Cougar Town tends to be at its most enjoyable when it allows itself to be both an absurd sitcom and a show about severely damaged people at the same time; just look at the scene from “Between Two Worlds” in which Bobby, or should I say, Ron Mexico, is confronted by his AA sponsor, and comes clean with a story that is, at its core, incredibly depressing. He’s a divorced man who lives in a permanently-on-land boat, barely making a living, and forced to confront his ex-wife every day. But that comes right after the revelation that he passed off the story of Forrest Gump as his own (and was believed), and comes paired with a hilarious aside about his boat being crammed full of spiders. The show is taking pathos and silliness and forcing them to dance cheek-to-cheek, like a pushy friend at an 7th grade homecoming. The result, however, is that the comedy becomes intensified.
Elsewhere in the episode, the drama isn’t quite as severe, but still, the main crux is always interpersonal hardship, whether it be the navigation of a young marriage, or dealing with mostly-unrequited love. Of course, these two stories also hinge on the concept that everyone in the Cul de Sac Crew has a superpower, a premise that could have been hackneyed had it not been so funny. And sure, I could see that Jules was going to use her “sex solves everything” ability to fix things in the end, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t having fun along the ride.
The jokes this week were consistently hitting for me, starting right early on, with the way Tom delivers the line “What’s your favorite kind of tush?” Those throwaways, like Laurie’s monologue on her personal history with toasters or Jules’ discovery of wine spikes, are what make Cougar Town the show it is, and “Between Two Worlds” certainly didn’t lack for them. A strong week for the show overall.