Halloween prompts a tender moment between Jules and her dad, and a brilliant Laurie-as-Ellie (and vice-versa) arc

By Annie Barrett
October 28, 2010 at 04:37 AM EDT
Randy Holmes/ABC
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Welcome back to “Titles are Hard” Cougar Town! In “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” Jules claimed to hate Halloween as she put the finishing touches on a vomiting jack-o-lantern that looked like Laurie on a Saturday night. Jules’ father Chick was comin’ to town and he was a Halloween nut! Guest star Ken Jenkins was a true delight, even though at first it was somewhat jarring to see the former Dr. Bob Kelso from Scrubs pounding cans of beer instead of engaging in deep conversations with muffins. I loved how Chick got such a huge kick out of Laurie’s various antics. The artist formerly known as Octomom spent the episode luring Travis back into the spirit of Halloween, while one-shoed Bobby had to prove his commitment as a potential legal guardian to Baby Stan. But this episode was really about two things: costumes and crying. “Happy Halloween, bitch. Boo.”

Crazy costume time! Bobby’s “Windy Guy” was my favorite — a few times I cracked up just from zeroing in (bageling in?) on his erect, windswept tie. Are any men reading? You should do this! Perfect last-minute costume. Ellie and Laurie dressed up as and acted like over-the-top versions of each other, to outstanding comedic effect. Andy fulfilled his destiny of becoming Burt Reynolds, and Travis foreshadowed what could be his destiny by dressing as Andy. (“My wife’s too hot for me! I’m Cuban but I don’t speak Spanish!”) All Grayson had to do was throw on his Prince costume and be handsome. And Barb — welcome back, Barb! — hit a new low by exposing her skanky black underwear (the same kind Chick used to wear around the house) from the back of her haystack/Shredded Wheat costume.

In accordance with standard sitcom law, the mysterious Bear With a Salmon Tie stealing everyone’s drinks and “not even eating” their snacks all night obviously turned out to be Jules’ father. And she knew it! Outside, he held out his big bear arms for a hug — just like he used to when she was little — and they had a magically meaningful bear-princess moment. June Bug reminded Chick of his late wife (I loved Jules’ flicker of gratitude after he said “when she was young”), and he missed her so much. This scene was a major tearjerker, and the cut to Bobby announcing that he couldn’t wait for Ellie, Andy, and Jules to die so he could assume custody of “Rick” — just after Chick remarked on what a “beautiful family” she’d built — was brilliant.

Oh! Candy corn!

NEXT: The episode’s 10 best quotes/moments!

My Top 10 quotes and moments of the episode:

10. Visual Gems tie: Andy/Ellie scrunched together on one side of Bobby’s boat table, and the way one leg of a decorative skeleton kept catching onto Bobby’s shoulder-newspaper at the party

9. “We’ll put them in the web and people will be like ‘Daaaamn, how big is that spider?'” –Laurie’s plan after having to substitute “dog poops” for spiders on Bobby’s boat

8. “You sure it was conch?” –Ellie to Laurie, who complained that if Jules stress-ate, her car would end up smelling like conch

8a. The fact that conch fritters from “the Keys” were even referred to at all. CONCH FRITTERS ARE INCREDIBLE.

7. Laurie perking up after Chick came into the house looking for “the most beautiful girl in the world”

6. Bobby’s confused look after Ellie semi-apologized for making fun of his “job”…And seconds later:  his two-beer clink!

5. Grayson, a cool name for a fancy mustard, putting his apology (for thinking Chick’s name might have been Goat) back into his shirt pocket

4. “Taste that cheese” — which Travis and Laurie exclaimed after scaring each other — was this episode’s “Eat the sword”

3. Grayson’s seductive Prince smirk after Jules suggested she could “kick the real Prince’s ass” was like the nonverbal equivalent of that vain little dandy’s chat with himself in the mirror. “What’s up, playboy? Oh, you already know.” (Did anyone else think of Bring It On? “It’s already been buh-rawt-en…“)

2. “So now you have to sit here and listen to a bear and a gay pirate play the same song over and over.” –Laurie’s punishment for the young candy hoarder she’d previously threatened to kill

1. “Nobody. Put. A camera. On the floor. ‘Cause I never. Wear. Underwear. Whoop whoop, whoop whoop!” –Ellie-playing-Laurie

‘Til next week, PEACE. “That’s a fun way to say goodbye, isn’t it? Peace!”

Were any of my favorite moments yours, too? Could anyone else use some conch fritters and a Big Joe-size goblet of wine right now? (No one will judge you if you answer “yes,” even if it’s Thursday morning as you read this.) Discuss last night’s Cougar Town below!

Last week’s ‘Cougar Town’ recap: Penny Which Way You Can

Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

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