Saturday night was one of the best nights of my life.
I’ve been a fan of Cougar Town from the get-go. Even though I wasn’t crazy about the first few episodes, I stuck with it because I adore the actors and have always been a fan of Bill Lawrence’s work (Scrubs, Spin City, Friends).
The show really came into its own about halfway through the first season. It completely abandoned his premise of Courteney Cox chasing after guys half her age and became a wonderful show about the fun, cooky relationships between a group of neighbors. I like to describe it as a grown-up Friends with more wine, but it’s honestly better in some ways. (This is crazy for me to say because I LOVE FRIENDS and I own every episode and know every line. So obviously, Cougar Town is good.)
The past few months, the producers and actors have been running one of the best guerilla marketing campaigns I have ever seen and something completely new in the world of television. Cougar Town has been running viewing parties across the country complete with free booze and all on the producers’ dime. ABC has not endorsed these or paid for them at all. The producers have also taken to twitter to interact with fans, run giveaways of wine, t-shirts, and walk-on roles, and generated a ton of buzz for this struggling sitcom.
And it’s working.
By repaying their most devoted fans with personal viewings and free alcohol, Cougar Town has pushed us to be even more devoted and spread the word. I have recruited almost ten new fans in the past couple weeks, including my best friend who I brought to Saturday night’s viewing party.
Speaking of: I had submitted to win tickets to one of the NYC viewing party weeks ago. Last Wednesday, I finally found out I had won two tickets to the formal event at the Paley Center. This event was special since it featured a screening of two new episodes and the ENTIRE cast. I sat thirty feet away from Courteney Cox, Christa Miller, and Busy Philipps. I got to hear them talk and joke around. It was amazing. Also, the two episodes they showed were the funniest yet. The first one (which is on tomorrow, Tuesday, February 14th at 8:30pm) is pilot-esque in order to introduce new viewers to the show. I also got to see the 5th episode which pays homage to Scrubs in an amazing way.
After the screening, I rushed outside to where I hoped the cast would be exiting. The dark-windowed SUVs along 52nd were a sure sign. I was able to squeeze to the front and was right next to the doors. Since the show features a lot of wine drinking, I brought along a wine glass and permanent marker for signatures. I was able to get three of the guys to sign: Josh Hopkins (Grayson), Ian Gomez (Andy), and Bob Clendenin (Tom). I really wanted Busy, Christa, and Courteney as well, but they were rushed out surrounded by security. When I realized I wouldn’t be able to get their signatures, I yelled out to Courteney: “Courteney, I’m Christine and I absolutely adore you!” To my surprise, she turned quickly, smiled and responded: “Hi Christine! Oh my gosh you’re so cute!”
I almost cried from happiness.
Later on, after my bestie and I stumbled across Cello Wine Bar on the East side, I realized something. I was surrounded by candlelight, sitting on a cozy hand-carved stool, guzzling delicious red wine, and engaged in great conversation with a wonderful friend. That’s when I realized: this is why I love Cougar Town. It’s about getting to a place in your life where you accept everything about the people you love. There’s none of that “will they, won’t they” teenager-y angst that’s ever present in every show on tv. Relationships are established and you get to see the goofiness between great friends. And that’s something I love about my own life.
So, I will now post a challenge to all of my adoring fans. Watch Cougar Town. Tomorrow (Tuesday February 14th) at 8:30pm EST on ABC. Seriously. Watch it. Put it on as you eat a pint of ice cream alone, DVR it for after date night, or use it as background during your V-day nookie. Give this little show a chance and I promise you won’t regret it.
If you pledge to watch it and prove it by telling me your favorite scene or line on twitter (@ictine) or here, I will send you a drink. I am completely serious. I’ll respond and get your address and send you a delicious adult beverage to enjoy before the following week’s episode.
Obviously this is only for 21+, but if you’re under 21 I will send you grape juice or write you a haiku.