Courteney Cox is on the prowl in ABC’s ‘Cougar Town’

Tuesday, Sep 22, 2009

Courteney Cox has been famous for 25 years.Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” video, which caused “who’s-that-girl?” attention to be directed toward the blue-eyed, short-black-haired, T-shirt-and-jeans wearing Cox, made its MTV debut in July 1984.

At the time, the then-20-year-old Cox was working at a music agency in New York and doing some modeling.Her career after that — “Family Ties,” “Ace Ventura,” “Friends,” “Scream” — has made her a key part of several pivotal television shows and movies of the last quarter century.

Now she’s starring in ABC’s “Cougar Town,” making its debut Wednesday. The slightly off-color comedy is about a recently divorced 40-ish mom in Florida looking to date. Its tone is broad on subjects such as sex, aging and parenting, and Cox’s Jules is blunt and inappropriate — the show probably will divide critics and viewers from the title on down.

“I hope this show is a huge hit and that people love it,” Cox says. “Because I like playing this character more than any character I’ve ever played.” What? More than Monica?

Cox is so closely associated with the “Friends” role that her own personality seems to be that of a hyper-organized clean freak. But Cox is more complicated than that.She has a happy home life with husband David Arquette and their 5-year-old daughter, Coco. They host a phalanx of friends at small gatherings every Sunday night — yes, yes, Jennifer Aniston is one of them. And there is a production company, Coquette, that Cox and Arquette run together.

Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel, the co-creators of “Cougar Town,” spend a lot of time with Cox to channel her into Jules.Lawrence has known Cox since he wrote on Season 1 of “Friends” — although he’s not sure how much Cox remembers him from then.He wanted to work with her on a new show when he heard she would like to return to comedy after FX’s ill-fated “Dirt” was canceled last year.

“I always thought she was a talented and funny actress,” Lawrence said. “But also a cool chick. A cool broad.”

About the creation of the Jules character, Lawrence said: “I wanted her to be like Courteney. If you talk to Courteney when she’s off-guard, or when she’s being herself, she’s incredibly frank, she’s incredibly brassy. Very opinionated, very self-deprecating. But at heart she’s still a goofball. I don’t think she’s gotten to do that a lot.”