From ‘Friends’ to Cougars: Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston

The tightrope walk from series television to feature films is often a slippery one. Linger too long on one end and you’ll end up like Debra Messing, resembling the poor man’s much-older Katherine Heigl — a sad, sad spinster eternally saddled with romantic failures and enough neuroses to be institutionalized. On the flip side, maybe Julia Louis-Dreyfuss has done the smart thing by embracing another TV vehicle that forces her (ironically or otherwise) to embrace the concept of not-youth. And it’s here that the further foibles of the Friends ladies — which at once conflate Messing’s desperate youth with Louis-Dreyfuss’ self-awareness while keeping our eyes peeled more than any Friends flick could — may be exclusively hit-or-miss.

We’ve known for a while about Courteney Cox’s next television project—an ABC dramedy dubbed Cougar Town where Cox, a noted divorcée, macks on much-younger men and pretends that it isn’t a big deal while making a big deal about it. Here have a look at the trailer; highlights include a cameo by Busy Phillips and Cox telling a guy on a date, “You are hot as balls.”

Cox has also teased that she wouldn’t mind it if Jennifer Aniston—who’s currently starring in Pumas, another film cashing in on our obsession with the Mrs. Robinson complex—dropped by to Cougar Town. She says, “If [producer Bill Lawrence] writes her a character, I’m sure she’ll be glad to do it.” Observe how a man who’s minted his production legacy on the bro humor of Scrubs can also sympathize with the plight of older women looking to re-enter the dating world. Hot as balls indeed.

Contrastingly, Lisa Kudrow, she of Valerie Cherish fame, has sounded off on the perils of cougardom, saying, “It’s not easy being a cougar.” About her character in Bandslam, Kudrow makes an important distinction: “My character is getting hit on by a 17-year-old. But it’s all his initiative, it’s not like this woman was trying to seduce him.” Still this makes her no less of a cougar, although it could make her classier—always a plus in the animal kingdom.