'Cougar Town' Moment: Andy and His Brother Get Into a Fight
by Joel Keller, posted May 12th 2011 11:30AM
'Cougar Town' is doing a great job as we come to the end of the season. Travis's depression over being rejected by Kirsten has been a great continuing story that the show has lacked since sometime last year. It's also interesting that in a time of need, Ellie not only turned to Laurie -- or "Jellybean," as Ellie derisively calls her -- to be her "human stress ball" and Laurie eventually realizes what's happening and shows up for her. I'm not sure what I think of the two of them being begrudging friends, but so far I like it.
The reason why Laurie agreed to be Ellie's punching bag? Andy's family is in town, namely Andy's brother Nestor, who refuses to speak to Andy in English because Andy seems to be the only one in his family (and, somehow, in the Cul-de-Sac Crew) who doesn't know Spanish. But the big problem is Nestor's wife who is overly flirty and grabby whenever she's around Andy.
That wife is played by Nia Vardalos; she and Ian Gomez are married in real life, and the writers took advantage of that fact with some really fun physical humor. Which is a good thing, because guest stars don't always make for the best episodes on 'Cougar Town.'
Technically, this episode had two guest stars, as Ken Jenkins was back playing Jules' dad Chick. Chick was there to help console Travis, mainly by taking him to an empty strip club. But Jenkins is not only well in tune with the rhythms of a Bill Lawrence show, Chick is literally a member of the family, so you expect to see him drop by and be a part of this universe from time to time.
Other guest stars on this show have been problematic, even if they've been there for multiple-episode arcs. Two that stick out for me were Sheryl Crow and Jennifer Aniston; both of them disrupted the chemistry of the show enough that it became a bit of a distraction to see them.
It's quite the opposite of how well guests integrated into the cast on 'Scrubs,' and it may be because this group is even more of a tight-knit group than the gang at Sacred Heart Hospital was. Also, new doctors, nurses and patients come in and out of a hospital all the time; it's got to be tougher to write in reasons to add people to a group who stand around Jules' kitchen island drinking wine seven days a week.
Anyway, Vardalos wasn't a distraction at all, mainly because her role was limited to just being a harlot who has eyes for Andy. But, as I said, Vardalos and Gomez are one of those married couples who work well on screen together; because they're married, Vardalos feels no shyness when, as Andy's sister-in-law, she pokes and prods him, rubs his bald head, and does very suggestive yoga poses with him. It's the same reasoning why Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman can slobber all over each other on 'Parks and Recreation': They're married, so they might as well let their freak flags fly.
All of what was fun about this story came to a head when Ellie finally decided to tell Nestor, in Spanish, that his wife is trying to sleep with Andy. For some reason, though, Nestor decided to tackle Andy and get in a brotherly slap fight with him. "I thought he was going to tackle her," says Ellie with a straight face. Let's just say that it'll probably be a while until we see Andy's family around the Torres household again.
(By the way, loved the notion that "every Torres on the Eastern seaboard drops by to say hi" when they get wind that someone is visiting. It led to a very funny visual of random Torreses walking around the house. Well done.)
'Cougar Town' airs Wednesdays at 9:30PM ET on ABC.
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