A review of last night’s “Cougar Town” coming up just as soon as I take my Disney characters seriously…
“Fooled Again (I Don’t Like It)” was one of those Do What “Cougar Town” Do episodes. It did a nice job addressing one of those tricky questions that comes up among groups like the cul de sac crew: Are you automatically friends with your friends’ spouses? Andy is so much a part of the group that the answer should seem to be yes, and yet thinking back on the series, I can’t think of many examples of Jules and Andy doing things without the others, and I can see how she might be uncomfortable with his request to go dancing. The Keyser Soze(*) riff was very funny, and another example of how Jules would be better off just trusting Ellie’s judgement 95% of the time. (The other 5 is when Ellie’s just trying to make Jules be as mean as she is.)
(*) Random “Usual Suspects” digression: the movie obviously is telling you that Verbal Kint is Soze. That’s the whole set-up and payoff to the elaborate practical joke that is the film. Yet it’s always nagged at me, because why would someone like Soze, who guards his true identity so fiercely, be so blatant in leaving clues to it to Agent Kujan? Obviously, he has to do it or there’s no movie, but a part of me has always wanted to say that the Verbal thing is a feint, that Verbal is right-hand man to the real Soze, and occasionally leaves bread crumbs that might convince people that he’s the man – and that the actual Soze is Fenster. Like Verbal, he has a weird physical manner and style of speech that would keep anyone from suspecting him, and in the story Verbal tells Kujan, Fenster is killed off-camera, and in a way where no one would ever find his body. Seems an easy way to keep the real master hidden, no? Again, I don’t think that was Christopher McQuarrie and Bryan Singer’s actual intention, but it makes repeat viewings more satisfying in a way.
What I liked about the Andy story, and the larger one about Jules’ birthday, is how the show manages to find ways to make really annoying behavior seem somehow likable. There were times in the later seasons of “Friends” where Monica’s control freak tendencies made her completely insufferable. Here, though, because the cul de sac crew just accepts that this is how you act on Jules’ birthday – and view it as a competition to curry favor with their leader – it’s just one of her many quirks.
The running gag with the neti pot saline just gushing out of Bobby’s nose was both gross and hilarious, but the resolution to that subplot was one of two different points (the other was when Ellie referred to Andy as a “sensie,” which is how JD occasionally described himself) in the episode where the writers lifted an old “Scrubs” gag. (Watch this Dr. Cox clip for a previous – and, frankly, funnier – use of the Enrique Iglesias song.) If anyone’s entitled to use old “Scrubs” jokes – whether you want to consider it a callback, an homage our just outright borrowing – it’s another Bill Lawrence show, but in an episode where the tag was incredibly similar to the end of an “Office” episode from last season, it did seem weird.
UPDATE: As a reader notes, the finger gun fight was actually an homage to an episode of “Spaced,” and Travis even makes note of that as he’s falling. Now I wonder if the “Murder” episode of “The Office” was written by a “Spaced” fan.
What did everybody else think?