The Comeback : Season 1

  • Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Jun 5, 2005
Season #: 1, 2

Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 25
  2. Negative: 4 out of 25

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. Washington Post
    Reviewed by: Tom Shales
    Mar 12, 2014
    The show truly teeters on wonderful. This is probably TV's most poignant half-hour comedy in years, a masterfully modulated combination of shrewd satire and a tender, even tearful, central story. [5 June 2005, p.N01]
  2. Baltimore Sun
    Reviewed by: David Zurawik
    Mar 13, 2014
    The Comeback has its flaws. But this is a moment well beyond the depth of most television comedies. This is the stuff of which plays by David Mamet and Arthur Miller have been writ. This is a sitcom to which some attention should be paid. [4 June 2005, p.1D]
  3. Newsday
    Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    Mar 12, 2014
    Sly as "The Larry Sanders Show," keener than "Fat Actress," more sympathetic than "Curb Your Enthusiasm," this new half-hour comedy hits the bull's-eye in every direction. It's funny, sad, smart and immensely appealing. [5 June 2005, p.11]
  4. Reviewed by: Terry Kelleher
    Jun 28, 2013
    The Comeback is funny, especially when it skewers the tasteless and false in reality TV.
  5. Dallas Morning News
    Reviewed by: Manuel Mendoza
    Mar 12, 2014
    The Comeback is closest in tone to Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO's vehicle for Mr. David, the creator of Seinfeld. Valerie is not quite as grating, but like Larry she perseveres. Ms. Kudrow makes you sympathize with Valerie, despite her blindness to the costs of fame. Not bad for a former sitcom star in her comeback role. [5 June 2005, p.8G]
  6. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Mar 14, 2014
    It's funny, but painfully funny, as it skewers the world of banal sitcoms and youth-market mania. It's mean, but touching, too, as Kudrow's Valerie undergoes the humiliations of being a Nixed Big Thing. [3 June 2005, p.D1]
  7. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Sid Smith
    Mar 13, 2014
    She's self-flagellating, but in a nuanced, funny-sad and heartbreaking way, mixing slapstick and pathos with intelligence and the sharpest of comic instincts. [4 June 2005, p.C25]
  8. San Diego Union-Tribune
    Reviewed by: Karla Peterson
    Mar 16, 2014
    Sharply funny without being painful to watch. [3 June 2005, p.E-1]
  9. Denver Post
    Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Mar 16, 2014
    A worthy new configuration - the side-splittingly sad sitcom. [2 June 2005, p.F-01]
  10. Chicago Sun-Times
    Reviewed by: Paige Wiser
    Mar 14, 2014
    There's still time for The Comeback to hit its stride. I hope it does. A little less "reality" and a lot more comedy, and Kudrow might deserve another long run. [3 June 2005, p.55]
  11. New York Post
    Reviewed by: Adam Buckman
    Mar 12, 2014
    It doesn’t feel like a comedy - because it’s not funny. [3 June 2005, p.3]
  12. Variety
    Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Mar 16, 2014
    Clever, if familiar. [2 June 2005, p.8]
  13. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Mar 16, 2014
    HBO is asking you to spend a half-hour a week with a deluded loser, watch her be degraded by reality and sitcom hacks, and pay for the privilege. Doesn't sound like a good way to make a comeback.
  14. Los Angeles Times
    Reviewed by: Paul Brownfield
    Mar 15, 2014
    The comedy equivalent of low-hanging fruit. [3 June 2005, p.E1]
  15. Arizona Republic
    Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Mar 14, 2014
    Good for Kudrow for taking on something so different. You can't accuse her of trading on her Friends familiarity. You can, however, wish that The Comeback, for all the merits of its premise, was more enjoyable to watch. [3 June 2005, p.10]
  16. Reviewed by: Gillian Flynn
    Jun 18, 2013
    The indignities suffered by Valerie are cringy but not very funny — the show strives for the precision awkwardness of The Office but settles for general peevishness.
  17. Houston Chronicle
    Reviewed by: Mike McDaniel
    Mar 14, 2014
    Kudrow says she isn't a reality-TV fan and the humiliation of its participants, yet she plays her part as victim. So when she gets sucker-punched, we get sucker-punched. What's so funny about that? [4 June 2005, p.10]
  18. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Mar 16, 2014
    It's one thing to laugh at characters on TV shows who behave foolishly, who deserve to be mocked. Valerie's crimes for the sake of comedy are nothing more than aging with an undiminished Hollywood ego. It's a little funny at first, but it quickly turns sad, something you want to look away from, not laugh about. [2 June 2005, p.WE-37]
  19. Mar 16, 2014
    The mock documentary has funny moments -- small, keenly observed sendups of the entertainment industry -- but for the most part The Comeback is the saddest comedy on television.
  20. Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    Reviewed by: Melanie McFarland
    Mar 16, 2014
    A reality/sitcom hybrid. How revolutionary. [3 June 2005, p.E1]
  21. San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times
    Reviewed by: Chuck Barney
    Mar 13, 2014
    1) It's not all that funny, which could be a problem considering it's supposed to be a comedy, and 2) It continues a rather arrogant presumption on the part of show-biz types that we're all ceaselessly interested in the inner workings of their industry. [4 June 2005, p.C01]
  22. Reviewed by: David Bianculli
    Mar 16, 2014
    Kudrow must shoulder much of the blame. Her performance - her character - never becomes real, so you spend the time looking at Kudrow acting, rather than watching Valerie suffering.
  23. Deseret News
    Reviewed by: Scott D. Pierce
    Mar 15, 2014
    A "comedy" that's not funny, original or in the least bit interesting.[3 June 2005]
  24. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Mar 16, 2014
    Seems a gigantic miss for HBO. Although King has tried to write a B-story for Cherish -- her home life -- it doesn't ring true.
  25. Boston Herald
    Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Mar 16, 2014
    Kudrow seems to be aiming for ``The Larry Sanders Show'' or ``Curb Your Enthusiasm'' territory but only gets as far as ``Reba'' with the f-word. [2 June 2005, p.47]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Nov 11, 2014
    Brilliant, amazing, funny, sad, pathetic, horrible, and nothing like it anywhere, THE COMEBACK is back and just as good as ever. An astoundingBrilliant, amazing, funny, sad, pathetic, horrible, and nothing like it anywhere, THE COMEBACK is back and just as good as ever. An astounding achievement. Full Review »
  2. Jan 15, 2011
    Awkward, hilarious, and generally brilliant. Lisa Kudrow gives an inspired performance, and the whole ensemble is great. It is a damn shameAwkward, hilarious, and generally brilliant. Lisa Kudrow gives an inspired performance, and the whole ensemble is great. It is a damn shame that HBO cancelled this after its first season. Full Review »