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October 13, 2015

'Cougar Town' Moment - Andy Pulls a Keyser Soze on Jules

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 4th 2010 11:40AM

Ian Gomez and Courteney Cox in 'Cougar Town' on ABC(WARNING: If you've never seen 'The Usual Suspects,' stop reading now. It's been out for 15 years, though, so you really should have seen it by now...)

We don't know a heck of a lot about Andy Torres, do we? Aside from his affection for Bobby and his skill at the game Penny-Can (all together now: "Penny Can!"), we basically know him the way Jules Cobb does... via how he and Ellie interact. So it was fun to hang out with Andy a bit on this week's 'Cougar Town' and what makes him tick.

What did we find out? That this short, bald teddy bear of a man is really an "evil genius," as Ellie said, a 21st century Keyser Soze. Only Andy doesn't manipulate people in order to get them to steal and cause mayhem. He manipulates people to give him affection. And, as smart as Ellie is, she always seems to fall for it. Now Jules has, as well.

"He goads me until I say something mean," Ellie explains to Jules in her usual disdainful tones. "He pretends he's hurt. I let him hit this, and presto! He's OK! It's a miracle!"

Because we've spent a season and a half watching Ellie being mean and condescending and Andy being lovable, though, we don't buy it at first. But, we know just so much about him, so in the back of our minds, there might be a bit of truth to what she says. After all, who knows Andy better than Ellie, a person who is so observant of the littlest hints of behavior that she uses it to her advantage when it comes to giving gifts (hat Laurie calls her "The Gift Whisperer")?

This is one of the big reasons why an ensemble show like 'Cougar Town' -- or as it was called this week in homage to its lead-in, 'Modern Cougar Town' -- tends to get a lot better during its second and third seasons. There are so many people's lives to explore that there are many opportunities to peel away the layers of the onion and see what's underneath. This season, we've found out more about Laurie and Bobby than we knew last year, and we've found out why Ellie attracts such love and loyalty even though she seems like a mean witch.

Now, we're finding out about Andy. And to learn he's an emotional manipulator, creating stories using things he's observed a la Kevin Spacey's famed character doesn't seem like it would be that out of character for him. Andy knows he's lovable, and he uses it to his advantage.

Even though the references to 'The Usual Suspects' weren't subtle, it was still an effective story. After all, Andy only used his evil on Jules to get some dance floor time. But it was fun to see the famous scene from the end of the movie replayed, with Andy losing his limp as Ellie uttered the famous line from the movie: "He's the devil. And the greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world he didn't exist."

'Cougar Town' airs Wednesdays at 9:30PM ET on ABC.

(Follow @joelkeller on Twitter.)

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The line at the end of your recap - "...the greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world he didn't exist." was also quoted by Zach Braff's character JD in Scrubs. I've noticed that Scrubs references come up every once in a while on this show, the same as My Name Is Earl references come up on Raising Hope. I love the work of both creators on both of their past and current shows!

November 05 2010 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

did you catch the subtle sensi reference that ellie made

November 04 2010 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Penny Can!!!
Loved this episode...I think this might even be my favorite sitcom right now. I love me some community and Modern Family, but I think "Modern" Cougar Town has the most heart to it.

November 04 2010 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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