Lisa Kudrow’s awesome reality parody The Comeback now on cable

Starting tonight, Sundance Channel will air The Comeback, a fantastic but one-season HBO series starring Lisa Kudrow as a has-been actress who’s being filmed for a reality show. Presented as unedited footage from the reality series, The Comeback is an incredible send-up and satire of reality TV and so much more, as we follow Kudrow’s character, Valerie Cherish.

The 2005 series was produced and written by Sex and the City creator Michael Patrick King, and although his more-famous series–never mind those crap-ass movies–may have had deeper penetration into pop culture, but The Comeback is near perfect. The narrative arc builds over the season explores both fame and the construction of reality TV, and it’s never really predictable, but always engaging. If you don’t get Sundance Channel, Netflix or buy “the complete only season,” which is on DVD.

Lisa Kudrow is nothing short of brilliant, creating a character who’s so self-conscious of the cameras that it’s at first super-annoying, but Kudrow lets Valerie’s insecurities and humanity break through that. For a preview of her performance, here’s a DVD extra that purports to be Valerie as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars:

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.