ABC’s Cougar Town returns on Sept. 22 with a half hour that features guest star Jennifer Aniston, an opening scene involving the consumption of red wine (naturally), and a playful reference to exec producer Bill Lawrence’s much-publicized and reluctantly-abandoned desire to change the comedy’s title. Whereas the title card usually reads “Welcome to Cougar Town,” for the season 2 opener, it will say “(STILL) Cougar Town,” as pictured. Lawrence tells EW it’s an idea that he, Courteney Cox, and executive producer Kevin Biegel came up with, and that it’s a one-time gag. Hilarious. But may we suggest that each week they reveal a replacement title that was shot down? So episode 2’s card for instance, using Michael Ausiello’s idea, could read “(NOT FAMILY JULES) Cougar Town.”
As someone who was resistant to the show at first because of the title — if you found yourself repeatedly saying, “It was surprisingly good” after episodes in season 1, you’re like me — I get the cast and crew’s urge to tweak it. The show’s no longer about Jules (Cox) dating younger men after her divorce. It’s an ensemble comedy with characters who are essentially functional alcoholics. But as a returning viewer who understands that, I sort of love the title now. In a way, it’s redefined the term “cougar” in my mind. It’s no longer a hot woman who wants to bed a younger man; it’s a woman hot enough that younger men want to bed her, but she’s happy living her life with a man close to her age — or solo with good friends.