Older men have always been chasing younger women. Recently, however, older women, or “cougars,” have been on the prowl for studly young men — and these women are confidently scouring the dating scene. “Cougar Town” stars Courteney Cox “Friends” as Jules Cobb, a 40-something recent divorcee with a teenage son. She is afraid of stagnant life and exasperated by the prospect of looking for a new mate.

“Cougar Town”

Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m.

ABC’s new series has the potential to be a sexy, funny sitcom for singles and the hitched alike. It arouses, perhaps, some competitive interest in its younger female viewers to get off the couch and snag their male peers before a cougar gets her paws on them. As fun as the title’s wordplay is, “Cougar Town” is a half hour of forced sexuality and unrelatable situations. And, if it must be said, that’s nothing to howl at.

At one point, Courteney Cox (“Friends”) was a character on a little series called “Friends.” The show was, for teens in the ’90s, an important part of learning how to grow up and deal with those awkward sexual moments that would undoubtedly play an integral part of viewers’ futures. As the world continued turning, those teens became adults and Cox got older (but still, she’s as gorgeous as ever).

Even so, “Cougar Town,” premieres with Cobb in front of the bathroom mirror staring in disgust at her aging body. With maybe five pounds of extra weight around her middle, slightly flabby upper arms and inner thighs that barely touch, Jules delivers the show’s first failure by her character’s agonizing over her mostly perfect physique.

As if it isn’t annoying enough to have a cougar with a body potentially more fit than the young men she hunts, there are the show’s excruciating sexual moments that are so awkward they’re just not funny. From the idea of little boys fantasizing over posters of Cobb to her teenage son casually walking in on her performing sexual favors on a man half her age, the situations are repellent. The scenes might’ve been funny if they weren’t lightly shrugged off by Jules, followed by a sigh of “oh, Mom” from a delusional son. A teenage boy should wretch at the mere thought of his mother’s sexual lifestyle, right?

Adding to the show’s problems, Cox acts as a ditzy, raging woman who scorns the idea of her middle-aged male neighbor getting with tons of college-aged girls. Of course, the remedy to her repulsion comes in the form of a young man, solidifying her status as a cougar in the dating world. (He isn’t even attractive enough to waste a short stare on.) Cox is too over-the-top in her acting, and she seems less like a cougar and more like a promiscuous 20-something. It doesn’t help that she doesn’t look a day over 30.

The series is overly scripted, stupidly sexual and holds no basis for a thoughtful plot whatsoever. This cougar isn’t a sophisticated woman who lures young men into her lair with a wit too mature for them to comprehend — now that would’ve actually been interesting. There’s no sense of female empowerment, which is a stance the show should have taken. It would be simple and fascinating to play off the intimidation cougars have the ability to possess.

“Cougar Town,” if not doomed to fail within an older women audience, is sure to fall off the radar (if it ever makes it on anyone’s) with a younger generation who couldn’t possibly push Monica Geller aside for the shallow character that is Jules Cobb.

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