Is it possible for change to be a good thing, especially when there’s a lot of it? That’s the premise behind the long awaited third season premiere of Cougar Town, which had greatly improved since its first episode. Will viewers still tune in after a long absence from the airwaves.
Cougar Town followed divorced single mother Jules (Courteney Cox) who was a realtor that loved to drink red wine with her friends as they plotted their latest crazy adventure. Jules’ neighbor turned boyfriend Grayson (Josh Hopkins) are enjoying stepping into a committed relationship, even though they’re both bound to make mistakes. Grayson told Jules in passing that she was predictable, such as telling off a group of teenage skateboarders for being rude. Jules asked her friends Laurie (Busy Philipps), Ellie (Christa Miller) and her husband Andy (Ian Gomez) and they agreed with Grayson’s assessment. Jules tried to prove everyone wrong and vowed revenge against the skateboarders by covering their house in toilet paper. What Jules didn’t expect was that Grayson would a surprisingly good curveball in her plan. Jules’ son Travis (Dan Byrd) and his father Bobby (Brian Van Holt) also had to adjust to Travis’ new collegiate life and how they could make adjustments. Will they be able to make it work?
In terms of plot, Cougar Town has improved greatly from its humor free first episode and cliched premise of a divorced woman turned cougar on the prowl. The show has since morphed into a story of friends trying to stay sane as they adjusted to their grown up responsibilities, which would require a lot of red wine. Jules’ inventive wine glass holder gag brought a few laughs because it poked fun at how the cast of characters loved their wine. The romance between Grayson and Jules was playful and what the show should’ve focused on earlier instead of the cliched cougar gags. Cox and Hopkins have a believable and comfortable rapport that viewers have come to enjoy. The only casualty in changing the plot later in the game is being stuck with a lousy title that had no bearing to what they show was truly about. That’s why the powers that be cleverly put a tagline in that they agree that the title doesn’t work for them either.
The subplots also seemed to help make the show a well oiled machine. Miller and Gomez played believable parents who were afraid that their son was going to be a nightmare as he got older. Cue the frightening toddler to sell their point. Philipps was great and quotable comic relief as the chatty and wild Laurie who was a welcome diversion to have on the show. The show’s only casualty is the relationship between Byrd and Van Holt’s characters, which seemed random and didn’t fit in with the episode. The green screen in the dorm room was funny, but deserved a separate episode to focus on it entirely. Hopefully, ABC will give this show a chance to shine, or a proper conclusion for its loyal fans.
Cougar Town premiered on February 14th and airs Tuesdays at 8:30 PM on ABC.
Verdict: A show grew a lot in its 3 seasons, but it might not be enough to save it.
TV Score: 3 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)