Startlingly in this week’s Cougar Town, it’s Bob Kelso (aka Jules’ dad (aka Ken Jenkins)) who inserts a rather unexpected emotional moment into the episode.
I’ve never been a big fan of Bill Lawrence’s tendency to reuse actors he’s worked with in the past, especially considering many key players on Cougar Town have come directly from the set of Scrubs. Jenkins was a particular bugbear, since he had arguably the most memorable role as Bob Kelso and playing the same kind of comedy in Cougar Town just reminded us all of that character.
However tonight (in his second appearance on the show?), Chick – his character on this show – towed along with Bobby and Travis for an evening at a strip joint. The reason? To take Travis’ mind off his botched proposal to Kirsten last week. For the first time, we also see Jules and Bobby clash over how to deal with Travis’ heartbreak, and remarkably for a sitcom, there’s some real tension between the normally amicable divorcees.
It’s Chick – through an awkward speech about Jules’ teenage boobs – who manages to capture the frustration of the first time a parent can’t help their child with a problem. The fact that he delivers this speech crammed onto Bobby’s golf cart doesn’t even detract from the message!
Ellie has a tough week as Andy’s brother and his horny wife come to stay. Angela – played by Ian Gomez’s real life wife, Nia Vardalos – comes on hard to Andy, and for once, Ellie doesn’t want to pick a fight with the in-laws. So she takes her frustrations out on Laurie. What was really sweet was how Ellie eventually appreciated Laurie showing up to let her demean her – and rewarding Laurie by calling her by her real name instead of Jellybean.
Also, Grayson went rollerskating.
Not quite as storybound as my other Wednesday night sitcom, Modern Family, but Cougar Town manages to paint some delightful little nuances. However, that moment from Ken Jenkins really was so unexpected and touching that it was emotional to watch. Outstanding.