Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cougar Town still absent of Cougar

The latest episode of ABC’s Cougar Town, entitled “Money is King,” finds Jules (Courteney Cox) and Grayson (Josh Hopkins) disagreeing over whether their money should be combined and, more importantly, which house they should sell. Jules drags him to her therapist (Nicole Sullivan), who isn’t much help. Instead, the couple decides that putting off dealing with their issue is the best course of action.

For most couples, this avoidance would be a relationship killer. Somehow, Cougar Town makes it seem as if this will not be the case. Jules and Grayson definitely love each other, and a house won’t stand in their way. They can’t afford to keep both abodes, so a decision must be made eventually. That Jules will win is a sure bet, as she almost always does. This seems more likely not just because of Jules’s personality, but also because a large percentage of Cougar Town’s scenes take place in her dwelling.

The implications of an empty house in the cul-de-sac, as raised in “Money is King,” are many. This opens up the possibility of a new character joining Cougar Town. It’s virtually impossible for an interloper to break into the group dynamic of these main characters. Grayson is eventually able to, but that is mostly because he is with Jules, which will not be an option for a future cast member. There is a stronger likelihood that any new people will be on the B team, like neighbor Tom (Bob Clendenin). Even in that capacity, it’s certainly something to look forward to.

Jules and Grayson and not the only ones facing change. In “Money is King,” Laurie (Busy Phillips) quits working for Jules to concentrate full-time on her cake business. For Laurie, this is a big step, and a great way to demonstrate the continuing maturation of her character. She now has a demanding boss (herself), and has to work hard to earn her income. What’s more, while a couple of years ago this would have seemed an impossible dream for Laurie, there is little doubt now that she can do it! My, how far she’s come! Though, you gotta love the sight gag of her moving her new enterprise into Jules’ little office.

Also, importantly, Travis (Dan Byrd) is the one who encourages Laurie to take this risk. Cougar Town has been taking it slowly between the two of them, which makes sense, given their age difference and Jules’ relationship with both. However, there is no denying the romantic connection there, and how they are good for each other, with her pushing him to loosen up, and Travis pushing back for Laurie to be more serious. They are a perfect complement, and it will not be surprising if the series finally makes a serious go of them as a pair in the not-yet-ordered (but should happen) fourth season.

Finally, Ellie (Christa Miller) goads Andy (Ian Gomez) into playing a prank on Bobby (Brian Van Holt). There is the sense that this is done purely for Ellie’s enjoyment. But when the joke goes too far, and Bobby must be taken away by ambulance to be treated for dehydration, Ellie manages to express regret without verbalizing it. Andy is more adamant with his apologizing, and Bobby understands. The chemistry between these three is perfect, and what on paper looks like a touchy situation that (almost?) goes too far, works wonderfully in reality. Much of this can be credited to the extremely talented trio of actors who pull it off.

Cougar Town continues its stellar third season Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

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