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October 22, 2014

Review: Cougar Town - Don't Come Around Here No More

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 5th 2009 11:35AM
Cougar Town: Don't Come Around Here No More(S01E07) For the first half-dozen episodes of Cougar Town, legions of watchers have been wondering along with me what would happen when a) Courteney Cox remembers she's not playing Monica Gellar anymore and dials it down a notch and b) the ensemble starts melding with each other a bit more. Well, we seemed to get that in this episode, and it made for a funny and engaging half-hour.

Do I still have issues with the show? Sure. But this episode was the best sign I can think of that Bill Lawrence and company are going to get the show on a funny footing by the end of the season.

Why did this episode work so well? Because it wasn't about Jules and her over-40 issues. In fact, the only part of the show that had to do with age was the fact that she went out with that ancient mortgage broker mainly because she was bored. But instead of making that the main plot, it was actually just used as a set-up to the real story, which was why Jules doesn't like to hang out by herself.

The story showed a different side of a lot of the "cul-de-sac crew," as Grayson called them (derisively in his case, but Jules loved it enough to use it). First of all, who knew Grayson was such a "talented" songwriter? "Confident in my sexualitay... just like Markiska Hargitay..." His roaming around with that tiny girly guitar was a pretty funny running joke. We saw that Bobby and Ellie used to get along so well at one time that they actually had emotionally connected conversations with each other. We found out that Jules is such a good friend that she's willing to create a "Full Shawshank" experience for Andy. And we saw that Laurie is more than just a dippy slut... and may start developing a thing for young Travis.

But what we saw the most was the cast mixing and mingling, even Christa Miller as "mean friend" Ellie, who's largely taken her potshots from the sidelines. This is necessary, because without the characters interacting with each other, the show's just going to be about a series of caricatures who comment on what's going on but don't participate.

What do I hope to see in the future? We're just scratching the surface on Laurie and Ellie, who they are, how they relate to Jules and how they relate to each other. This was the first episode, for instance, where I didn't find Laurie to be completely annoying, and that's a good thing; Busy Philipps is too good an actress to be playing such a one-dimensional character. And the fact that Bobby is starting to long for a reconnection with Jules means we're going to see more out of him than just the toolish bumpkin he's played so far.

Oh, and this hinting about Jules and Grayson's attraction -- she had a sex dream about him at the top of the show -- should be just that for now... hinting. Let's explore the characters first before throwing those two together; it's just too easy to do that, know what I mean?

What I don't want to change is Ian Gomez as Andy. Sure, he's henpecked by Ellie, though he does choose his moments to fight back, like when he says he doesn't get any thank yous from her. But his love for Bobby, his admission that he'll have to shave again at noon, and his whole Shawshank routine were the highlights of the episode for me. So, as long as they don't monkey with Andy, at least there will be something for me to laugh at every week.

[Watch clips and episodes of Cougar Town at SlashControl.]

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Mike Poole

I'll never understand why you've been so hard on this show from the beginning, but I forgive you since you've obviously come around. No show isn't going to have a rough spot or two, especially at the start, and CT is no exception, but it's been a hoot from day one. Could we drop the "over-40 issues" complaint now? We get it. You don't like it. We'll remember.

Aside from that, this episode was by far their best. Too, too many great moments to name. The show stands out specifically because every single character is great, much like The Middle. I like that Grayson is begrudgingly accepting a place in the cul-de-sac crew, but the worst thing they can do is try to get him and Jules hooked up. Their chemistry works too well as sparring partners to mess with.
I loved seeing Bobby show us that he isn't the boob everyone else thinks he is while cheerfully accepting their patronizing. Bobby's a cool guy, the kind of guy all guys wish they knew. Andy is a lucky dude.
And Christa Miller is definitely playing the same character from Scrubs, at least now. It didn't stand out so much in earlier episodes, but was unmistakable last night. Who cares. I loved the character in Scrubs. She fits right in here.

November 05 2009 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mitch

This show is getting better each week. I must admit your commentary about Courtney Cox not playing Monica in this episode was right on the ball.

November 05 2009 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

Is it just me, or is Christa Miller playing the same character she did on Scrubs, but with a different name and on a different show?

November 05 2009 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mike

I have to admit the "full Shawshank Redemption" bit at the end had me in stitches. Pretty damn funny. Rest of the episode a bit meh though.

November 05 2009 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Grover

Loving andy in this series... probably the most out of any character... Bobby's probably second.

And, those Rudy and Shawshank scenes were sooo true and so relatable... best episode yet.

November 05 2009 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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