Exclusive: New Girl Poised to Introduce Jess’ Parents - Our Picks to Play Them!

Zooey Deschanel New GirlPass the pumpkin ale and fire up the dryer, because New Girl is gonna try and top its Season 1 Thanksgiving instaclassic by using this year’s episode to introduce Jess’ parents. But who will play Mom and Pop Day? Here are our picks:

Patrick Duffy and Victoria Principal: Not only do they look like they could be Zooey Deschanel’s folks, but their casting would serve us the Bobby-and-Pam reunion that Dallas left us craving. (Bonus: Duffy’s such a joker, he can even make his former leading lady laugh. Have you seen the old Dallas bloopers on YouTube?)

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Woody Allen and Diane Keaton: It may be hard to imagine big-screen legends like the Annie Hall co-stars downsizing to the small screen, but it’s not impossible (think: Meryl Streep on Web Therapy, Gwyneth Paltrow on Glee). Plus, they say girls always fall for guys who remind them of their dads — and didn’t Jess’ ex, Paul (Justin Long), remind you a lot of Woody Allen? (For that matter, hasn’t Justin Long always reminded you a lot of Woody Allen?

Burt Reynolds and Sally Field: Unlike Allen and Keaton, this former real-life movie-star couple has a long, long history on the tube (he did Gunsmoke and Evening Shade, to name just a couple of shows; she did Gidget and Brothers & Sisters, for starters). And it just isn’t right that their pairing should go down in history as being best remembered for the Smokey and the Bandit flicks.

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David Hyde Pierce: Were New Girl to choose this former Frasier star to play Jess’ dad, the show could forego casting her mom altogether — by leaving her off screen the way his last sitcom did Niles’ wife, Maris. (Or they could just hire Pierce’s missus from The Powers That Be, Valerie Mahaffey — that’s who we always pictured as Maris, anyway!)

Robin Williams and Nathan Lane: How big a hoot would it be if New Girl reteamed the boys from The Bird Cage? Not as big a hoot as it would be if Lane played Mama Day in drag and Jess was the only one who didn’t realize that she actually had two dads. But a hoot any way you slice it.

Your turn. Who do you envision when you picture Jess’ folks. Your suggestions below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. M80 says:


    She looks so much like Zooey!

  2. Shawn says:

    Jan Smithers and Howard Hessman (Bailey and Johnny Fever) from “WKRP in Cincinnati”. Jess and Jan look very much alike with glasses

  3. arial2 says:

    Mary McDonnell and Edward James Olmos. : D

  4. Jon says:

    You can’t bring up Sally Field and TV without mentioning The Flying Nun!

  5. Jon says:

    How about Lisa Kudrow as the mom?

  6. Steven says:

    Fred Willard and Debra Jo Rupp.

  7. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    A few months ago I would have said Fred Willard without a doubt. Not so much anymore lol

  8. Stafford says:

    Either set of parents from Dharma and Greg. The thought of Woody Allen on my TV screen as a father creeps me out.

  9. Nic says:

    The following suggestion will NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPEN, but man oh man it would be PERFECT CASTING and lead to a symphony of brilliant comedic-timing from the whole cast:

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson


    Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan


    Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal
    (“When Harry Met Sally…They Eventually Made Jess” 8pm PT/9pm CT on FOX.)

    • Steven says:

      Nice! I could actually picture a dinner scene involving Schmidt and Jess’ *Meg Ryan* mom each ordering their dishes in a nit-picky, anal-retentive way while Nick and Jess’ *Billy Crystal* dad engaging in a verbal-volley back & forth re: their “domestic partners'” obsessive concerns with the minutiae.

  10. Velvet says:

    None of the above.

  11. Velvet says:

    Jaclyn Smith

  12. Alan says:

    morgan fairchild and bruce boxleitner. they were fantastic as mr and mrs awesome in chuck so i wouldnt mind seeing them together again

  13. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    David Hasselhoff and Heather Locklear.

  14. Richard says:

    Amanda Bearse and Ted McGinley
    Maureen McCormack and Barry Williams
    Lisa Loring and Ken Weatherwax
    Julia Duffy and Peter Scolari
    Scott Baio and Erin Moran

  15. Isabella says:

    Tony Hale and Liza Minnelli… just putting it out there.

  16. Tricia says:

    Megan Mullally. I know she’s Penny’s mom, but she’s the one to call when you need a kooky lady. Then I’d go with a super serious guy for dad, Kiefer Sutherland maybe?

  17. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    Jeff Goldblum for the dad. Or was he a dad on Happy Endings? I forget.

    • Jen says:

      He was on Glee as one of Rachel’s gay dads.

      So I guess they random actors that already played Jess’ parents in flashbacks don’t get to come back? I’m going to go with Peter Gallagher and Mary Steenbergen.

  18. LUCY says:


  19. Brian Nussbaum says:

    Will Ferrell and Betty White

  20. JASon says:

    TIna Fey and Larry David!!!

  21. lana says:


  22. lucas says:

    woody allen and diane keaton as zooey deschanel’s parents? that’s the hipster dream!

  23. Juan Ignacio Aguilar says:

    Caleb and Mary Jo Deschanel, anyone better than her real-life actors parents?

  24. Deena says:

    Ryan O’Neal. He already plays her sister’s father on Bones :)

  25. New Girl says:

    Omg Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer as Martie and Bobbie Culp. That would be hilarious..

  26. The Squatch says:

    Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad would be a funny twist… heh

  27. Florence says:

    I would love to see Woody on the small screen, especially if he wrote his own part or even entire episodes… I do think that’s dreaming too high though (but it could happen! Tarantino did a CSI episode once didn’t he?)

  28. PJ says:

    Blythe Danner and Eugene Levy would work for me!

  29. neena says:


  30. Katie Lynch says:

    Nathan Lane and Barbara Striesand(can’t spell)

  31. Jess says:

    Lily Tomlin for sure!!!! And as for the dad…hmm…Dustin Hoffman?? They were great/quirky on I <3 Huckabees and I could imagine them playing her parents!!

  32. dburnett says:

    Joanie & Chachi

  33. HP says:

    Frances McDiarmand, who played her mother in “Almost Famous” as her single mom.

  34. Jennifer Camp says:

    The Fockers!!!!

  35. Alexis says:

    I don’t know about the mom but I could see Jeff Bridges as the dad.

  36. Melanie says:

    Barbara Streisand and James Brolin. She gets her awesome looks from dad and wonderful quirkiness and singing talent from mom.

  37. Erin N. Shaw says:

    Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen would rock as jess’s parents.

  38. Paula says:

    Tom Hanks would be perfect for her dad. and Jaclyn Smith or any funny famous actress that Zoe looks like a younger version of, would be awesome!

  39. Lain says:

    I would go with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane XD (loved the movie)

  40. maggiest says:

    Bob Newhart and Madonna

  41. Cole says:

    The parents from Easy A!
    “Why does that matter? I’m adopted”
    “WHAT!? Who told you!?”

  42. Alush says:

    Woodie Harrellson and Juliett Lewis :)))

  43. Jim Dempsey says:

    Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas

  44. Linda says:

    I really think Sally Field should play her mother. She looks a lot like her. Stanley Tucci would be hilarious as her dad, in my opinion but I think Patrick Duffy would do well as her dad too.

  45. Kay Jay says:

    Joyce Dewitt from Three’s Company (Janet) and Richard Moll (tall Bull from Night Court), both are the right ages, know comedy, n Joyce looks n acts like Jess and Moll would scare her roomies! Lol I’ve been in plays with them in Nashville and they were so funny to work with onstage! They’d be perfect!

  46. Tobie says:

    Goldie Hawn and Nicholas Cage

  47. Kimba says:

    Demi Moore and Ron Lowe.

  48. Rachael Silverman says:

    Goldie Hawn for her mom and woody harrelson for her dad! They would be great!

  49. Rachael Silverman says:

    Or instead of w.h. How about Goldie hawn and Chevy chase!

  50. Laura says:

    Allison Janney for the win!