by Bethany McHugh
While this episode had a significant lack of plot development—resulting in my being less invested than usual—“Cougar Town” remains a strong show that deserves to stay on the air. In retrospect, it was the episode’s subtle moments that sang the loudest, which is a tribute to how great the show really is.
Ellie’s mother comes to town, and within two minutes it’s clear why Ellie has developed her harsh, cold exterior. To put it nicely, Mother Ellie is a bitter pill to swallow, of who everyone believes is nice and polite, save for Ellie, who knows the truth. Jules is exposed to the harsh reality and vows to make Ellie’s mother her friend. Jules lies to Ellie, saying that her mother eventually did speak highly of Ellie’s parenting skills, but alas Jules is forced to come clean and admit that no such praise was uttered. Christa Miller takes a brilliant turn playing something more dramatic and sincere this episode, and she shines with her heartfelt material.
Family being the leading theme of this episode, Travis embarks on his own journey to make his house more popular, and helping him is Bobby and Grandpa Cob. In an attempt to steal a horse statue that ultimately doesn’t pan out, Jules and her father have a lovely conversation about what family really is – and that even though you’re blood relatives, respect must still be earned and is not given. It’s moments like this that make “Cougar Town” the sincere show that it is, hitting every beat just right on the head.
Meanwhile, Laurie tells Grayson and Andy of her dream of one day opening a cake shop. Grayson – not necessarily having faith in Laurie, but more so in her idea – lets Laurie sell cakes through his bar and split the profits 50/50. Though always second-guessing herself, Laurie at first doesn’t agree to this, but with Grayson’s prodding and eventual faith in her she comes around.
I’ll say it again, and I’ll say it every week–“Cougar Town” hits every beat right on the head. It’s strategic in formula but so well masked with excellent storytelling that it’s difficult to see the seams.
On a final note: I miss your helmet, Mr. Byrd. RIP.
MVP: Christa Miller, whose talents don’t just lie in the comedic arena.
Best Line: “Who is Alice Cooper? Is she pretty?” – Jules
Bethany McHugh is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.