After seven seasons and 146 episodes, “New Girl” is coming to an end.
The two-part series finale, which airs Tuesday on Fox, wraps up the story of Jess, Nick, Schmidt, Cece and Winston after Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick’s (Jake Johnson) engagement in the previous episode. “New Girl” faced an uncertain future after its sixth season, but returned this spring for a final eight episodes, something for which Johnson himself pushed.
“I wrote to [CEOs] Dana [Walden] and Gary [Newman] at Fox asking for the final eight, just to have an ending,” Johnson told Variety at the finale screening. “I really wanted Nick and Jess to have a proper ending. There’s a lot of people who contact me who relate to Nick as a spirit animal, which I still don’t understand what it means. A lot of those people were like ‘He better finish with her, this better work out,’ so I wanted that to happen.”
Even though Nick may be finally ready to settle down, Johnson said he hasn’t seen too much evolution in his character across seven seasons.
“He wore a watch. They put him in his new clothes, they put him in tighter clothes that were more expensive. They wouldn’t let me wear flip flops,” Johnson joked of his more sophisticated look in the final episodes. He revealed that some of his character’s ultra-casual look was due to his own preferences, saying, “one of the reasons Nick’s shoes look so bad in episodes is because of me. I would do a simple trick where I would ‘forget’ my shoes in my trailer and I’d be wearing man-slippers on set and finally somebody would go ‘What the f— are you wearing? And they’d go ‘Just write them in.’ Those are long hours on a TV show, you might as well be in a sweat outfit, sitting down, drinking a fake beer.”
For Deschanel, the end of the show means saying goodbye to Jessica Day, a role for which she was nominated for an Emmy in 2012. The star said what she enjoyed the most from playing the character for seven years was “the guilelessness of Jessica, the positivity, and what a good friend she is and how much she cares about other people. There’s a lot of comedies about mean people, and I liked that this was a comedy that had a character at the center that was just generally nice and that she would make mistakes but it all came from a good place.”
Max Greenfield, who became the show’s breakout star with his character Schmidt, felt like his storyline had been sufficiently explored, saying, “because the Nick and Jess story inched along and was so spread out, because that was the dynamic of that relationship from a story standpoint, they then sped Schmidt and Cece up. We had a breakup then back together then an engagement then a wedding then a baby. We had many finales, so there wasn’t much else to do at that point, it wasn’t like ‘If we could’ve just had that one big moment.'”
The actor, who went on to nab starring roles in “American Horror Story” and “American Crime Story,” admitted that the show “changed [his] life.”
Hannah Simone, who plays Cece, discussed how the show’s plot lines constantly surprised her, and said she felt lucky to reflect real life on the show.
“You saw Cece and the rest of the characters go through a lot of heartbreak, loss, happiness, forgiveness, growth but with seven years we got a natural pace and rhythm of life,” she said. “It takes that long to grow up.”
She also teased the final episode, revealing that she cried while reading the script. “Today’s TV is all about a good twist, and I don’t think anybody watching will see that ending coming,” Simone said.