Cougar Me This

What a shocking age difference, right?

I have no aversion to the romantic comedy format. Show me a quirky heroine, a funny/cocky/cute love interest, a sassy best friend, etc. and I'll generally follow you anywhere. But, while ABC's Cougar Town has all of these things, I just wasn't interested. Why? Because the word "cougar" is in the title.

I've been trying to sit this whole "cougar" thing out since about 2006, but it just won't die. Why does this stupid word live on? The double-standard has been well noted: Men over 40 have been hooking up with younger women for ages, therefore it's sexist to have a derogatory term for women who do the same thing. Maybe the word has staying power precisely because it's been deemed derogatory. Now TV writers are deluding themselves that the word is both funny and controversial. (It's neither.)

I could only assume that a show called Cougar Town would be woefully, painfully, pathetically unfunny as well. But I'm happy to say it's not. Courtney Cox is still a great physical comedian, Christie Miller is more delightfully neurotic than ever, and I love Busy Phillips. I just love her. The three share a lot of fast-paced dialog that makes me laugh in spite of myself...and in spite of some pretty disturbing lines, like, "I used to be young and hot, now I'm just a big pile of old."

It's Monica Gellar and Kim Kelly! Or whatever.

Yes, body insecurity absolutely dominates the conversation, and it's especially hard to swallow coming from the painstakingly preserved Courtney Cox (playing Jules), who is still hotter than most 22-year-olds (at least by conventional standards). If ABC wants to do this cougar thing, why not go with the uber-aggressive sex goddess in leopard print and stilettos who seduces young men for her own pleasure? That stereotype is a lot more fun than the wrinkle-obsessed basket case frantically clinging to her youth.

The most annoying thing about the title is that it doesn't even describe the show. Of the three female leads, Jules is the only single woman over 40, and she's pretty timid about dating due to her recent divorce. She's seeing a few younger guys, but her main love interest is a same-aged neighbor. Why isn't the show just called " Rom-Com Village" or "Finding Herself City"? The age difference between Jules and her younger partners is uneventful, and totally beside the point.

If you're looking for a guilty pleasure, Cougar Town might do it for you. (I, for one, am keeping my season pass.) Just be sure to have a paper and pen handy, because you might want to note your discontent once they start weighing themselves or whatever.

by Juliana Tringali
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4 Comments Have Been Posted

Title way too bad for the show...

Cougartown is definitely a guilty pleasure for me, and sooo much better than I thought it would be based on that ridiculous, stupid, offensive, and downright annoying title. I'd give it a shot, and if you can get around the title and the sadness that is a beautiful woman like Cox actually complaining about her body, it's pretty damn funny.


I think one has to acknowledge that both the word "cougar" and the concept of older women enjoying pursuing younger partners in the way that men have in a very public way for years is controversial. Whether or not the phenomenon is really all that new, I think we are experiencing an unprecedented public dialogue (and level of approval) for the practice and that's what makes the show provocative for so many people.

I don't watch TV, and so have no input on the show's content, obviously...

Paradox, Irony, or an Ambiguous Reality Evasion for Cougars

For as long as I can remember there ave been ironic paradoxes in our culture, our society, and the roles women and men were each expected to play. Women, who by and large had been discriminated against, not gotten close to the glass ceiling, and were expected to be at home, barefoot, pregnant and making cookies, not surprisingly did not build up much money and power, on average, in the way men have what with the male bias working in their favor. Therefore it should have come as no surprise that men, who tend to think with their penis and so often let any sense of morays fall out their ear when their libido gets involved, simply picked up expensive mistresses if they could not acquire trophy wives. But NOW COMES THE IRONIC PART. Men reach their sexual peak in their early 20's (albeit without the experience to satisfy older women without some maternal coaching) and at the same time women tend to not reach their sexual peak until they are in their mid to late 30's or early 40's, at which point sexual desire can make their eyes go funny. In conclusion we have old impotent men (but for Viagra or Cialis or Levitra) teaming up with unsatisfied horny middle aged women who in turn have their eyes on the young vibrant men who have well toned thick musculature everywhere including between the ears (or a good vibrator). So the television show in question, Cougar town, only barely scratches the surface of all the real life script material that is out there to be had. Maybe they didn't want to be realistic. People do love their fantasies. Television has a long way to go, but in real life women have some toe curling flings before hooking up with some old goat sugar daddy. I guess it's pretty amazing how many similarly aged people get married and have a nice long life together, somehow managing to avoid the multitude of beckoning pitfalls along the way.

I've only seen one episode,

I've only seen one episode, but I could not for the life of me figure out why it was called "Cougar Town." It really seems like one of those slapped-on marketing decisions. It's hard to imagine it panning out in the end, when this flash-in-the-pan piece of garbage slang goes the way of MILF.

Courtney Cox: "I want to make a sitcom about a 40-year-old divorced woman getting back into the dating scene."

Executive: "Is she a cougar?"

CC: "Um...I don't really--"

Ex: "Cougar's are <b>in</b>! People can't get enough of cougars!"

CC: "...okay..."

It's reminds me of how Nickelodean (Or The N? Or Noggin? Whatever they're called now) always names their shows things like "Totally Wack!" The difference is those shows are <i>expected</i> to be cancelled after two seasons.

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