From the comic minds that brought you “Scrubs” and “Spin City,” “Cougar Town” is a step in a very different direction. With the term “Cougar” being tossed around on television, in films, and in everyday conversation, it’s no wonder someone made a series based on the very concept of an older woman (a cougar) being an attractive and active person in the dating scene. While the series got off to a somewhat uneven start, the second half started to really find its grove.
“Cougar Town” focuses on recently divorced, 40-something, single mom Jules (Courtney Cox) who’s decided it’s time to start dating again. However, after being off the market for awhile, she discovers a few things have changed. Not only are the men her age dating younger women, but her body has changed as well. With the help of her two friends, Ellie (Christa Miller) and Laurie (Busy Phillips), Jules slowly starts to date again, and not just any men, but younger men. While the idea could certainly become tired, “Cougar Town” remains fresh as the series doesn’t solely focus on Jules’ dating life. In fact, it’s the interactions between Jules and her friends and family that truly keep the series engaging.
In addition to Ellie and Laurie who don’t get along, but manage to spend time together for Jules, there’s Ellie’s husband Andy (Ian Gomez) who is also a part of the close-knit group. The relationship between Jules’ teenage son Travis (Dan Byrd) and his mom is refreshing as it doesn’t rely on usual clichés between teenagers and their parents, but instead offers a humorous and often tender look at their dynamic. Additionally, also hanging around Jules is her slacker, harmless ex-husband Bobby Cobb (Brian Van Holt) and her neighbor, Grayson (Josh Hopkins) who entertains women during all hours, much to her dismay. Still, as the show progresses their relationship grows, despite Jules’ initial annoyance with Grayson’s behavior. Also appearing throughout the series here and there is Barb (Carolyn Hennesy) who takes the term Cougar to whole new levels.
When Jules life turns upside down after her divorce, a lot of things become clear, including her initial realization that she likes the freedom to date without commitment. Courtney Cox does a fantastic job portraying Jules, who goes to great lengths to make everything perfect for the younger men she dates (often resulting in some humorous situations). Her relationship with her friends is also fantastic, especially with Ellie who helps keep her focused and Laurie who tries to help her be more of a free-spirit. Singles facing similar situations, are likely to relate to the changes Jules makes as she becomes more confident in her age and newly single life, as well as her relationships.
Though the series initially followed Jules as she came to term with her age and the extra efforts she had to put forth with men, the series eventually shifted and focused less on her dating life (though still a part of the show) and more on her relationships with her family and friends. The shift was a great idea as it grounds the sitcom and keeps it from becoming tired or only reaching a limited audience. Much like creator Bill Lawrence’s other series “Scrubs,” “Cougar Town” manages to weave wit and heart into each episode. Though not nearly as strong as “Scrubs,” it’s certainly worth a look. The performances and writing remain consistent and engaging throughout, especially towards the second half of the season.
1 03/Sep/09 Pilot
2 30/Sep/09 Into the Great Wide Open
3 07/Oct/09 Don't Do Me Like That
4 14/Oct/09 I Won't Back Down
5 21/Oct/09 You Wreck Me
6 28/Oct/09 A Woman in Love (It's Not Me)
7 04/Nov/09 Don't Come Around Here No More
8 18/Nov/09 Two Gunslingers
9 25/Nov/09 Here Comes My Girl
10 09/Dec/09 Mystery Man
11 06/Jan/10 Rhino Skin
12 13/Jan/10 Scare Easy
13 20/Jan/10 Stop Dragging My Heart Around
14 03/Feb/10 All the Wrong Reasons
15 10/Feb/10 When a Kid Goes Bad
16 03/Mar/10 What Are You Doin' in My Life?
17 10/Mar/10 Counting on You
18 24/Mar/10 Turn This Car Around
19 31/Mar/10 Everything Man
20 14/Apr/10 Wake Up Time
21 28/Apr/10 Letting You Go
22 05/May/10 Feel a Whole Lot Better
23 12/May/10 Breakdown
24 19/May/10 Finding Out
VIDEO: "Cougar Town" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Presentation quality is generally first-rate, as the episodes as a whole look as good as they did when they were originally broadcast. Sharpness and detail are never really exceptional in any way, but the picture does at least maintain a consistent level of definition, and always appears at least crisp.
Some minor grain and edge enhancement appear at times during the proceedings, but mostly, the presentation appeared clear and free of flaws. No wear was present on the elements used. The show's color palette is mostly fairly low-key, although bright colors occasionally show through quite nicely. No smearing or other faults are spotted. Black level appeared solid, while flesh tones looked natural.
SOUND:is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 here. Despite the 5.1 presentation, the sound still remains fairly front-heavy, with dialogue and music remaining crisp and clear throughout.
“Taming Cougar Town” At under five minutes this featurette manages to offer a lot of information. From interviews with the cast and creators, to a look at the changes made to “Cougar Town” since the original pilot, the feature is certainly worth looking into for fans. Other things discussed in the feature include: why they chose to set the series in Florida, why the series was created (including Bill Lawrence referencing his wife Christa Miller for inspiring his work), character development (and how Jules is based on Courtney Cox), and a lot more information including some fun trivia.
Also included on the DVD are: “Deleted Scenes” There are five deleted scenes included on the DVD. You can watch them individually or choose the Play All option. “Bloopers” A very short collection of flubbed lines and silly moments on the set. While not the best blooper reel, it’s worth a look for fans of the series. “Saber-Tooth Tiger Town (Jimmy Kimmel Live)” A clip from Jimmy Kimmel Live of his take on “Cougar Town”, called “Saber-Tooth Tiger Town” featuring Cloris Leachman and Shirley Jones. “ ‘My Sexuality’ Music Video” a video with clips from the series and of Josh Hopkins performing the brief song.
“Ask Barb” Questions addressed to the character Barb are answered here from “Barb’s Blog.” The question/answer segments are broken up into nine categories: “Dirtier on DVD!,” “Sounds Fun!,” “Don’t Disappoint!,” “Take What You Get!,” “I’m Just Naughty!,” “I’ve Got The Twins To Prove It!,” “Again and Again and Again…,” “Parents Be Warned! Pt. 1,” “Parents Be Warned! Pt. 2.” You can play these all at once or individually.
“Stroking it with Bobby Cobb” Broken up into four categories (“Rough Talk,” “Bobby’s Bag of Tricks,” “Drivers Ed,” and “Tee Time”) “Stroking it with Bobby Cobb” features the character giving his own unique instructions for golfing. The character Andy Torres is also featured here. The end credits on these are pretty humorous as well. Worth a look for fans.v
Sneak Peeks: “You Again,” “Castle: The Complete Second Season,” “Desperate Housewives: The Complete Sixth Season,” “Brothers & Sisters: The Complete Fourth Season,” “Legend of the Seeker: The Complete Second Season,” “Ugly Betty: The Complete Fourth Season,” and a promotional ad for ABC.
Final Thoughts: While it doesn't reach the heights of Lawrence's often-brilliant "Scrubs", "Cougar Town" certainly has potential and a solid, enjoyable cast. Recommended.