By Dan Snierson
Updated May 25, 2011 at 08:23 PM EDT
Mario Perez/ABC

It’s time to wave goodbye to the cul-de-sac for awhile, figuratively and literally. Not only does tonight bring the one-hour season finale of Cougar Town (ABC, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT), Jules (Courteney Cox) and the gang leave Florida to jet off to Hawaii, where Jules’ son, Travis (Dan Byrd), has apparently decided to become a beach bum. Plenty of Hawaiian high jinks await you, including but not limited to tropical versions of Big Carl and Penny Can. “I think people will really dig it,” says co-creator/exec producer Bill Lawrence. “Just so it wouldn’t seem like a typical ‘resort episode,’ we shot in and around Hawaii too. We took some shots at doing stuff that people haven’t seen, hopefully.… But mostly it was an excuse to get the tabloid people out taking pictures of Courteney in a bikini.” Kick off your shoes and luxuriate in the following teasers from Lawrence about tonight’s finale.

On why the group is going to Hawaii:

“[Family Ties creator] Gary Goldberg, who is my mentor, challenged me years ago. He said that no one else could do a good location episode of a TV show. I thought we did really well when we went to the Bahamas with Scrubs. And then we decided to try it in Hawaii with this gang…. In a misguided effort to get Travis to go back to school, Laurie (Busy Philipps) talks to him about how she was looking at these cheap plane tickets to Hawaii and how she had never gone to college and never gone on adventures like that, and she accidentally convinces him to take off. We’ve all been to Hawaii, and there are so many young people living out of little surf shacks and hanging out on the beach and doing nothing. He becomes one of those guys. Would’ve been better for us if he could’ve become one of those guys someplace closer to Florida but alas he could not. [Laughs] When the group finds out that he’s dropped out and bolted — and it’s on the heels of the group having decided that next year they’re going to take a vacation together to Napa Valley — they just say, ‘What the hell! We might as well just go [to Hawaii] now and make it our trip.’ Jules is going to get him and bring him back, but the others are hanging out at a resort in Hawaii, so they can only care as much as they don’t have drinks in their hands.”

On the gang staying at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu:

“[They] get to this nice resort in Hawaii and Ellie (Christa Miller) is telling everybody, ‘It’s so mortifying traveling with a group because you get judged for everybody else’s behavior,’ and ‘Can we all try to act like adults?’ And almost in succession you see the three guys have matching Magnum P.I. shirts — we really got the Magnum P.I. Hawaiian shirts — and Laurie is just wearing her skirt and her bra because she thinks it looks like a bathing suit top, which it doesn’t. And when she turns back around, Jules is going down the water slide in a sundress. They’re all so excited to actually be somewhere other than Florida for a second.”

On Big Kimo (pictured above), the Hawaiian version of Jules’ Big Carl:

“We got that idea when we were there from one of the candle holders from the suite. We thought it’d be funny for her to dump the candle out and just start drinking from that thing. She’s drinking a breakfast smoothie with some rum in it.”

On Jules and Bobby (Brian Van Holt) searching for Travis:

“Because it’s his transportation at home, Bobby’s stolen a golf cart from the golf course at the resort to get around town, and they find Travis in the middle of this island. It’s a real surf shack. Travis lives there and they’re all playing Penny Can. They’ve got a hollowed out coconut and they’re throwing rocks at it. It’s the exact same game except it’s called Coco Rock. We’re not that clever, man.”

On the possibility of a Travis-Laurie romance:

“We’ve always been kind of bouncing around a little romantic thing between those two and it’s a little inappropriate, so it’s definitely a big element of the finale. It’s so weird for us because in real life those two are [six] years apart and completely appropriate, but in TV life they’re about to be 20 and 29 and not yet appropriate. So we’re angling toward what we’re planning to do and people will have a pretty good idea at the end of the show. It spells out what’s to come.”

On Grayson (Josh Hopkins) writing one of his trademark songs on the ukulele:

“It’s probably my favorite song of the year. It’s about Jules’ morning routine. The last verse is ‘Take your pills/So you don’t get preggers.’”

On an appearance by a character from another one of Lawrence’s comedy series:

“Sam Lloyd is playing the same character from Scrubs, [sad-sack lawyer] Ted Buckland. I just thought it’d be fun to see him roaming around. We also needed Travis to have somebody there whose life had also fallen apart that he could be connected to. Ted is kind of a beach troubadour. His girlfriend s—housed him and he went to Hawaii and he makes a living there. He can take any song and turn it into an unbelievably depressing acoustic song, no matter how happy it is. I guarantee people will be downloading this stuff because he does ‘Take On Me,’ ‘Love Shack,’ and ‘Shiny Happy People,’ and every one of them makes you want to kill yourself.”