The Comeback's comeback is very real. After HBO's Michael Lombardo spent part of his Thursday TCA panel discussing the decision to revive the one-off 2005 comedy, the network screened a scene from November's limited event.
Lisa Kudrow, hair several shades more strawberry as Valerie Cherish, looks into a confessional camera to ineloquently summarize all that's happened to reality television since viewers last saw her. "It used to just be me and a bunch of people eating bugs," she says.
But the new Comeback, still a mockumentary at heart, takes on a very different structure this time around. Kudrow's central character has landed a job on a HBO series — the word is still out on how that happens, though co-creator Michael Patrick King calls it "realistic" — and the cameras rolling are a behind-the-scenes crew enlisted to document the shoot. "The DNA that we liked about Valerie was her in front of a camera, unedited," said King. "This time we found a different way to get her in front of the camera."
Kudrow and King closed out HBO's afternoon with reporters by talking through the new six-part series. And though the evolution of reality is fodder for the series, the truth to that occupied much of the conversation.
"One weird thing we got [in 2005] was that people had never seen a female character doing this to herself in front of her camera," said King, in reference to Valerie's fame-hungry pandering. "Since then, we have The Real Housewives."
Comeback picks up 10 years after the first iteration. Made with a new audience in mind, it does cater to fans with an intro catching viewers up on what's happened during the unorthodox break. "Oddly enough, we like the gap between the last season and this offering," added King. "It added to our grist to write with."
The pair skirted over a question about any bad blood from when HBO canceled the series after just one season. Kudrow kept things diplomatic. "We just loved doing it so much that we were just so thrilled and overjoyed [to do it again], she said. "We couldn't not have this experience again."
But it does appear that this will probably be the last of the Comeback. When pressed about another season, should this one take off, everybody on stage seemed reluctant to commit.
"Could it happen? Maybe," said HBO programming exec Casey Bloys. "It's really hard to say."
King confessed that it was hard enough to get this one made. He has a full-time job showrunning 2 Broke Girls and Kudrow, a busy producer, has her series Web Therapy.
"Even if we wanted to [do it before], it just seemed impossible," he said. "I'm not even sure how we did it this time."
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