abc’s shiniest sitcom has just finished its 24 episode run on Living UK, and I’m going to miss the little show that became an important Wednesday night fixture on our Sky+ box. Time for a second series? Yes! Thank the gods of American TV scheduling. When? Not soon enough.
Starting out, I wasn’t interested, at all. The show seemed to be all about Courteney Cox struggling with forty-something issues, which just seemed depressing. Then, during an exceptionally hungover Bank Holiday Sunday, the Cougar Town catch-up marathon on Living finally pulled me in. The first episode was surprisingly funny, so I taped it on Sky+, and after three episode, we were completely hooked. Twelve episodes and a large delivered pizza later, there was no turning back!
Written by two former Scrubs (and Friends) scribes who teamed up with Courteney Cox for another comedy, Cougar Town is one of the few fluffy comedy shows that does exactly what it’s supposed to. It quickly noticed the sell-by date on its age-related, ‘can I get into clubs and still be hot?’ melodrama, and fully embraced far sillier stories about the lives of a group of friends, spurred on by rapid fire dialogue delivered by actors at the top of their game. For a sitcom it felt fresh and new, and this made a perfectly moreish, bite size length of delicious telly goodness.
After leaving the toy-boys on the back bench, the only remaining nod to the show’s title was the brilliant Barb character, purely left in to turn up and say something inappropriate each week. The focus stays on Jules, a recently divorced wife, mother and successful Real Estate dealer, which in Florida can’t be too difficult (er….), and she likes to drink copious amounts of wine with her little group of friends. I particuarly like that she fills the huge glasses so full of wine that they all have to slurp it down before it’s possible to lift them up!
Jules lives next door to best friend Ellie, played by Christa Miller. The actress can now mostly move her face after serious botox issues (seen at its very worst in the remake of the Andromeda Strain a couple years ago). Ellie is an ex-lawyer with a devoted husband and a baby named Stan, and she spends most of her time being a housewife and being mean to, well, everyone! When she does it, it’s very funny – but be very glad you’re not in her line of fire. She saves her worst vitriol for Laurie (Busy Philipps), the trailer-trash-dun-good who works with Jules in Real Estate. Laurie has many tumultuous relationships involving tattoed men with knives, and is quite a bit younger than the other two women in the show.
Then there are the guys. Jules spends a baffling amount of time hanging out with Bobby (Brian Van Holt), the man she recently divorced and who now lives on a boat brilliantly named ‘Jealous Much?’, which is currently still marooned in a parking lot. This may be because Ellie’s husband, Andy (Ian Gomez), has the world’s biggest man-crush on the goofy guy. Then, naturally, there’s a long-term potential love interest for Jules in the ‘sexy neighbour across the street’, Grayson Ellis (Josh Hopkins), although he spends most of the show shagging incredibly younger girls and, er, Sheryl Crow. Grayson always seemed a little creepy, but that could be because he plays a miniature guitar all the time.
But the crowning character has to be Jules’ long-suffering son, Travis. Cardiganed before his time, he provides the vaguely more grown-up perspective to the unaposlogetic silliness of the ‘adults’. Not as lame as it sounds, either. By the end of the season he graduates high school, and for a minute there I was afraid they’d lost their show’s greatest asset – but of course, he’s sticking around in Florida for Season 2!
Each episode is a microcosm of in-jokes, new in-jokes, and something a bit like Scrubs when it was awesome, only it’s even more awesome, becaue it’s just a bunch of people, living in Florida. Having gone to Florida, I am already jealous that they live there…
Alligators in the swimming pool notwithstanding….
There’s something very sweet, insane, non-PC and loveable about every episode. It’s crazy how some shows work so well, and others fall completely flat. This is the former. I have high hopes for Season 2 later this year, even if they change the name, as the wiki entry thinks they might! But its fans have already figured it out. Cougar Town isn’t just a depressing one-noter about a very attractive forty-something woman trying to get laid. It’s mostly about motherhood, silliness, and ‘trying out wine for breakfast’.
Who wouldn’t warm to that?
All together now – Pennycan!
Finally, for your enjoyment, here’s a typical scene with plenty of Travis (Travis!!) and the ten second title sequence which I know a bit too well:
And until Courteney Cox and the cul-de-ca crew return, 30 Rock Season 4 will just have to do instead. Thank you, Liz Lemon….!
Also, one day, I will get back into equally perfect watch while eating huge breakfast at the weekend show, Psych….on about its 30th season by now?