Cougar Town plays sexual dysfunction for giggles tonight, with much mother and son weirdness. It’s not the kind of thing you expect from your average sitcom. But Cougar Town is no average comedy.
In addition to the borderline incestuous plot playing out in Cobb’s house, Bobby and Laurie are on the verge of selling their pennycan idea, while Ellie and Grayson are being stalked by the Children Of The Corn. Or some creepy blonde homeschooled kids.
First up, the Jules/Travis/Grayson storyline: Travis is still moping around after getting rejected by his girlfriend. But Jules discovers that he’s also kinda…dropped out of college to sit in his darkened bedroom and feel sorry for himself. Urged by Ellie to get tough and kick him out, Jules tries, but gets manipulated by Travis into having a weird ‘date night’ masquerading as an Estevez Festevez.
And when she tries role playing her “tough love” act with Grayson playing Travis, the two end up in a bizarre clinch that just makes everyone feel a bit grimy afterward.
Ellie and Grayson (with creepy Tom in tow) fall foul of the chalk children. In this respect, Cougar Town successfully channels a horror movie vibe and makes a really good job of it. We all know weird shy kids who don’t talk much and stare a lot, so it was nice to see how the show fleshed this out to proper “quiet kids are all psychos” territory. Not particularly believable that Ellie would be terrified of kids, but we played along anyway, right up to the end where the three adults pulled their scariest faces and the kids ran off.
The most wonderful moment came later, as the children’s mother tracked them down to Grayson’s bar (how?) and the three denied that they’d done anything to scare the kids. The mother walks away convinced that it was her home-schooled child’s fertile imagination as Ellie mutters “And send him to a real school…”
The penny can story was a hit and miss affair. A neat guest appearance from Lou Diamond Phillips (and Laurie’s wonderful “I don’t know what race you are…” remark) made up for what now feels like a stretched thin gimmick for the show. Hopefully now that Bobby’s sold the penny can idea, we’ll see less of it on the show now.
In a nice break with TV tradition, Laurie and Andy ignore Bobby’s wishes not to sell the business. Sure, Bobby sulks about it for a while, but I think he realises that his friends were acting in his best interests – and he can now afford to live in an apartment.
Definitely the most off the wall episode of Cougar Town I’ve seen in a long time, but satisfyingly goofball in a way that only this series can get away with.
Final word: Lou Diamond Phillips: “Look at Young Guns 2. It’s like, hey let’s take everything awesome about the first movie and puke Bon Jovi all over it. Travesty.”