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April 23, 2014

'Cougar Town' Moment: Jules Connects With Her Dad (VIDEO)

by Joel Keller, posted Oct 28th 2010 11:30AM


Courteney Cox and Ken Jenkins in 'Cougar Town' on ABCBill Lawrence may make fun of the fact that he employs a rotating set of actors on his shows. But watch 'Spin City,' 'Scrubs' or 'Cougar Town,' and you'll realize something: the reason why he keeps using the same actors is because he hires really, really good ones.

Take the case of Ken Jenkins. He spent nine years playing tough-as-nails hospital administrator Dr. Bob Kelso on 'Scrubs,' but there were always layers underneath the gruff exterior; you had a pretty good sense that he was an uncaring hard-ass only because it was his job to be that way. And, after Kelso was forced into retirement, you saw the man's gentler, regretful, more grandfatherly side come out.

So, when Lawrence cast Jenkins to play Jules' dad on 'Cougar Town,' I knew it would be a good choice. Yes, when he first came on screen as Chick, the word "Kelso!" flashed in my mind. But I quickly forgot about Jenkins' previous role and just enjoyed watching him have fun with the Cul-de-sac Crew and go through an emotional roller-coaster with Jules.

When, after a week when Chick just couldn't get it together to get personal with his daughter, the two of them finally had a heart-to-heart outside Grayson's pub, the moment was one of the more emotionally resonant ones since 'Cougar Town' started.

Say what you will about Courteney Cox's acting, but she's always been able to do mushy emotions well -- she got a ton of practice on 'Friends.' However, we've only had 25 minutes or so to get to know Chick, but the look that came across his face as he told Jules how much she reminded him of her mother when she was young was so authentic that I was able to completely buy into their father-daughter relationship. And then when Chick told Jules that she was one of his proudest achievements in life, it got me verklempt. That's acting, folks, and it makes me look forward to seeing Jenkins as an adjunct member of the Cul-de-sac Crew in future episodes.

Oh, that reminds me of another thing Chick told Jules during that scene: "You have built a beautiful family here. I can see how you all love each other." Even though that sentimental moment was intercut with the crew drinking to Jules' demise (so Bobby can have guardianship of Stan), it did boil down how the series has progressed quite nicely. Jules does have a family on that cul-de-sac, and it's one that will have her back no matter what.

By the way, only on 'Cougar Town' could the characters go to a costume party dressed as each other. That shows you how tight-knit (or insular, depending on your view) everyone is; they don't care that no one else has any idea who they're dressing as. So Laurie as Ellie and Ellie as Laurie was well done, as was Travis as Andy. But I give creative points to Bobby, who went as "Windy Guy." It's a perfect costume... some wire in a tie, a newspaper glued to your coat, and an upturned umbrella. I'll need to do that for my next costume party.

My favorite line of the night: Grayson telling Andy that he's dressed as "Dom DeLuise dressed as Burt Reynolds."

'Cougar Town' airs Wednesdays at 9:30PM on ABC.

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