Quick Take: Cougar Town, "Ways To Be Wicked"
“Why does this school have a cougar? Nothing here has anything to do with cougars." - Sig
Review: Cougar Town, "Ways To Be Wicked"
(S0308) For years the debate has raged on. Is nature more important in terms of shaping a person's personality, or is it nurture? I'm not a scientist or a doctor, but I have watched a lot of television, so I feel like I'm qualified to weigh in on the debate. Okay, maybe I'm a little less than qualified, but I'm going to go for it anyway.
Like so many of life's most important questions, I turn to the show Cougar Town for answers. And if "Ways To Be Wicked" is any indication, nurture is way more important than nature. The theme of the episode is that parent's exert immense influence over their children's lives and personalities. At times this influence is positive (even if it involves a felony), as is the case with the Cobb's. Other times, like with Ellie (Christa Miller) and her mother Betsy (Susan Blakley), parents can turn their children into angry, spiteful versions of themselves.
Let's start with the Cobb's. Despite the constant drinking, the lack of a solid work ethic, and the fact that one of them lives on a boat, Jules (Courtney Cox) and Bobby (Brian Van Holt) are loving, supportive parents. Their parenting style might not work for everyone, but it certainly seems to have worked for Travis (Dan Byrd). No matter what the circumstances, Jules and Bobby are always there for their son -- even if it means helping him steal a giant statue from his school. Which is precisely what they do in "Ways To Be Wicked."
Travis is sick of living in a party house that never parties. For some reason, he thinks that if he steal's his college's cougar statue and plants it in his living room, the coeds will flock. He enlists Bobby, the king of hair-brained schemes, to assist. The robbery turns into a family affair when Jules and her father join in on the fun. Travis might be a bit of slacker, and he certainly isn't a particularly great photographer. But he is an intelligent, warm, well adjusted young man. And he can thank his parent's support -- even in the commission of a crime -- for that.
I'm hardly going out on a limb here, but Ellie is kind of a heartless bitch most of the time. In "Ways To Be Wicked" we learn that her prickly personality is a result of decades of verbal and emotional abuse from her mom Betsy. Ellie's meanness serves a defense mechanism of sorts.
At first, no one in the Cul-de-sac Crew believes Ellie's claims that sweet, muffin-baking Betsy is really a cruel witch. But after Jules hides under a table and witnesses Betsy's awfulness first hand, she becomes a believer. As Ellie's moral compass, Jules recommends that if Betsy is unable to say even a single nice thing about her daughter, she doesn't deserve to a part of her life. In Ellie's case, the moral of the story seems to be that the nurturing of one's parents not only shapes a person, but can also provide a challenge to be overcome. For Ellie's sake, let's hope Besty's absence makes her daughter's outlook on life just a tad sunnier.