Last night, I went to an event sponsored by the creators of a little program called Cougar Town. It was a very fun night with the writers and cast and a bunch of journalists looking to learn more about the show and get some interviews. The reason for the event - briefly - is that every year the Television Critics Association (TCA) hosts panels and screenings for each of the networks to showcase the series they are most excited about, new and old. This year, Cougar Town was not a part of that conversation, so they decided to help themselves and hosted this party (open bar!).
It was a lot of fun hanging out and meeting new people, but what I came to quickly discover is that I am not a journalist. I could talk to you and anyone else about television all day. That's essentially what I did at the event. I walked around the room, met some new people - cast members, writers, and journalists alike - and spoke with them about TV shows. It was great! But getting an "official" interview? Not so much my strong suit. Still, it was a good night that I am not likely to forget anytime soon. This article isn't about me, however. I am already a regular and committed viewer of Cougar Town, but I know that a lot of other people are not. This is my plea for you to give this show a chance.
In an effort to convince you that you really should look past the title, I'm going to stick with the abbreviation CT from here on. And as Jeff Winger would say, "Look, if you want me to take it seriously, stop saying its name." The point I am eventually getting to here is that CT actually has nothing to do with cougars - an older woman seeking a much younger man (boy?) for dating purposes, if you were unaware. It also has nothing to do with the animal cougar, just in case that was also a concern. CT is, at its essence, a show about a group of middle-aged friends who hang out and drink wine. They live in a cul-de-sac and they spend time together and they partake of red wine. It really is that simple. Maybe in the beginning Jules (Courteney Cox) dated a younger man or two, but then something great happened and the show became more about her support group than her love life.
This support group includes her son Travis (Dan Byrd), her ex-husband/current-friend Bobby (Brian Van Holt), her best friend and neighbor Ellie (Christa Miller), Ellie's husband (and Bobby's best friend) Andy (Ian Gomez), her co-worker and other best friend Laurie (Busy Phillips), and her neighbor-turned-boyfriend Grayson (Josh Hopkins). Let the shenanigans begin!
Jules can't quite find the boundary of where a proper mother-son relationship ends and a weird one begins. Bobby lives on a boat that rests in a parking lot. Ellie and Laurie, despite being Jules' best friends, can't seem to find anything they like about each other. Grayson makes up fun little songs on his guitar. Andy and Bobby test the limits of what a bromance really means. It's relatable, but in a way that is probably a little funnier (and zanier, as I read somewhere) than your real life.
And that may be the most important reason you should give this show a chance - it is really funny! I sincerely mean that, too. It hasn't been on in quite some time, but the second season was consistently funny and a show that I looked forward to from week to week. That is a clear indicator, to me, of how good a show really is. If every week you can't wait to see it, it must be doing something right! It is certainly better than a lot of the stuff on TV right now that seems to have viewers entranced. But the good news is you don't have to take my word for it. You can and should find out for yourself!
Of the upcoming third season, I have only seen a sizzle reel, but that alone had some very funny stuff in it. I have heard that this year it will only continue to get better. And that information comes from a very, very reliable source who knows funny and has had close proximity to the creation of season three so far. You may have seen her article.
Speaking of the return, it would be a lot easier for me to convince you to tune into CT if I knew when you should tune in. ABC has yet to set an official start date for season three, but I will be sure to keep you updated. The latest news is that it would return sometime in March. All this vagueness, though, is certainly troubling to the creative forces behind the show who have taken it upon themselves to build awareness and keep fans informed and excited for the upcoming premiere. How so? Well, that event I attended last night was organized (and paid for) by the show's creators, Bill Lawrence (yes, he also created Scrubs) and Kevin Biegel, without the outside help of the network. What better way to raise awareness of the show than by hosting a party for TV reporters and bloggers?
Additionally, the creators, cast, and writers have begun hosting viewing parties all across the US in order to give fans a taste of what's to come this season. So far, these viewing parties have been held in places like Louisville, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Sarasota, Chicago, San Diego, and others, with still more on the horizon. At each screening, at least one writer and one cast member are in attendance to greet the fans (who have gotten their tickets via social media contests) and hang out while a couple of new, unaired episodes are screened. I had a last-minute opportunity to attend one of these in LA, but couldn't make it work. I heard it was a blast, though! Follow Bill Lawrence on Twitter (@VDOOZER) or check out his fan page on Facebook for your chance to attend one of these parties.
To me, the fact that these people are fighting and working so hard for their show means that they must really believe in it. These viewing parties and events are not something mandated in their contracts. This doesn't seem to be just another job to them. These writers and cast members really love the work they are doing. They want it to succeed not for their own sake, but because it truly is a great and funny show that people would love, if they just gave it a real chance. I know this to be true especially because I spent my evening yesterday talking to these writers and cast members. They love CT, hell, Cougar Town, despite its unfortunate name and the fact that it was dismissed by many before it had even begun.
So, like those who go to work every day for the cul-de-sac crew, I urge you to take thirty minutes on a yet-undetermined evening in March to see what all this fuss is about. Turn on your televisions and set your DVRs to visit Cougar Town. If you're still not interested, I will try to understand, but I think those of you who have yet to check it out will be in for one hell of a pleasant surprise. And those of you who have been anxiously awaiting another round of drinks with Big Carl or another game of Penny Can, the time has almost come. Just be patient. It will certainly be worth the wait.
Now, everybody tell me your favorite thing about Cougar Town!