September 25, 2009

new show review: cougar town

The moment of truth has arrived. Can we watch Courtney Cox without seeing Monica Geller? The ill-fated Dirt never gave us much time to decide. Now, she's back with a half hour comedy, though the format is very different from Friends - shot with one camera, no laugh track, and no Chandler.

I've written before about how news of the title almost completely turned me off from the show. Cougar, we're over it. (Not the concept, just the name. Go Demi.) But I'm giving it chance because I like Courtney, and I like that ABC has been taking some chances with comedy lately.

The opening scene of the pilot is enough to make me love Jules (Courtney) already. She spends her post-shower time examining the unfortunate changes her body is experiencing and then just yells "crap" at the mirror. We can be friends.

The name "cougar" actually comes from Jules' son's high school mascot. Son Travis is played by Dan Byrd, who you've seen around in shows like Aliens in America and Heroes. Already, he might be my favorite part of the show.

Younger best friend and coworker in real estate Laurie is played by Busy Philips. Her mission is to make Jules have fun (having been divorced for 5 months).

Other married best friend and neighbor Ellie is played by Christa Miller from Scrubs (who is also conveniently married to EP Bill Lawrence). So far, the best part about Ellie is her husband Andy, who's played by the hilarious Ian Gomes (played Javier on Felicity).

Cutie neighbor Grayson is played by Josh Hopkins (most recently doing unethical things with Addison on Private Practice). He's also recently divorced - as Jules discovers one morning - already having some fun with younger ladies. This pushes Jules to flash her lady parts to a poor unsuspecting young man riding his back by her driveway. He lands on a car. Unfortunately, said boy goes to Travis' school and word travels fast.

Ex-husband Bobby (played by Brian Van Holt) is refreshingly not a douchebag philanderer. Just an immature under-achiever, but a good guy who's still around for Travis. Jules is annoyed by him, but they don't hate each other. It's not the same divorced couple comedy we always see, which is good news.

With Travis at his dad's for the night, Laurie convinces Jules to join her for a night out. She ends up with a young cutey at home, ends her drought, and makes him crackers with peanut butter as a post-game snack. All is well, until poor Travis comes home to catch a glimpse of some life-scarring activities.

With apologies and a bonding moment with his mom, Travis recovers in the end. What I like about Jules, is she's not sad or desperate. She's just going through a rough patch in a confusing time of her life, and she's honest about it. Sometimes painfully honest to an over-the-top place, but it's not obnoxious. I hate to say it, but sometimes it's hard for non-twentysomething comedic actresses to avoid crossing that line. Courtney Cox has pulled it off, and I think I'll really like this character.

I'm almost surprised to find that I really like this show. You can definitely feel the Bill Lawrence (also creator of Scrubs) style thrown in. The comedy is quirky and uncomfortable, but moves fast and expects the viewer to be along for the ride. So far, the characters are really fitting well together, especially Jules and Travis. I'm looking forward to seeing if they can keep the momentum going.

Favorite lines:

Jules (to the bouncer at the club): You're really black! It looks great on you.

Jules (telling young hottie why she never studied abroad): I don't know. I was 19. I started thinking with my coochie-cooch. And then bam, I had a kid. (uncomfortable silence) And you are hot as balls.

Jules (to neighbor Grayson bringing home a lady across the street): Stop having sex with babies. In a hoodie, really?

Laurie: Can we stop sprinting now? I feel like my boobs are trying to kill me. (I hear ya girl)


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