The cast and creative team behind FOX’s hit comedy New Girl gathered Monday night at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills as part of PaleyFest (the William S. Paley Television Festival) that is in its 29th year of celebrating television.
A brand new episode, “Injured,” was aired for the audience — which airs tonight —and the cast was more than happy to answer questions about their work on the show.
Zooey Deschanel, said she had no problem switching from film to television roles. She said, “I connected to the character…and there’s good material in television.”
The panel, which was moderated by TV Guide’s Rob Moynihan, also featured actors Jake Johnson (Nick), Lamorne Morris (Winston), Max Greenfield (Schmidt), and Hannah Simone (Cece). The executive producers Katherine Pope, Jake Kasdan, Brett Bayer, and Dave Finkel were also on hand. Many of the questions were directed towards the creator/writer of the show, Elizabeth Meriwether, who sounds and acts a lot like Deschanel’s character, Jess.
Although there weren’t a lot of teasers about upcoming episodes, the production team did reveal that there will be more guest stars in the second half of season one, including Dermot Mulroney as a love interest for Jess. Additionally, Jeanne Tripplehorn will appear as Mulroney’s ex-wife.
Deschanel was joking that they were trying to entice viewers to watch. She said, “There’s going to be a lot of nudity, and by nudity, I mean dialogue.”
This type of joking is common among the cast members and writers. Much of the panel was spent laughing at the actors’ antics, including Johnson’s demonstration of particularly bad dancing he did for the show’s online music video. Greenfield ribbed his cast mate saying, “This guy is some kind of dance wizard.”
It was easy for the audience to see how much fun the cast has working with each other on set. Meriwether noted that the writers “can’t help but be constantly inspired by the actors.” Deschanel agreed, and said that the actors and writers share a special collaborative relationship that leads to an “improvisational” feel to the shooting.
The team also spoke about the musical side to the show, especially the fact that they have their own theme song. Deschanel said she wrote the melody of the song she sings at the beginning of every episode, but that the production team kept telling her they had to make it shorter and shorter—ultimately leading Deschanel to sing one note, saying that was all the time they had for the theme song.
One of the show’s most popular characters is Schmidt, played by Greenfield. He’s outrageous, but Meriwether said he brings “an amazing neediness to the part.” Greenfield spoke of how much fun it is to play ‘a douchebag,’ and said, “I couldn’t have dreamt some of the things I’ve done on the show.”