Someone over at NBC's Community must love ABC's Cougar Town. Or more likely, lots of someones. I was looking forward to the Pulp Fiction homage in last night's episode celebrating Abed's (Danny Pudi) birthday, but what I didn't expect was a love fest for the sometimes-struggling, though already-renewed, Cougar Town. As Cougar Town is also one of my favorite sitcoms, and the cast and writers have the best Twitter feeds of anyone (follow @VDOOZER @ChristaBMiller @CougarTownRoom @kbiegel @BusyPhillips25 and @MrJoshHopkins), I was excited for the support. I already love Community, but it earned even deeper admiration and respect this week.
The premise seems simple enough. Abed asks Jeff (Joel McHale) to attend a private birthday dinner, just the two of them. Knowing Abed's love of the film Pulp Fiction, and how pop culture-obsessed Abed is, Jeff organizes a surprise themed birthday party at the retro diner where Britta (Gillian Jacobs) works. But Abed resists leaving the fancy, not-his-style restaurant, and tells Jeff a life-changing tale about a visit to the set of his beloved series Cougar Town. (WATCH COUGAR TOWN!) Jeff becomes taken up in the story, and tells some embarrassing moments of his own, only to later find out that Abed is actually reliving the film My Dinner With Andre, and isn't sincere. This should be no surprise, as Abed is never sincere, and lives in a fantasy land. Yet, it is because of Abed's efforts to connect, despite his inability, that the whole thing seems so moving.
Jeff is angry, and I can see why. He is not a man who opens up easily, though he's great at pretending to, and he feels he has been tricked. The thing is, Abed is trying to trick him, in a way, but only with the best of intentions. Abed feels their friendship has grown apart and wants to renew it. Can you blame him? (WATCH COUGAR TOWN!) While most people may just open up about those feelings, Abed is only able to relate through television and movies. He is trying what he knows best. Abed has a good point when he admits to Jeff that he doesn't grow and change, as others do, which makes it hard to maintain relationships. Everyone keeps moving forward, except Abed. It's a blunt, heart breaking insight that pushes this episode up to the top tiers of the series.