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September 16, 2014

Review: Cougar Town - Two Gunslingers

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 19th 2009 12:05PM
Courteney Cox in Cougar Town: Two Gunslingers(S01E08) It does seem like we're still in the "unsteady footing" stage of this series, doesn't it? For every episode like "Don't Come Around Here No More," which shows the cast gelling and gives us the glimmer of hope that the show will become a really good ensemble, we have episodes like this one, which are at times funny and at other times irritating.

Commenters have told me to stop obsessing over the fact that Courteney Cox's character of Jules is at her most annoying when she's dealing with her "over 40" issues. But I just can't; that's when the show is at its most sledgehammer-in-your-face irritating, with Cox acting to the rafters. This episode showed that quite a bit -- I could have used less of Jules desperately trying to convince people she could pass for 34 -- but it also showed that, when Jules isn't worrying so much about her age, Cox does a pretty nice job of making Jules less of a cartoon.

Back to that in a moment. Once again, the funnier plot was guy-centric, even without Brian Van Holt around to give us some Bobby-style comic relief. It was good to see Andy be duplicitous for once instead of just the sad-sacky husband and Bobby-worshiper. And it was fun to see Travis get some significant screen time and show a bit of a sadistic streak himself.

Grayson should never try to give people sex advice; I mean, Travis may be a genius, but even the average 18-year-old would know what's going on across the street. What I found interesting is that, instead of thinking Grayson's a lucky dog, Travis decided to "come out" to him, and even got him to admit to a childhood incident best left to memory. Judging by what Andy told Grayson -- "he got me to march in two Pride parades" -- Trav has had a bit of practice concocting his story.

Back to the gals: Has Rachel Harris ever been cast in any role besides the tight-jawed draining wench? It doesn't matter if she's a lawyer, a real estate agent, or a ball-busting wife, she's always played a bitch. It's a role she does well, but it's just too easy to write her like that, know what I mean? Good to see someone from the Bill Lawrence Players, Alan Ruck, make an appearance, though; hopefully we'll see him and his porn 'stache again. Funniest moment involving those two? When Ruck's character asked Harris' character for a divorce and she just said "no."

We've seen moments where Ellie hasn't been a bitch and Laurie hasn't been a slut, but it seemed like the caricatures of each were amped up here. What I did like is that the two bonded over watching Jules' back while still not liking each other -- Ellie: "She named her pony Limp Bizkit!" Laurie: "Because he rocked!" -- which is a more realistic result than the two of them all of a sudden being friends themselves. So, now they'll tolerate each other because they know each is good for Jules. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out going forward.

Finally, on to Cox as Jules. Where did Cox not overact? The scenes where she's trying to have a fun birthday with Trent the bellboy. It was fun to see them dancing, with Jules coaching Trent on how to play "Straight Trent" in order to give her a fun birthday. It showed she could play Jules with some more subtlety, which I hope I see more of soon.

Some fun stuff:

  • Ellie calling Laurie "Trampolina," and Laurie saying "I'd rather go bald" then go on a trip with Ellie.
  • Lawrence's habit of having characters refer to each other by one-off nicknames showed up when Jules calls Andy "V-neck" because of his shirt. What's wrong with V-necks? I have a few...
  • "Resort Jules" feeling free to eat bacon in her bikini.
  • "Did you just give Travis the 'hit that' look?"
  • I notice we're seeing less and less of uber-cougar Barb. She's in the photos for this episode but got cut out by the time it hit the air. Wonder if the writers are realizing that she's just too over-the-top at this point.


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

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jolene_fan

its a good show. i was afraid it might be too much "courtney cox show" but they are using the other characters well now. tonight was funny.. wasn't that guy Cameron from ferris buellers day off? yes i think it was. he's always great.

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November 23 2009 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
knee.here

Perhaps the female humour is geared towards females. I think having a female review this show would probably garner a different perspective.

Also, I don't really see how Courtney Cox is overacting. It seems very characteristic of Bill Lawrence's (specifically with Scrubs) style to play the lines this way. You could then argue that almost every character on Scrubs overacted in the comedic scenes.

November 21 2009 at 6:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

My favorite line of the evening: "Bitch, I'm a lady."

November 20 2009 at 6:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tracey8051

I think Jules and her "over 40" issues are hilarious! Every episode reminds me of the group of women I used to babysit for when I was a teenager. I never realized that I used to live inside a comedy until now, because the similarities between Jules and those women are just crazy!

Also, Travis pretending to be gay and using the info he got to make a quick $50 was priceless!

November 19 2009 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

Travis was a hoot in this episode. They need to give this kid more to do!

November 19 2009 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony DIMeo

I totally agree that the guy story line was way funnier than the girls' storyline. that Dan Byrd is hilarious and subtle

November 19 2009 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Key Rick

As much as I like Cougar Town, and I do enjoy the ensemble, this particular episode reminded me of a Kath & Kim one that was executed much better. Cox nailed that bacon-in-bikini scene. Who isn't slightly giddy if lucky enough to getaway on their birthday

November 19 2009 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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