Cougar Town is the brain child of TV veterans Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel, and I promise you it’s the best TV show you’re not watching. The show has gone on a roller coaster ride through the business side of the industry, but one thing remains intact and that’s its fanbase (be it a small but passionate group of lasses and lads). I promise you that if you take a chance on this show that it will immediately jump to the top tier of your favorite shows, and here are the reasons why.
1. Bill Lawrence & Kevin Biegel:
Lawrence and Biegel are probably the best writers working in TV, and are completely overlooked for it. Bill Lawrence not only co-created Spin City, but also created Scrubs (which Biegel wrote on). Their writing styles differ from the gimmicky punchline styles of other sitcoms, or the overly melodramatic beats of dramas. Scrubs proved you could make a show that was neither comedy nor drama, but just a reflection of life. Everyday life with our friends is funny but it can also be hard and emotional. Scrubs reflected that perfectly, and it wasn’t a show about doctors. It was a show about friends getting through life and all the ups and downs that come with it. Cougar Town has all those qualities except it transplants it to a group of middle-class 40 somethings in Florida.
2. The Cast/Characters:
You hear the word “ensemble” thrown around a lot, but this is truly an ensemble. Much like how Lawrence achieved a balance of characters on Scrubs he does so here as well. This isn’t a show about Courtney Cox, it grew into a post-divorce mom making life work with her closest friends and family. You don’t watch the show for any specific character, but for all of them. And if you think of great sitcoms like Friends and Seinfeld, they achieved that with their characters as well. All of them are fleshed out people and non of them are 1-trick ponies. These aren’t cardboard cutout characters that seem to dominate all of the “popular” comedies out there. You feel as if these people are real and that you’re just getting to hang out with them for 22 minutes each week. The show also isn't a "chick" show. I'm a 25 year-old straight guy who loves this show like crazy. The guy dynamics on the show hold just as much weight as the girl ones and when they cross over it creates great television.
3. The Crew:
This show’s crew has gone through so much and has put in so much heart and work to make it happen. From low ratings, shifting time slots, to lack of network support it’s a miracle that it hasn’t been canceled. Bill Lawrence wen’t rogue and spent his time and money to advertise the show by touring the country and holding parties for fans to come hang out with him and the rest of the cast and crew. He showed us that a show isn’t about ratings and numbers, it was about human interaction and shared experiences. It definitely worked as even though ABC tried hard to kill Cougar Town the fans wouldn’t let it. Cougar Town rose above its unfortunate title and gained a concentrated laser-beam of a fanbase. So much so that ABC sold it to TBS instead of canceling it. It was still a dick move by ABC, but at least Cougar Town is at a place that will appreciate it and show it off.
From the crew behind the camera to the cast in front of it and it's fanbase, I’ve never seen a show with as much heart as Cougar Town. You feel warm when you watch it and it brightens up your day. The emotions are real and nothing feels forced or gimmicky. There is no laugh-track telling you what’s funny so the laughs come naturally. The touching and emotional parts come naturally too and you never feel manipulated. You can tell the writers are one big family and so are the actors, and together they form an even bigger family.
Season 4 will premiere on TBS on January 8th, and it’s a perfect time to jump into the show. It would help if you watched the past 3 seasons, which will air I’m sure on TBS since they got the rights to them as well. Should you jump in then think of it as moving to a new city and joining a new group of friends. You will be able to pick out all the details of their past just from hanging around with them, so don’t be afraid to jump into it brand new. Cougar Town trumps all other network shows in terms of quality writing, characters, heart and laughs. I assure you it has nothing to do with older women banging younger guys. The show took on that identity in the first few episodes of Season 1, but quickly abandoned it. What the show is today is truly something special. Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel unfortunately won’t be the showrunners anymore due to a contractual obligation, but they will remain as the head creative consultants. So, do yourself a favor and give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.