Review: ‘Cougar Town’ – ‘Square One’/’It’ll All Work Out’

Senior Television Writer
05.15.12 19 Comments


A review of tonight’s “Cougar Town” episodes coming up just as soon as my booze cruise turns into a cruise cruise…

First of all, in case you missed the news, TBS has picked up “Cougar Town,” and the show will air new episodes there sometime in 2013. It’s early days yet – when I spoke to Kevin Biegel, he wasn’t even sure of all the logistics – but we don’t have to worry that we’re closing in on the end of the series. (The show is off next week so ABC can build up to the “Dancing with the Stars” finale, and then we’ll get the one-hour finale on May 29.)

And as the series prepares to depart ABC, we got a mixed bag of episodes tonight. The 8 o’clock outing, “Square One,” mixed in a bunch of aspects of the show I’ve never really loved – Travis getting sucked into hearing about the sex life of his mother and her friends, Jules (with or without Grayson) becoming competitive and/or obnoxious with outsiders (in this case, Lynn the therapist) – but the 8:30 show “It’ll All Work Out” was not only one of this season’s best, but one of the better examples of what the series became after its bumpy first half-dozen installments.

Season 1’s Thanksgiving show, “Here Comes My Girl,” was one of the first episodes of the series to really give an indication of the warm, goofy, unconventional family comedy it was becoming, and also had one of the show’s first great musical moments, with Noah and the Whale’s “Give a Little Love” playing as Jules and Travis silently made their peace and Jules told the crew how thankful she was for them. I didn’t like last season’s Thanksgiving show as much, but I was pleased that Biegel, Lawrence and company decided the holiday was important enough to attempt even in a season where the show wouldn’t be on in November. (The teaser scene – which had previously been used as an online promo for the season premiere – had fun playing around with the delay.)

Where I felt like “Square One” displayed several characters at their worst, “It’ll All Work Out” had them at their best, with Jules finally performing a motherhood intervention for Ellie, Grayson helping Andy with the pizza toss (and giving him an ally in their inevitable war with their wives), and Laura and Bobby trying (and mostly failing, but still trying) to help Travis write Jules’ wedding vows for her. Tom finally got to join the crew for good, and even Laurie got to exorcise some demons related to Hallothanksmasween. It was the Cul De Sac Crew together, trying to do right by each other in their various bumbling ways, being goofy but also – to borrow the theme from that other Courteney Cox show that a few people watched that time – being there for each other.

A very good time was had by all in that one – including me – and watching it made me extremely happy that this ridiculous, happy show gets to continue in a new home next year.

What did everybody else think?

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