That Courteney Cox and Josh Hopkins' characters got engaged (under a tipi of toilet paper?) on last night's third-season premiere of Cougar Town isn't all that surprising, considering the regularity of scripted proposals. What's really interesting is why.
"To me, it's a survival battle," show co-creator Bill Lawrence told The Hollywood Reporter. "The reality is that surprising people with an engagement is not as good, promotion-wise, as telling people there is going to be an engagement."
Before fans even tuned in for the show's long-awaited return to ABC, details of the 15-episode plot—beginning with an engagement and ending with a wedding for lead couple Jules and Grayson—had already been revealed in recent press by Lawrence and his creative partner, Kevin Biegel. Unconventional, maybe, but "the way TV works, there are 25,000 households, that's it, that make up the Nielsen [families] for the entire country," Lawrence explained. "So I need as many people possible to see this show just go out there. If they like it, if that the word of mouth spreads, I can get a couple more watching."
So, apparently, instead of saving engagements between key characters to catch audiences off guard, shows are using proposals as bait. And we're totally hooked. We can already envision the beach-themed wedding that Jules will plan, given her Type A personality, down to every last detail. There will no doubt be a guitar serenade by Grayson, a staggeringly inappropriate toast from Bobby, and the ultimate bridesmaid throw down between Ellie and Laurie. We can't wait!
—Phillip B. Crook