Courtney Cox stars in the new sitcom Cougar Town about a recently divorced single woman as she re-enters the dating scene.
Traditionally, the word cougar represents a large, carnivorous feline native to the Americas. However in contemporary society, the word cougar has come to represent a rather predatory older woman who enjoys romantic relationships with younger men. The phrase was coined after being brought to the public’s attention by such pop culture personalities as Demi Moore and much younger Ashton Kutcher – not to mention various reality shows seeking to exploit the taboo of older woman having sexual relationships with men young enough to be their sons.
Enter Cougar Town, a new series airing Wednesday nights featuring what ABC hopes will become your favorite new cougar, Courtney Cox. While you may have fallen in love with Cox during her “kittenish” days on Friends, her return to the small screen is so irritating that I found myself exhausted at the end of the first 30-minute episode. The pilot begins with a minute-long scene of Cox inspecting her sagging skin and wrinkles in the mirror. After the demeaning self-examination, she stares into the camera and declares, “Crap!”
Cox plays Jules, a middle-aged single mom trapped deep within the suburban jungle. She has been divorced for five months, and is ready to re-conquer the dating scene. The sitcom explores sexist and ageist themes as cougar Cox extends her new claws into the pool of younger men.
Her encounters provoke every cougar stereotype imaginable, including defaulting into maternal tendencies with her dates. She often embarrasses her teenage son (Dan Byrd) with her conspicuous “hotness” and incessant, awkward jokes.
To that point, those jokes never seem to end. When I say never, I mean the writers seem to equate nonstop comedic set ups with extraordinary humor. The non-stop punch lines are so grating that I found myself welcoming the commercial breaks.
Sadly, Cougar Town fails to present the poise and wisdom of women in their later years. Instead, the show rips every shred of glamour and dignity from women over the age of 35 with relentless jabs at those very qualities that make older women so fabulous.
Cougar Town not only conveys negative stereotypes of older women who are dating, but of singles in general. Sadly, it seems the way of Hollywood. Next up is FOX’s Rules of Engagement which, among the five main characters (four of whom are coupled) includes a single man who is described as (what else?) a “single guy on the prowl.”
Instead of portraying single people as just that – single – Hollywood insists that we are all desperately trying to hook up and find a significant somebody. Find me a town with realistic perspectives of singlehood – now that’s a place I’d like to visit!
Watch a full episode online.
Starring Courtney Cox