This season of Cougar Town has heavily featured Bob Clendenin’s Tom. And I have been concerned that his character is better in small doses. What bothered me the most about Tom’s increased screen time is that the cul-de-sac crew is so mean to him. While they can sling barbs at each other, viewers always know the love and the devotion these friends share for each other. But poor Tom they were just awful to—they never let him come inside Jules’ house, they forgot to feed his cat and they were blatantly rude to him. The whole thing never felt right to me—even if Tom did have his own creepy tendencies.
Perhaps everyone over at Cougar Town shared my worries because “I Should Have Known It” rectified the situation. Tom gets a new girlfriend Jessica (guest star Ali Wentworth) and Jules and Laurie are immediately suspicious and think she’s a gold digger. Laurie would know. She wrote the book on gold digging and has a degree in “gold diggery.”
They decide to investigate, which Ellie knows will be a disaster. Turns out Jules and Laurie are right about Jessica; she was even trying to steal Tom’s watch. But the whole storyline lead to the gang letting Tom inside Jules’ house and into the gang which means hopefully they’ll continue to be kinder and gentler to poor Tom. And I expect this means we will get to see more of Josh Hopkins’ spot-on impersonation of Clendenin.
The episode also continued Bobby’s persistent efforts to improve his life. He learns that he’s not getting a second date because he has terrible manners, and Ellie offers to help him out. Although I find it hard to believe Jules wouldn’t have told him not to use his pants as a napkin or take off his shirt in public, the storyline set up how much the whole cul-de-sac crew worries about Bobby and wants to see him succeed. Ellie is only being mean to him because “he’s an unemployed guy who lives in a boat in a parking lot.” Without manners, he doesn’t have a lot going for him.
As I said last week, I just really love what the show is doing with Bobby this season. His character is so nuanced and even his most foolish errors have a depth to them. Bobby not knowing which word to emphasize was a classic Bobby blunder that was funny throughout the episode.
The gang also instituted an extension of the “change approved” edict. Now they can create new rules by gaining the majority vote—four out of seven. That sets up Ellie, Laurie and Jules against Grayson, Andy and Bobby with Travis bouncing from one side to another until Andy trades sides. With the addition of Tom to the group, the voting dynamics could become quite interesting.
Other thoughts on the episode:
• Glad to see Penny Can back in the form of Balcony Can.
• I wonder how many takes it took to get the in-unison “We as husbands no longer have to respond to crazy ass questions that you get mad at us for answering honestly even though deep down you already know the honest answer.”
• I’m kind of curious to read Tom’s cul-de-sac fan fiction.
• The random pop-culture shout-outs on Cougar Town are always the best. I loved Laurie referring to Jessica’s chest as “Franklin and Bash.”
• The whole idea of the friends kissing each other goodbye seems like something men fantasize about straight women doing, which make it all the more strange that “I Should Have Known It” was written by a woman.