A quick review of last night’s “Cougar Town” coming up just as soon as I put a seatbelt on my hammock…
“Little Girl Blues” had all of the usual funny things we expect out of “Cougar Town” by now: goofy but catchy songs (the guys harmonizing on Jules’ ditty about contraception), unfortunate Laurie autobiographical details, Grayson navigating this new world of friendship, obscure running gags (Grayson becomes the latest to not understand Ellie’s imaginary hat-tip), and lots of fun with the gang’s dependence on wine. (The memorial card for Big Joe at the very end was brilliant.)
But here’s what I wonder: how far can the writers take Jules’ selfish neuroses before they become too much, and she becomes too unlikable? After the birthday episode a few weeks ago, I suggested that because the cul-de-sac crew doesn’t seem to mind this behavior – that, in fact, they encourage it and try to curry favor with her by exploting it, it remains funny and not annoying. But I found myself being irritated by Jules a lot during this one. Even the funeral for Big Joe didn’t make me laugh as much as it should have because of the joke about Grayson’s parents dying – specifically, because Jules completely ignores him there.
It’s a tricky thing that Lawrence, Biegel and company are trying to do here. They’ve essentially turned the show into a live-action cartoon, where there’s not even a pretense anymore about jobs or kids or any other responsibility that might take these people away from getting drunk and goofing around. And that’s absolutely fine, and usually hilarious. But at the same time they do want us to take one or two characters seriously each week. And that can also be fine. But I think Jules’ behavior is fast reaching the point (and based on recent comments, has already reached that point for some of you) where it’s unbearable unless the show becomes pure cartoon, and doesn’t bother with the emotional beats anymore. And that’s not how this show is going to roll, so I think something may have to be done. If nothing else, they need to do a better job of finding the human being inside the Me-Me-Me Monster – to show Jules more frequently acknowledging the wrongness of her behavior even as she’s doing it. There was a little of that here with her recruitment of Laurie to be the Cobb-stopper, but not a lot, and I think the tag would have gone so much better if she’d even paused for a second for a sincere “Oh, sweetie” to Grayson before immediately going back to her ode to Big Joe. (Instead, she just looked annoyed by the interruption.)
Still, the memorial title card was damn funny.
What did everybody else think?