“Cougar Town” returns from its two-month-plus hiatus Monday (April 18), and in addition to being as funny as it always is, it will present several of its characters with potentially life-changing situations by season’s end.
“I like for the end of years on shows to be about something,” “Cougar Town” co-creator Bill Lawrence tells Zap2it. “The burden now for comedy showrunners especially is that most networks like shows to be really self-contained — it has to be funny for people who haven’t watched before and aren’t going to watch [again]. I’m like, what’s the point of that?”
To that end, Lawrence promises big developments for Travis (Dan Byrd), Jules (Courteney Cox) and Bobby (Brian Van Holt) in among the usual wine-soaked goofiness. Here’s what you can expect from the cul-de-sac crew between now and the season finale next month.
(Mild to moderate spoilers ahead.)
“One of the throughlines for the end of the year … will be Travis’ descent into ultimately becoming his dad,” Lawrence says. When the show returns Monday for a one-time airing following “Dancing With the Stars” (it moves back to its regular timeslot on Wednesday), Travis is approaching the end of his freshman year of college, and he’s also got a big decision on his mind. The consequences of that decision help set up the season-ending trip to Hawaii as well, Lawrence says.
Jules and Grayson
“I like to put adult couples together,” Lawrence says of the pairing of Jules and Grayson (Josh Hopkins). “We just decided to bring up a real issue for these guys, which was a real issue in Courteney’s life — having kids. For two years we’ve been setting up how much [Grayson] likes kids … and how Jules is done with it. I just think it’s a good complication for them to face. … It’s kind of a big story arc for next year.”
Laurie (Busy Philipps) will “reclaim her trampiness” in the final episodes. “We put her in a relationship and had her fall in love, and she kind of lost the good-natured, tramp-around-town vibe,” Lawrence says of the character. “We wanted to get that back for her.”
Meanwhile, the show is still weighing what to do with the flirty friendship Travis and Laurie have developed over two seasons. “We’re still walking that fine line between those two having chemistry [and] them being close in age in real life,” Lawrence says. (Byrd is 25, Philipps 31.) “It still seems to me like it might be borderline creepy on the show, because [Travis] is not even 20 yet. But we’re still playing with it.”
“We kind of feel like that guy deserves an uptick in his life,” Lawrence says. Starting with Monday’s episode, in which Bobby decides to start marketing Penny Can to the world, he’ll get it. “You’ll see that golf tournament that he qualified for. He kind of moves forward … leading to an end of hopefully people realizing he’s going to have to have some kind of romantic interest in his life next year.”
Ellie and Andy
As the “stable and good” couple on “Cougar Town,” Ellie (Christa Miller) and Andy (Ian Gomez) won’t have any major complications to deal with — “other than Ellie constantly feeling like a third wheel in Andy and Bobby’s romance.” They’ll also have to endure a visit from Andy’s sister-in-law (Nia Vardalos, Gomez’s real-life wife) “who secretly has always wanted to sleep with Andy,” in the May 11 episode.
“Cougar Town” airs at 9:30 p.m. ET Monday on ABC before moving to its regular home at 9:30 Wednesday.