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December 20, 2013

Busy Philipps: 'As a Woman, Your Opportunities for Developing a Character Who Feels Layered and Multifaceted is Better in Television'

The Cougar Town star took some time between filming and caroling for a cause to catch up with Marie Claire.

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Though there's a part of us that will always think of Busy Philips as part Kim Kelly (Freaks and Geeks) and part Pacey’s girlfriend (Dawson's Creek), we can't help but love her just as much as Laurie Keller on TBS' Cougar Town. The actress and mom recently joined forces with Clorox to carol for a cause in New York, but also stopped by Marie Claire to chat about the hit show, her plans for the holidays, and some of life's more bleachable moments.

Marie Claire: So what’s the family doing for the holidays? [BP is married to the very cool screenwriter, Marc Silverstein (Never Been KissedHe’s Just Not That Into You)]

Busy Philipps: We are staying in LA and we’re going to be doing a big Christmas celebration with my family. Everyone is coming. And then we’re going to take a little family vacation to San Miguel de Allende.

MC: San Miguel, Mexico – that’s a lesser-known spot. How'd you happen upon there?

BP: Irene Neuwirth [one of the hottest jewelry designers at the moment and oh, a good friend of BP’s] has been going there for years for inspiration. She loves it. It's a really interesting city. People think when you say you're going to Mexico for the holidays that you're going to some beach but it's an old colonial town in the mountains. It gets cold at night and nice during the day. It's just kind of magical.

MC: That’s awesome and cool to get off the beaten path a little bit.

BP: Ha yes, and the first time I really learned my lesson. I did not pack practical shoes. And the whole city is cobblestones. I didn’t know! I was like, "Irene, thanks a lot!" It was a disaster. I ended up wearing like the same pair of New Balance sneakers the entire time.

MC: Haha! Cobblestones? Seems like it would be really old-world and artsy.

BP: It is, and my friend gets her fabric from there and makes these really cute purses. She sells them on Etsy. They’re like… I just have to show it to you. [whips out her iPhone] Like that! Like little cosmetic cases. It’s called Block & Battaglia.

MC: They're so chic! Love! So tell us, how did you get involved with Clorox's holiday campaign?

BP: They asked me if I wanted to help launch the "Bleach Away Holiday Messes" program this year. To be honest with you, I have two kids now so I have a lot of bleachable moments of my own.

MC: Haha I bet. With a 5-year-old [Birdie] and a 5-month-old [Cricket] every other minute must be an "Oh shit!" moment.

BP: I mean, it is. It really is. But it also feels kind of great too. Like even if I never had another child again, I did good, I had two. 

MC: Definitely. 

MC: And then you head back to LA to keep shooting Cougar Town (the fifth season!)?

BP: Yes, it's crazy. It's awesome. When I started the show Birdie was a baby. And now she's 5. And now I have another baby. It's crazy. Totally nuts.

MC: Well it's such a good show! And you've had a great career in television but also in film. Do you have a preference?

BP: I love working in television. I've been doing it since I was 19. I think especially as a woman your opportunities for developing a three dimensional character, a real person that feels layered and multi-faceted, is better in television. Also film is tricky because there’s like a handful of people that are the stars of movies and then you're sort of relegated to: "Am I going to be the straight wife of a really funny guy who gets all the jokes and I'm just like, "Waaahh, whiny, and shaking my finger at him?" Or, the girlfriend that wants to get married and he’s so crazy? So there seems to be more opportunity, for me and for where I’m at in my career, in television. 

MC: And television just keeps getting better. So many great, great shows now.

BP: People want to do television. Movie stars see the benefits and get excited to have that opportunity. You look at someone like David Fincher [producer of Netflix mega hit The House of Cards] doing a television show – I mean I think if you had said that 20 years ago people would think you were crazy. It’s awesome.

MC: Totally.

BP: And I’ve been such a huge fan of television for so many years. I like that it’s becoming passé to say, 'I don’t have a TV.' I just hate those people. Enough. By the way, you have a computer? You have a television.

Be sure to catch Busy in the fifth season premiere of Cougar Town on January 7th at 10pm ET on TBS.

This interview has been condensed and edited.


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