A few of you have asked if I watched the debut of ABC’s Cougar Town last night. Yes, of course. I watched it as if it were homework, which for me it kind of was.
My verdict is that it could have been far more awful than it was, but it was still pretty awful. The dozens of veteran TV critics said it better than I could, as did Jezebel, so I won’t bother expanding on what they wrote, except to say that the show gave this Formerly one more body part to fixate upon that had somehow thus far escaped my scrutiny: My wrinkly elbows (that’s me in the picture, with a sleepy Sasha sacked out on my lap.)
For those of you who missed it, there’s a scene in which the (perfectly stunning) Courteney Cox pores over her body, nude, in front of the mirror. She’s playing 40, looks to be in her 30s, and is in fact 45, slender and toned, if not ripped, like some of her Hollywood contemporaries. In the scene, she hoists up her boobs, jiggles her belly (which, according to either People or Us Weekly, I can’t remember, is not a belly double but her actual belly), and then straightens her arm and pinches the wrinkly bit on her elbow, saying “What is this?” I’ll cop to having done similar, just this very morning.
But even I don’t have a thing about my elbows. My elbows could have been wrinkly my entire life and I would not have registered it. Who looks at her elbows critically, except perhaps to notice they’re dry and could use a bit of cream? But just as when you learn a new word, it seems as if everyone’s using it, now that I have noticed, I won’t be able to stop noticing. Thanks, Cougar Town.
I’m being facetious, of course. The truth is that in recent years, since becoming a Formerly, I obsess a lot less on my body. You wouldn’t know it from this blog, but I spend a fraction of the time I used to worrying about my imperfections. Granted, if you start off as a bulimic, as I did when I was a teen, one can only hope your body obsession is trending toward the less intense. I notice the bizarre bodily changes, and they occasionally shock me, but they don’t rule me as they once did. Mostly, I think they’re funny. Or I try to, which is why I write about them as I do. You have to laugh.
Somehow, though, when Cox did her body inventory, it wasn’t funny. I doubt I’d think it was funny if I saw a video of myself doing it, either, which is good reason to stop.
As I walked to work today, I saw an ad for Cougar Town on a telephone kiosk. It’s a super-closeup of Cox’s face, in pink lipstick, and she’s smiling. Someone had taken a wide black marker and drawn in her smile lines, her nasal labial folds, a few creases on her brow, and branches of crows feet on both sides of her eyes. That’s because hers had been Photoshopped or Juvedermed out.
On the show, Cox does looked like a 40-year-old, albeit a particularly gorgeous, well-maintained, thin and fit 40-year-old. In the ad she looks like an alabaster sculpture. I wonder if anyone playing a 40-year-old on TV would ever have the nerve to appear in a close up ad for her show actually looking like a 40-year-old?