Branding The Wild American Cougar

Pictured left: Stacey Anderson, real estate agent and star of TV Land's The Cougar. Pictured right: Courtney Cox, actress and star of ABC's cougar town

Poor Courtney. That shirt definitely didn't say that in the photo shoot. She saw the proofs and thought: "Nice. I look minimal and sexy and just a wee bit sassy with the thumb in the pocket thing." And she does.

Then someone put that terrible, terrible saying on there and now she looks like the self-appointed leader of the I Still Got It Movement, which makes me feel the same way I felt when Gandalf would fight and I'd be like, "oh good, but... he can't keep doing this much longer because something terrible is bound to happen!" Of course there's nothing wrong with any age but was it really necessary to jump right over 30?

Things to remember, EP's and Art Directors and Photoshop Guys and Girls: You can't legally drink when you're 20. Student loans are not yet a concern when you're 20. You can't decide between Xbox or Wii when you're 20 and then you get both because you're 20. I'm pretty sure the littlest brother on Malcolm in the Middle is 20.

20 is basically the new 10. 

The title. There's a name for that type face; it's called Romantic Comedy. Fine. The no caps twist suggests this is how one 20-year old would e-mail or text another 20-year old: Youngly. 

"ohai. wnt 2 wtch cougar town @ mi casa? :p" 

"totes. wut time?"

"10. its the new 5."

"wut?"

Man, being 20 is the best. 

But this is all a guy talking and clearly no guy is going to watch cougar town. That's a lady show and the only lady show I watch starts with Gossip and ends with cookies.

Now. Single camera sitcom branding = Desperate Cougar; Reality show branding = Exploitative Cougar.

I don't know what they're trying to say here. Yes I do. Stacey Anderson is the Devil and these young men have offered their souls to her for an eternity of servitude. And also she's sort of the ring leader and the men are sort of the real-life cougars that have to jump through the flaming hoop of love. Get it? We're all part cougar. 

There was real effort taken to make this woman look wicked, as a corrupter of average men. To make her look charming and pretty would be saying this whole experiment is totally normal and not the freak show the network would like it to be. 

But Reality TV exists in its own semiotic universe where the branding rarely makes sense to begin with. Extreme symbolism is the only hard fast rule. To the point of being literal again. See the tail on The Cougar title? That's a cougar's tail!

It used to be the only rule for branding a Cougar was to cover the forehead and neck.