Jake Johnson' Nick. And Zooey Deschanel's Jess. Rode. Off. Into. The. Sunset. Literally.
Excuse us for a moment while we continue to squeal like a little girl at her first sleepover party over New Girl's season finale, which ended with Nick and Jess officially in a relationship. (Call it the anti-will-they-or-won't-they!) And in a fun twist, it was Schmidt (Max Greenfield) who ended the hit Fox sitcom's sophomore run on a romantic cliffhanger, torn between Elizabeth (Meritt Wever) and Cece (Hannah Simone), who called off her wedding.
So what can we expect from the gang in season three? We went straight to New Girl executive producer Brett Baer for scoop on what's ahead for Nick and Jess, couple edition—including a possible trip to Mexico? Plus, will there be a major time jump?!
Congratulations on an amazing season and an awesome finale. We have to say we were really unsure of whether or not you were going to have Nick and Jess end up together or actually have Cece get married throughout the entire finale! Was it like that for you guys while mapping out the season?
I think the whole season we were on pins and needles ourselves a little bit, as a staff, about where Nick and Jess are going to be going and where Cece and Shivrang were going to be going. I think as we got closer and closer to the end, we knew we were going to have [Nick and Jess] get together. And even up until the final moments, we didn't know if we wanted Cece to get married or not. We discussed what would it be like in season three if she's married. One thing we knew is we didn't want Schmidt to do the typical Graduate-style, interrupt-the-wedding thing, so we wanted to go a different direction there. And in a weird way, I think up until the very final moments when we were finally breaking that story, that was late because the network gave us additional episodes right in the middle of the last four, and we were like, "OK, so now we've got to zig this way and fix that issue, and make sure we have enough power to get through the end of the season." We were really excitedly looking at each other like, "How are we going to get out of this?! How do we want to end this and what feels right to us?"
You easily could have ended the season with Nick and Jess deciding not to be together or leaving their relationship as the big cliffhanger. Why did you decide to have them officially become a couple?
We felt that the energy at the end of the season should be them coming together. It felt more positive and more exciting and I think it opened up more story opportunity for us to say: Yes, this is happening, game on. Let's see where this goes from here. It could go in any direction. Who knows how long it lasts, who knows what happens over the summer break. We don't have any idea right now exactly how we want to make that play. We've explored a million possibilities and we're just loosely talking about it amongst ourselves, like, Oh, it could be this, it could be that, maybe they went to Mexico. We don't know yet at this point.
Nick almost sabotaged the relationship before it even began because of his doubts and insecurities. Will that still be in play in season three?
Absolutely. From the very beginning, what we've always said about all of these characters, and particularly the Nick and Jess relationship, is these people have to grow into their adult selves before they can have any relationships with each other, whether it's Cece and Schmidt or Nick and Jess. They all have to evolve to be the best people they're capable of being for there to be a chance. I think that now they are in a relationship with each other, I don't think that those problems or dilemmas change. I think that those are the dynamic of anybody being in a relationship, is that you're always confronted with big questions about that person that you have from the time you met them. I think that Nick is who he is; he's the person that's always going to get in his own way. There is a streak of self-sabotage in him that's always going to be a part of his character and it will be interesting to see how he and Jess deal with that—and Jess has things to learn, too, from Nick. The two of them can continue to grow and develop together as they try to be in a relationship, if that is in fact what ends up happening.
Will there be a time-jump in the season three premiere or are we picking up with Nick and Jess riding off into the sunset in the limo?
We've talked about both versions of it. We've had some that picks up literally 20 seconds after they pull out of frame, they're on Avenue of the Stars. And then a couple of options where there's been a three-month break. I don't know, it's exciting for us because it could be anything.
Why did you guys ulimately decide to have Cece call off the wedding?
I think for us the most exciting thing that we had in the Schmidt-Cece realm toward the end of the season was the addition of Elizabeth into Schmidt's life. We loved how that was dimensionalizing Schmidt—and there's nothing funnier than watching Max Greenfield scramble out of a corner like he's trapped like an animal. So we knew getting him into a situation where he was going to be up against it and having this incredibly tough choice to make. We love the notion of him having to be put on the spot at the end of the season and leaving the cliffhanger of the season on Schmidt instead of Nick and Jess.
We thought the audience would expect Nick and Jess to be in a more cliffhanger-y kind of place, but in a weird way for Nick and Jess it was more satisfying and opened up more possibility that'd we'd actually had them ride off into the sunset together going ‘Now what?' So for Schmidt and Cece, and what we loved about Merritt joining the show was she was bringing out this new color in his character and spinning him in a way that I think audiences are really responding to, and it seemed interesting to put the Cece relationship on his back and say, ‘OK, you have two very legitimate choices here, two people you care a lot about, now what do you do?' And have this guy stand up at some point in the third season and make a decision or try and figure out how to rectify this.
We have to say we really love Merritt Wever as Elizabeth, but she's a regular on Nurse Jackie, which has yet to be picked up for another season. Will she definitely be returning in season three?
She's such a gifted actress. The honest to God's truth is even today we're sending e-mails around. The fact is we think she's terrific and she's been an amazing addition to the show. We love her and I think audiences are enjoying what she's doing on the show. She's such a great addition and in any world where we can make that happen, that's what we want. Obviously there's a little bit of a scheduling issue. We're not sure what's happening with Nurse Jackie right now or what her responsibilities are going to be there, but in any world in which we can bring Elizabeth back to the show we would in a heartbeat. We love her.