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Cougar Town: “Square One” Review

ABC Television

As we edge towards the end of season three for ‘Cougar Town,’ Jules and Grayson are faced with one of the toughest challenges of them all: living together. Between the white t-shirt challenge and trying to live with Grayson, Jules certainly has her hands full in this episode.

There goes Grayson’s house! We begin with Jules and Grayson talking to Ellie about how his house is currently a wreck thanks to the hurricane that passed through in the previous episode. Now Jules and Grayson have to live together until his house is fixed, which Jules doesn’t mind at all. Ellie finds this exciting, claiming their sudden living arrangements to be “like ‘The Real World’ with boring, older people.”

Laurie bursts into the room as usual, this time talking about bumping “cyber uglies” with her online Army boyfriend Wade. Poor Travis, he’s constantly being tortured by Laurie, unaware of how much he wants her. Ellie sees this and starts busting his balls about his infatuation with her which leads into a not-so-subtle talk with her and Jules about older people masturbating which makes Travis want to ram his head into the nearest wall. Poor, poor Travis.

Ellie ends up getting into an argument with Laurie over who’s the sexier one of the two. Ellie proclaims “I’m the Dexter of sex” but Laurie thinks her inventive moves in the bedroom one-up her friend/foe. Travis figures that since the both of them won’t stop talking about sex that he should try and settle this argument as soon as possible. He thinks they should list the people that they’ve slept with and see if there’s one person on there that they’ve both been with at one point. From there they’ll contact the man and ultimately find out who is the sexier one of the two. Travis, after looking through their long lists, narrows it down to one man: Vincent Hawthorne.

Across town Jules and Grayson are at counseling where they’re talking about their new living arrangements. Jules is obviously ecstatic about the whole situation and, as usual, fails to list to her psychiatrist’s advice about what kind of problem may rise up due to two formerly married people moving in together. Jules goes back to her house to find Bobby sitting on her couch drinking wine. She won’t allow that, especially after the multiple stains that are on the couch thanks to him which include motor oil for some reason. Jules proposes a White Shirt Challenge: first person who gets a stain on their shirt looses. She puts Bobby through the first challenge as she hurls a burrito. Andy, who’s sitting near him, shouts “It’s a trick!” though everyone watching the show was secretly wishing he’d say “It’s a trap!” Bobby dodges the burrito and Jules has a monstrous stain on her wall. She didn’t really think that one out too clearly.

Over at Ellie’s house, Ellie, Travis and Laurie are on speaker phone with Vince. “What’s up girls, want to come over. Together?” Laurie and Ellie both proceed to spark the memory of their individually wild times together with Vince where he concludes that Ellie was the best of the two. While Ellie celebrates and talks about how spontaneous she used to be in the sack, Andy walks by, obviously uncomfortable with the conversation.

At this point Grayson still thinks it’s going to be easy living with Jules, but she does a couple of strange little things that immediately get on his nerves. Ellie proclaims that “Sharing a house is like being trapped in a submarine forever. At some point somebody is going to freak, open the hatch and kill everyone.” When Grayson goes off to take a lap around the house in order to cool off, he finds a few bottles that should be in the recycle bin. Jules isn’t even sure what the recycle bin is called and nervously laughs it off. Grayson isn’t amused and ends up should at her, calling her home the “House of lies!” because she isn’t “green” and used the word as an excuse not to flush the toilet that morning. That and he’s afraid that his relationship with Jules will end the same way his first marriage did with his ex-wife Vivian. Either way, Jules didn’t flush the toilet? Ew.

Once Grayson storms out, Jules still harps on about people drinking wine on her couch. Bobby asks why is it that Ellie can drink wine on the couch and he can’t. “I’ve seen her drop her son but I’ve never seen her drop wine,” says Jules. At the same time Ellie continues to shove it in Laurie’s face that she’s the best at sex, even going so far as to write it on the palms of her hands. “The parents gave me weird looks when I dropped Stan off at preschool. Totally worth it.”

Outside of the coffee shop, where Ellie, Laurie and Travis currently are, Andy’s helping Bobby eat in order to protect his white t-shirt. Andy talks about how he overheard Ellie’s phone conversation with a former flame and how he wishes she were more spontaneous like she used to be. From a short distance, Ellie overhears the conversation, gets a little upset and hugs Travis. “This day just gets weirder and weirder.”

Jules and Laurie are at Grayson’s bar where Jules realizes what she’s done wrong and decides that the best way to get through this fight is to tell him every little thing about herself, even how she has to shave her hands. Grayson’s a bit creeped out by this, saying “I just got negative goosebumps.” Regardless of his comments, he appreciates the gesture as she leaves.

Back at Jules’ house, Andy is still helping Bobby eat while she cooks spaghetti and meatballs without any fear. In one quick move, she accidentally flings a meatball Bobby’s way in which Andy blocks it for him. While curled up in Bobby’s arms, Andy says in a soft, weakened voice “I’d take a whole pot roast for you sir.” Their bromance is one of the many great things about this show.

Ellie’s back at her house with Travis talking about taking care of Andy sexually. Travis, while trying to talk Ellie through this situation, at the same time is extremely grossed out. “I’m not his friend Travis, I’m just his wife.” Laurie ends up popping into the conversation, taking revenge over the fact that Ellie has been shoving her sex-pertise down her throat and was now able to overhear Ellie being vulnerable.

Grayson shows up at Jules’ house and almost ended the fight if it weren’t for the fact that Grayson showed up to dinner over a half hour late. It’s obvious that Jules and Grayson still have a lot they need to work out with each other before they get married, especially since Jules is taking a lap around her own house in order to cool off now. And yes, Ellie joins in at one point to walk it off too.

The next day Jules and Laurie do the lap around where she vents about Grayson, going up and down a flurry of emotions through one lap, which kind of terrifies Laurie. Grayson returns to his decimated house to find Bobby living in there and shirtless. Apparently Bobby’s boat house was also destroyed during the hurricane and he has nowhere else to live other than there. At the other end of town, Travis meets Ellie and Laurie at the bar. They talk about their own sexual styles and ask for Travis to help them. Travis reluctantly agrees and manages to have the both of them forgive each other and realize what they need to change in order to be masters in the bedroom once more without trying too hard.

Ellie goes over to Andy who’s hanging out with Bobby and takes him away for some surprise sex! Back at Jules’ house, Bobby comes in and he talk about their marriage, figuring out what it was that Jules did that made him cheat so much. “I can’t end up five years from now being single trying to start my life again. I can’t do it.” They have a touching moment where Bobby admits he was in the wrong doing what he did for so many years and that she’ll manage to get through this hurdle with Grayson.

Poor Travis! Even after Ellie satisfies Andy, she’s still talking about sex with him and he totally does not want to hear it. At the same time Jules comes to the conclusion that she should try to be more flexible with her own rules so that her and Grayson meet a middle ground and can live happily together. But who wins the White T-Shirt contest? Jules fails, spilling wine all over her shirt, which makes Bobby and Andy extremely happy.

The episode ends with Jules and Grayson going to her psychiatrist once more and talking about how they worked through their problems. The psychiatrist is flabbergasted over the fact that they basically are repeating what she said in the previous session. Out of anger, she smashes one of her own vases. “Sorry, I just had to break something.”

This episode of ‘Cougar Town’ is funny as always but feels a little bloated. You can tell by this point in the season the writers were more or less under the impression that we may not have a fourth season. Therefore they’re stuffing as many different scenarios with Jules and Grayson moving forward in their life together before the season is over. It’s understandable as to why they would have them get engaged, live together and show that Grayson has a kid all in one season, but they’re tying a bow on this series a little too fast.

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