"Cougar Town" has settled into its new cul-de-sac on TBS, but fans have been happy to see the same characters they knew and loved when the comedy was on ABC, where it aired for its first three seasons.
Busy Philipps, who stars as Jules Cobb's (Courteney Cox) assistant Laurie Keller on the show, talked to HuffPost TV via phone about the rejuvenation of "Cougar Town" (Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on TBS). Below, find out how Philipps handles her "Friends" obsession in front of Cox, how she finally got her best friend (and former "Dawson's Creek" co-star) Michelle Williams to film a guest stint, what's in store for Laurie's love life in Season 4 and more.
Last week's episode, there was a lot of back and forth between Laurie and Grayson with her trying to prove to him that he's homophobic. It seemed like you guys had fun with that storyline.
I had the best time. I loved it. Josh Hopkins nailed that speech at the end so hard every time. It's really fun when you're working with an actor who just fully commits and is really excited about what they're about to do. Sometimes, when you've been on a TV show for four years, that enthusiasm kind of wanes, but when we got on set that day, he was like, "I'm gonna do this!" I was like, "Great! I'm so excited. I can't wait to watch it." [Laughs.] So it was just so enjoyable for me to watch that big speech the end where he was snapping and talking about how he enjoys the finer things in life. It was great.
The "Zooey Descha-Hell-No" line was hilarious. Do you guys ever improvise those one-liners?
Specifically, Zooey Descha-Hell-No was scripted. But Bill Lawrence [creator of "Cougar Town"] comes from the belief that you get it once as they've written it and then you can feel free to pitch jokes or improvise. Sometimes when we feel like we're almost there with a joke, we'll even ask the crew, like the camera department.
"Things That Annoy Ellie" was a real collaboration between us and camera department. [Laughs.] Ethan specifically -- one of the grips -- came up with so many things that annoy Christa [Miller]. A lot of these guys have been working with Bill since "Scrubs" so they obviously know Christa very well. It was a really fun game to play on set and we all kind of just spitballed and yelled them out and then we tried to remember the best ones and made sure we got those ones shot.
The writers do such an amazing job. They're really fantastic. But there's also such an awesome atmosphere of collaboration and inclusion and that goes beyond just the actors -- we really do turn to our camera department all the time to ask their opinion about jokes. Especially when you're not shooting in front of a live audience, you need the response of the people around you to know if something is going to funny or not. And we're so blessed because we have such an awesome crew, who's really like family and has been so invested in the show. They're very loyal.
In this week's episode, it looks like Laurie will be trying to give Travis [Dan Byrd] some advice.
I'm trying to remember. I'm pregnant so it's hard. Plus, we shot that in August. That is one of the fun things about having the delay in shooting is that I watch the show as a fan and I'm constantly surprised by the things that we do. [Laughs.]
I'm a huge "Friends" fan. I feel like, at this point, I've outed myself. I tried to play it so cool for the first year and a half that I was on the show with Courteney, but now I feel like I talk about it enough. I watch "Friends" still twice a day on reruns because it's amazing. It totally holds up. And I will reference things from "Friends" to Courteney and she gives me this blank look like I'm a crazy person. She always says, "I have no idea what you're talking about." I'm like, "Remember when you guys went to the Bahamas because Ross had that paleontology conference?" And she just looks at me like I'm crazy.
What are you excited for fans to see this season?
Well, Wade [Edwin Hodge] ends up coming back from Afghanistan sort of for good and he and Laurie have this chance and start having a real relationship for the first time ever. It's interesting and Laurie hasn't had a real boyfriend since Smith [Ryan Devlin] broke her heart in Season 2. I was really excited about that. Laurie has a lot to deal with because, you know, she loves Travis in a way, and as we saw in the first episode, she tries to talk to him about it and he just runs away. [Laughs.] So he's gotta go do his own thing. He tries to be a player. I actually really like episode -- it's hilarious. And Wade and Laurie have their real relationship. It's pretty interesting and I get to make out with Edwin Hodge a lot.
Since the show started basically, we've heard about you trying to get Michelle Williams to make a cameo. How did the stars finally align for it to happen?
Well, over the summer, Michelle and I went over to Courteney's house for a Sunday afternoon and Bill was there. We just were joking around and he said, "I have this idea for the tag of the very first episode of all the ridiculous things that are not going to happening this year on 'Cougar Town.'" Michelle's schedule is so insane and we had this little snippet together. [Laughs.] When it was over, she looked at me and said, "Can I stay for more?" So I said, "Well, yes! Of course!" It was so fun to do and I think it was sort of perfect that we didn't publicize it. It was just sort of a treat for the fans of the show. We had a blast! [Laughs.] It was so fun for me to see Michelle dressed up like that, doing the accent and being Laurie's sister. The goal was just to make ourselves laugh so we definitely did that and then I was glad when other people were excited about it, too.
"Cougar Town" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on TBS.
Joshua Jackson, Michelle Williams & Katie Holmes On "Don't Trust The B---- In Apartment 23"
While we're very excited to see Busy Philipps and James Van Der Beek back together on the ABC comedy, a "Dawson's Creek" reunion is just not the same with the rest of the gang. Van Der Beek, Jackson and Williams have been teasing a reunion for a while now, but Holmes seemed iffy. However, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/katie-holmes-dawsons-creek-reunion-tom-cruise_n_1647000.html" target="_hplink">after her divorce from Tom Cruise, it was reported that he was the one who didn't want the Capeside crew to reconnect</a>. But now that Holmes is a single lady, someone needs to get this started!
Christina Applegate On "Modern Family"
It would be heartwarming to see the "Married With Children" father and daughter reunited on "Modern Family" after all these years. Maybe Applegate could make a cameo as a wacky cousin from Jay's ex-wife's Dede's side of the family.
Elizabeth Berkley and Lark Voorhies on "White Collar"
It's beyond time the ladies of "Saved by the Bell" reunite. Elizabeth Burke's (Tiffani Thiessen) high school friends (Elizabeth Berkley and Lark Voorhies) come calling and need the FBI's help. Good thing Peter and Neal are available.
John Stamos On "90210"
Uncle Jessie and Aunt Becky back together again? Yes please! "90210" could stage a full-blown "Full House" reunion with Lori Loughlin making an appearance. Why not have John Stamos play her new love interest?
Sarah Michelle Gellar On "Bones"
Before Stefan/Elena/Damon, Bill/Sookie/Eric or Edward/Bella, there was Buffy and Angel, the couple who made dating a bloodsucker look glamorous and tragic way before those copycats. Nowadays, David Boreanaz has traded in his fangs for an FBI badge on "Bones," but we'd still like to see SMG swooping in to try and seduce him while Brennan's on the lam, or at least commenting how good he looks with a tan, next season.
James Franco On "Cougar Town"
James Franco is long overdue to reunite with his bad-girl "Freaks And Geeks" co-star Busy Phillips, and Laurie (Busy's character) could use a tall, dark handsome stranger in her life. Let's bring back Daniel and Kim!
Tom Hanks On "Girls"
On the upcoming season of "Girls," "Bosom Buddies" alum Tom Hanks could show up as Hannah's dad's (Peter Scolari) old friend from college who Hannah develops an irrational crush on. Papa Horvath needs his bosom buddy!
Max Casella on "How I Met Your Mother"
"Doogie Howser, M.D." veterans gotta stick together. Max Casella could pop up on "How I Met Your Mother" as a doctor Barney turns to when the threat of an STI rears its ugly head.
Jared Leto On "Homeland"
There's no time like the present for Jordan Catalano to make a comeback, and where better to do it than in his "My So-Called Life" co-star Claire Danes' hit show? Leto can play eccentric pretty well, so we suggest Leto should appear as a fellow psychiatric patient Carrie meets following her ECT therapy -- she already has a great track record with dating unstable guys.
Fred Savage On "Sullivan & Son"
Dan Lauria plays Steve Sullivan's father on the new TBS bar comedy "Sullivan & Son." You know what'd be funny? If Lauria's other TV son, Fred Savage from "The Wonder Years," showed up in a cameo as a drunk, rowdy customer who had to be thrown out of their establishment.
Jurnee Smollett on "Baby Daddy"
It's been a few years, but we bet Michelle Tanner's "Full House" BFFs still keep in touch. Jurnee Smollett could pop up on "Baby Daddy" as Tucker's (Tahj Mowry) old flame. Could it be rekindled?
Jaleel White On "Hart Of Dixie"
Reginald VelJohnson -- the artist formerly known as Carl Winslow from "Family Matters" -- plays Bluebell, AL theatre expert Dash DeWitt on "Hart of Dixie." He runs an arts blog on the town's website, and do you know what every local theatre blog needs? A nerdy intern, preferably played by Jaleel White. Make it happen, CW.
Mario Lopez On "Franklin & Bash"
We think Mario Lopez should take a break from hosting and return to his perfectly permed roots by reuniting with "Saved By The Bell" BFFrenemy Mark-Paul Gosselaar. The erstwhile A.C. Slater could turn up as a client for Gosselaar's Peter Bash, or continue that antagonistic streak by appearing as a law school rival with an ax to grind.
Judith Light On "Mistresses"
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Kel Mitchell On "Saturday Night Live"
When "Kenan & Kel" returned to TeenNick and Kenan hosted its opening night on the orange couch, #WheresKel was trending on Twitter. Kenan, an "SNL" cast member, has maintained a steady career after the success of their show and "Good Burger," but we haven't seen much of Kel lately -- he's done a lot of voice work in the past decade and has stuck to the kid market, guest-starring on Disney's "Good Luck Charlie." But maybe it's time for Kel to grow up and reunite with Kenan on "SNL." Will the orange soda jokes translate?
Earlier on HuffPost: