After a long hiatus Cougar Town‘s returned at its new home. TBS touted its first episode of the sitcom, and thanks to their overzealous promotion, everyone knew it. “Blue Sunday” tackled the first week of marriage and all its trappings. The long awaited premiere was everything we hoped it would be and more.

The Players:

  • Director: Courteney Cox
  • Writer: Bill Lawrence
  • Cast: Courteney Cox, Christa Miller, Busy Phillips, Dan Byrd, Josh Hopkins, Ian Gomez, Brian Van Holt, Bon Clendenin, David Reiner, Nicole Sullivan

Episode Title: “Blue Sunday”

Jules and Grayson fight through their first week of marriage, while Bobby tries to teaching Travis how to be a man after his recent milestone.

The Good:

  • Old Faithful Renewed: The backdrops stayed the same—for the most part. Tom still stands by the window and Therapist Lynn returned. The title card joke is still a thing, and yes guys, you do get to curse on TV now. The group still approves Jules changing the meaning of commonly used phrases and everyone’s doubled down on their love of wine. It’s the same old, same old. 
  •  Naughty Bucket List: Trying figure out Andy’s list of sexual goals would probably be scarring. Even though he was involved in little of the gag, it somehow bolstered his stock. As the usual odd man out, Andy needs any and every moment he can to be essential.
  • Wine Guy/Coffee Bitch: The rules of marriage are quite simple: the first couple weeks set a precedent for the entire marriage. You are responsible for the actions of your dream self, no matter whose dream you’re violating. As a radically unbalanced individual, watching Jules flip between goading Grayson into serving her and blaming him for her subconscious wasn’t a surprise. Seeing her flounder through the first week was almost as comforting as knowing Courteney Cox directed the episode. 
  • Community Chest: Any attempt made by Bobby to teach his son something always results in Bobby learning far more than Travis. It’s a nice change that underneath his smug disbelief, Travis ended up succumbing to his father’s way of dealing with issues. Running away might not be the most mature solution, but it solves a problem in a pinch. Also, let’s hope their confidence dance becomes a reoccurring gag.
  • Keeper of the Light: When relationships are redefined a changing of the guard must occur. Ellie and Grayson’s struggle over who can interpret Jules’ brand of crazy made that clear. With the marriage, Ellie had to release the reins of Jules’s insanity, and Grayson had to realize that that bucking horse was now his to manage. Grayson and Ellie barely tolerate each other; adding an element of camaraderie to their mutual hatred will give their interactions a boost.
  • No Slut, What What: It pays to have an Academy Award nominated actress for a best friend — if your name’s Busy Phillips. Getting Michelle Williams to drop in on to Cougar Town’s fake previews for the season made two things obvious. First, this show has been gone too long, and second Williams has been nominated for an Oscar three times. Oh Jen Lindley, you’ve come so far!

The Bad:

  • Come Together: With such a strong cast, making sure everyone plays a part in each episode can be problematic. This week, it felt like Laurie was the odd man out (even though she finally confronted Travis at the end). Whenever Laurie isn’t properly integrated, her normal round of spontaneous remarks seem unusually out of place. Tom can be subbed in as a place holder, but putting Laurie on the backburner is always a mistake.

The Quotable:

  • “It’s never a bad idea to run away from your problems.” –Bobby
  • “Pretend to be happy and you eventually probably will be.”  –Lynn
  • “Now that is a rite of passage for a father: hearing that disappointment in his son’s voice.” –Bobby
  • Grayson: “I’m not in the mood to be laughed at.” Ellie: “Then that haircut was a bad choice.”

Overall:

“Blue Sunday” was everything we expected it to be, even though everyone wasn’t properly showcased. Weaving a few of the running jokes with the new was a great warm-up for the new season. Though Travis and Laurie’s love triangle took a backseat to marital bliss—or lack thereof—we’re sure it will be the focus in the near future.

Rating: 8/10

Cougar Town airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. on TBS.

What did you think of season premiere?