- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Oh, no. Monica Geller divorced Chandler Bing and had lots of plastic surgery.

“Cougar Town” (ABC, premiering Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. ) stars ex-“Friends” star Courteney Cox as 40-something new divorcee Jules Cobb, a Florida realtor and mother of a teenage son. She’s got a slacker former golf-pro husband, to whom she is grudgingly paying alimony, and hasn’t had much lovin’ lately.

“All the single guys my age are either broken or gay or chasing younger girls,” Miss Cox pouts. Her neighbor (divorced man, but of course very popular with hot young things) tells her “you couldn’t bag a young stud if you tried.”

So Miss Cox tries. And tries some more. Here she is flashing her underwear to a teenager who crashes his bicycle at the sight. There she is spilling her wine on a cute guy at a bar. She’s talking dirty about a high school hottie at a football game. And in one particularly painful scene, her husband and son walk in on her and cute bar guy in flagrante delicto.

Not hilarious enough? Let the cellulite, C-section-scar and plastic-surgery jokes begin!

It’s not all Miss Cox’s fault that this show sets the women’s movement back about 40 years. She has two equally shrill buddies: Busy Phillips as her younger, blonde co-worker/confidant and Christa Miller (with so much Botox she can hardly move her lips) as her neighbor with a new baby, a nebbish husband and disappearing sex drive.

Miss Cox, at 45, is still cute and has nice comic timing. It’s just that every joke is somewhat insulting to the thousands of over-40 women who have come through their divorces just fine, have made peace with arm flab and have no problems finding a boyfriend.

Not Jules Cobb, whose big “this is me” moment comes in a rant to her neighbor about how awful it is to be a divorced woman.

“No matter how much you think you are going to, you are not going to get married again,” she cries. “Not when you are 50 and can’t make babies and your looks are shriveled up and gone.”

Well, when you put it like that, you should have stayed with the golf pro. Or with Chandler.

Quirky ‘Family’

What “The Office” did for cubicle culture, “Modern Family” may do for family life.

Premiering Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ABC, “Modern Family” is filmed in the same single-camera, mockumentary style as “The Office.” It also highlights the goofiness, political incorrectness and lack of self-awareness in all of us.

The show centers on three families: Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen), the traditional two-parent-three-kids suburban family; Jay (Ed O’Neill from “Married … With Children”) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara), an older guy and his fiery, much-younger Colombian wife and her 11-year-old son Manny (Rico Rodriguez); and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), a gay couple who recently adopted a baby from Vietnam.

Among the quirky and hilarious story lines: Phil is a dork who tries to be the “cool” dad by doing things like demonstrating dances from “High School Musical” and staring down his teenage daughter Hayley’s (Sarah Hyland) date; Claire - constantly shown doing housework - has a wild past (best line: “If Haley never wakes up on a beach naked, I’ve done my job”); Manny writes poetry to his 16-year-old crush; and Cameron has a flair for the dramatic, painting the two daddies as angels on the nursery wall and presenting baby Lily to the rest of the family while marching in to “The Lion King’s” “Circle of Life.”

Oh, yeah. These people are all related, which should set up some funny bits on this comedy, easily among the best this new season has to offer.

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