We're just going to say it: TBS is giving Cougar Town more promotion and love in season four than ABC showed it, even when it was brand new. But that kind of reinvigoration and energy is perfect for a series that has hit its stride and therefore could fall into a routine at this stage in the game.
"It feels like a brand new show that hasn't changed. It feels like we're out there, and I feel like it just started, yet we've been doing it and we feel so comfortable," series star and executive producer Courteney Cox addressed the critics (LA TV Insider Examiner included) earlier today at the TCA tour in Los Angeles.
"I want them to notice no difference," Lawrence said of fans watching the series across seasons and networks.
"If I had to point to one change, it would be that from a writing standpoint, we're focused on evolving the characters and the relationships."
Cougar Town in season four has most obviously done this simply by having Jules (Cox) and Grayson (Josh Hopkins) get married in the third season finale.
"Some think getting married is the finish line, but in reality it starts a whole new series of trials and tribulations," Lawrence said.
One most memorable one takes over the season premiere and is actually ripped from Lawrence's own life and marriage, when Grayson decides to do a "nice thing" for his wife by making her a cup of coffee in the morning-- for two mornings in a row. This sets a precedent and he quickly becomes her "coffee bitch"-- and later her "wine guy."
Additionally, though, the issue of keeping a relationship fresh comes up, which leads to an episode centering on "naked day."
"One day in trying to keep our marriage alive we have a naked day,” Cox said. “There happens to be only one spot in the whole house where I can stand, and the light comes in at all angles; step out of it, disgusting.”
"Courteney declared this the year of her cleavage," Lawrence chimed in, though adding that Hopkins, too, will get shirtless a lot this year.
"There is not one scene in which you don't see my boobs," Cox said. "I'm getting older, and the plan is less focus on the face. I'm focusing here (pointing to her chest). By the time I'm much older, I'll be absolutely nude. I think it will work. I hope!"
Of course Ellie (Christa Miller) and Andy (Ian Gomez) are still married, and equally Andy and Bobby's (Brian Van Holt) bromance is stronger than ever, even though he gets another girlfriend. But what's fun is Cougar Town will flashback to see how these relationships happened at all. Every one has a "meet cute," and we will get to see them all play out. Of course, this allows for fun with "hillbilly Jules" and "power businesswoman Ellie," as well as Bobby with a mullet.
But perhaps most importantly, season four will finally take strides to put Laurie (Busy Philipps) and Travis (Dan Byrd) together in a relationship, too.
Though Philipps shared that at the beginning of the season "[Laurie's] boyfriend Wade comes back from Afghanistan, so I don't have to have cyber sex anymore; I can make out with him [for real]," Lawrence promised they will be dealing with Travis' declaration of love for his mother's friend head-on, too.
"They did a good job of easing us into it, and not just us-- everybody has had the chance to get used to the concept," Byrd said.
When TBS and Michael Wright talked with Lawrence about bringing the show to them, they made it very clear that they wanted Cougar Town as they, too, already knew and loved it-- and that meant keeping the title, which Lawrence has so candidly and colorfully made fun of. And according to Lawrence, he will continue to, despite embracing it at the same time.
"For real, we wear it as a badge of honor," Lawrence said, noting that it is as integral to the humor and fabric of the show now as the chalkboard writing bits on The Simpsons.
"Being filled with self-loathing is a characteristic of 90% of comedy writers anyway. I’ve embraced it. It’s an amazing title. I’d do it again!”
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