So you may know how the third-season premiere of “Cougar Town” ended: with Grayson proposing to Jules in the most romantic TP’ing ever.
But the journey is at least as important as the endpoint on this show. So even if you watched the preview video and read all the stories about its return, chances are you still may have found a lot to enjoy about “Ain’t Love Strange.” We know we did. In fact, as we watched, we came up with a dozen reasons to be glad “Cougar Town” is back on the air.
1. The proposal, obviously. It’s not so much that Jules is predictable (although she is) as that Grayson knows her really, really well, and uses that knowledge to set up a lovely, sweet proposal that fits all of Jules’ criteria. And yeah, the toilet paper actually did give the empty house’s front yard a slightly fairy tale-like quality.
2. Jules and Grayson. “Cougar Town” has never shied away from the fact that both Jules and Grayson have pretty sizable baggage, but because of that their romance feels pretty grounded and real. See: the mouthguard, Grayson’s reluctant PDA.
3. The wine. The opening shot of the season isn’t of anything big or important — just Jules pouring a generous glass of red. It’s a signal that our drinking buddies are back.
4. The smack talk. This is a group of friends that likes to bust each other’s chops (“This should be the group”), but we know it comes from a good place. See Laurie’s pep talk to Ellie about Stan. Sure, she ends with “Sometimes devil babies are just devil babies” — and yes, it did have to be said — but the underlying message is one of encouragement.
5. The crazy world of Laurie Keller. We rewound the “Eat, Pray, Tampa” story about three times just to hear her description of using her shoe as a weapon.
6. Tom. Jules’ lonely, odd, occasionally creepy next-door neighbor is ever so gradually starting to become part of the group, but his outsider status is still a source of great comedy that Bob Clendenin plays extremely well.
7. The green screen in Travis’ new apartment. It could be Penny Can, or Movie Mashup, or any of the recurring bits “Cougar Town” does. That don’t tend to advance the story much, but they’re funny. The green screen gave us the awesomely bromantic moment tonight of Bobby and Andy flying through the air while holding hands.
8. Travis’ semi-aimlessness. It’s actually kind of refreshing to see a TV portrayal of a college student who hasn’t figured things out yet and doesn’t seem in a huge hurry to do so.
9. “Jellybean.” Because it’s just a beautiful insult word.
10. The music. Christa Miller, who plays Ellie, is also “Cougar Town’s” music supervisor, and she’s got a good ear for songs that fit the show. That was “Fall” by Ed Sheeran playing under the proposal scene.
11. Grayson singing. We’ll have Jules’ Slightly Longer Morning Routine song in our head for the rest of the week.
12. The title. Yeah, “Cougar Town” is an albatross that doesn’t begin to convey what the show is actually about now (and has been since about a third of the way through Season 1). But the jokes the writers put around the title now have become something like the blackboard gag on “The Simpsons.” Keep the title, keep the gags, and keep being funny, “Cougar Town.” It’s nice to have you back.
What did you think of “Cougar Town’s” season premiere?