TV: Tiger Tantrums


Aileen Johnson offers a hand to Cougar Town, and gets bitten for her trouble

Seriously, Courtney Cox – learn to quit. Age does not connote wisdom, it would seem. In her latest outing, Cougar Town, a divorcée re-enters the dating world while supporting her 17-year-old son, with much older woman, younger guy tomfoolery ensuing (thankfully, not between her and her son). But nobody needs to see an old bird leering after young men, even if the premise of the show is such. The premiere episode begins with the audience becoming introduced to Cox’s character, Jules, after a shower where she uncompromisingly exposes her ‘wobbly bits’ to those who dare gaze upon a naked fortysomething.

We are immediately aware of Jules’s dissatisfaction with her lack of sex life and intimacy through comparison with her mundanely-but-happily married neighbour and best friend, Ellie, and her purposefully younger and headstrong assistant, Laurie, played by Busy Philipps. Personally I preferred Phillips as Kim Kelly in Freaks and Geeks, when she would’ve beaten you up for hitting on her boyfriend, rather than trying to set Courtney Cox up with him, but that’s what the people want, I guess.

So to address the issue of a potential romance, enter Jules’ neighbour Greyson – who sleeps with younger women because he can – with a line which sums him up perfectly: “It’s not a walk of shame if you don’t do it alone.” Greyson is the male character that housewives will love to hate in that ‘oh-isn’t-he-just-aaaaaawful’ way – a complete antagonist to Cox, but one who is transparently and inevitably going to become her love interest.

In fact, all the show’s male characters are presented in a demeaning light with the exception of Cox’s son Travis, who evades this fate simply because he is sufficiently humiliated by his wayward mother. Who wants to see their mother performing fellatio on a young gentleman stranger? Travis must endure this abuse from schoolmates too, as Jules’ assistant tries to reintroduce her to the dating world with a saucy real estate poster campaign.

Amongst all these negative comments, I will concede the one guffaw I got. On Laurie and Jules’ first night out together – where Cox proves herself more a caricature of a desperate 40-year-old than a person – we see the essence of Kim Kelly in Laurie as she only wears fake nails on her ‘smokin’ hand’.

Cougar Town receives a thumbs down from me. Cox fails to impress as a foot-in-mouth nervous older woman, instead coming across as obnoxious and selfish, and not in a funny way. In fact she manages to recreate all the annoying late series Monica traits and exaggerate them to the point of cringing. Maybe I’m missing something in this men-versus-menopause debacle, but I doubt it.