Cougar Town (ABC)
Premiered September 23 at 9:30pm
Courteney Cox returns to network television as an aging Florida divorcee looking to spice up her life and get back in the game. Cox was the only Friend never to receive an Emmy nomination, and her performance on the popular comedy is often looked down upon. Cox plays her parts big, that’s for sure, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here she fuels each and every scene with active energy, and it’s important to remember that she’s capable of being legitimately funny without overdoing it and remaining charming to boot. Her newfound Florida home suits her well, and she does just fine anchoring the show all by herself. She finds good support in friends Christa Miller (“Scrubs”) and Busy Phillips (“Freaks and Geeks”), and her chauvinistic neighbor Josh Hopkins (“Swingtown”) provides a nice sedated foil to the considerably less subdued Cox. Jules, Cox’s character here, isn’t as bossy as Monica, and it’s refreshing to see the actress tackle another role and succeed just as well. The sunny Florida setting makes the show even more appealing, and attempts to push the boundaries of suggestiveness are effective in making the show funnier. It’s not as blatantly hilarious as “Modern Family,” but it’s certainly worthwhile.
How will it work as a series? The pilot represents a turning point in Jules’ life, as she realizes that she can still have a life of her own after her divorce. As a result, the pilot isn’t indicative of what the show may be like since Jules is now instilled with a newfound sense of confidence that will shape the way she approaches her life in a major way. I believe that there’s a good enough premise here that the show should be able to sustain itself, but that may not necessarily be the case.
How long will it last? As part of ABC’s new comedy lineup, it should have a fairly bright future. ABC wants this show to succeed even if viewers don’t, and having Cox headlining it is a major asset. The abysmal “Joey” made it to a second year, so I think it’s fair to expect that this show will be granted a second chance too. Its pairing with “Modern Family” is another positive, since the two will likely thrive together.
Pilot grade: B+