'New Girl' Cast and EPs Talk Weddings, Funerals and Lingering Kiss Fallout

New Girl Paley Fest - H 2013
Kevin Parry for Paley Center for Media

New Girl Paley Fest - H 2013

The New Girl gang was in especially high spirits before a sold-out house at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills Monday night following last week’s announcement that Fox renewed the series for a third season.

This, the 12th night of PaleyFest, was also the first day of shooting a New Girl episode that will tell in flashback how each character lost their virginity. But much of the evening was spent dissecting a more recent development in the love lives of its characters, something now known to New Girl fandom as simply, “The Kiss.”

Series creator and EP Elizabeth Meriwether described the initial resistance to the kiss by everyone involved, who worried about a possible Moonlighting trap in which the romantic leads get together too fast, too soon.

Zooey Deschanel offered that she would rather Nick and Jess have a more prolonged arc like Sam and Diane in Cheers, noting that the love/hate dynamic is “always exciting to watch.” Also, joked Meriwether, “we talk a lot about Carrie and Brody,” a nod to the less conventional romance on Showtime’s Homeland.

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What were Jake Johnson’s thoughts on his character’s ability to finally act on his feelings? “It was something I wanted for Nick," said Johnson. "I was really glad he didn’t screw that up.”

Among the cast’s other favorite storylines so far: “Hannah [Simone] and I had a boob slapping fight,” Deschanel recalled somewhat fondly, before adding, “that was the weirdest day of work I’ve ever had.”

Perhaps the most unanimous highlight of season two was guest appearances by Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner.  The two played Jess’ estranged parents during one Thanksgiving episode, which included what Meriwether described as “a lot of jokes about how wet the turkey was.”

“I think Thanksgiving is really sexy,” she said in her own defense.

As for what’s to become of the series’ other great will-they-or-won’t-they pair, Schmidt and Cece? “More rocky patches,” asserted Meriwether, before cracking a smile and admitting, “that’s just my way of saying I have no f---ing idea.”

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Max Greenfield impressed his castmates with a soulful take on the growth his character would have to endure before ever maintaining a successful relationship. He couldn’t help but let a little Schmidt shine through when he concluded by describing his own response as “hashtag: articulate.”

When asked by the moderator if there will indeed be a wedding between Simone’s Cece and her arranged fiance, EP Dave Finkel coyly responded, “We haven’t seen it yet.”

"That’s what we call a deflection,“ added Meriwether. Truth be told, the team often doesn’t know what final direction a plotline will take until “deep into the production process,” noted EP Brett Baer. Deschanel was quick to address this disclaimer to the press in the audience:

“All those journalists who want me to tease things: Don’t hold me responsible," she said. "We shot it. We might not air it.”

Though unsure what season three will bring for the quirky quintet, the cast and crew were excited for an upcoming Jake Kasdan-directed episode in which Nick and company travel to Chicago (spoiler alert!) upon his father’s death. With guest spots by Margo Martindale, Nick Kroll and Bill Burr, not to mention Deschanel-as-Elvis, Kasdan said it “felt like a pilot for a different show.”

And one more face will surely be a crowd-pleaser to those who recognize her: 94 year-old actress Ellen Albertini Dow, best known as the “Rappers Delight”-spouting piano teacher from The Wedding Singer. Knowing nothing is outside the realm of possibility for her bizarre characters, Meriwether stage-whispered this potential spoiler about the nonagenarian: “She and Schmidt do it!”