The show begins with the inside joke of the title. There aren't any cougars in the show, especially now that Barb has married the mayor .... but I'm getting ahead of myself.
The show is set in a suburb of Miami, in a small cul-de-sac. The characters who live there have become an extended, dysfunctional-yet-supportive family. Jules, played by Courteney Cox, is a recently divorced woman. She still hangs out with her ex-husband, Bobby Cobb, who lives in a boat that is permanently parked in a lot (I love that the boat is called Jealous Much?)
|The glorious scruffiness that is Bobby Cobb|
And there are the neighbors, Ellie (Jules' best friend) and her husband, Andy. There's Jules's son, Travis, and the cute neighbor, Grayson. Yes, Grayson is very cute, except they all pick on him; Ellie's name for him is "Tiny Eyes."
|She also calls him "Dime Eyes."|
Fans of the show know all about the Penny Can and how you now have to sing "Penny Can!" as you flip a penny into the can. Go figure. They also know that the characters drink wine, all the time. Jules, in fact, had a large wine glass called Big Joe (RIP) that was replaced by Big Carl when Big Joe was shattered.
|Jules, holding Big Carl. She doesn't understand why she never gets four glasses out of each bottle.|
I believe you can buy your own Big Carl glass now.
One of my favorite episodes, indicative of the sharp wit of the writers, showed Jules with her friends. She had stopped drinking so much wine, and they staged an intervention to get her to drink more.
And then there's free-wheeling, attractive Laurie, now dating a soldier in Afghanistan that she met on Twitter. She's one of my favorite characters, for her coffee order monologue alone.
(Anyone who orders a coffee called a Sauron's Eye is okay with me. Plus, I love how her lipstick grows more neon with each episode.)
In fact, every character in the show is so alive and so unique, that they keep me coming back for more. Barb, the one cougar, who travels with a thong bikini in her purse and an eye for Jules's ex boyfriends, Tom, the sad sack neighbor who would do anything to fit in, Travis, who has nailed intelligent, caustic, young college wit perfectly, and Sig, Travis's roommate, are original and funny. The interactions between them and the main cast are spot on.
|Barb, with Jules: "Oh, there isn't a woman in the world who can resist the scent of wounded boy."|
Like Friends, Cougar Town creates its own little universe. With the inside jokes, the show pulls the audience in to become part of that world for thirty minutes. There is a connection there. It's a great contrast to the disconnect which makes a lot of TV cold and distant, and which I wrote about earlier, here.
If you're just jumping in, do go and see some of the first two seasons. It's all fabulously written, frivolous fun.