Some quick thoughts on tonight's "Cougar Town" coming up just as soon as I put peanuts in your wine...
Opinion seemed split on the series pilot, with some people finding it funny and others finding it too desperate to work. I fell largely on the "funny" side (though there's always a flop sweat element to Courteney Cox's performances, in any role), and while I didn't find "Into the Great Wide Open" nearly as funny, it actually made me feel more confident about the show's long-term prospects than the pilot did.
That's primarily because of the scene near the end where Jules yells at Ellie from across their lawns about how she understands what she's doing is stupid, and that everyone's laughing at her, but she doesn't care because she wants to try it. That level of self-awareness on Jules' part is crucial; if she's deluded about how she's acting, and how it looks, the show gets unbearable in a hurry.
On the other hand, it's worth noting that most of the jokes that worked in this one involved the men, whether it was Ellie's husband's frustration at being a pawn in her feud with Jules (and then enjoying some time alone at Grayson's bachelor pad) or Travis' mortification on having to ride on his dad's golf cart. Bill Lawrence candidly admitted that the original cut of the pilot felt too much like it was written by guys pretending to understand a woman's problems. He and Kevin Beigel have since hired a bunch of female writers (including Mara Brock Akil from "Girlfriends"), and maybe their episodes will more evenly distribute the laughs than Lawrence's script did here, but that's something to keep an eye on going forward.
What did everybody else think?