Cougar Town

Cougars are in the news! No, not the big cats native to North America, a few of whom, pressed by habitat shrinkage and loss of prey, have attacked (and partially eaten) Orange County bicyclists. Nope, it’s the other kind of cougar. The sexually adventurous older woman with (much) younger sex partners. Two TV shows are capitalizing on “cougar fever” including Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” (which has not done well in the ratings), and ABC’s “Cougar Town” starring former “Friends” star Courteney Cox. There is even a “Cougar Convention,” but the reality is that all the cougar mania cannot make it into more than a niche taste, and it’s exactly the wrong thing for any network seeing to broaden it’s audience (and earnings) to engage in.

The first National Single Cougars Convention was held earlier in August at Palo Alto. Click on the link to see the full article, but below are some of the images from the convention:

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Next up, has a Review of both “Nurse Jackie” (which did poorly, scoring only 1.4 million viewers) and ABC’s new show, “Cougar Town.” Of the former, the reviewer wrote:

Ultimately, there’s only one thing you need to know about the first season of “Nurse Jackie”: When the first episode begins, it’s tough to understand why Nurse Jackie would cheat on her perfectly dreamy husband, and when the last episode ends, we still don’t get it. In other words, we spend 12 episodes watching Jackie act like an asshole without ever understanding why.

OK, fine, she’s an addict. She has a problem, and she’s in denial. She still tries, sure. She wants her family to be happy. She really loves Eddie (Paul Schulze), the pharmacist. They have great sex. So do she and her husband. Both of these guys are just swell. But we knew all of this by the end of the first episode, and we never learned a single new thing since then.

And also, how plausible is it that an exhausted nurse with a serious pill problem and two little kids at home is having wild and delicious sex with not one but two men? Not only that, but a dashing young doctor in the E.R. also decides that this frankly rather haggard, depraved-looking woman is his one true love?

And when Eddie finds out that she has a husband and kids, what happens? Nothing. Eddie gets drunk and acts weird, apparently without blowing Jackie’s cover, and Jackie is left freaking out and scarfing drugs, just like she was at the beginning.

As for Cougar Town, the reviewer observed:

But let’s skip the ridiculous details and get right to Cox’s best lines:
“Look at that cute guy right there. I’d like to lick his body!”
“You know how it goes, I was 19, I started thinking with my coochie-cooch and then bam, I had a kid!”
“Man, you are hot as balls!”

But the best part is when Jules announces to her younger lover, “OK, I’m going to do something that I have not done in years. I told my husband that I hated it, but I don’t hate it, I love it.” You can only assume that she’s going to pull out a bag of cookies or some other misdirection. Instead, she starts unbuttoning the guy’s pants. Get it? She’s going to give him … a blow job! Teehee!
Then — you guessed it — her son and ex-husband walk in. “There’s my boy!” Jules yelps, and her husband says, “Ohhh, you said you hated that!”
Why is comedy this bad simultaneously depressing and vaguely decadent, like smoking crack with your mentally unstable cousin? is SWPL central. The reviewer, Heather Havrilesky, is if this interview is to be believed fairly typical of SWPL, youngish, hip, trendy, living in areas populated by youngish, hip and trendy people. If Salon’s TV critic does not like the Cougar Trend, nor find it believable, it stretches credulity that many people would. Indeed, the tastes of the critic, from “Lost” to “America’s Next Top Model,” are very mainstream and broad. This from a “trendy” and hip person, who is in fact professionally hip. As noted, the show “Nurse Jackie” has not done well, getting ratings that only a Premium Cable channel (Showtime) can afford.

Clearly, the tide is turning in how people view and respond to entertainment. When SWPL central rejects the theme of Cougar Town, you know things have changed, and clearly, the day of shock and “freaks” providing entertainment has passed.

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22 Responses to Cougar Town

  1. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn't say that "the tide is turning". I just think they've pushed too far, too fast. In a few years, shows like these will be on broadcast and no one will bat an eye.

  2. To the extent that younger men are interested in cougars, it is precisely because they think that they will not have to make a committment to or have children with them.

  3. ganttsquarry says:

    Courtney Cox just exudes class with those choice quotes.

  4. Cougar: the last flare-up of a dimming sexual value before it winks out completely.Does anyone else get the impression that this cougar-craze is simply a female media echo chamber trying to bolster the sexual egos of past-their-prime women? If feminism's definition of a woman hinges on her sexual availability, then it is easy to see why shows like this have their appeal.Isn't it a bit creepy for women clearly past or in twilight of their reproductive years to attempt to trade on the currency of their sexuality? Or pathetic? Or both?

  5. Anonymous says:

    That last photo is quite interesting. From left to right-1. Total melvin. I mean, a South Asian doofus with a bowl cut? What could possibly be attractive about this guy, except that he's too young to rent a car at Enterprise?2. This guy is actually decent-looking – for an East Asian. Halfie? Probably. Still, his observable racial characteristics make him a tall midget at best. I'm sure that this fellow would be in demand among the young Asian ladies – so his presence here indicates some kind of imperceptible flaw. He must know that 40-year-old women don't care about your high IQ and career prospects.3. Another melvin. A white guy shorter than the two Asians. Based on his faux-confident pose, he seems like a guy who's only comfortable around other men. Cougars appeal because they see his vulnerability and shyness as a positive.These "self-actualized" cougars and their "boy toys" are no better than fat couples, nerd couples, or goth couples. The only positive here is that these young men will likely make gains in sexual confidence, and then apply that to more age-appropriate relationships. Not unlike the age-old tradition of using prostitutes to initiate boys into manhood.

  6. Jack says:

    Sitcoms based on the "cougar" craze don't work. ABC tried one a few years ago with real estate agent women; it failed. Remember the "Geena Davis Show"? Lulz. Remember Fran Drescher with some boytoy a few years ago. Didn't even last a year. I give Cougar Town 10 episodes max.And really, the deal is that the Cougar thing is very overblown. The vast majority of women date and fuck people near their age or older.

  7. Novaseeker says:

    The Cougar thing gets play in Hollywood because Hollywood women are much, much, much more likely to become cougars than women are in general. They have access to the personal training regimen, the expensive plastic surgery, and the makeup artists that can create the cougar image.In general for the cougars themselves I think it definitely *is* about losing their sexual mystique, and using their last chance to capitalize on it. It is about women who have built a large part of their self-esteem in their younger years around their sex appeal, and becoming a cougar is a way to hold on to that for a few years longer. It's about their own self-esteem, and how weak and shallow it is, ultimately.The appeal to ordinary women is overblown. Surely some women will relate to the fantasy of becoming a bombshell at 45, but many won't, simply because at that point in their lives, they are settled in who they are and have moved beyond sex appeal as the main focus of their identity and self-esteem. And many women are not stupid, in that they realize that there is nothing complicated or challenging about older women being able to have sex with much younger men if they make themselves sexually available –> that theme is not new, appearing in The Graduate (1967), and is not viewed by many women as anything approaching an achievement, because most women know by the time they are in their 40s that making themselves sexually available to younger men will easily result in sex. Nothing really achieved there.In all, it's a rebellion against aging, and a more or less pathetic attempt to relive the 20s. And, finally, it's also about jealousy aimed at older men, some of whom are quite successful at chasing younger women (which actually *is* an achievement, compared to cougars simply making themselves sexually available to young men).

  8. Anonymous says:

    Old women fighting the war against wrinkles and losing that war while trying to feel good about their rapidly-aging and diminishing physical attraction by bedding young betas who wanted but couldn't bag a high school cheerleader. So he does the next best thing, bags her mom.Yawn.One of the posters got it right, it's a rebellion against aging. And a hopeless one.Old and unattractive doesn't change merely because the old and attractive woman bags a young boy who either can't get a woman nearer to his age or doesn't want to because he doesn't want to commit. Doubtless many of the cougar hunters deny they can't get women their own age and say it's about sex exclusively.But if a guy can get an attractive woman his own age, why would he want a woman his mom's age?Old women shacking up with young boys is like a guy dating a girl twice his weight. Some 'accomplishment'.

  9. Shows like cougar town and nurse jackie are why more people are cutting the cable completely and getting their entertainment content from the internet, choosing what they want to watch and excluding everything else.The three amigos in the picture have a perfectly obvious reason for being at the convention: free hookers.

  10. Yawn. Cougar shows are like vampire shows: all the rage on TV right now, and soon to be half-forgotten and replaced by something else.Peter

  11. Kevin K says:

    The reviewer (Heather Havrilesky) has a good blog (which she doesn't update much) : talks a lot about her relationships there if you are interesting in doing some social analysis.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Can't those guys get at least half-way attractive cougars?Those old hags could pass of the Crypt Keeper's stunt double…

  13. Rose says:

    "But it is even more amusing to see these old women, so ancient they might as well be dead and so cadaverous they look as if they returned from the grave, yet they are always mouthing the proverb 'life is sweet'. They are hot as bitches in heat… They pay a good price for the services of some handsome young Adonis. They never cease smearing their faces with makeup. They can't tear themselves away from the mirror. They pluck and thin their pubic bush. They show off their withered and flabby breasts. They whip up their languid lust with quavering whines and whimpers. They drink a lot. They mingle with the young girls on the dance floor. They write billets-doux. Everyone laughs at these things as utterly foolish (as indeed they are), but the old bags themselves are perfectly self-satisfied." — Erasmus, The Praise of Folly

  14. Grim says:

    I have a friend who is 30, 6' 2'', in great shape (weight lifting), generally good looking. He has a hell of a time getting laid. He's a nice guy beta who gives off that beta vibe in spades. Recently he had turned to cougars to meet that urge. He's dating women in their early to middle 40s. He feels disgusted about it, but it's the best he can do, right now. Whenever he gets horny enough he simply returns one of frequent and usually ignored calls and gets laid on their dime. He then proceeds to ignore these "ladies" till the next time he feels the need.He's fucking cougars because better than porn and masturbation but nothing he wants to pursue seriously. The women are basically disposable semen units for him.In a world where a decent nice guy can't get laid, nice guys will fuck any women who will put out.

  15. Anonymous says:

    "The women are basically disposable semen units for him."Agree 100%. Yet many of these cougars are completely deluded and will take the fact that some guy with a hard-on is willing to dive between their legs as proof of their "desireability" or "sexiness". A pathetic rebellion against aging.-Vanilla Thunder

  16. Zeta says:

    Ah, the mating game's losers: beta men and "cougar" (AKA past-prime) females. Of course, in a more just world, the beta dudes would be the top catch of all, but it isn't to be in our Bizarro World, where up is down and destructive traits are consistently rewarded. Cheers to that!

  17. Mr Frost says:

    My God, I've been deluded. I actually thought that the term "cougar" applied to attractive, mid thirites, empowered carrier chick types. These women just look horrible, painting their melting faces with three inches of make up. Their leathery skin, and dry, brittle hair, Jesus!There are certain personality traits which will make a womans diminished looks appear less unappealing. One thing comes to mind is grace, that is agely gracely, carrying yourself with a class and dignity. Their attempts to mask their physical flaws only draw attention to them.

  18. OldSouth says:

    Predators come in all shapes and sizes…

  19. Marquis says:

    i think they've reframed the reality of young guys banging older women: guys bang women period. they look past the old, the fat, the busted, the saggy, the whatever. most of those cougar chasing type of guys have lower standards period. it's not proof that there is some undercurrent of desire for old, banged out, desperate hags. all things being equal, the VAST majority of guys will bang the younger more nubile of the species….

  20. Jay Fink says:

    Cougars:A last gasp of having fun before these women literally turn into female versions of omega males. Soon no men will be attracted to them or even notice they exist. They will become sexually invisible. The only difference is the omega male (and many betas for that matter) are long used to being invisible. Old women know what it's like to be wanted and now have to adjust to having zero sexual market value.These cougar aged women would be better off using their final time looking semi-attractive to find a man their own age to grow old with. Wasting their time havng sex with young men makes it a near certainty their future involves cats as their only companion.

  21. Nilk says:

    Isn't it a bit creepy for women clearly past or in twilight of their reproductive years to attempt to trade on the currency of their sexuality? Or pathetic? Or both?It's all of the above, EW, I'm sorry to say.

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