Atheist Character on ‘Cougar Town’ Pretends to Pray to Show Girlfriend He Cares

On the most recent episode of “Cougar Town” (TBS), the character Grayson Ellis (who’s dating Courteney Cox‘s character Jules Cobb) comes out as an atheist. You can see it around the 3:20 mark below (if the video doesn’t work, click on that previous link):

Jules Cobb: … You know the drill! Family prayer before family food! Hands? Okay, Dear Lord, thank you so much for our friends and our family. Thank you for this wonderful food and…

Grayson Ellis: *Deep sigh*

Jules Cobb: What was that?

Grayson Ellis: Hm? Nothing.

Jules Cobb: Do you have a problem with the family prayer?

Grayson Ellis: No, I mean… I don’t love holding hands with Mr. Sweaty Palms or Lady Lizard Skin… I don’t know, I guess I just find it a little — what word won’t offend you — silly?

Jules Cobb: Alright… dinner’s over.

Later on, they discuss their differences:

Jules Cobb: I can’t believe you’d mock my prayer! My cooking? Sure. The way I use my finger to get food out of the back of my teeth and then use that same finger to stir the gravy? Mock away.

Grayson Ellis: I’m really sorry.

Jules Cobb: Do you even listen to what I’m saying when I do the prayer?

Grayson Ellis: I hear you start… and then I snap back when you say, “Amen.”

Jules Cobb: What about the middle?

Grayson Ellis: Well… that’s my time.

Jules Cobb: I thought we had the same ideas about faith. What do you believe in?

Grayson Ellis: I would say… I don’t believe in anything.

Not a bad start. A likable atheist character. A conflict of faith. An interesting storyline… unfortunately, the conflict doesn’t really go anywhere from there. It just devolves into pointless drivel.

At one point, the cast is practicing for a dodgeball match and they all throw balls at the heathen:

And later, the issue gets “resolved”:

Grayson Ellis: Why are you mad at me? Don’t tell me you’re still on this faith thing. Look, I’m sorry I can’t just magically start believing whatever you do.

Jules Cobb: … I don’t expect you to just suddenly believe what I do. But… if we’re really partners, if something’s important to me, shouldn’t you at least be open to it?

No! No he shouldn’t! Just because it’s emotionally compelling for you to believe in God doesn’t mean he has to put his brain aside, respect your irrational thinking, or admit he’s wrong.

And why does he have to conform to you? By your own logic, shouldn’t you give his atheism a chance?

They don’t offer any closure in that scene, though. It just ends on that line.

Later, during the dodgeball match, when Jules needs confidence more than anything, Grayson actually leads his team in prayer:

That leads to the final scene with the couple in bed:

Jules Cobb: When your eyes were closed and you were praying, what was in your head?

Grayson Ellis: I was thinking good thoughts for you. I figured that could be my version of prayer, you know?

Jules Cobb: I like that.

Laaaaaaaaaame.

I suppose we should be glad they didn’t break up because Grayson was deemed “undateable” like the atheist on that other show.

But what a cop out, to have him cave in and pretend to pray just to show Jules he cares for her. I know it’s scripted TV, but it never would’ve happened the other way around.

(Thanks to Joshua for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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