Tonight on TBS was a night of dad lessons, blue periods, and of course, wine on the Tuesday, January 8th premiere of Cougar Town on TBS. In the season four premiere titled “Blue Sunday”, it has only been one week since Travis (Dan Byrd) exclaimed drunkenly his feelings for Laurie (Busy Philipps). Plus it has been a week since Jules (Courteney Cox) married Grayson (Josh Hopkins) in what was the final moments of the season three finale. How has their wedding bliss gone? Has there been any regrets within that week for them besides those two times? And do the Cul De Sac crew, which is rounded out by Bobby (Christa Miller), Andy (Ian Gomez) and his wife Ellie (Brian Van Holt) answer the age old question of whether or not they are Alcoholics; is the Cul De Sac crew an A.A. meeting?
Well that age old question is actually two separate questions…
For those who were unaware, after an amazing campaign from creators Kevin Biegel and Bill Lawrence and the entire Cougar Town cast and crew to keep the show alive after it’s amazingly horrible treatment from ABC for its third season on the alphabet network, the show’s future was uncertain. While the show wasn’t picked back up or had word of being renewed for season four, the series soon had murmurs frequent of other cult classic television shows like Futurama, Family Guy and Arrested Development, that the show was going to maybe get picked up by another network. When the news broke that TBS was the network to give the Cul De Sac crew their reprieve, no one was more estatic than I, but it did raise a few questions. With the new pick-up, also was the loss of creators Lawrence and Biegel captaining the ship o’ Cougar Town. And after an amazing finale that would have been an amazing series finale for the show, how do you go from here? Will the writing be as sharp, if not better?
It’d be easy to let you know, but Wine Guy and Coffee Bitch, the lamest super heroes ever, are intervening from this examiner’s reviews.
While the plot itself of the episode and most episodes of Cougar Town, such as tonight’s ‘a story of Jules having a blue crisis (much like the great first notice of arm fat blue crisis of ’06) due to a bad dream she had about how Grayson acted in her mind, is simplistic in its approach and would seem dull on any other show, but Cougar Town makes it work, and further more, makes it funny. It also is great at reintroducing all the characters and what they are, and the show delivers with the funny.
“Blue Sunday” actually delivered one the heartiest laughs this examiner has experienced in such a long time in any television comedy and that is thanks to the wonderful writing but also comedic timing of Miller and co-star Bob Clendenin as Tom with the “You’ll never catch me” line from Ellie followed by “TOM NOW!”. To say that I’ve viewed the episode multiple times writing this review and each time I have always hit the rewind button to watch that sequence over and over again. It is hysterical. Hats off to Miller and Clendenin’s comedic timing.
Something else that seemed important which I hope they continue more of, is Clendenin’s further involvement in the show. I thought I heard that they were adding him as a cast member this season, and I sincerely hope they add him in as a main character. Bob Clendenin as Tom, despite his character’s creepiness, is also part of the Cul De Sac crew in his own unique way, and Clendenin is really Cougar Town’s version of Ted from Scrubs: the residual sad-sack-like character that really brings in the laughs almost 99% of the time he is on screen. Biegel and Lawrence though usually have their ‘B’ team characters ‘earn’ their heart, so I sincerely hope that the more Tom appears this season, we get a bit more heart for his character. (As of now, he is still sort of the butt of jokes, etc.)
There was one story-point that bugged me while watching “Blue Sunday”, and perhaps it is classic misdirection on the writers part, but Bobby’s advice of running away from your problem, while hilarious, is actually horrible advice. For the sake of Travis, the joke pays off well. To me, it was a forgone conclusion on how the episode would end; Travis and Laurie would be hanging out, Laurie brings up the season three finale, and Travis finally takes his father’s advice and bolts.
When it comes to Andy though, his whole running away from his boss slash co-worker, to me made me blurt out while watching the show with another reviewer, that I bet Andy loses his job following Bobby’s advice. So the whole episode I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. It never happens mind you, and again, it is probably misdirection on the writers’ part, or maybe this television examiner putting their own thought process into it, but not all of Bobby’s wisdom is wise, at least in all situations. And it would have made sense that Andy would never tell Bobby that his advice doesn’t work because he is so in love with Bobby anyway. Yet, this is also another case of throwing too much seriousness into a show that doesn’t tend to get too serious. While I love Cougar Town for it’s very light hearted approach to everything, to see it tackle something like that would be interesting. And we know the show’s cast and crew can handle it.
Overall, Cougar Town’s return to the television landscape thanks to TBS is well-deserved. In earnest, Cougar Town’s return is a triumph of comedy; the show returns more funny than it was in season three, at least with “Blue Sunday”, the first episode in season four. Let us hope the reason of the season follows suit.
Cougar Town airs on TBS which is on Channel 17 on Columbus Insight Communications and Channel 18 for Columbus Time Warner Customers.
But what do YOU think?
You can read Nick’s additional reviews on The TV King.