This may come as a shock to longtime New Girl viewers, but it seems Jess, Schmidt et al. are actually growing up. (Kinda.)
When the Fox comedy returns for Season 5 (on Tuesday, Jan. 5, now at 8/7c), the loftmates will be contending with all sorts of adult problems, from wedding planning to jury duty to the addition of a new-but-temporary apartment dweller (Megan Fox’s Reagan, who will briefly replace Jess while Zooey Deschanel is on maternity leave).
According to Jake Johnson, Fox’s arrival will not only fill the void left by Deschanel, but bring an interesting and fun dynamic to the series that fans might not expect.
“We were in an interesting spot as an ensemble, when we lost one of our lead characters for five episodes,” Johnson tells TVLine. “We replaced Jess’ energy with a different energy in the loft. Everyone acts differently, there’s a slightly different feeling to everything — but the show, at its core, was the same, which was a neat experiment to be part of.”
We chatted with the New Girl cast (including newbie Fox) about what else to expect in Season 5, from Schmidt’s ambitious wedding ideas to the odds that Nick and Jess will give romance another shot. (Hint: Chances are low.)
HERE COMES THE GROOM-ZILLA | If you think you’ve seen Schmidt at his most dramatic, just wait until he tries to arrange his own nuptials. Max Greenfield says the wedding planning will go “terribly” when Schmidt attempts to take control, adding that “he’s got a lot of vision and not enough money.”
And even though Schmidt and Cece’s Will They/Won’t They saga has finally come to an end, Greenfield and Hannah Simone agree that their characters’ engagement might be the most entertaining storyline yet.
“Being single is often explored in comedy, but when I look at my friends and their relationships, lots of funny, weird stuff happens to couples,” Simone explains. “I’m glad the New Girl audience gets to see that with Schmidt and Cece. We’re actually finding our funniest material now. Their weirdness together is great.”
THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF WINSTON BISHOP | Of course, now that Schmidt and Cece are paired up (and Jess is “away” on jury duty), where does that leave Winston in the wake of Coach’s departure? According to Lamorne Morris, he’ll have his eye on Reagan when she moves in… though that endeavor won’t go exactly as he might hope.
“Winston is interested in Megan’s character, [but] the problem is she lets him realize something else about his life,” Morris teases cryptically. “There’s a shift in where Winston thought his love would lie.”
THE POWER OF LOVE | Speaking of the L-word, Reagan’s own sights will be set on Nick as she makes herself comfortable in the loft, slimming the chances of a Nick/Jess reunion as the season progresses.
“A lot of the fans that like Nick and Jess are saying, ‘Bring it back’ — but they were also the same people that said, ‘Stop doing this, you’re ruining the show,'” Johnson says with a laugh. “I have no say, but from what I understand, if they’re going to come back together, it’s going to be at the end of the series.”
Then again, if the New Girl writers are looking for suggestions on where to take Nick and Jess’ chemistry, Fox has a storyline she’d like to pitch.
“I think [Nick and Jess] are going to hook up, then Reagan is going to come back,” Fox predicts. “And Nick will be like, ‘What do I do?’ I love this one, but I like that one and could love that one. What do I do?‘”
New Girl fans, your thoughts on the Nick/Jess situation (and our other Season 5 intel)? Drop ’em in the comments section below.