Once “Cougar Town” decided to couple up Jules and Grayson, it never really played around with the idea that these two people are right for each other. There have been complications (Grayson’s daughter) and annoyances (Jules’ reassigning meanings of phrases, among other things), but they’ve come in the context of this couple growing and deepening their relationship, never in a will they-won’t they fashion.
So it’s hardly a spoiler to say that “Cougar Town” ended its run on ABC with Grayson and Jules tying the knot. But how Tuesday’s (May 29) season finale got there was a little bit surprising and a whole lot of fun. Grayson may not like all these people hanging around all the time but it’s a pleasure to know we’ll get to keep hanging out with them for at least one more season (thanks again, TBS).
Grayson’s discomfort with living in the cul-de-sac crew’s hangout — although, really, was he expecting anything different once he moved in with Jules? — and with the idea of a big wedding leads him to ask Jules to elope, and after the gang does an inspired “Groundhog Day” bit to get Jules to realize she needs to give a little, she agrees. Their definition of “elope” differs, however, in that he means it the traditional way and she takes it to mean “just us and these five goofballs who are always around, plus my dad.”
Nonetheless, it means a trip to Napa, a 21st birthday party for Travis, some serious Travis-Laurie developments, Ellie getting the hots for David Arquette and, ultimately, a return to Gulfhaven for Jules’ dream beach wedding that ends the season on a beautiful and, in keeping with the spirit of the show, slightly cracked note. The mobile ceremony — a way around the town ordinance against beach weddings — was wonderfully played and balanced the comedy of the walk-and-talk vows and the heartfelt romance behind those vows just about perfectly.
As for Travis and Laurie, both the show and its fans have been somewhat divided over whether to put them together, and even if Trav’s wine-soaked and spectacularly ill-conceived grand gesture doesn’t put an end to the story, it’s at least a great way to put it off for a while longer. Laurie has always had some awareness about the way Travis feels about her, and even if Army boyfriend Wade hadn’t showed up in Napa, we like that she at least acknowledged it (even if she didn’t completely put the brakes on it).
We also like that Travis, rather than trying to break Laurie and Wade up for his own gain, decided to make a play for her on his own merits. That move had the advantage of being much funnier, as his physically and emotionally naked plea to her instantly settled the question for now. We have a feeling that the show isn’t completely finished with these two, if for no other reason than Busy Philipps and Dan Byrd work so well together, but it can also have a lot of fun with Travis trying to regain whatever he lost with his streak.
As for Ellie, it was great fun watching Christa Miller get to play being excited about something other than people being mean to each other, even if we had a bit of a struggle wrapping our head around David Arquette being the object of Ellie’s lust. (Side note: That must have been an interesting day on set. We know Arquette and Courteney Cox have remained close post-split, but watching the wife of one “Cougar Town” exec producer — Miller is married to co-creator Bill Lawrence — flirt with another EP while his ex, who’s also an EP, is right next to her — must have at least elicited some pretty great outtakes.)
And then, that wedding. Very nicely done all around, and it could easily have worked as the closing moments of the series had TBS not stepped in to pick up “Cougar Town.” We’re glad that doesn’t have to be the case, though. The show has already proven its ability to wring comedy from a (mostly) stable relationship, and we’re pretty excited to see what the future holds for the newlyweds.
What did you think of the “Cougar Town” season finale?