DVD Review: Cougar Town: The Complete First Season
Release Date: August 17, 2010
Distributor: ABC Studios
· Courteney Cox
· Christa Miller
· Busy Phillips
· Dan Byrd
· Ian Gomez
· Brian Van Holt
· Josh Hopkins
· IMDb: Cougar Town
by Robert Bell
Published: August 20, 2010
Cougar Town is a bit of an odd one: being unashamedly dorky in its depiction of characters genuinely unconcerned with anything hip, while simultaneously featuring random specified humour for a slightly more discerning audience. Think of it as Scrubs (not a surprise since it’s another Bill Lawrence series) for moderately educated middle-aged women. Indeed the title is somewhat sexist, seemingly advocating a double-standard that imbues an antiquated cultural ethic of youthful female beauty as male signifier, but the series, and everyone involved, are very much in on the joke, making comedy from the status quo, simultaneously performing it to appease those that just want to see Monica from Friends.
Here, Courteney Cox stars as Jules Cobb, a recently divorced woman of 40 with a teenage son named Travis (Dan Byrd), trying to embrace the dating scene after two decades away from it. When the series starts, she dates a lot of younger men in a bid to embrace the title and likely pitch plot (a hook to get buzzword friendly, ossified executives to listen to the pitch), but as things progress, this show about friends in their 40’s finds its idiosyncratic family routine core.
When not flirting with her similarly single neighbour Grayson (Josh Hopkins), she works as a real estate agent with her dippy gal pal, Laurie (Busy_Philipps), and drinks copious amounts of wine with her caustic friend Ellie (Christa Miller). Incidentally, Jules’ white trash ex-husband Bobby (Brian Van Holt) is best buds with Ellie’s husband Andy (Ian Gomez), bringing the entire quirky gang full circle.
Ryan Devlin, Sheryl Crow and Scott Foley show up for a few episodes each to act as prospective love interest for varying cast members, but, for the most part, the show is about this gang hanging and insulting each other in creative, but loving, ways.
While Courteney Cox does a bang-up job of playing the straight man, giving more of the dorky Type-A antics that worked on Friends, it’s Busy Philipps and Christa Miller that generate all of the laughs. Philipps does ditzy white trash blonde hilariously, simultaneously making self-aware comments about her lack of class and delivering convincing Kelly Bundy-esque lines of idiocy. Jules and Ellie make a pun about Grayson being “pursy-whipped”, which then leads to many other purse and pussy related puns, while Laurie pipes up excitedly exclaiming, “pursy-cat.” It’s a joke that could have been lame, but Philipps makes it work. Similarly, Miller has a knack for dry acerbic humour, which any Scrubs viewer already knows.
Memorable moments from season one involve Jules re-creating “The Shawshank Redemption” in her backyard to get the men away from watching “Rudy”, as well as Jules new Japanese toilet that yells at her and cleans her “hoo.” Mostly it’s the one-liners and embarrassing moments that make the show work, with the gang drinking boxed wine out of vases and mustard jars on Bobby’s land boat, or going out of their way to embarrass Travis in front of his new girlfriend.
It’s not for everyone, but those that get the humour get their fill in just about every episode. The 3-disc DVD set includes some deleted scenes and brief bloopers, along with an awkward golf featurette with Brian Van Holt.
More amusing are the “Ask Barb” blogs, where she crudely answers questions of a sexual nature and the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” sketch, “Saber-Tooth Tiger Town”, where Shirley Jones talks about fucking a younger man in the ass while Cloris Leachman beds men young enough to be her grandchildren.