Cougar Town's Thanksgiving episode will revolve around the birds — not turkeys — and the bees, and Dan Byrd.
Byrd plays Travis, Courteney Cox's 18-year-old son, on the ABC sitcom, and it's Travis' (would-be) sexual exploits — not mom's — that take center stage Wednesday at 9:30/8:30c after he brings new girlfriend Kylie over for the holiday.
"He tells his mom that he thinks he's ready to have sex for the first time with this girl," Byrd tells TVGuide.com. "It unsettles her and she has to digest it and try to have that talk with him. There are some incredibly awkward and embarrassing situations that take place as she tries to navigate her way through this."
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Teenage boys don't typically announce their intentions to lose their virginity to their mothers, but Jules isn't your average mom, bedding young dudes left and right. And, of course, who can forget that scene in the pilot when Travis walks in on her and a conquest mid-sexual act?
"Yeah, that was something. He was embarrassed, but who wouldn't be? I think he's still somewhat embarrassed by her, but he's grown to accept her for who she is and he loves her for who she is," Byrd says. "I love their relationship. They're close and open with each other, which is nice to see. ... I think her having him young [contributes] to that. She's a good mom and she tries. I'm not really that surprised that he would tell her."
Byrd likens Travis to Ferris Bueller ("He's definitely not the popular guy, but he's not a complete social outcast either") and says he's glad to have some meatier material and his own story line as the season moves along. He does not, however, know what's next for Travis and Kylie. His new gal pal is not the only woman with whom Travis is spending time, though.
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"He and [48-year-old cougar] Barb finally get some quality time together [in an upcoming episode]," Byrd teases. "It's not in the way you might think. They put a nice little twist on it."
In keeping with the premise of the series, the actor agrees it seems inevitable for young Travis to get preyed upon and hook up with a cougar. The arc has "been talked about," but writers first had to square away one important detail. "There was talk that he is 17, but we had to establish him to be 18 in an episode. They had to age him up like that to make sure that if stuff like that were to go down, it wouldn't be completely illegal or inappropriate," he says.
Byrd is a very legal 24 in real life, and he's been acting since he was a child.
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"I like working with peers, but I feel like I'm very fortunate to be in the position that I am to work with all these people who have all this experience under their belt and be able to hang out with them all day and watch them work. They're all awesome people," he says. "I grew up watching Courteney [on Friends] and I never thought I'd be playing her son. It's a privilege to be able to work with her."
One of Cox's Friends, Lisa Kudrow, will visit Cougar Town in a January episode. Byrd didn't have any scenes with Kudrow, nor did he see her on set. "It was a bummer, but I'm sure there'll be other guest stars down the road where I can get into the action," he says. "I'll wait for all the Friends to come down. I'm optimistic."