Cougar Town Recap: If It Weren’t for Those Meddling Kids

Photo: Richard Cartwright/ABC

Okay, fine, I changed my mind. Something needs to happen on this show. I want something bigger than a story line about a fountain that makes Jules need to pee, or one about completely nonthreatening children biking through what is, after all, a residential neighborhood. I don’t know, I guess this episode just didn’t do it for me. It was okay. Even the brief, blink-and-you-miss-it return of Penny Can felt like a hollow victory! I want something urgent, some story to become emotionally and embarrassingly invested in. I’ll take almost anything — except for that Laurie-Travis hookup that you grossest of shippers seem to want so badly. 

The construction of a new shopping mall near the cul-de-sac has spurred a small, harmless onslaught of boys on bikes (“The Bicycle Boys,” as Tom calls them) into the neighborhood. Andy promises to take care of it, dubbing himself “King of the Neighborhood,” but is quickly shot down by his friends as well as anyone who’s ever seen the show before. Andy is a doll, but the only thing he is “king” of is Bobby’s heart. (Aw!) Jules, as rightful King, decides to take it upon herself to get the boys out of the neighborhood. Her first attempt — a stern talking-to while wearing a hot dress — ends poorly when the boys literally ride circles around her. Despite the fact that they are all incredibly tiny and silent, she somehow makes it out with her life.

Elsewhere in town, Travis is taking sexy shirtless photos of … his dad? It was creepy! Travis has a photography assignment to capture “candid” pictures of strangers, but can’t do the real thing because of the whole OUH thing. (That’s Operating while Under the Helmet.) There is still no reason for these pictures to be quite so sexy, though! I guess I have a thing for Bobby this season?? He’s been shirtless a lot and I haven’t been sorry about it. Neither is Travis’s photography professor (Sarah Chalke), who finds said shirtless pictures “moving” in that she seems to want to sleep with their subject. When Bobby shows up on campus and sees Professor La Claire, it’s clear he feels the same way. Hey, this could be a thing that happens! It would be nice to see Bobby in a real relationship. Given that she’s only set to appear on next week’s episode, though, my money is on Chalke’s character having a touch of crazy.

In similarly uninformed love is Laurie, who met a “solder in Afghanistan” on Twitter and sends him semi-nude pictures of herself, as well as her social-security number (!!!) in return for a virtual promise ring he sends her. All Laurie knows is that his name is Wade and he is, as she weirdly (and, depending on which of her friends you ask, racistly) hoped, “super black.” The whole group makes fun of her so-called relationship, up until Ellie and Grayson do a dramatic reenactment of the couple’s tweets and realize that they actually sound kind of sweet together. What would be perfect and amazing is if Wade the soldier DOES actually turn out to be a real soldier who is sweet, a little gross, and funny, just like Laurie. Of course, it might also be amazing if he were none of these things.

In King Jules’s second attempt to rid the neighborhood of those meddling kids, she stuffs Grayson’s rental cop uniform, throws a pumpkin on top for a head, and sits it in a lawn chair in the street. Surely the kids will never see past this one! It works at first, but a still-resentful Andy turns the cop around so the kids can see Pumpkin Cop for who he really is. (Just a pumpkin in a uniform.) They knock off the head and ride off non-menacingly. I miss the Chalk Children! THOSE kids meant business. In any case, Andy/Short-and-Wide is still not over not being king. Everyone else has something to be in charge of — even Jules has her “successful real-estate company” (ha-ha, oh THAT thing). I sort of feel like Andy forgot about his child, at this moment. You know, Andy. That miniature human in your household? I think his name is Stan. You get to be in charge of him! Isn’t that why people have kids, basically?

Though Travis protested his dad’s desire to ask out his hot professor, Grayson and Jules sit him down to tell him he ought to let Bobby have a chance. Travis concedes and is then forced into the awkward situation of introducing your father to a lady and then watching him have eye sex with her. Sometimes you can’t really blame that kid for being the way he is, or for continuing to let his hair look the way it looks.

When Laurie tells Jules to give Andy a good pick-me-up, she decides to finally enlist his help in taking down the Bicycle Boys. She paints his face with lipstick, helps him tie a plaid shirt around his shoulders, and tells him to take charge. The gang lines up in the street for a final showdown, and Andy mimics trotting on a horse in front of them, giving a loose adaption of the speech from Braveheart, and it is funny and cute. They brace themselves for the attack, but obviously they break apart when the kids (who seem to multiply — perhaps therein lies their true danger) get too close. Luckily, a dirt patch set up behind the adult team lands at least one of the kids in the hospital with a dislocated finger. Justice is served.

Having removed Tom’s fountain and told him that the Bicycle Boys were responsible, Jules brings it back to him no worse for the wear. It’s actually even better now, because now it is a wine fountain. So Jules and Ellie are, like, hydraulics engineers now? Whatever, it doesn’t really matter how they accomplished this beautiful transformation. All I need to know is when they’re available to come over and build one for me.

Cougar Town Recap: If It Weren’t for Those Meddling Kids