|Created by||Bill Lawrence|
Brian Van Holt
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||102 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Bill Lawrence|
Randall Keenan Winston
|Producer(s)||Mark J. Greenberg|
|Camera setup||Film, Single camera|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Distributor||Disney–ABC Domestic Television|
|Original network||ABC (2009–12)|
|Picture format||HDTV: 1080i/720p|
|Original release||September 23, 2009– March 31, 2015|
Cougar Town is an American television sitcom that ran for 102 episodes over six seasons, from September 23, 2009 until March 31, 2015. The first three seasons aired on ABC, with the series moving to TBS for the last three seasons. The pilot episode was broadcast after Modern Family. ABC officially gave the series a full season pickup on October 8, 2009.
The show was created by Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel and was produced by Doozer and Coquette Productions in association with ABC Studios. Filming took place at Culver Studios in Culver City, California. The pilot episode achieved 11.28 million viewers. Season 2 premiered on September 22, 2010, with 8.35 million viewers. Season 3, consisting of 15 episodes, was originally slated to premiere in November 2011 but, because of ABC's promotion of the ill-fated Man Up!, it premiered on February 14, 2012. Following the Season 3 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. On May 10, 2014, TBS renewed Cougar Town for a sixth and final season. Season six premiered on January 6, 2015, and the series concluded on March 31, 2015.
- 1 Premise
- 2 Cast and characters
- 3 Synopsis
- 4 Episodes
- 5 Production
- 6 Reception
- 7 Home media
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Set in the fictional town of Gulfhaven, Florida, which is nicknamed "Cougar Town" because its high school team mascot is a cougar, the series focuses on Jules Cobb, a recently divorced woman in her 40s facing the often humorous challenges, pitfalls, and rewards of life's next chapter, along with her teenage son, her ex-husband, and her wine-loving friends who together make up her dysfunctional, but supportive and caring, extended family. Most scenes in the series take place in Jules' home, Gray's Pub, or around Bobby Cobb's boat.
Cast and characters
The series features seven main cast members, with other characters recurring.
- 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. 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. From the end of season 1, she began 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 November 15, 1968 (age 42 as of that season). 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 oversized, named glass (Big Joe, Big Carl, Big Kimo, Big Lou, Big Tippi, Big Sue, 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 easily the most intellectual among the group. She is married to Andy Torres, and the two have a son named Stan. She is Jules' sarcastic, unapologetic confidante who takes pleasure in teasing Laurie, and to a lesser extent, Bobby, Grayson and Travis. Ellie's hard-polished guardedness belies a fierce loyalty. Ellie is a somewhat reluctant mother, demanding a nanny despite being a stay-at-home mom. She is usually quite dominant over Andy, who adores her. In Season 6, she goes back to her corporate attorney job, after becoming bored and learning that Andy really wants to be a stay-at-home dad.
- 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. Laurie has survived a rough childhood in foster care, and is initially a trashy party animal, but matures throughout the show as she learns how to become a functional grown-up. Ellie (who refers to her as "Jellybean") is initially openly hostile towards Laurie, but their relationship develops into a grudging respect and eventually a close, open friendship. She initially had many short-lived boyfriends and one-night stands, before enjoy a long-term relationship with a young lawyer Smith Frank in seasons 1 and 2, and later a long-distance relationship with Wade, a soldier in Afghanistan in seasons 3 and 4. She leaves Jules' employ and starts a successful cake shop in season 4. During season 4, she develops a crush on Travis, and they get together at the end of the season and date for the rest of the series. She and Travis have a son at the beginning of season 6.
- Dan Byrd as Travis Cobb – Jules' and Bobby's son, who is a senior in high school at the start of the series, then later attends 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. At the end of season 4 he gets together with Laurie. During season 5 their relationship is shown to be in constant competition with Jules and Grayson's, and he and Laurie have a son named Bobby at the beginning of Season 6. He has a passion for photography and attends art college. Finding few career prospects after graduating college, he starts a mobile wine delivery business.
- 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. He and Jules begin dating at the end of season 1, and in season 3, Grayson formally proposed marriage to Jules which she accepted. His desire to have children is a source of conflict with Jules until he discovers in season 3 that he has fathered a daughter, Tampa, during one of his post-divorce flings; he maintains an active role in Tampa's life, although this is seldom acknowledged in the show. He is a former model and aspiring but mediocre actor who plays guitar, and he often makes up songs about the group and reminisces about his acting days. 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 and Jules' ex-husband Bobby are best friends, and Andy is shown to have a hero worship for Bobby. From season 4 until season 6 he is the mayor of Gulfhaven, although this is rarely mentioned and he often forgets that he has the position. Upon losing his job in Season 6, Andy expresses a strong desire to be a stay-at-home dad, which results in Ellie going back to work.
- 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 was a professional golfer, and had numerous extramarital affairs during his career, which led to Jules divorcing him prior to the events of the pilot episode, although they still share a close friendship, even hooking up once. Bobby gives golf lessons and mows the lawn at Travis' former high school, and 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. He has short-term relationships with Travis' photography teacher Angie in season 3 and surfing buddy Lisa Riggs in season 4. Van Holt exited the series at the beginning of the sixth season, as his character took a club pro job at a golf course in Georgia.
- 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. By season 4 he is considered one of the gang, appearing in most episodes and accompanying the group wherever they go, although still generally standing outside Jules' window instead of in the kitchen with the others. His behaviour is often weird and creepy, and details of his otherwise normal and successful life (that he is a millionaire neurosurgeon, former all-state track star, with an adult son in the Marines and a daughter attending law school) are slowly revealed as the series progresses.
- Carolyn Hennesy as Barb Coman (season 1-3) – 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, "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 (season 2-6) – Jules' father who is a keen lover of horses and whose favourite holiday is Halloween. Chick officiates Grayson and Jules' wedding 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, and he moves in with Jules in season 5 to allow her to watch over him.
- 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 1-2) – 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 break up for good when Travis meets his first college girlfriend.
- Ryan Devlin as Smith Frank (season 1-2) – 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 represented the longest and most serious relationship that Laurie had had up to that stage in her life.
- Barry Bostwick as Roger Frank (season 1-3, 5) – 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. Roger was the mayor of Gulfhaven until Andy's election.
- LaMarcus Tinker as Kevin (season 2-3) – 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) – 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 was not seen again on the series.
- Sheryl Crow as Sara Kramer (season 1) – a likeable and sexy wine vendor whose semi-serious relationship with Grayson was his first with a woman his age after his post-divorce period of targeting younger, naive girls for affection. Sara breaks up with Grayson after it becomes clear that he also has feeling for Jules.
- David Clayton Rogers as Matt (season 1-2) – 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. She leaves after her impulsive unplanned lifestyle does not mesh with Bobby's.
- Nicole Sullivan as Lynn Mettler (season 3-4) – 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 3-4) – Laurie's boyfriend in a long-distance relationship. He is a soldier stationed in Afghanistan. When he comes home, however, their relationship is short-lived.
- Briga Heelan as Holly (season 3, 6) – One of Grayson's former lovers from when he first became single, whom he found out has a daughter that is his.
- Shawn Parikh as Sig (season 3-4) – Travis' new house mate, who doesn't like the fact that Travis' family shows up at any given moment.
- Sawyer Ever (season 3-4) and Griffin Kunitz (season 4-6) as Stan Torres – 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 Lisa 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. She does not return in season 5 and no explanation is given for her absence.
- Brad Morris as Jerry (season 4-6) - One of Bobby's friends that he kept avoiding because he owed him money, although the two settled the debt when Bobby let him use his boat's parking lot for his wedding. Jules and Grayson have grown to dislike Jerry and his wife, Bonnie.
- Emily Wilson as Bonnie (season 4-6) - Bobby's AA sponsor when he was pretending to be Ron Mexico. Shortly afterwards, Bonnie and Jerry hired Jules to find them a house, and later had Jules and Grayson as maid of honor and best man at their wedding. She has a crush on Grayson and flirts inappropriately with him.
Guest stars on the show included three of Cox's former Friends co-stars: 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, the show's producer and Cox's then husband David Arquette. Danny Pudi 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 of the show's guest stars were either regulars or had recurring roles on Bill Lawrence's previous two previous television series Spin City and Scrubs – Barry Bostwick, 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.
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 any more" 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). One of Grayson's old hookups, Holly, returns with news that Grayson is the father of her 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 no one will believ Ellie when she tries to tell the crew that her mother is a sociopath. When a hurricane strikes Gulfhaven, Travis and Laurie get closer than ever when Laurie can't decide what to do about her army boyfriend Wade. Although he has feelings for her, Travis wants to see Laurie happy, so he 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 to 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, Jules and Grayson decide not to elope, instead getting married on the beach near their home, but because beach weddings aren't legal there, it becomes a wedding on the go, and they 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 tomboyish girl named Riggs, and after a makeover she becomes beautiful and he realizes that he has feelings for her. The two begin dating and continue 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 has feelings for Travis. Jules' father Chick returns to visit the gang, and it turns out that he has developed 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 admit their feelings for one another, and after a series of awkward moments and "almosts" they share their first kiss in Hollywood. Jules'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 it 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 of the advantages of the "mature" relationship that they have. Grayson and Bobby both struggle with aging as they reach their mid 40's. 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 and deals 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 with 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.
In the sixth and final season, major changes threaten upheaval in the gang's lives, but they manage to work through them. Bobby finally becomes gainfully employed and moves out of the boat, but to Andy's dismay, the job is in Georgia. Laurie gives birth to "Baby Bobby", and she and Travis begin their lives as parents. Travis starts a business. Andy loses his job and his mayorship, and becomes a stay-at-home dad, while Ellie returns to work as a corporate lawyer. Tom finds love. Jules breaks Big Chuck in the series finale — this time on purpose.
The gang's love of red wine, particularly by Jules, is a leading theme of the show. Each season Jules has had, in succession, a series of increasingly larger 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" as punishment.
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 commit a social infraction. 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 different, as it is difficult to walk while carrying a cake. These changes to linguistic rules are predicated upon Ellie shouting "Change approved!".
Since the second season, every episode had a running gag in the opening credits sequence — often making fun of the show's name because it was no longer about man-hungry cougars.
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||24||September 23, 2009||May 19, 2010||ABC|
|2||22||September 22, 2010||May 25, 2011|
|3||15||February 14, 2012||May 29, 2012|
|4||15||January 8, 2013||April 9, 2013||TBS|
|5||13||January 7, 2014||April 1, 2014|
|6||13||January 6, 2015||March 31, 2015|
Cougar Town was created by Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel. Following the cancellation of Dirt, Courteney Cox wanted to return to television and do another comedy. Lawrence, who is best known as the creator of Scrubs and Spin City, was approached by Cox about "wanting to do something". While developing the concept of the show, Lawrence thought he would do a tryout with Cox on Scrubs, by guest starring in the first three episodes of the eighth season. 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". He drew inspiration from his real-life wife, actress Christa Miller who also stars in the show as Ellie; Miller had previously worked with Cox as part of the story-arc of the three part Scrubs tryout. Lawrence told Cox that the show could be "high risk, high reward", although Cox decided to go for it. 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."
Before he pitched the idea to ABC, other titles for the show included 40 and Single and The Courteney Cox Show, which was eventually named Cougar Town because Lawrence thought that "the title is noisy and that people will be aware of this show". 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." Lawrence believed that with the subsequent scripts they'd be doing and the reshoots in the pilot, the show would be "creatively satisfying". After he pitched the idea to ABC, they asked him to have a pilot ready to shoot by the end of January 2009. Lawrence and Biegel together wrote the script with Lawrence, who has written and directed many episodes on Scrubs, directing the episode. 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.
The series takes place in the fictional town of Gulf Haven in Sarasota County, Florida. Filming took place on the Miami Street back lot located at the Culver Studios in Culver City, California. The Cul-de-sac used for filming is also located in Culver City on Lamarr Avenue. Lawrence served as executive producer/writer/director, Kevin Biegel as writer/co-executive producer, and Courteney Cox and David Arquette as executive producers. Cougar Town was produced by Doozer Productions and Coquette Productions and was aired weekly on ABC, before moving to TBS for its fourth season. The sitcom was filmed in the single-camera format.
The original theme is written by WAZ and original music for Cougar Town is composed by WAZ, Jamie Jackson, Will Golden and Al Sgro. 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." Songs such as Phoenix's "Lisztomania", Foghat's "Slow Ride", and La Roux's "Bulletproof (Remix)" were all used in the pilot episode. 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. A full version of the theme song was released in February 2012 to coincide with the shows return.
Cougar Town's opening sequence features a map of Florida showing Sarasota County, Florida. 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. 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." 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. 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"). (The link for reference 42 fails to refer to any of this, and should be updated)
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. Research also showed that many viewers who ignored the show based on its name actually enjoyed it after seeing a screening of an episode. 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).
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. 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". 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. 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. 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.
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".
In the final episode, the title sequence called the show Sunshine State.
On May 10, 2012, TBS announced that Cougar Town would join its lineup in the beginning of 2013 for 15 episodes, after ABC canceled the series. Moving to TBS gave the show the possibility of receiving more episodes and publicity than had the show remained on ABC.
In the US the audience dropped from 11 million to 6 million over the first season. 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. 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.
|Season||Timeslot (EST)||Network||No. of
|1||Wednesday 9:30 pm||ABC||24||September 23, 2009||11.28||4.4||May 19, 2010||6.14||2.8||2009–10||57||7.34|
|2||22||September 22, 2010||8.32||3.4||May 25, 2011||5.01||2.0||2010–11||67||7.34|
|3||Tuesday 8:30 pm||15||February 14, 2012||4.88||1.8||May 29, 2012||3.42||1.2||2011–12||107||5.19|
|4||Tuesday 10:00 pm||TBS||15||January 8, 2013||2.18||1.1||April 9, 2013||1.38||0.6||2012–13||N/A||1.93|
|5||13||January 7, 2014||1.94||0.9||April 1, 2014||1.53||0.8||2013–14||1.47|
|6||Tuesday 10:30 pm||13||January 6, 2015||1.04||0.5||March 31, 2015||1.24||0.5||2014–15||1.08|
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. 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.
Awards and nominations
|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|
|2013||Favorite Cable TV Actress||Nominated|
|Favorite Cable TV Comedy||Nominated|
|2014||Favorite Cable TV Actress||Courteney Cox||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|
Cougar Town opened to 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. 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". Tucker also wrote that "the entire show is about getting and having sex... Cougar is so single-minded that this obsession itself becomes funny". 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". Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara said that the "maddening thing about Cougar Town is that it isn't completely unfunny or uncharming". 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". USA Today was also favorable, saying that the show has "the right cast and good writing".
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" while the Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara opined that it "is fun and exciting for women over 40". Despite speculation, the show has done well with young males and young adults in all key demographics.
In contrast, a writer for feminist blog Jezebel disapproved stating, "It's clichéd, it's lame, it's undignified. It smacks of predatory desperation." Ryan Brockington of New York Post compared the show to Samantha Who?. The Daily News' David Hinckley opined that the show is "a waste of Cox's comic talents". 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".
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'. 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."
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. RedEye gave the season a positive review, stating that it "returns with its wit, silliness and good-heartedness fully intact." TV Guide concluded: "witty and wacky, this sharp-tongued, sweet-souled sitcom picks up without losing a (heart)beat." The Huffington Post summed up their review by noting that fans of the show will "find a lot to like about the new season." Despite this, the 3rd season ranked 107th among viewers, and was quickly dropped by ABC afterwards. The show continued its run on the cable network TBS.
|Season||Release date||No. of discs|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|The Complete First Season||August 17, 2010
February 5, 2013 (re-release)
|September 27, 2010||December 1, 2010||3 (U.S.)|
4 (UK & AU)
|The Complete Second Season||August 30, 2011
February 5, 2013 (re-release)
|November 7, 2011||November 2, 2011||3 (U.S.)|
4 (UK & AU)
|Seasons One and Two||N/A||November 7, 2011||N/A||8|
|The Complete Third Season||February 5, 2013||December 3, 2012||February 6, 2013||2|
|Complete Seasons 1, 2, 3||N/A||December 3, 2012||N/A||10|
|The Complete Fourth Season||N/A||April 6, 2015||August 13, 2014||2|
As of July, 2017, seasons four to six have not been released on DVD in the United States or Canada but are available for purchase on iTunes.
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