‘Cougar Town’: Courteney Cox and Josh Hopkins on the Show’s Tough Timeslot, Josh’s ‘Dime Eyes’

Courteney Cox and Josh Hopkins in "Cougar Town" (ABC)

Courteney Cox and Josh Hopkins in "Cougar Town" (ABC)

On tonight’s very funny episode of “Cougar Town,” the Cul-de-Sac Crew defend their neighborhood against the scourge of “bike kids” who use the yard of Jules Cobb (Courteney Cox) as a shortcut to a shopping mall. Meanwhile, Andy (Ian Gomez) tries to take the title of the neighborhood’s “king” away from Jules.

Of course, there’s more going on with the show than just romances and cul-de-sac battles. Since its Valentine’s Day return, the ratings for the show have been down from last year’s levels, leading to speculation that the show might not get a fourth season. Stars Josh Hopkins, who plays Jules’ fiance Grayson, and Dan Byrd, who plays her son Travis, have already singed on to roles in pilots in case “Cougar Town” gets cancelled, with the full blessing of the show’s co-creator, Bill Lawrence.

Yesterday, Cox and Hopkins spoke to XfinityTV.com about the episode, what the mood is among the cast, and why Hopkins’ character got the nickname “dime eyes.”

This is a fun episode, where we see the gang in the cul-de-sac battling with outsiders. Do you know where the idea came from?

Cox: This is a takeoff on “Braveheart,” this is how we deal with the situation. We did an episode that was like the movie “Gambit,” and the finale episode has a lot to do with “Groundhog Day,” so I think they like to do that. I know I played Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” in one episode, and in another we did “Shawshank Redemption,” so I know the writers really like to have these pop culture references, which is really fun.

Josh, what did you think when you read the first script where the rest of the gang calls Grayson names like “Dime Eyes”?

Hopkins: Just showed up one day and it had all the earmarks of Bill Lawrence.

Cox: Bill does this to everybody. That’s why the wine glasses are so tall on the set, is because when you come to my house on a Sunday, apparently I overpour. And you can see [Josh’s] eyes, how small they are; so you have to talk about it. You don’t want to talk behind his back, so we just bring it right out into the open.

Hopkins: The elephant in the room is on my face.

Cox: Look at his face, you’ve gotta talk about that. In the audition, I said, “I think I could work with him, but those are really small eyes.” Josh is gorgeous, and [to Josh] you don’t have small eyes. But Bill takes our, as I say “weak points”, and he likes to write them out.

Is there still a positive vibe about the show’s prospects amongst the cast, especially now that Josh and Dan both have second-position jobs?

Cox: There’s a positive vibe; we definitely love the show. And I’m so happy that people have backup jobs, but the truth of the matter is that this is everyone’s first choice, and this is what we want to do. We have a great time doing it. It’s smart, it’s just a great, funny heartfelt show. It’s been tough being in a new timeslot after nine months; it’s just hard for people to know where we are.

Hopkins: The realities of this business are what they are so you prepare for them. But all of us are united in our love for the show, we’re proud of the show, and wanted to come back. That’s why we’re here now, we’re fighting for the show. We’re really proud of it. It’s so hard to find a job that not only you’re proud of but you love the people you work with. And we really do love each other; it’s a lot of fun. So my heart’s in “Cougar Town.”

Were you surprised that Bill publicly gave his blessing to people in his cast getting backup jobs?

Hopkins: (Bill) gets it, he’s been doing it his entire adult life as well. It’s nice that he hasn’t made it awkward, like “you shouldn’t go do anything”.

Cox: He talks behind their backs, don’t get me wrong.

Hopkins: He talks behind our backs in front of us.

Watch last week’s episode of “Cougar Town”:

[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/tv/Cougar-Town/104595/2203508639/Lover-s-Touch/embed 580 476]

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