Cougar Town-Hard On Me-Ken Jenkins and Courteney Cox
On your mark, get set, it’s time for Cougar Town. “Hard On Me” saw the return of guest star Ken Jenkins and a new embarrassing nickname for Travis. Though, Tater Tot isn’t the only one being tortured this week. Be prepared to study germ warfare at Ellie’s knee.

The Players:

  • Director: John Putch
  • Writer: Mary Fitzgerald
  • Cast: Courteney Cox, Christa Miller, Busy Phillips, Dan Byrd, Josh Hopkins, Ian Gomez, Brian Van Holt, Bon Clendenin, Ken Jenkins

Episode Title: “Hard On Me”

Andy organizes a 5K when his position as mayor is in jeopardy, while Bobby helps Grayson with his acting dreams and Ellie gets sick.

The Good:

  • Towel Snaps: Anytime Cougar Town wants to flirt with serious issues Jules dad Chick pops into town. Guest star Ken Jenkins is an expert at bringing hilarity and levity simultaneously. Chick’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis depressed him into a state of inactivity making Mayor Snorez’s face-saving 5K the perfect opportunity for Jules’ dad to get moving. Training the Cul-de-sac Crew was always going to fall apart. Lush legs are never sturdy, but the beauty was watching Jules dissolve. The writers illustrated that no matter your age, when your parents start pushing you, you push back. How quickly Jules forgot about motivating her father in favor of blaming him for being too motivated. They resolved it in one of their usual sweet make-up moments but take heed: too many towel snaps will drive anyone crazy.
  • Turbo T: It’s no secret that Grayson’s playboy shtick and conceited attitude are a fan favorite. Of course the only way to challenge that is to attack his character’s self esteem head on. Enter Bobby, encouraging Grayson’s acting dreams all the way to a commercial for testosterone infused deodorant for the elderly. Bobby drags Grayson into a slightly more humble mindset and Grayson brings out the best in Bobby. When Grayson finally takes the commercial, Bobby admits that his dream is to be remarried. Like an anvil, Bobby’s truth hit a real note with anyone watching, giving weight to his efforts to make Grayson live out his dreams. Bobby’s old neighbor didn’t just invent the Potter Squatter, a portable toilet, but his sister Patti Potter pick pockets and purses. Try saying that five times fast.
  • Whine and Wine: Chicks was a bit of a bully. Please rewatch him bouncing the ball off Mayor Snorez’s head while taunting him to cry to confirm.  Still, only a crazy person would purposefully catch the flu to avoid a little running. Of course that’s why Ellie’s around, on account of her becoming diabolically unhinged anytime she gets sick. She manipulates the entire gang, minus Grayson, to share in her flu to keep them from supporting Jules. The groups blend of wine and cough syrup was as predictable as is eventual use for popsicles. Still elements of the story were highly entertaining, like the sunken in expressions and hooded black robes. Both aided in Jules delirious misconception during the race that the appearance of her friends was actually the sight of dead people. It’s a long hard road for a laugh but it definitely paid off.

The So-So:

  • Gone Girl: Bobby’s confessed desire to remarry was one of the most beautiful and touching moments of the night. After the novelty wore off though it was a little head-scratching. At the end of last season Maria Thayer was taking a really sweet turn as Bobby’s girlfriend. When the show returned, she was nowhere in sight. Helpful hint: if you’re going to make Bobby’s loneliness a focal point again, you might want to be invested in following through. Or perhaps you could do us the courtesy of explaining what happened to his last girlfriend.

Overall:

“Hard On Me” was the best kind of different. The writers were able to bring levity without losing the show’s identity. Chick and Bobby brought the real emotions and Ellie and her prisoners kept things light. The show would do well to remember that if they’re truly going to dabble in serious matters, they have to be willing to put in the work. Bobby’s disappearing girlfriend doesn’t inspire the most confidence. But there’s hope yet!

Rating: 9/10

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

What did you think of this episode?