Cougar Town has had quite an eventful year. Not only is the comedy making the jump from ABC to cable network TBS next fall, but last night's season finale featured several character milestones, including a long overdue wedding. Some critics are even saying that the episode was so satisfying, it felt more like a series finale than simply the end to a normal season. Today, series creator Bill Lawrence had a chat with EW.com about the finale and where the show goes from here. Questions have been summaraized and paraphrased for easier readability. Answers are complete and intact.
Q. Was the show originally written to be the series finale before the TBS pick up?
"It’s the opposite. 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.”
Q. What do you think about the move to TBS?
"It's 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. It’s really cool. I couldn’t be more grateful."
Q. What was the goal you wanted to accomplish with 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."
Q. Did you enjoy working with David Arquette in his guest role?
"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."
Q. Are Laurie and Travis officially finished as a potential couple?
"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.”
Q. Will the show change without you as showrunner?
"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.”