Writing a review of any Cougar Town episode this season proves out to be a harder task than you’d think. It’s especially difficult after you’ve written two others already. The reason why is that since the switch to TBS (and I’m not blaming my opinion on that specific factor), the show has slightly lowered in quality. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it and consider myself a hardcore fan (not the most hardcore, as a friend of mine would point out, but still hardcore nonetheless). However, it is undeniable that season 3 was much better. Perhaps the same can be said of season 2, even. This is unlucky because people will probably blame it fact on all the recent changes the sitcom has gone through, but I believe it goes deeper than that. Let me explain myself in the next few paragraphs as I use this week for an example.
The series, like I’ve said before, seems to be stuck. The inattentive eye might not perceive it clearly because the quality of comic television these days is really low. Nevertheless, Cougar Town used to be (and can still be, but not for the same reasons) fairly better than the ordinary. If you follow my reviews closely, which you probably don’t, you know there are two things I demand of a good sitcom: Laughter and story. I mean, isn’t that the whole point of a comedic television show? To give its viewers both a good narrative and hilarity? What would Friends have been if there were no Ross and Rachel or Monica and Chandler stories to keep viewers excited, for example?
This season, though, is tricky to analyse because it has been incredibly funny. Cougar Town is always quirky and goofy, but sweet and real. This ensures that I laugh out loud at least four times per episode, and that’s brilliant. In fact, it’s the second funniest show I watch after Community. However, narrative wise it has failed miserably. I mean, there has been an overall fine story every episode, but unlike what it gave us past years, there is no cohesive narrative to make me excited about what’s coming up.
Before, there was always something. First, it was Jules dealing with her age and newfound singleness. Then, it was her relationship with Grayson and Travis away for college. Season three was all about the engagement, the wedding, moving in together… This year; there’s wine, friends and nothing more. That might be enough for an ok show, but I expect more from Cougar Town.
Still, that is not enough reason for me to condemn the series and cast it off my watch list. I still love it, but it needs a story. It seems like they’re finally addressing that at some level the past few weeks. They’re trying to make Laurie and Travis a major plot, but how long can they prolong that? And how much good will that prolonging do the show?
I cannot blame this on the switch to TBS because it actually improved the comedy of the series by letting it by racier and more free, plus, they’re doing everything they can to keep the programme as good as it was. I cannot point my finger at writing either cause it’s not really they’re fault. There’s just a point where a series dies out they’re premise and it has nothing left to do but, either bring in more characters like The Big Bang Theory did, or take a risk and create new stories out of thin air that could end up feeling out of place. Fortunately, Cougar town hasn’t done either and has managed to stay overall very well. Probably both would be terrible for the beautiful character dynamic the show has. Yet, how long can they keep going down that road? Are mini-stories going to be enough for one and a half more years? How is it going to manage being renewed for a sixth season when there’s no more story to tell? I am not in any way suggesting it gets cancelled, quite the contrary actually. I wish to use this as a plea to the writers (if they ever read it) to do something about this situation.
Cougar Town is one of the best things to ever happen on television. Shows like this are a beacon of light in the darkness that is comedy nowadays. They are fresh, original, with brilliant characters and even greater relationships. They keep proving that is true every single week, when those elements by themselves hold up the show, but this cannot keep going for much longer. I demand a solution because otherwise there will be a point of exhaustion, and I care about the cul-de-sac crew far too much to see it become dreadful. There was even a point around my last review when I was getting sick of Jules just because her quirkiness was being overexploited to keep things alive. Please, don’t let it happen again.
As for this particular episode, there’s not much to say. It was funny, it was sweet, it even gave me hope for an improvement and also for my Traurie-shipping heart. However, it was expected and underwhelming to some extent. I appreciate everything the network is doing to get better with its surveys, and campaigns, and tweets, and everything. Please don’t let it all be in vain. Please “Make It Better”! Do you feel the same way?
Luis Ruiz – @Not_reallyLuis