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Review: Cougar Town - Rhino Skin

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 7th 2010 10:24AM
Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox in Cougar Town : Rhino Skin(S01E11) I have to open this review by saying I've never been a big fan of Lisa Kudrow's work. Phoebe, for the most part, was my least favorite character on Friends, and Kudrow always struck me as the kind of actor who plays one role really well, then just plays variations on that role for the rest of his or her career. When you like that signature character, you're fine with it. But when you don't, it just becomes grating.

Any role I've seen Kudrow in just reminds me of Phoebe, and the role she played last night, as mean skin doc Amy Evans, just felt like Phoebe when she was in one of her bad moods. So the overhyped Friends-reunion part of the episode didn't do much for me, for a lot of reasons. But the rest of the episode was just more evidence that this is quickly becoming one of the best ensembles on TV.

Back to the mean skin doc bit for a second. There really wasn't any conclusion to the story, was there? Jules was unhappy that she was dating Bobby and looking down on him; Bobby didn't care because he's used to people looking down on him, we found out that Jules has a chip on her shoulder because she never finished college, and everyone drank chardonnay out of vases and mustard jars. That was it. No one dumped anyone nor was there any further resolution.

So, does that mean we're going to see more of Dr. Evans, and Kudrow, in the future? I hope not; that character was about as irritating as any I've seen on this show, and not just because Kudrow was playing her.

As usual, I'm going to concentrate on the Courteney Cox-less portions of this episode because they were the ones I found more interesting. Who knew Andy had such a way with women? That's how the bald and hairy Andy got the pretty and adventurous Ellie, predicting a gender men once thought was unpredictable. The funniest part of Andy's schooling of Travis was the when he knew he had a hotter wife than the guy in the coffee shop. And the guy in the coffee shop also knew. Trav seemed sincerely awed by the end of the episode.

And, for the first time, I really enjoyed a Laurie-centric story. She really didn't think she was good enough for Smith, and I love the fact that Grayson set her straight. "He liked you because he saw your butt, boobs, and face, in that order." It was just nice to see Laurie be a real character for a change and not just a slightly smarter version of the kids on Jersey Shore.

A couple of other notes:

-- Great summary by Grayson of Republicans and Democrats.
-- I do like how when Bill Lawrence uses one of his players in a multi-episode stint, not every story revolves around them. At this point Scott Foley's character of Jeff is along for the ride with Jules, so it was fun to see Jules drag him to Bobby's boat, and play three-letter Scrabble with him, without seeing any heavy plot developments around their coupling.
-- I swear that Barb was supposed to be in this series more than she is. TV.com's description of the episode has a whole plot where Travis works for Barb, but that never developed. Wonder if Lawrence, Biegel and crew just figured she was better in one-joke-per-episode doses.
-- Not sure why last-name first names and first-name last names make Laurie all hot. But it's a fun character quirk. I also liked how coordinated she and Ellie are with their six-foot buffer when Jules isn't around.

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

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The woman who plays Barb, Carolyn Henessy, also has a role on General Hospital. While she isn't one of the main players, she is just as good on GH as she is on Cougar Town. Her screen time there has decreased greatly ever since she started on CT. I will say that whichever show I am watching her on, she is easily the best part for me, as I find her hilarious!

January 08 2010 at 1:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm the opposite of you. Looking at the cast of Friends, I dare say Kudrow is easily the MOST versatile and LEAST one note actress among the bunch - we are looking at Aniston, LeBlanc, Perry, Cox and Schwimmer for comparison! - especially looking at things like The Comeback and her indie film career.

I liked the episode as a whole - It's nice to see someone who's much meaner than Christa Miller's character for a change, and I think Foley is a really good addition to the cast as well.

January 07 2010 at 4:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Like Glee, Cougar Town has joined the ranks of shows that "the wife will have to watch without me." (Yeah, she's crushed.) It makes my skin crawl. If women really talk and think like the women on this show, I don't want to know about it. If MEN really talk and think like the men on this show -- well, they don't, which is why I'm throwing in the towel. Watching this makes my skin crawl. Much like Glee.

January 07 2010 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cougar Town is slowly becoming a "watch when it's on" gem for me. I didn't make the effort at the beginning of the fall (whoops), but I'm really digging it now. This is the year I've come to truly appreciate comedy on TV, with ABC's Wednesday, Better Off Ted and Parcs & Rec continuing to shine, and of course CBS on Mondays. Now if ABC would just realize they can totally save one of their two Tuesday comedies if they just, you know, try. By putting it on Wednesday.

January 07 2010 at 1:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Any role I've seen Kudrow in just reminds me of Phoebe ...". Guessing you watch too much TV and never saw "The Opposite of Sex"

January 07 2010 at 12:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lmike14's comment
Joel Keller

Probably not enough TV, actually; I heard she was really good in The Comeback, and I haven't seen that, either.

January 07 2010 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the cameo worked.
I'd never taken the time to watch CougarTown (I mean "Cougar Town"? Really? It seemed too much like wanting on the current trend. Like a medical show calling itself "Swine Flu Warriors" or something), but with "Phoebe" on this ep, I decided to give it a shot.

Loved it. Will probably tune in again.

Also, the plot line with "Jordan from Scrubs"'s husband and the kid was hilarious.

The joke about Last Name First Names was lame. Mostly because Smith Frank is a terrible, terrible, terrible name.

January 07 2010 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually thought the Lisa Kudrow scenes were a lot of fun and I didn't see Phoebe at all; probably because I wasn't looking for her.

As this series progresses it's becoming obvious that Courtney Cox is better in an ensemble series rather than carrying one by herself. Cougar has gotten so much more funny as the supporting players have been developed.

January 07 2010 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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