Is There Romance in Store for Jess and Nick on New Girl? EP Liz Meriwether Sounds Off!

Fox comedy's creator defends Zooey Deschanel's right to be an attractive dork

By Tierney Bricker Sep 27, 2011 6:08 PMTags
Jake Johnson, Zooey Deschanel, New GirlGreg Gayne/FOX

New Girl creator and self-proclaimed dork Liz Meriwether has a message for all you people saying Zooey Deschanel is too attractive to be playing a geek: "Of course you can be a dork and be attractive!"

Preach! Sure, it's a simple message, but to the point. And it seems like viewers agree: 10.1 million tuned in last week to meet Fox's newest It girl, Zooey as the adorkable Jess, a recently dumped teacher who moves in with three very different but lovable guys. There's Schmidt (Max Greenfield), an LOTR-hating "douchebag" trying to reform himself (What up, douchebag jar!), Winston (Lamorne Morris), a competitive former basketball player, and our personal favorite, Nick (Jake Johnson), a grounded, no B.S. guy who was recently dumped himself.

We recently chatted with Liz all about our new favorite comedy, including where she came up with the idea for the show, her real-life friendship with Zooey and which guy Jess has the strongest connection with. But will they actually ever go there?

How did you come up with the idea for the show?
Liz Meriwether: It came from me kind of looking around my life and realizing a lot of my friends were guys and me just feeling like, "Why?" It was during a time in my life too where I was getting closer to 30 and my friendships are now long friendships. They're guys who have been my friends since I was 17. I go to them for really specific things that I don't go to my girlfriends for. It kind of just got me thinking about a sort of wish fulfillment situation where I get to live with my guy friends and they get to tell me what to do, like not to call him and not to wear that.

So it's safe to assume there's a lot of Liz in Jess?
That was sort of where the character started and then when Zooey came on board it just obviously became this amazing, other, ten times better character.

You and Zooey seemed really close on the panel for the show at Fox's press tour, even finishing each other's sentences. Were you friends before working on the show?
The first time we met each other, we really felt this connection. She just picked up the script and started reading and I was like, "That's exactly everything I would ever want that character to be." I had never met her before. It's funny. My cousin in Florida, who didn't actually know that I had been working on this show, saw the promo and called my mom and was like, "There's some show on Fox where Zooey Deschanel's acting like Liz." It just feels like that kind of mind meld. I don't think it's very common.

What was it about Lamorne, Jake and Max that convinced you they were the right guys to play the three roommates?
Lamorne (who replaces Damon Wayans Jr. in the second episode) is amazing. No one has seen him yet, but he's amazing. I had worked with Jake on my movie No Strings Attached—he was Ashton Kutcher's best friend. He's just the most real guy. He's so handsome, he's so cute. He's the perfect foil for Zooey because he's totally real, grounded, no bulls--t, and she's so full of life and out there. They're a great duo together. Max is so funny. It's so hard to find a guy that can play a douchebag [who] you still like. That's what's amazing about Max. He's got a great set of abs that we look forward to displaying as much as possible!

And we thank you for that! One thing we really loved about the show was that it didn't automatically set up a love story between Jess and one of the three guys, but is that something you are planning to visit later in the season? 
I can't tell you! You'll just have to watch. I think there's a great connection between Nick and Jess—they are both coming out of bad relationships. I think we're just going to live there the first season and just let them both get over their breakups together and then see where that goes.

New Girl airs tonight at 9 p.m. on Fox.

How are you liking New Girl, gentle readers? Would you like to see Jess eventually date one of the guys? Sound off in the comments!