Cougar Town & New Adventures of Old Christine Critiqued.
by Meredith O’Brien
They both have long brown hair that’s got a killer shine. They’re petite and wear fashionable, form fitting attire. Both are divorced and have one child. They’re working mothers who are insecure about the dating scene, and lack confidence in themselves and in their appeal to the opposite sex despite the fact that they’re attractive. They are two fictional portrayals of divorced fortysomething women who serve as focal points for two half-hour comedies on major TV networks. The actresses portraying these divorcees are veterans of long-standing, beloved 1990s sitcoms.
That’s where the similarities end. Whereas one character is kooky, self deprecating, relatable and funny, I find the other to be not at all relatable and more than a bit sad to watch. The characters in question: Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Emmy-winning Christine Campbell from The New Adventures of Old Christine and Courteney Cox’s Jules Cobb from the new show Cougar Town. Unfortunately for Cox, whose show just premiered on ABC, I had a very negative reaction to Cougar Town, while I really enjoy Old Christine’s season five opener.
Why, I wondered, was I so put off by Cougar Town? Well, there’s its name, Cougar Town. I’ve read all about how single fortysomething women are trying to “take back” the phrase “cougar”– used to describe predatory older women preying on younger men – and make it a positive thing, a rallying cry of sorts for women to re-assert their strength through their sexuality, kind of like the confident Samantha Jones from Sex and the City. But on Cougar Town, Jules Cobb is nothing like Samantha Jones.