Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cougar Town looks for "Something Good Coming" in Hawaii

Cougar Town: The Complete Second Season     Last spring, ABC's Modern Family ended their season by heaing to Hawaii. This year, Cougar Town does the same thing. Next year is your turn, Happy Endings! In Cougar Town's final episode of season two, "Something Good Coming," the Cul de Sac Crew take a family vacation to Hawaii with the ulterior motive of bring home Travis (Dan Byrd), who has fled there after dropping out of college and having his proposal rejected by his girlfriend. Laurie (Busy Philipps) feels especially responsible, as it is her "cheering up" talk that gives him the idea to go. Jules (Courteney Cox) and Bobby (Brian Van Holt) fail to get through to him, but Laurie comes through in the end. Meanwhile, Bobby feels left out after spending couple time with both Andy (Ian Gomez) and Ellie (Christa Miller), only to have them ditch him for some alone time. Jules and Grayson (Josh Hopkins) seem at an impasse when it comes to having a baby. And Tom (Bob Clendenin) follows them, but only hangs out at a distance, unnoticed until the final day of the trip.

     Last season, Cougar Town ends with Bobby sad because he is the only single member of the group. This year, that theme recurs. It's a shame that Bobby is in a similar place as he is a year ago, because the season one finale really made viewers feel for him and hope that he would find a girl. To have the second season finale echo those same emotions is a bit regetful, though Van Holt plays it well. Luckily, Bobby has matured and gotten to a better place, with an actual apartment, so he certainly has a better chance to find love going forward. Until then, he isn't completely alone. Travis is single again, but he's not really part of the group, especially after leaving for college. Tom is also not quite a member. Perhaps Bobby can spend some time hanging with Tom next year?

     Does Tom ever have a chance of joining the group? It's unclear. He is kind of like Chang on Community in that he is on the outskirts and yearns to be on the inside, but the individuals only allow him access on rare occasions. What Tom has going for him is that the Cougar Town characters are kinder and less self involved than the Greendale crew (who are awesome!), and they often don't seem completely bothered to have to tolerate him. It may take awhile, but Tom has a shot.

     Speaking of NBC's Community, the character of Abed (Danny Pudi) makes a short but hilarious cameo in an early scene of "Something Good Coming," an obvious response of Community's extended tribute to Cougar Town in a recent episode, in which Abed mentions flying to Los Angeles and being an extra in CT. It's awesome that two wonderfully creative shows can honor each other with such cross promotion.

     And speaking of cross promotion again, this episode of Cougar Town features the return of a Scrubs character in Ted Buckland (Sam Lloyd), who Travis finds also trying to mend his broken heart on the island state. While it is a real pleasure to see Ted once more, the feeling turns bittersweet when Ted mentions he lost his love. Ted has always been such a sad character, and it was a delight that he got a happy ending on Scrubs. This episode kind of ruins that. But overall, it's worth it to see Ted.

     Will Jules and Grayson be able to overcome their dillema? That's the hope. Other sitcoms get main characters together, only to break them up to force drama. Cougar Town appears to be different, choosing to have their people work through problems, rather than break up. It took them awhile to get together, but once they're a couple, they are a couple. It's a welcome change, and a smart move. A baby might shift the tone dramatically. Ellie and Andy's doesn't, but Jules is essentially the main character, and she makes sure everyone knows her business all the time. As such, another child for her would likely have much more affect than Stan has.

     Another episode with some real Travis / Laurie chemistry. Their bond is plapable, and the creepiness has started to wear off. The writers have said they would want to wait until season five, when Travis is 21 and Laurie is 30, to get them together. Yes, Laurie is Travis's mom's friend, but she's also become his. With her age, it isn't too weird. Besides, watching the two of them together, it is clear that there can be a real relationship there. While it doesn't feel like it's quite time yet, perhaps a season three finale? There could be some fun had when Laurie wants to go out drinking and Travis can't. He may also buck hanging out with his mother all the time, as Laurie does. It will be a real shame if this never happens. As such, Cougar Town must be kept on the air for at least a few more years!

     Also neat, the short title sequence, which typically pans up Florida, is extended, as the camera travels across the country and out to Hawaii. A very cool shot, and a fun idea well executed. The title card features the words "We will never stop mocking the title...", a reference, as the series has taken to doing every week, that Cougar Town just really doesn't do the show justice, or describe what it's about. Series creators Kevin Biegel and Bill Lawrence have begun soliticing fans on twitter for ideas for a new title, so if you have one, please tweet @VDOOZER and @kbeigel

     Cougar Town has been renewed, but will not return until November. I recommend watching reruns and following both he writers and the actors on twitter. They do not fail to amuse. The actor's twitter accounts are: @MrJoshHopkins @ChristaBMiller @IBGomez and @BusyPhilipps25 And the character of Laurie (run by the writers) tweets as @TheLarmy

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     Click here to buy DVDs and streaming episodes of Cougar Town.

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