Exactly one year ago today, I was pacing up and down my kitchen, dreaming up scenarios and lines. You see, one of my favourite television shows ever, How I Met Your Mother, would be airing their series finale that evening and there was still so much to be covered and/or wrapped up. I took it really seriously, after all, I actually learnt some life lessons through that show (cue the laughter), and it meant a lot to me. I think I’ve expressed how I feel about that fateful day a few times too many on Twitter, but to sum it up for you: it sucked. I had such high hopes, #HIMYM had easily blown every show I’d ever seen out of the water (barring Gilmore Girls, that will forever be the best show of all time), with its humour and wit, great storylines and unbelievably relatable characters. I could go on and on about how high I valued HIMYM; it was for keeps.
Until March 31, 2014, when everything blew up in my face in the matter of a single hour. Now, for all you folks who aren’t caught up on HIMYM yet, don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything. What I will say, however, is that the ending…was not what I expected nor could have really seen coming. I’ve heard that if you go back and rewatch certain episodes of the show, there are some pretty big hints, but I haven’t been able to work up the courage to watch a single episode. In a year. That’s saying a lot, given how much TV I watch and how big a fan (superfan, really) I was of the show, but I just can’t stomach it. Not yet. Yes, a year later and I’m still reeling. I think it’ll take me a little while to completely ‘get over’ it (listen to me talking about a TV show like it’s an ex-boyfriend…haha, #thesinglelife), but hey, c’est la vie. And that’s okay. Especially when I have great shows to help me through.
Enter Cougar Town. Oh wow, this show is quickly rising in the ranks with me. I actually remember when it first came out, the year I graduated high school, and I remember thinking I would love to check it out because, though I never watched Friends, I’ve always admired Courteney Cox. I didn’t really dig the pilot, though, and the name oozed everything that made me shudder, so it fell off the “must watch” list. That is, until January of this year, when ABC Spark started showing two episodes daily in its new year lineup. Well, folks, I was miffed, because in the process of “freshening things up,” they’d also gotten rid of one of my favourite shows to watch/listen to as I prepared dinner, My Wife & Kids with Damon Wayans (love the Wayans bros, they can do no wrong). However, over time, I’d catch an episode of Cougar Town here and there when I was home and I really enjoyed it, so much so that I started to put it to tape on my PVR and now it’s at the point where if I forget to put it to tape, I freak out and compulsively put the rerun to tape at 5 am (pretty sad that I know this, huh? That’s what TV obsession will do to you. Beware, kiddies ;)).
Cougar Town is SUCH a fantastic show (though it’s not for everyone, so, if I haven’t mentioned it already, I wouldn’t advise watching if you don’t like/can’t handle mature themes and sexuality. It’s not overrun with sex talk or anything, but it does come up. Just a warning! :D). I really enjoy the premise; it centres on Juila ‘Jules’ Kiki Cobb (Courteney Cox), a newly single mother trying to rebuild her life after getting divorced. I know, I know, it sounds pretty average but trust me when I say that it’s hilarious, and the characters in it are special. First, there’s Travis, Jules adolescent son, who is played by Dan Byrd, aka the breakout star in A Cinderella Story (pssh, who cares about Chad Michael Murray and Hilary Duff, Dan was as cute as pie and stole the show). Travis is a total, lovable nerd and is fluent in sarcasm and has an ongoing crush on Laurie Keller, Jules’ hilarious assistant (and later entrepreneur), played by Busy Philipps, and her amazing anecdotes and style constantly add life and fun to the show. Plus, the chemistry between Travis and Laurie is through the charts and their arc over the show’s 6 seasons is written to perfection. Then, there’s Grayson Ellis, Jules’ neighbour (and later potential love interest….ooohh, the intrigue!), played by Josh Hopkins. At first, Jules isn’t particularly fond of Grayson and his womanizing ways, nor is he fond of her, but slowly, their mutual attraction takes the stage.
Adversely, there’s Bobby Cobb, Jules’ ex-husband, played by Brian Van Holt, and let’s just say, Bobby isn’t…the sharpest tool in the shed but he deeply cares about all of his friends and family and is a heartwarming son of a gun. Joining Bobby in all of his crazy antics is Andy Torres, played by Ian Gomez, who is the world’s most supportive, loving (and silly) best friend. Finally, we have my favourite character, Andy’s wife, Elizabeth ‘Ellie’ Torres, played by the gorgeous Christa Miller (who just happens to be the music supervisor for the show and dannnggg does she have some great taste!). Ellie is Jules’ best friend and next-door neighbour, mother of her and Andy’s child, Stan, and is by far one of the most complex and intricate characters I think I’ve ever seen on TV. She’s really, really mean, but in a fun, loving way (if that even makes sense), and you know that she absolutely adores everyone in her crew, even if she says the opposite. I think her character (among other things) is what sets the show apart from others; it’s not everyday you see a mean but thoroughly lovable and fantastic character on television that works.
These 7 characters compose “the Cul-de-Sac Crew” and honestly, I kind of feel like I’m a member of the gang! I really enjoy that Cougar Town is (mostly) very real things happening to very real characters, and though they are obviously dramatized for television, I don’t feel like I’m watching a major production. That’s what I seem to gravitate towards in TV shows; I like funny twists, I like crazy outfits and ideas, but mainly, I love a real element to things (hence why I enjoy shows like HIMYM and The Office; the only real exception I can think of is Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, which even in that, there are a lot of real “human” elements). The writing, the humour, the wit, the storylines, the characters, the special components or nuances that make Cougar Town unique, like, the special title cards, written specifically for each episode, Grayson’s kickin’ songs (especially the awesome announcement that season 6 was on its way, which you can view here), the crew’s clear addiction to alcohol/wine (LOL, pretty obvious), Christopher Walken cat, ‘Change Approved,’ the complete lack of diversity in their fictional town/little group (which they make fun of themselves, it’s gone from sore subject to a funny joke) or Jules’ various ridiculously large wine glasses like Big Carl, Big Lou, Big Tippi (named after Tippi Hedren), etc….everything, they make Cougar Town completely wonderful.
Furthermore, the fact that the show centres on an older demographic is actually nice to see, because most of them have their lives together already, offering a different dynamic than the usual “just living with my roommates trying to figure my life out” vibe that so many TV shows already offer. So, yes, the name sucks (even the writers realize this to be true), but once you get passed the name, it’s a totally under-rated, hidden gem of a show that has earned its way into my heart. In fact, it’s risen above a lot of other shows sitting on my TV list and has even become the “in the background” show (I’m weird, I hate silence, so I turn the TV down to nearly muted, but not quite, when I work). In other words, it’s good stuff.
So, why share my thoughts with you all of a sudden? Well, this evening, in the US, the series finale of Cougar Town airs on TBS at 10:30 pm. 🙁 I won’t be watching, only because we are very behind in Canada (CityTV just showed episode 6, which, in case you were wondering, originally aired in the BEGINNING of FEBRUARY. Why, Canada, WHY!?), but I do have high hopes for it. I think that the writers have proven before that they can deliver the kind of heart-warming, hole-filling episodes that we, as viewers, need, so I’m not really worried. It’s also not overloaded with time travelling and complications like a certain OTHER show that I previously mentioned, so things should work out for the best (fingers crossed). I will miss it, though, but I know I can always turn to the plethora of episodes that are currently still sitting on my PVR if I miss the crew (I’ve yet to delete one episode, they’re just so great!). All in all, I highly recommend you join the #CougarTownClub, you won’t regret it! 🙂
What TV shows are you currently obsessed with? Have you ever judged a TV show by its title or cast? Do you watch Cougar Town? If so, will you be watching the finale tonight? You’ll have to let me know how it is (but no spoilers, please! A general statement will work!)!