Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life: Finale?


After a long and confusing hiatus from our screens “Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life”  returned on June 12 to air what appears to be its last two episodes.  A finale possibly of the FOX comedy that the network was never really comfortable with from the start.

The series had some great comic moments. The cast, especially Meaghan Rath and Liza Lapira, have  exquisite comedic timing and all the players worked well together. They all had a great chemistry and of the “older” members Justin Bartha as big brother Josh consistently knocked it out of the park. 

Regardless of how much we enjoy the show,  these last two episodes were a reminder of why FOX should be bringing this one back. At this time though the numbers and the network’s indecision of when to air it, means that Cooper and co.  may not be back.

The first of the final two episodes was “How to Survive Your Emotional Baggage” and it dealt with bullying, high school and confronting one’s emotional baggage.

Barry, Neal and Cooper are trying to work  deal with a liquor distributor to carry their hangover cure. In the middle of the proceedings the head guy, an old high school friend arrives and agrees to carry the cure. Neal, however, remembers that the high school chum locked him in his locker at school and has never forgiven him for changing his life.

Typically the trio get in trouble and it turns out that Cooper locked Neal in the locker and not Tommy Hench (Max Adler). Although Neal does not learn this until after he locks Tommy in a shipping case. They rescue Hench but Neal is angry with Cooper. 

The side plot had Kelly (Rath) staying with Josh and Leslie and as she is shown her bedroom, Kelly is told not to go into the room in the corner.  This makes the young woman go all “Bluebeard’s guest,” and thinking “horror baby” goes into the room.

Inside she discovers that Leslie paints and after the two women talk, Josh’s wife mentions a “horror baby.” Kelly urges Leslie to take up painting full time and josh gets upset.

The episode had a cute ending and gave viewers a lovely look at Josh and his wife.

The final episode,  or finale, was “How to Survive Dating” where Barry and Neal date the same woman and Cooper dates her friend. Kelly dates a potential client of Josh’s who pimps the woman out and at the end of the day, this was the  funniest of the two.

By the end of the program, Cooper’s date turns out to be homeless, a thief and on drugs. Barry and Neal leave their girlfriend and Kelly’s date shoots Cooper’s date with a tranquilizer dart.

The comedy dealt with both Kelly and Cooper refusing to acknowledge their mutual attraction. The fact that Steve, Kelly’s date, was fantastically rich and gave her an electric self drive car was funny and the argument that Kelly had with herself about returning was brilliant.

“Barrett Cooper’s Guide to Surviving Life” was full of silly moments and while the show was not pulling in huge numbers it was still funny.  FOX may well let the show drift off into the world of one season wonders but Cooper Barrett and his chums will be missed.

Especially Meaghan Rath and Liza Lapira.

But what do you think? Should FOX bring back the series for another season? Or should they let Cooper and his mates limp off into the night.


Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life: Episode 6 (Review)

It is nigh on impossible not to love a show that features the line, “Cooper, your apartment is killing my lady boner.” Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life, episode 6 features this line minutes into the start of How to Survive Your Horrible Landlord.


It is nigh on impossible not to love a show that features the line, “Cooper, your apartment is killing my lady boner.” Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life, episode 6 features this line minutes into the start of How to Survive Your Horrible Landlord.  On top of being one of the funniest comments to air on television this week, it was also uttered by the delectably adept actress Meaghan Rath who is perfectly cast as “the girl next door.”

Since the first episode, the chemistry between Rath and Jack Cutmore-Scott has been electric. In this FOX comedy of 20 something’s learning about love, life and what not to do, Kelly and Cooper are more “when they” rather than will they. Although be the end of this episode they still have yet to really commit, we know that was a sizzling second kiss.

Still, How to Survive Your Horrible Landlord was not all about the sexual tension between neighbors.  It was about boundaries; like not giving up your buddy’s pet pig for a shower, reading your lease and (ultimately) it was all about saving James Franco…the pet pig.

At the start of the episode both Cooper and Kelly are looking at certain death, atop a free-wheeling out of control animal trailer. “Earlier,” the two are, once again, fighting their mutual attraction. As the temperature heats up between the two, they end up in Barrett’s apartment. Standing next to an apartment wall, they move in for a clinch and kiss when Kelly shouts about something on her leg.

It is James Franco. Later Barry and Neal return to further spoil the mood. As Kelly complains about the death of her “lady boner” a giant spruce tree smashes through the apartment wall.  The rest of the show deals with the three men trying to force the landlord Virgil, into fixing the apartment, Kelly having her water shut off and Virgil (Marshall Maneshshooting through the floor to “kill” an amplifier.

There is also allusions to the first episode where the lad’s 64 inch flat screen telly goes missing, after their house warming party, and it transpires that Virgil has it. When the three go to complain about the giant tree in their apartment, they find that the landlord has Neal’s custom made earphones and Barry’s “Santa Claus” shirt.

Negotiations take place where Vigil states he will only fix the apartment, and turn Kelly’s water back on,  if James Franco leaves or Kelly swaps apartments with him, her place is three times the size of the landlords place.

Cooper and his roommates hide the pig at big brother Josh’s place. This temporary solution ends before repairs can be finished as Leslie  (Liza Lapira) tells Josh (Justin Bartha)  that there will be no sex till the pig is gone. 

Leslie says Jame Franco must go.

Josh brings Franco back, explaining about the sex issue and says, as he leaves the apartment, “it is what it is.”  Virgil stops repairs immediately. Kelly then takes the pig to a petting zoo and only tells Cooper after the fact. The apartment is repaired and Kelly’s water turned back on.

Barrett cannot get over her betrayal and full of guilt and remorse, Kelly goes to get James Franco back. A horrified Kelly learns that the pig has been sent to the butchers and she grabs Barry, Neal, Josh and Cooper to save James Franco.

On the way to save Franco, the group see the trailer with the pig at a  roadside shop. They stop and while Barry and Neal distract the driver  Kelly and Cooper re-attach the trailer to Josh’s vehicle.

And…this is where we came in. The loose trailer, that came off Josh’s car because it was hooked up incorrectly, with Kelly and Cooper on top, headed for a oncoming  semi.  After a commercial break, we come back to see Barrett with a bandage on his forehead and asking if “she” is all right.

The she is not Kelly, but James Franco who is really Jane Franco. The female pig has given birth to a litter of little Franco’s.  As Kelly cuddles one, she and Cooper get an idea on how to make Virgil a better landlord and give him one of the piglets.

At the end of the episode, Leslie discovers a group of piglets in the bed and threatens Josh with no sex forever. Kelly and Barrett kiss again and despite their protestations, we know it was hot.

Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life is the most fun you can have on television reliving the over-confidence and reckless abandon of your early 20s. It also has the addictive Meaghan Rath playing a woman that we would all love to live next door to.

The series airs Sundays on FOX. Tune in laugh a lot and fall in love with Rath a little…

Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life: How to Survive Being a Plus One (Review)

Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life may just have the most annoyingly long title on television at the moment.


Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life may just have the most annoyingly long title on television at the moment. Add to the series title  the “rest” of it, i.e. the episode title; in this case “How to Survive Being a Plus One,” and reviewing this new FOX comedy series  becomes an exercise in frustration… Leaving the title issues alone, episode 103, with its “24” Jack Bauer style comedy in the middle, is funny, cute and still entertaining.

(And how many times can one put the word title in a paragraph? Four.)

Perhaps this reviewer is easily entertained, or satisfied. Cooper Barrett’s “How to Survive Being a Plus One” and its “24” theme may have been an overly long riff on the old adage “Dance with the guy what brung ya,” but the humor still works.  Even without the Jack Bauer spiel, which was good, the episode rocked it in terms of comedy and the continuing “romance” between Cooper (Jack Cutmore-Scott) and Kelly (Meaghan Rath).

The episode opens with Cooper and Kelly in the back of a truck and Barrett explains about being invited to different places.  When Cooper asks the Mexican they are sharing the truck bed with how long till they arrive, he explains that the couple are sitting in “goat poop.”


Appears at the same time Kelly, Barry (the lovable a**), Neal and Cooper are drinking in a bar. The next-door neighbor, who every heterosexual male in America would kill for, reveals that her ex is getting married to a girl “named after a small orange” in Mexico.

The three men express surprise that Kelly was in a long (four year) relationship and she responds:

“I wasn’t always the fun-loving single girl that warms a room with a smile, a wink and a hair flip. You know.”

(Kelly flips her hair, smiles, laughs and winks)

Barry: “Adorable.”

Neal: “What are you doing?”

Cooper: “Are you having a stroke?”

This particular part of the episode managed to cram a number of funny lines into an incredibly short space.  Winning gag of the set  = Cooper’s response to the wedding invitation’s musical clue as to where Thom and Clem are getting married:

“In a Telenovela?”

Before the bar scene ends, Cooper becomes the plus one for Kelly and


Neal and Barry are having a 24 hour binge marathon of “24,”  and Kelly has picked out,  and packed,  Cooper’s three obligatory wedding outfits:

Kelly: “You have three looks: Wedding Ain’t No Thing, Reception Sophistication and my personal favorite, Good-bye Brunch Chic.”

Cooper then goes out to do last minute shopping and his car is towed away as well as  impounded. Thus begins the “24” Jack Bauer themed middle part of the episode where first Neal, and then Barry, don the headset, key the laptop and send help. Not surprisingly the help comes in the form of big brother Josh (Justin Bartha) and then his wife Leslie (Liza Lapira).

After a funny scene where Kelly and Cooper hide in Barry’s ice cream truck to sneak  inside the impound lot and then barely escape with their luggage and passports the “24” theme continues when Kelly’s dress is ruined.

Finally, Josh, Leslie, Barry, and Neal all join Kelly and Cooper in Josh’s car and they drive to the wedding.  However, in keeping with the “everything that can go wrong will” aspect of this show, the car develops a flat and the Bishop and Barrett have to hop a lift in the goat poop truck.

The wedding trip cut short.

While this episode lacks the high profile of a special guest like Paula Abdul, it provides a certain cohesion for Barrett, Bishop, Josh, and Leslie in term of character identification and an amount of fleshing out.

What makes Cooper work so well as a character is his initial desperation, at any given problem, and then his complete and total belief that what ever asinine, or desperate last minute plan he comes up with will work.  Cooper has faith that everything will work out, if not as a result of his first plan, then “Plan B” will save the day.

So far, Barrett has been proven right…

Bishop may look like the girl next door but this adorable cuteness hides a micro-managing woman who will take control  at the first opportunity.  She also has recognized that Cooper may well be her perfect match and it is clear that she will work to make this happen.

Older brother Josh proves in this episode that while he may not be willing to spend any more cash on his brother, he will go all out to help where he can. Even going so far as to romance a TSA agent. Leslie also shows that she will help out, in this case providing her new bestie Kelly  a replacement frock and that she has a sense of humor.

At the wedding ceremony, which was cancelled because the orange girl dropped out, Josh’s cell phone rings and he tells Leslie:

“Oh, I should get this. It’s this TSA agent I might have to have sex with.”

Leslie (without skipping a beat): “Cool. I might make out with the mariachi band.”

In Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life things have a way of turning out okay.  It seems that his eternal optimism is not misplaced at all.  In terms of the “will they, won’t they” thing between Kelly and Cooper it really feels more like a “when they.”

Kelly and Cooper more “when they” than “will they…”

It may well be that MikesFilmTalk is the only site that really appreciates this new FOX offering. Other sites have been pretty “meh” about the whole series thus far.  Perhaps they do not get a show where one does not have to “reach” for the gags, or it is hard for them to see the beauty of the quirkiness and toned down Animal House, National Lampoon vibe going on.

(One feels that Cooper Barrett may well be “Van Wilder” (sans Ryan Reynolds of course) all grown up.)

This is a fun series and one that crosses the Ts and dots the Is.  Consider this; Josh is driving and singing to “The Weekend” song “Can’t Feel My Face” (when I’m with you) when Neal does his “24” and calls big bro to help out Cooper. Later, at the very end of the episode, the wedding band play and sing their own version of “Can’t Feel My Face.”

What is not to like?

Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life airs Sundays on FOX. Tune in and join the 2.45 million folks who do like the show.  Warning: Prepare to get a huge crush on Meghan Rath’s character Kelly…




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