Sometimes when critics try to tell people to watch certain shows it just comes off like your parents telling you to eat your vegetables. I lost count of all the columns I wrote about how brilliant Arrested Development was. Did those columns save that show? They did not.
Still, there’s no harm in trying. Sunday Star entertainment editor Garnet Fraser wanted to shed some light on two comedies he loves that got left behind in the rush to champion Glee and Modern Family last season–Community and Cougar Town. So he asked me to write about them. The story is in today’s Toronto Star, you can jump to it here.
When I went to transcribe my interview with Cougar Town creator Bill Lawrence, I found the former Scrubs showrunner to be as articulate as ever on the whole TV scene. (It wasn’t that I’d forgotten how smart and candid Lawrence is but I could barely hear him when I stood next to two or three other reporters at ABC’s crowded and noisy press tour party last month at the Beverly Hilton.) Lawrence explains that networks today will only listen to a high concept pitch. A show has to have an easy to get hook. His was take one of the hottest stars from Friends, Courteney Cox, and cast her as a single mom trying to avoid becoming a cliche cougar.
ABC bought it but that was never the show Lawrence wanted to write and its not what it is now. Cougar Town is a warm, sweet show about a close group of forty-ish Friends.
Lawrence admits the title is a double edged sword. People get it, but a lot of people hate it. He says they tried to find another name, going through suggestions like Sunshine State (it’s set in Florida) and even Family Jewels, although, as Lawrence says, “why not then just call it Balls.”
Call it what ever you want, but watch it when it returns Wednesday at 9:30 on ABC and Citytv. Cox’s old Friends friend Jennifer Aniston guests as a self obsessed shrink. Community returns with an even hotter guest star–Betty White–Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC and Citytv.


  1. Cougar Town is the only new show last year that I PVR’d (well, and FlashForward, but that was just me being stubborn). Smart writing, broad comedy and, being in my late 30s, I’m clearly in the target demographic.

    We’ll see how the Jules-Grayson romance plays out in season two, plus less Travis since he’s in college.

  2. What the hell has happened to my favorite show? I have watched every episode of Cougar Town Season 1 countless times…being a mom of two babies can be isolating, and Jules, Ellie, and the gang became like my imaginary friends…ok, pathetic, but I’m owning it…no shame here. But Season 2? One word…SUCKS! I am sitting here with my glass of red wine during one of the “Make Some Noise” commercial breaks, and I can’t decide what I hate more…the fact that Courteny Cox is bordering on WAY TOO MUCH work on her face, the commercials for horror movies about demon children, or the fact that Cougar Town’s edge has been neutered like some poor dog at the local ASPCA. All the jokes are falling flat, it’s trying too hard, and I if I hear one more stupid nickname from Ellie’s lips (like that’s her new thing…Ellie was the sharpest blade in the bunch last year…she didn’t need a schtick like being the giver of dumb, unfunny nicknames to everyone), then I am going to throw this glass of subpar merlot at the flatscreen and call it a night.

    Arrrgh…this episode just hit rock bottom with me. The pre-commercial credit, the flash of the Cougar Town logo and the rolling Florida state graphic just read, “(badly titled) Cougar Town.”

    LAME! What I loved about Season 1 Cougar Town was that it was not apologizing for what it was or what it was about. It was smart, funny, and fresh. I, as a 43 year old new mom, loved it as my own. This season? A shadow of its former self. I was afraid of this…with the edgy love-hate flirtation of Jules and Grayson entering into a committed relationship and with the transition of Travis (and Dan Byrd’s brilliant straight-man performance) easing out of Jule’s life and into college, Bill Lawrence and the writers of Cougar Town needed to really bring it to keep the momentum going.

    I just want to shake Bill Lawrence and scream, “Come ON! You’re killing me!” Where are the scenes with Bobby in his land boat? Where is Barb? Why is Jules being a clingy tool instead of a sharp, cagey friend/girlfriend to Grayson?

    If this season continues in this vein, I predict that Cougar Town will suffer the same fate as another doomed favorite of mine, “Ugly Betty”….show cancelled.

    Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go watch Season 1 reruns and drink myself into a red wine mini-coma.

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