TELEVISION REVIEW: Cougar Town Lets Courtney Cox Act Her Age… Sorta…

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As ABC continues to find a sitcom that’ll stick with its audience, we get Cougar Town [Wednesdays, 9:30/8:30C] – in which a forty-year old owner of a realty company begins the process of dealing with her age by – wait for it – dating a younger man! Woo-Hoo! That’s a new one!

Jules [Cox] is the woman who got married, raised a son and faced that particular set of challenges in her twenties and, now divorced, is kind of stumbling back into the dating/social scene – with a helping shove from her co-worker, the younger Laurie [Busy Phillipps], and to the bemusement of her teen-aged son, Travis [Dan Byrd]. When she’s not working, Jules and her goofy ex-husband Bobby [Brian Van Holt] share the task of raising Travis – with radically different and not always complementary styles [plus, she has to pay him alimony!]. She is envious of her neighbor and best friend, Ellie [Christa Miller] who is completely content with her life – and her husband, Andy [Ian Gomez] – but even more so of another neighbor, Grayson [Josh Hopkins], whose wife moved out barely a week ago and is already “sexing up sorority girls.”

Then, shortly after Laurie puts some glamour shots of Jules on her For Sale signs, she becomes the neighborhood “hot mom” and actually hooks up with a younger man [David Clayton Rogers] – but only after Laurie drags her out clubbing.

Cougar Town is the second older woman/younger guy sitcom to premiere this season [after the fitfully funny Accidentally on Purpose], but it’s definitely the funnier – and raunchier – of the two. From the scene where Jules flashes a kid on a bike [seen in promos for the series], to a running gag about a kid who steals the raunchified For Sale signs, the show’s writers aren’t afraid to push things a bit – or even a lot.

Cox is a likable lead and series creator/writer Bill Lawrence plays to her comic strengths and the supporting cast is extremely good. Cougar Town is funny because it flips the older man/younger woman trope on its head yet it doesn’t presume to say is one better than the other, or take any kind of high road. Indeed, it plays more to the opposite end of the spectrum. As Laurie demonstrated with those For Sale signs, sex sells. Better yet, sexy fun sells. Cougar Town is sexy fun that tweaks its lowest common denominator possibilities with shrewd and, occasionally, witty dialogue and/or sight gags.

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