I usually don't touch on social issues being more of a live and let live kind of person. There are certain societal trends that, en masse, I can recognize as, overall, not really healthy. There are instances, too, where the cultural decay is so glaring that I am left with that "just what the hell are we hanging on to here" feeling. I had that feeling after watching one episode of Cougar Town last night.
Cougar Town, in reference to middle age women on the prowl for younger men, is a new situation comedy (I use that term loosely) starring Courtney Cox of Friends fame. Does society shape popular culture or does popular culture shape society? In either case, this show doesn't bode well if it is a mirror into our culture.
Far as I can tell, the main character, Jules, is recently divorced and spends most of her days, well, quite honestly, doing the things you do when you are twenty. Maybe 25. Her friends text her all day long, she plans for dates with her boyfriend in his early-twenties and she indulges in the favorite pastime of the left, self discovery. She laments that her new beau only rated her a 6 in the sack and comments how her knees crack when in certain positions. Her neighbor, though a man, seems to be in the same boat. Her ex-husband, literally shown in a boat in all the scenes, seems to be the victim some sort of mid-life meltdown spending his days on a boat parked in a parking lot, air gutairing to old classic rock signs, which incidentally would predate his generation.
At one point in the show, Jules looks over the table at her silent beau and asks "What are you thinking?" I yell out at the TV, "What do you think he's thinking? He is thinking--why am I having dinner with my mom??"
There is one middle aged seemingly traditional married set of friends. If the show lasts, I predict the husband is outted as a closet homosexual or their child is determined to not really be the fathers but born out of a secret one night stand the wife had. At best they'll be portrayed as wildly unhappy and freakish. All the while, the 40 as 20's will be portrayed as hip and leading a desirable lifestyle.
Ofcourse, I am not saying life ends at 40 or taking up needle point should be the desired recreational activity. We do not need to go back to the days of Aunt Bea. I just have to wonder how we went from getting innocent laughs to jokes by middle aged women who wisecrack that if "the sex is good, maybe I'll stop texting during it". It is such a banal and sad attempt at humor that you almost forget just how bizarre it is coming from that source. Again, screaming at the TV, "you are 40 -- why are you texting all day??"
Is it any wonder Obama can get elected? Is it way off base to think, maybe a show about 40 something divorcees shouldn't be recycling scripts from 90210 and throwing in some joint cracking and sagging skin humor? Maybe there should be some differences in the lifestyles of, say, Brenda Walsh (17) and Jules (40)?
I recall in my early 20s a guy who would come into the rock n roll bar my girlfriends and I hung out at. He was probably only about 30 or 32. To us, at the time, he could have easily been about 132. He was a failed rocker who returned home from his big shot at rock star fame to a life of delivering pizzas. I just knew, then, I never want to be that guy.
Who wants to be 40 and acting 20? You can pretend all you want but next stop is 50. Not long after that you are eligible for special discounts and AARP memberships. Just sayin'.