A review of the “Cougar Town” season finale coming up just as soon as I say something bad about leather sandals…
It feels like I’ve spent the last several weeks doing nothing but writing reviews of season finales for bubble shows that had to double as series finales, just in case. And yet, miracle of miracles, pretty much all of those shows got renewed, despite each of them – including “Cougar Town,” which technically got canceled and then rescued by TBS – presenting episodes that would have been perfectly satisfying had that been the real, final end.
Bill Lawrence knows a thing or two about faux finales from all the times “Scrubs” nearly ended, and he and Kevin Biegel also knew that, no matter what happened with the show, this would be the end of their tenure as bosses of it(*), and “My Life/Your World” felt like them taking care of whatever business they could in the time left.
(*) In case you missed the major non-TBS bit of recent “Cougar Town” news, Lawrence and Biegel are both stepping down as showrunners (this is voluntary, and not a Dan Harmon situation), and while each will consult on the show, the new day-to-day boss is sitcom vet Ric Swartzlander.
So Jules and Grayson get married on the beach, in one of those great romantic moments(**) this show does so well, yet one where the sweetness was mixed with various running gags, like Chick using the horse to control his tears or the procession going mobile (other than poor Tom) once the cops showed up. If the TBS deal hadn’t materialized, I would have felt sad we wouldn’t get more wine time with the crew, but I also would have had a hard time quibbling with Jules and Grayson literally riding into the sunset as a final image.
(**) Two beach wedding notes: Lawrence and producer Randall Winston reprise their roles as local cops, and the song is “Lost and Found” by Katie Herzig.
Beyond giving the lead couple the wedding they both wanted, the finale also got to bring back Penny Can and make sure no one could ever entirely get sick of it. It dealt one more time with how difficult it can be for Grayson to be constantly surrounded by Jules’ friends, even if they’re now his friends, too. It let Travis confess his feelings for Laurie – albeit while drunk and naked, and while Wade was in the room and he had absolutely no shot whatsoever of doing anything but humiliating himself. It wasn’t exactly the writers making sure they hooked the two of them up before the show ended, but at least it moved things forward for the moment when/if everyone feels the age gap is no longer creepy. And in the meantime, Travis got to turn 21 so he could drink wine with the gang full-time – even if it’s still weird that he’d be hanging with them this much.
And along the way, it told a lot of very funny jokes, like Dog Travis carrying all the golf balls in his mouth, Travis having to eat from the mystery bucket, Jules’ confusion over “Groundhog Day,” etc.
The only part of the finale that didn’t work for me was Ellie’s infatuation with Daniel the concierge. (Played by the former Mr. Courteney Cox – and continuing “Cougar Town” producer – David Arquette.) There are times when the show pushes the behavior of certain characters too far while treating it as a joke, and Ellie so openly lusting after and flirting with another guy – often right in front of Andy – was one of those times.
The rest was pretty terrific, though, and I’ve already watched the beach wedding scene three times. We’ll see what the Ric Swartzlander-run version of “Cougar Town” looks like, but the Biegel/Lawrence incarnation came to a splendid end. Let’s drink to that.
What did everybody else think?