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PSA from Josh Hopkins of 'Cougar Town': 'The show's not really about cougars'

Cougar Town hottie Josh Hopkins (at left), who plays the acerbic, neighborly foil to (and possible love interest for) Courteney Cox’s ravenous and perky 40-something singleton Jules on the hit ABC comedy, has a message for all you out there who won’t tune into his show simply because the word “cougar” has become pop-culture-ly synonymous with, well, icky things: “The show’s not really about cougars,” he explains, with bright passion about his comedy. “It’s about this dysfunctional family cul-de-sac.”

“People tell me that they can’t believe they didn’t want to like it because of the name, and now they love it,” Hopkins adds. “I think part of the point of naming it Cougar Town was to be polarizing. When it came out, nobody hadn’t heard about it. But, if it were called She’s Back at It! I don’t think if it would have mad such a splash.” READ FULL STORY

'Cougar Town' recap: Keep On Loving You

On last night’s Cougar Town, everyone had a bunch of sex and most of them shared a bunch of feelings and it was all so touching that I now have this weird bite mark on my knee. Ellie threw “Mr. McNeedy” a bone, Travis took time out from hanging with his country music superstar guy friends to camp out with his twiggy girlfriend Kylie, Laurie slept with Grayson again (“It was raining! And REO Speedwagon rocks so hard!”), and Jules “used Bobby like a sexual get well card” to get over Scott Foley. In the process, nearly all of the characters poked their heads out from their protective curtains of quippy sarcasm to be honest about their feelings. Travis told Kylie how glad he was that his first time was with her, and that HE LOVED HER OMG. Ellie offered Andy a rare nugget of appreciation by telling him she relaxes when he walks in the door — and yet he still apologized for his nonexistent “tude” and guessed incorrectly that her long boring speech would end with sex. As for Jules and Bobby — who’s really grown on me as a viable character, by the way, and could maybe fill in as the heart of the show should something ever happen to Busy Philipps’ rack — Jules loves Bobby but not in that way anymore. “We’re just not gonna end up back together again.” Oh, god! Did you guys see his face as he hopefully suggested she take some time to reconsider? This marks two episodes in a row in which Jules has turned down what could have been a stable relationship with someone who’s really into her. Is she really destined to be with Grayson, her “someday guy”? Even if he continues to be, according to Laurie, the only man who gets less sexy when he plays guitar? Discuss in the comments; meanwhile, my 10 favorite moments…. READ FULL STORY

'Cougar Town' recap: The kiss heard 'round the block

You know a sitcom is good when you laugh out loud even when you’re watching alone, and when you actually care about the characters enough to say, “No, no, no!” when they do something they shouldn’t, like Grayson and Laurie kissing at the end of last night’s episode. But let’s back up.

I believe Cougar Town is the only show on TV that serves more wine than Brothers & Sisters. A bottle of red loosened Jules up enough to tell Jeff (guest star Scott Foley, you will be missed!) “You’d make a pretty girl… Seriously, I have a skirt that’s a little too big for me, and god knows, you’ve got the legs. All we got to do is shave you down, and then tuck some stuff back up…” At first, Jeff resisted, but ultimately, he tried it on. This, plus his willingness to carry Jules up stairs (notice the space there, which means lazy me sees this as beneficial outside the home), and the fact that he laughed off Jules tearing into him for being 11 minutes late for dinner and did the “does this look ridiculous” naked shimmy, makes Jeff a keeper in my book. Jules, however, thought they were getting too comfortable too fast — and even though she didn’t want to see Jeff with other women, and she wasn’t seeing anyone but him, she couldn’t handle the pressure of the word “exclusive” and had to break it off. For the sake of the show, which is supposed to be about a fortysomething woman on the prowl, this relationship couldn’t last forever. And I suppose it’s nice to see the message that a playboy can get to the point that he’s looking for commitment. But seriously, I don’t know how Jules, who’s only been divorced for eight months, turns away a man that can be that sweet and still retain some of his bad-boy sexiness. (I also can’t believe I just called Scotty Foley bad-boy sexy. Good for him.) READ FULL STORY

Matt LeBlanc auditions to play...Matt LeBlanc

As our TV sleuth Michael Ausiello reported Saturday from TCA, Showtime unveiled a preview for their new Matt LeBlanc series, Episodes, with this hilarious clip in which the producers ask the Friends actor to audition for the role of…himself (caution: language NSFW:

This makes me forgive LeBlanc (a little) for Joey. The best part, hands-down, has to be the room of leather-clad actor wannabes rehearsing “How you doin’?” Also, LeBlanc’s silver streaks? I like!

If this clip is any indication, Episodes is exactly the fresh comedy an ex-Must See TV star needs. It looks like our former Friends are taking the Julia Louis-Dreyfus route of post-sitcom stardom. First there was Lisa Kudrow (The Comeback, R.I.P.), then Courteney Cox Arquette (Cougar Town), now LeBlanc and most recently Matthew Perry with his newly announced ABC show.

What do you guys think of the clip? Does it make you excited for Episodes?

'Cougar Town' recap: The funniest lines from last night's episode (with Lisa Kudrow)

If you’re not a regular Cougar Town watcher and tuned in last night to see the much-advertised Courteney Cox-Lisa Kudrow (Valerie Cherish, I still miss you!) reunion, congratulations! You caught one helluva funny episode — and have hopefully added this gem to your “series recording” list. That said, while the erstwhile Friends were terrific (as anticipated) no one scored more laughs than Busy Philipps as clueless assistant Laurie. In fact, Philipps was so genius last night, I’ve got to break out her best zingers into their own “Top 6″ subset. Without further ado… READ FULL STORY

'Modern Family', 'Cougar Town' return tonight, as do Jules' fingerguns

One of my new favorite pastimes is watching celebs jump on the Modern Family bandwagon via Twitter. (All aboard, Jon Favreau, who “powered thru” the season to date on iTunes New Year’s Day.)  The show returns tonight with a new episode and guest star Benjamin Bratt (as Gloria’s ex). Here’s hoping he’s more of a Shelley Long than an Ed Norton…

Cougar Town also returns, with guest star Lisa Kudrow as a much-feared dermatologist who treats Jules and dates her ex. Watch a preview clip after the jump, along with what’s probably still my favorite scene from this series (and the one that hooked me on the show): “the full Shawshank experience.”  READ FULL STORY

Your DVR: Which new fall series are you now going steady with?

‘Tis the season to be jolly despondent that the forecast for brand-new network fare looks relatively bleak from now until the New Year. But then again, my DVR could use a little vacation, considering it’s been worked harder than an Anna Wintour assistant for most of 2009. Back in September, I publicly announced my intention to break up with Grey’s Anatomy and Masterpiece Mystery, but while I indeed made good on my promise to axe those series from my DVR’s “series recording” list (as well as The Mentalist), I ended up adding a whopping seven new series to my regular rotation — which either says something about the high quality of the networks’ fall development slate, or the increasingly low threshold of what keeps me entertained.  (I choose the former theory, obvs.) Anyhow, without further ado, here’s the rundown of freshman series that have made the cut at Casa Slezak:

* Cougar Town: One of the very best ensemble casts on television today on a show where the writing grows more confident, funny, and randomly raucous with each passing episode.
* Modern Family: Hilarious/Beautiful. Does anyone not love this show?
* Glee: Yeah, I have the occasional night terror that this frothy rollercoaster is headed straight off the rails, but when Glee is good, it’s fantastic. And any weekly forum for the genius of Jane Lynch gets my “must-watch” stamp of approval.
* V: Quite possibly the worst set design on television — that church front is seriously supposed to look like New York City? — and the teen romance is 1-800-killing-me, but the first four episodes have hooked me nonetheless. Of course, Elizabeth Mitchell could get me hooked on anything — except maybe CSI: Miami. And Heroes. Oh, and Raising the Bar. — and that Mark Hildreth ain’t too hard to look at either.
* FlashForward: I dallied with the idea of deleting ABC’s Lost-in-training after ending up with a backlog of six episodes by mid-November, but even though Joseph Fiennes and Courtney B. Vance occasionally deliver their lines like they’re reading off a grocery list, the rest of the cast is strong enough to help the show get past its occasionally clunky dialogue.
* The Vampire Diaries: I am a rare Twilight virgin (shhh…don’t tell my bosses!), and I’m also one of those weirdos who actively dislikes True Blood, but thanks to The CW’s angsty little gem, I am not completely bloodsucker-deficient.
* Melrose Place: What? There’s not a single shred of junk food in your pantry? Worth it just for Katie Cassidy’s Grade A bitchery, and drinking games involving Ashlee Simpson’s unintentionally comedic line-readings.

Okay, I’ve totally fessed up about my viewing habits, and now it’s your turn. Which freshman series have gotten a season pass on your DVR/Tivo/Life Partner since September? List ‘em all in the comments section below, and don’t even think about omitting anything to make yourself look cooler! PopWatch is a judgment-free zone, after all.

Image Credit: Cox: Eric McCandless/ABC; Fiennes: Adam Larkey/ABC; Somerhalder: Alan Markfield/The CW

'Cougar Town' recap: Jules meets her match (for at least two more episodes)

After weeks of saying “I’m always surprised how much I like Cougar Town,” I suppose I shouldn’t be. I just have to get over the guilt of enjoying a show with the word “Cougar” in the title and acknowledge that I went to it before Glee on my DVR last night. The show really isn’t about Jules boffing younger men anymore — though last night she did want to be the bicycle seat underneath a jeans model in her spin class. It’s about the decisions that face women (and men) in their forties: For Jules, that means choosing whether or not to open herself up to being hurt again by dating someone with whom she actually has a connection. Enter Jeff (guest star Scott Foley, who’s only, like, eight years younger than Courteney Cox in real life), a wealthy real estate client of Jules’ who’d be Grayson if Grayson had the nerve to tell Jules he likes her. (Jeff and Jules were going to break up with young what’s-her-name waiting in his car “together” so that Jeff could take Jules out to dinner. He likes mocking Jules more than anything.) I hope we explore Jeff’s Graysonness during Foley’s stint. He’ll be back for two more episodes, beginning on Jan. 6, when Cougar Town returns. It’s pretty great casting: Not only does it force women who watched Foley on Felicity to realize they relate more to Jules than to Laurie, but also that good-guy history (and killer smile) allows you to forgive Jules for falling for a man who refers to Laurie as “Blah-Blah.” READ FULL STORY

Lifetime, you should be pushing Josh Hopkins more in your '12 Men of Christmas' promos

Anyone else feel like Lifetime doesn’t understand what a draw Cougar Town‘s Josh Hopkins is? He costars in 12 Men of Christmas (premieres Saturday, 9 p.m. ET) with Kristin Chenoweth, not that the network makes a big deal about it in the art (see him in a little ornament like he’s just one of the guys and not the leading man) or in the trailer, which yes, does feature him shirtless at :14, but doesn’t bother to name drop him.

I’ll admit that I only knew Hopkins as “Grayson on Cougar Town, who used to be on Swingtown” until he made our recent list of TV’s Best Bitches. But after I learned his name, I typed it in YouTube and spent 54 minutes watching him in old episodes of Cold Case (I recommend this and this) and Private Practice (thank you, AddieFan2008 for compiling his scenes in five parts).

Is Hopkins the reason you’ll tune in for 12 Men of Christmas (which we’ll be discussing Sunday on PopWatch, of course)? Or, like me, are you also a sucker for any movie that has a jaded city girl finding herself when she moves to the country — in this case, Montana, where she takes a PR job and tries to convince the men of an underfunded volunteer search-and-rescue team to pose semi-naked for a calendar to raise money for a new helicopter? Okay, I do sorta cringe reading that back…but watching the video below that has Hopkins (“Mr. December”) talking about modeling in chaps, and “Mr. May” Jessie Pavelka looking criminally hot, and My Girl‘s Anna Chlumskly working (yay!), I don’t really care.

Style Hunter: Jules' necklace from 'Cougar Town'

From her consistently refreshed stock of trendy dresses to her enviable accessories (not just Josh!), Cougar Town‘s Jules Cobb (Courteney Cox) is one hot mama. We already gave you the scoop on her Jennifer Meyer turtle necklace, but many of you asked about her delicate wrap-around necklace, and we have an answer!

Jules has been sporting two different versions of the Jennifer Meyer circle necklace—the 44-inch necklace (left) that she wore last week (roseark.com; $3,500), as well as the 16-inch version (roseark.com; $1,500).

If you’re not looking to fork over that much money to look like Jules, you can try Ann Taylor Loft’s “Long Stone Disc Dangle” necklace (anntaylorloft.com; $34.50) for a similar look that’s a bit easier on your wallet.

Dying to find something you spotted on TV or in a movie? Email stylehunter@ew.com and visit the Pop Style area of EW.com to see what we’ve found.

Photo credit: Danny Feld/ABC

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