Cougar Town warned us they were going big in season 3 – a smart idea, considering they might be going home for good when its all over. Either way, larger story arcs are starting to build as the finale starts to take shape in the distance, teasing a number of future plot threads, mixing fun comedic vignettes with some serious character moments in the final third. It wasn’t Cougar Town at its funniest or most emotional, but ‘Southern Accents’ was a perfectly enjoyable episode of the cul de sac crew.
At times, the worst qualities of Jules are played way too hard by the writers, and she almost becomes unbearable. Tonight, she’s nearly stretched to implausibility in her crusade against Holly, when the entire season, the parallels between herself and Holly have been more than obvious: they both lack (to varying degrees) in the book smarts department, they both like to drink, and in some ways, Holly is nothing but a younger, somewhat stupider version of Jules when she was at that age. I’m not sure how I feel about Holly and Travis (family structure would just get too weird), but it was a way for Jules to finally show small signs of accepting the changes in the world around her, and reminding us that she has endearing qualities under everything annoying she says and does.
This tentative balance between annoying and lovable is much more tenuous with Ellie, and like Jules, the show reverts Ellie into her least likable form before they allow her any sort of emotional growth. In Ellie’s case, both her and the show needs Andy to run for mayor: Andy needs something to do but be the background foil in every other adventure, and Ellie needs to stand up and do something for her husband for once. It might be a bit predictable that she’d eventually support him, but it’s yet another step in a long line of progress for Ellie this season into becoming a more likable character, giving her a reason to move away from her less endearing traits.
Finally, there was the Laurie/Bobby plotline, which was a throwaway collection of racial jokes topped off one of Laurie’s best lines of all-time: “All you need to fix minority problems is to be a hot white woman.” I just didn’t find the material that interesting, or fitting in with Bobby’s free-flowing, loving everything personality. How could anyone see that goofball as being racist? If we’re going to separate Bobby from the group for the entire episode, let’s give him something better to do than just be insensitive for no apparent reason.
At this point, Cougar Town‘s fate is way up in the air, and part of me is starting to think this might be the show’s swan song. The ratings haven’t been all that great, and the episode cut made way back in the fall puts the show at the short end of the statistical chances of renewal. But either way, this season will end with a bang, with a mayoral election and wedding already on tap.
- nice little touch that the one remaining ‘cougar’ of the show finally got married off. A nice sign of how much the show’s grown, and is beginning to shed its old identity. Although it could just be an excuse for a few character jokes, and may not last long.
- I feel like the title card jokes are getting longer every week, and its getting hard to read them fast enough. keep it simple guys!
- Apparently Laurie’s boyfriend is a real person. In Afghanistan. And dark and handsome, just how she likes them.
- it was nice to see Grayson stand up to Jules in this episode. Too much this season he’s put up a fight, only to quickly back down when Jules freaks out. Make her uncomfortable, Grayson!
- pig trials. Enough said.
What did you think of ‘Southern Accents’? Feel free to leave your thoughts/comments below!