I have to be honest. An HBO series about a fake reality series starring Lisa Kudrow hot-off-the-heels of Friends did not appeal to me as a worthy expenditure of time. And it does take a bit for the show to get started. However, as with other HBO comedies that deal in quirkiness and irritability (see Curb Your Enthusiasm), The Comeback – The Complete Only Season manages to press just the right amount of buttons to keep you watching. Now on DVD, and featuring all thirteen episodes, this show’s …umor succeeds in its ability to create mock reality, which plays scarily like the real thing.
The strength of the show is on its realization that the best thing it has going for it is the negative relationship fun-loving Valerie (Kudrow) has with a hideous slug writer, who routinely goes out of his way to humiliate her. The dislike shown for Valerie fuels the show, and Kudrow’s ability to play off each new sign of disrespect with smiling cheer accentuates every positive this on-screen dynamic has to offer. It’s where the show truly creates its magic moments. Everything else comes off as filler for the main event.
Nothing spectacular about the 1.33:1 full frame presentation, but it is dependable. Colors are rendered accurately; flesh tones as well. Contrast is not striking, but blacks are grain-free. It’s a solid, efficient picture; but I doubt there is much difference between the transfer and the original airings.
Two 2.0 tracks accompany the disc, one in English, the other in Spanish. Languages offer the only noticeable difference. It’s a strong, well-balanced presentation, featuring high volume dialogue and consistent sound effects. Those of you familiar with the Curb Your Enthusiasm sets will know exactly what to expect.
Audio commentaries on selected episodes feature creators Michael Patrick King and Lisa Kudrow as well as Valerie Cherish. These are mildly amusing, but unessential. Valerie Backstage at Dancing with the Stars is also worth a look. The After the Laughter interview with Valerie comes off as take-it-or-leave-it. Overall, the bonus materials are disappointing, but probably the best HBO could do for a one-season show.
HBO continues to prove their worth in original programming with quirky tales about irritable, flawed, and funny, characters. The Comeback is no exception. A good A/V presentation could have been enhanced by a lengthier supply of extras, but with this the show’s only season, one cannot expect much. I’m not sure if it’s worth a purchase, but give it a look if you have the opportunity. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- Valerie Backstage at Dancing with the Stars
- Valerie After the Laughter
- Series Index