New Girl creator Liz Meriwether has been working in the industry for years. Meriwether wrote the plays Heddatron (2006), The Mistakes Madeline Made (2006), and Oliver Parker! (2010). She also wrote the screenplay for the 2011 romantic comedy film No Strings Attached. So she was no stranger to Hollywood. Although, Meriwether didn’t expect the huge success that came along with New Girl. Meriwether sits down to discuss what fans can expect this season.
Q: In what ways do you think your Midwestern upbringing influences you today and/or the show?
Meriwether: That’s funny. Yes, oh God, sorry. I feel like—oh no. I don’t know what to say. I think it’s a big part of who I am. I think it helped me sort of be able to—I don’t know what I’m saying. I think, Nick is from Chicago, which I think is definitely part of—Nick and … are from Chicago, which is like partly coming from me being from Michigan, but also Jake Johnson and Lamorne are both from Chicago, so we’re writing to our actual lives there and just something of the—the show is set in LA, but these characters are from the Midwest, so there’s a little bit of like an outsider quality to the characters where maybe they feel a little bit—they’re like a little confused about all of the—like they feel a little bit outside in a place like LA and think some of the stuff is a little stupid. That’s definitely influenced it.
Yes, it’s such a good question. I’m sorry; I’m just like I’d feel like I’d have to like think about it a little bit longer to talk to you about it. I think that like I also—I’m sorry; I don’t have anything else.
Q: I know we’re about to see some developments between Coach and Cece and I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about the decision to go in that direction with those two characters, and a little bit more about how long Damon will be on the series.
Meriwether: Yes, Damon is with us for the rest of the year, which is really exciting. We are so happy to have him back and he just like fit in perfectly and it’s just been like a really like fun—it’s been a really fun thing to have him back on the show. He’s going to stay with us for the rest of the year. I don’t know beyond that. In the next episode, Coach and Cece go out on a date, which obviously causes a fair amount of stress for Schmidt. We thought it was sort of interesting to have this new character come in and not really understand all the back story between Cece and Schmidt and kind of just like swoop in and take her out on a date. We thought it would be like a fun thing to happen.
And then going forward, I’m not sure if the Cece/Coach relationship is going to go forward. I think it might have just been this one date that they go on. I think that Cece is just wanting to kind of like get back out there and go on a date with a really hot guy, so I think that’s kind of what is going on in her head.
It was really fun the shoot them together and they have like a great chemistry. It’s really different than Cece and Schmidt, which is also really fun. And they’re both just so gorgeous, that it’s like it’s fun to just watch them on screen, so that’s good.
Q: Jess and Nick, it’s been really interesting to me how you developed their relationship this season and it hasn’t gone the typical TV path where they really kind of worked out some of their issues and have been kind of happy and a happy couple for a lot of it. Can you just talk about how it is to write for a show where there’s not that tension between them and what’s that been like to write that this season, where you actually have them kind of together and happy together?
Meriwether: As someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with happy relationships, it’s sort of interesting for me to write them, but it’s felt good. We didn’t want to go the traditional TV route. We didn’t want to have them be breaking up every five minutes and having all these problems. We really wanted to invest in the relationship and see what would actually happen between them. There’s definitely been some challenges, because we used to have that story, that tension and conflict just baked into the series, but I think there is kind of new and deeper conflicts, which are—you know, if they’re going to be together, like some of the things that they got away with in the past they’re really have to deal with, so that’s also been good.
And then it’s just really nice, I think it’s just really nice having them together. They’re so lovely together. They have such great kind of chemistry, it’s like it’s really kind of nice to watch them be happy for a little bit and enjoying it. Yes, it’s definitely like changed the DNA of the show a little bit, but I think it’s important for a show to keep changing and growing and evolving, so that it feels real and it feels like what would really happen to these people.
New Girl airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.
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