(For the next several days, some of our writers will be swapping duties on some of our most popular shows. Some of them will like what they see, but for different reasons. Some of them will have vastly different opinions from the regular reviewers. And some of them won't be all that different. It's Second Opinions Week at TV Club.)
File this one under "won't be all that different."Cougar Town is in some ways my favorite show, for many of the reasons enumerated here each week, and this week’s episode was one of the series’ highest-spirited.
First off: @TheLarmy! On one hand it’s just the show’s smart nod to its fans, but on the other it’s direct from Laurie-mind to the world, which is a kind of scary idea that so far (i.e. less than two hours into its existence) it’s pulling off pretty well. In-character projects like this usually run aground eventually, but even the tossed-away stuff seems very, very Laurie, be it randomly quoting Joan Osborne’s greatest hit or overusing (already) the coinage “twibe” (it’s a contraction of “tweet positive vibes”).
For a while this episode felt like a tug of war between Jules’s and Bobby’s stories—which was the A and which the B? It turned out that they were both the A; they dovetailed rather nicely at the end, when Bobby uses his own humiliation on the golf course to his advantage and gets his ex to suck it up and deal with hers. The B was one of this show’s all time greats: Laurie kicking both Grayson and Ellie’s asses at a new trivia game Grayson has installed at the bar (Travis: “Welcome to TGI Grayson’s, everyone”), Tweeting madly all the while—and of course being helped via text by Travis.
Being helped shamelessly and transparently, that is. The only way Grayson or Ellie wouldn’t have picked up on it immediately is that the plot required it. That works in its favor, somehow—the show’s not attempting anything like “realism,” so why not? Plot conventions here are like taffy, or a good joke. Another example: Jules being followed. “This guy keeps looking at me like he knows what happened at the school,” she tells Ellie, alarmed—and it turns out that’s exactly what he’s doing.
What happened? Simple: Jules, doing volunteer work for a local elementary school, screws up the Pledge of Allegiance in front of a class full of kids. Earlier in the episode, she insists that Richard Stands wrote the POA, and then we find out why: “And to the republic for which it stands” turns into “Richard Stands.” Feeling the heat, she wishes the spotlight would be taken off of her—right when she’s watching Bobby at the golf tournament, about to take a slice. Bobby’s been having a hard time of it thanks to Andy’s inadequate caddying. Andy can’t hear because he has water in his ear from having trained for his role by carrying the bag of clubs in a swimming pool—one hell of an end run to a joke on the one hand, almost Gilligan’s Island-ian on the other. Either way, it leads to the priceless sight of Brian Van Holt dancing out the club he wants. Too bad he hits his opponent’s ball out of the sand trap and is disqualified, leading to a local sportscaster nicknaming him “Wrongball.”
Jules, Travis, and Andy start spotting “Wrongball” T-shirts with Bobby’s face on them, leading to a great little montage of the trio buying the shirts off of everyone in an outdoor mall. The twist is that Bobby made the shirts himself. He’s capitalizing on his mistake; he’ll get the last laugh, all the way to the bank. (The show ends with “outtakes” from Bobby’s new gig as pitchman for the meatball sub at Mel’s Hoagie Hut.) Jules takes his lead and goes back to the classroom to do the Pledge again. This time, she screws up “indivisible”—“Because God is invisible.”
- “We all know why we’re over here.” “Because we’re always over here?”
- “John Hancock is a real person? I thought it was a sex act.”
- “Reading got me out.” “Really?” “No, car modeling did, but it’s really fun to say reading did.”
- “I will not be mocked!” “I bill bot be bocked!”
- “I own the shush-clap.”
- “I grew up in the hood, y’all. My best friend Jojo got shot in the face. It should’ve been me.”
- “What do you know about vibes? Or positivity, for that matter?”
- “Do you take requests? Because I’d like to talk to my dead parents.”
- “Lord, I try not to bother you too much, except for that time I asked you to speed up the bangs.”
- “#wrongballs is trending on Twitter. It’s above Bieber.”
- “Cool! Wizard vs. nerd! I’ll strike you down with my spell! No, science is the answer!”
- “Isn’t NATO the guy who lives in OJ’s guest house?”
- “All I know about music in the ’80s is everything!”
- “You never judge a book by its front part!”
- “Thanks, Mr. Wrongballs!” “Hear that? He called me ‘mister.’”