SPOILER ALERT, Newbies. If you haven’t seen tonight’s New Girl, read no further. For everyone who has, click through now!
Though the season 2 finale title, “Elaine’s Big Day,” may have paid homage to a pivotal moment for one wedding guest (Taylor Swift in a hilarious cameo), fans were more interested in last night’s relationship-defining turning point for Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson). Deschanel talked to EW about the roommates’ 29th-minute decision to give it a go — though her perspective on the roomfriends’ DTR moment is definitely different than you’d imagine. “I don’t know if I would say [they’re in] a relationship,” Deschanel says. “It feels more undecided to me. They’re not calling it off, but they’re not not calling it off. It leaves a fair amount open for next season.”
And, according to the star (who also serves as a producer on New Girl), that’s where the comedy begins. “The thing about Nick and Jess being together is, it opens up a lot of storylines. These are two flawed human beings, and who knows what’s going to happen with them really? I think for sure there are a lot of comedic possibilities in their relationship.” What those possibilities will mean for the pixie dreamgirl and the turtleface, well, Deschanel is keeping mum for now.
“I love that people get invested in the characters,” she says, “and especially on a TV show, because they actually see things pan out and see the ebb and flow [of a relationship], rather than like in a movie where the end is the end.” Like the fans, Deschanel confesses, “I am incredibly attached to these characters and invested in them.”
Deschanel’s commitment came in handy more than a few times this year. For example, she recalls being taken by surprise when creator-showrunner Liz Meriwether told her five minutes before the table read for March’s “Chicago” that she’d be doing an Elvis impersonation. In many other instances — like the “I’m sari” shenanigans pictured above — she’s had the chance to develop her physical comedy chops, an opportunity she appreciated after playing the ingenue in dozens of movies. “There’s a certain degree of acting that is a muscle that you flex,” she says. “Doing this kind of work, it’s like training for a triathlon because… you get a lot thrown at you. On a movie, you get a script and you’re, like, ‘Yes, I can do this.’ When you say yes to a TV show… I mean, we’ve done 49 episodes, and there’s inevitably going to be stuff where you’re like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ and then you do it and learn you can. It’s kind of a great way to get in shape as an actress… because you get to try a lot of different things.”
More surprising than pratfalls or jumpsuit-clad lunges, though, Deschanel admits she was surprised the series moved forward with Jess and Nick’s relationship before season 2’s final episode. “I was surprised that we went so far as to have Nick and Jess sleep together and then have the aftermath [in episode 23],” she says, “but I actually really thought it worked. There’s that little dose of reality that is ripe for comedy.”
Unfortunately for shippers, that comedy is several very long months away. Next up, Deschanel and She & Him bandmate M. Ward are going on tour to promote their latest release, Volume 3.