'Cougar Town' creator on season finale twists, the move to TBS

cougar-town

Had the news of Cougar Town‘s renewal and move to TBS not been released weeks ago, the season finale may have made a few fans worry. After all, the episode certainly had the tone of a series finale.

Jules (Courteney Cox) and Grayson (Josh Hopkins) got married. Ellie (Christa Miller) dangled her sexuality over Andy (Ian Gomez) like an unreachable carrot. And Laurie (Busy Phillips) and Travis (Dan) seemed to accept that they will always remain friends — and nothing more. But while the episode felt like a natural end to the series, co-creator Bill Lawrence says that was never the intention. “It’s the opposite,” he says. “We thought it was a season finale and when the show wasn’t doing great, we realized it could be the series finale if it had to be. And we were like thank goodness! But we never planned it that way.”

Instead, the episode is really a new beginning. Next fall, the start its run on TBS, a move that Lawrence calls “a very appealing situation. “[TBS] flew our entire cast out to Upfronts, and we were being treated like somebody’s flagship show rather than an afterthought,” he says. “It’s really cool. I couldn’t be more grateful.”

And while Lawrence, who has a development deal with Warner Bros., and Cougar Town co-creator Kevin Biegel are handing over daily duties to Ric Swartzlander (Gary Unmarried), their relationship with the show will continue, he says. How exactly? That’s one of the subjects he tackled during a conversation with EW about the finale and what’s next:

ON THE WEDDING:
“We wanted to do a wedding at the end of the year, but stuff like that gets out. There were pictures of Courteney in a wedding dress, so the thing we wanted to do was just to figure out a way that was specific to Cougar Town, which is always a little goofy. For us, we came up with the idea of a beach wedding and we put in a few episodes back that they don’t allow weddings on the beach. So we thought the idea of a moving beach wedding while the police were coming was something people had never seen before.”

ON DAVID ARQUETTE’S GUEST SPOT AS A CREEPY CONCIERGE:

“That was funny because I feel like my wife — and Courteney feels this way too — enjoyed that too much. She was flirting up a storm. And Courteney and I couldn’t stop laughing. We were like, ‘What are you doing!?’ We feel a little bit like she lost her mind in real life. David, by the way, he cleans up really nice. He also makes us laugh, and if he wants to do the show again, we’d do it in a heartbeat. That’s why we left it at least partially open-ended for him to spin back through.”

ON LAURIE AND TRAVIS:

“We are so split [on what to do]. Kevin and I are split. The writer’s room is split. The actors are split. The only real decision we made was that we weren’t going to do anything yet. To tell you the truth, what we wanted to do was use the fact that ABC didn’t air us for a year and a half to say that Travis is 21 and allowed to drink and then do this episode and gauge by fan reaction whether that’s something in our immediate future, near future or never. Unfortunately, when we put the question out there on Twitter, I’d say a third say ‘Never,’ a third say ‘You have to do it right away or I’ll never watch again, and another third say ‘Don’t do it now. Do it if the show goes on for a couple of years.’ So I’ve still figured nothing out. Hopefully it won’t come off as a stall. You don’t want to torture people. You don’t want to do it too often.”

ON CHANGING SHOWRUNNERS:
“Neither Kevin nor I have another TV show on. Technically, neither one of us have jobs, but we both want to try really hard to get our own individual things this year. And if we are lucky enough to make that happen, there’s gotta be somebody in place who’s running the show day-to-day this year if we disappear to make pilots. But also we hope it would be the same person next year if we were off doing our own shows. That being said, Courteney is one of my best friends, my wife is on the show, Kevin co-created the show with me — we’re going to be all over this show….The same thing with Scrubs. I wasn’t showrunner in the 9th season of Scrubs, but the ninth season writer’s room was 20 feet from the Cougar Town writer’s room. I didn’t put up an electric fence there. And it’s just not — it doesn’t work the way people think it does. For me, the only drag is that I think it makes people nervous about the creative direction of the show, especially since we’re lucky enough that our fans are intensely passionate. They will get the same quality show.”


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