‘New Girl’ Cast Talks Relationships in Season 4, Prince

Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson at
Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

The cast of Fox’s “New Girl” came together Thursday on the Fox lot two days after the season finale aired to discuss season-three highlights and what the future holds for season four.

“Anyone want to fall in love tonight?” murmured Damon Wayans Jr., doing his best Prince impression. (The legendary rocker was featured as a guest star on the Fox comedy.)

Lamorne Morris said it was crazy how normal Prince was on set.

“That was the thing that was so weird,” added Zooey Deschanel. “You’re expecting, you know, someone that won’t let you look at him or something. Or flies in on like a…”

“Or nothing, just flies in,” Morris interjected.

“He just comes out of his dressing room, and he’s like a normal human being that’s standing there and not flying,” said Deschanel.

Prince is not only a musician and actor, but apparently also an impressive ping-pong player. “I played ping-pong with Prince. That’s pretty surreal,” said Hannah Simone. “He gave me a lesson before we played, like he’s great. He’s a master at it, so I took the free lesson.”

Another hit guest star of the season was one with four legs — Ferguson the cat.

Deschanel said she wanted to work with Ferguson so badly that she put in eight or nine requests. “No, every time I got to interact with Ferguson he was in a bag and it was a fake cat,” she said.

Morris had the most screen time with the furry friend, but didn’t enjoy it as much as Deschanel would have. “That cat is a little a-hole,” he said.

In a show revolving around six friends, four are romantically involved, with season three focusing on the Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Deschanel) relationship. But by the end of the season, the two have split and are still living together.

“The thing that is exciting about it is we have a history with these characters,” said Deschanel. “I think these characters are so good in conflict. Season four we have two people who are single, who are living together with a history, who love each other underneath, and then they have to watch each other date people and there’s all this possibility.”

Johnson agreed, telling Variety, “I like playing ‘will they, won’t they’ the most, personally. I think they belong together, but I don’t think they are quite ready to be together. I think the tension of almost being together but not quite is where it lives the best.”

And when it comes to on-and-off again couple Schimdt (Max Greenfield) and Cece (Simone), Greenfield said: “It’s gotten exhausting. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m hoping for next season that they get back together or he puts it to bed.”

“The thing is, we certainly put them through the ringer this year,” said exec producer Dave Finkel. “I like the fact that at the end of the episode we put it to bed for a little while. He let her go, and I don’t know what that means moving forward. He’s got a lot of ground to cover before he can get anywhere real.”

On next season’s wishlist: Wayans said he would like Bob Newhart to make an appearance, Greenfield wants Ray Romano, while Morris didn’t hesitate to say LeBron James.

“This is my ploy to get him to become best friends with me,” Morris said.

Throughout the Q&A, the cast couldn’t help but go off topic — especially making a point of making fun of each other.

“This is a true genuine group of beautiful idiots,” Greenfield said.

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  1. Sara B says:

    I have watched this show from the beginning and I really don’t understand what they have done with the characters. We are led to believe that Nick is someone who graduated from law school, yet doesn’t know how to pay his own bills?? Winston has literally become a crazy cat “lady”? Two exes in their mid-30’s living together? The characters change personalities (and not for the better) every week! In contrast, I recently re-watched the entire 2-season run of the Mindy Project and the differences are staggering. Subtle plot points planted in season 1 are re-visited, there is strong character development, major chemistry. The Mindy Project writing is getting better and better, while the New Girl just gets worse and worse. And I don’t want a reboot of the show. I want the characters that I loved in seasons 1 and 2 to be those same characters. I didn’t even watch the last two episodes because I was so confused and a little shocked by Mars Landing and subsequent episodes.

    • wasstraw says:

      I agree, Sara, except that I am not confused, but I am disgusted. The writers did a great job in bringing them together, and even did great for a while with them being a couple, but now they’ve gone left field and ruined everything, and the sad thing is that the reason for their breakup is stupid and unclear. If they really wanted to break them up (as they did twice with Schmidt & CeCe), then one of them should have cheated on the other. Frankly, though, I am sick of all of the breakups. Why do they have to keep making characters that lack any social skills and are incapable of maintaining a relationship. House was ruined in this fashion as well. My final comment on this is if they don’t restore a definite direction with this show, I will no longer watch it.

    • SR says:

      The last two episodes were the worst of the series by far, and hopefully not indicative of where it’s headed next season. Believe it or not, they had me wanting to fast forward all the Nick/Jess interactions (or really all their individual stuff too). The only character I liked was Coach, and it was because he was the only one that, by the end of the season, had progressed from beginning to end. They had something so unique with this show, and then they decided to force in all the cliches for some unknown reason. Season 3 was a little shaky, but the lowest lows (up until the contrived break up) were still outdone by episodes like Birthday, Basketsball, and Nerd. I can’t even try to watch them still live together next year. They had another loft/set (4C) available as a solution and they still insist on injecting drama by having 30-something exes still living together. Sadly, I’m done. Who wants to watch that? Maybe they’re targeting a teenage audience who doesn’t know any better. Not only is it 100% immature and unrealistic, but I also don’t find it funny in the least. Who could possibly LAUGH at that, it’s just pathetic? I think they just lost the entire audience over the age of 20, and this show was a HUGE hit with people in their 30s/40s (interestingly enough, people that you would expect the advertisers to ADORE). I’ll certainly miss it’s potential, but count me out.

  2. Stacy Sawyer says:

    I’m not a big TV watcher now, but I watched New Girl since the beginning. It is basically the only show I watch live since it started. I enjoyed season 1 it was funny and silly but in a good way. The chemistry between Nick and Jess was evident from the pilot. Season 2 was probably the best year of any TV I have every watched. I was addicted to the story of Nick and Jess was well as the other characters. I say this as a 46 year old women, who has watched all the great TV shows from the late 70’s on (former TV junkie). The shows were laugh out loud funny but always grounded with realness from their relationship, mostly Nick and Jess. Season 3 has some good, some great and some downright awful episodes. The breakup forward was not the same show. It was beyond ridiculous with the antics and behaviors which were totally unbelievable to the characters they had portrayed up to that point. The show I loved and the characters I loved were destroyed after the Mars Landing episode. I don’t understand the producers and the cast believing that they can go back to season 1 dynamics. The characters are not the same. In no way, can I believe that two people that were/are so in love could live across the hall from each other in any real scenario. It’s doesn’t sound funny, it sounds pathetic. I lost my investment in this once great extremely well written and acted show. They producers and writers have got a lot of work to do to win me back. Come September I may not be a TV watcher at all.

    • Rebecca says:

      I’m 35, and I was really able to relate to these characters up until Mars Landing. Up until the airing of Big News, I actually thought they were setting up some kind of dream to push Nick to finally make his “grown up moves”. The episode with the break up was THAT out of no where, far fetched and confusing to me. As a whole, there were some pretty terrible episodes this season, namely ones that ruined Schmidt’s character and ones that turned Nick into an idiot. However, they were still able to draw me in with the wonderfully awkward and realistic way that these 30-somethings maneuvered through life. It was fresh, and focused, and the Nick/Jess dynamic was always able to ground it in that necessary bit of realism that made the episodes SO rich. Sadly, I no longer recognize the characters, and I have no interest in where this series seems to be going as it moves forward into season 4. The idea that you can just try and erase 3 seasons of development sounds so incredibly unappealing. How could I even continue to trust what the writers and actors are giving me from this point forward? Not only that, but it’s such a huge deviation from the smart humor that used to make this show stand out from all the others. Cheap laughs and a completely unbelievable plot of two 30-something exes still living together isn’t the New Girl that I fell in love with. Sadly, I won’t be around as a viewer in the fall. This “new/old” version of the show sounds about as enticing to me as an angst-y teenage dramedy on one of the other channels. It’s amazing to me how fast this show fell from being the best and smartest comedy on television. I don’t even know what to say anymore, except that I’ll be moving on.

  3. AnnB says:

    I don’t know how this many (supposedly) experienced professionals can collectively be this stupid. The break up was written horribly, and now they want me to believe that two exes approaching their mid-thirties would still live together? But, oh yay, we get to see jealousy? What is even REMOTELY humorous about that? It’s not funny, it’s really pathetic. What have you even DONE to these characters, I barely recognize them? The last two episodes of the season were the worst I’ve ever seen, and you’ve successfully destroyed a show that used to be so fresh, with characters you could really relate to. The show has fully transitioned into complete farce. You might as well have them wake up next season and have everything from Cooler on to have been a dream. Essentially everything you showed us with Nick and Jess was a manipulative lie anyway, why not go all the way? Or, better yet, you can just rewind even further and rename the show “4D: The College Years”. I’m so sorry I ever got myself so invested in this show to begin with, and I have no interest in watching next season.

  4. RW says:

    This show doesn’t know what it wants to be. it’s a mess. the show they are proposing for next season i’m sorry ,but it’s ridiculous admittedly I liked Nick and Jess together, but the writers didn’t know what to do with them instead of finding ways to be creative with people who happened to be in a relationship. and by the way just because people are in a relationship does not mean they can’t have separate story lines. they chose to go for sitcom cliches. These people if they were real there is no way in hell they could go from being in as deep of a relationship as they were in at least as it appeared on screen to being good friends again and so soon especially not to mention continuing to be roommates. I fear next season they’re going to play it off as yeah they’re exes ,but they’re completely cool with it now there will be some minor jealously when they date other people won’t that be hilarious! NO that’s awkward and it’s awkward to watch. These writers manipulated the audience with this relationship and then when it became inconvenient to write for they pulled the plug. the writing got so lazy this year. I don’t know what happened to the smart humor that this show used to have. A reset for season 4 I’m sorry ,but a little to late I wouldn’t be surprised if season 4 is the last which is a complete shame because it had such potential to show us these characters actually growing and moving along with their lives taking us along for their journey instead character regression whatever New Girl I’m done with your crap.

  5. RP says:

    I hope the writers (and maybe the cast) take time to re-watch the series before they start writing season 4. I don’t think what the writers thought was being written, was what we saw portrayed on our tv screens by the actors. Maybe a lot of scenes were cut and they never realized it? Maybe they weren’t paying attention to the body language of the characters while shooting? Maybe they forgot some of the things they put in there that can’t just be retconned out later on (like the coin, the “since you came through the door”, etc). The characters they’re describing in some of these interviews are ones that I simply DO NOT recognize as being the characters I’m seeing on the show every week. Somewhere along the way, the writers lost track of what they were doing and who they were writing, and these interviews are making that glaringly obvious. They NEED to go back and re-watch in order to understand why the audience is so confused and angry about how they handled everything here at the end of the season. We’re not angry about the break up, we’re just all very confused that we don’t recognize these characters anymore. Simply put, NOTHING here at the end of the season made any logical sense in the narrative of the story we’ve been watching.

  6. boltuprite says:

    This show has become so tedious, Once likable characters have become tired parodies. it seems like they just make it up week after week. The Mindy Project just blows it out of the water.

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