Cougar Town Season 4, Episode 11 ‘Saving Grace’
Directed by Michael McDonald
Written by Blake McCormick
Airs Tuesday nights at 10pm (ET) on TBS
There have been a few episodes this season where Cougar Town‘s reached a bit to create marital drama between the two couples at the heart of the show (although the same would apply to Laurie and Travis at times, as well). ‘Saving Grace’ is definitely one of those episodes, presenting us with a number of story lines and rushing through them for mostly unsatisfying conclusions. When Cougar Town dips into the sappy well it can be hit or miss, as the last few scenes of the episode show.
Things begin in kind of an odd place: Grayson and Jules have a disagreement over faith, a topic I’d rather most comedies just avoided. Both to its benefit and its disadvantage, ‘Saving Grace’ doesn’t really dig into this idea too far. Grayson’s an atheist, and Jules can’t believe it, because she’s such a person of faith (something I guess we’ve seen a little over the years, but nothing that’s become such an important plot device as it does this week).
What bothers me is how it concludes: Jules spends the episode pleading to Grayson to consider her idea of faith, because she’s not comfortable being married to someone who isn’t… which is a crazy idea! Grayson’s never said a peep about his feelings, sitting through dinner prayers and other moments of ‘faith’ – but that’s not enough for Jules, that he keeps them to himself. In typical Jules fashion, she has to shove her beliefs in his face, and it makes the moment he prays in the end to save her during the dodgeball game doesn’t ring true, a candy-coated solution to a philosophical issue Cougar Town’s never really been interested in.
The Andy/Ellie material at least has a definitive arc to it – but even in that, it’s frustrating as hell. We all know that Ellie needs reminders to appreciate her husband – but those reminders come in the form of a snarky 14-year old who Andy was accidentally making sexual comments about earlier. It’s a very, very odd way to manifest this dynamic in their relationship, and disappointingly, Ellie’s left off the hook by wearing some attention-grabbing yoga pants to the ill-conceived dodgeball game.
There are some funny jokes spread about – the seagulls in the back of every shot are terrific, and if there’s one moment that rings true, it’s when Andy and Travis point out that maybe Bobby should think about dating a friend, instead of hooking up with strangers at Target or other girls he doesn’t really know. Lisa’s introduction to the group is rushed (like everything else that transpires in the latter half of the episode), but I enjoy watching an episode that feels like the show has a direction for Bobby, a valuable character that can be left floating in the background at times.
With a noticeable lack of depth to most of its material, ‘Saving Grace’ is an episode that doesn’t quite fulfill it’s potential, rushing through really intriguing stories to reach the cleanest, most happy-background-music friendly conclusions possible.
– Ted Danson = cool. Donald Trump = not cool.
– doppleganger is not a word for genitalia, as fitting as it may sound.
– As Mayor is a game I hope we see more of this season, with new rules every time.