Cougar Town

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Cougar Town
Cougar Town 2009 logo.svg
Format Sitcom
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
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 89 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Bill Lawrence
Courteney Cox
David Arquette
Ric Swartzlander
Blake McCormick
Producer(s) Mark J. Greenberg
Thea Mann
Sanjay Shah
Blake McCormick
Ryan Koh
Sam Laybourne
Mary Fitzgerald
Patrick Schumacker
Justin Halpern
Lewis Abel
Camera setup Film, Single camera
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Doozer
Coquette Productions
ABC Studios
Distributor Disney–ABC Domestic Television
Broadcast
Original channel ABC (2009–12)
TBS (2013–present)
Picture format HDTV: 1080i/720p
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 and moved to TBS in early 2013.[1] Set in the fictional town of Gulfhaven, Florida (nicknamed "Cougar Town" since its high school teams are the Cougars[2]), 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 wine-loving[3] friends who together make up her dysfunctional, but supportive and caring extended family.[4] The pilot episode of the show was broadcast after Modern Family. ABC officially gave the series a full season pickup on October 8, 2009.[5][6]

The show was created by Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel and is produced by Doozer and Coquette Productions in association with ABC Studios. Filming for the series takes place at Culver Studios in Culver City, California.[7] The broadcasting of the pilot episode achieved 11.28 million viewers.[8] The second season of Cougar Town premiered on September 22, 2010 with 8.35 million viewers.[9] The third season, consisting of 15 episodes, was originally slated to premiere in November 2011[10] but due to ABC's promotion of the ill-fated Man Up! it premiered on February 14, 2012.[11][12] Following the third season finale, it was announced that TBS had purchased the rights to the series for an additional 15 episode season, to air in 2013, with options for additional seasons. On March 25, 2013, TBS renewed the series for a fifth season of 13 episodes, which premiered on January 7, 2014.[13][14] On May 10, 2014, TBS renewed Cougar Town for a sixth and final season, expected to debut in 2015.[15]

Cast and characters[edit]

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

Main cast[edit]

  • 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. Because she has been out of the dating world for a while, Jules discovers it is difficult to find love again.[16] At first, she tried to make up for lost time by dating younger men, thus becoming a "cougar", but the show quickly took a different turn as the character began to pursue men her own age. This included dating her divorced neighbor Grayson, whom she married in Season 3. She resides in Gulfhaven, Florida and is a successful real estate agent. 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 (1968-11-15) November 15, 1968 (age 45).[17] Her self-centered, demanding behavior is usually overlooked by her friends and family, who balance it with her generosity and basic decency. Gregarious and optimistic, she's also an unapologetic anti-intellectual who loves wine and always drinks it out of an over-sized, named glass (Big Joe, Big Carl, Big Kimo, Big Lou, Big Tippi, and Big Chuck) that she quickly replaces once broken. She is often visited by her father, Chick, who is a widower since his wife, Jules' mother, died several years prior to the series. An only child, she often struggles with insecurity and abandonment issues.
  • Christa Miller as Ellie Torres – Jules' feisty next door neighbor and best friend. A former corporate attorney turned stay-at-home mother, Ellie is married to Andy Torres, and the two have a son named Stan. More intelligent than the others, she is the sarcastic, unapologetic confidante who takes pleasure in teasing Jules' young assistant and friend, Laurie, and to a lesser extent, Bobby and Grayson.[18] Ellie's hard-polished guardedness belies a fierce loyalty. Ellie is a somewhat reluctant mother, demanding a nanny, and is the best athlete among the women. She is usually quite dominant over Andy, who adores her.
  • 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. Prior to Jules' relationship with Grayson, Laurie encouraged Jules to get out and have some fun and tried to reacquaint her to the world of dating. She considers herself Jules' best friend, although Jules' true best friend is Ellie. Ellie frequently calls her "Jellybean", and the two have developed a grudging respect and even a friendship as time has passed. Laurie has survived a rough childhood in foster care and is working to mature and figure out how to be a functional grown-up. 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[19] and later developed a long-distance relationship with Wade, a soldier in Afghanistan. She runs a successful cake shop. During season 4 it is well known that she has a crush on Travis, and they finally get together at the end of the season. As of the season 5 final episode it was discovered that she is pregnant with Travis' baby after Jules asks her to pee in a cup for a health insurance check up after Ellie spiked Jules' wine with "happy-pills".
  • 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 he is frequently embarrassed by both of them. In high school, he dealt with humiliation from his friends and classmates but has made friends at college. He is generally supportive of his mother, but finds her parenting style a bit too smothering. After dealing with his mom's real estate ads around town and his dad's new job as his former high school's grass cutter, his father helps him realize not to worry about what other people think. Spending a lot of time with his parents and their friends, he often flirts with Laurie and is shown to have a crush on her.[20] At the end of season 4 he finally gets together with Laurie. During season 5 their relationship is shown to be in constant competition with Jules and Graysons, to which it shows nothing bad. During the season finale it was discovered that he is the father of Laurie's unborn child. He is ecstatic to find out.
  • Josh Hopkins as Grayson Ellis – Owner of Gray's Pub, he lives across the street from Jules. Like Jules, he is newly divorced at the start of the series, but unlike Jules, he embraced his newly single lifestyle. Early on, Grayson enjoyed dating younger women and rubbing it in Jules' face. Eventually, he revealed that he wanted to have kids but his ex-wife didn't, a fact that becomes more painful when he learns that she and the man she left Grayson for are now expecting a child.[21] 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. They consider the notion of "friends with benefits" before deciding that they want more, and they finally begin officially dating. In Season 3, Grayson formally proposed marriage to Jules which she accepted. He discovers in the third season episode "Something Big" that he has fathered a daughter, Tampa (who is coincidentally Laurie's goddaughter), through a previous relationship. Grayson is a former model who plays guitar, and often makes up songs about the group. He is nicknamed "Dime-Eyes" by Ellie, who believes his eyes are too small for his face.
  • Ian Gomez as Andy Torres – Ellie's husband who is also Jules' next door neighbor. Andy, an investment advisor, 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 are best friends, and Andy is shown to have a hero worship for Bobby.[22] In Season 4, he discovers he is the mayor of Gulfhaven, a position he forgot that he was up for and which appears to have no real authority.
  • Brian Van Holt as Bobby Cobb – Jules' ex-husband who lives on his boat in a parking lot, which makes him legally homeless. Bobby married Jules after she became pregnant with their son, Travis. He had numerous extramarital affairs, which led to Jules divorcing him prior to the events of the pilot episode, although they still share a close friendship. A semi-professional golfer, Bobby gives golf lessons and mows the lawn at Travis' former high school. He drives a well-worn golf cart. He frequently refers to Jules as "J-Bird". He also has invented a game, Penny Can, which is featured in several episodes.[23] As of the Season 4 finale, he is dating Lisa Riggs, his best friend and surfing buddy, but Lisa does not appear in Season 5 and no explanation is given for her absence.

Recurring cast[edit]

  • Bob Clendenin as Tom Gazelian – 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 is frequently found to be peering into Jules' kitchen window, unnoticed by Jules and/or the gang until he says something. He follows the gang to Hawaii, but is not noticed until the end of their trip. In "Lover's Touch" (Season 3, Episode 3) Tom's last name, Gazelian, was revealed as well as the fact that he is a neurosurgeon, two details about his life that he was upset to discover nobody knew. He also mentions that he has a son in the Marines and a daughter currently attending law school. In Season 4, he became a member of the group and frequently accompanies them wherever they go.
  • Carolyn Hennesy as Barb Coman – a man-hungry older cougar who is a competitor of Jules in real estate. She usually appears briefly to deliver a lascivious one-liner. As Jules observes in one episode,[24] "do you just follow me around, waiting to say things?" In Season 3 it is revealed that Barb is now married to Roger Frank (father of Laurie's Season 2 boyfriend), a possible reference to the show no longer being about 'Cougars'.
  • Ken Jenkins as Chick – Jules' father who is a keen lover of horses and whose favourite holiday is Halloween. Chick marries Grayson and Jules in the season three finale after becoming ordained as a minister online. In season four he is diagnosed with Alzheimers' disease, after complaining about his memory worsening for some time.
  • 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 (Season 1 and 2) – 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. They then break up for good as Travis goes to college.[25]
  • Ryan Devlin as Smith Frank (Season 1 and 2) – a young lawyer and Laurie's one-time 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. Still, he represents the longest relationship Laurie had on the series until she started dating Travis.
  • 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. In Season 3, he marries Barb Coman. Also in season 3, we learn that Roger is the mayor of Gulf Haven.
  • 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)[26] – Travis' new, slightly older girlfriend, whom he met in his first semester of college. When she revealed she was moving away, Travis impulsively proposed to her, but she immediately rejected him and has not been seen since.
  • Sheryl Crow as Sara Kramer (Season 1)[27] – a likeable and sexy wine vendor who begins a semi-serious relationship with Grayson after challenging his tendency to target younger, naive girls for affection. Ellie begins a clandestine friendship with Sara to avoid upsetting Jules and the rest of the gang. Sara breaks up with Grayson after it becomes clear that he also has feeling for Jules.
  • David Clayton Rogers as Matt (Season 1 and 2) – Matt appears in the pilot episode who Jules meets at a bar and spills wine over. Matt is Jules's lover and is the first person she sleeps with after her divorce and therefore becoming a 'cougar'. The character of Matt appears in season two as a friend of Grayson's unknowingly to Jules, when Grayson learns that they have slept together.
  • Gloria Garayua as Rosa (Season 2) – Stan's babysitter employed by Ellie and Andy to care for their son. Rosa was a recurring character often mentioned and seen during season two.
  • Sarah Chalke as Angie LeClaire (Season 3) – Travis' Photography teacher at his University in Florida. She becomes a love interest for Bobby after Travis shows her photos of him for one of his assignments. Jules sets up a planned date for Bobby and Angie involving Grayson, Laurie, Travis, Tom and Andy.
  • Nicole Sullivan as Lynn Mettler (Season 3 and 4) – Jules's new therapist whom she goes to for advice about her engagement to Grayson. Jules also uses therapy with Lynn as a punishment which she uses on Grayson, Ellie and Bobby.
  • Edwin Hodge as Wade (Season 3 and 4) – Laurie's boyfriend in a long-distance relationship. He is a soldier stationed in Afghanistan. When he finally comes home, however, their relationship is short-lived.
  • Briga Heelan as Holly (Season 3) – One of Grayson's former lovers from when he first became single, whom he recently found out has a daughter that is his.
  • Shawn Parikh as Sig (Season 3) – Travis' new house mate, who doesn't like the fact that Travis' family shows up at any given moment.
  • Sawyer Ever as Stan Torres (Season 3 and 4) – Known as the devil baby, his whereabouts never seems to be known to his parents. He likes to sneak out of the house with a hammer and smash the neighbors landscaping lights.
  • Maria Thayer as Riggs (Season 4) – Bobby's surfing buddy whom he initially treats as "one of the guys" but later develops an attraction for, and the two begin a relationship. After a few appearances, her first name was revealed to be Lisa.

Other guest stars have included Jennifer Aniston in season two as Glenn, Jules' therapist, Lisa Kudrow in season one as a mean dermatologist, Matthew Perry in season 5 as the millionaire that proposes to Jules, and David Arquette appeared in season three. Danny Pudi also made a brief appearance as his character Abed Nadir from Community, tying into a reference made on the other show about Abed appearing on Cougar Town.

Many guest stars were either regulars or had recurring roles on Scrubs such as Bob Clendenin, Sarah Chalke, Sam Lloyd, Michael McDonald, Scott Foley, and Ken Jenkins to name a few. The final scene of season 3's "A One Story Town" featured several regulars from Scrubs including an uncredited cameo by Zach Braff.[28]

Synopsis[edit]

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.

The second season follows the development of Jules and Grayson's relationship. In "The Damage You've Done", Grayson and Laurie decide to tell Jules that they had slept together in season 1, leaving Jules angry at Laurie, who had known that she was attracted to Grayson. However, her anger at Laurie dissipates when Laurie's boyfriend Smith breaks up with her, having realized that he didn't feel the same way about her as she did about him. Later in the season, Laurie rediscovers her love of partying and one-night stands. After Bobby helps Stan get into a great preschool, Andy and Ellie reverse their previous decision to revoke his title as Stan's emergency legal guardian in the event of Jules, Andy, and Ellie's deaths. Travis begins college, making friends with his roommate Kevin and starting to date a slightly older girl named Kirsten. When Kirsten gets a job in Chicago, he proposes to her in an attempt to get her to stay, which she rejects. Travis falls into a depressive funk, stops going to college, and moves into Bobby's boat (while Bobby moves into an apartment). Finally, he impulsively moves to Hawaii and gets a job cleaning surfboards, forcing everyone else to follow him. At the same time, Grayson brings up the idea of having kids with Jules, who tells him she can't even consider it because of her stress over what her only child is doing with his life. However, when Laurie convinces Travis to not let romantic feelings influence his life and to come back to Florida, her joy causes Jules to reconsider, and she tells Grayson, "I will go on any adventure with you."

The third season begins with Grayson proposing to Jules in the season premier. With the help of the Cul-de-sac Crew, Grayson tricks Jules into being less predictable in her day-to-day life, but when she fails, Grayson is able to plan ahead and propose to her outside at night under a teepee'd tree. The season follows the ups and downs of their engagement, including their many trips to a new psychiatrist (played by guest star Nicole Sullivan). Laurie guilts Jules into letting her be Co-Maid of Honor (Co-Mo's!) with Ellie, much to Ellie's dismay. Travis gets into a skateboarding accident while being pulled by Dog Travis, and goes into the hospital. His injury causes him to wear a helmet for six episodes. Laurie falls for a guy via twitter, a soldier from Iraq named Wade. Meanwhile, Bobby falls for Travis photography professor Angie (recurring guest star Sarah Chalke). In "A One Story Town", Jules and the gang decide Bobby needs help with Angie so they start "operation kiss-the-girl". With help from Ted and his a'capella group, they pull it off and Bobby and Angie get together. (This episode also signifies a special "Scrubs" Cast Reunion including: Christa Miller, Sarah Chalke, Bob Clendenin, Ken Jenkins, Sam Lloyd, Robert Maschio, and Zach Braff). When one of Grayson's old hook-ups, Holly, returns with big news... that Grayson has a baby! Although Jules is extremely upset at first, she comes to terms with the fact that baby girl Tampa will be in Grayson's life from now on. Bobby soon finds out that Angie is cheating on him, although she says they never agreed to be exclusive, and they break up. Ellie's mom is introduced, and although Ellie tries to tell the Crew, no one will believe that her mother is a sociopath. When a hurricane strikes Gulfhaven, Travis and Laurie get closer than ever when she can't decide what to do about her army boyfriend, Wade. Although he has feelings for her, Travis wants to see Laurie happy so tells her to try to make it work with Wade. The hurricane destroys Grayson's house causing him to move in with Jules. Grayson wants his and Jules's relationship to be more private and suggests that they elope in Napa, but Jules invites the whole group. While there, Travis and Laurie almost kiss but are interrupted when her boyfriend, Wade comes back from Iraq to see her. The night of Travis's 21st birthday he gets drunk, strips, and tells Laurie that he has feelings for her and she is being unfair to him. Because Grayson's daughter isn't with them, they decide not to elope, but get married closer to home. Jules and Grayson get married on the beach near their home, but because beach weddings aren't legal there, it becomes a wedding on the go, and walk down the beach as they say their vows.

The fourth season focuses mostly on Jules and Grayson adjusting to married life, and the will they/won't they relationship between Laurie and Travis. Beginning a week after their wedding, the season shows Jules and Grayson going through a lot of changes now that they are newlyweds. Grayson learns never to lie to Jules and quickly becomes her "wine guy" and her "coffee bitch." They try to keep things fresh by starting fights and having a naked day. Travis is having trouble dealing with his feelings for Laurie, and begins dating around and sleeping with girls in college in an attempt to repress his feelings. Tom officially becomes part of the group, but the gang continues to play tricks on him throughout the season. In a flashback episode, "Flirting With Time," we learn how the group came to be, when Jules and Bobby moved to the Cul-de-sac nine years earlier. Bobby becomes friends with a tom-boy-ish girl named Riggs, and after a make-over, she becomes beautiful and he realizes that he has feelings for her. The two begin dating for the rest of the season. Laurie's Army boyfriend Wade returns from Afghanistan for good and wants to make their relationship work. They eventually decide to move in together, but Wade leaves when he realizes that Laurie is developing feelings for Travis. Jules father Chick returns to visit the gang but has some memory problems. Later, in the season finale, Jules and Grayson take Chick to the doctor where he is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. In an attempt to cheer him up, the gang takes him on a trip to Hollywood to meet his favorite celebrity, Tippi Hedren. Travis and Laurie finally admit their feelings for one another, and after a series of awkward moments and "almosts" they finally share their first kiss in Hollywood. Jule's favorite wine glass, Big Lou, is shattered in the finale when Grayson knocks him over while dancing. Ellie and Grayson give her a new wine glass as a gift and name her Big Tippi.

The fifth season frequently focuses on the growing relationship between Laurie and Travis. As their relationship becomes more physical, Jules has difficulty. She later sees their relationship as being stronger than the one she shares with Grayson, before Grayson convinces her the advantages of the "mature" relationship that they have. Grayson and Bobby both struggle with aging as they reach their mid-40s. Chick's Alzheimers' disease worsens, and he has to move closer to Jules. Andy faces some challenges to his reputation as mayor of Gulf Haven, as well as dealing with a new boss at his day job. Laurie and Ellie pretend to be a lesbian couple to get preferential treatment in getting Stan into an exclusive school. Travis graduates art school but struggles to find employment, ultimately working at a coffee shop. Jules breaks "Big Tippi" and replaces it with "Big Chuck". Tom reveals he has built a scale model of the cul-de-sac in his garage, complete with figurines of the entire gang which he uses to recap events or play out his fantasies -- which often end in Grayson dying or getting kicked out. In the finale, Laurie and Travis face a breakup after arguing about their future, before Travis confides that the only future that matters to him is one with Laurie in it. Jules then breaks the news that Laurie is pregnant, which she discovered after "borrowing" Laurie's urine for a physical exam.

Running gags[edit]

Jules' love of drinking red wine is a leading theme of the show and each season she has had in succession, a series of increasing large drinking vessels. Firstly, she used the oversized glass "Big Joe", followed by the 44-ounce "Big Carl" (actually part of a lamp), "Big Lou" (actually a vase),"Big Tippi" (a stolen vase from the crew's Hollywood trip in season 4) and "Big Chuck" (introduced in season 5). During their Hawaiian holiday, she drank from "Big Kimo" (actually a candle holder from the hotel room). At one point, the group forces Laurie to drink from a miniature glass called "Little Richard".

Another running gag is the group's love of making up social rules for each other, such as having a "Council" that creates unusual punishments for the members who make a social infraction, or changes to group rules being instituted solely if the majority of the present group members shout "Change approved!". The gang often plays "Penny Can", a simple yet popular game made up by Bobby that involves throwing pennies into an empty paint can. The gang also frequently changes the meaning of words – such as "cake walk" to mean something difficult, as it is difficult to walk whilst carrying a cake.

Since the second season every episode has a little joke in the opening credits sequence — often making fun of the show's name because it is no longer about man-hungry cougars.

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release date
Season premiere Season finale Network Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 24 September 23, 2009 May 19, 2010 ABC August 17, 2010[29] September 27, 2010 December 1, 2010[30]
2 22 September 22, 2010 May 25, 2011 August 30, 2011[31] November 7, 2011[32][33] November 2, 2011[34]
3 15 February 14, 2012 May 29, 2012 February 5, 2013[35] December 3, 2012[36] February 13, 2013[37]
4 15 January 8, 2013 April 9, 2013 TBS TBA TBA TBA
5 13 January 7, 2014 April 1, 2014 TBA TBA TBA

Production[edit]

Conception[edit]

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.[38] Lawrence, who is best known as the creator of Scrubs and Spin City, was approached by Cox about "wanting to do something".[38] While developing the concept of the show, Lawrence thought he would do a tryout with Cox on Scrubs,[39] by guest-starring in the first three episodes of the eighth season.[40] 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".[40] He drew inspiration from his real-life wife, actress Christa Miller who also stars in the show as Ellie;[40][41] 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.[39] 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."[39]

Before he pitched the idea to ABC, other titles for the show included 40 and Single and The Courteney Cox Show,[42] which was eventually named Cougar Town because Lawrence thought that "the title is noisy and that people will be aware of this show".[39] 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."[39] Lawrence believed that with the subsequent scripts they'd be doing and the re-shoots in the pilot, the show would be "creatively satisfying".[39] After he pitched the idea to ABC, they asked him to have a pilot ready to shoot by the end of January 2009.[40] Lawrence and Biegel together wrote the script with Lawrence, who has written and directed many episodes on Scrubs, directing the episode.[43] In casting beyond Cox, Lawrence created the character of Ellie for his wife, Christa Miller. Miller felt that her character started off "gleefully" and reported that Lawrence would write down little things that she would say.[39]

Filming[edit]

The series takes place at the fictional town of Gulf Haven in Sarasota County, Florida,[44] and is filmed at Culver Studios in Culver City, California .[7] 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 was aired weekly on ABC, before moving to TBS for its fourth season. The sitcom is filmed in the single-camera format.

Music[edit]

The original theme is written by WAZ and original music for Cougar Town is composed by WAZ, Jamie Jackson, Will Golden and Al Sgro.[45] 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."[45] Songs such as Phoenix's "Lisztomania", Foghat's "Slow Ride", and La Roux's "Bulletproof (Remix)" were all used in the pilot episode.[45] 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.[45] A full version of the theme song was released in February 2012 to coincide with the shows return.

Opening sequence[edit]

Cougar Town's opening sequence features a map of Florida showing Sarasota County, Florida.[46] 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.[46] 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."[44] 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.[46] 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").

Episode format[edit]

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[edit]

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.[47] Research also showed that many viewers who ignored the show based on its name actually enjoyed it after seeing a screening of an episode.[48] However, the name change was scrapped, and the show retained the title Cougar Town for its 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 also had a Matthew Perry sitcom on their mid-season schedule that season known as Mr. Sunshine) and Grown Ups (declined because of the then-recent film with the same name).[49][50]

On May 27, 2011, Bill Lawrence announced through his Twitter account that the name of the show would change for season 3 with input from the fans, but did not give any further details.[51] 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".[52] 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.[53] Ultimately, the show retained the original title for the third season, with the first opening sequence subtitle stating that "[they're] not happy about it".

On February 14, 2012, Cox and Lawrence revealed in an interview that a title change could still take place for the fourth season, mentioning Wine Time, The Sunshine State and Family Jules as potential titles.[54] However, after announcing that the show would move to TBS for the fourth season, Lawrence said if TBS wants that title to change, then it will, but also said that he doubts it will happen.[55]

On August 28, 2012, the show announced its new season on its new Facebook page for the now TBS show, with a picture that stated, "Turns out even a new network couldn't change the title." However, even TBS has poked fun in their promos for the new season, referring to Cougar Town as a "crappy title".[56]

Network change[edit]

On May 10, 2012, TBS announced that Cougar Town would join its lineup in the beginning of 2013 for 15 episodes.[57][58] The move was not triggered by ABC cancelling the show, but by the possibility of receiving more episodes and publicity than had the show remained on ABC.[59]

Reception[edit]

In the US 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.[60] In the United Kingdom, 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[edit]

Season Timeslot (EST) Network No. of
episodes
Season premiere Viewers 18–49
rating
Season finale Viewers 18–49
rating
TV season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 Wednesday 9:30 pm ABC 24 September 23, 2009 11.28[61] 4.4[61] May 19, 2010 6.14[62] 2.8[62] 2009–10 57 7.34[63]
2 22 September 22, 2010 8.32[9] 3.4[9] May 25, 2011 5.01[64] 2.0[64] 2010–11 67 7.34[65]
3 Tuesday 8:30 pm 15 February 14, 2012 4.88[66] 1.8[66] May 29, 2012 3.42[67] 1.2[67] 2011–12 107 5.19[68]
4 Tuesday 10:00 pm TBS 15 January 8, 2013 2.18[69] 1.1[69] April 9, 2013 1.38[70] 0.6[70] 2012–13 TBA TBA
5 13 January 7, 2014 1.94[71] 0.9[71] April 1, 2014 1.53[72] 0.8[72] 2013–14 TBA TBA

Broadcast[edit]

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.[73][74] 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.[75]

International[edit]

In Canada the show airs on City. The fifth season will begin on the network on February 26, 2014.[76]

In Israel all five seasons of the show aired on Yes Drama.

In India four seasons have been aired on Zee Café

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations for Cougar Town
Award Ceremony Year Category Nominee Result
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
2011 Nominated
2013 Favorite Cable TV Actress Nominated
Favorite Cable TV Comedy Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards 2011 Best Actress in a Comedy Series Courteney Cox Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Busy Philipps Won

Critical reception[edit]

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.[77] 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".[78] Tucker also wrote that "the entire show is about getting and having sex... Cougar is so single-minded that this obsession itself becomes funny".[78] 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".[79] Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara said that the "maddening thing about Cougar Town is that it isn't completely unfunny or uncharming".[80] 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".[81] USA Today was also favorable, saying that the show has "the right cast and good writing".[82]

Many critics have speculated that the 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"[83] while the Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara opined that it "is fun and exciting for women over 40".[80] Despite speculation, the show has done well with young males[84] and young adults in all key demographics.[85]

In contrast, Jezebel disapproved stating, "It's clichéd, it's lame, it's undignified. It smacks of predatory desperation."[86] Ryan Brockington of New York Post compared the show to Samantha Who?.[87] The Daily News' David Hinckley opined that the show is "a waste of Cox's comic talents".[88] 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".[89]

In contrast to the previous year, the second season received more positive reviews from critics. The second season currently holds an average score of 75 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on seven reviews, indicating 'generally favorable reviews'.[90] 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."[91]

The much-delayed third season of Cougar Town became the most critically acclaimed season of the series thus far, garnering an average Metacritic score of 80 out of 100, based on five reviews.[92] RedEye gave the season a positive review, stating that it "returns with its wit, silliness and good-heartedness fully intact."[93] TV Guide concluded: "witty and wacky, this sharp-tongued, sweet-souled sitcom picks up without losing a (heart)beat."[94] The Huffington Post summed up their review by noting that fans of the show will "find a lot to like about the new season."[95]

Home media releases[edit]

Season Release date No. of discs Rating
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 U.S BBFC ACB
The Complete First Season August 17, 2010
February 5, 2013 (re-release)
September 27, 2010 December 1, 2010 3 (U.S.)
4 (UK & AU)
TV-14  15   M 
The Complete Second Season August 30, 2011
February 5, 2013 (re-release)
November 7, 2011 November 2, 2011 3 (U.S.)
4 (UK & AU)
TV-PG  12   PG 
Seasons One and Two N/A November 7, 2011 N/A 8 N/A  15  N/A
The Complete Third Season February 5, 2013 December 3, 2012 February 6, 2013 2 TV-14  15   M 
Complete Seasons 1, 2, 3 N/A December 3, 2012 N/A 10 N/A  15  N/A

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External links[edit]