Thursday, August 5, 2010


Since the end of the 90's, the beloved sitcom era (to wit, FRIENDS, That 70's Show, Will & Grace, Dharma & Greg, The Nanny, etc...), most sitcoms have gone downhill. Thankfully, I've found 2 (apart from How I Met Your Mother), that have been keeping me warm and cozy in bed.

Accidentally on Purpose chronicles the life of 37 year old newspaper film critic Billie Chase (Jenna Elfman) following her break up with divorcee ex-boyfriend and current employer, James (Grant Show). After mistaking James's intentions of taking her to the Eiffel Tower in Paris for a proposal and learning that he doesn't expect to get married again, she decides that she wants out of a relationship that may lead to nowhere.

During a night-out at a local bar with her girlfriends, fellow journalist and party girl bestfriend Olivia (Ashley Jensen) and younger, conventional sister Abby (Lennon Parham), she meets Zack (Jon Foster), an aspiring 22 year old chef. A couple of drinks and even more vulnerability later, she and Zack hook up, at Olivia's encouragement, at his pot-head bestfriend's, Davis's (Nicolas Wright), apartment.

Soon after the fling, she finds out that she's pregnant with Zack's baby and decides to keep it for fear of her never getting another chance at being a mother. Zack surprisingly takes this in stride and they decide to live together platonically. What Billie didn't come to realize is that as Zack moves out of his van and in to her den... he moves in to her life as well.

While treading the murky waters of dating when you're in your 30's and pregnant, Billie has to find a way to balance dealing with a jealous ex for a boss, an alcoholic bestfriend, a neurotic sister, a young babydaddy who might possibly be in love with her, and his free-loading buddies while trying to stay on top of her game.

Although Jenna Elfman is channeling too much Dharma for my tastes, her comedic timing is still to the point while Jon Foster's portrayal of frat-boy Zack is endearing to the extreme. It has been a long time since I have seen a show that successfully juxtapositions so much heart and hilarity in under 30 minutes. A refreshing change of pace from all the dramatic shows Hollywood has given us lately, Accidentally On Purpose is a throwback from the time when heart and laughter ruled the tv screen.

Cougar Town starts off with Jules Cobb (Courtney Cox), 40 years old and recently divorced, examining her body in a mirror and finding signs of aging. She lives in a small community in Sarasota with her 18 year old son, Travis (Dan Byrd), along with bestfriend Ellie (Christa Miller) and her husband Andy (Ian Gomez), Bar-owner Grayson (Josh Hopkins), and ex-husband Bobby (Brian Van Holt).

After hearing war-stories from the wild 20's of her friends and family and realizing that she has none of her own as she spent her 20's raising her son, Jules tries to re-enter the dating world with the help of her much younger good friend and assistant, Laurie (Busy Philipps). Knowing that dating men her age is gonna pose as a problem as they like to date much younger women, for example her also divorced neighbor, Grayson, Jules plays the field with much younger men.

Although the story starts off that way, towards the middle of the season, Jules stops acting like a cougar and starts looking for the real deal. The story starts to center on Jules's trying to cope with losing her son to college and the undeniable chemistry between her and Grayson.

I must admit, although it was fun to see such delicious eye candy on the show, I prefer the episodes later on. Courtney Cox has returned to the top of her game playing overly meddlesome Jules. Still, the true delight with this series is that while it is clearly Courtney at the helm, she doesn't hog the spotlight and instead shares it with her equally talented castmates. A fun, lovable show that brings to light the difficulties and dangers of being alone in the world, and instead creating a family with friends. If hot chocolate were a show, it would be Cougar Town.


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