Cougar Town -- TV Review

Benjamin Walker
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 13:  Actor Benjamin Walker attends the "Bloody Bloody Jackson" opening night after party at Brasserie 8 1/2 on October 13, 2010 in New York City.

Cougar Town is a place dreamed up by Bill Lawrence, the man who also helped give the world many excellent episodes of "Scrubs." Courteney Cox is the star of ABC's "Cougar Town," the woman who gave the world many amusing moments on "Friends." Their television marriage could have worked.

Unfortunately, the character Lawrence dreamed up for Cox to play -- the recently divorced Jules, who goes completely mental one morning after noting a few elbow wrinkles and tummy jiggles -- is shrill, unappealing (except for the whole looking like Courteney Cox thing), self-obsessed and has no filter between what she thinks and what she says.

Things she says: "All the single guys our age are broken, gay or chasing younger girls." And, "I started thinking with my coochie cooch." And don't forget the discussion with her teenage son, Travis, about penis-holding. At least the boy has the grace to be mortified by his mother's sudden need to find the G-spot.

To sum up: This is a one-note premise, with a lead character no one could want to spend five minutes with, based on a passing fad. That it also echoes at least one other new show on the fall schedule, the less middling "Accidentally on Purpose" on CBS, doesn't help its case.

Yet there is light in this dark, cynical tunnel: Jules' son. Played by Dan Byrd with a sweet, dry sense of delivery that recalls Neil Patrick Harris, Travis would provide a more realistic show focus. He's the calm center in a universe of insane adults: In addition to his mom, his shiftless dad (Brian Van Holt) is riding around his high school on a mower, shirtless (he's the new groundskeeper), and his single neighbor (Josh Hopkins) across the street, mom's nemesis, plays sugar daddy to an array of twentysomethings. With these people as role models, who would want to grow up?

"Cougar" is a mess of a place no one would want to visit, even for a half-hour. With a little luck, though, it'll have a short shelf life -- and give Byrd a chance for a better job.

Airdate: 9:30-10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23 (ABC)
Production: ABC Studios, Doozer Inc., Coquette Prods.
Cast: Courteney Cox, Christa Miller, Busy Philipps, Dan Byrd, Josh Hopkins, Ian Gomez, Brian Van Holt
Executive producers: Bill Lawrence, Courteney Cox, David Arquette
Creator-writers: Bill Lawrence, Kevin Biegel
Co-executive producer: Kevin Biegel
Producer: Thea Mann, Randall Keenan Winston
Director: Bill Lawrence
Director of photography: Andrew H. Rawson
Production designer: Cabot McMullen
Costume designer: Kim Tillman
Casting: Debby Romano, Brett Benner, Blyth Nailling