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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cougar Town back with "Walls" on a special night and time

PART ONE: HEART

     ABC's CougarTown returned last night after a ten week break. It normally airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m., and will be on then this week, but last night's episode aired in a special slot after Dancing With the Stars. In last night's episode, "Walls," Travis (Dan Byrd) is sad his girlfriend, Kirsten (Collette Wolfe), is going to take a job far away, so he begins digging in the yard for a time capsule that contains his grandmother's engagement ring. Travis's mother, Jules (Courteney Cox), tries to fight her nature and not butt in or try to talk Travis out of it, afraid he may hate her if she does.

     Jules has always been the type to butt in, and always will be. But getting married is a huge decision, and if she goes against Travis here, she may lose him. This fantastic advice is given by neighbor Ellie (Christa Miller), Jules's best friend, who loves her dearly. As such, Jules rightly listens to Ellie, and does her best to contain herself. What's more, she discovers that she is able to, with a little encouragement, and refrains from making a scene.

     This represents a big step forward from Jules. She is never shown trying to curb this personality trait, until now. The difference here is the high stakes involved. She loves Travis more than anyone or anything else in the world, and seeing Ellie and her mother's toxic relationship, she is able to force herself to act outside her nature to preserve her bond with Travis. Travis likely realizes that, because he gives her a sincere hug and an "I love you." Usually, Travis just rolls his eyes at Jules's antics, and so this is evidence that he notices and appreciates her effort.

     Grayson (Josh Hopkins) can be a bit cold. While hanging out with Andy (Ian Gomez) this week, Grayson shoots down Andy's notion that girls are all over him because he's married. He's a harmless fantasy, as Andy just likes shooting the girls down, and has no intention of ever cheating on his wife. Yet, Grayson cannot let it go, even confronting a woman, which gets them in trouble. Andy teaches Grayson that being friends means sometimes letting others have their elusions, a valuable lesson for a loner character still trying to make connections and fit into the larger group.

PART TWO: COMEDY

     ABC's CougarTown returned last night after a ten week break. It normally airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m., and will be on then this week, but last night's episode aired in a special slot after Dancing With the Stars. In last night's episode, "Walls," Bobby (Brian Van Holt) and Laurie (Busy Philipps) start a penny can business to raise money. Ellie (Christa Miller) is terrorized by a ghost truck. And Grayson (Josh Hopkins) and Andy (Ian Gomez) try to escape the husband of a woman they insulted.

     Every single member of the CougarTown cast is hilarious, and so favorite characters change from week to week. This episode's Comedy MVP is Laurie. First, she talks about making a movie about a puppy that blows up if it crosses town lines. Then, she mouths along to a radio ad that she recorded. Later, she is sad because her name has no B's in it. Finally, her selling the Penny Cans "One for $19.95, two for fifty!" cinches the deal. All around, Philipps plays the sometimes ditzy, but always loveable, Laurie with charm and grace. In a lesser actress's hands, Laurie may seem stupid. But Phillips lets you know that she's in on the jokes, and that's the happy persona she likes to exude to cheer up those around her. She is a true joy.

     Christa Miller gets runner up. It took until almost halfway through the episode before her predicting Jules's dialogue and saying it with her earned Christa's first laugh of the night. Her exclamation of "Draino!" as she scores a difficult Penny Can throw excites. Then she faked a phone call argument to her mom to make a point, and freaked out when her "ghost truck" kept moving by itself. The fact that she never figured out that Jules is the one putting the truck in different places is great fun, and hopefully it is a gag that will carry over to other episodes, as many of CougarTown's best do.

     Speaking of gags that run on, Penny Can is a game where one throws a penny into a paint can. It started as a simple gag, but like the game itself, becomes addictive. Now Penny Can is featured heavily once more as Bobby and Laurie make it a full blown business to help Bobby raise money. What's more, it hasn't gotten stale in the slightest. Fans of the show are making their own Penny Cans, and it's becoming a popular pastime. This may be the series's single greatest contribution to society. And the thing is, it's just such a no-brainer idea! Thank you to the writers who had the brain to put it on screen and make the rest of the country say, "Why didn't I think of that?"


     CougarTown airs Wednesday nights at 9:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

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