Cougar Town is a TBS sitcom, starring Friends' Courteney Cox. Previously, it ran for three seasons on ABC.The show initially centered around Jules Cobb (Cox), a newly divorced 40-year-old mother who tries to get back into the dating game after being out of it for 18 years. However, after roughly five or six episodes, this premise was dropped. Since then, the show has mostly focused on the various shenanigans Jules, Ellie (her snarky best friend and neighbor), Laurie (her ditzy younger colleague), Bobby (her ex-husband), Grayson (UST -ridden single neighbor), Andy (Ellie's husband and Bobby's bromantic best friend), and Travis (her 18 year-old son, the Only Sane Man) involve themselves in, ranging from morning drinking, to the glorious game of Penny Can, to a massive drop-everything $2,000 balloon chase that spans multiple episodes. Can be considered a bit of a Spiritual Successor to Scrubs, in overall tone, humor, and penchant for amazing musical selections. This isn't surprising- it has the same creator and executive producer, and also features his wife.Each episode has two or three plots and sub-plots, some only given 2 minutes or so (which is good, because it doesn't matter at all.) While it is surrounded with tropes, the "deadbeat dad" tends to be rather wise (and credited by the other characters as a better parent, currently than the over-involved mom) and the loser son also is not that much of a loser.Needs More Love, especially since the second and third season are much more polished & refined the first season, with the writers working out the kinks. Fortunately, TBS picked up the show for a fourth (and now fifth) season shortly after ABC cancelled it. It moved to cable in 2013. They now apologize for the title.
Afraid of Doctors: Chick, because at his age they're sure to find something wrong with him. This turns out to be prophetic, because when he does go he's diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Turns out he went to see the same doctor the month before, but had forgotten...
All Girls Want Bad Boys: When Grayson loses his temper and punches a hole in the wall, Jules discovers that his anger really turns her on. She knows its not healthy, but she can barely keep her hands off him for the rest of the episode.
Jules: I understand why some women stay with murderers… (stroking his face) I would…
Almost Kiss: Laurie and Travis keep trying to have a First Kiss in the two-part Season Four finale "Don't Fade On Me" and "Have Love Will Travel", but things keep getting in the way.
Anti-Climax: Typically, shows will end with some sort of confrontation or right in the midst of that season's climax. Very few follow this series style of resolving every single major conflict and leaving no unanswered questions for next season...
Series Fauxnale: A possible example–what with the series' relative obscurity, it was somewhat up in the air as to whether or not it would be renewed.
Artifact Title: Even the show knows this. The title gag on a recent episode? "All I want for Christmas is a new title". Shortly followed in their episode after New Years with the resolutions "Embrace our stupid title & lose six pounds".
And shortly followed after that in "Lost Children", in which Barb stops Jules and comments that she use to be one of them (a cougar). Jules replies that that's not her any more and dryly snarks that maybe she should just change her name. Same episode then has the title gag be "Do we have to do this joke forever?"
In Season 2's finale, the title lasted twice as long, shooting through Florida, over California, and to Hawaii, where the line was "We'll never stop making fun of the name-"
Season 3 begins with: "It's still called" above Cougar Town followed with "Yeah, we're not happy about it either." below.
In the season 3 episode "Ways To Be Wicked" when Travis and his housemate Sig wonder why there is a statue of a cougar at their college ("nothing around here has anything to do with cougars!")
The first episode has the local highschool mascot as a cougar and the football team bursts through a paper banner which reads: Welcome to Cougartown. Other than the initial intention for Jules to be a cougar prowling for younger men, this seems to be the only connection left (not that it ever comes up again).
Ashes to Crashes: When Bobby scatters his father's ashes on a roller-coaster, he unfortunately sits on the front of the car, resulting in the gang being covered in Grandpappy Cobb's remains.
Attack of the Town Festival: In "The Trip To Pirate's Cove", Bobby claims to have been attacked by jellyfish just as the town's Buccaneer Week is set to start.
Attending Your Own Funeral: Laurie fakes her death and attends a candlelight tribute her erstwhile sorority stages. Except she accidentally yells at one of them out loud and has to run away.
Authority in Name Only: Andy when he becomes mayor. Aside from attending a meeting every six months, he does nothing except cut the ribbon at openings (his first is for a bicycle rack). Taken to such an extreme that he doesn't even realize he won the mayoral race for about a month until a random side character mentions it to him.
His campaigning for mayor could also count as an Aborted Arc, it's a big deal to him for all of one episode (mainly because Jules needed him to win so he could authorize a permit for her) then it isn't mentioned again until he finds out he already won.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: In episode 6 of the third season where Bobby teaches Ellie how to surf, at the end Grayson sings the "They like to surf song". One of the verses is "That shot looks fake, but it's still great cause they like to surf."
Brick Joke: A staple of the show's humor. Some span a single episode, some come back a few later. One spanned several seasons: During season 1 there is an episode where the cul-de-sac is practically overrun by loose dogs with no explanation. Three seasons later Laurie and Jules reminisce about the time they lived out their favorite song lyrics including "letting all those dogs out"
Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: On "Learning to Fly", Bobby still has Grandpappy Cobb's ashes with him because he could not follow through with his final wish - for the ashes to be scattered on a roller-coaster - due to Bobby's fear of riding roller coasters.
The Bus Came Back: Barb, for one more appearance in mid-season 3 at least, where it's revealed she ended up marrying the current Mayor.
But Not Too Foreign: Andy's hispanic (Cubano), but appears to be a typical middle American white guy. He's mildly embarrassed that he doesn't even speak spanish (a point of contention with his brother, who refuses to speak anything else around him out of protest).
Everyone hates Tampa. No, not Grayson's daughter, the place.
California Doubling: The palm trees are a dead give away. If you know anything about palm trees. You probably don't.
Also, leaving the address numbers painted on the sidewalk instead of the mailbox is much more common in LA than Florida.
The Cameo: in the second season finale, one of the people in the background on the bar terrace is played by Danny Pudi. That is, until you notice him acting strange and realize (if you also watch Community) that it's not Danny Pudi but *Abed* in a brilliant, subtle piece of cross-referencing (specifically, it refers to a *possibly* made-up story Abed tells in "Critical Film Studies"). Also a case of Breaking the Fourth Wall.
Both Lisa Kudrow and Jennifer Aniston, Cox's former female co-stars in Friends, appear in an episode each. Another Friends co-star, Matthew Perry, appeared in a season 5 episode.
Car Meets House: In "Learning to Fly", a car crashes through Jules' office doors.
Carrying a Cake: Discussed; Jules mentions that carrying around a cake is actually quite difficult and so changes the meaning of "cakewalk" into something really difficult instead of something really easy.
In the same episode Abed from Community cameos (see above).
Comically Missing the Point: No one gets it when Ellie, to compliment someone, gives them the tip of an imaginary hat. Jules also usually doesn't get it when someone plays a little game. Also, she really can't play the portmanteau movie game (teens trapped on an island find pirate treasure: Blue LaGoonies).
Companion Cube: Jules and her succession of Gigantic Gulp wineglasses. She names them, loves them, and hold funerals for them when they are broken.
Continuity Nod: Penny Can, the balloon chase, the Cul-de-Sac Crew... this show is fueled by this trope. The second season finale in fact continuity-checks two separate shows from two different networks: see The Cameo above, and Hooch is still crazy.
Crossover Punchline: The second episode featuring the character Ted (from Scrubs) had him noting, in the sting, how many people around town look exactly like people he used to know (including a few other guest stars that were around that episode). When the actor who played his evil boss shows up (playing Jules' dad), Ted freaks out and runs into a glass door trying to escape. Then Zack Braff shows up to deliver a pizza.
Drop-In Character: Tom. While technically everyone who doesn't live with Jules is one, seeing how her kitchen is where they usually hang out, all of them live close together and occasionally go to each other's houses. Tom is the only one of them who lives nearby, whom almost everyone dislikes at first, and whose house nobody hangs out at.
Empty Nest: Jules has a hard time letting go of Travis when he goes to college.
End of Series Awareness: "It'll All Work Out In The End" is about Jules celebrating Thanksgiving in the spring for fear that they wouldn't all be together in the fall.
Jules: What if we're not around next fall? What if a new group comes in and replaces us? Everybody's going to be like, "What happened to the Cul-de-sac Crew? I missed them. And who are these new people? They're not as good."
Ellie: He is a devil baby! I don't know what happened!
Erotic Eating: Apparently, strawberries with whipped cream induce lesbianism.
Travis cannot stand to see Jules eating bananas.
Ethical Slut: Most of the characters, even if they're mean, are good people. And they all love sex.
Expy: Ellie for Jordan, both created (at least partially) by Bill Lawrence and played by his wife, Christa Miller.
Faking the Dead: Laurie fakes her death so her sorority sisters (at the college where she doesn't go to) wouldn't miss her never going to Travis' school again.
Faux Yay: Laurie pretends to be Ellie's lesbian lover to get her son into a prestigious pre-school looking for "alternative" families.
Five-Finger Discount: Jules tries (and fails) to shoplift in "The Criminal Mind". She gets tips from Laurie, who is able to sneak out a hair drier. Twice.
Flanderization: It didn't take long for Jules to become Monica from Friends. Jules started off as a smart working mother who was somewhat insecure about getting back into the dating scene. By the end of the first season she became a neurotic control freak who treats Grayson with the same condescending "I'm right about everything and your arguments are invalid" type of attitude that Monica displayed towards Chandler. A personality trait that she didn't exhibit with her previous boyfriends.
Abed's cameo has him looking around and eventually running off, which is noticed by the characters.
In "Stop Dragging My Heart Around", at one point Travis is talking to Jules and Bobby, and when the camera pans to them, you can see that the TV in the background that's on is currently showing an episode of Scrubs.
The "I Love You" Stigma: Josh tells Jules that he loves her, but she didn't want a serious relationship and breaks up with him.
When Jules says "I love you" to Grayson and he doesn't (instead replying with "thank you"), things turn rather sour.
Incest Subtext: It's brought up one time with Jules towards Travis. Both are squicked by this, although Jules ever so slightly less than Travis.
That Jules not only loves her son, but is "in love" with him is something of a running gag. Pushed right up to the edge of truly squicky territory and certainly far enough to constantly embarrass him (like when she snuck into his apartment at 3am and spooned with him until his roommates found them… again).
Informed Attribute: Andy was born in Cuba but doesn't speak a single word of spanish. His ethnicity is something of a Running Gag in-universe, the rest of the gang tends to find it hilarious whenever he mentions he is Latino.
During the trip to L.A. he tries to tap into the "Latino Connection" but is rebuffed when he mispronounces "Javier" by using a hard J-sound
Lampshade Hanging: Season 4 had the name of Bobby's land-boat changed to "Sea Story". Very appropriate given the typical episode formula.
Laurie (suggesting the new name): "Don't you get it? Everything that happens on this boat is a Sea Story! Even us trying to come up with a new name!"
Latino Is Brown: Has a big aversion with Andy Torres, who is Cuban but doesn't look or sound like one. This is lampshaded in at least one episode.
Laurie: Oh, that's right, you're Cuban. Sometimes I forget you're Latino. Andy: Yeah, me too.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The opening scene to episode 13 of season 3 has them having a chat talking about why they missed thanksgiving and saying "our schedules got all mixed up, we all went away and no one knew when we were coming back" then saying about not knowing if they'll be around in the fall. Made extra funny as the announcement that the show is moving to TBS (having 2 new seasons each lasting 15 episodes) happened just a few days before.
The season 4 premiere has Jules noticing how great it is to share her stories with the world again... having gone out a few minutes ago for an errand.
Laurie: Oh, hey, Rach. Now, bear with me, I have to order for everyone: Okay, I'll have one Soy Largie, one Teeny Tiny, one Teeny Teeny Tiny Unleaded, one Plain Jane, extra Yum— what the hell, make it a double Yum— Uhhh, a Baby Joey, a Midnight with a Full Moon (hold the pumpkin), a medium coffee, I need a Heavy D, in a travel mug, please, two Crazy Ivans, a Sauron's Eye— also, I need a Damn! and an iced Damn!, a Sneaky Pete, a Double Drip with a snip of whip, and a Frap-Cap, heavy on the (imitating the blender) crcccrcccrcrch! crcrcrrrchcrcrch! Oh, and let's see, what's fresh? Okay, well I'll take three Raisin Happy Muffins, a French Moustache, and— ugh, a Fart Muffin, that is not for me. Oh, and I forgot to order my own coffee! Can I get a Taye Diggs, which is black and extra strong and smooth, but also very sweet?
Rachel: (stares at Laurie, dumbfounded)
Mama Bear: Jules describe herself as one of these.
Man Child: Bobby, whose life goal is to party so hard he craps himself on every country.
Mythology Gag: An entire episode has references to Scrubs. This is even lampshaded by the subtitle.
No, it's not just Scrubs in Florida with a lot of wine.
In the episode "Saving Grace," Jules mentions Ted Danson as an example of something cool, (incorrectly) commenting that he appears on a dance show called "Can't Stop Dancin'/Danson." Bill Lawrence, between Scrubs and Cougar Town developed a pilot for a show called Nobody's Watching, where the idea was brought up to give Ted Danson a show with that same title. The fact that Ellie asserts that the show doesn't exist might be a little Take That Me about Nobody's Watching not getting picked up.
Naked People Are Funny: In "A Woman In Love (It's Not Me)," Travis accidentally walks in on a naked Josh in the bathroom. To make matters worse, Travis is only in his underwear at the time.
Travis: Hey, Josh, let's make a real effort to wear shirts around each other, okay?
The entire cast spends the first five minutes of an episode gushing about Slankets… which they are all wearing.
Grayson and Bobby have a discussion about how it's OK for guys to like Grey's Anatomy, another show on ABC.
"No Reason to Cry" — which contained a three minute discussion on the Diet Dr Pepper logo being on a golf outfit — featured Diet Dr Pepper ads in the show as well as the promos earlier in the night ("Tonight's all new Cougar Town is surprisingly refreshing ... just like Diet Dr Pepper!"). Unlike many other instances this is justified as Bobby is a pro golfer. It is also lampshaded early on in the discussion as Travis makes an aside, saying "Is anyone filming this?". DDP cans are seen in later episodes.
Subway starts being featured a lot, too. Travis actually said he could "eat for several months with the $12 in his pocket" (paraphrased) - couldn't have been more obvious.
Bobby and Travis spend an entire episode on vacation. In Target. Where Travis gushes about all the crap you can buy at Target.
Josh, Jules' boyfriend in Season 1. She breaks up with him six episodes in.
Race Fetish: Laurie wants her online boyfriend who is a soldier in Afghanistan to be black, as that is "super hot". Ellie then comments on this trope.
Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Riggs. When Travis and Grayson give her a makeover and put her in a dress to show Bobby she's the perfect girl for him, Bobby just laughs. To him the sight of Riggs in a dress is "like a dog wearing sunglasses", and Riggs agrees.
Really Gets Around: Laurie. Possibly the only person who sleeps around more is Barb. Both of them revel in it.
Grayson, before getting together with Jules, had a parade of bimbos (as Jules put it) in and out of his house. Ellie, before she married Andy. Bobby kept sleeping around with waitresses. That's... everyone but Andy and Travis.
Jules changing the meaning of phrases (for example, "Junk in the trunk" now means emotional baggage) and Ellie approving the change ("Change approved!"), with either Travis or Grayson protesting the change.
Once a season, Jules' favorite drinking glass breaks. The group give it a funeral (with Grayson again pointing out how ridiculous it is) and then present Jules with a replacement.
Scare 'Em Straight: In "Time to Move On", Jules tries this to get Travis to get a job by using Bobby as an example. Travis sees right through it.
Scenery Censor: In "You and I Will Meet Again", when Jules and Grayson decide to have a Naked Fun Day. Lampshaded when Jules notes how almost everything in their house is "boob high".
Ship Tease: Jules and Grayson, Jules and Bobby, Grayson and Laurie, Laurie and Travis…
Andy and Bobby...
Ellie (to Andy): If you're leaving me for him, don't drag it out. Just do it.
Jules and Ellie...
Ellie (to Jules): Are we finally running away together? Because I keep a bag in my truck.
Shipper on Deck: In "Saving Grace", Travis and Grayson try to hook-up Bobby and Riggs.
During the episode where Ellie tutors Bobby on date-etiquette, both Jules and eventually Andy ship them together
Shirtless Scene: Every one of the main male characters has had one. Jules and Laurie too (with bras on)
Travis' is overshadowed by his mom's young boyfriend (much to Travis' annoyance and embarrassment)
Shout-Out: In the thanksgiving episode, Andy eats a hamburger before Thanksgiving dinner and says that it's like stretching — this was taken almost verbatim from an episode of Friends. In any other case, it would look like a complete rip off, but since Courtney Cox's the lead, we're all good.
In the thirteenth epsiode of season one, Jules and Bobby can be seen watching an episode of Scrubs.
True Companions: They even have a name for themselves: The Cul-de-sac crew. Proved in the second season, when Laurie pretends to have accidentally killed her ex-boyfriend, saying "He's not moving!" is immediately followed by Andy saying his car has a large trunk to dispose of the body.
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Ellie and Andy. Discussed in one episode. It's a point of pride for him and he likes to lord it over more attractive guys with wives who aren't as hot as his.
Andy: "That guy over there is taller than me, better looking, and has more hair. But his wife is less attractive than mine. If we were to make eye-contact, he'd know I won"
The Unintelligible: No one can understand Bobby when he goes full-bore redneck. It turns out, neither can he. He's a mumbly (Bobby: "A bumble bee?").
The Unfair Sex: In true Bill Lawrence fashion, this happens early and often. The worst case is with Ellie, who does some really appalling stuff but gets away with it, or is 'justified.' The most recent being the third season finale, in which she clearly has an emotional affair with another man IN FRONT OF ANDY, which is painted as acceptable.
Unlimited Wardrobe: Demonstrated by Laurie who changed outfits a dozen times during thanksgiving.
The Vamp: Barb. Probably at this point the only reason the show still has the title "Cougar Town", and shows up Once an Episode to flaunt her latest conquest in a punny manner.
Verbal Tic: Travis, with his weird high-pitched "Ah!" whenever he throws something. (It's HIGH-LARIOUS.) He's probably had it all along, but it has only recently been introduced since it was mentioned by Bobby just beforehand.
You Keep Using That Word: Grayson expresses exasperation at how the rest of the crew keeps flipping the meaning of words; "kicks ass" now means something terrible, and "cakewalk" is something really hard to do.
Your Cheating Heart: The reason Jules divorced Bobby was because he kept sleeping around. Seemingly mostly with waitresses.