In a storyline focused on her character Laurie’s cake shop, Philipps’ 4-year-old daughter appears as a young customer — a part the actress tells Zap2it was written with Birdie in mind.
“Well, she’s been on set since she was about six months old, when we shot the pilot. She came almost every day for the first two years of the show, until she started preschool,” Philipps says. “She’s really used to being on set and being around everyone in the crew, but when they wrote that part, in the script, it said, ‘A little girl enters the cake shop played by Birdie Silverstein.’ [They] just thought it would be fun to have her in a scene.”
“So I asked her if she wanted to do it and she said she thought she’d like to try. And she did great,” she continues. “She nailed it. She was really excited to do it. And I think she was really proud of herself after she did it.”
Maybe a little too proud of herself, as Philipps reveals. “We were in Chicago visiting my grandfather and a woman in the elevator in our hotel recognized me from the show and Birdie said to her, ‘Well, I’m on that show now, too, so …’ It was very funny,” she remembers with a laugh. “So she’s already letting it go to her head, I guess is what I’m saying.”
This season on “Cougar Town,” the show’s fifth and their second on new network TBS, Philipps isn’t just sharing screen time with her daughter. Not with Laurie and Travis (Dan Byrd) finally, officially a couple — a move that’s been teased since the show’s early days.
“It’s interesting because of the way Dan’s character, Travis, aged faster than any other person on television ever — except for maybe that little girl from ‘Growing Pains’ who went from a baby to being six,” Philipps laughs. “So in the beginning, it felt like it could never be a possibility. It was an unrequited crush from a teenager to an adult, but then … he became mysteriously an adult, in, like, a year.”
Philipps owes the evolution to the real-life friendship she shares with Byrd. “You know, Dan and I have always had a really good time working together because we’re friends in real life, and I think that really translates when people watch the show,” she admits. “And then the writers just started writing to it and so, you know — I didn’t know what I wanted for the characters of Laurie and Travis, but I feel alright with how it’s all turning out.”
As he tells it, Byrd sees the new relationship as a necessary step in the characters’ progression. “I think you get to a point where, after so many seasons, you have to do something to keep it fresh,” he tells us. “You can’t be sort of walking that line forever, so I think we’ve come to a tipping point where it was time to either sink or swim with the Laurie-Travis thing. I’m happy.”
“We’ve been playing with this ‘will they or won’t they’ for the last two seasons now, so if anything else, it’s kind of interesting to see a different dynamic between the two,” the actor adds. “To see them try to navigate life as a couple, as opposed to people who are not together, but like each other.”
So what’s in store for the couple this season? Philipps teases an upcoming brunch thrown by the two in order to prove to Jules (Courteney Cox) and Grayson (Josh Hopkins) that they’re a strong couple, while Byrd says, “In one episode, we’re trying to redecorate Laurie’s apartment and that’s one of those things that’s you don’t think you haven an opinion about until you’re forced to make these decisions.”
“I really like that this season, not all of the storylines in every episode that Dan and I have are based in the Laurie-Travis relationship, so a lot of the storylines are just us existing and things are fine,” Philipps adds. “You know, as it is when you’re actually dating someone.”
“Cougar Town” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TBS.