Cougar Town | “Cry to Me”

A very "Cougar Town" Valentine's Day

Cougar Town aired its final episode before a two-month hiatus last night, and I have a review after the jump.

Cougar Town has been on quite a roll this season. As I wrote in the Tufts Daily a few months ago, it has evolved from “Courteney Cox dating younger guys” into a charming ensemble comedy, where it’s just fun to hang out with this group of people as they play silly games and drink wine — lots and lots of wine.

The show has been airing after Modern Family since the two premiered in 2009, which has been a good thing up until now. Having ABC’s #1 comedy as its lead-in has certainly boosted Cougar Town‘s ratings, and I’m sure it contributed to the fact that the network gave the series an early third-season renewal. But at this point, the ratings are fairly steady and ABC needs to use that prime real estate to try to launch a new show — in this case, Mr. Sunshine, from Cox’s former Friends co-star Matthew Perry.

It’s great to share the wealth, and I’m always happy to see more good comedies on TV… I’ve just grown to love Cougar Town and wish it didn’t have to be off the air until April 18.

That’s the way things have to be, though, and I’m glad Cougar Town went out on a high note. The writers put their own early spin on Valentine’s Day (they really love their holiday episodes) and in the process mined the anxieties of several of the characters, including Jules, who often walks a fine line between being overly-caring and annoyingly overbearing.

Grayson let slip that his father passed away on Valentine’s Day two years ago (easily winning worst Valentine’s Day over Jules’ dry swordfish story), but quickly shut down any talk of it, him being Grayson and all. Jules keeps pressuring him to open up to her, partly for selfish reasons (she wants to feel special), but also because she’s his girlfriend, and if he can talk to anyone, it should be her. Her tactics were a bit brash, but it’s Jules, and we know that things have to be done on her terms. In the end, we see that Grayson *does* act differently around Jules (thanks to a very helpful flashback!) and the two will head into hiatus with their relationship healthily intact.

In fact, everyone seems to be in a pretty good spot heading into the break. Kirsten gets her “sexy” picture of Travis, even though it’s not quite what she expected. Andy once again proved his superior understanding of women, blowing off dinner with Ellie only to surprise her with a perfect bonfire of Christmas decorations (a win-win for him, since he also got to go on his penny-can date with Bobby). Only Laurie and Bobby are left without a significant other, but at the end of the day, they have the rest of the crew, which the show has reminded us again and again is what really matters to these people.

Cougar Town didn’t try to go out with a big bang; instead, it delivered a very solid episode, filled with both humor and heart, that reminded us just how far this show has come since it started. Sure, we still have reminders of its origins in the recurring presence of Barb, but the show is so much more that than now, even if it’s so much less in concept.

Bits & Pieces

  • I kind of like the way they’ve been using Tom lately. I think the creepy sexual jokes about Jules are, well, creepy, but otherwise, he’s a good way to see how others view the Cul-de-Sac Crew. And it’s nice to see that he’s not completely blind to their less-nice tendencies.
  • Speaking of which, the Circle of Love and the mirroring Circle of Anger were nice quick illustrations of how intertwined the group really is, and Tom got to vacuum sticky buns off a plate through the window, so, yeah.
  • Travis’ photo shoot was one of the most hilariously awkward sequences I can remember on the show. Bobby taking the pictures while Laurie was in the room (not) blindfolded, with Jules waiting outside the door was just great, and Dan Byrd played it all very well.
  • I didn’t take notes to write down funny quotes, but let’s just say there were a lot of them, and leave it at that.

Can’t wait ’til you’re back, Cougar Town.


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