September 26, 2009

TV: Cougar Town (ABC, Wed 9:30)

Courtney Cox is Jules, a 40-year-old realtor trying to get back into the dating world after her recent divorce. She's got a teenage son (Dan Byrd) who's embarrassed by everything she does, especially her constant joking about her lack of a romantic life. "Why don't you laugh at my jokes?," she asks; "Because they make me sad," he answers.

Also on hand are Christa Miller as Jules' best friend, Busy Phillips as a fellow realtor, and Brian Van Holt as her ex-husband. As she often is, Miller is the best thing in the show, which would be immeasurably funnier if she were playing the lead.

The problem with Cox isn't so much that she isn't funny; she's perfectly up to the demands of the role. The problem is that she's still far too sexy to be this mopy woman, and Cox knows it. (Miller isn't unsexy, but she seems less convinced of that than Cox does, and Miller is far better at self-deprecating humor.)

Cougar Town isn't an awful show. It's probably good enough that I'll keep watching for another week or two in the hopes that it gels into something better, but it could just as easily collapse into an utter mess.

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