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Cougar Town “Mystery of Love” 

Photo Credit: Jennifer Rose Clasen/TBS
Photo Credit: Jennifer Rose Clasen/TBS

“Mystery of Love” says it all in its title. The episode revolves around the mysteries that love entails, but in different shapes and sizes. You have the brunch with Jules, Grayson, Laurie and Travis. The storyline has its moments of comedy, but it’s mostly there to reconsider the idea that Laurie and Travis are a real and loving adult relationship. In the second story, Bobby, Andy and Stan go on a beach trip in the hopes that Stan sees his father as a fun loving daddy. It’s a sweet little story, but it’s mostly just a way to get Bobby and Andy together after keeping them apart last week. Then the weirdest storyline of the episode revolves around Tom finding a young adult novel written by Ellie. It’s absurd, but it also brings some of the bigger laughs of the episode. The novel involves a lot of hilarious character traits and plots that revolve around love and the past and the future of something. I don’t know. I wasn’t paying much attention to the specifics of that.

I’ve realized for a while now that Cougar Town is going in circles and is no longer interested in advancing anything in relation to its characters’ everyday lives. The exception would probably be Travis and Laurie, but mostly Travis as it concerns his postgraduate life. He’s an adult now and he’s in a relationship with Laurie that seems like it’s not going to end anytime soon. This isn’t a criticism, but a casual observation from a long time viewer of a show that is currently in its fifth season. I love these characters, but the show hasn’t been at its peak since it’s changed networks, and that’s fine. I’m sure this show is doing well enough to continue running for a few more seasons, but I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that the current stasis of the characters gives me very little to look forward to over the long term.

But again, I’ve come to the realization that this is just a “hangout comedy” and nothing more. It’s about friendship and family and living in a Cul-de-sac. I think Courteney Cox is great on this show and I think exploring the intricacies of Jules and Grayson’s marriage brings out the funniest aspects of her talent. Her jealousy issues bring out a bit of Monica from Friends and there is no wrong in that. We know where the brunch sequence is heading before it happens, but watching Laurie and Travis try to act out the perfect brunch scenario in front of Jules and Grayson is just hilarious. It was too good to be true that they would be this comfortable hosting a brunch like this, but it makes it that much sweeter watching Jules squirm with jealousy at the idea that they would be this comfortable at such an early stage in their relationship. We know that Jules and Grayson are fantastic together, but to see them not being on the same page at all in this episode is quite amusing.

I don’t know though. The other storylines were good, but the one at the beach with Bobby, Andy and Stan was my least favorite. I mentioned last week that Andy can do no wrong and I stand by that, but sometimes he seems to be a little too dumb when he’s around Bobby. And Ellie and Tom sharing time alone is comedic gold. I think it’s the most screen time Tom has had in a while and I think the show needs to pair him with Ellie more often because this was a fun dynamic that needs to be explored more.

All in all, “Mystery of Love” is Cougar Town just coasting on the likability of its characters. I love hanging out with this crew for 22 minutes every week and that will never change, but I’m also beginning to find it difficult to write about on a weekly basis. It’s a fun little challenge to have, especially when it involves one of my favorite comedies on television. I just wish the characters would be challenged a little as well.

Cougar Town airs Tuesdays on TBS @ 10/9c.

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