8
Jan
2013
Cougar Town: Season Four, Episode 1
Blue Sunday
Gaila
There are few things I've been more excited about than the season premiere of Cougar Town this week. In anticipation, I rewatched the first season and a half, to remember what the show was like at its beginning. Though I was not as disappointed with the show's first few episodes as many viewers were (the focus on the stereotypical "cougar" exploits of Jules Cobb were silly, yes, but it's the show's characters that I love, and they've been funny from the very first episode), I was still very pleased to see the rise in quality after the first couple of episodes. In rewatching the show, I was most impressed by how much fun each and every character on the show is to watch. On some shows, there are one or two people that bring down the overall quality, even by a tiny fraction, but that is not the case with Cougar Town, in my opinion at least. That is why the show works with so many combinations, and that is why it is by far my favorite comedy on television today.

I was very apprehensive about the move to the new network and the change in writers. The show was so good in its third season, from Grayson and Jules engagement and eventual marriage, to Travis' longing for Laurie's affection, to Bobby and Andy's epic love, and I worried that the quality would change with the move.

This first episode on TBS was very good, however. I definitely felt a subtle change, but I feel confident that this was mostly because of the efforts to establish the show for new viewers, while reestablishing its major characters and themes for us loyal fans. I've little doubt it will continue to improve once it gets on more solid ground with its new network and (hopefully) new viewers.

The major plot of the episode centered on Jules and Grayson, as so many episodes before it have. I was impressed with the way the show managed to pick up on familiar storylines"”Jules and Grayson's relationship, Travis and Laurie's chemistry, Bobby's insecurities as a father"”but make them new and still interesting. Though we've seen Jules go to Crazytown with Grayson before, it's never happened (that I can think of) that she actively tries to shield him from her crazy, and it was lovely to see him respond with a plea to be included in her feelings, even if they are unpleasant. I think it bodes well for both their relationship and the show that Grayson is stepping up as a husband, and that Jules can feel comfortable with his commitment (although asking him to apologize for a dream is pretty silly). And while I believe the recurring therapy sessions analyzing Jules' behavior can seem a bit lazy, I do appreciate the more in-depth examination of her feelings as a character. Plus, it's always nice to see Scrubs alums.

The other plot of the episode focused on Bobby's sudden need to impart fatherly advice to Travis. I love Andy-Bobby-Travis plots, so I was definitely happy to see the three of them together again, although I did feel this one was slightly thin. One of my favorite plots of the entire series was when Travis and Bobby went noodling, as it addressed the ways that Travis is not like Bobby and never will be, though they will always have a bond that will require just a little bit of extra effort to keep together. So it was a pleasure to see the two of them working on that bond, even if it was based on the silly premise of Bobby running away from conflict. I want good things for Bobby this year, as the last few have been pretty crappy for that guy. Here's hoping.

Honestly, I was so happy to see the Cul-de-Sac Crew return that they could have just showed the whole group drinking straight out of individual bottles of wine for half an hour and I would have been happy, but I'm particularly pleased by the efforts to reestablish characters and plots that have been long in the making, as well as to hint in interesting new directions. I am so excited to see what's coming!

Strays:

- I was happy to see the Travis-Laurie romantic plot addressed, but I hope the showrunners don't go too heavy on it straight off the bat. I like them together, but Travis gets so annoying when he's mopey that I don't want to have to watch that for extended periods of time. I'm sure they'll develop it well.

- OK Cougar Town, we get it, you like describing black people in terms of their relative blackness. Maybe next time we could get an actual black character on the show instead of vaguely offensive descriptors?

- Grayson would make an excellent "wine guy and coffee bitch". I'll take one of those, please.

- Laurie's outfits are so good! Love the giant blue necklace and matching lipstick and print shirt. I was not a fan, however, of Ellie's horrible flesh-colored sweater, although she does always love her nudes so I guess it's in character. Jules' clothes were slightly boring.
See you all next week!
Tags: Cougar Town
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