admitted ignorance on The Wire (“Don’t know that one actually”), Big Love, and a show she referred to as New Girls with Lela Durham.
I’m sort of obsessed with the lady who plays Val’s exec at HBO. She’s kinda perfectly cold, and I believe was wearing leather pants in this episode—I don’t need much more from a character. The HBO folks thought it would be fun if Valerie worked with her original Comeback producer Jane, whose last name Val didn’t know. To be fair, I had no idea what Jane’s last name was either. Plus, they revealed that the shoot date for Seeing Red had been moved up which totally freaked out Val because she didn’t have time to “prepare,” meaning get some jacked up plastic surgery. We learn a little later that Val had some issues with fillers and husband Mark, who could be Ty Burrell’s brother, has a photographic reminder of the damage.
So Val tracked down Jane who lives somewhere outside L.A., where a gal can get a decent enough amount of land to include a few dogs, some goats, and rescue horses. Mickey apparently had kept in touch with Jane through his Christmas newsletter. What do we think he put in that letter? Probably updates on his former lover Robert or Dr. Hard to Get a Hold Of and what’s the latest in turquoise accessories. It turns out Jane has mellowed out quite a bit thanks to her isolated house and, what I’m assuming, is a healthy intake of weed. But then there are even bigger reveals: Jane’s an Oscar-winner! Jane’s a lesbian! Jane’s a poor documentarian! She won her gold statue for Best Documentary Short for The Hidden Women of Treblinka about lesbians during the Holocaust. Val think its “important” mostly because it won her an award.
One of the greatest parts of Lisa Kudrow’s performance is she really makes you believe in this woman’s unwavering desire for fame. It feels so real and so poignant. While Jane was more excited to remember she had baked banana bread, Val wanted to pose with her Oscar. She’s utterly floored when Jane insists that the award “doesn’t matter.” (Kudrow better win the Emmy next year for this.) She finally manages to get Jane to sign back up for this new reality after coaxing her with the promise of money. After all, Jane’s got a film about Taiwanese boat women that’s just sitting in her barn.
Next, the worlds of two different reality shows collide as Val goes to see Brad Goreski, who will be styling her for the Golden Globes. It turns out Goreski is also still working in reality TV but on a series that only airs in China. So the first gown he puts Valerie in is a Bjork-ish number with a ton of red feathers. The winner is this very ’80s looking number that would have fit quite nicely on Joan Van Ark in the Knots Landing era. After ditching Mickey and publicist Billy so that the camera crew could use their tickets, Val and Mark arrive at the Globes but soon realize they’ve only been invited to a “viewing suite.”
This scene had one of the more emotional moments of the night. Much like last week’s sweet encounter with Juna, Val’s interaction with Pauly G in the suite was both sad and moving. Pauly showed a vulnerability we’d never seen before. Val often comes across as desperate, but there’s a darkness to Pauly that separates them. She’s someone that flails occasionally, but he truly hit rock bottom. I love that this show is able to wring surprising moments of emotion and be entirely funny.
I’ll be recapping The Comeback each week, and I think I’m going to end each one with my favorite “Cherish-isms” as well as, what I’ll be calling, “The Wisdom of Mickey.”
“It’s HBO—they do all those award-winning shows like Mad Men.”
“Nice to meet you Jane Benson, Jewish lesbian with an Oscar. Good for you!”
“I’m hogging the Bogart.”
“You’re lucky because you’re married to a sane artist.”
THE WISDOM OF MICKEY
Mickey On The Passage of Time
“Ugh! So many people are dead.”
Mickey On Proper UV Protection
“Where’s my sombrero?!”
Mickey On Butter
“Do you have anything in a pump or a spray?”