We’re only two episodes into the season and Cougar Town‘s up to its old tricks. Luckily for this comedic juggernaut, that’s not a bad thing. “I Need to Know” focuses on the struggles to grow up, come out—or in—and to get what you want.

The Players:

  • Director: Courteney Cox
  • Writers: Chrissy Pietrosh and Jessica Goldstein
  • Cast: Courteney Cox, Christa Miller, Busy Phillips, Dan Byrd, Josh Hopkins, Ian Gomez, Brian Van Holt, Bon Clendenin, Whitney Hoy, Eric Womack

Episode Title: “I Need To Know”

Jules loses it when Travis bails on family night one too many times. Ellie trains Andy like a dog, while the men of the Cul-de-sac try to pull off mustaches.

The Good:

  • The Drop Off: The opening scene between Travis and Jules was an excellent start to the show. Exchanging clean laundry for love and hugs is commonplace in most households with college age youth.
  • Amateur Night: When Jules abolished mandatory family night, giving Travis the option to visit, the impending conflict became obvious. Travis’s disappearing act was expected. Jules’s corresponding portrayal of a desperate girl attempting to appear aloof was not. Her fake accidental phone call warred with her outburst in front of Travis’s roommates as her best scenes. Jules took another step towards accepting her child’s burgeoning maturity. But Travis attacked something more serious and less obvious – avoiding people who make you confront life.
  • ‘Stash Rash: It’s impossible to ignore Andy, Grayson, and Bobby’s magnificent mustaches. For kicks, we’ll turn a blind eye to the claim that they grew those lip warmers in nine days.
  • The Hunger Games: Three days without food and hunting in the wild in the backyard transformed Tom’s cat into a ferocious feline. It might have helped if someone remembered to feed Snowball instead of pawning the job off on Not Laurie. Still, it made a great abusive spouse shtick for Tom. The premise of the joke is old, but using the cat as the attacker was a delightful divergence from the norm.
  • Fact: Laurie and Grayson’s battle to prove each other wrong was the stuff of real friendship. Laurie’s attempt to convince Grayson he’s homophobic was far more successful than his attempt to stop her from calling all opinions fact.  Although it’d be hard for anyone to fail with The GLarmy behind them. Provoking Grayson to “In” himself at the bar was her most evil achievement to date. His speech was confusing, oddly mirroring Jodi Foster’scomplicated coming out speech at Sunday’s Golden Globes.
  • Tandem Sadness: Andy and Jules’s round of echoing sighs was perfection. Complaining is their forte, and competing comes natural for the two loves of Ellie’s life. It presented a good query: who else isn’t bothered by someone trying to steal your moment of pity? No one likes to wallow in disappointment, but at least allow us our own time.
  • Dog Andy: The plot pretty much outlines itself: Ellie trains Andy like a dog—once Andy learns the truth—he’s none too pleased.  It’s notable that they’ve found a new way to tell the same story; the constant unbalanced power struggle between the show’s longest married couple. But it’s the little things that made this story sing. Andy chewing Ellie’s shoes to illustrate his displeasure with her methods was amazing.  And since Penny Can has lost its luster maybe Naming Things That Annoy Ellie can be the new crew game? That list is never-ending.

The Quotable:

  • Travis: “Why is it the second you start treating a girl like crap they can’t keep their clothes on?” Jules: “If I could answer that you might not exist.”
  • “Did you guys know that pornography was named after the musical instrument used to measure arousal?  The Pornograph, fact.” –Laurie
  • “You guys totally captured Selleck, Danson, and that other guy no one could ever remember.” –Laurie
  • Grayson: “Cheer up, Trav will eventually come by. You raised him to be dependent and helpless.”  Jules: “Awe, thank you.”  Grayson: “I knew you’d take that as a compliment.”
  • “We’ve got to go.  I just saw Stan’s kindergarten teacher doing something his wife shouldn’t find out about.” –Ellie
  • “Sweetie I know how rejection can be so painful. I mean, like I don’t know personally, but I’ve heard about it from girls with small boobs.” –Laurie
  • “Zooey Descha-Hell No! What you two need is revenge. When someone hurts you, you hurt them right back.” –Laurie
  • “I washed all your little undies. I used the lavender soap because I know how much you like to smell like a little bitch.” –Jules
  • “McConaugh-haters gotta hate.” –Grayson
  • “You guys don’t own rainbows. We all love refracted light.” –Grayson

Overall:

“I Need to Know” reminded us of all the little things we love about Cougar Town. Every story made light and sense, of a run-of-the-mill issue.

Rating: 10/10

Cougar Town airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on TBS.

What did you think of this episode?