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'Cougar Town' - 'Wake Up Time' Recap

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 15th 2010 10:51AM
Courteney Cox and Dan Byrd in 'Cougar Town' - 'Wake Up Time'(S01E20) Because of the loose nature of the latest episodes of 'Cougar Town,' it's a show that's become very difficult to review.

I can scramble around, trying to write down every funny line that was uttered, which won't give me a chance to really take the show in like I should. But if I take the show in and just absorb it for the plots and characters, I'm finding that I sit in front of my computer to write and can't recall any particularly strong plotlines to talk about. They feel more like plot threads, which are hard to grab and hold onto.

This week those plot threads were a little stronger; they were more like plot ropes. Which, in light of the funny but head-scratching episodes we've seen in the last few months, gives me hope that a balance is being struck.

The one big plot rope seems to be the eventual hook-up of Grayson and Jules. This has been brewing since the pilot, but it never felt like more than a contrivance to me. I still don't feel any chemistry between them beyond friendship. In fact, in the episodes where their potential hook-up was never discussed, I liked the interaction between the two of them better.

Sheryl Crow has never really given a chance to become more than just a part of the gang during her guest stint, which is too bad, since there was a lot of promise in the relationship between Grayson and Sara. That seems to be the MO of Bill Lawrence shows, though; the guest shows up with a big entrance, hangs around and interacts with the group for a few episodes almost as an afterthought, then exits in a plot where the guest is again center stage.

But in the examples I'm thinking of -- Heather Graham on 'Scrubs,' Scott Foley on both 'Scrubs' and 'Cougar Town' -- feature characters that seem to show more dimensions in their limited time than Crow was able to show here. Maybe it's because she's not a great actress, but just her natural ability to be sexy should have worked in this role.

Anyway, I'm just not caring about a potential Jules/Grayson hook-up. Not when we have emotional stand-offs between Andy and Bobby using the oh-so-on-the-mark 'Cats in the Cradle' as the catalyst. Not when Andy's so desperate to find what he and his son share in common, he gets bitten by a goose. Not when Laurie takes shots of that attack and makes Andy famous via YouTube.Not when Bobby feeds himself by swiping cute animals from the local petting zoo. Not when Jules feels every man in her life has cheated on her... and goes back to Jeff (Foley) to confirm it. And not when Travis and Kylie break up, then get back together over their mutual attraction to members of a single family.

In other words, there's too much other fun stuff going on for me to care about the will-they/won't-they stuff. Didn't Lawrence learn his lesson when 'Scrubs' became more about J.D. and Elliot than about the goings-on at Sacred Heart?

More on that fun stuff:

-- Ellie and Sara bonding makes sense, since they both act out in their own ways -- Sara by being good in bed, Ellie by "dying inside." But why would she be so disloyal to Jules and tell Sara that she sees her and Grayson's flirting as dangerous?

-- Who wasn't creeped out by Jules telling her son that no matter how lonely he was, she'd always be there to be his date on a Friday night? I don't care how hot she is... Jules has to remember that the first letter of "MILF" stands for "Mom."

-- The "Don't make me say 'you'" joke really was spot-on when it comes to Jules' personality. Yes, she's giving and magnanimous and nice. But she also knows it and wants everyone else to know it, too. She's kinda like Oprah that way.

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

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I don't really understand your recap. I think there has been chemistry between Jules and Grayson from the very first episode. That said, I also absolutely loved Scott Foley and wish he had stayed on the show.

Cheating was definitely the plot thread, but I'm happy if there is not thread. The writing and characters are just enjoyable, even if doing absolutely nothing, in a Seinfeld kind of way.

The one mistake I think they did make was bringing Sheryl Crow onto the show. God she is the worst actress ever. The only time she seemed even remotely comfortable was singing and playing guitar last week. Real actors make it seem so easy - she shows that just having one talent, sure as hell doesn't guarantee another.

April 15 2010 at 9:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Key Rick

Joel, you're a master. I get how your "plot threads" is a ruse - just like every single character committed in last night's Cougar Town episode! From Bobby cheating on the gang by not disclosing he'd barbecued the petting zoo pig to Ellie's cheating on Jules by disclosing her Grayson/Jules flirty danger theory. Yup, when it comes to cheatin', Joel, you the man.

April 15 2010 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Erica H.

I was not, nor am I ever looking for an argument. For the past couple of recaps, you have been very.... clear about your feelings toward Cox, the show and the direction its taking. Look, no show is perfect, but to say that there was no plot didn't really seem accurate. The last Cougar Town you recap'd, you said how you didn't like the hangout area to be Jules kitchen, and thought that the bathroom to be an even worse area. I think you even called it a bacteria trap. (Although if I had a bathroom like that, I wouldn't leave it either.) The whole point of that episodes was the really funny interventions and how Jules was annoying and apparently lifeless without vino.
Joel, I like your recaps, and your daily fyi news... (didn't mean to come off mean or rude) but when you do this show, it seems that your looking for ways to knock it down when its supposed to be funny and lighthearted. And, even though it doesn't have a lot of funny lines like most of CBS comedy shows do, it's still got a funny-ness about it.

April 15 2010 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Erica H.

Wow.. You are out of control mister. I am not so sure if you even like the show. I mean... you can't find a plot within the show? The cheating thing relayed to everyone in the story. The kids cheated on each other, Bobby cheated on Jules... Stan necked with a bird of some sort, and Ellie made her feelings about Cheating perfectly clear, get the garden shears and watch me cut it off... Lauries feelings on cheating were interesting yet aloof much like her, and Grayson kind of crossed a line with Jules and choosing her over Sara. Not to mention, he told Jules that its not her waiting for a guy not to hurt her, but to have a guy that couldn't fathom hurting her. And, at the end of the episode, I think Grayson realized that he wouldn't hurt Jules, and maybe he's realizing his feelings for her.

I recapped it on my website... check it out there

April 15 2010 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Erica H.'s comment
Joel Keller

Wow, that's ballsy. I don't mind someone promoting their review of a show, but to criticize the review I did before promoting yours? That takes some chutzpah.

Just because I say there are plot threads doesn't mean I don't like the show. It's funny. It's just very loosely plotted right now. And, remember, I said the plots were stronger this week than they've been lately.

April 15 2010 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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