In an interview with HitFix, Cougar Town creator Bill Lawrence expressed distaste for the comedy's title. "I'd like to (change it), and the studio has been talking about it...partly as a result of common sense and partly from their research," he said. "They find too many instances of testing of people saying they would never watch a show called Cougar Town -- 'I don't want to see some show about a 40-year-old woman nailing younger guys' -- and then they screen an episode, and people go, 'Oh, I would watch this show."
A rep from ABC followed that up with a quick no-go. For the record, I'd much rather watch a show about "a 40-year-old woman nailing younger guys" than a 40-year old dude nailing younger girls. But I'm pretty sure my reasoning isn't very noble, and has nothing to do with "empowering women." think that gets at the point. There was this whole thing about "cougar" being liberating for women over 40, but I think when you're really liberated they don't have to call you anything--you just get to be. Demi Moore is a "cougar." Michael Douglas is just, well, Michael Douglas. In that sense, "cougar" ultimately says more about what we think of woman, than anything about what women are actually doing with their lives.
At any rate, the saddest part of all of this is that Cougartown is my favorite dumb comedy of the year--by far--and I mean that in the best possible way. I don't mean it's so bad, it's good, I mean that it isn't a faux-doc, it's not deconstructing 20 years of pop culture. It's just executing the form. The show is totally lacking in narcissism and self-reference. I've liked Busy Phillips since Freaks and Geeks. And Mara Brock Akil (from the awesome Girlfriends) is doing some funny writing, as usual.
But mostly, I think I feel really bad for Courtney Cox who is doing some really good comic acting. I think I'm one of five people in the universe who liked her in Dirt--or to clarify I didn't like Dirt at all, but I watched it because I thought her acting was superb. It all makes me want to go back, watch Friends and focus on her a little more. I'm a fan. She has the show she deserves. It says something about us that we can't give it the name it deserves.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.
Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.