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July 23, 2014

'Cougar Town' - 'Breakdown' Recap

by Joel Keller, posted May 13th 2010 11:05AM
Dan Byrd and Courteney Cox in 'Cougar Town' - 'Breakdown'(S01E23) I do hope that Bill Lawrence manages to convince ABC to change the name of the show, as he mentioned to Alan Sepinwall earlier this week. There are far too many people, including my fiancee, that are turned off by the show just from its title.

And the first few episodes, which really were about Jules' struggle with dating as a hot-but-vulnerable mom in her early 40s, just didn't have the hallmarks of a sustainable series. In fact, those episodes were so uncomfortable to watch, it almost turned me off the show for good. But at some point last fall, Lawrence and company knew they had something in this ensemble, so they took a hard turn towards that direction and have never looked back.

This episode felt like the culmination of this show's first season evolution, from a show where we see Jules Cobb dating younger guys to a show about a funny cul-de-sac crew, with Jules as its slightly-nutty linchpin.

It felt like a season finale, but it wasn't; we have another week to go. But it was one of the more satisfying episodes of an oddball, but overall satisfying first season.

Could a moment like Laurie cutting Ellie's floppy graduation hat as revenge for all of Ellie's taunting have happened if the show stayed in its initial direction? Probably not. Laurie's gone from potential 'Rock of Love' contestant to a person who's trying to make something of her life while trying to keep her wild side happy, and without support from the crew -- namely Andy and Bobby -- she wouldn't have gotten to this point.

Heck, I'm even coming around on the Jules/Grayson thing. If Lawrence and company treat this as just something that's part of the life of the crew, and not some big dramatic relationship a la J.D./Elliot on 'Scrubs,' then it's something I can get behind. The line that made me believe that this will last is that, even when Jules is at her crazy, manipulative, "asexual man-goblin" worst, Grayson still seems to like her. Since he's going to have to deal with a whole lot of crazy when Travis leaves for college, this might be a good sign that he's in for the long haul.

And, while the way Jules relates to Travis is super-creepy and tinged with regret and sadness -- victory sweatshirts, anyone? -- the chemistry between Dan Byrd and Cox is undeniable, and it's what grounds the show's silliness in reality. What I didn't get about Jules' anger over Travis' "everyman" speech is that she didn't get right off the bat why he was mentioning his dad a lot in the speech; she knows Bobby feels like he peaked in high school. But, then again, if she had that insight, then we wouldn't have had her torture Grayson with it or give Travis guilt trips. Luckily, she listened to Grayson and it worked out.

More fun stuff:

-- Seeing "Laurie Keller" in print -- or in crayon scratch in the school wall -- is odd to me. I'm 99.99% sure where Lawrence got the idea to give Laurie that last name, which would explain the odd feeling.

-- Ellie's still been all over the map, character-wise. We know she's self-centered -- she stops paying attention to conversations unless they come back to being about her -- but she does seem to genuinely care about the crew. And, she admits that she's got thing's easy. "I'm Ellie! What else do I have to do?"

-- In ten years of 'Friends,' no one made the Cox-Springsteen joke. It took less than one season to go there on 'Cougar Town.' Putting a picture of Cox's famous dance in Jules' yearbook was an ingenious way to bring it up, even if the dates were off a bit.

-- What the hell could that school musical about Jules have been about, anyway? But, it's not a surprise that Jules was homecoming queen or anything else... it's one of the things that she regrets about getting married and having kids so young.

-- Lets hope Bobby catches that money balloon in the finale. Though it was nice to see Travis ditch his speech to help Bobby get that balloon. It was the best tribute he could have given his dad.


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

[Follow @joelkeller on Twitter.]

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Patrick C

Joel, you mean you strut around in a long blonde wig?

This was a great episode! Travis going in the "early rounds", and to a guy! ha!

Name suggestion: Napa, Florida

May 13 2010 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Patrick C's comment
rosie

I need to know where that dress is from that Courtney Cox was wearing in the above episode (she wears it at the end of the show at her son's graduation and you can just see a hint of it in the photo above).

Where can I buy it??

May 17 2010 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
janine

did you find out where jules dress is from?
i need it too!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 30 2010 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
misguided

They should rename it to "Family Jules" or "Wine Town".

May 13 2010 at 6:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony DIMeo

Best episode so far!!!!!!!! thank you Bill Lawrence for such a laugh-out loud hilarious show I was laughing out loud the entire show. don't change the title

May 13 2010 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rich Keller

I had a nice chuckle at the Cox-Springteen joke because it fit so easily into Jules' yearbook.

One thing that was very-'Friends'like in this episode was Travis' straight-face denial to Jules that he didn't get to do the speech. It reminded me of all the times Joey did that to everyone on the NBC show.

May 13 2010 at 2:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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