Review: ‘Cougar Town’ – ‘I Need to Know’

Senior Television Writer
01.15.13 24 Comments

A quick review of tonight’s “Cougar Town” coming up just as soon as I have a racist salt shaker collection…

Last week’s episode was a reassuring start to the TBS era for “Cougar Town,” and “I Need to Know” is an even stronger outing, with a collection of fine escalating running gags (Laurie egging on Grayson’s minor homophobia, Ellie turning Andy into a dog, the gang forgetting to feed poor Tom’s cat(*)) circling around a strong, funny central story about Jules struggling to kick her addiction to Travis.

(*) I’ve said in the past that the crew’s treatment of Tom walks a very delicate line, in much the way “Parks and Rec” needs to remind us every now and then that Jerry is more than just the butt of everyone’s jokes. The feral cat thing, while very painful for him, stayed just to the right side of that line, because it was a mistake rather than something they deliberately chose not to do. 

Jules’ inability to let go of her son has always been one of the show’s strongest themes – season 1’s Thanksgiving episode, which is easy to point to as the moment when “Cougar Town” arrived as the show we know and like today, was all about that relationship – and “I Need to Know” did an excellent job of playing it for laughs as long as possible before the pathos kicked in. Whether Jules was making Travis and his date watch “Game of Thrones” and its explicit sex scenes, or suggesting that she and her son now be “Friends with benefits,” or insisting that loving Travis is the same as being in love with Travis, this was a consistently funny, uncomfortable storyline, and well directed by Courteney Cox herself, in her third outing behind the “Cougar Town” cameras.

I’d have liked for the mustache growing stunt to have a payoff in and of itself, rather than setting up Laurie’s stunt with the Glarmy, but that’s a minor complaint for what was otherwise a very strong, “Cougar Town”-y episode of “Cougar Town.”

What did everybody else think?

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