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Cougar Town Recap: Making Out and Making Up

COUGAR TOWN - "Southern Accents" - Jules has a hard time accepting that Holly (guest star Briga Heelan) is part of her life, a situation that does not improve after she finds out that Holly and Travis made out; Andy wants to run for mayor so he can change the town rules against weddings on the beach (something Jules has her heart set on), but Ellie won't let him; and Laurie tries to convince Bobby he's just socially inept, not prejudiced, after he blurts out some awkward comments at the cake shop, on "Cougar Town," TUESDAY, MAY 1 (8:31-9:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. (ABC/RANDY HOLMES)
BUSY PHILIPPS, BRIAN VAN HOLT, MARCUS CHOI

This week’s episode found the Cul-de-Sac Crew accepting Holly, baby Tampa’s mom, into the fold with varying degrees of reluctance and kissing. Now that we know her a little better, we can see that she’ll probably fit in just fine; like everyone else on Cougar Town, she's occasionally despicable and dim, but in a way that’s meant to be lovable. This often works well (Laurie, Bobby), but this week, loving some of these people felt an awful lot like a chore.

It starts because Holly has fallen into the habit of cajoling Jules into girl-bonding time over tequila shots when she stops by to pick up or drop off Tampa. Jules, never one to turn down her own booze, doesn’t enjoy these chats and tries to get her friends to invent a “thing” they all have to go to in order to get out of it. Naturally, everyone else bails, even Ellie, who seems like someone who would ordinarily shut a ditzy outsider out at all costs. It used to be that she only enjoyed the suffering of her enemies — now that high isn’t enough.

A more reasonable reaction on Ellie’s part is her reluctance to sign onto Andy’s newfound and mostly inexplicable desire to run for mayor. I say “run for,” but it’s unclear as to whether or not there’s even an election going on. What we do know is that Jules and Grayson want a beach wedding, but the current mayor, Roger (who just put a VERY large ring on the finger of our favorite cougar, Barb), won’t budge on the town’s no-beach-wedding policy, apart from his personal exception of course. Jules encourages Andy to run for mayor, because his petition to get an unnecessary speed bump installed down the road demonstrates that he is qualified and interested in politics. Because he likes the idea of wearing top hats at parades, Andy takes her suggestion to heart — up until Ellie’s disapproval halts his plans. It makes sense. It’s a big decision to make so quickly, and being married to politics does involve a lot more socializing than Ellie is built for.

The other subplot this week is a confusing little treatise on racism, which starts with Bobby telling an Asian customer at Laurie’s bakery (which I refuse to call by its name unless forced) that he’d probably love to have the camera cake around his neck. It’s sort of a bizarrely specific stereotype, but Bobby doesn’t help matters by telling the man that yes, it IS because he’s Asian. This prompts Bobby to hide away in his boat, where Laurie picks him up and takes him to Grayson’s bar for a “minority” panel (consisting of Andy, Sig, and Laurie’s Twitter/Army boyfriend Wade) meant to help Bobby realize that he isn’t really prejudiced. Bobby feels bad for telling Wade that he’d be his first choice in a game of basketball, and Andy tells him that his agony about his racist stereotyping puts him well above most people. Afterward, Laurie celebrates her “victory” with a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that, just like Sandra Bullock, she’s a very pretty white lady who solved racism. Busy Phillips deserves everything. That’s what I got out of this. She consistently rescues needless and unfunny scenes, all while wearing getups that are as ridiculous as they are adorable.

But back to the show’s newest blonde: Holly invites Travis to get ice cream with her and Tampa, and they end up fervently making out on Travis’s couch. I want to say that this is an inexcusable and disgusting development, but anything that keeps Travis’s mouth off Laurie’s mouth is fine with me. Jules doesn’t know enough to share these priorities, so she’s just grossed out. If they had a baby, Jules’s granddaughter would be her stepdaughter’s sister! Grayson, as per usual, fails to understand why anyone would be upset. He’s sure it’s “over” because Jules expressed her disappointment in Travis, who then makes a big show of pretending to be madly in love with Holly. He says he’s kidding — he says he just (“just”) took advantage of a hot, vulnerable girl, a claim that Grayson HIGH-FIVES. I hoped then that Jules’s kitchen island would collapse in on itself and drag Grayson and Travis down to hell, but no luck this time! Travis’s point, allegedly, is that Jules isn’t giving Holly a fair shot, but then why would she? This is a visibly irresponsible mom doing half the upbringing of her future husband’s unexpected child, whom Jules just found making out with her son. It’s not the sort of behavior that most people are able to view with nuance and patience.

When Jules tries to tell Grayson (and, indirectly, Ellie) that it’s okay for her to be selfish, Ellie feels guilty about holding Andy back from his mayoral dreams. She hands him a top hat and starts listing off her First Lady demands, which include: no carnivals, no marathons, no public coughing, and no circumcision. It’s funny, and though it might be totally illogical, Andy’s forthcoming “campaign” may give Ellie a new and more enjoyable way to be nasty to her fellow citizens.

Because the way his mother perceives his future stepdad’s ex-girlfriend is suddenly very important to him, Travis takes Jules to a park to spy on Holly in the act of looking like a good mom. Travis tells Jules that Holly is just a young mom in over her head, much like Jules once was. (It’s unclear whether the growing association he’s making between his mom and the lady he just hooked up with will trouble him later on.) Jules, under the influence of recognition, invites Holly in later for a glass of red wine (that’s what the family drinks) to give it another try. They hug, and just like that, it’s problem solved. Whether or not we’ll be forced to undergo more of Travis and Holly making out remains to be seen.

Photo: Randy Holmes/ABC