'Cougar Town': Ian Gomez on dancing, working and Penny Can
"There have been brief little things [with Jules and Andy], but this is the first episode where that's the main story," Gomez tells Zap2it. "I'm very happy for that. ... I'm thrilled they gave me the opportunity to work with Courteney so much."
The episode, "Fooled Again (I Don't Like It)," revolves around Jules' 42nd birthday. As a gift, Andy proposes to take her dancing: "We realize everyone has a direct connection to Jules except for my character," he says. "I'm the husband of her best friend, and I always considered we were friends, but it turns out Jules thinks of me not in that way. So I try to reverse that."
Gomez also talked with us about how the show has changed since it started, how his character sometimes reflects his own life and his Penny Can prowess. Some highlights of the conversation:
Zap2it: So does Jules finally cave and go with you?
Ian Gomez: She's resistant to it, and I convince her in a very manipulative way. ... We wind up going dancing. That was my biggest fear -- watching myself dance. Not a lot of people get to watch themselves dance on TV, except those "Dancing With the Stars" people. But it was terrifying. There's something about dancing -- you let yourself go, and you're not really aware of what you look like. You think you know what you look like, but I find all the time that what I think I look like and what I see on TV are two different things. So with the dancing I was like, I have no idea what this is going to be, and I may have to go into hiding. But the editors were very kind to me. I saw a brief clip it and ... I'm not too embarrassed. Plus it's dark, so you can't really see a lot.
The show has changed quite a bit from its early episodes to now. What's that experience been like from the inside?
What Bill told us in the beginning was that the first six episodes or so were going to be mostly Courteney, laying down the story, reiterating her situation, and we'd be coming in and out of it a bit. He said after that, it's going to start to expand and be more of an ensemble, and it really has become that. We also get these different combinations of people working together in different stories, and that keeps it really fresh and fun to play. ... We get to play all these different things, and it's wonderful.
But it is a lot of work -- in the beginning it was like, it's all about Courteney, she works every day, she's in every scene. We come in, we work a couple hours a few days a week -- "Ah, this is the life!" Then all of the sudden we're in every day -- but it's great. We get along really well, we go out and have lunch together, there's a lot of wine on set -- usually fake wine. Occasionally, especially toward the end of the evening, there's a real glass of wine. But it's great.
Have the writers caught you doing anything on set that became part of Andy's character?
Well, the whole dancing thing. Between scenes sometimes at night, we'd all go into Courteney's room and have a glass of wine, listen to some music, and Courteney and I would start dancing. And of course [co-creator Kevin Biegel] came in and freaked out. ... Then two weeks later, we get this script. Besides that, there are subtle things that will get into scripts. We're all pretty loudmouthed [laughs], and we'll talk about our day-to-day lives, and all of the sudden it shows up on paper.
Finally, we have to know: Who's the best Penny Can player in the cast?
That would be Josh Hopkins. He's a basketball player, and it's a completely different thing, but he has the hand-eye [coordination]. I'd say I'm about the third-best in the cast. The girls don't even try because they think it's stupid. But the guys, whenever we get a chance to play -- if it's in a scene, they have to take the can away from us. We'll be off camera going "Whooo!," ruining takes. We get very excited about it. But it's a finesse game. Shaquille O'Neal wouldn't be able to play this game.
"Cougar Town" airs at 9:30 p.m. ET Wednesday (Nov. 3) on ABC. Here's a clip from the episode featuring Andy's initial pitch to Jules.
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Photo credit: ABC