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Cougar Town Ep. 5.02, “Like a Diamond” is repetitive and superficial

Cougar Town Ep. 5.02, “Like a Diamond” is repetitive and superficial

cougar town 5.2

Cougar Town Season 5, Episode 2 “Like a Diamond”
Written by Melody Durloshon
Directed by Brian Van Holt
Airs Tuesday nights at 10pm on TBS

 

Like last week’s season premiere, “Like a Diamond” takes a common idea – here, it’s ‘truth’ – and embeds it in each plot of the episode in some way. However, unlike last week, “Like a Diamond” is never funny or interesting enough to give weight to any of its events, a victim to stunt casting and some of the more uncomfortable Unlikable Jules material we’ve seen since Cougar Town‘s moved to TBS. As with previous efforts to bring the Friends cast to Cougar Town, Matthew Perry’s short visit to Florida is nothing more than empty comedy, often at the expense of its main character.

Perry guest stars as Sam Johnston, a rich, lonely venture capitalist who Jules drives into looking for her wedding ring – which fell off in a nervous fit when she forgets to pay all the bills in the house, a story line the episode drops like a hot turd two minutes in. Immediately, Johnston’s drawn to Jules, and it only takes a couple of minutes before we’re watching him propose to her while a flash mob goes apeshit in the background to “Hooked on a Feeling”. Regardless of how quickly the situation escalates, “Like A Diamond” doesn’t have anywhere to go with it: and while I appreciate the writers avoiding the cliche of Grayson getting mad at her (in fact, he’s turned on by the whole thing), they don’t have anything else interesting to bring into the fold. “Let’s all laugh because these two actors were married on a TV show neither of them are able to escape, even though it ended a decade ago!”

More so, “Like A Diamond” just suffers because its so formulaic: there’s been so many stories where Andy supports Bobby’s crazy ideas, and Laurie gets mad at Ellie for being a bitch at her (and by this season, Grayson being cool with extended visits from Crazy Jules). There’s nothing wrong with these pairings – they’ve certainly worked well in the past – but there’s nothing fresh to any of them to engage the audience with. Of course the episode was going to end with a snow fight: once Bobby insists that Travis believe in the power of positive thinking, did we expect anything else?

It’s frustrating because with a few tweaks, this episode could’ve gone in a much more interesting direction: some actual on-screen chemistry (seriously.. what has happened in ten years?) between Cox and Perry might make his attraction to her a little more believable. Even more interesting would the episode had opened with Grayson being unable to pay the bills because he forgot/didn’t have enough money, using Perry’s character as a way for Grayson to reflect on his professional career (though this could lead to cliche “mid-life crisis” material the episode didn’t need). But I’m speaking hypothetically: the point is that there’s no creativity to any of the three plots, where just a little touch would’ve went a long way (even Laurie/Ellie’s material comes down a stunt; specifically, Laurie in a brunette wig).

Whenever a Scrubs cast member makes their way to Cougar Town, the writers of the show are always able to find interesting ways to integrate them into the Cul De Sac universe (even if it’s only in app form). With Friends, they’ve gone oh-for-three – but at least Kudrow and Aniston brought some personality to their respective appearances (though those both boiled down to “crazy bitch”). In “Like A Diamond”, Perry is just kind of there, dancing to a marching band and bringing what quirky charm he can to Bland Johnston, unable to escape the trappings of a filler episode.

 

Other thoughts/observations:

– this episode was directed by none other than Brian Van Holt himself.

– Jules: “There are silent lambs?”

– Who doesn’t like a little side of “what, whaat” for breakfast?

– The four places Laurie’s “died”: beach, rave, rodeo, Kid Rock show.

 

[wpchatai]