Season 2 of Cougar Town starts out just like it ended last year—unexceptionally. Now that Jules Cobb (Courteney Cox) and Grayson Ellis (Josh Hopkins) have finally decided that they’re more than just friends who want to sleep together and they’re comfortable revealing their “graysonship” (a new term courtesy of the always-clever Jules) to the rest of their overly energetic and quirky “crew,” they’re just as obnoxious together as they were when they were pretending they didn’t want to be together. After graduating at the end of last season, Jules’ son, Travis (Dan Byrd), is preparing to go off to college. Hopefully the writers will find a way to continue to incorporate him into the storylines, because he’s one of the few likable characters on the show, along with the less-annoying Busy Phillips as Laurie.

Of course what everyone was waiting for in this season premiere was the guest appearance that Jennifer Aniston made as granola Glenn, the New Age, incense-obsessed therapist who helps Jules through her new relationship struggles and her impending empty nest syndrome. Aniston is pretty damned delightful and cute in this episode, but it’s probably just because everyone around her is so tiresome. Her role, while a bit cliché and played out, seems somehow fresher coming from her because she genuinely seems to be having fun with it. Next to the tightly stretched Cox, she looks ripe and supple, but it’s true that these two have genuine chemistry on-screen. Both might be colossal bores otherwise, but some kind of magic happens when they get together, and it’s nice to see that they can still produce that bond, even in a show as flaky as Cougar Town. The fake pep that Cox generally applies to her high-maintenance Jules becomes a little more heartfelt when she’s doing a scene with Aniston, but mainly these scenes just serve to show Aniston running circles around her old “friend.”

There were a couple of genuine laughs in the episode, but for a show that purports to be an edgy comedy—probably because the characters brag about their money, alcoholism, and overall dysfunction—there’s painfully little going on here that invites us to care. For one thing, the entire program is a misnomer—the two “older” women the show surrounds are not “cougars” at all, but are both in committed relationships. One of them, Christa Miller’s Ellie Torres, is even married. With Ellie’s married status, her money, and her inability to be funny even though she thinks she is, she seems more like a desperate housewife than a “cougar.” And, personally, Courteney Cox’s Jules is actually kind of starting to resemble Bethenny Frankel of The Real Housewives of New York City. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Bethenny is very successful, but she’s not a cougar and I’m willing to bet that she probably isn’t sitcom material, either. Maybe Cox and Miller should take a hint.

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