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How To Pretend You’ve Watched “The Comeback”

Here's everything you need to know about HBO’s cult classic if you missed it the first time around. Just in time for the show's return to television on Nov. 9.

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This is Valerie Cherish* (Lisa Kudrow).

*People's Choice Award winner Valerie Cherish
HBO

*People's Choice Award winner Valerie Cherish

Valerie used to be a big TV star in the '90s.

"Big"
HBO

"Big"

Nine years ago, Val attempted to reclaim her fame with Room & Bored — a new TV show — and The Comeback — a companion reality show following her attempts to regain her fame.

HBO
HBO

Val played Aunt Sassy on Room & Bored. Initially conceived as the hard-nosed landlord of the building her niece Cassie (Malin Akerman) lived in...

HBO / Via giphy.com

This is a line she — and you — will quote often.

Sassy quickly descended into parody, because Val couldn't stop offering suggestions to the show's creative staff, who quickly grew to hate her.

HBO

Room & Bored was created by Tom Peterman (Robert Bagnell) and Paulie G. (Lance Barber).

HBO

The rest of the writing staff was comprised of Gigi (Bayne Gibby) and... um, I want to say Barry? Oh, Milo. OK. And all the others!

While Tom tolerated Valerie, for work's sake, Paulie G. could never hide his disdain and that led to a historic altercation.

HBO
HBO

Tom had fallen ill*, leaving Paulie G. as the sole creative voice to oversee an episode that Val was particularly excited about because it gave her a major physical comedy moment.

*Tom had developed an ulcer and you would not be wrong for assuming the stress of handling Valerie had caused said ailment.
HBO

*Tom had developed an ulcer and you would not be wrong for assuming the stress of handling Valerie had caused said ailment.

There was only one problem with the pratfall.

A fact Paulie G. exploited when Val looked for validation following her first attempt.

So Val took the hit over, and over, and over again.

To the point of injury.

Ever the people pleaser, Val still turned to Paulie for approval. That's when weeks of her sublimation and his antagonization came to a head.

And. Val. Snapped.

She also puked.

Adding insult to legit injury, the incident became the focal point of The Comeback's first episode.

HBO

Much to the horror of everyone at Valerie's chocolate fountain-themed premiere party.

HBO
HBO
HBO

But no one was more horrified than Val.

Because Valerie had, from the very beginning, tried insanely hard to control how she was portrayed on The Comeback.

HBO

Val mistakenly assumed she had any control over the final edit, which is why she would call "time out" or tell her producer Jane (Laura Silverman) to "flag" scenes.

She'd confused their friendly working relationship for a genuine friendship.

So Val loaded up her Lincoln Navigator* and brought the cameras to confront Jane at her house.

*In one of the many hilarious cross-promotional tie-ins Valerie was forced to integrate into her reality show (like The Amazing Race's Charla Faddoul becoming her assistant), she is given a Lincoln Navigator and repeatedly told to refer to it by its full name every time she uses it.

That's when Valerie decided to quit The Comeback during her planned post-premiere appearance on The Tonight Show.

HBO

That's Mark (Damian Young), Val's long-suffering husband beside her, right before they give back the Lincoln Navigator.

Creepy sound guy Sean (Jon Sklaroff) had a good point.

HBO

Before going on stage, The Tonight Show's producer Zoe (Misi Lecube) came in to talk about the cupcake scene with Valerie.

"Valerie, I'm sorry you're upset, but people are talking about it," Jane said. "There's a good way to get back on The Tonight Show and a bad way — this is the bad way," Valerie later clarified.

Much to Valerie's chagrin, Jay also found the moment amazingly disgusting.

HBO

Jay loved the moment so much he even had funny air sickness bags made with Valerie's face on them!

HBO
HBO

And, suddenly, Valerie didn't care if people saw her as a joke because she was a joke they liked.

HBO

So by the time Jay pulled out the cupcake gloves for a little boxing match, Valerie was more than happy to play her part.

Because this truly was Valerie's comeback.

And the on-screen triumphs kept coming. As Valerie exited The Tonight Show stage, she was informed that The Comeback had been picked up for a second season after only one airing.

Unfortunately, off-screen, it was another matter entirely.

HBO canceled Lisa Kudrow's The Comeback following the low-rated first (and only) season in 2005. But the show's popularity only grew, thanks to DVDs and HBO Go, eventually earning it cult status.Rumors of a reunion repeatedly cropped up over the years, but it wasn't until May 2014 that HBO officially announced a new season would be airing, and on Nov. 9, the first of eight brand new episodes will premiere!
TV.com

HBO canceled Lisa Kudrow's The Comeback following the low-rated first (and only) season in 2005. But the show's popularity only grew, thanks to DVDs and HBO Go, eventually earning it cult status.

Rumors of a reunion repeatedly cropped up over the years, but it wasn't until May 2014 that HBO officially announced a new season would be airing, and on Nov. 9, the first of eight brand new episodes will premiere!

So what's happened to Valerie Cherish over the last nine years? Watch this trailer for a Chantico Drinking Chocolate-sized taste of what's to come.

View this video on YouTube

HBO
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