A review of tonight’s “Cougar Town” coming up just as soon as I have both formal and informal overalls…
One of the things I love about the evolution of “Cougar Town” is how it’s become a crazy idea delivery system. It feels like every episode was born out of some late-night brainstorming session where no thought would be considered too stupid or outrageous: What if Bobby and Andy hug each other while riding a zip line really slowly across the cul-de-sac? What if Ellie vents her frustration with Andy by making him pose for gruesome murder portraits? What if Chick asked Grayson to shoot a horse as a test of his suitability to marry Jules?
And while I think the show would be very entertaining and funny if it was just that string of wacky ideas, these days they’re always tied around actual character-driven stories, whether it’s Jules being a people-pleaser(*), Bobby trying to be cool about Jules marrying someone else or Chick’s guilt about not doing a better job of protecting Jules from Bobby. And while some gags were introduced early and then quickly dropped (like Laurie’s short hook-up Ricky), others kept going until they all tied together at the end, with Jules zip-lining to stop Ellie from making Laurie feel bad(**) and then getting to chainsaw her to death while Travis watched.
(*) Though it’s not like she doesn’t have a pretty notorious selfish streak. Even within this episode, she has Tom on alert to redirect all conversation back to the wedding.
(**) And, before that, a good pay-off to the No Spoilers running gag with Jules assuming that “Semantics” was the title of a movie she hadn’t seen yet.
The characters are just so locked in right, now, from the regulars (we’re at a point where everything Laurie says and does is instantly funny) to recurring characters like Chick. (As we saw so many times on “Scrubs,” Ken Jenkins is a great dramatic actor, so his lie about the horse seemed very convincing, and then made the reveal that he was punking Grayson that much funnier.)
The ratings weren’t very good last week. Bill Lawrence has been trying to keep spirits high on Twitter, saying that the plan was to just get the show back on the air and get awareness up before “Glee” took a break and there was a chance for the numbers to rise. We’ll see. The fact that ABC owns the show will certainly help it come decision time in May, and we knew that post-“Last Man Standing” wasn’t a good timeslot for this show. Right now, I’m just going to enjoy what we’re getting, because this show is on a hot streak at the start of this season.
What did everybody else think?