Okay, so the Cougar Town cast and creators weren’t pounding grape quite like the cul-de-sac crew does, but they came with red wine in hand to last night’s Paley Center panel. The event was just the latest of a series of viewing parties that the cast and co-creators and executive producers Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel organized as part of a grassroots campaign. With the ABC comedy stuck in TV schedule limbo, they decided that sitting around and doing nothing was not an option. “For Bill and for me it was kind of a no brainer,” Biegel said. “Why would you not do this? I want people to see it. So if that means going out there to show it to people, I’m going to go out there and show it to people.”
And that’s exactly what Beigel & co. did. They screened the season 3 premiere along with the fifth episode. Then, they answered questions from panel moderator Michael Ausiello. Here are the highlights from last night’s red carpet and panel session. [Warning: Mild spoilers ahead!]
++ About that Jules and Grayson proposal in the premiere: “Friends did this will-they-won’t-they thing with Ross and Rachel. And apparently there was some kind of break or something,” laughed Lawrence. “But we were not interested in doing that,” added Biegel. And that’s why Jules and Grayson are in it for the long haul.
++ Ian Gomez said the premiere was the perfect combination of funny with heartfelt moments. “I get teary,” he confessed. And then he promised me I probably would too. “At least I hope so. If you don’t I look very wimpy!” (Don’t worry, Ian. I totally did.)
++ The name Cougar Town is not going anywhere. The title, which Lawrence said is the “worst title in the history of television” is now being worn as a badge of honor now. They will, however, continue to use clever title card lead-ins including Lawrence’s favorite, “This is not The Simpsons title card joke.”
++ Courteney Cox directs an episode this season that features her daughter, Coco. “It’s an episode where Bobby and I are trying to keep our white shirts clean. So we have a white shirt contest, and Coco’s in one scene where she walks by with a chocolate ice cream cone. It’s very nerve-wracking.”
++ Busy Philipps said that her character, Laurie, finds a boyfriend via Twitter. (Shout out to The Larmy!)
++ Philipps also said that Laurie starts her own business: “Ripped from my own personal headline, she has a cake decorating business.” Yes,Busy Philipps is a real-life cake decorator. “I’m basically professional. I’m like one of the people who plays a doctor on TV and then stops at car accidents because they think they can help. Whenever there’s cake stuff on set I’m like, ‘Okay, guys, let me tell you how it really is in the cake world. We would never use that kind of fondant!'”
UP NEXT…Travis, Baby Stan, and Braveheart?
++ Dan Byrd (Travis) strips down for the finale. Apparently, he gets naked sitting in a cake.
++ Speaking of Travis, he’s over that quarter-life crisis he had at the end of season 2. “He’s gotten out of his funk and gotten his life back on track,” said Byrd. “He’s back in college and, thankfully, there’s no real romantic exploits. I was kind of relieved because it was so heavy last year.”
And both Christa Miller (Ellie) and Gomez (Andy) said this season we’d get to see a lot more of baby Stan, who has been famously absent from previous seasons. “We’re just dealing with our horrible son,” Gomez said. “Now that’s he’s older he says things! And he has actions! He’s not just some robot.”
++ There will be more movie parodies this season, including a Braveheart tribute by Andy complete with an imaginary horse.
++ Groundhog Day also gets the parody treatment. Ellie, Grayson, and Laurie, all fans of the movie, keep recreating the same scenes to mess with Jules who doesn’t understand the joke. As it turns out, Courteney Cox didn’t get the joke at first either: “I thought they were writing repetitive jokes!” she confessed.
++ Creepy neighbor, Tom (Bob Clendenin), will become a series regular if the show gets picked up for a fourth season.
++ Although reminiscent of what the show used to be, Lawrence and Biegel confirmed that Barb (Carolyn Hennesy) is coming back. But she’s returning as a married woman. Her husband? Barry Bostwick!
++ Susan Blakely will guest as Ellie’s mom.
++ Will the crew be back for a fourth season? “There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s coming back next year,” Biegel said. “And I’m not jinxing it.”
Are you as excited as I am about the Valentine’s Day return of Cougar Town? Let us know what you’re most looking forward to about the start of season 3. Oh, and penny can!