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September 3, 2015

'Cougar Town' - 'Everything Man' Recap

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 1st 2010 11:29AM
Josh Hopkins and Sheryl Crow in 'Cougar Town' - 'Everything Man'(S01E19) Usually, when I review a show, I try to incorporate some of the key quotes into my reviews. This method works well for shows like 'How I Met Your Mother' and 'The Office,' and it worked well for Bill Lawrence's other show, 'Scrubs.' But 'Cougar Town' just doesn't lend itself to heavy quoting.

Not that the episodes aren't full of funny lines -- who wouldn't laugh at the term "pursey-whipped?" But when I watch the show, I'm more interested in how the characters are relating to each other and how the ensemble comes together from week to week. I'm just fascinated by the transformation this show has undergone in its first season, from a show centering on Courteney Cox and her character's issues with dating younger men to more of a show about a loving -- albeit a bit odd -- extended family. And this episode was one of the best illustrations of that transformation.

One of the only criticisms, and it's minor, of the show's current direction is that it seems like the Jules' world has shrunk to mostly the confines of her kitchen. There are so many scenes of the group sitting and standing around her kitchen island that they even acknowledged this week that it's their "hangout" spot.

You'd think that re-centering the show around Jules' new luxury bathroom for this episode would have been funny, but it just felt scungy to me. It's a bathroom, for heaven's sakes! I don't care how nice it is, or how advanced the Japanese toilet with the NO button is; it's still full of moisture and mildew and mold and... ugh. Tough to think about it. I'm glad that the rest of the group decided to stage another intervention for Jules and get her out of that bacteria trap. Though I did laugh at Travis yelling "Balls!" when he realized his mom took half his room to expand the bathroom.

Cox did her best acting job of the year in this episode, mainly with her conflict over helping Grayson keep Sara around. She likes Sara, wants Grayson to be happy, and doesn't like seeing him acting like some big "pursey" wimp. But she also likes him. And she admits to him that there are aspects of him she finds very attractive. You can see the confusion on her face in the couple of scenes where she really has a moment to think about her situation.

What confuses me is why the writers are keeping the two of them apart. It's not that they're throwing artificial barriers to Jules and Grayson getting together, though; Sara didn't come into the picture just as Jules or Grayson were about to express their true feelings or anything like that. I wonder if it's just the idea that they both know that they have a good friendship going and don't want to ruin it. If so, that would be the most mature impediment to on-screen love I've seen in years.

Sheryl Crow is still being given minimal opportunity to actually act, isn't she? Did she write that song "Everything Man" for the show? Because it does feel like a Crow song. And, by the way, this is the first time I know of that an episode title isn't tied to a Tom Petty song. I guess Crow's presence helped break that pattern.

More fun stuff:

-- Being a creepy voyeuristic photographer seems to be Travis' speed, doesn't it? I loved how heartily Laurie and Ellie laughed when Travis was sure he and his girlfriend would stay together despite being in different colleges. I think that actually happens maybe 0.001% of the time.

-- As much as you may think that Ellie and Andy are cartoonishly at odds with each other, you'd be wrong; they seem like one of the more accurate depictions of married life on TV. They love each other, but they also are in the eternal power struggle all married couples have. Think about it: Andy is so into his wife that even Bobby's buckethead trick doesn't work.

-- I guess Windell Middlebrooks is part of the Bill Lawrence Players now; he played one of the overzealous security guards in 'Scrubs 2.0,' and now we see him here as Jules' needy tile guy.

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

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April 01 2010 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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