Though Courteney Cox followed Friends
with FX's deeply cynical Dirt
, she returns to her comedy roots with ABC's far sunnier Cougar Town
. Created by Kevin Biegel and Bill Lawrence of Scrubs
, the sitcom centers on 41-year-old Jules Cobb, a divorced real estate agent who lives in the Florida suburbs with her 18-year-old son Travis (Dan Byrd, from CW's underrated Aliens in America
), who finds his excitable parents embarrassing. With her form-fitting dresses and sassy gal pals, party girl Laurie (Busy Philipps, Dawson's Creek
) and bossy mom Ellie (Christa Miller, playing a variation on her Scrubs
harpy), Jules is more Desperate Housewife than Friend, and even starts the show by having a fling with a young hottie, though she's just as much of a perfectionist as Monica. If Cougar Town
revolves around women (and wine), the men--Cobb's lovable loser ex Bobby (Brian Van Holt), Ellie's goofball husband Andy (Ian Gomez, The Drew Carey Show
), and bar owner Grayson (Ally McBeal
's Josh Hopkins, the Mike to her Susan)--get plenty of face time.
The series gets off to a bumpy start with shrill acting, lines that are more crude than clever, and an unhealthy relation to body image, like the way Jules licks chocolates before throwing them away. Fortunately, the writing improves, the actors settle down, and chemistry of the "cul-de-sac crew" gels as the year unfurls. Renewed for a second season, the first features Lisa Kudrow as a catty dermatologist, Sheryl Crow as Grayson's age-appropriate girlfriend, and scene-stealing General Hospital vet Carolyn Hennesy as Barb. Don't let the title fool you, this is one sexy comedy that prizes community building over bed hopping. As Lawrence states in the featurette, "No one's ever said the word cougar on Cougar Town." --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Meet Jules Cobb. She’s a successful 40-year-old real-estate agent with a nice house, good friends and a relatively well-adjusted teenage son. While most women in their twenties go through life experiencing the challenges and often humorous pitfalls of meeting men, Jules took on the responsibilities of marriage and raising a son. She’s recently divorced and realises her love life needs some work. However, when it comes to re-entering the dating pool, she struggles to swim. Keep in mind that she’s up against every over tanned and underdressed divorcee prowling her Florida town – a town where women (and men) embrace cougardom – and Jules doesn’t want any part in that. She’s going to do everything she can to prove that, even at 40, women can have it all.