Blame the Name

February 7, 2012

I never planned on visiting “Cougar Town.” When the series premiered in 2009, the idea of a sitcom about Courteney Cox chasing younger men had all the appeal of watching Jay Leno at 10 p.m. In other words, none.

After ignoring the title-challenged series for two years, I had a change of heart when the show was put on hiatus. (“Cougar Town” will have been off the air for eight months when it returns Tuesday.) While in limbo, co-creator Bill Lawrence (“Scrubs,” “Spin City”) started hosting viewing parties across the country, a guerrilla marketing ploy he took on without ABC’s help. Intrigued, I decided to take a trip to “Cougar Town.”

What I found was a show not about cougars — female or feline — but one about best friends, wine and boredom. Cox’s Jules hasn’t even thought about dating a younger man since the series’ first few episodes. “Cougar Town” is more “Scrubs” in suburbia than anything, with quick pacing, running gags and a heightened sense of reality balanced by an inherent sweetness.

Lawrence has said he wishes he could change the name but he doesn’t want to confuse people. I say embrace it. Now that I’ve been to “Cougar Town,” I can’t wait to return.

Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
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