Cougar Town, “Free Fallin'”

Cougar Town is most certainly a goofy, sometimes weird comedy. I usually enjoy those zany parts of the series, but I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes Town goes a little too far into the broad humor that reminds me of some of the lesser episodes of Scrubs. I mean those really bad episodes of Scrubs were often insufferable and Cougar Town never goes that far, but the last few weeks, I have gotten that vibe from certain stories here. I don’t really think it is part of some larger, troubling trend, but last weeks’ stupid Grayson story was followed up by a fairly goofy story about weird kids in the neighborhood who draw evil things with their sidewalk chalk.

Listen, I’m all for a series embracing its goofiness and its zaniness, but these two stories feel a bit much, at least to me personally. I saw a few people on Twitter talking about how hilarious the sidewalk children were, and you know what, good for them. Comedy is so subjective and everyone likes completely different things. I cannot bring myself to say that “Free Fallin'” sucks because I didn’t like most of the sidewalk children stuff. It was simply a story that didn’t really hit my comedic funny bone in the way that Cougar Town usually does. I will say that I liked how the episode used the sidewalk children as a way to give Tom more to do and more of reason to be part of the group. He’s a fun character, and I’m glad to see that the series is interesting in making him more than a straight-up creeper who just hangs around the windows. He most certainly is those things, but it was nice to see that there’s a real reason for it: his dead wife was the social one. So even though I didn’t like the story, that final moment really got me.

Nevertheless, the rest of “Free Fallin'” was very enjoyable. I was disappointed in how little screen-time Travis’ issues were given in last week’s episode, so it was nice to see them dominate this episode a lot more. The relationship between he and Jules is so super-creepy, but I adored how this episode played it up: Sleeping in the same beds, the one-night stand of it all, the “Mamcita,” Jules making out with Grayson right after he pretended to be Travis, etc. Jules and Travis’ relationship is most certainly the weirdest thing about Cougar Town, but I do like how they have embraced it. This episode did a great job of both showing how Travis manipulates that relationship and how Jules is slowly starting to realize that it is unhealthy.

For most of the series, Travis has been the “sane” one of the group, stuck with his head on straight while all these crazy people swarm around him. But now, he has sort of lost his mind and is especially damaged emotionally. “Free Fallin'” presents us with a Jules who is actually maturing and who is ready to throw her son out on his ass if he doesn’t decide to get his life together. The last few episodes have hinted at some development and maturity for Jules and I really liked how this episode followed through with it without really “changing” Jules or anything. It’s a struggle for her to have to be “tough mom” or whatever and unfortunately, that struggle involves her sleeping in the same bed as her son and then waking up alone before she really recognizes that there might be a problem.

Finally, Penny Can! I thought it was a little odd that the season dropped Bobby’s golf career and the t-shirt gimmick that came right afterward, but I guess selling Penny Can is going to be the way Bobby gets his life on track. Perhaps there’s a reason why both the golf career and the t-shirt stuff were dropped so quickly. Meaning, there’s an intentional desire to show us how quickly Bobby’s good fortunes fall apart. Here, he struggles with whether or not to sell Penny Can to a business who wants to give it lights and wheels and put Lou Diamond Phillips’ face on it (I love Lou!). It was nice to see Andy and Laurie do what was best for Bobby instead of coddling him, but I’m more interested in where Bobby goes from here than anything else.

Next week: An hour-long finale! I am excited.

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