Zooey Deschanel, who stars as offbeat schoolteacher Jess Day, credits the series’ standout storyline for its five-season-and-counting longevity.
“It’s a good story. We have a lot of fun, and we have great chemistry with the cast and great writers,” Deschanel told Variety before the event. The actress — whose character has been briefly absent from “New Girl” due to Deschanel’s maternity leave — revealed that Jess will eventually be introduced to the character of Megan Fox, who’s starring in a five-episode guest arc during Deschanel’s absence.
“New Girl” actors Lamorne Morris and Hannah Simone echoed Deschanel’s acclaim for the writing in the sitcom, voicing their praise for the show’s creator, Elizabeth Meriwether, and her writing crew.
“Liz Meriwether has such a strong vision that she’s unwavering with,” said Simone, who plays Jess’ best friend Cece Parekh.
“If there’s a dumb bit or goofy bit or something we don’t like, we have the ability to email or text Liz and say, ‘Hey, I’m not comfortable with this,’ and then they rewrite it,” added Morris, who stars as the tenacious Winston Bishop. “There’s always an alternative. If this doesn’t work, something else will work.”
Conversely, Meriwether — who sought inspiration for the show from the consolation her male friends offered her during bouts of singlehood — and her “New Girl” writing partner Brett Baer attributed the show’s ongoing success to the cast.
“From the first moment we knew they had special chemistry together, and it’s only evolved over time as they’ve gotten to know each other better and we’ve explored different dynamics on-screen. That’s hands-down one of the most important things,” said Baer.
“They’re all amazingly funny, but they’re all also really good actors,” chimed in Meriwether. “It’s allowed us to take the show in different places and allowed us to have more serious storylines, which I think helped the characters feel real and helped the audience connect to the characters. For a sitcom, it’s all about the characters, which means it’s all about the cast,” she said laughing.
Morris also opened up about the obstacles he’s faced throughout the series.
Doubling as a writer, he co-wrote “Par 5,” an episode that honed in on the self-doubt Winston experienced as a black police officer. In the midst of the recent media storm surrounding police brutality against black citizens, Morris struggled to portray a cop, he said. After voicing his reservations to Meriwether, she requested that he co-write the episode.
“I wanted to address the fact that I’m a black police officer. I did address it and hopefully I did it justice,” Morris said.
Inside the venue, “New Girl’s” cast, creators and supporters celebrated the series’ landmark episode over champagne, a buffet and a recurring slideshow of the show’s highlight moments. With the support of Meriwether and “New Girl” writer Dave Finkel, Baer kicked off the event with the introduction of a “New Girl” highlight reel, which had guests laughing.
“New Girl” airs Tuesdays on Fox.
Pictured above: Producer Brett Baer, Hannah Simone, Max Greenfield, Elizabeth Meriwether, Zooey Deschanel, Lamorne Morris and producer Dave Finkel