Lisa Kudrow: Head Case
By Ari Karpel
Some veterans of wildly successful TV series cringe when asked about the show that made them a household name (see: Hayes, Sean). Out in public, Kudrow gets a lot of 'Hey Phoebe!' She expresses only gratitude. 'If you just talk about it, then that's done and you can move on to something else,' she says. 'It's nothing to run and hide from, that's for sure. They haven't seen The Opposite of Sex, and of course they haven't seen The Comeback, and there's nothing bad about that. Had I not done Friends I wouldn't be able to afford to do Web Therapy. I'd be busy trying to do a sitcom so I could have a steady check.'
Kudrow says she rarely watches reruns of Friends. She's too busy catching up with shows on her TiVo, like her favorites, 30 Rock and The Killing, as well as her recent Netflix obsession: the original Upstairs, Downstairs. 'I never saw it in the '70s, but, oh, my God, nothing's been better -- ever!'
And she can't tear her eyes away from The Real Housewives, which inevitably summons memories of The Comeback. 'I've thought about that a lot,' she says. 'We were on before any of the Housewives. It is as close to making a deal with the devil as you can get now. At first, you think, Why are they doing this on TV? Then you realize, she's in an unhappy marriage, and she's figuring out what her next step is after her divorce. As a viewer, you have to figure out what their agenda is, their game plan. It's what they're willing to sell to secure their future.'
The Real Housewives offers further proof of how ahead of its time The Comeback was in 2005. 'It was before women had actually gone out there and sacrificed themselves on TV, which is what they do now,' says Michael Patrick King.
'I have moments of, like, why are you supporting this?' admits Kudrow, only a little ashamed of watching. 'Decorum has gotten worse and worse anyway, but now it just doesn't exist. They get more screen-time if they're despicable. It has affected the way people behave.'
It's as if all of America were gunning for the double vomit.
Web Therapy airs Tuesdays at 11:00 p.m. EST on Showtime.
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