Cougar Town | “Turn This Car Around”

Photo Credit: ABC (via tvfanatic.com)

When I originally started this blog, my plan was to do weekly recaps/reviews of Cougar Town and Greek because they are two shows that, (a) with limited time, I want to stay caught up on since I probably won’t pick them up on DVD, and (b) are less frequently reviewed by the major blogs I read. Cougar Town write-ups have slipped by me thus far, but I have a little bit of time now and figured I’d jot down some thoughts on “Turn This Car Around.” So let’s get started — after the jump.

“Alcohol makes people fun!” — Ellie

While it may not be true in all cases, that quote certainly seems to apply to the characters here (except Travis, but not for lack of trying). As we saw in the few short flashbacks, these friends make any excuse they can — Monday! — to have a glass (or bottle) of wine, and when alcohol isn’t involved, they’re stuck playing boring board games — at least until the wine arrives to liven things up. Their wine habits are just a part of who they are and what makes the group gel, so much so that they had to stage an intervention to get Jules to start drinking again.

So for an episode so centered around the idea of “change,” where did it leave us? Jules certainly wasn’t going to change her drinking habits permanently, but she did stop talking on the phone while she drives… maybe, as she said, she can only change something if she almost dies from it. A little change might be good for Jules, since she’s still too concerned about her role in others’ lives to really examine her own, but at least she seems to be on the right path and has friends like Ellie and Laurie to call her out when she takes things too far. And at the very least, they’ll make sure George Michael’s “Faith” plays at her funeral in the case that anything bad happens to her.

Grayson was certainly a better showcase for the “change” idea. When the series started, he was just a smug playboy chasing younger girls, and while he has matured a lot and become part of the gang, his penchant for meaningless sex with 20-somethings has stayed with him. With the introduction of Sheryl Crow’s Sara, though, he realized he was “sick of young, silly girls” and wanted someone on his level. Sure, Sara’s intro was abrupt (and fitting, since she’s a wine saleswoman in an episode centered around wine), but the nature of her character is to ask blunt, abrupt questions and get Grayson to see that he wants to talk the way real people talk rather than about favorite numbers. (“3? 3’s cool. Mine’s 5.”)

The subplot with Bobby, Andy, Travis, and Travis brought just enough wackiness to keep the episode light, even though the Jules and Grayson story lines were never really at risk of getting too dramatic. Bobby has clearly become the go-to character for laughs (though has shown he can be serious), and the Travis-the-dog story was great if for nothing else than the dog elevator.

So while not everything is going to change — wine, for example, isn’t going anywhere — it does seem like characters are going to be growing and maturing. What has made the show so strong, though, since it’s early shift away from Jules being a “cougar,”  is the focus on the group as a whole and the dynamic between all the characters; as long as that doesn’t change,  I’m happy to see where the characters as individuals go from here.

Bits & Pieces:

  • “I name all my favorite things Travis.” — Bobby // (quietly) “You don’t call me Travis.” — Andy
  • Herpes wine (it’s French)
  • About Jules’ funeral: “Throw up if it feels right.” — Jules // “Done.” — Laurie
  • “He eats bananas fast.” — Laurie, about Travis
  • Jules’ time-killing activities were pretty funny, especially painting Andy and Ellie’s mailbox in the morning
  • “Bees smell joy, that’s why they ruin picnics.” — Bobby
  • What car did Jules crash into the pool? It definitely wasn’t her red Lexus, which we’ve seen before and saw again later in this episode in perfect condition
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