So what have I been doing all weekend?
Catching up on the first season of The Comeback, the HBO series starring Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish, a 80s/90s sitcom actress staging a comeback, of sorts, on a network comedy AND reality series. Thanks to HBO On-Demand, I've been overdosing on all 12 of the first season episodes -- and this, after reading the recommendation on the series from Keith Boykin's site the other day.
The Comeback. It's brilliant. And funny. And sad. And, being a sucker for underdogs (both in real life and on screen and page), I'm just a mass of emotions watching Valerie Cherish put up with the insults, degradation, condescending attitudes, and undercover attacks on her talent and character as she attempts to fit in, come back, and keep her name en vogue with the Hollywood machine. Because Valerie is over 30, ad no longer considered sexy or hot, she's cast as the "elder" Aunt Sassy, who plays second fiddle to a cast of 20-somethings considered to be the desired demographics to the network. And the reality series cameras are following every move of her comeback efforts. Pity. Happiness. Man.
Lisa Kudrow is so great in the role. Deserves a room full of Emmy Awards for this show. And, even though I wasn't a regular Friends viewer, I knew her character Phoebe. You don't even think of Phoebe when watching Kudrow portray the comeback queen Valerie. Great actress.
And great writing. Even though you laugh at Valerie (or at least what she chooses to put up with), you also root for her. You feel compassion. At least I do. Something about flawed characters. You can see bits of yourself and others in them. I guess that's why some of the best books, films, and tv shows are about characters who are complex and flawed.
So this also got me wondering about the efforts we make to fit in. Who makes the rules? In what ways do we compromise ourselves to make it, fit in, get connected, be part of something perceived to be success? If you found yourself "out", for whatever reason, would you do anything to make yourself "in" again?