Cougar Town-Mystery of Love-Josh Hopkins and Courteney Cox

Love is a mystery alright, and it’s one Cougar Town has yet to solve. “Mystery of Love” made some great new choices, but the laughter wasn’t there. A letdown like this deserves a thorough investigation.

The Players:

  • Director: Courteney Cox
  • Writers: Rachel Specter and Audrey Wauchope
  • Cast: Courteney Cox, Christa Miller, Busy Phillips, Dan Byrd, Josh Hopkins, Ian Gomez, Brian Van Holt, Bon Clendenin

Episode Title: “Mystery of Love”

After brunch at Travis and Laurie’s, Jules begins to question her relationship. Elsewhere, Tom helps Ellie finish a novel while Andy and Bobby take Stan to the beach.

The So-So:

  • The Future of the Past: After Tom finds an old manuscript of Ellie’s in a box from last week’s yard sale he pushes her to finish the novel. We get the need to switch things up; their pairing is just about the only thing that makes this plot bearable. When Ellie is alone with Tom, her normal acerbic wit feels like bullying on account of Tom’s naturally soft.   Plus, the best line they gave her was calling Tom, “Ichabod Lame.”  That kind of lowbrow humor is beneath the level of her abilities, and it’s certainly far under what we could consider comedy. 
  • Fun Dad: We’re on board with Stan becoming more of a visible presence. Stan will open up a new avenue of material from the writers while saving Cougar Town from a classic sitcom mistake. Many shows create/introduce young children only for them to be quickly forgotten. When’s the last time we saw/heard of Grayson’s surprise kid? However, just because they’re finally folding Stan into the fray doesn’t mean all thought should go out of the window. In an effort to be a fun dad, Andy takes Stan to the good beach with Bobby only to lose the car keys immediately. Anyone watching could see Stan hid the keys. Sure Bobby and Andy taught Stan how to eat other people’s food and lust after mermaids, but they were always going to do that. It’s who they are. They don’t have to be embroiled in the most boring and obvious plot to do that.

The Bad:

  • Misplaced Crazy: All of Jules spiraling over Travis and Laurie putting on a perfect brunch should have been used last week to make Jules return to her Smother roots. Instead she looked ridiculously childish being jealous of a young couple in their honeymoon phase. Of course they’re perfect together. They’ve yet to experience a real fight or bad moment in life together. So what Travis and Laurie rehearsed for the brunch, they’re newbies and they can afford to be silly. But when you’re two years into a rather great marriage, Jules’ minor meltdown feels more cartoonish than it should. Absolutely nothing in the story was amusing, including Jules’ spastic dancing causing her hair to catch fire or her dropping hundreds of dollars of seafood. Do better guys.

Overall:

“Mystery of Love” was pretty much a disappointment. Aside from introducing some new pairings, not much else happened. When the only amusing bit of the night was learning that Ellie considers the time in her life when she wasn’t drinking and being nice to people, “dark days,” something has gone wrong. A few more episodes like this and we’ll start wondering if Cougar Town has lost its way.

Rating: 6/10

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

What did you think of this episode?