Tuesday night ABC said goodbye to Cougar Town with a double heapin-helping of episodes that made up the season 3 finale. Consisting of the episodes titled “My Life” and “Your World”, Cougar Town rushed towards the finish line ending its run on ABC with laughs and tears as Jules Cobb(Courteney Cox) tries to understand the film Groundhog Day and finally gets married to Grayson Ellis (Josh Hopkins). Does Jules finally ‘get’ Groundhog Day? And how does the wedding go? And with Cougar Town moving to TBS next season, how were the episodes’ swan song on the ABC Network?
While one isn’t necessarily sure how to say this but as a viewer of the show, no matter whatever critiques one had about the show before, as a season finale and a possible series finale, Cougar Town ended on such a beautiful note with ‘My Life/Your World’ that it is really hard to find any faults with the final season three episodes. Not to say there weren’t any, as this examiner did find one fault with the season finale but we’ll get to that in a second.
One of the great things that creators Kevin Biegel & Bill Lawrence do with Cougar Town is they not only go for the laughs but really pour on the heart; it is something that sometimes can be taken too far to the point of being cheesy and not fun to watch. Luckily both Biegel and Lawrence walk a fine line and it is one of the many important successes of Cougar Town is how it walks that delicate tightrope walk of making sure it is heartfelt and whimsical, not schmaltzy.
In other words, it is sincere. And sincerity comes in real moments with the characters and their arcs for this past season.
While viewers may totally understand that Grayson ‘gets’ that he is marrying the entire group of friends when he is marrying Jules, Grayson as a character still appreciates and has been constantly waging battle with finding some semblance of privacy living with Jules.
There is the arc about Ellie holding on to a truth grenade of how Jules asked Laurie (Busy Philipps) to be her co-maid of honor because she was put on the spot and didn’t want Laurie to feel bad. There is Dan Byrd’s Travis Cobb and feelings for Laurie that come to a head on his 21st birthday in spectacularly hilarious but heartbreaking fashion. And of course there are nods to Groundhog Day referencing back Jules complete and total lack of understanding of general pop-culture or movies.
The thing that seemed to urk me was that at the end of the day, somewhat like in Scrubs, the show has had a successful marriage or relationship that the show could lean towards. In Scrubs it was Turk and Carla, and in Cougar Town it was Ellie (Christa Miller) and Andy (Ian Gomez); a couple that despite any problems Jules and Grayson or Laurie and Travis or whoever had, you knew that Andy and Ellie were pretty solid despite whatever bickering would occur. The latter half of the finale, “Your World” felt that they took something a bit too far.
In the latter half, you saw Ellie fall for co-producer David Arquette as concierge of the Napa Valley resort, and it felt very out of character for Ellie to seemingly act as far as she did for sake of the joke. Let’s be clear here, this is no slam against Miller, as I’ll gladly watch any show that allows her to prance around in lingerie and pose sexily, but for humor’s sake, it felt at the expense of Andy and Ellie’s relationship.
Overall, “My Life/Your World” acts as a defacto possible season but also series finale. Not to say that the series tied every storyline up, as “My Life/Your World” was very open ended, but with news that Biegel and Lawrence will be stepping down in lieu of Ric Swartzlandertaking over showrunner duties for season four of Cougar Town, there was a real sense of finality in how “My Life/Your World” tied everything together. It felt like both creators knew that if the show did continue past season three that they would voluntarily not be apart of it in an official showrunner capacity. So to see Biegel and Lawrence throw all their cards on the table, tackling the stuff they wanted to tie up before they left was all but fitting.
In the pilot of Cougar Town ended with Doozer Productions heads Bill Lawrence and Randall Winston play beach cops who give Jules a night of fun which was not only the beginning of Cougar Town but also the beginning of Jules finding her way to Grayson and towards the life she really wanted. To see the final moments before the credits of “My Life/Your World” with both Lawrence and Winston return as the same beach cops feels significant. Just as they were there at the beginning of a new path at the beginning of Cougar Town they return at a new beginning or path for Jules with Grayson as her husband and friend; a new path not just for Jules and Grayson but oddly enough for Cougar Town too. And to see when a show come full-circle like that really says something.
While we can look cautiously towards the future of Cougar Town (which I’m sure will be fantastic) let us raise our own glass of wine in celebration of Cougar Town.
Cougar Town airs on the local ABC affiliate which is 6 WSYX ABC and can be found on channel 6. For HD channel versions, check your local cable or satellite provider for more information.
But what do YOU think, examiners?
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