Like all my favorite episodes of Cougar Town, "Make It Better" told a comedic and emotionally driven story with Laurie, Travis, and Jules dealing with her father’s age.
Just as Laurie and Travis struck out last week, Travis was back in the game without knowing it. Laurie spent the entirety of her time with Wade on their double date with Ellie and Andy wondering why Travis was talking with skanks. As the date went on, Wade kept trying to put himself back in the game even as things became increasingly difficult as Andy’s infatuation with Japanese sex robots increased.
Travis’ attempts at learning to be a “playa” (remember no r’s) is met with mostly second hand embarrassment by me, and Bobby’s comparison of “it’s like watching your kid die in battle” was one of the best descriptions for it.
Yet, the ending - after Bobby tells Travis to go with his nerdy side instead of emulating almost gay Grayson - was superb and it’s not really because Travis got the girl. It’s the celebration Bobby and Grayson had with each other; it’s a Dad and a Step-Dad celebrating a small victory for their kid.
Jules and Chick resonated most with because I find my own circumstances echoing that of Jules. My parents are no longer young, and their age is no longer a reassurance but a hindrance. Chick is having the same types of problems: his love of horses and riding is being impeded by his health, his memory isn’t what it used to be and he’s relying on Jules more than he wants to.
No parent wants to burden their children, and it’s not always a two way street when it comes to asking for help. Chick doesn’t want to lose his freedom, nor does he want to ask Jules for help. Asking for assistance is something Jules requires from Chick because he views it as a fundamental part of being a father and Chick would rather crawl and ride his lawnmower to the mailbox if it means one less burden for Jules.
This was a sudden turn for Cougar Town Season 4 as it explored its own mortality, something completely unexpected because it thematically fits better with the beginning of the series rather that what it ultimately became. It reminded me of the pilot as Jules wonders what is going on with her body, realizing life isn’t what it used to be.
A Few More Thoughts:
- High Ellie might be my favorite version of Ellie so far. Dershwasher!
- Grease in Space sounds plausible.
- Does the continually spinning wine stopper mean this entire episode was just a dream?