Jules turns her birthday into a gift-giving contest. Anything is fine, as long as it's perfect and shows how much you care!

By Annie Barrett
November 04, 2010 at 04:35 AM EDT
Adam Rose/ABC
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Welcome back to “Modern” Cougar Town! In “Fooled Again: I Don’t Like It,” Jules turned the big 4-2. It’s so great that she’s dating an older (in her own determined mind) guy! DEFINITELY NOT A COUGAR. Ever the true friend, Jules pitted everyone against each other in a terrifying gift-giving contest. “Anything would be fine, as long as it’s perfect and shows how much you care about me.” No pressure. Laurie and Grayson teamed up (or so he thought) to dethrone Ellie, The Gift Whisperer.

I was slightly disappointed that there wasn’t a big twist at the end involving a second round of gifts on the stunning level of the rocket ship and photo of his father that Ellie had randomly gifted Grayson in order to show The Gift Whisperer’s power. Seriously, Ellie, an antique gong? Come on! If Jules hated Asian art as much as Laurie claimed, Ellie would definitely know that. It is not like her to be duped so hard! Oh, well. The gong delivered on sound effects and the scene let us know that Bobby had gifted Jules with a TUB OF GUM BALLS for their tenth anniversary. That alone makes it all worthwhile.

Side note: The hidden gem hunter in me was dying for the charm on Jules’ birthday bracelet to be an elephant (because Jules had earlier requested a necklace fashioned from poor Tuck Tuck’s tusk), but Cougar Town‘s head costume designer Kim Tills confirms to me that the bracelet contained three charms: flower, bouquet, and heart. Aww.

I haven’t even gotten to the true hilarity! The whole “Andy is Keyser Söze” thing was brilliant, and after 15 years, it was safe for Cougar Town to go ahead and spoil The Usual Suspects for any weirdos like Jules who hadn’t seen it. I loved Andy’s exaggerated limp and the zoom-in on his darting eyes as he concocted a tall tale based on visual cues around the set. His grandmother’s nickname was The Stabilizer? Sure. So many TV references this week, with “Sensi” (a Scrubs throwback, meaning “sensitive guy”), the INCREDIBLE slow-motion Truth Guns shoot-out (a send-up of Spaced), and I even thought I spotted a move from the Friends opening credits during Andy and Jules’ dirty dance. Oh, and there was a Coffeebucks store in the background — another Scrubs shout-out!

It was about time an episode focused on Andy for a change. The show is so good about finding ways to keep things fresh by examining one-on-one relationships within the Cul de Sac Crew. Andy and Jules — they’re the classic American duo, like Hot Dog and Stick! And the Bobby-Travis subplot was stronger than ever, with Bobby leaking saline from his lungs after using Travis’ “college death pot.” I loved how Travis momentarily transformed into a bro for his dad, who felt left out of his kid’s new college life. “Let’s do it! Let’s conquer the neti pot!” Around and around they spun, in neti pot-defying ecstasy, as Enrique Iglesias serenaded them with “Hero.” Unreal.

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

My Top 10 quotes and moments of the episode:

10. “Off my boat, Cover Girl!” –Bobby to Travis, who uses his mom’s makeup to hide his forehead zits

9. “Your blood type is B-Positive. It’s also your life motto.” –Hot Dog to Stick (or is it the other way around?)

8. Big-Benned Barb getting totally thrown off by Andy: “I usually talk to Jules.”

7. “You know what else is a riveting treatment on the human condition? My butt.” –Bobby, endorsed by Kevin

6. “Every year when I win the Jules Gift Contest, I go out and buy myself a chunky ring. I usually don’t wear them all at once, but…Whaaaaaaaaat?” –Ellie a.k.a. The Whitest Woman Laurie Has Ever Seen

5. “I know you want me to believe that Andy is Kiefer Doozy.” –Jules, who only takes Disney characters seriously

4. “Too much water! Too much water!” –Bobby, who lives on a boat, waking up from a neti pot nightmare

3. “I don’t know his relatives’ names!” –an incredulous Ellie after Jules wondered if Andy’s grandmother was even named Maria

2. Butterfly knife owner Laurie’s jazz hands after using her new “phone app” to produce a Dun-dun-DUN sound: “Sabotage!”

1. Ellie playing dead, then resurrecting herself in order to drink more wine during the tag

Were any of my favorite moments yours, too? Should Dancing With the Stars introduce Andy’s “couch samba” in an effort to spice up season 11? Discuss last night’s Cougar Town below!

Oh, and Michael Slezak INSISTS that I link to the video for Sunshine Anderson’s “Heard It All Before,” which played at the end as Jules and Andy danced. Head-bop to it at your desk while dancing/dodging fruit like The Gift Whisperer….

Last week’s ‘Cougar Town’ recap: The Family Jules

Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

DO YOU AUDIBLY GASP WHEN YOU MEET SOMEONE AT A COCKTAIL PARTY WHO CLAIMS NOT TO OWN A TELEVISION? (WE’RE GASPING JUST THINKING ABOUT IT.) Then don’t miss this week’s TV Insiders podcast! Annie Barrett, Dalton Ross, Michael Ausiello, Michael Slezak, and Clark Collis talk about their favorite Halloween episodes, plus the creepy new series Dead Set and The Walking Dead. Plus, our EW couch potatoes dish the latest happenings on Survivor and Dancing With the Stars. Click here to download the TV Insiders podcast to your MP3 player, or listen to an embedded version below!

Courteney Cox stars in Bill Lawrence’s ensemble comedy
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