Cougar Town


Cougar Town
Cougar Town
Cougar Town.JPG
Format Sitcom
Comedy-drama
Created by Bill Lawrence
Kevin Biegel
Starring Courteney Cox
Christa Miller
Busy Philipps
Dan Byrd
Josh Hopkins
Ian Gomez
Brian Van Holt
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 46 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Bill Lawrence
Courteney Cox
David Arquette
Camera setup Film, Single camera
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Doozer
Coquette Productions
ABC Studios
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Picture format HD: 1080i/720p
SD: 480i/576i
Audio format Stereo
Original run September 23, 2009 (2009-09-23) – present
External links
Website

Cougar Town is an American television sitcom that premiered on ABC on September 23, 2009. The series focuses on a recently divorced woman in her forties facing the often humorous challenges, pitfalls and rewards of life's next chapter, along with her son, ex-husband, and friends who together make up her dysfunctional, but supportive and caring extended family.[1] The pilot episode of the show was broadcast after Modern Family and the show currently airs on Wednesday nights at 9:30.[2] ABC officially gave the series a full season pickup on October 8, 2009.[3][4]

The show was created by Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel and is produced by Doozer (Lawrence's company) and Coquette Productions in association with ABC Studios. Filming for the series takes place at Culver Studios in Culver City, California.[5] The broadcasting of the pilot episode achieved 11.28 million viewers.[6] The second season of Cougar Town premiered on September 22, 2010 with 8.35 million viewers.[7] On January 10, 2011, Cougar Town was renewed for a third season by ABC.[8] The third season was originally slated to premiere in November 2011,[9] but was later moved to January 2012. However, the third season premiere did not appear on ABC's 2011-2012 mid-season schedule.[10] It was later reported that the third season had received an episode order cut to 15 episodes, and would premiere in March.[11]

Contents

Cast and characters

The series features seven main cast members, with other characters recurring.

Main cast

  • Courteney Cox as Jules Cobb – a recently divorced single mother exploring the truths about dating and aging. Jules spent most of her 20s and 30s married to Bobby and raising a son, Travis. She tried to relive her 20s and make up for lost time by dating younger men, but has since come to terms with the limitations of her age and has had relationships with men her age. She resides in a small town in Florida and is a real estate agent who is successful in business. Because she has been out of the dating world for a while, Jules discovers it is difficult to find love again.[12] A close-up of her driver's license in a season 2 episode reveals her full first name to be Julia and her birth date to be November 15, 1968 (1968-11-15) (age 43).[13]
  • Christa Miller as Ellie Torres – Jules' feisty next door neighbor and best friend. Ellie is married to Andy Torres, and the two have a son named Stan. She is the sarcastic, unapologetic confidante who is often the jealous antagonist of Jules' young assistant and friend, Laurie. She also loves to gossip but feels that Jules' new lifestyle is coming between their friendship.[14]
  • Busy Philipps as Laurie Keller – Jules' young attractive employee who is known for her fun-loving personality. Laurie works with Jules in the same real estate office, as her assistant. She encourages Jules to get out and have some fun and tries to reacquaint her to the world of dating. She considers herself Jules' best friend, although Jules' true best friend Ellie is often jealous of their friendship. Although she has had many short-lived boyfriends and one-night stands, she did enjoy one long-term relationship with a young lawyer named Smith.[15]
  • Brian Van Holt as Bobby Cobb – Jules' ex-husband who currently lives on his boat in a parking lot, which makes him legally homeless. Bobby is a classic under-achiever who'll test Jules' patience as they attempt to raise their teenage son, Travis. He spent most of their marriage touring as an unsuccessful golfer, and now spends his time cutting the grass at his son's high school or giving golf lessons. His only means of transportation is a well-worn golf cart. He frequently refers to Jules as "J-Bird".[16]
  • Dan Byrd as Travis Cobb – Jules' and Bobby's son, who is a senior in high school at the start of the series, but is now attending a local college. He loves both of his parents although is constantly embarrassed by both of them. At school, he constantly deals with humiliation from his friends and classmates. He is generally supportive of his mother, but feels that her dating exploits cause him embarrassment. After dealing with his mom's real estate ads around town and his dad's new job as his school's grass cutter, his father helps him realize not to worry about what other people think.[17]
  • Ian Gomez as Andy Torres – Ellie's husband who is also Jules' next door neighbor. Andy is a devoted husband to Ellie and also a loving father to their son, Stan. He loves his coffee. He and Jules' ex-husband Bobby were best friends before the divorce, and Andy still spends a lot of time with Bobby.[18]
  • Josh Hopkins as Grayson Ellis – a bar owner, and Jules' other neighbor. Grayson enjoys dating younger women and rubbing it in Jules' face. Grayson, like Jules, is also newly divorced, but unlike Jules, he embraces his bachelor and single lifestyle. However, he revealed that he wanted to have kids but his wife didn't want to have children with him, a fact that becomes more painful when he learns that she and the man she left Grayson for are now expecting a child.[19] He unintentionally revealed his interest in Jules to Bobby and Andy at Thanksgiving. In Episode 21, "Letting You Go," Grayson comforts Jules as she deals with the prospect of Travis leaving for college, and the pair finally kiss. The next episode begins with the pair waking up in bed together. For this episode, they consider the notion of "friends with benefits" before deciding that they want more and finally begin officially dating.

Recurring cast

  • Carolyn Hennesy as Barb Coman – a man-hungry older cougar who works in real estate along side Jules. She usually appears briefly to deliver a lascivious one-liner. As Jules observes in one episode,[20] "do you just follow me around, waiting to say things?"
  • Bob Clendenin as Tom – Jules' widowed neighbor who expresses his attraction for her in weird ways, makes wine in his garage, and is always doing things for Jules' and the gang without getting anything back in an attempt to become part of their group. He follows the gang to Hawaii, but is not noticed until the end of their trip.
  • Nick Zano as Josh (Season 1) – a younger man who had dated Jules, but who she felt wanted a more serious relationship than she did. Later Jules decided to break up with him due to his desire for a serious relationship. The actor Nick Zano left the show due to his offer on Melrose Place, which was later cancelled.
  • Spencer Locke as Kylie – Travis' girlfriend at the start of the series. Travis loses his virginity to Kylie, but the two later break up after they both cheat on each other with Travis kissing Heather Spangler and Kylie kissing Joey Spangler. The couple later reconciles and continues to date into Season 2, even though Kylie reveals that she no longer wants to be exclusive with Travis.[21]
  • Ryan Devlin as Smith Frank – a young lawyer and Laurie's boyfriend. In Season 2, Smith breaks up with Laurie after she admits to Jules that she is in love with him and he realizes he doesn't feel the same way.
  • Barry Bostwick as Roger Frank - a wealthy businessman and Smith's father. He strongly disapproves of Laurie, receives golfing lessons from Bobby, and eventually buys "Penny Can" from both of them.
  • LaMarcus Tinker as Kevin – Travis' college roommate and friend. Travis annoys Kevin when they first meet, as he's trying to find his way in college. However, Travis earns Kevin's respect and they become good friends.
  • Collette Wolfe as Kirsten (Season 2)[22] – Travis' new, slightly older girlfriend, whom he met in his first semester of college. Travis subsequently proposed to her, but she immediately rejected him and has not been seen since.

Synopsis

The first season premiere episode shows Jules while she examines her naked body in the mirror for signs of aging. Jules, now divorced from her husband Bobby, tries to re-enter the dating world and relate to her young assistant Laurie. Jules' best friend and neighbor Ellie tries to prevent her from going out while her son is constantly being embarrassed by both of his parents. The show was originally about older women ("cougars") dating younger men, as Jules begins dating Josh (Nick Zano) and Barb is often seen "hunting". Jules' relationship with Josh ends when he tells her that he loves her and Jules does not feel the same way. Later Jules begins a relationship with Jeff (Scott Foley) a client who infuriates Jules with his indecision. Her relationship with Jeff ends when the relationship becomes too serious for Jules who is not looking for anything too serious so soon after her divorce, whereas Jeff is ready to settle down as he has been 'playing the field' for a long time. After her relationship with Jeff ends, Jules falls into bed with her ex-husband Bobby (Brian Van Holt). This causes Bobby's feelings for Jules to stir even more and he later tells her that he wants her back. Jules, however, tells him that she loves him but 'not that way anymore' and that their happy ending is them as friends, raising their son Travis (Dan Byrd) together. Toward the end of the season, the simmering feelings between Jules and neighbor Grayson (Josh Hopkins) boil to the surface, and the two begin a relationship.

Episodes

Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release date
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 24 September 23, 2009 May 19, 2010 August 17, 2010[23] September 27, 2010 December 1, 2010[24]
2 22 September 22, 2010 May 25, 2011[25] August 30, 2011[26] November 7, 2011[27][28] November 2, 2011[29]
3 15[30] March 2012[31] TBA TBA TBA TBA

Production

Conception

Cougar Town was created by Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel. Following the cancellation of Dirt, Courteney Cox wanted to return to broadcast television and do another comedy.[32] Lawrence, who is best known as the creator of Scrubs and Spin City, was approached by Cox about "wanting to do something."[32] While developing the concept of the show, Lawrence thought he would do a tryout with Cox on Scrubs,[33] by guest-starring in the first three episodes of the eighth season.[34] Lawrence and Biegel, who worked together writing episodes on Scrubs, came up with the concept of the show with Cox as a 40-year-old, newly single woman because he thought that it was a real "zeitgeist-y topic."[34] He drew inspiration from his real-life wife, actress Christa Miller who also stars in the show as Ellie;[34][35] Miller had previously worked with Cox as part of the story-arc of the three part Scrubs try-out. Lawrence told Cox that the show could be "high-risk, high-reward," although Cox decided to go for it.[33] He added, "I rarely have this much trepidation because usually the only person I could let down is myself. I want to make it work for her."[33] In addition, Lawrence was also a staff writer on Friends during the show's first season.[34]

Before he pitched the idea to ABC, other titles for the show included 40 and Single and The Courteney Cox Show,[36] which was eventually named Cougar Town because Lawrence thought that "the title is noisy and that people will be aware of this show."[33] He felt that the risk of the title was that the audience wouldn't watch it because people would say "...the title bums me," commenting: "it's a risky roll of the dice ... We don't call women "cougars" in it. We certainly don't use the word beyond the unbelievably big cheat that the high school mascot is a cougar."[33] Lawrence believed that with the subsequent scripts they'd be doing and the re-shoots in the pilot, the show would be "creatively satisfying."[33] After he pitched the idea to ABC, they asked him to have a pilot ready to shoot by the end of January 2009.[34] Lawrence and Biegel together wrote the script with Lawrence, who has written and directed many episodes on Scrubs, directing the episode.[37] In casting beyond Cox, Lawrence created the character of Ellie for his wife, Christa Miller. Miller felt that her character started off "gleefully" and that her husband would write down little things that she would say, in which she believes is the reason her character "came out of that."[33]

Filming

The series takes place at the fictional town of Gulf Haven in Sarasota County, Florida ,[38] and is filmed at Culver Studios in Culver City, California .[5] Lawrence serves as executive producer/writer/director, Kevin Biegel as writer/co-executive producer, and Courteney Cox and David Arquette as executive producers. Cougar Town is produced by Doozer Productions and Coquette Productions and is aired weekly on ABC. The sitcom is filmed in the single-camera format.

Music

The original theme and music for Cougar Town is composed by singer-songwriter WAZ and the production team Golden-Sgro.[39] Bill Lawrence stated; "As a show composer WAZ brings something incredibly special. He has the ability to make score music sound current, like it was just lifted off the radio, and yet, it still services the show perfectly ... As a group we're confident that WAZ will be the next singer/songwriter that we try to claim credit for. He's that good."[39] Songs such as Phoenix's "Lisztomania," Foghat's "Slow Ride," and La Roux's "Bulletproof (Remix)" were all used in the pilot episode.[39] In the second episode, Beyoncé Knowles's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" and Keren DeBerg's "Today" as well as "Tell Me" were used on the show.[39]

Opening sequence

Cougar Town's opening sequence features a map of Florida showing Sarasota County, Florida.[40] In the Season 1 episodes, the title sequence zooms in from the outline of Florida to show Sarasota with a "Welcome to Cougar Town" sign.[40] The producers wanted something different for the setting of the show and decided to include a map of the show's setting in the sequence, commenting: "Everyone's in New York or Los Angeles. I think there's a lot of fun to be had in that area and with those characters."[38] Jeanne Corcoran, the director of the Sarasota County Film commission, spoke to the show's production assistants to be able to use the locality as the setting as well as including it on the opening sequence.[40] For the second season, each episode (excluding the second episode) replaced the 'Welcome to' subtitle to a reference regarding the "bad" title of the show (e.g., "(Badly Titled) Cougar Town", "It's Okay to Watch a Show Called Cougar Town"). In the second season's finale an extended opening sequence was used, featuring a map of Hawaii. In that episode, the title reference was "We will never stop mocking the title...". The show's title will be changed for the third season, although it has been announced that the referential subtitles will remain.[41]

Episode format

All but two of the episodes have been named after songs by Tom Petty who is from Florida. In one episode Jules describes Josh as among the top 10–15 people she has met, which includes "Tom Petty and Colonel Sanders".

Potential name change

In May 2010, it was reported that the show's producers were considering a name change because the plot had strayed so far from its initial premise. Stephen McPherson, who headed ABC Entertainment, was said to be "on board" with a name change should the producers decide to go ahead.[42] Research also showed that many viewers who ignored the show based on its name actually enjoyed it after seeing a screening of an episode.[43] However the name change was scrapped and retained the title Cougar Town for the second season. Bill Lawrence later stated that two potential titles that they wanted to change to were declined by ABC - "Sunshine State" (declined because ABC did not want two shows with 'sunshine' in their title) and "Grown Ups" (declined because of the film with the same name).[44][45]

On May 27, 2011, Bill Lawrence announced through his Twitter account that the name of the show will change for season 3 with input from the fans, but did not give any further details.[46] In June, 2011, Courteney Cox hinted that one of the frontrunners for the new title is Friends with Beverages, but stated that "there are still other titles on the board."[47] As of September, 2011, the possible new title is yet to be announced, but Lawrence tweeted on September 9, 2011, that "Those that loved title "Cougar Town"... Not around for much longer...", hinting that the title would be changed.[48]

Reception

In the USA the audience dropped from 11 million to 6 million over the 24 episode run. In Australia the audience dropped from 1.3 to 1 million in one week after the chief executive of the Australian channel showing it (Seven Network) described it as a 'shit show' that he could get large audiences for, by promoting it.[49] In the UK, the first season aired on LIVING, and was shown in double-bills on Tuesday nights at 9pm. The season premiered on March 30, 2010 to a strong 802,000 viewers and concluded on June 15, 2010 to a series low of 593,000 viewers. However, the entire season was the most-watched show on LIVING, averaging 769,000 viewers.

Seasonal ratings

Season Timeslot (EST) Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1
Wednesday 9:30 pm
September 23, 2009 May 19, 2010 2009-2010 #57 7.34 [50]
2 September 22, 2010[51] May 25, 2011 2010-2011 #67 7.34[52]
3
Tuesday 8:30 pm
Mid-season 2012 TBA 2011-2012 TBA TBA

Broadcast

Cougar Town premiered on September 23, 2009 in the Wednesday 9:30 pm timeslot. The pilot episode aired between the other two pilots, Modern Family and Eastwick. The series premiered with 11.4 million viewers, coming first in its timeslot.[53][54] The second episode scored 9.14 million viewers, although it dropped 2.14 viewers from the pilot, as well as other shows that night such as Modern Family and Eastwick.[55]

Awards and nominations

Award Ceremony Year Category Nominee Result
Culturish Television Awards 2010 Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Busy Philipps Nominated
Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Lisa Kudrow Nominated
2011 Best Comedy Series Nominated
Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Courteney Cox Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Busy Philipps Nominated
Glamour Magazine's Women of the Year Awards 2010 US TV Actress Courteney Cox Won
Golden Derby TV Awards 2010 Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Lisa Kudrow Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Courteney Cox Won
Golden Globe Awards 2009 Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy Nominated
People's Choice Awards 2009 Favorite New Comedy Series Nominated
2010 Favorite TV Comedy Actress Courteney Cox Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards 2011 Best Actress in a Comedy Series Courteney Cox Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Busy Phillips Won

Critical reception

Cougar Town opened to a mixed reviews from critics. Metacritic gave the series 49 out of 100 based on the pilot episode, from the 21 reviews it collected, and a user score of 4.5 out of 10 based on 46 votes.[56] Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly gave the pilot episode a B, commenting that the show mixes "clinical realism (when did you last hear a C-section scar used as a punchline?) with ridiculous slang (a new boob job is referred to as gorilla heads), Cougar Town is so brashly vulgar, it's endearing."[57] Tucker also stated that it "is so single-minded that this obsession itself becomes funny."[57] Variety stated that the show "does feed into the dual sense of insecurity and self-empowerment that women harbor about getting older ... though, the execution here is consistently about as subtle as a kick to the groin."[58] Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara said that the "maddening thing about Cougar Town is that it isn't completely unfunny or uncharming."[59] Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger feels that "Cougar Town is still finding itself, but it's already much better than the title would suggest [...] the show "has to walk a very careful line between making fun of the cougar concept and embracing it" although based on the two episodes "Cougar Town is self-aware enough to pull that off."[60] USA Today was also favorable saying that the show has "the right cast and good writing."[61]

Many critics have speculated that show will only have a narrow target audience: older women; with Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times stating that the show's "plot description alone could drive away male viewers"[62] while the Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara opined that it "is fun and exciting for women over 40."[59] Despite speculation, the show has done well with young males[63] and young adults in all key demographics.[64]

In contrast, Jezebel disapproved stating, "It's clichéd, it's lame, it's undignified. It smacks of predatory desperation."[65] Ryan Brockington of New York Post compared the show to Samantha Who?.[66] The Daily News' David Hinckley opined that the show is "a waste of Cox's comic talents."[67] In The Irish Times Kate Holmquist writes that "Cox is both a symbol and a red light warning for everything that is wrong with the Hollywood portrayal of middle-aged women, who are rarely wise or strong or naturally aged" and states that she is "the female version of the pervert in a dirty raincoat".[68]

In contrast to the previous year, season 2 received more positive reviews from critics. The second season currently holds an average score of 75 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 7 reviews, indicating 'generally favorable reviews'.[69] Tim Stack from Entertainment Weekly regarded the season in a positive light, citing that "very few shows can get away with genuine moments of emotion while also incorporating the phrase 'dead-baby tacos.'" Hitfix writer Alan Sepinwall also gave a positive review of the show, saying that "midway through the first season the writers realized their cast was so funny together that the wisest course was to just put everyone together as often as possible. This is still the show that Cougar Town became at mid-season last year."[70]

References

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