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Cougar Town





PluggedIn Staff
Steven Isaac

TV Series Review

At the age of 40, real estate agent Jules Cobb has an 18-year-old son named Travis, a slacker ex-husband named Bobby and self-esteem that’s flagging as her body does the same. So—seeing as how this is TV—when her womanizing neighbor, Grayson, suggests she couldn’t bed a younger man to save her life, she takes on the “challenge.”

Naturally, Travis finds his mother and her newly acquired nearly adolescent “catch” in the living room engaged in sexual activities of the oral sort. (They’re visually implied.)

This scene sets Cougar Town’s tone: sexually charged one-liners and scenes coupled with alcohol and profanity-laced jibes. Travis is usually shown to be wiser than all the adults—which should be no surprise considering the fact that Jules’ biggest goal is to relive the wild youth she missed out on by having a baby “way too young.”

(Since when is 22 a horrible age to be married with children?)

Episode Reviews

CougarTown: November252009

“Here Comes My Girl”

Before the meal at Jules’ first post-divorce Thanksgiving celebration, she learns that Travis intends to lose his virginity … the next day. Immediately she launches into a “please be ready emotionally” speech and asks if he should put another condom on the rolling pin for practice.

There’s more.

Jules wants Travis and his squeeze, Kylie, to know how “cool” she is with their sexual decisions (“Oh, good, you’re on the bed!” she says when she finds them in his room), and she wants them to use protection carefully. To demonstrate, she tries to break a water-filled condom in front of them. (It’s a balloon. And it won’t pop.)

Her “be safe” message doesn’t get through. Her “isn’t it fun that my son’s becoming a man” idea does, however.

Meanwhile, Ellie’s life goal is to pit friends against one another and then sit back to watch the catfights. Shoplifting is justified. Bobby and Grayson are so shallow that if they even approach having a real conversation, they shout, “Whoa! Gettin’ deep alert!” and have another beer or two to change the subject. Jules and Travis’ mother/son boundaries are ridiculously blurred. Mild profanities and God’s name are used throughout.

Considering all of this, it surprised me to read executive producer Kevin Biegel’s thoughts on his sitcom: “I’ve always been surrounded by very, very strong women—my mother, my sister, my wife—and I always wanted to write something that would both honor them and take advantage of their stories.”

Then he said this: “I love that our show is about women confidentially and honestly discussing aging, dating and life, and if I can promise you anything it’s that we won’t pull any punches and gloss over some of the uglier, harsher truths.”

That’s not a promise. That’s a threat. It would be so much better if he treated said truths with a lot more honesty and honor. (And dignity and maturity, too.)

CougarTown: November182009

“Two Gunslingers”

Scriptwriters for this episode don’t even bother to weave their tawdry innuendoes into some semblance of a story. They just let loose the barrage in a jumbled stream of consciousness.

That consciousness includes see-through swimsuits, jokes about sexual conquests (“7 girls in 3 days”), “tramp stink,” Travis “coming out” so he can “make it” with a girl, kissing cousins (of the same gender), masturbation in public and porn.

In three scenes at least one of the ladies is topless. (Pillows and bubbling hot tub water obscures explicit views.) Champagne is used to try to get drunk. And the “ladies” threaten to beat the tar out of a rival. “B‑‑ch” practically replaces “the” as the most-used word in the English language.

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Steven Isaac

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