“The Comeback” recap (2.3): Valerie is Brought to her Knees

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On the previous episode of The Comeback we left Val feeling a little awkward (what else is new?) after a cordial turned passive aggressive and cutting encounter with Pauly G at an Emmy’s viewing suite. This was an unfortunate event, since filming for the HBO show that Paulie G wrote (in which Val would be playing herselfbut not) was set to begin shooting the next week. Loosen your collars, girls! This is gonna get nice and unnerving.

The third episode opens up to Valerie showing Jane’s crew around her trailer. She informs us her trailer is her oasis where she can get away from it all. Mickey is not pleased since the trailer smells like a “rancid washcloth.” Val is, of course, embarrassed, and wasn’t planning on making a fuss about it. She shows us her gift basket, filled with red hots and flowers and a sweatshirt with Seeing Red and its heroin syringe logo. Val really enjoys reminding us that Paulie was on a mass amount of heroin when they were shooting their first project together, the sitcom Room and Bored.

A knock on the door reveals the slightly unpleasant AD, Shayna (Zoe Chao). (Val is never going to remember that name whoops! Yeah, no, she didn’t.) She is there to welcome Val and hand over the call sheet. She says they probably won’t get to the “blow job” scene. This perks up Jane’s ears, as she has seen first hand the epic rivalry between Paulie and Val. Jane is coming from a much sweeter point of view this time and asks Val if thats something she is comfortable with. Val says it is an actor’s duty and she has played characters that make her uncomfortable before, such as a “brunette with migraines.”

Call-sheet

The line producer comes by, welcoming her, but also asking why he got an invoice for a $7,000 wig. Val shows him the wig, which looks exactly like her hair. The line producer is confused. Val explains that her hair is her hair and the wig is her character Mallory’s hair. We can see how this producer doesn’t understand. Valerie needs every little thing she can to separate her from Mallory. To the outside eye, the characters are the same, but to her they are worlds apart. “Strawberry” is Val and “Fiery red” is Mallory. A boisterous Latina walks up to the producer, who is in a wheelchair, asking him to move his “cart.” Marianina (Rose Abdoo) is Valerie’s wig person. Again, confused producer asks why she needs two hair people. It turns out Mickey doesn’t “work with glue,” so Marianina is there to place the wig. Yeah, thats it, just to put it on Val’s head. The line producer can’t pay for two hair people, Val whispers into his ear that she’ll pay Mickey and to leave it alone in front of the cameras.

Vals-hairVals-hair-2

Shayna is back to tell Val that her flowers she ordered for Seth Rogen (who will be playing Paulie G) have gotten to set, but that they will have to go to a routing center and won’t make it to Seth until afternoon. Val wants them there now because they are “first day flowers.” She goes to the front gate to retrieve the flowers and, of course, Seth pulls up immediately. Rogan begins firing off more awkward jokes than Valerie can dodge. Seth is the perfect example of the very modern, very “riffy” comedian that Valerie cannot, under any circumstances, wrap her head around. However, part of Rogan’s persona is that he is a very nice guy, so hopefully he will pick up on the fact that about 80% of his jokes are flying right at Val’s heart, never reaching her over calculating head. Val of course spills the water from the flowers right on to Seth’s lap (oh yeah, foreshadowing! That blow job scene is going to happen. NO!) and Val offers to just drop the flowers off at his trailer. They engage in some basic banter about jews and breakfast meats. Val becomes insistent on buying a ham to surprise him.

It is time to shoot! Val is back in her old track suit from Room and Bored! She has returned to the same set where she shot her first big hit, the ’90s sitcom “I’m It!” The line producer informs her they won’t get to “the blow job” today. Val shows us around set. The other actors arrive, Seth included, sending Val into a tizzy. She asks her nephew for the ham he went out and got for Seth. When she hands it to him, she calls him “Seth McFarlane,” which is painful and I think we have all been there. (When I first met my friend Brigham I would accidentally call him Brigham Young, and yeah it sucked. I feel you Val.) Seth kindly corrects her, and thanks her for the ham, “based on the off-handed comments from earlier.”

A beautiful blonde says goodbye to Paulie, and he kisses her on the cheek. (Paulie is SO NICE to pretty young blondes and famous male movie stars!) Val then reaches for Paulie’s first day gift. Good, Val, a peace offering! It is a notebook with “Director” on the fronta very nice looking gift. Could this be the item that starts cracking away at the iciness between these two? Val says it is specifically for his “first day directing.” Seth acts surprised, saying, “Your first day directing anything? Ever? You’ve never done a short? A commercial? Anything like that?” Paulie dies on the inside, Val stares at Paulie also freaking the fuck out. Seth breaks into laughter and admits that he was joking. Funny joke, Rogen! What’s next? Jokes about 9/11? Beheadings in the Middle East? Pedophilia?

It is time to shoot the first scene! Val runs her lines with Mickey, because Paulie likes his lines “just so.” Paulie comes over to Val to talk. He says, “It’s private,” to which Jane responds from behind the camera, “Yeah, like a blow job?” Jane is becoming Val’s little warrior, the Samwise Gamgee to Val’s Frodo. The cameras hide to capture their convo. Paulie just wants to make sure they are cool, because he wants the shoot to go well. Val, never one for confrontation, agrees that things are great between them. She then asks Paulie if she should go up or down on her first line. He says he doesn’t care, but she pushes him to give her instruction. He just says, “up”.

The cameras are rolling. Seth, as the Paulie character, sits at his desk about to shoot up. Mallory walks in, giving a great delivery of the lines she has been working so hard to perfect. Seth naturally responds with an absurd riff about the devil and the network jizzing in his eye hole. Mickey and the script supervisor frantically flip through their scripts, but Paulie is loving it. You can see in Valerie’s eyes that she is at a complete loss for what to do. Once he has finished his rant, she continues her line, though you can tell she thinks the whole shot is ruined. Seth knocks the wrong lamp off of the desk, and stops the scene. Paulie runs on and praises Seth for his improvisation. The script supervisor approaches Val and tells her she switched the words “stay out” with “keep out” and Paulie needs her to say “keep out.” So, that pretty much sums up how THIS is going to go. (Yeah, that was in Val voice.)

From the bedroom cam, we see Val sweetly put away the book that Mark fell asleep reading. She will only get a few hours of sleep, so they can’t do the sexy stuff that Mark has in mind. He does give her some words of encouragement. Their relationship is better than ever, and it is nice to see Val happy and content for at least a few minutes of this heart-wrenching episode.

The next morning we are back on set, with Marianina placing the wig on Valerie’s head. Val introduces herself to the blonde who will be playing the Juna part on Seeing Red. The girl could care less. Val goes into makeup, but they immediately come to ask her to set for “the blow job.” So insensitive!

The first part of the scene is Val standing alongside two porn star-type gals. Paulie, while giving direction, keeps referring to Mallory blowing him personally. The girls beside Val disrobe and they begin shooting. Jane approaches Val, telling her she doesn’t feel comfortable shooting these women. She tells her it feels “sleazy” and that she hates how Paulie exploits women. They rush Jane and her “locusts” out of the shot. Paulie calls action, and the three women stand there. Paulie eventually informs the women to “start making the orgasm noises.” It is THE WORST. Poor Val!

Three-ladies

Shayna yells out “OK, everybody, Blow Job is up!” A man comes over and offers Val knee pads. Mickey sternly states, “She won’t need them.” Yeah, Mickey! Right before they shoot, Val asks Paulie for some direction. Why is she doing this? Paulie says she needs to “just blow him.” Val wants to know what it means, she needs this to make sense to her. She needs clarity. Paulie explains that when she would ask him for better jokes on Room and Bored he would think “Val, blow me.” Val says, “Great. So it’s symbolic.” She is hurt, but she gets through that moment. She walks back to set. Blow job time.

Val-and-Jane

Val stands facing Seth. His line is, “Walk over here.” Val, steaming mad, looks directly at the camera to her right and says “Walk? It’s been a long daywhy don’t you just rape me?” Go Val! Paulie is totally fucking with you, and right on! Paulie comes on set and they both yell about how Val never ever blew Paulie. Great. That is settled.

Monitor-Blow-Job-scene

Paulie is pissed. He directs Val to put her head in Seth’s lap, and for Seth to really push her head down hard. Seth says that isn’t necessary and that it isn’t about Val’s head. It is about him experiencing the blow job. Val won’t even be seen. THANK YOU, SETH ROGEN! Paulie is putty in Seth’s hands, and he says for Val to do what Seth just said, which is to get out of frame and do nothing. The song “Under Pressure” is heard as Val crouches between Seth’s legs as he acts like he is getting an amazing blow job. Dear god, this show.

Things I am thankful for: Mickey’s old gay loving heart that would do anything for Val. Jane who is a woman’s warrior and would do anything to protect the rights of all women. Seth Rogen who is a notorious nice guy who will hopefully keep Paulie from being a total asshole to Val.

Val-and-Seth

Hopefully we see some more nice moments for Val next week! And, hey, HBO: MORE JANE.

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