Best Shows You Aren’t Watching – Cougar Town Edition

If I had the ability to go back in time and change three things, I would

  • Stop Hitler and the holocaust
  • Stop 9/11
  • Convince everyone associated with the show Cougar Town that they had to change the name before it went on air.

Lofty goals, I know. But I really like this television show.

Let me state the obvious right away: This is NOT a show about older women hooking up with younger guys. If that is what is keeping you away from the show, and I suspect that is the majority of you, you are missing a hilarious show for absolutely no reason.

Admittedly, the first few episodes did deal with Jules (Courtney Cox) getting back into dating after her divorce from Bobby (Brian Van Holt) and she did date a younger guy. But the show runners quickly realized that they had a great cast with amazing chemistry and quickly abandoned this entire premise. Now the only young guy on the show is Jules and Bobby’s college aged son Travis (Dan Byrd).

The show has evolved into a show about a group of friends (the self-proclaimed “Cul-de-sac Crew”) who enjoy hanging out, making each other laugh, making up games (PENNY CAN!) and drinking wine. My God, they drink a lot of wine. Along the way, they support each other in dealing with their problems, whether it be Jules’ difficulty in adapting to Travis going off to college or Laurie (the always spectacular Busy Phillips) dealing with having her heart broken. It’s just a fun and quirky show brought to you by the people who made Scrubs (please tell me you people watched Scrubs). The cast clearly loves working together and that shines through in the program; it feels more like watching friends interact than a sitcom. It just makes you happy and it is, most importantly, funny.

In fact, the cast and crew are so devoted to this show that when ABC didn’t put it on the fall or mid-season schedule, they waged their own guerrilla campaign to try and drum up support for the show. The actors all made cameos on other shows during the 9 months that they has been off the air and used Twitter to interact with fans. They hosted viewing parties in major cities with the cast to give fans a sneak peek at the first few episodes of the show (I was invited to the NYC viewing party, but was unfortunately too sick to go). They have been going on podcasts, radio programs and TV talk shows to try and increase visibility for the show and to help get people off the terrible name (which they acknowledge is terrible and tried to change). They even released a season 3 trailer that reveals plot points for the upcoming season in the hopes of peaking the interest of new fans.  I’ve never seen anything like it – a full on media blitz done solely on their own time and largely on their own dime. The show’s creator, Bill Lawrence, paid for the majority of the screening parties out of his own pocket. These are clearly people who believe in what they are doing. Shouldn’t that faith be rewarded?

Unfortunately, I know I’m fighting an uphill battle. Chances are very good that this show will be cancelled – the numbers for the season 3 premiere last night weren’t good. They are in a tougher time slot than before. People just can’t get over the title. I fear that this will be another Arrested Development situation, where people will finally watch the show on DVD and in retrospect realize how great and funny it is.

But it isn’t too late. Go check out the show on demand or on Forget the name and go into the show with an open mind. If you like what you see, tune in on Tuesday nights at 8:30 pm ET on ABC. Please don’t let this Cougar become extinct.

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