‘The Comeback’ Season Finale Recap: Hollywood Ending
“In science, the term observer effect refers to changes that the act of observation will make on a phenomenon being observed.”—“Observer effect (physics),” Wikipedia
It took a solid minute, at one point, for my brain to catch up with The Comeback last night, for the observer to understand the observed. It wasn’t Valerie Cherish’s superstar costar Juna’s confession of hurt feelings or her other superstar costar Chris’s profession of lust that did it. It wasn’t blood flowing from her best friend Mickey’s nose or shit gushing from Valerie’s pipes. It wasn’t the red carpet or the Emmys themselves. It was the almost physically disorienting sight of Valerie Cherish, off-camera.
When Valerie flees the award ceremony in a frantic attempt to contact her estranged husband Mark about Mickey’s rapidly deteriorating health, she leaves Jane’s camera crew behind. By rights, that should be the end of the episode right there. Everything we’ve seen during both seasons of The Comeback, after all, has technically been footage shot for one of its many shows-within-a-show: I’m It, Room and Bored, The Comeback, Seeing Red, The Assassination of Valerie Cherish, The Talk, Tonight Show, even The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. But when Valerie passes through the doors of the auditorium and out of the sight of the camera eye, there’s no Sopranos-style crash cut to black. Valerie’s still there, bathed in the warmth of film instead of the handheld coldness of digital. Suddenly, given the limitations imposed on every single shot in the series so far, we’re seeing something that should be impossible to see. The reality show is over—this is real.
‘The Comeback’ 2×7 Recap: The Wire
Fuck you, The Comeback. You give Valerie Cherish everything she’s ever wanted—legit fame, great reviews, an Emmy nomination. You throw in some stuff she may not have known she wanted but desperately needed—a role she made into something better than it was on paper by playing it, an ability to put her team-player/people-pleaser compulsions aside long enough to demand the respect she deserves as a professional and a person. Then you take away the audience of one for whom all her performances have mattered the most? Cry it to the heavens: I don’t need to see that!