Cougar Town | “Everything Man”

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Weird. It was another fun and funny Cougar Town this week, but some of it, like the talking Japanese toilet, was just bizarre. Even with what seemed like a bunch of random jokes, though, “Everything Man” gave us a strong A-story about Jules’ need to meddle in everyone’s lives and left us at an uncertain, but fitting, conclusion regarding the state of Jules and Grayson’s relationship. So let’s get started — after the jump.

Cougar Town has a way of pretty much always being an enjoyable half an hour, even if it doesn’t necessarily have the best plot. The characters can just sit around in Grayson’s bar or Jules’ kitchen (or, now, bathroom) and fire off their jokes, even if they’re coming out of nowhere, and the show will still be very entertaining. “Everything Man” was sort of one of those episodes — sure, we got to see a new side of Grayson and a more introspective Jules, but Andy’s story line was a variation on stuff we’d seen before and Travis’ was only resolved with a quick scene in the ending montage. Yet, the new bathroom, the aforementioned toilet, Andy and Bobby’s apology hugs, and pretty much anything Bobby or Laurie said kept me smiling the whole time, and that has to count for something.

It was interesting to see for the first time what Grayson is like in a real relationship. After nearly blowing it with Sara last week by being too distant, he seriously changes his behavior this week and becomes, as Jules called it, “pursy whipped.” He had a permanent smile and used baby talk with her, being over-the-top cutesy all around. I’m not sure I bought that he would actually act like that, especially in front of everyone since he should have known they’d make fun of him, but his reasoning for it made sense. This is the first actual girlfriend he’s had since his divorce and he wants to show Sara that he really cares about her, and doesn’t think his usual aloofness is the best way to go about that. So while the behavior itself may not have been the most believable, his explanation for it was, and it was nice to see Grayson actually making that change that he focused on so much last week.

Nicely intertwined with his story line was Jules’ reflection on her feelings for Grayson (which, really, is the whole reason the Grayson/Sara plot exists in the first place). Jules acknowledges that she can’t really be jealous since she never had a claim to him, but is still disappointed that Grayson now has a real girlfriend and it isn’t her. Grayson obviously cares about Jules, as evidenced by the fact that he talked to Sara about how cool she was, and Jules’ apology/advice to Grayson at the end got pretty awkward to watch due to how much she talked about what made him sexy, so I hope they get together or at least act on their feelings soon. It’s not that I have a strong urge to see the two of them specifically pair up, but I think something needs to happen soon, even if it’s not permanent, or else the reasons for keeping them apart will just be too unbelievable. If new love interests keep popping up just to keep them apart, it will be obvious that they are obstacles for the sake of obstacles, and it would be nice to see Cougar Town break out of the all too common will-they-or-won’t-they trope to help it solidify its place as one of the more satisfying sitcoms on television right now.

Jules also got to examine her general tendency to meddle in her friends’ lives, and ended up seeing herself as Batman, a hero with a burden that other people just don’t understand. While I think that Jules’ meddling can often bring out the most annoying aspects of her, since it usually goes along with her assertion that she always knows what’s best, she always does what she does because she truly wants to help — and, she’s usually right. It’s completely understandable that Grayson wouldn’t want her advice at first, or that Travis would be upset that she secretly trims his hair while he sleeps, but if it ends up helping them in the end, I’m willing to bet that everyone really is grateful even if they won’t admit it.

The rest of the episode didn’t really move much else along, but it did let Ellie show off her power and understanding of men and women. Though the sex plot with her and Andy was nothing special, it once again established her authority in their marriage and let brilliantly her point out, “If I want it, you’ll want it.” And with Travis, she was able to give advice about not sacrificing his art for vanity, but when that lesson gets him in trouble with Kylie, Ellie is the first to tell him why. One of the problems at the beginning of the season was that the male characters were a lot funnier and got more to do than the females, even though the show was aimed more at women. I still think the guys are funnier, but the girls have definitely developed into stronger characters who form the emotional core of the show.

So while we got the grab bag of “Great Shirt Alert!,” Gerald the tile guy, “Molly R-r-r-r-ingwald,” and the new bathroom, which popped out of nowhere and was pretty much just another opportunity to show off Jules’ crazy side, we also got to see different, more nuanced sides of some of the main cast, and ended up with another solid episode of this always-improving, under-appreciated show.

Bits & Pieces:

  • Gerald was played by the same actor who played one of the bumbling security guards this season on Scrubs. He must be a friend of Bill Lawrence’s, since he was not particularly funny in either role.
  • Even though Ellie disagreed with Laurie about the “universal sign for lady turn-off,” she adopted it nonetheless.
  • Speaking of Ellie and Laurie, they’re either becoming better friends or Ellie is just keeping her comments to herself more.
  • “Being pretentious really works on me.” — Travis, about why he likes photography
  • Ellie and Laurie just laugh when Travis says he and Kylie plan to stay together when they go off to separate colleges
  • “We don’t touch towels in the special bathroom.” // “Oh, sorry.” // “Just…don’t do it again.” — Jules and Kylie
  • “She was pretty clear the first time.” — Travis to Kylie, hen she does tough them again, by accident

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