DVD Flashback Friday: Rewind, Repeat or (Not So) Fast Forward?

which you can find here, and you might have seen her comments on Couchtime from time to time. So for today, she’s got some great insight on one of my new favorite shows, Cougar Town. Here’s Dana!

Recently, courtesy of this blog, I started watching Cougar Town.  I wasn’t dying to watch it as the premise was not so unique or one that I thought had to be watched and I had not heard a lot of buzz about the show either, which is honestly what usually turns me onto a show I am not itching to watch.  But with my regular shows (Parenthood, Boardwalk Empire, Modern Family, Grey’s) wrapped for the season and some over for good (Big Love, Friday Night Lights), I really needed something new to watch.  I got the first season of Cougar Town and tried to watch the first episode a couple of times but each time I was distracted or tired and never made it through.  It was cute enough but didn’t really grab me and I went back to old standbys like Law and Order and SVU, but then my daughter was sick and I was home bound with her and just dying for something light and funny, so I gave Cougar Town another try.  It didn’t completely grab me, but it held my interest and was funny and snarky in just the right way and before I knew it I was laughing out loud.  I am almost done with the second season now and I agree with Jill, it’s a fun show.  
Then the other day I was thinking about it and thinking about Courtney Cox’s Jules Cobb and comparing her with Monica Geller of Friends. At first I thought they are kind of similar, but not really.  But as I got deeper and deeper into Cougar Town I started realizing that the cul-de-sac crew really does have a lot in common with the gang from Friends and after turning that over in my mind and watching a couple more episodes, it just started jumping at me — Cougar Town is Friends, just that the friends on Cougar Town are older, more jaded by life and are snarky rather than just getting themselves into embarrassingly funny situations.  
Think about it – Friends, 3 guys and 3 girls, two of which are a married couple and another two are exes. Cougar Town, 3 guys and 3 girls, two of which are married to each other and another two are exes. The six people do little more than hang out together.  Courtney Cox’s character is largely the host and the group seem to congregate at her house (Cougar Town) or at her apartment (Friends). The other hang out is the apartment or house next door. When they go out on Cougar Town they hang out at Grayson’s bar.  In Friends they hung out at the Coffee House. On Cougar Town wine is the beverage of choice and in Friends it was coffee.  On Friends they had a quasi regular character who was an outsider to the group, Gunther, on Cougar Town they have Tom.  Both Tom and Gunther had not-so-secret crushes on one of the main characters of their respective show and each of those characters was oblivious to the affections of the resident loser.  Although the six main characters are not one-on-one cutouts of our favorite Friends, they share a lot of similarities.  Bobby Cobb is a white trash version of Joey Tribbiani, Joey is a struggling actor, Bobby a struggling golf pro. Both are certainly not known for their academic prowess. Both have very little money and take advantage of their better off friends (Joey letting Chandler support him, Bobby sponging free drinks off of Grayson).  Ellie has elements of Monica, Rachel and Phoebe in her (She is bossy and competitive, into her looks and is kind of a dominatrix).  Jules also has elements Monica and Phoebe in her characters in her (she always is the host, she can be scrappy at times and she is ditzy). Laurie is very much like Phoebe in that she is ditzy. Grayson is a more mature version of Chandler without the need to compensate with jokes all the time.  He is a likable every guy and he has the bit of Joey in him that he beds lots of women (at least in season 1) and never sees them again.  Andy is a little cross between Ross (kind of nerdy although not in the academic way), Chandler (particularly how he is whipped by Ellie) and Joey and is often fooled into being the fool.    
The only one that doesn’t fit the Friends mold is Travis, but in my mind he is Ben or what Ben would have been like when he grew up.  Travis definitely seems like he could have been Ross’ kid.  
I basically think Cougar Town is Friends after they have grown up, gotten married (and divorced) and hit middle age. The more and more I think about it I am convinced that CoCo’s mom and dad pitched it as the sequel to Friends.  
I am not saying this at all like it is a bad thing. Cougar Town is damn funny and I kind of respect Courtney Cox for sticking with a formula which obviously really works for her instead of trying to turn away from a character and show type that she is really good at. Many actors on wildly successful shows like Friends try like hell to get away from the character they played for so long. On the one hand it is understandable, you don’t want to be typecast and restricted to doing one type of thing in your career. Actors worth their salt have range and it is considered acting gold to go from a successful role star to a become a successful movie star. Will Smith and George Clooney did it very well.  The Friends cast has not been so successful at it. Jennifer Aniston has made a lot of movies and put a lot of effort into making that transition but she basically makes one stupid romcom after another and most of her movies for the past three years barely do any real box office.  The world is more interested in her personal life anyway, and if she will ever put Brad Pitt and Angelina’s cuckolding behind her.  The rest have had some success post-Friends activities although no where near the level they did on that show. I actually hand it Courteney Cox for realizing what she is and is not and sticking with something which clearly works from her.  If only her BFF Jen would listen to her. Jennifer Aniston was fantastic on television and should find another great television vehicle.  
So, I will be sticking with Cougar Town, even if they really do change their name.  I really hope that they don’t, because I kind of look forward to the snarky bit that happens during the opening credits, but in case they are looking for ideas, how about Friends 2.0?
OK, Jill again. Love this post! I think Dana’s spot-on with the Gunther/Tom comparison. Cougar Town really is a grownup, wine-guzzling version of Friends! And, I love it. I agree about Courtney Cox vs. Jennifer Aniston as well. Sure, Jennifer Aniston makes movies, but I can’t stand almost anything she’s been in. Her rom-coms have completely turned me off of her as an actress, and I think she would be well-served by following in Courtney’s footsteps and finding a great TV show for the next step in her career.



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What’s Open On Canada Day 2011

Happy Canada Day, eh?