Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cougar Town Claws Back Onto ABC's 
Schedule Tonight, February 14th at 8:30pm

In what caused many fans to break out into their own 'no no dances,'^1 ABC decided to bench Cougar Town until midseason causing a 9-month break between the second season finale and tonight's third season premiere. However, loyal followers can once again continue their 'confidence dancing'^2 as the wait is finally over with tonight's season three premiere. 

I was fortunate enough to catch the premiere entitled 'Ain't Love Strange,' when I attended a panel event with the cast (Courteney Cox, Josh Hopkins, Dan Byrd, Christa Miller, Ian Gomez, Brian Van Holt, but sadly sans Busy Phillips) and co-creators (Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel) at the LA Paley Center for Media last Wednesday. The episode provided several opportunities to loudly say, 'LAUGH,'^3 and (as the ABC promo department wants us to know) tonight's climax even proposes several new storylines for the future. 

Cougar Town (like Lawrence's Scrubs) has always been an incredibly silly show with great touches of heart thrown in there. However, Cougar Town has shifted tonally from exploring the dating adventures of a 40-something woman on the prowl in Southern Florida to following a group of slightly co-dependent (both on each other and on their glasses of wine) friends, lovingly known as the Cul de Sac Crew, as they are grappa-ling (see what I did there?) with having to be a grown-up by maintaining their immature nature through fun, catchy games.^4 and ^5

This very talented ensemble (coming at a very close second to Parks and Rec) creates a very relatable cast of characters that works because despite trying to conform to what is expected of them, the Cul de Sac Crew ends up embracing their own flaws^6 as well as each others',^7 whereby normal society remains all judge-y. Therefore, do not hesitate to invite your co-dependent gang over to your couch every Tuesday at 8:30pm and spend some time with Cougar Town. Just don't forget to have plenty of bottles of wine.^8

The hilarious panel also provided the following insight:

- Dan Byrd was heavily ridiculed on set for being 'all method-y/schmactor-y' after debating whether or not his character, Travis, would actually wait 20 seconds (enough time to get another actor's line out) to open the noisy bag of chips thrown at him
- Christa Miller aka Ellie Torres aka Bill Lawrence's wife is the music supervisor on Cougar Town and  also served the same role on Scrubs, where she incorporated The Shins 'New Slang' two years before Zach Braff made it the song that would 'change your life' in Garden State
- The entire cast will always be willing to sign any wine glasses you have on you
- Courteney Cox will direct two episodes this year
- One episode will have several homages to Groundhog Day
- David Arquette will guest star in the third season finale as a concierge attracted to the married Ellie Torres 
- We will meet Ellie's even more caustic mother this season
- The Cul de Sac Crew will be making their way cross-country for one of the important birthplaces of wine, Napa Valley, for a very important event
- One cougar on the show will remain... well kinda. Carolyn Hennesy's hysterical Barb will be back but married to a slightly older character we are already familiar with
- The adorable Sarah Chalke will romance Brian Van Holt's Bobby Cobb this season
- One episode will have several homages to Groundhog Day
- There will be more Cougar Town/Community subtle references, especially a conclusion to Cougarton Abbey
- One episode will have several homages to Groundhog Day
- Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel wholeheartedly acknowledge Jules and Travis' way too close mother/son relationship^9
- The writers' answer for why we rarely see Jules at work or Travis in class? The show predominantly takes place on the weekend! Duh!










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