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<I>Cougar Town</I>: Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here

This show is weird, sentimental, insane and sitcomy, but somehow when thrown together with a liberally poured glass of wine, it works really well for us. While we were initially inclined to write it off in its early days, it completely charmed us over time and we missed it so much during its nine-month (!) hiatus. Maybe not as much as Abed has, but a lot nonetheless. Still, since we are skeptical about everything, we were more than a little concerned that the show might have lost its magic during its long time away. Fortunately, we need not have worried. Here are our favorite parts from last night's season premiere:

The Name
There was a lot of discussion in the off-season about a possible title change (since the show has nothing to do with cougars), which amounted to nothing at all. But they continue to poke fun at themselves in the opening credits: "Yeah, it's still called Cougar Town. We're not happy about it either." We always appreciate a self-deprecating sense of humor.

The Gang
One of the running Ellie jokes of the night was her desire to shrink their circle of friends as she kept saying "This should be the gang." We'd join her gang of one, not that she'd let us. But if she did, we'd bring new pillows, to replace the ones that Stan destroyed.

The Wine
They made necklaces for their wine glasses. After Big Carl, this is the most genius alcoholic invention this show has created yet. Anything that can give you a glass on deck, while you are drinking another, is inspired.

The Neighbor
Weird Tom got so much to do in this episode: sleeping in the nude, TPing a house, hugging Laurie. Much better than his usual one-liner from the bushes. Though his icky invite to his new hot tub was met by a "too creepy flag" on the play.

The Song
We don't normally much care one way or the other about Grayson's songs most of the time, but poking fun at Jules being uptight and neurotically obsessed with her morning routine worked, even if we're not going to be singing it all day.

The Mouth Guard
It was a major part of Jules morning routine, but it is also a no-sex signal to Grayson. He admits that getting Jules to have sex with it on is his "Everest." Whatever floats your boat, dude.

The Devil Child
This show has succeeded because it's not about Ellie's baby, but making Stan a devil child was pretty inspired. A terrible kid who sees Laurie as his best role model is the perfect punishment for Ellie's standoffish parenting.

The Green Screen
Travis moved into a house with nine other guys and a green screen. Cue "the gang" turning up to enact their cowboy fantasies, flying dreams, romantic hillside proposals and tearful father/son moments. This will probably get a lot of play this season.

The Ankle Monitor
Laurie, who seems to have stolen Madonna's '80s wardrobe, went all Eat, Pray, Tampa and ended up in a brawl, receiving a lovely piece of state-mandated ankle jewelry for her troubles.

The Shark Car
TPing things? Funny. TPing a car into the shape of a shark, with fins and all? Maybe the funniest gag of the whole episode.

The Proposal
Not that we want everyone to be coupled up on this show, but Jules and Grayson have been together for so long that it seems inevitable. So to have him set up a scenario that let her think she was getting "Revengence" against some skateboarding hoodlums, and then bring her whole posse together to watch him get down on one knee was sweet. So long as we don't think about how awkward that must be for her ex-husband.

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