Finally, "Cougar Town" is returning to our screens (Tues., Jan 8 at 10 p.m. EST on TBS) for Season 4 and as HuffPost TV critic Mo Ryan said in her review of the series, the comedy's latest vintage is still "potent and drinkable."
"Cougar Town's" miraculous move to TBS has given it a new lease on life. To whet your appetite for tonight's long-awaited reunion with your favorite Cul-de-sac crew and their drunken shenanigans and madcap moments, HuffPost TV caught up with star Josh Hopkins, who plays long-suffering bar owner Grayson, who married Jules (Courteney Cox) at the end of last season.
Below, Hopkins previews what we can expect from Season 4, including more singing, more shirtlessness and more advertising from the show's new network!
Much was said during "Cougar Town's" Television Critics Association panel of the increased nudity, particularly your shirtlessness. Was that really something the writers were deliberately aiming for this season?
Yeah, the sad thing is usually I don’t see the scripts until a day or two before, so I’m always, like, "You guys could have given me a heads up -- I could have done some extra push-ups and whatever, laid off the carbs and the beer," but no. So that’s unfortunate. I didn’t really realize how much I was shirtless until they said it on the panel. I’m, like, "Oh yeah!" We had an episode where we have a full-on naked day ... that was not easy.
Have there been any noticeable changes on your end in the transition to TBS, or does it still feel like the same "Cougar Town" we all know and love?
There’s been nothing discernible to me. I mean, there are certain storylines, innuendo we can go a little further with, and I think it only improves the show. I do feel like this is the best season, and I think doing 15 is the perfect number, as opposed to 22, or something. We knew it going in, so we knew the amount, the perfect arc for the characters, and to their credit, TBS said, "Look, this is the show we want, this is what we bought," and they didn’t try to change it at all. I know the producers, hearing them talk, they got a lot fewer notes than one would get at a regular network, and so nothing changed, but if there were some changes, they were all good.
Is everyone feeling optimistic about the move? It seems like TBS is throwing a lot of advertising weight behind the show, which is always a good sign.
We feel wanted, for sure. I can’t believe the amount of publicity. My friends and family can’t believe the amount. I’ve never been on anything where we’re like, "Wow, that’s a lot of publicity." Usually it’s like, "I did see something, once ... " They’re really behind it, and it feels good, and I think that we continue to make a show that is funny, and they didn’t change it a lot, so I do feel good about it.
Grayson's songs have always been one of my favorite parts of the show. We get a reprise of "Confident in my Sexuality" this season, but are there more coming up?
There’s a lot. There’s a lot this season. We have probably a little more than most seasons. We’re still on the guitar. Every once and a while, they’d be like, "Write this song about this." I do write a lot of them. We collaborate on some, but usually at least the music I write.
Throughout the show, Grayson's always been kind of infuriated about the rest of the Cul-de-sac crew always invading his privacy, and I assume that's only going to get worse now that he and Jules are married.
That is, definitely, since he doesn’t have his house to go hide in. So it’s a lot more in his face. He gets a little more used to it as they go along this season, but one thing I think is interesting is, when the series started, Grayson was sort of judging [them], and [was] kind of the most normal, thinking these people are weird. When we end this fourth season, he’s weird. We start to get a peek into how really weird he is. I mean, you don’t realize how much he had a past. [He had aspirations about being] an actor and a model -- he wanted [that] desperately ... too desperately, let’s say that.
He's also got this illegitimate daughter, Tampa, who we hear about periodically. Are there any storylines involving her this season, or is she still just randomly mentioned?
It’s kind of that; she’s referred to a lot. There's not a lot of Tampa/Jill scenes, but she’s referred to quite a bit. In that sense, it’s kind of like Andy and Ellie’s kid -- it’s like, "Yes, we have a kid, but not during wine time." [Laughs.]
They've discussed it before, but do you think he would ever want kids with Jules, at this point?
Yeah, I don’t think so. I think that he has scratched that itch, and I know, for a fact, we don’t want to act with more kids, so I think that will be it. [Laughs.]
Jules and Grayson are married, but he still doesn't really have much of a bond with Travis at this point, besides Travis being cool with their relationship. Is that something we'll see develop this season?
We were just talking about that. There are some times in this season where he comes to Grayson for advice on some women issues, which is kind of interesting fodder for comedy.
Does the marriage affect Grayson's dynamic with Bobby at all? They've never been best friends anyway, but it's usually something they don't talk about.
No, it’s discussed in an episode this year about the awkwardness of it, but again, it’s just one big Cul-de-sac Crew, and every once in a while, it’s brought up. It's like, "This is kind of weird," and they address it, and then they realize that it’s actually a pretty nice thing to have [this group of friends].
What other storylines can you tease for Grayson this season?
A lot of songs. They actually had me do a lot of imitations this year. That’s kind of fun for me, imitations of almost the entire cast. That sprang from me really doing imitations of the cast when we’d say "cut," so that was fun. Just stuff like that. It’s just a ball.
"Cougar Town" premieres on Tuesday, January 8 at 10 p.m. EST on TBS. Will you be watching?