Cougar Town Boss Bill Lawrence on the Season Finale, Moving to TBS and Killing Big Carl
Josh Hopkins, Courteney Cox | Photo Credits: Eric McCandless/ABC
Our favorite wine-guzzling cul-de-sac crew is headed for some major changes on Cougar Town — and we're not just talking about the recent passing of Big Carl (R.I.P old friend!) Tuesday's hour-long season finale (8/7c on ABC) will see the gang migrate west to Napa for Jules (Courteney Cox) and Grayson's (Josh Hopkins) wedding. But will they actually tie the knot?
Behind the scenes, the episode marks the comedy's last hurrah on ABC before it moves to TBS for Season 4. The change also includes a new showrunner who will take over the day-to-day duties from co-creators and executive producers Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel. But fans should rest assured: Lawrence and Biegel aren't going anywhere. Lawrence talked with TVGuide.com about the wedding-themed season finale, the move to TBS, his involvement next season and why Big Carl had to go.
Why kill Big Carl?
Bill Lawrence: I think that we've decided that because Courteney is a klutz in real life, I would expect people to be waiting for the death of her wine glass ever year.
What were your goals going into the season finale?
Lawrence: The one weird dilemma is, when you're talking about characters in their early 40s, you really can't do the will-they-or-won't-they or the stuff that comes with youth. For us, if Jules and Grayson are in a great adult relationship and they're getting along, then they're going to get married. There's not going to be any leaving at the altar or anybody coming in and messing things up at the eleventh hour. So it was just playing that arc out. We actually started to get panicky because it was not our intention, but we realized after we made it that that it could have easily been our series finale and that really bummed us out because it wasn't our intention.
Is there anything you would have changed had it been the series finale?
Lawrence: In retrospect, I don't know. It's a kind of hangout show. The tricky thing is you still want characters to move forward and I think that sometimes, rightly so, TV writers get annoyed with shows when there is no change whatsoever and they're doing the exact same episode and character behavior five years in. You have to walk that tightrope too because often people will really reject and react poorly to a completely new show. We haven't really thought about it because we haven't given a moment's notice to what the series finale would be.
David Arquette has a really funny guest spot where he flirts with your wife on-screen in an episode that you wrote. Are you all really that comfortable with each other?
Lawrence: [Laughs] I'm a very uptight Connecticut-type guy and Courteney and David and Christa [Miller] are all so comfortable with it that Kevin and I just thought it would be funny to throw them all in that situation. We were more uncomfortable than they were.
Groundhog Day plays a big role in Jules' bachelorette party. What made you choose that movie?
Lawrence: Among most comedy writers, it is literally one of the all-time favorites. We waste time by doing lists of best movies and that sort of stuff and that [movie] always comes up. ... Courteney in real life and Jules have giant blind spots when it comes to pop culture. We just thought it would be a really fun episode because Courteney herself and Jules never really got into and clicked into Groundhog Day.