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October 24, 2014

Review: 'Cougar Town' - 'All the Wrong Reasons'

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 4th 2010 11:21AM
Courteney Cox and Christa Miller in 'Cougar Town' - 'All the Wrong Reasons'(S01E14) Ever watch an episode and think the writers wrote it just to address the gripes of its fans? That's the way I felt while watching this one. It was an episode that had more chuckles than laughs, but it addressed the stories of two characters who have probably gotten the shortest end of the character development stick so far: Ellie and Laurie. So, for that, the episode stood out.

Let's start with Laurie. For most of this first season, we've seen her as nothing more than a West-Central Florida wannabe version of Lindsay Lohan. So it was refreshing to see that she's actually grown a conscience, and is willing to admit to it. It's a good thing, because a caricature-heavy Laurie would be tough to take in the show's already-secured second season.

"I'm a ridiculous person" is what she admitted to Travis as they hid in her f-buddy Dale's closet. Maybe she's realizing that in her mid-to-late-twenties, bedding a steady stream of douchebags isn't the carnival it's cracked up to be. It's amazing to me how much more mature Travis is than Laurie; he's the one telling her that the fact that she now feels bad about what she does is a step in the right direction. If you have to take life advice from a kid -- even a smart one -- who's about to graduate high school, then you seriously need to rethink how things are going.

But it's good to see Laurie get some direction. Busy Philipps is too good of an actress to just play a one-dimensional character. Having her sleep with Grayson was a good move, if only because she could then feel guilty about it. Guilt is great for character growth, as we've all seen over the years.

As for Ellie, she pretty much voiced what we were all sick of seeing out of Jules in the first half of the season. At first, her request that Jules give her an "Ellie day" seemed like the same cartoonishly selfish request she's made all season long. But then Jules horned in on her tennis instructor action; at that point, my sympathies went right to Ellie.

And when she out-and-out told Jules she was sick of her constant whining about being 40 and alone, and the trials of recapturing her youth, all I had to say was "Amen to that!" It's as if Lawrence and Biegel and their staff were putting the show's initial conceit out of its misery right there and then. That premise was pretty much dead by the time we got to this episode, anyway, but it was good to see a story-based acknowledgment that the show is not going to be about that anymore.

I give Courteney Cox a lot of credit for seeing this along with the creative team. As the show's star, she could have divaed it up and made them revolve all the stories around her. But she knew that in the long run, the show worked better as an ensemble, with her not being in the spotlight all the time. Notice no one is complaining about her acting anymore; that's because knowing she doesn't have to carry the show makes her more comfortable in the role.

Haven't talked about the Bobby storyline yet, which is strange; the guys usually get more virtual ink in my reviews. But this story was just OK. We didn't need a photo montage of the Bobby/Andy/Grayson bender, even if it is a callback to the Jules/Laurie bender from earlier in the season. This one wasn't as funny, even when they were all getting Tasered.

Seeing Andy tell his hero the straight truth, though, was also good to see. Andy is good as comic relief, but to see him constantly whipped by Ellie and worshipping the Peter Pannish Bobby would get old by the second season. Let's hope Bobby takes his buddy's straight talk to heart.

Like I said, not the best episode of the season in the funny department. But that's OK, because the growth and change of the secondary characters more than made up for it.

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

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Dave

I also thought the photo montage was the funniest part of the episode.

February 04 2010 at 3:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob

Shoot, I thought the photos were the funniest part of the show! A tad too Hangover-y for me, but funny none the less.

February 04 2010 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mia

very cool review!
thanks for your kind word towards Courteney!
I love this show and how it's so not what you'd expect it would be!

February 04 2010 at 11:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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