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Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Okay to Watch a Show Called Cougar Town; I'd Even Encourage It

     The above line is from the opening credits card from last week's episode of ABC's Cougar Town, "Little Girl Blues".  Except for episode two, every episode in this second season of the sitcom has had an amusing slogan above the title.  It's the show that isn't afraid to make fun of itself.  I've covered the series's rise over the first season, and it's growth into one of the most consistently funny shows currently on television before, so I won't do that again.  But it's awesome, and if you're not watching it, you should be.

     This week Travis (Dan Byrd) brought home his new college girlfriend, Kirsten (Collette Wolfe, 100 Questions, Hot Tub Time Machine) to meet his family.  Travis's high school girlfriend, Kylie (Spencer Locke), who won't let him go, was shown hilariously in a short clip, telling Travis he'd be back.  Mind you, she may not have been concerned because she's seeing other people, but she also thinks she can keep a hold on Travis.  In an ideal world, Travis will slowly grow closer to Kirsten, who is played by a wonderfully funny actress who I'd like to see stick around, until a full-blown rivalry erupts between Kylie and Kirsten.  See, I also really like Locke.  Ultimately, I'd like Travis to end up with even-older-than-Kirsten, Laurie (Busy Philipps) because they have such great chemistry.  But it will be years before the two of them as a couple will really be socially acceptable.

     The introduction left much to be desired.  Travis's mother, Jules (Courteney Cox), was predictably over protective, to the level of psycho.  She has an unhealthy obsession with her son, and pity the girl who tries to come in between them.  Plus, Kirsten is a grad student, four or five years older than college freshman Travis.  Jules will probably never accept Kirsten, though she was becoming used to Kylie, because Kirsten broke Big Joe, Jules's giant wine glass, whom she dearly loved.  Big Joe was an icon on the series, but was replaced with Big Carl, so the wonderfully bordeline alcoholic Jules will not be running dry anytime soon.

     The main subplot involed Grayson's (Josh Hopkins) house becoming the new hangout for the gang.  Unlike other shows, this one did not jump the shark when Jules and Grayson finally began dating, breaking the romantic tension built over the first season.  In fact, it's rarely a main focus of the show, which is probably why it works so well.  Grayson, while pretty integrated into Jules's gang at this point, still tries (and usually fails) to maintain some level of privacy.  The invasion of his personal space was met with much unhappiness, to the point that he asked the sometimes-evil Ellie (Christa Miller) for help in stopping it.  She reluctantly agreed, though he pretty much solved the problem himself.  Also, weird neighbor Tom (Bob Clendenin) is trying to worm his way into their cliche.  I like the element Tom brings to the show, but am not so sure I'd like him as a main character.

     My favorite storyline, though, this year has been Bobby's (Brian Van Holt).  Bobby is Jules's ex-husband, and he's still in love with her.  He didn't take Grayson and Jules so well, and a layer of sadness has hung over every scene he's been in this season.  Bobby certainly isn't the smartest member of the group, but he may be the biggest hearted, and the most emotional.  It's a testament to Van Holt that he has been able to pull off this subtle layer without detracting from the show, or making Bobby the least bit unlikeable.  Ideally, he will find love before too long.

     Cougar Town also stars the hilarious Ian Gomez.  The show airs Wednesday nights at 9:30 on ABC, including in two days.

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