Cougar Town: Two Episode Impressions

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As I mentioned yesterday, I decided to bend a little and give Cougar Town a try. I was mostly swayed by the presence of Courteney Cox and Christa Miller in the cast, combined with the enjoyable nature Bill Lawrence's previous show Scrubs.

Cougar Town stars Courteney as Jules, a recent divorcee who became a mother in her early twenties. As such she feels she's missed out on all the excitement and fun her friends had before settling down and she's now determined to enjoy herself. Sort of a mid life crisis and sort of a sexual reawakening. It's an interesting idea, but not quite original - you could condense it down and call it "Desperate Housewife: The Sitcom".

But, the important things here are not the premise of the show; it's the cast and dialog. They're both fantastic. On the cast front we have an exceptionally likable and fun performances from Courtney (Jules) and Christa (Ellie). In addition Dan Byrd (Jules's son Travis), Ian Gomez (Elli's husband - Andy) and Brian Van Holt (Ellie's Ex-Husband Bobby) are all great on screen as well. Even if the relationship between Jules and Bobby post-divorce is a little unusual.

I'm not so keen on the handsome divorcee next door Grayson (Josh Hopkins), he's not exactly unlikable. But he does feel like a very lazy character for this show to use. He stands as the example of "double-standards" between the genders, whoring away with young women all the time without being judged. Something for Ellie to rail against because she's afraid of being thought of as a whore. He's also a clear candidate for "will they/won't they" nonsense, but I'm hoping the show doesn't go in that direction. His dialog with Ellie over the morning papers is good fun though.

Likewise I'm not that bothered with Busy Philipps's character Laurie; in essence she's nothing more than a catalyst for Ellie's more excessive actions. Constantly trying to convince Ellie to come out and live a little. Beyond that she's about as deep as a puddle evaporating in the summer sun. There's also another character; one Barbara (Carolyn Hennesy) who works with Ellie

Humour-wise there were a few moments which were good, and sadly quite a lot which just fell into stereotypical 'older woman' or 'getting old' jokes. One of the best moments was an exceptionally funny photo montage of a night out; plenty of amusing moments captured together and left for the viewer to join the dots up. This photo montage also catalysed another well earned funny moment where Travis and Bobby go 'take revenge' on a bouncer for being mean to Ellie then attempt to escape in a golf cart. Which, as I'm sure you're aware, isn't the ideal choice of vehicle for get away from someone who can run.

A good example of a joke which fell flat was the teenage boy who kept stealing all the sexy pictures of Ellie from around the town. While there was a great moment involving those signs, it wasn't anything to do with this sub-plot. It didn't really feel like it made much sense in this day and age, and when I saw the inside of his room I was astounded that his mother was so calm about the whole thing. The lad came across as a creepy obsessed little stalker rather than a naive over-sexed young lad. A story arc which could have been dropped down to a single joke really.

We're just two episodes in at the time of my writing this, so the show is still a little unformed. For myself the make or break point is going to occur further down the line, once the show has settled a little and we understand the characters and the direction the show is going to take. It's not quite funny enough for me yet, it feels more like a light Desperate Housewives, and that's fine - but only time will tell if it's going to keep me watching.


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