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Cougar Town Recap: The Kiss Master

COUGAR TOWN - "A One Story Town" - Jules and the gang decide Bobby needs some help romancing Angie (guest star Sarah Chalke) so they launch "operation kiss-the-girl." Meanwhile, other former "Scrubs" cast turn up, as Ted (Sam Lloyd) and the Peons pass through on their way to audition at Disney World, on "Cougar Town," TUESDAY, MARCH 13 (8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (ABC/RICHARD CARTWRIGHT)
CHRISTA MILLER, SARAH CHALKE

This week on Cougar Town, Bobby Cobb finally got some love. It’s been a long time for him, and he certainly deserves it. He’s been so good lately! He cut his hair. He’s been wearing real clothes (most of the time). He might not speak coherently, and he might live on a boat, but he’s sweet. Dim, but sweet. He’s like a human version of Dog Travis, which is confusing but true.

Because this episode is also a Scrubs throwback episode, Ted (Travis’s singing buddy from that ill-fated Hawaii escape) and his band of merry a cappella singers are staying with Jules for the week. They’re in town to audition at Disney World. Travis set them up with this arrangement, which seems rude for a helmeted kid who isn’t doing the greatest job staying out of his mom’s house himself. Luckily, Jules likes having more people around so long as they do everything she says.

As soul mates who have not yet spoken to one another are wont to do, Bobby and Professor Angie La Claire have a somewhat awkward first meeting. Bobby tells Angie he doesn’t have an astrological sign, and then tells Angie he’s from France because she says that’s where she’s from. At least he didn’t introduce himself with another person’s name by accident! Not that this recapper knows anything about that, personally, but she’s heard that it happens. The point is, Bobby needs help, so Jules and the rest of the gang step in to meddle and completely take over everything, but in a very loving way.

In the process of orchestrating Bobby’s first date, Jules tells him that he just needs to get to the first kiss — that’s his strong point, and he’s the best kisser she’s ever been with. Grayson, she says, is the seventh. It’s nice to see Grayson humbled by his relationship with Jules — it might seem like emotional bullying coming from anyone else, or directed toward anyone else, but Jules is a filterless sweetheart and Grayson is a reformed womanizer. He can take this hit. He doesn’t, but he could. He spends the rest of the episode ambush-kissing Jules while she’s in the middle of doing stuff, essentially wearing her down until she declares him “The Kiss Master.” He buys this very easily. He will be a good partner for Jules.

Jules and Laurie meet up with Bobby (after enlisting Tom’s help to clear the plaza of Quebecer tourists) so Jules can tell him exactly how his first date will go. She tells him the date will start with Bobby driving Angie by golf cart over to play Penny Can with Travis and Andy, then on to a movie, and then on to drinks with Bobby’s friends, and then to the beach to watch the sunset. There are so many things wrong with this plan that I don’t even know where to start. That is too many activities! No hanging out with family on a first date! No hanging out with your date’s friends (and EX-WIFE) on your first date! These are truly awful ideas, so it’s not terribly surprising when everything that could go wrong does.

First, Bobby tells Angie her dress reminds him of something his dead grandmother wore. Then he spills Champagne all over her and tells her about a dead manatee epidemic taking over the nearby beaches. Despite being in the one type of moving vehicle it’s probably safe enough to jump out of, Angie sits through it all, only to crash into a sprinkler system, witness a shirtless Bobby breaking up a spray-paint fight between Travis and Andy, and be called “dumb” by her date. That she STILL sticks with it is really only a testament to Bobby’s torso region.

The next phase of the date doesn’t get any better. Bobby and Angie meet Bobby’s ex-wife and her new fiancé for dinner (whyyyyy, why, why?), and when Bobby orders a bread bowl for dinner, Jules gets all wife-y on him and reminds him how to eat it properly. Simultaneously, Grayson asks Angie if he looks like a good kisser and, his desperation mounting, suggests the whole table have a big make-out session so he can prove his skills. Angie does not know what she’s gotten herself into, and I see now why girlfriends and boyfriends for our single Cul de Sac Crew members are few and far between. It’s sort of a reverse invisible dog-collar thing — enter that neighborhood and you will be shocked.

Just as Bobby manages to spill steaming hot soup on Angie’s lap (though it was so slow-moving that honestly it seemed more like her fault), Andy works on securing a beach spot for the couple. Laurie, who suffered a hot sauce-in-the-eyes accident and was thus unable to procure movie tickets, tries to help out until her ankle monitor goes off for leaving city limits. She bolts, falls halfway into a child’s sand pit, and is left for dead. R.I.P., Laurie Keller! No, she makes it out somehow.

By the time Angie and Bobby arrive at the beach, the crowds have cleared and the sun is setting. It is almost perfect, apart from the dead manatee washed up on shore. They call Animal Control, who tells them that they ought to leave the area before they see the manatee being chainsawed. (Is this what they really do to dead animals washed up on shore? This seems excessive.) It’s at that moment that Angie has had enough, so she goes home and gets about five minutes to sulk alone before Ellie shows up to tell her how great a guy Bobby is. Angie is so up for giving him a second chance that I find myself doubting her mental stability. She climbs up on Ellie’s back — walking faculties limited by soup — and rides over to meet back up with her date.

Jules rescues Bobby from the bar where he’s eating a second, sadder bowl of bread-bowl soup. They head to the plaza to meet Angie, but not before Jules picks up Ted and his singers for a little favor. Tom clears the plaza of Quebecers. Ted and his band start singing “Kiss the Girl.” Angie and Bobby walk slowly toward each other from opposite ends of the plaza, Angie in a funny splayed-foot waddle owing to her burned thighs. There is no reason for her to want to kiss him, none at all. She does it anyway and I aww-ed. With that music, with that half-smile on his face, I’ll be damned if I wouldn’t have done the same thing. There is another Scrubs nod at the very end, a Wizard of Oz “and YOU were there!” routine: Zach Braff shows up to deliver a pizza. But let’s not end this with Zach Braff. Let’s end it with a kiss.

Photo: Richard Cartwright/ABC