Season premiere review: ‘Cougar Town’ – ‘All or Nothin’

Senior Television Writer
01.07.14 8 Comments

A quick review of tonight’s “Cougar Town” season premiere coming up just as soon as I have a respectable Latin mustache…

The title card gag this week notes “Season Five? Didn’t see that coming.” And if you remember the show’s early creative struggles, or its mediocre-to-bad ratings on ABC (especially towards the end), it’s a pleasant surprise to still have the Cul-de-Sac Crew around – and to have the show still feel as clever and energized as it does throughout the premiere.

On the one hand, “All or Nothin'” brought back all the expected running gags like Penny Can (albeit with an amusing, stereotypically international twist), “Change approved!” and Jules’ comically oversized wine glasses (Big Tippi – an homage to the guest star of last season’s finale – is really just a vase). And I wouldn’t want “Cougar Town” without that stuff (even if the show doesn’t need to go to all of those wells in every episode), but I was glad to see “All or Nothin'” also exploring new material. Whether you’re in favor of the Laurie/Travis hookup or not, it’s a thing that’s going to be weird for this group, between Laurie and Grayson having hooked up and Jules being creepy-close to Travis even before she grabbed his penis in the middle of a dirty “Psycho” parody. So that was a lot of fun. So was the resolution of Stan’s “Nightmare on Elm Street” problem, with Tom as Freddie Kruger having a friendly coffee with the family to explain about his move to Canada. (It was a very good Tom episode in general, with him making an effort to keep up with the whole Crew as they split up as usual.)

I wound up only occasionally reviewing the show last season, and I suspect that will be the case this year as well. It’s an insane midseason period, and “Cougar Town” has reached the point where I enjoy it a lot but don’t have many new things to say. Definitely a promising start to the year, though, and I liked the other two episodes I’ve seen (which did not include next week’s Matthew Perry guest spot).

What did everybody else think?

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