After 102 episodes, six seasons, two networks, one very infamous name, and lots — and lots — of wine, “Cougar Town’s” cul-de-sac crew is toasting for the very last time.
Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel’s TBS ensemble comedy, which is toplined by “Friends” star Courteney Cox, says goodbye Tuesday night. Series regular Josh Hopkins, who plays Grayson, warns fans that the final episode is a “tear-jerker.” Still, Hopkins sees the glass half full.
“We had the perfect amount of episodes. We ran our course pretty well,” Hopkins tells Variety. With a laugh, he says: “It’s perfect when you leave and everyone still loves each other. I’m going to miss seeing those people every day, but I just think what a great experience it was, rather than be sad that it’s over.”
Hopkins took a break on the set of his NBC pilot, in which he was cast opposite “Parenthood’s” Monica Potter, to chat about “Cougar Town.” (Since then, that network has decided to put the comedy on hold. Variety has learned NBC believes the show can improve if put back into development, rather than be put in contention for the 2015-16 season).
When asked if he ever imagined “Cougar Town” lasting for six seasons, Hopkins answered, “This is lightning in a jar, and we caught it.”
He added: “I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve done a lot of pilots and a lot of shows that never went past 13 [episodes], and a lot that went less than that. So to get on a show that went on like this, this is what you look for. I would love to find something like that again. You can never think it’s going to happen, but you can hope.”
Hopkins looks back and reveals his favorite scene to Variety, his off-set drink of choice and the show title he would have chosen for “Cougar Town:”
What was the vibe like on set the final day?
It wasn’t that sad, it was more just appreciation and love. There’s an inevitability built in with these things, and I think it’s more sad to have a show that you think could really be great and then it just doesn’t catch on or is never given a chance — now, that’s sad when that gets cancelled and it’s your last day — but this is more like a celebration of six years of being together and holding great relationships.
What will you miss most about the show?
For sure seeing those people every day — the cast and crew and writers. We just had a really good thing going. We all really enjoyed each other, and you could come to work every day and it was such a silly show that being silly was sort of the mandate, and so it was kind of like you were supposed to come and goof off.
Do you and the cast have plans on how you’ll keep in touch?
Courteney always has people over a lot of Sundays for dinner, and I know we’ll all be doing that and seeing each other there. I know I’ll be doing that more now because I was less inclined to go over there every Sunday when I see these people every day, so now that we’re done, I will definitely be taking advantage of that more.
Perhaps drink some wine at Courteney’s place?
We will definitely raise our wine glasses. For sure.
What were you actually drinking on the show?
There were three things we could have been drinking — one was just grape juice, but some people didn’t like that because it was just so sweet; another was a non-alcoholic wine; and then one was wine. It depended. If it was Friday night and it was the last scene, maybe we would sneak a little wine in there and we’d be a lot funnier.
Now that the show has wrapped, will you be drinking less?
I really hope so. I really hope so! We had Wine Wednesdays where we could go to lunch and we would drink wine during lunch. I’m sure we’ll make up for it somewhere.
What is your personal drink of choice off camera?
I’m just kind of a beer guy. I like cold beer.
How was the transition from ABC to TBS?
From an artistic standpoint, I don’t think there was a big change. I think TBS said that they wanted the show, as it was, and that’s how they did it. TBS loosened up the reins a little bit because of ABC and Disney. Maybe there are things on TBS that you can’t say on ABC, but nothing day-to-day that was really distinguished. Both places were really good to the show.
The mocked title become a trademark of the show. Do you think the title should have been different or do you like “Cougar Town”?
I guess one of the reasons it didn’t explode or really become more popular is because of the name. A lot of people, to this day, are like, “Oh yeah, that’s that show about Courteney Cox dating 18-year-old boys.” Nope, that’s not it! But at the same time, you’re bombarded with shows so when the show came out, that was at least a name that everyone could remember. I think in the beginning, it helped us initially sort of brand ourselves differently. But then when it was unrepresentative of what the show was, it definitely hurt it. But look, we made it six years so I’m not complaining.
If you could have titled the show differently, what would you have called it.
I would have called it “Josh Hopkins and Friends!”
Do you have a favorite scene from all six seasons?
The scene where we got engaged and everyone was in it. It was right in the middle of the fun of the series and seeing every character, it was just a lot of fun.
Are you happy with how your journey ends?
I thought they did a great job. As I look back on Grayson, he really had quite a journey. He started out kind of as an outsider and would kind of be the one that said they were all weird. By the end of the series, I don’t think there was anyone weirder than Grayson. In that regard, I was really happy.
Will fans be happy with how the series wraps up?
I thought the whole last year, everything was true to its wacky nature. I think one of the things the fans really like about the show is that it was just such a weird and bizarre universe. But in the end, it kind of has a nice little bow on it. We learn that these people can be horrible to each other because they love each other. I think that the writers did a great job tying it up and staying true to the series. It’s not so outlandish that you don’t know what’s going on, but there is crazy stuff. In the end, true fans might call it a tear-jerker.