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New Girl Season Three Premiere Preview: “All In” [PHOTOS and VIDEO + Exclusive Interview with EP Dave Finkel] 

Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

New Girl‘s back! New Girl‘s back!

Please forgive me for my overly exuberant ranting. You see, New Girl‘s back. We’re finally going to find out what happened after the events of the second season finale when Nick and Jess kissed and drove off together, Cece didn’t get married and Schmidt had a decision to make: Cece or Elizabeth. Cut to the season three premiere airing tonight at 9/8c on FOX.

Synopsis for “All In”: Picking up immediately after the events of the Season Two finale (Cece’s cancelled wedding), Nick and Jess decide to go “all in” on their romantic relationship – which leads them to run away to a Mexican beach town.  But when Nick runs into trouble with the authorities, it’s Schmidt and Winston to the (possible) rescue, which may land Nick into even deeper trouble. Meanwhile, Schmidt makes a decision regarding Cece and Elizabeth (guest star Merritt Wever), and Winston becomes obsessed with completing a puzzle.

To prime you for tonight’s episode, we have photos from the premiere, a first look at season three AND an exclusive interview with New Girl EP Dave Finkel. I talked to him this summer at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas. We chatted about Nick and Jess, Cece, Schmidt and Elizabeth and more.

Jake Kasdan, Brett Baer, Dave Finkel
New Girl EPs Jake Kasdan (l.), Brett Baer (c.) & Dave Finkel (r.)
Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/Invision for FOX/AP Images

TV GOODNESS: Nick and Jess at the end of the finale was pretty amazing. Did you know how you were going to end it from the beginning of the season? 

DAVE FINKEL: Breaking the last chunk of the season I would say the thing we knew is that we didn’t want to end it in a way that felt unanswered. By the time we had them kiss, we knew we had to have them go somewhere. And I think we wanted to get them to a place where they were going off together but that it didn’t feel complete. And so we had some room to sort of figure it out. So going forward in season three I suppose we want to watch them either expand, contract, fight, fall apart…


FINKEL: Yeah, I think their relationship is so…they’re such flawed characters — like delightfully flawed — that they’ve got a lot of work to do. Like so much work to do before they can figure it out. It’s indicative of anybody in their early to mid-thirties. Like you still haven’t completely figured it out and they’re trying to. They know what they want. Will they be able to get there? I don’t know. I don’t know. Hope not. We have many episodes to write.

TV GOODNESS: Several seasons, right?

FINKEL:  In a perfect world we’ll have many, many seasons to go. Obviously we can’t have them getting married in episode two of the third season.

TV GOODNESS: Did you guys gage the fan response to Nick and Jess’ relationship milestones on social media?

FINKEL: We didn’t consciously gage it but every…we’ll be in the writers’ room and at 9:26 or something, somebody will run in the room or I’ll get an email and they’ll go like ‘we’re trending, we’re trending’ — which has never happened before. It’s a whole new thing so…we don’t consciously seek it out but it definitely is in the atmosphere. Once we trend we feel like: ‘Oh cool, people are watching.’ And the feedback has been super helpful and follow their own.

TV GOODNESS: What do you mean helpful?

FINKEL: You know,  people smell it when you’re bulls—-ing, you know? It’s one of those things that we feel it. And it’s good to know that okay — if we’re at a point where it’s like okay, we’ve done this too long, people are starting to smell it…we’re already ahead of it — like we need to move on. But once we hear people are also on board with that — it’s time to move on to the next thing. So we definitely listen — it’s not a conscious thing where we’re like ‘what is the audience saying? How are they reacting?’ We try to not read reviews. Maybe now and then I’ll read reviews. Liz [Meriwether, New Girl Creator] really tries to stay away from them. And I think that’s smart. But clearly it filters into our thinking sometimes. It is helpful. It’s the way it is now. So might as well own it.

TV GOODNESS: One of our most popular articles is when Schmidt broke his penis. Can you just talk about coming up with that story?

FINKEL:  God, that was so long ago. I think it was Liz’s pitch of just like ‘Let’s break Schmidt’s penis’ — I don’t think it was ever gonna be a full runner. It was an arc. It became…it bridged two seasons. Like no one expected that. It was supposed to be a joke and now…he slept with Nadia and broke his penis and then…and that was gonna be it. It was just sort of a one-off joke that took on a life of its own.

TV GOODNESS: Let’s talk about Schmidt and the dilemma he’s in at the end of the season. Merritt Wever [Elizabeth] came in and blew everybody away…

FINKEL: She destroys yeah. She’s amazing.

TV GOODNESS: Did you guys plan on having that (Cece/Schmidt/Elizabeth) become a true triangle?

FINKEL: The point of that whole thing was…you know, the Cece/Schmidt thing was a huge surprise to all of us. That it happened and became such a big thing for the show. I think our thinking was like every turn we can make Schmidt more real and keep bringing him back down because he’s such a big, larger than life character…every time we can make him a little bit more real, a little more human, the better it is for us. In creating the Elizabeth character we wanted to bring somebody in that was going to make him answer for who he is. And one of the things too was someone who knew him when he wasn’t this guy. Now that everything’s out on the table…Cece, Elizabeth and Schmidt all know the pieces, it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. I mean, Merritt is a monster….in a positive way. She’s a huge talent. And obviously Hannah [Simone, New Girl‘s Cece] and Max [Greenfield, New Girl‘s Schmidt] are great…

TV GOODNESS: I was all ready to be like no, no, no it’s all about Cece and Schmidt. And then Elizabeth…

FINKEL: She’s [Merritt] so arresting. There’s something about her that is just so beautiful. To watch the two of them [Merritt and Max] — she’s so real. And she’s such a tremendous actor that I really enjoy watching her. And we didn’t know what we were getting. We had no idea where it was gonna ultimately go. And I love the fact that we still don’t know where it’s going to go.

Season Three First Look

Photo Credit for all Images: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

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