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Laugh Tracks: Two P&Rs are better than one, pt. 2

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Date Posted: May 16, 2011

By Amy Van Veen (The Cascade) – Email

Cougar Town is all about family in their latest episode. Travis has borrowed Jules’ break-up blanket and her dad has come to town to try to nurse the poor kid back to emotional health. Andy’s brother Nestor is in town and Ellie refuses to have him stay with them because Andy doesn’t speak Spanish and his brother refuses to speak English, plus his brother’s wife (Nia Vardalos) is a little too handsy with Andy, but most importantly, “if you let one Torres stay, they all visit.” While the gang tries to think of a way to help Trav, Laurie votes for mini-golf because it’s no longer a crime scene because they found the head in the lighthouse and Chick votes strip club, Grayson wants to play roller hockey without his pads, but Jules mothers him into listening to her. When Bobby and Chick take Trav to the strip club, Jules tries her best to intervene, leaving Ellie alone with Jellybean and “the cousins.” Angela (Vardalos) is happy with Nestor, though she may fantasize about Andy, which leaves Ellie to try and use Laurie as her human stress ball. She needs to let all of her meanness out on someone, but Laurie refuses to be that person, even when Ellie tries to be nice but finishes all of her nice comments as a question: “We’re friends? You’re pretty? Your hat’s not dumb at all?” At the strip club, Trav takes off and Jules, Bobby and Chick are left to give the stripper a ride home in Bobby’s golf cart only to meet up with Grayson who has been trying to prove himself as a good skater by rollerblading home. He met a kid who kept him company who was severely adorable on his little Big Tikes trike. In the end, Chick tells Jules and Bobby the truth behind their frustration with one another, Laurie comes to Ellie’s rescue by offering herself as her human stress ball, and Ellie tells Nestor, in Spanish, that his wife has been trying to sleep with Andy, which leads Nestor to tackle Andy, not Angela. Cougar Town is constantly getting funnier and having Ian Gomez’s wife Nia Vardalos play his brother’s overly flirtatious wife was a stroke of brilliance.

Happy Endings came in a pair again on Wednesday night. In the first episode, Dave and Penny try to deal with Randy the terrible waiter, Jane helps Max track down the man of his dreams, and Dave and Alex face their past. Randy the waiter believes he can memorize anything with mnemonic devices, which means he never writes anything down, which means he always gets people’s orders wrong. It drives Brad crazy, but Penny feels for the guy because she remembers being in the service industry. However, when he brings her a salad with pecans on it and she almost dies from an allergic reaction, Brad feels the need to say something, which is overheard by the manager, which means Randy is fired. They then try to find him at home, only to bring up the touchy subject of him never writing anything down with his girlfriend who kicks him out because she is just as frustrated with his little quirk. When Brad tries to offer him a job, he and Penny realize the futility in helping the mnemonic man when he doesn’t write down the HR guy’s number. Max is really picky when it comes to finding a guy and he always finds a reason to get rid of them before he gets to know them. Adrian, the latest potential, is British and says “we” when he talks about sports, therefore Max stands him up only to have Jane plant the seed of doubt that maybe Adrian stood Max up, aka Max may have gotten Maxed. While the two of them try to track him down to see if he did in fact stand Max up, they learn the reason he uses “we” is because he works for the Bears and he watches good bad movie marathons, just like Max. Even though Adrian doesn’t work out, Max tries to turn over a new leaf. For a second. Finally, Dave and Alex have to try to overcome their dating kryptonite, namely the tattoos they have of one another’s names, by getting them removed together. Unfortunately, the pain is too much so they decide to keep them.

In the second episode, Max meets another great guy while trying to help Alex boycott a new coffee chain in the neighbourhood, Dave runs into his old high school teacher and Penny learns the truth about him, and Brad and Jane try to compete for who is more hireable. Nick’s Coffee & Tea has moved into the trendy little independent neighbourhood where Alex has her little boutique, and Max helps all the local business owners rally against it, until he learns that the owner is the handsome and charming guy he just met. He’s in a serious “You’ve Got Male” situation, and the gang tries to help him out by forcing him to confess his lukewarm feelings for the guy, but after all that it turns out he’s married with three kids. Penny feels his pain. Dave meets up with his old mentor, Mr. Alan Fitzgerald (played by Adam’s boss from Traffic Light), who also flirts with Penny which seams weird. While Dave enters the Truckies (a food truck competition) with the confidence he gets from Alan’s slaw, Penny finds out the guy is a total douche and tries to think of the best way to tell Dave. He figures it out on his own, though, and ends up winning the competition without his old teacher’s magic slaw. (No he was not touched as a student.) Jane and Brad try to compete with preparedness and charm for a new job at Nick’s Coffee & Tea house, but they both fail and therefore both hold up their ends of the bet. They’re a special kind of couple.

Big Bang has some germs, a heart attack-like episode and a new (and surprising) friendship on the horizon. Sheldon is a dead man walking after he drinks Leonard’s water and then uses Leonard’s napkin and Bernadette tries her hardest to be mean to Priya by giving her a regular Coke, not a diet. Howard still hasn’t told his mother about his engagement because he’s a coward and also because he wants her to spend some time with Bernadette first. After his mom and his fiancée have lunch together, Howard believes that the best time to tell his mother the news is while she’s on the toilet. And then she collapses and he tries to break down the door, which is possibly the funniest physical comedy on this show to date. Shenny share some quality time in the laundry room, which Penny treasures because she so misses his gibber-gabber. It gets even better when he is “about to gibber-gabber about gibber-gabber.” Leonard then comes running in to tell them that Howard’s mom is in the hospital, and they have to coerce Sheldon into facing his germ-infested fears. While there, Howard lets Bernie believe his mother had a heart attack because of her, when in reality she had food poisoning and loves Bernadette. Sheldon also has some adventure when to avoid a coughing man on a stretcher, he enters a biohazard quarantine room (that should have had a lock on it) and is faced with two doctors in hazmat suits. “What fresh hell is this?” Priya and Penny start to get along and talk about Leonard, which Raj uses to his advantage by making Leonard sweat a little. When the girls let him know that they’ve been comparing notes on how he is in the sack, he’s not worried because he believes himself to be the king of foreplay. Also, Sheldon has been quarantined for two weeks and the guys play their game while in hazmat suits. This show has gone from being four nerds and a girl to four guys and four girls to an ensemble situation. Evolution does exist.

Community moves from their western motif of last week into a more Star Wars feel when the City College Dean ends up being the ice cream cone forcing the remaining Greendale students to “form a school wide alliance of rebels.” They plan on hitting City College where it hurts, no Leonard, not their balls, their wallets. A Greendale student will win the $100 000 grand prize and give it to the school to rebuild what they have destroyed. Even though it was Abed’s plan, he feels the need to be the rebel and take on the Han Solo role before Jeff slouches into it by default. Unfortunately, Jeff tries to slide into Troy’s new leadership role by default, forming two separate attack plans. There’s Operation Troy’s Awesome Plan versus Operation Actual Operation. One involves luring all of the Storm Troopers, I mean City College Troopers, into the library and pulling the fire alarm which will dispel paint all over them while the other plan involves a mass attack on the Gatling gun in the ice cream truck. While Abed and Annie have a side romance thanks to Abed’s new persona, the two plans escalate to awesomeness. Jeff gets shot, and Gary gets stuck in the library air vents forcing Troy to commence “Operation Troy’s Awesome Leadership is Never in Doubt.” In the end, Shirley and Britta are the only two left standing and ready to “save this school’s ass.” Unfortunately, Shirley celebrates an early victory and gets shot in the back by two Storm Troopers, and a third Storm Trooper shows up only to shoot the other two. Twist! It’s Pierce. Cue celebrations of victory! And a random cameo from Laurie and Travis of Cougar Town in the cheering crowd. E Pluribus Anus reigns supreme. The final meeting of the semester to decide which class they’ll all take in the fall gets real when Pierce leaves them, despite their invitation to join, and never comes back. He didn’t come back. Will he? How will they top next year? The janitor has a sarcastic idea that Abed doesn’t get, but that’s okay. There’s still time for him. Next season.

Next: The Office, Parks and Recreation and more!

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