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December 19, 2014

'Cougar Town' Moment: Lou Diamond Phillips Is the Face of Penny Can

by Joel Keller, posted May 19th 2011 10:00AM
Something that you realize quickly when you watch a Bill Lawrence production is that he tends to use the same actors over and over again. It's why, for instance, Barry Bostwick has had roles in all three of his shows (though his role on 'Scrubs' was a one-time-only guest role). But, when he sees someone he likes, he tends to use them over and over.

'Cougar Town' - 'Free Fallin''
Let's officially add Lou Diamond Phillips to the Bill Lawrence Family Players. He's now been on 'Cougar Town' twice, playing himself, and has done a great job each time. Though I still can't see him as a spokesman for a game where you throw a penny in a can.

The show has been doing a really good job at developing storylines of late. There's still room for silly stories, of course, as we saw with Ellie and Grayson's dealings with the creepy "Chalk Children." Even there, though, the story had a point: Their neighbor, Tom, isn't as creepy as they think. Well, maybe he is, but he's also just shy.

And while Travis' downward spiral since his proposal to Kirsten was rejected seems like it's all a youthful overreaction, it does add some color to a character who until now was seen as more of a snide observer of the Cul-de-Sac Crew than anything else. And it's good to see that, while Trav's life is falling apart, Bobby's life is on the upswing.

This includes the Penny Can business he and Laurie started. When the two of them and Andy talk about the game while Bobby gives a lesson to Roger Frank (the aforementioned Bostwick), he thinks it's silly ... until he plays it. Now he wants to buy it.

One catch, though ... well, lots of catches. The can has lights, and moves via remote control. Oh, and there are rules. Lots and lots of rules that don't even approach being as fun as the ear flick or the face sandwich.



But the biggest catch is that Bobby's name is no longer on the can. He's just not famous enough. Who is? Lou Diamond Phillips, of course! "So it's going to be the Lou Diamond Phillips Official Bobby Cobb's Penny Can Can?" Bobby asks. "That would be far too many names," says Roger. "So it would stay Bobby Cobb's Penny Can?" he asks hopefully. All Roger can do is turn to Andy and go, "He's not getting it."

Laurie's not paying attention. "I don't know what your race is," she says to Phillips. "But I'm into it in a big way."

For his part, Phillips is super-proud of his voiceover efforts on the can, where he says, "This is Lou Diamond Phillips saying ... 'Penny Can'." Not "Penny Caaaan!", just "Penny Can." "I knocked that out in one take," he says cockily.

Funny stuff, right? Later, as Bobby talks things over with his partners at Grayson's bar, Lou can feel Bobby's pain at all the changes Roger wants to make: "It's like 'Young Guns II.' 'Hey, let's take everything that was cool about the first movie and puke Jon Bon Jovi all over it. Travesty'." Yep, Lou fits right in with the family, doesn't he?

Bobby is eventually convinced to sign the deal, even if the game isn't the same. It's money that he needs to get off the boat and back to something that resembles an adult life. It's just too bad he let Travis crash on the boat after Jules kicked him out. He may have a little bit of money, but he's still not all the way there in the maturity department.

The one-hour season finale is next week, and there should be some pretty good surprises. We're looking forward to a bang-up conclusion to a solid second season.

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

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