A review of tonight’s “Cougar Town” coming up just as soon as I consider myself black-adjacent…
Having your cake and eating it, too, is a tough thing to pull off anywhere in life, including on a TV show, and yet “Something Big” deftly pulls it off twice.
In the larger sense, it solves a problem the show introduced late last season when we found out that Grayson wanted to have kids while Jules wanted to be done with that. Bill Lawrence has said that he didn’t want to add a second baby that the show had to ignore whenever possible, but giving Grayson a pre-existing baby he had with one of the conquests of his himbo period is the perfect solution, Grayson gets the child he wants – if not with the woman he wanted to have it – but Holly will be taking care of little Tampa most of the time, and the show only has to do baby storylines if the writers actually have a good idea. We don’t have to deal with sleepless nights, Jules complaining about pregnancy weight gain, or the larger problem of Jules and Grayson coming across as terrible, neglectful parents because they’re always drinking wine while the kid’s off-screen. (They could get away with it involving two supporting characters – especially since Ellie’s not supposed to be likable to begin with – but the show’s central relationship operates by different rules.) Grayson gets what he wants – and Josh Hopkins was terrific with his delivery of the line, “I’m a dad” – but not in a way that derails the lifestyle of Jules and, by extension, the whole Cul-de-sac Crew.
For that matter, Holly (played by relative newcomer Briga Heelan) is a have your cake and eat it, too character. She lets the show tell jokes about what it would be like if Laurie ever became a mother without actually saddling Laurie with a kid. She seems a good addition to the show’s larger world, just as Nicole Sullivan is as Jules and Grayson’s new couples therapist.
As for the subplots, I liked the show continuing to deal with the fallout of what Laurie did to/for Travis in last season’s finale. Their flirting’s not fun for him anymore after she gave him some real hope and then revealed it as a trick to get him to leave Hawaii, and that’s not something that should be glossed over easily. Also, while Dan Byrd was clearly not as good at stepping as the black frat guys (or even the actor playing Sig), he acquitted himself well enough in that number that it didn’t seem completely ridiculous for him to be there.
Bobby trying to teach Ellie to surf was more disposable – and almost an excuse for Brian Van Holt to show off some of his real-life moves (which he also got to put to good use on “John from Cincinnati) – but Bobby/Ellie is one of the show’s more underrated combinations, because she’s sentimental about him in a way she isn’t about anyone else save Jules and maybe Andy. (Maybe.)
What did everybody else think?