Cougar Town, “Pilot”: Pow!

“Maybe what really drives you nuts is that you couldn’t bag a young stud if you tried,” Josh Hopkins tells Courtney Cox in Cougar Town’s pilot episode. “You don’t think I could?” asks Cox, right before calling out to a kid riding by on his bike. “Pow!” She pulls open her robe, and the kid, who will be telling this story to his friends well into college, plows head-on into a parked car.

I just watched the pilot again and I’m still cleaning up the Dr. Pepper I spit all over my TV. I’m not sure what ABC did to deserve it, but as far as good TV goes, their cup runneth over this season.

Cougar Town stars Courtney Cox as Jules Cobb, a 40-year old single mom who’s trying to jump back in to the dating scene. Being single, being 40 with a 17-year old son, she’s (understandably) a little anxious. There to push her into the deep end is her best friend Laurie, played by Busy Phillips. After working some kinks out at the local discotheque, Jules hooks up with Matt. After moving things back to her place, they’re interrupted by Jule’s ex-husband Bobby and her son Travis.

Jules getting caught doing that thing she always told Bobby she hated but really doesn’t sums up a lot of show. It’s that, “Oh s**t. I’m doing this and people can see me,” feeling that makes Jules so hesitant to start dating again. Bobby and Travis aren’t making it any easier for her. Bobby looks on, amused, while Travis — the teenager who’s still getting picked on at school — can only watch in horror, especially after his dad gets a job at his school…cutting the grass.

The show was created by Scrubs alums (or as I call them, Scrubs Scribes) Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel, so fans of that show will definitely recognize the humor, although it’s a bit more reined in here. Reined in, but every bit as funny. We all knew Courtney Cox could do comedy, but this seems like a role she was almost born to, especially when you consider what all of the ex-Friends have gone on to do after that show completed its run.

Structurally, the show’s still working out a few kinks. I think it’s something all sitcoms go through in their first few episodes, and I don’t think the show is going to have any problems settling into its own rhythm. It’s a great premise, and while Cox is clearly the star, she’s got some talent backing her up. Brian Van Holt as Cox’s absent-minded ex-husband provides some of the show’s laugh-out-loud moments, as do Christa Miller and Ian Gomez, Cox’s neighbors who have settled into a life of utterly predictable marital bliss.

On the Working Title TV-Meter, we give Cougar Town–just kidding. Could you imagine something so ridiculous? Anyway, on the Working Title TV-Meter we give Cougar Town a B++, which is basically an A. I just hesitate giving any show an A right out of the gate, even though this one really had me laughing. Anyway, on Wednesday nights ABC is definitely the place to be. Cougar Town and the network’s other freshman comedy, Modern Family, seem to be a good pair. Considering the ratings, they’re both off to a good start. Hopefully that’ll keep up. I’d hate to buy a DVD next year that said Cougar Town: The Complete Series.

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