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TV Goodness Reports: Memorable Moments + Scoops from Fox’s New Girl Panel @ PaleyFest 2012 

The Fab Five aka Max Greenfield, Hannah Simone, Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson & Lamorne Morris


The cast and executive producers of FOX’s New Girl took front and center on the fourth day of Paley Fest 2012. The March 6 episode called “Injured” was screened for the audience. It was an amazing panel with lots of fun moments, a few spoilers, and a douchebag jar. Anyone that watches the show knows what that means. And by the way, Creator Liz Meriwether is our new favorite showrunner. It’s true. The Moderator:
TV Guide Magazine’s Rob Moynihan

The Panel:
Dave Finkel, Executive Producer
Brett Baer, Executive Producer
Elizabeth “Liz” Meriwether, Creator/Executive Producer
Zooey Deschanel, Jess
Jake Johnson, Nick
Max Greenfield, Schmidt
Lamorne Morris, Winston
Hannah Simone, Cece
Jake Kasdan, Executive Producer
Katherine Pope, Executive Producer

Photo Credit: Kara Howland/TV Goodness

Elizabeth “Liz” Meriwether & Deschanel

What We Learned

  • Zooey Deschanel told the crowd that Jess is like a combo — she thinks of the character as a 13-year-old version of herself and a 13-year-old version of Creator Liz Meriwether. Although, they both joked that the real inspiration for Jess is New Girl EP, Dave Finkel.
  • In “Injured,” Jake Johnson really did jump into the ocean and it was very cold. The director actually made him do another take and later on in the shoot, there was talk about him having to do it a third time. Thankfully, he only had to do it twice.
  • In the episode with the “threesome” (“The Landlord”): guest star Jeff Kober got the part four hours before he had to be on set. They thought he did a great job.
  • About the Rusted Root song “Send Me on My Way“: Liz was writing the script for “The Landlord” when the song came on. She felt it was the perfect tune to have an awkward threesome to…
  • We learned Jake doesn’t think his character will ever return to law as a career. We also learned that Jake can’t dance. The boys had some choreography to do for the interactive music video for the New Girl theme song and he demonstrated just how uncoordinated he was the day of filming. He kept telling the choreographer he was confident. But really, he couldn’t dance. At all. We found out for ourselves when he got up and attempted to dance. Key word: attempted. It was awesome.
  • According to Lamorne Morris, his hands would get swollen from playing hand bells in an earlier episode this season (“Bells”). He had to ice them between takes.
  • Jess’ style comes from Zooey and New Girl costume designer, Debra McGuire. McGuire also did the same thing for Friends. According to Deschanel, they make quite the little pair.
  • You want to get on the New Girl actors’ good side? Call them the Fab Five. One audience member standing up to ask them a question did. They all loved her for it.

-If they weren’t actors what would they be?

  • Max Greenfield: The assistant to New Girl EPs Dave Finkel and Brett Baer
  • Jake: A degenerate gambler
  • Lamorne: He’d be homeless and a thief. “If I don’t make it at this, someone’s getting robbed.
  • Zooey: Martha Stewart
  • Hannah Simone: She’s already had every job, acting was the only one left for her to do.

Deschanel, Johnson, Greenfield & Morris — Photo Credit: Kara Howland/TV Goodness

Memorable Moments

  • The douchebag jar was in full effect — and is something we might have to institute in our own daily lives. By the end of the panel, Greenfield, had put all his cash — and his credit cards — in it. An audience member actually called him out and made him do that.
  • Liz says Max brought this amazing neediness to the part of Schmidt. But is he a douchebag? Greenfield said he took the advice of others and decided not to play Schmidt douche-y. Johnson was in awe that that was all it took to play Schmidt. Cause it totally worked.
  • In talking about “Injured,” it was mentioned that we see a LOT of Nick in it. We were a little bit surprised at just how much of Nick we really do see. And in response to Jake’s display of his body, Max started slow clapping. It was amazing. Although Johnson insisted that only the ladies were allowed to clap.
  • The subject of Greenfield being in various states of undress became a hot topic. Meriwether felt it was all about his tiny nipples and the moles, which caused Jake to start slow clapping. Zooey tried to comfort Max by saying those tiny nipples made his body looked more jacked. As for Max, his response was simply to say he’s delighted at getting as nude as he does on the show. He really was a good sport.
  • Liz revealed the fact that the writers discovered some Nick/Jess fan fiction…and read it.. Jake said there was one 15-year-old’s story that was disgusting — and it was based on “The Landlord” episode (and by “disgusting” he meant that the situations got hardcore steamy). Zooey felt weird because she was in it.
  • Somehow a Nick and Schmidt pairing gets brought up and what did Jake and Max do? They slow clapped. The slow clapping was clearly a running theme during this panel.
  • An audience member asked the cast where they want to see their characters in five years. Lamorne’s reply was the best: “I just don’t want them to kill my character on the show.”

Couples Talk

  • This group is very quotable. When Hannah talked about the Cece/Schmidt secret relationship, she jokingly admitted her respect for her character went down a little bit when she found out Cece and Schmidt were getting together. After all, this is a guy who seduces women with talking about cheese. The talk then turned to the Manchego variety of cheese…which led to Zooey saying seducing women that way is sexy. “I mean, you say Manchego, I say ‘let’s go.'” See? Quotable. Adorkably quotable.
  • About Cece/Schmidt: Liz thought it was great that this relationship is not about “will they or won’t they.” It’s more about will they ever become a couple that achieves any sort of emotional intimacy with each other. Meriwether then apologized for bringing things down a bit.
  • The focus, of course, turned to Nick and Jess and when they’ll get together. Meriwether said they were toying with the idea of letting “Nick” and “Jess” just do it here on the stage. That didn’t happen, just in case you guys were wondering.
  • The couples talk continued and it evolved into one of our favorite moments of the whole panel. Zooey and Jake talked about how they often have to downplay their chemistry because that’s just not what is called for in the script. It would be a normal scene — like drinking coffee together — and everyone would say “TOO MUCH CHEMISTRY!” So often, instead of standing close to each other, they just poke each other from afar or have to resort to giving the other a non-sexual punch on the arm. According to Jake, in “Injury,” it had to be more like: “I’m glad you don’t have cancer. BOINK!” Boink = a poke in the arm. Just fyi…

Spoiler Section (for upcoming episodes)

  • Will fat Schmidt ever return? YES.
  • Moynihan asked about Winston and his latest love interest — Shelby — and if that will continue. Morris shared how Winston will start to realize who he is with her and “he starts to make passion with her a lot.” Everybody present loved that he said “make passion” with her.
  • Dermot Mulroney plays a father of one of Jess’s students. First, he engages her in playful banter then they start up a little somethin’ somethin’.
  • The guys (Max, Lamorne, Jake) thought Dermot was going to come on to the show and make them all look like clowns.That, of course, never happened.
  • “I think he falls in love a little bit.” Jake talking about Nick’s reaction to Dermot’s character.
  • Jeanne Tripplehorn will guest star as Dermot’s ex-wife. Jess and the ex-wife will actually get along.
  • Schmidt deals with his OCD
  • They invent a new game called True American. Zooey even made up a song about it.
  • Zooey showed us how a turtle eats. It’s going to be in an upcoming episode. It’s hilarious. She said she and her sister used to mimic eating like one back in the day — just like the turtles that inhabited the area around where they grew up.

A clip from the New Girl Paley Fest 2012 panel is up at

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