Last night Cougar Town aired with 45-year-old Courtney Cox playing Jules. I was hoping for a humorous yet positive portrayal of single women in mid-life. What I saw was a sad commentary full of inconsistencies. I realize sit-coms often have nothing to do with anything near reality.
For example, the first scene is of beautiful, slender Courtney Cox standing naked in front of the mirror inventorying her body’s flaws. Heaven forbid — she has some loose skin around her elbow! Her slender thighs and arms are not as taut as she’d like. I would kill to have her body, yet she’s unhappy that she doesn’t look like her 20-year-old self? I’d say she looks pretty darn close!
Soon we see her lusting after a shirtless young man at her son’s high school sporting event. She tells her girlfriend she’d like to lick this man’s body — with her teenage son sitting next to her! What a great role model of appropriate comments in front of your teenagers!
Courtney’s character appears sex-starved, desperate and angry. She chastises her handsome middle-aged neighbor for dating younger women and not being interested in someone her age. Maybe because she’s so bitter it would be hard to be attracted to her! And yet, she, too, finds solace in bonking younger men and not seeming to be interested in their intellectual capacity or life experience.
She goes out drinking with Laurie, her decades-younger assistant and gets looped. A twenty-something man strikes up a conversation. She leaves when she realizes she’s too wasted, and her gal pal later delivers this young man to her house. She invites him in, treats him like her son’s teenage friends, and he seduces her. Yes, this is exactly what it’s like to be a middle-aged woman dating again!
Her friend Barb is the equivalent of a dirty old man. If her comments were from a man, we’d be disgusted at her sleaziness. She oozes with inappropriate sexual innuendo.
I know there are people like all these characters, and that these people are somewhat exaggerated for the entertainment value. Yet, I always hope — against all logic — that producers will actually paint a positive view of midlife singles based on some more common reality. But we know I hope for a lot of things that aren’t likely to happen!
(When I was contacted last Fall by two TV producers asking me to host a reality dating show for midlifers, I said I wanted to have real-looking people, not pretty actor-types. And I wanted no one to get voted off the show. Needless to say, they couldn’t sell the show because the money-people said the American public only wanted to see young, fit people. I said that so many middle-aged daters didn’t look like what they saw in Hollywood and yet they could be very attractive. No sale. Oh well.)
Did you watch Cougar Town? If so, what did you think?
Want to know more about the realities of dating in midlife? Get your copy of any of the Adventures in Delicious Dating After 4o books.