Tuesday on TV: Hilarious, underappreciated "Cougar Town" is back
Published: February 14, 2012 02:24PM
Updated: February 14, 2012 02:24PM
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COUGAR TOWN - "Ain't Love Strange" - Jules is miffed when Grayson (who has an ulterior motive) calls her "predictable"; Ellie frets that little Stan is turning into a "devil child," or even worse, could grow up to be like Laurie; and Travis likes his new off campus housing, until Bobby tries to convince him to take dog Travis in, on the Third-Season premiere of "Cougar Town," TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/RICHARD FOREMAN) COURTENEY COX, JOSH HOPKINS

ABC has an absolute gem of a sitcom in Cougar Town (7:30 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4), which has been sitting on the sidelines for months - apparently because new network chief Paul Lee doesn't care for it.

This would be the same Paul Lee who thought "Work It" was comedy gold.

As you've no doubt heard before, the title "Cougar Town" stopped being applicable to this show after about six episodes. What it has become is a very funny ensemble comedy about Jules (Courteney Cox); her son, Travis (Dan Byrd); her boyfriend, Grayson (Josh Hopkins); her ex-husband, Bobby (Brian Van Holt); her best friend, Ellie (Christa Miller); her best friend's husband, Andy (Ian Gomez); and her other best friend, Laurie (Busy Phillips).

They are - dare I say it? - sort of the "Friends" for the 21st century.

In tonight's episode, there's a big surprise that the network has asked us not to tell you about. That would be the same network that has given this secret away itself in all the advertisements, and provided the picture that accompanies this story. The picture that also gives away the secret.

Ah, well. Getting there is a lot of fun.

Elsewhere on TV ...

NBA (6 p.m., ROOT): Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder

NCIS (7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): A dead Navy captain has an unusual costume on under his uniform.

Last Man Standing (7 and 7:30 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): NASCAR driver Tony Stewart guest stars.

Biggest Loser (7 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): Two contestants go home with their trainer.

Tupperware!: American Experience (7 p.m., NBC/Ch. 4): The origins and culture of Tupperware.

Glee (7 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13): We finally get to meet Rachel's fathers, Hiram (Jeff Goldblum) and LeRoy (Brian Stokes Mitchell).

NCIS: Los Angeles (8 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): The team tracks an elusive, chameleonlike killer.

The River (8 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): Tree spores make the crew go blind.

Frontline (8 p.m., PBS/Ch. 7): "The Interrupters," which debuted at Sundance in 2011, chronicles former gang members who now try to stop violence.

New Girl (8 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13): Jess tries to have a casual fling with a handsome stranger (Ryan Kwanten of "True Blood").

Ringer (8 p.m., CW/Ch. 30): Bridget discovers Siobhan's secret office.

Southland (8 and 10 p.m., TNT): John tries to keep a teen from killing himself.

Raising Hope (8:30 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13): Jimmy's new friend (Ashley Tisdale) agrees to pretend to be his girlfriend in order to make Sabrina jealous.

Unforgettable (9 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): An important witness disappears.

Body of Proof (9 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): The owner is found dead in his restaurant's freezer.

Parenthood (9 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): Julia tries not to get too involved in Zoe's life.

Switched at Birth (9 and 11 p.m., ABC Family): Bay meets an art dealer.

Dog Show (9 p.m., USA): The 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Jane by Design (10 p.m. ABC Family): Jane has to babysit a bratty supermodel.

Justified (11 p.m., FX): Raylan races to save Dewey from a gang of organ harvesters.

Key & Peele (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central): Thugs encounter a complication; a guy tries to impress his date.