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‘Cougar Town’ Review: “It’ll All Work Out”

ABC Television

It’s difficult to avoid the holidays, no matter how hard you try. For reasons related to the show’s hiatus, Jules and the gang can’t celebrate them all – but they plan to in “It’ll All Work Out.”

The episode begins with Jules, Ellie and Laurie looking at pictures of their 4th of July festivities which includes Bobby catching fire. When Jules realizes that she has no pictures from last year’s Thanksgiving, she realizes that they didn’t celebrate the holiday at all. “Remember our schedules got all mixed up? We went away and nobody knew when we were coming back?” says Laurie. Jules responds with “But we’re not around next fall. What if a new group comes in and replaces us? Everybody’s going to be like ‘What happened to the Cul-de-Sac Crew? I miss them. Who are these new people? They aren’t so good.’” Which ties into what is easily one of the best title card zingers of the season (and thank you, TBS).

Jules makes an important announcement to the Cul-de-Sac crew: She wants to hold Thanksgiving that evening since they missed out on it this past year. The group immediately starts calling the so-called holiday “Fakesgiving.” Nobody’s sold on the idea of celebrating Thanksgiving in May, especially Grayson. “I’m driving over to Georgia to adopt a baby unicorn.” Ellie ends up telling everyone that they have to show up to Jules’ Thanksgiving or else. Nobody objects to Ellie, who would?

At this point we’re under the assumption that Grayson’s house is no longer trashed since he complains to Ellie about Stan tagging his garage (likely it’s because they shot the first couple of episodes and then were told about their truncated season). Grayson complains to Jules about how Ellie isn’t willing to punish Stan at all. Jules doesn’t have the heart to tell Ellie that she’s essentially a bad mom but Grayson keeps prodding her to do it.

Tom runs into Jules at Grayson’s bar and he mentions Fakesgiving. Jules hates that everyone’s calling it that but, oh well. She tries inviting Tom to Fakesgiving but he’s got to operate on somebody around that time. Once Tom leaves, Jules shows Grayson that she’s already counting down the days until the wedding (four months). She even goes so far as to tell Grayson that she’s already written out some of the vows and draws a sad face on a box when he tells her that he hasn’t done anything like that yet. Jules proposes that they both say a little excerpt from their vows to each other when they have Fakesgiving dinner. That’s not good for Jules, given the fact that she just lied about having some of her vows done. Uh oh.

Let’s not forget about the mayoral race that’s going on in town. Andy runs into the current mayor who tells him about the pizza tossing contest that’s part of the race, taking place later on that afternoon. After their brief conversation, Laurie is surprised that Andy’s still moving forward with the race. And by the way, in case anyone wanted to know what was on the theater marquee this episode, they were showing “Valerie Flake” and “Bachelorman.”

Andy meets up with Bobby a little later on, talking about how he’s unsure about taking part in the publicity stunt at the Italian restaurant. Bobby thinks he should go forward with it and walks off, leaving Andy a little unsure, uttering a soft “Come on!” Bobby travels over to Jules’ house where she’s pulling out all of the fancy plates, including a gravy boat with solid gravy still inside. Ew. While he helps her out, Bobby airs out his thoughts on Ellie’s kind actions on Jules’ Fakesgiving. He thinks that Ellie wants something from Jules but she refuses to believe it.

Jules, unsure of what to think, goes to drink up from her one true friend, Big Carl (the wine glass). Grayson shows up with his acoustic guitar and sings some of his vows to Jules, making her tear up. Once Grayson leaves the room, Jules demands that Travis helps her write up her vows. Travis responds to this by wearing Sad Box which has turned into Happy and Winking Box.

Jules begins brainstorming what she should say in her vows. “Grayson, there are so many great things about you. For instance, I’ve never seen you hit a child.” Ellie isn’t impressed by the vows but uses it as an opening to ask a favor. She wants Stan to be the ring bearer at her wedding. Jules agrees to this, only if he passes through an obstacle course littered with distractions for Stan. Bobby’s right, Ellie “buttered her up” into doing a favor.

Since Laurie missed Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, she decided to combine the three together by wearing an Indian outfit. Travis is completely confused by this but continues trying to write up the wedding vows. Travis recruits help from his father who ends up saying romantic vows to his own beer.

The ring bearer obstacle course is set! Stan surprisingly passes, much to Jules’ dismay. Grayson isn’t too happy over the fact that Ellie’s “Devil baby” is going to be the ring bearer at their wedding. Meanwhile, Travis is getting poor wedding vow help from Laurie and Bobby. Laurie can’t stop talking about doing it with Matt Damon and Bobby can’t stop talking about his love of beer. Talk about a strange combination.

Back at Ellie’s house, Grayson is teaching Andy how to toss a pizza with Play-Doh. Andy’s still not entirely sure whether or not he should go forward with the mayoral race. Then tragedy strikes! Stan ends up hurling Big Carl across Jules’ kitchen, shattering him into a million pieces. Utterly heartbroken, Jules cries “Your son just killed one of my best friends!” Jules ends up letting loose on Ellie, telling her how bad of a mom she is, which really ticks Ellie off.

Now everybody’s down and isn’t sure what to do, especially Jules. Tom barges into her kitchen with some semi-good news: “My patient died and I brought wine.” She’s drinking four wine glasses at once with the help of four straws, desperate to recreate Big Carl to no avail. Tom and Jules end up teaming up for a minute, walking over to Ellie’s place. Jules uses Tom as a possible human shield against Ellie, which doesn’t work. Jules pushes Tom aside and talks it out with Ellie about her parenting. Ellie just doesn’t want to be too strict with him to the point of where Stan could end up hating her, but Jules assures her that being a little bit strict is necessary in parenting. Jules agrees to help Ellie with being strict on Stan.

At the same time Travis apologies to Laurie and Bobby for telling them how unhelpful they were over the vows. They end up going over to Ellie’s house and writing down how much Jules loved the recently deceased Big Carl to her, using it as Jules’ perfect wedding vows. Andy is at the bar, depressed, but Grayson coaxes him into going to the Italian restaurant and to keep running for mayor. Grayson/Andy moment!

Now we’re at the Mayoral Pizza Toss. Andy’s isn’t confident in his abilities but Grayson shouts at him “There is no pizza!” which Andy mistakes him to say “There is no peas bra?” Here comes the triumphant moment for Andy that’s wonderfully executed with the help of blatant CG – which makes this scene even better. Andy recreates a dropping the mic moment after his display by throwing the pizza dough on the mayor’s shirt.

Now it’s officially Fakesgiving as everyone surrounds the table. It’s time for Jules to read her vows, which she does with one little problem: Laurie didn’t completely edit out the part where Jules was talking about Big Carl. Either way, Grayson still appreciates it. The entire table holds hands as Jules talks about how grateful she is for everybody being in her lives. Surprise! Stan isn’t a little hellion for a moment and comes in with the turkey, a sweet moment/memory for Ellie.

The episode ends with the burial of Big Carl, something that Grayson thinks is silly but Ellie and Laurie take seriously. But with bittersweet endings come new beginnings as Jules introduces the gang to Big Lou! It looks like an egg but it holds a bottle of wine, so what does it matter? We see a sepia-colored montage of Jules drinking out of Big Carl. Rest In Peace, former base of a lamp turned wine glass.

“It’ll All Work Out” is actually one of the stronger episodes of the season. It not only displays the great dynamic between Jules and Ellie and their strong friendship, but it also pairs up some people who normally don’t get some one-on-one screen time together, here Andy and Grayson. It’s a sweet episode and is possibly one of the funniest ones too.

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