Season premiere review: ‘Cougar Town’ – ‘Blue Sunday’

Senior Television Writer
01.08.13 26 Comments

“Cougar Town” is back, now on TBS instead of ABC, and I have a quick review of the season premiere coming up just as soon as I try to change the definition of “junk in the trunk”…

For the second year in a row, a “Cougar Town” season opens with a meta season commenting on how long the Cul-de-Sac Crew has been away, and about the possibility that we might have never seen them again. It feels a little redundant after last year (perhaps it could have been freshened up with a joke about how it feels like they’re in a different place?), but I also understand the desire to celebrate this silly show’s continued survival. And other than the one gag where Travis asks if they’re all alcoholics and in AA (Jules: “Honey, that’s two different questions”), there’s really no attempt at holding the hand of the TBS audience.

I interviewed Bill Lawrence at press tour last week (it may be a few weeks before I have time to transcribe it), and he said they’re at the point in the series where they’ve stopped thinking about the possibility of adding new viewers (which was part of the decision to not bother changing the name once everyone had to make a new DVR season pass). So there’s no need to explain who these people are – beyond goofy friends who could charitably be described as functional alcoholics – nor to change anything about how the series operates. The title guard gag asks if they can curse now, but it didn’t feel like the content was any different on TBS than on ABC. The running gag about what Andy did to Ellie after she took her Ambien, while disturbing and hilarious (great reactions from Courteney Cox), didn’t feel any raunchier than what the show used to do, and Laurie describing Wade as “so black I feel like I’m in a sensory deprivation tank when he’s on top of me” fit very much in line with the way she talked about him last season. (And I can imagine very few actresses on TV finding a way to make it seem innocent and non-racist in the way that Busy Philipps does.) We get a confidence dance, and Tom is still hanging outside Jules window. “Cougar Town” is “Cougar Town,” and that’s exactly what I wanted.

We pick up only a week after Jules and Grayson’s wedding (a scene so great I’m gonna embed it again at the bottom of this post, because your day will absolutely be brightened by it), and we’re reminded once again that a happily married couple can still be funny, since a happy Jules Cobb is still a very crazy Jules Cobb, and her insistence on making Grayson apologize for the dream fit nicely with everything else we know about their relationship. Add in various other amusing stray gags (Bobby’s definition of “none-ilingus,” the guys all following his strategy of running away) and other moments of pure joy (the dance party), and you’ve got a fine debut in the new digs.

What did everybody else think?

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