Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ABC Fall Pilot Review: Cougar Town - Premieres September 23; Glee Picked-Up For Full Season

Cougar Town

Cougar Town - Wednesdays 9:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 9:30PM ET/PT

Courteney Cox stars as Jules, a recently divorced single mother exploring the honest truths about dating and aging in our beauty and youth obsessed culture. While most women in their twenties go through life experiencing the challenges and often humorous pitfalls of meeting men, Jules took on the responsibilities of marriage and raising a son. Now in her forties, she embarks on a journey to self-discovery whilst surrounded by fellow divorcees and singletons eager to live or re-live a time gone by.

Along for the journey are her friends and family: Laurie (Busy Philipps), the younger, feisty co-worker who encourages her to get out there and have some fun; Ellie (Christa Miller), the sarcastic, unapologetic confidante content with her life and marriage to her average, but loveable husband, Andy (Ian Gomez); ex-husband Bobby (Brian Van Holt), a classic under-achiever who'll test her patience as they attempt to raise their teenage son, Travis (Dan Byrd); and newly divorced neighbor Grayson (Josh Hopkins), who proves to be a catalyst of sorts for Jules.

Cast Details:

* Courteney Cox as Jules
* Busy Philipps as Laurie
* Dan Byrd as Travis
* Christa Miller as Ellie
* Josh Hopkins as Grayson
* Ian Gomez as Andy
* Brian Van Holt as Andy

Courteney Cox (Jules) gained overnight fame as neurotic yet loveable Monica Gellar on the Emmy Award-winning comedy Friends. She teams this season with Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence on the new ABC comedy Cougar Town. They will serve as executive producers through their companies, Coquette and Doozer, respectively. She most recently created, starred, and produced in FX's comedy Dirt. Cox made her acting debut in 1984 on the daytime soap As the World Turns, and later that year was cast by Brian de Palma for Bruce Springsteen's video, Dancing in the Dark. She landed her first well known work as an actress in 1987 when she was cast as the bright, perky girlfriend of Michael J. Fox on Family Ties. Following the series, she appeared in several feature films, including the box-office success Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, opposite Jim Carrey. In 1996 Cox starred in Wes Craven's horror/comedy Scream, which grossed over $100 million at the box office. She went on to reprise her role two additional times for the Scream trilogy. Additional film credits include 3000 Miles to Graceland, Mr. Destiny, Cocoon: The Return, Zoom, November, The Longest Yard and Barnyard. Cox was most recently seen in Disney's family comedy Bedtime Stories, opposite Adam Sandler.

Busy Philipps (Laurie) had a memorable performance as tough but sympathetic rebel teen Kim Kelly in the critically praised series Freaks and Geeks, from Judd Apatow and Paul Feig, Philipps crafted one of the most compelling young characters in contemporary television. After roles on Dawson's Creek and Undeclared, in 2004 she took a lead in the Shawn and Marlon Wayans comedy, White Chicks. In 2006 she starred in the UPN sitcom Love, Inc., from Friends showrunner Adam Chase. Next, she joined the cast of ER for one season as the devout Christian med-student, Hope Bobeck. Most recently, Philipps has been seen in standout roles in the films Made of Honor and He's Just Not That Into You. While eight months pregnant with her first child in summer of 2008, she filmed a five episode arc on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Dan Byrd (Travis) had a memorable arc as Sylar's protégé apprentice, Luke, on NBC's drama Heroes. Last year he starred on the short lived but critically acclaimed CW series Aliens in America. Other television credits include the CBS drama Clubhouse, the lead role in the TNT miniseries Salem's Lot, with Rob Lowe, Sci-Fi Channel's miniseries Firestarter 2: Rekindled, with Dennis Hopper, and the Lifetime Original Movie Just Ask My Children, starring Virginia Madsen. He also made guest appearances on Joan of Arcadia, The Guardian, Boomtown, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Judging Amy and State of Grace. On the film side, he recently began production on Screen Gems' comedic retelling of The Scarlett Letter, Easy A, opposite Emma Stone and Amanda Bynes. Byrd has wrapped production on the independent coming-of-age drama Norman, opposite Emily VanCamp and Adam Goldberg, in the title role. He got his big break starring alongside Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray in the Warner Bros. teen romantic comedy, A Cinderella Story. Additional feature film credits include Universal Pictures' Lonely Hearts, opposite John Travolta, FOX Searchlight's The Hills Have Eyes and 28 Days, opposite Sandra Bullock.

Christa Miller (Ellie) has her first role on television in Kate & Allie, which starred her real-life aunt, Susan Saint James. n 2001 Miller's husband, writer-producer Bill Lawrence, conceived the comedy-drama Scrubs. Miller was given a guest role as Jordan Sullivan, the bitter ex-wife to Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley). Originally the character was intended to appear in only one episode, but in Season Two the role became recurring and she has appeared every year since. Miller also had a leading role in the 2008 TV miniseries The Andromeda Strain. She appeared in episodes of Northern Exposure, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Party of Five and Seinfeld. She had a major role on The Drew Carey Show from 1995-2002 as Kate O'Brien, and was the voice of Cleopatra in the short-lived animated show Clone High. Her film credits include Deceived and Love and Happiness. She also starred with Kellie Martin in the acclaimed made-for-television movie, A Friend to Die For.

Josh Hopkins (Grayson) was most recently seen as Dr. Noah Barnes on the ABC drama Private Practice. He also recently appeared on CSI: Miami and in the film Pretty Ugly People. Prior to that, he appeared in the CBS drama Swingtown. Hopkins made his debut as a season regular on Fox's critically acclaimed series Ally McBeal, portraying Raymond Milberry, a rival lawyer and potential love interest to Calista Flockhart. Additional television credits include Ghost Whisperer, ABC's Brothers & Sisters, with Calista Flockhart once again, the CBS drama Surrender, Dorothy, with Diane Keaton, the CBS mini-series Robert Ludlum's Covert One: The Hades Factor, the TNT original movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, opposite Noah Wyle and Anthony Michael Hall, Fox's New York Undercover, The WB's Jack & Jill and Kate Brasher. In addition Hopkins starred opposite Rebecca Romijn in The WB romantic comedy, Pepper Dennis.

Ian Gomez (Andy) is a familiar face to film and television audiences. He was most recently seen in the multi-camera Lifetime comedy, Rita Rocks, and in the ABC single-camera sitcom Jake in Progress. He starred as the popular character Javier on the series Felicity, as the shameless self-promoter Larry Almada on The Drew Carey Show, and as Danny Sanchez on The Norm Show. Gomez has also starred in such feature films as My Life in Ruins, I Hate Valentine's Day, Connie and Carla, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Chasing Papi and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. He developed his improvisational skills which he showcased when he guest starred on the hit improv series, Whose Line Is It Anyway? Other television credits include guest starring roles on George Lopez, Curb Your Enthusiasm, NYPD Blue, Murphy Brown and the television movie Get a Clue.

Brian Van Holt (Bobby) starred in the critically-acclaimed HBO series John from Cincinnati, created by David Milch, portraying the lead role of Butchie. Van Holt's many feature film credits include Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, as Task Force Ranger Jeff Struecker, who led the convoy to a fallen soldier in Mogadishu, Somalia; he starred with Nicholas Cage in Windtalkers as a U.S. Marine officer assigned to protect a Navajo code-talker in World War II; he was the enigmatic soldier Dunbar, opposite John Travolta and Sam Jackson, in Basic, directed by John McTiernan; he then segued to Swat, with Colin Farrell and Sam Jackson and many more.


Pilot Plot:

#1 "It Takes a Village Idiot" (Airs September 23)
A recently divorced single mother in her 40s explores the honest truths about dating and aging in a society dominated by youth and beauty, along with her friends, her ex-husband and the cantankerous divorced man living next door.
Recurring is Carolyn Hennesy as Barbara Coman.
"Pilot" was directed and written by Bill Lawrence.


Analysis:

The hilarious mind of Bill Lawrence (Scrubs) is bringing you this show, so of course there will be laughs. Courtney Cox returns to broadcast television in a very funny and sexy comedy vehicle. I never liked Friends and thought it was vastly overrated. But I'm sure many Friends fans will want to watch Cox return. Who knows there could be some Friends stars popping-up for guest appearances. Anyway, as for the show itself...it is funny, quirky, sexy, and maybe even risque. I first saw the pilot this summer and there were rumors it was very risque. Other than maybe a scene or two, it seemed tame compared to some other shows, particularly on premium cable. If you watched the 2007 movie Cougar Club, then this show is nothing in terms of risque. That was a very wild movie! Cox plays Jules, a divorced mother of a teenage boy (Dan Byrd). She works as a real estate agent with Laurie (Busy Phillips). Laurie is a bit younger than Jules, so Jules I think tries to keep up with her and be "hip." Jules does have a best friend her own age in Ellie (Christa Miller), but with Laurie in the picture...Jules is showing off her bad side by hitting on younger men. Ellie is married to Andy (Ian Gomez). One of Jules' neighbors is the new bachelor Grayson (Josh Hopkins) who just got divorced and now has a different women each night...and they are all young, much to to the dismay of Jules. Jules' ex-husband Bobby (Brian Van Holt) stops in from time to time to take his son.

The pilot centers around Jules being lonely. She seems attracted to Grayson, but she just doesn't like him with these younger women. Jules and Laurie go to a night club where Jules meets a much younger man...and the funny stuff happens. With her son Travis hanging out with his father, Jules has the house to herself. One of the risque scenes I was talking about earlier happens by the pool...but it doesn't go too far because back comes her son and ex-husband! After that, Travis is just embarrassed and gets even more embarrassed when some kid is stealing real estate signs with a sexy picture of her mother...to well pleasure themselves. Wild stuff...but funny!

Ellie and Andy don't have much to do in the pilot, but I think their characters will be important to Jules, as she needs someone her own age. The recurring character of Barbara (Carolyn Hennesy) is hilarious! She plays one Jules' co-workers and she seems like a cougar herself, as she was also at the nightclub where Jules and Laurie went to. This show is much more than Jules sleeping around with younger guys, it has substance and it could be a sense of reality with women in their 40s who are divorced. Even if you're not a women in your 40s, you'll like this show!


Conclusion:

What a fun show! This has to air at 9:30pm, since it is a bit risque for network TV. That isn't to say it is vulgar or anything, but a few scenes in the pilot might be a bit weird to have in an earlier timeslot. It is going to follow a family comedy in Modern Family, but that show will have more adult viewers than kids, so I think this show was placed correctly. I haven't seen any subsequent episodes yet, so I am not sure if there will be any more risque scenes like that...but from the plotlines, we are still in for some good fun and laughs! If you like Scrubs, then you'll want to watch this since Bill Lawrence created this. And if you're a fan of Friends and Courtney Cox, then for sure you'll want to watch! I have always liked Cox. She was great on Scrubs last season and in many other roles like one of her earlier roles in Family Ties.

There isn't much more to say, but you need to watch the show. We need sitcoms to make a big comeback and ABC so far is 2 for 2 in the reviews (Hank and The Middle reviews to come next week). If you missed our Modern Family review yesterday, please read it! Tune in to ABC Comedy Wednesday starting tonight! You're going to be in for a fun, sexy, and of course funny ride in Cougar Town, Florida! Meowwwww!!!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4.5/5
Funniness: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by pavanbadal on 09/23/09

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, September 23 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Cougar Town Photo Gallery

    Preview:





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