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:
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?
Salon.com 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.