Interview: Brian van Holt and Ian Gomez talk “Cougar Town”

On Friday, February 10th, the “Cougar Town” viewing party grassroots campaign stopped off in Boston. I had the pleasure and honor of hosting the event, attending by over 200 loyal fans of the show. One of the show’s writers, Mary Fitzgerald, herself born and raised in Dorchester, flew out to attend the party, along with two of the show’s stars: Brian van Volt and Ian Gomez. As with all of the viewing parties held across the country, fans got to enjoy an open bar, a few episodes of Season 3, and some intense Penny Can competition.

I pulled van Holt and Gomez aside before the party kicked into full swing. We talked about a variety of topics, including some that touch about the third season of the show. You can read highlights of the interview below (which are spoiler-free for this season), or you can listen to the entire interview in the “Talking TV With Ryan and Ryan” podcast. Information about how to download/subscribe to the podcast is at the end of this post.

Again: there are a few spoilers in the podcast, but nothing that wasn’t already covered in material the show itself has chosen to spoil. If you want to remain completely in the dark, feel free to listen to this podcast after “Cougar Town” returns this Tuesday, February 14th, at 8:30 pm on ABC.

Now, some highlights of the interview…

On seeing a script with the title “Cougar Town”…

Brian: I didn’t have a problem with it. I didn’t necessarily think the show was going to be about older women hunting younger men. It was about working with Courteney Cox and Bill Lawrence. And Ian Gomez!

Ian: The title didn’t phase me…I thought maybe in the back of my head that it might be a dull show if it was just about that week after week after week.

On whether on not the first few episodes were “The Courteney Show” as opposed to an ensemble…

Ian: I remember Bill [Lawrence] saying, “The first few episodes are going to be this. That’s what people want, to get the show out.” And Brian and I were actually the lowest on the totem pole, and Bill said, “Don’t worry about it. It’s a financial thing, You’re going to be in every episode, so don’t worry about it.”

Brian: My character was actually supposed to be a re-occurring role, and thank God, I’m so grateful that I became a regular. But Bill said, off the record, “If you do this…you’ll be more of a regular cast member.”

On Bill Lawrence’s desire to maintain a “claustrophobic” set for the show…

Ian: It’s claustrophobic in the sense that everyone’s in your business. The writers are around, and they are always picking up little tidbits of information, stuff they can put into the show.

On what the writers have lifted from their lives that has made it into the show…

Brian: Wow. I’m not going to reveal that. You do have to be careful about you reveal or say on the set. In a claustrophobic set, your personal life does get to come onscreen.

On the nature of the Bobby/Andy relationship on the show…

Brian: It’s like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Ian: We’re very much equals in our love for each other.

Brian: Exactly. I can’t survive without him, and he can’t survive without me.

Ian: We complete each other’s personalities. My character wants more of what he is, and his character wants more of what I have.

Brian: He probably fantasizes more about what I represent in the relationship, but I actually depend on him and his friendship to survive.

On whether or not a potential new love interest for Bobby might cause some jealousy on Andy’s behalf this season…

Ian: There’s a bit of jealousy, but also support.

Brian: I must say, I kinda felt like I was cheating.

Ian: I mean, I don’t know why he’s gotta kiss a woman on the show. I don’t know.

On Bobby’s melancholy side…

Brian: That’s one thing I wanted to bring to Bobby, which was more depth than was on the page. And anyone that that’s carefree on the surface has a little something self-protecting to him…I think he’s a little lonely. He’s happy for Jules and Grayson, and happy for their bond that’s allowed them all to remain one big family. But he is missing something. He’s missing that kind of companionship.

On why everyone still embraces Bobby despite his past indiscretions…

Ian: Well, he has a wonderful heart. He’s all heart. He’s a sweet, sweet man who honestly loves fully. That’s what’s appealing.

On their experiences attending the “Cougar Town” viewing parties across the country…

Ian: I find it amazing. It’s not like we’re going to a city and trying to sell people on the show. It’s people who love the show and are backing it fully.

Brian: Ian hasn’t missed ONE. I don’t know what he’s going to do when this is all over. The fans are fantastic. I enjoy watching the episodes with them. We get direct feedback on what works and what doesn’t work. And I just think we have a great, solid fanbase.

Podcast information

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