Producing 22 episodes of comedy isn’t easy. Every season, it is probable that two or three episodes won’t be completely awesome, even for the best series. These episodes don’t necessarily have to be terrible, but they’re just at a slightly lower quality than the rest. Last night’s episode of Cougar Town, “You’re Gonna Get It,” feels like one of those episodes. I didn’t hate it by any means, but it’s taken me this long in the day to actually start the review because all I want to say is “meh.” It is fine.
There were a lot of fun elements in place for this episode, but they ultimately didn’t really come together in a way that I particularly enjoyed. It’s just my personal taste, but I prefer Cougar Town to balance the zaniness with some heart. For whatever reason, this episode didn’t really strike that balance well. In certain parts, I found it to be a bit too broad and obvious and in others, it was maybe a bit too schmaltzy. Again, this doesn’t make the episode awful, just not one that I especially enjoyed.
Let’s discuss the good first. The running joke about Laurie, her Twitter account and her surprising intelligence was awesome. Busy Phillips is the perfect character to bring in Twitter, and following “Larmy” was certainly the most enjoyable part of the episode. The series does those sort of running gags very, very well and I hope that it comes back in future episodes. Similarly, having Laurie face off with Grayson and Ellie in bar trivia was really well-executed. Grayson and Ellie are the two characters who think the most of themselves, especially intelligence-wise, so it was pretty awesome to watch them spend the episode frustrated and confused at Laurie’s shocking ability to handle trivia. Of course, she was cheating in the end with Travis’ help, but I loved that Ellie and Grayson actually didn’t figure this out. We haven’t seen Laurie and Trav spend a whole lot of time together in the first two episodes back, but it was nice to be reminded of that relationship.
Elsewhere, I was less enthusiastic with this episode. I actually hoped that Bobby would turn his golf career around, so having him completely flame out on the very first hole was a bit disappointing. I know that Bobby and Andy are the broadest and zaniest characters and something horrible is bound to happen with them, but I don’t know, it just sort of bothered me that it went so bad so quickly. Andy’s swimmer’s ear was charming at first, but the physical comedy didn’t really do it for me and the overall disappointment that Bobby had to deal with bummed me out. Of course, the story finished strong with the “Wrong Balls” nickname and Bobby’s ability to make some money off of that moniker, but it seems like something of a waste that the season spent so much time on Bobby’s golf game to have it all blow up like that. I know that is life and assume that Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel know what they’re doing, it just seemed like an odd choice. But again, I really hope “Wrong Balls” sticks around and maybe Bobby becomes even more successful because of this than he would have as a pro golfer.*
*And of course, having Bobby make it big on the PGA Tour would have theoretically meant he’d be gone a lot.
Finally, I was especially lukewarm on Jules’ story. It’s always nice to have her embarrass herself in situations that don’t involve smothering Travis or Grayson, but it really develop past the first joke or two. The episode tried really hard to tie Jules’ issues into Bobby’s and tell this slightly complex with the whole Cobb family, but it just didn’t work for me. Her belief in “good vibes” or whatever was in-character, but mostly inert and flaccid.
Again, I didn’t hate this episode. It’s always wonderful to spend time with these characters and this world for 22 minutes each week. But I’d definitely consider this the weakest episode of Cougar Town in a really, really strong season.