At some point, it was apparently decided that HBO would replace the departed “Sex and the City” and the on-hiatus-so-often-it-might-as-well-be “Sopranos” with sitcoms- nearly all of which, for some reason, are about Hollywood.
Now I do happen to be a huge fan of both “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (the sitcom of the decade, clearly) and the rapidly improving “Entourage.” But then there was the very weak “Unscripted” (which might have been good, had it had a script), and then “Six Feet Under” decided that it wanted to do Hollywood satire too. I don’t have a problem with Hollywood per se, I just think that there are other topics that HBO could build a high-quality series around, instead of going to the same well over and over again.
The latest entrant is “The Comeback,” a vehicle for “Friends” star Lisa Kudrow that grows entirely from a storyline bandied about but ultimately rejected in ‘Curb’’s first season (remember Larry David and Jason Alexander arguing about whether or not George Costanza was a loser?)- it’s about the former star of a mega-successful sitcom returning with another new show. “The Comeback”’s twist is that it purports to be a reality show itself, allowing it to skewer the reality genre, on top of ripping off both ‘Curb’ and “The Office.”
But the “Comeback”’s biggest mistake is that it matches the awkwardness of those shows, without delivering the laughs to match. Kudrow was always the weakest link on “Friends” anyway (was that “Smelly Cat” song supposed to be funny? I never thought so), and the new show sets the audience up to see the falsity of Hollywood through her eyes- except that we don’t buy it, because she’s even more unpleasant than her antagonists are.
In the end, “The Comeback”’s biggest mistake is that its lead character is immensely, immensely, unlikable- as is the show itself. So it should come as no surprise that Lee Siegel loves it.