Cougar Town-Refugee-Courteney Cox and Brian Van Holt

Cougar Town is coasting on Grayson’s success. “Refugee” was just another chance for him to shine. Sure, there was a cop drama with some light kidnapping, but that wasn’t enough. Why can’t everyone join in on the fun?

The Players:

  • Director: Michael McDonald
  • Writers: Michael Lisbe and Nate Reger
  • Cast: Courteney Cox, Christa Miller, Busy Phillips, Dan Byrd, Josh Hopkins, Ian Gomez, Brian Van Holt, Bon Clendenin, Ken Jennings

Episode Title: “Refugee”

Grayson coaches Andy on the ways of wooing someone out-of-your league, while Bobby and Jules look for his missing boat.  Elsewhere, Travis helps Laurie redecorate her place.

The Good:

  • Neg: Grayson’s quest to teach Andy how to use a backhanded compliment to win over his boss wasn’t that compelling and it took an obvious turn. Andy used Grayson’s neg technique to make Ellie bend to his will. Andy and Ellie’s constant volley for power only seems interesting when something new is added to the fray. Andy’s done the mind control thing before, but with Grayson around it didn’t matter. His confidence brought entertainment to his teaching sessions. It was his perfect one liners and desperate fight for attention that made this worth watching. Calling Ellie Julia Childs on a bender (“I just needed a little bump to get me through this Bundt cake.”) was the highlight of the night. The idea of his pickup classes was hilarious enough, but a glimpse into the past proved his Magnolia-esque delivery was as funny as his Tom Cruise’s hair.

The So-So:

  • Blacktop and Gumshoe: When Bobby’s boat is stolen he and Jules slip into their former mystery solving roles, Blacktop and Gumshoe. The names alone were enough to win our interest, so imagine our surprise when the entire story hinged on their emulation of a certain raspy voiced TV detective. From casing the crime scene to kidnapping their annoying neighbor Jerry, everything seemed oddly ordinary. Except for the moments they pulled down their sunglasses to rasp out one-liners to rival those of CSI Miami’s David Caruso. The boats disappearance was just a vehicle to point towards Chick’s worsening Alzheimer’s. Jules spent the first seconds of the night praising her father’s health, so by law of the sitcom, that can no longer be true. Just like last year, the rest of the season will suddenly focus on something serious.

The Bad:

  • Fools Rush In: Travis and Laurie’s relationship continues to meander down the most usual of paths. We fought hard to see these two together, and as the weeks go by our hopes and joys are repeatedly wasted on the couple. Travis and Laurie don’t have to fall victim to the minutia. Just as Jules and Bobby picked fake names and kidnapped a neighbor, so can they.  If the writers are going to waste a week having Travis and Laurie redecorate Laurie’s fate and bicker in the most predictable fashion, next week better be amazing. They should record a movie that parody’s their favorites, or fight with fireworks. Something incredibly ridiculous that is worth their relationship drama. Seeing them fight their way to a wonderfully decorated, Target promoting apartment is just sad.

The Quotable:

  •  “I don’t teach the dark arts anymore. I hung up my leather bracelet and single hoop earring long ago.”— Grayson
  • Bobby: “Your first mistake was running.” Jules: “Your second mistake was running from us.”

Overall:

“Refugee” lived in the shadow of Grayson’s wheelhouse of vanity, like many moments this season. That can’t be the only thing the episode cultivates though. An impression of another show’s character isn’t enough to carry the night. We had hopes after last week, but this return to the mundane is a little alarming. We’d love to deal with serious fare from time to time, but when Chick’s health spiral pops up the same time as it did last season, we wonder if these guys are running out of ideas.

Rating: 7/10

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

What did you think of this episode?