Holiday-themed episodes can be tricky. They have to walk the fine line between honouring the holiday and becoming overwhelmed by it. Thankfully, “You Don’t Know It Feels” stayed on the former side of that line. The result was a fun episode that continued Cougar Town’s streak of excellence.

There were a lot of good gags tonight, mainly revolving around the Halloween costumes. (Kudos to the writers for not turning Halloween into Slut-o-ween for the female members of the cast.) Laurie and Ellie dressing up as each other was a stroke of genius, as were Grayson’s Prince costume and Bobby’s Windy Man costume. (Although I anticipated that there would be a misunderstanding about what Grayson meant by “Prince,” I enjoyed Jules’ reaction to the costume.) But the real gem here was Travis dressing up as Andy: “My wife is way too hot for me! I’m Cuban, but I don’t speak Spanish!” Absolutely hilarious. The reason all these jokes worked so well was that they felt like an organic part of the story and not a bunch of silly Halloween gimmicks.

As usual, there were quite a few storylines packed into this episode. Travis and Ellie’s was the the lightest. Dan Byrd and Busy Phillips play so well off each other that any time that they’re on screen together, I’m certain to have fun. (While I don’t think that they have good romantic chemistry – and I hope that the writers don’t go that route – their friend chemistry is off the charts.) The idea was simple: Travis thought that he was too cool for Halloween, and Laurie tried to convince him otherwise. Although the denouement was predictable, I had fun nonetheless. It’s all in the execution. There could have been a big argument between Travis and Laurie, or Travis could have shown disdain for Laurie’s enthusiasm, but instead, Travis stayed respectful throughout the episode. Because of this, we got a fun storyline instead of pointless drama.

Bobby and Ellie’s storyline was a little more dramatic, but it certainly wasn’t pointless. It’s easy to write Bobby off as a joke, and Bobby wanting to change Stan’s name to Rick wouldn’t help anyone argue against doing that, but it’s also easy to forget that Bobby always looks out for his friends. Bobby admitting that he had already contacted his golf buddy about getting Stan into the preschool was a nice moment, as was Ellie agreeing to make Bobby Stan’s guardian.

The episode faltered slightly in the storyline involving Jules and her father. Early in the episode, I wasn’t familiar enough with Chick for Jules asking him to leave her home to have an emotional impact. Thus, the storyline’s foundations were shaky. In spite of this, I enjoyed the rest of the storyline, including Jules and Chick’s heart-to-heart at the end. (But I immediately guessed that Chick was in the bear costume, so the revelation didn’t feel like a big plot twist to me.)

Overall, “You Don’t Know How It Feels” was another strong entry in what is set to overtake How I Met Your Mother’s second season as my favourite season of a sitcom. Cougar Town has definitely avoided the sophomore slump. I just wish that so many potential viewers hadn’t been turned off by the show’s name, but as this episode’s title screen told us, “Titles are hard.”

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