Ten Reasons You Need To Watch This Week’s “Cougar Town”

Every week over at The A.V. Club, I review “Cougar Town.” And while that’s all fine and dandy, this week’s episode “A One Story Town” is something special. It’s the best episode of the season, and one of my favorite episodes in the show’s history. So, in honor of that, I want to give you ten reasons why you need to tune in this Tuesday at 8:30 pm on ABC and wine watch this bad boy. Sure, the show needs all the ratings help it gets. But this isn’t why “Cougar Town” needs you to watch, but rather why you need to watch it.

It should go without saying that while I’ll be vague if possible, there will definitely be a few things that will hint at events to unfold. Going in blind might be best if you know you’re going to watch anyways. But if you’re unsure, consider this a primer for what will go down in “A One Story Town.”

ct_s3ep5-18.jpg1) The Worthless Peons return! In the Season 2 finale, we saw “Scrubs”’ Ted Buckland living with Travis in Hawaii. Well, he’s back on the mainland, and he’s got his a cappella band back together. Why do they show up? Tune in to find out, but sufficed to say they bring their sweet harmonies (as well as creepy demeanors) back with them. Speaking of music…

2) There are more Disney Songs than bottles of wine! Probably because Disney owns and operates ABC, the producers of the show had easy (read: free) access to some classic songs from some animated movies. I won’t give away which ones, although the episode heavily hints at the pivotal one early on.

3) Jules has a master plan to get Bobby and Angie together! While Bobby and Angie seemed to hit it off last week, there’s almost instant trouble in paradise for the pair. The plan Jules concocts to get them together is wonderful. The only more wonderful thing? How quickly it falls apart when actually executed.

4) Sarah Chalke kills it this week! As funny as Brian van Holt is as hapless Bobby, it’s Chalke who does some yeoman’s work here as someone overwhelmed both by Bobby’s ineptitude and the Cul-De-Sac’s crew heavy involvement in their first date. Chalke, to no one’s surprise, nails this show’s balance of insanity and believability.

ct1.jpg5) Tom gets an important, albeit unwitting, role in the proceedings! Jules runs the date like a captain organizing her troops. But her secret weapon is Tom. He is, in fact, SO secret that he’s unaware that he’s even been conscripted. But the payoff for his role is fantastic. Which leads to the next point…

6) The payoffs at the end of the episode demonstrate how tight the writing this year has been! Having three goofy plots per episode would still make this a fun show. But the way the show has figured out how to intertwine and ultimately interlock these disparate elements and build them all towards a singular moment has been a breakthrough for the show this season. To wit…

7) Canada threatens the happiness of Americans in a way not seen since the “South Park” movie! Co-creator Kevin Biegel wrote this episode, and it’s so specific about the influx of Quebecers that it feels at times like a documentary starring Courteney Cox. But again: their presence ends up informing the action, and helps pay off the aforementioned crucial Disney song. It’s pretty amazing. Speaking of pretty amazing…

8 ) Jules and Ellie have their funniest moment in show history! For the longest time, I’ve put “DJ Ellie” in this sacred slot. But no, the two go above and beyond that this week. I won’t give away what it is, but it’s not just a throwaway gag: it’s someone instrumental to the Bobby/Angie date. Speaking of Jules and Ellie…

9) We learn some serious stuff went down during New Year’s Eve, 1999! The show doesn’t really do flashback sequences. They can/should make an exception in this case. You’ll see why.

10) Best end credit sequence ever! Just watch. No, you don’t want me to spoil it. But “A One Story Town” was screened at every “Cougar Town” viewing party during their whirlwind promotional tour, along with the Season 3 premiere episode “Ain’t Love Strange.” And at every screening, this sequence brought the house down. So set your DVR a few minutes over, just in case.

So there you go. Now sit down and watch this episode, darnit. I’ll be over here sipping wine alongside you. Virtually speaking, but still.