Cougar Town-Love is a Long Road-Briand Van Holt and Dabn Byrd

Cougar Town may toss a couple sour grapes our way but the wine’s always good. “Love is a Long Road” saw the end of college for Travis and the beginning of a new married life for Jules and Grayson. Even though they’ve meandered down an average path, this show still knows how to lay the smackdown.

The Players:

  • Director: Michael McDonald
  • Writer: Mary Fitzgerald
  • Cast: Courteney Cox, Christa Miller, Busy Phillips, Dan Byrd, Josh Hopkins, Ian Gomez, Brian Van Holt, Bob Clendenin

Episode Title: “Love is a Long Road”

As Chick’s Alzheimers progresses, Jules gets him to look at houses nearby, even though Grayson might have him move in.  Meanwhile, the Cul-de-sac Crew prepares for Travis’s graduation as Ellie and Laurie continue their competition to be first on Jules’ most important friend list.

The Good:

  • Gorilla Memories: We hardly remembered Bobby’s panache for giving graduation gifts. The 70 foot inflatable gorilla with Travis’ face from his high school graduation back in season one seems so long ago. That and his elementary school promotion gift trip to the Western Central Florida wrestling championships kept Bobby from coming up with something to top his past success. Picture Bobby’s preschool completion soiree: A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle style lair in an actual sewer that got everyone sick. That type of creativity means a man is bound to run out of ideas for sometimes. This little wrinkle pairs with Bobby’s over-the-top character was the catalyst for the best moment of the night. How plausible is it that a college graduation would be halted by a fight between retired rival wresters? Oddly enough, it’s one of the more believable crazy Cougar Town moments. Playing on Travis’s cherished memory was sweet, but Travis’ pride in seeing his father hit Captain Carnage in the face with a chair was even better.

The So-So:

  • Daddy’s Home: Chick moving in was average. A concerned daughter wants her ailing father to move closer, so her husband suggests they talk about him moving in. She takes that as permission and make it happen, but somehow that doesn’t work out! Father and husband bump heads, but ultimately get over it and deal. That needed no names, because that’s the outline for this story on any sitcom that goes down the sick parent road. If the writers are going to pick a plot so predictable, the least they could do is make the journey to the eventual conclusion more interesting. Grayson’s musing about living with an elderly man gave the story some humor. “How many times can you use a handkerchief before you have to wash it?” That and Chick’s obsession with World War II and who shot John F. Kennedy added a crotchety old man element that we’re going to come to enjoy.
  • Silver Medal: Ellie and Laurie’s battle for who Jules loves more is nothing new. We have no problems reprising these series staples while in the midst of other drama. Ellie and Laurie’s love/hate and constant barbs are a driving force. But when the writers try to flesh it out and make it the primary focus something goes wrong. It’s not enough to capture our attention. These two bicker every week. How was this any different? They’ve done the deep-seated search for which one of them is truly Jules’ BFF before so there’s nothing to this at all. The only redeeming scene involved Laurie using movie puns (“Jules’ best friend number two: Electric Bugaloo,”) and Ellie’s hidsight come-on to Travis (“I should have banged you years ago”). Then there’s that wine hideaway upgrade. When Travis finished high school the Cul-de-sac Crew snuck in booze bags. Now Laurie’s fake crutches carry enough white and red wine for everyone. Some things just keep getting better.

The Bad:

  • The Duds: Bobby’s brainstorming for Travis’ present was going great until Bobby and Andy got arrested.  True, Bobby and Andy are dumb enough to be entrapped by an undercover police officer selling illegal fireworks.  However, as no one made a wild attempt to bribe the officer, a crazy bid for freedom, or had to do anything ridiculous to get out of jail, we’re failing to see the point.  There was barely an underlying sense of amusement in their arrest scene, and the debacle ended sooner than it began.  Not only that, isn’t Andy the Mayor of Gulfhaven?  Getting arrested for illegal fireworks seems like a wrong road to take him down if this political role is going to continue.

Overall:

“Love is a Long Ride” put a smile on our face. Something about watching a moment of higher learning dissolving into a sea of broken chairs, elbows and pile drivers has that effect. With only a week left we’re hoping the writers are able to bring it home for a quality season finale.

Rating: 8/10

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

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