We know. Calling sexually charged middle-aged women cougars has become a cliche. But before the term clawed its way into our pop-culture lexicon, there were pioneers. Prior to ironic caricatures, there were iconic characters. Cougar Town was decades away from construction when these horny heroines blazed a trail, encouraging warm-blooded women everywhere to saucily sow their wild oats, menopause be damned.

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1. Mona Robinson: Who's the Boss?

whos-the-boss-katherine-helmond-0.jpgNo self-respecting cougar club would be complete without this fiery fire-crotch. Though she made daughter Angela Bower uncomfortable in her own home by chiding her proper ways, Mona rolled out her red carpet for myriad men in her adjacent guest house, all the while ogling hunky housekeeper Tony Micelli.

2. Blanche Devereaux: Golden Girls

Screen Shot 2011-08-17 at 3.41.21 AM.pngThis 60-something siren was equal parts sexpot and Southern Belle. Born into family money, this daddy’s girl shamelessly charmed the pants off many a gentleman. Though she lived with three other seniors, she only frequented early-bird specials when man meat was on the menu.

3. Estelle "Mother" Winslow: Family Matters

rosetta-lenoire.jpgThough a seemingly modest matriarch, this Winslow widow was wilder than the teenagers she lived with, worrying son Carl sick by carousing all night. She eventually settled down with church-going silver fox Fletcher Thomas.

4. Helen Roper: Three's Company

With her signature muumuus reeking of sexual frustration, Helen was reduced to wryly lamenting her lack of action with cold-fish husband Stanley. Though she lived below Jack Tripper, Helen always yearned to be on top of him.

5. Suzanne Sugarbaker: Designing Women

This melodramatic Miss Georgia World was divorced from a baseball star, but never quit playing the field. Though her mother’s name was Perky, this narcissistic financier was always ready to get down.

6. Naomi Harper: Mama's Family

This racy rube was the object of husband Vinton’s desire and mother-in-law Thelma’s disdain. Affectionately called “Skeeter” by Vinton, this checker was suspiciously promoted to assistant manager, suggesting groceries weren’t the only thing being bagged at Food Circus.

7. Peg Bundy: Married with Children

With big hair and little ambition, this sedentary housewife only left the couch to blow disgusted husband Al’s money -- often on male strippers. She became a feminist icon by torturing her husband and refusing to work in the kitchen.

8. Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan: M*A*S*H*

This naughty nurse used her sexy wiles to persuade superiors into meeting her demands. Hot Lips ensured no soldier left the mobile hospital without pitching a tent of their own.