Michael Slezak
August 02, 2006 AT 07:47 PM EDT

As the great philosophers Kool & the Gang once sang: ”Cherish the love we have/We should cherish the life we live.” And last night, even though it was a balmy 127 degrees in my apartment when I got home from work, that’s exactly what I did, curling up on the couch with a glass of wine, some spicy tilapia, and a very special lady… a very special lady named Valerie Cherish.

Indeed, PopWatchers, yesterday not only marked the first day of August, but also the official DVD release of The Comeback. As many of you know, I was a late convert to Lisa Kudrow and Michael Patrick King’s 13-episode masterpiece about a vain, C-list sitcom actress. But after experiencing the Six Stages of The Comeback, I succumbed fully to the cult of Valerie, memorizing and regurgitating choice bits of dialogue (” What’s funnier than a sexy, dirty aunt?”), steering dinner-party conversation to the show’s Emmy chances, raging against HBO for canceling it (and replacing it with the hateful Lucky Louie), even doodling ”Michael hearts Aunt Sassy” on the cover of my Trapper Keeper till I managed to creep myself out.

Getting back to last night, though, I decided to revisit the pilot episode with fresh eyes. And while Kudrow’s masterful ability to inhabit her character (Must. Win. Emmy.) is evident from the show’s opening seconds, this time around, I was equally impressed with the way her total commitment filters down to even the smallest supporting roles: Kim Fields and Marilu Henner bitterly flipping the bird during their cameos, Lillian Hurst’s Esperanza getting caught on camera peeking around a hallway corner, even Marla Garlin’s casting exec offering a grinning dismissal to Valerie’s film crew. It’s all utterly priceless. And, better still, I was able to clear up the ongoing debate about Aunt Sassy’s signature line. Members of both the ”I don’t wanna see that” and ”I don’t need to see that” teams can rejoice: Valerie ends up using both permutations, and that’s something everyone needs to see.

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