The world wasn't ready for a show as smart and bitingly prescient as The Comeback when it premiered on HBO in 2005. After all, Keeping Up with the Kardashians wouldn't debut until 2007. Americans weren't yet wise to reality shows that portrayed anything but reality, and the painful, behind-the-scenes image manipulation that goes on.
Many viewers also found Lisa Kudrow's Valerie Cherish, a washed-up sitcom star from the Too Many Cooks era, too uncomfortable to watch. The root of most conflict on the show stems from the fact that Valerie cares entirely too much what other people think of her. She's so desperate to please others that she represses her own feelings until she's a one-dimensional robot too afraid to do anything but grin maniacally while getting abused by producers, forgotten in favor of her younger castmates, and taken advantage of by her stepdaughter.
While all of that happens on the surface, the subtext of the show is brilliant. It's a commentary on the way showbiz chews up and spits out even the most genuine, earnest actresses. In her attempt to make a comeback, Valerie is forced to throw all of her scruples and desires by the wayside in order to do what she thinks everyone wants her to.
The Comeback became a cult classic after it went off the air. Viewers and critics soon recognized exactly how sharp the knife was with which it cut the growing reality trend — again, before shows like KUWTK even existed. It was brilliant at acting as a not-always-flattering mirror to reflect all those people who are famous for being famous.
Well, almost 10 years since the show's first and only season ended, Valerie Cherish is finally getting her due. The show is returning to HBO for a mini second season, and we'll cherish every second we can get with Valerie, Mickey, Jane, Paulie G., and the rest of the Room and Bored crew. If you never caught it the first time around, here are eight reasons to tune into this brilliant parody of everything we love to hate about Hollywood.