An all-new Pop Culture Beast is coming!

An all-new Pop Culture Beast is coming!
Pardon our dust!

Pop Culture Beast proudly supports The Trevor Project

Pop Culture Beast proudly supports The Trevor Project
Please consider doing the same.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

NEW GIRL: PALEYFEST 2013 by Marco Elorreaga

New Girl PaleyFest 2013 poster
Who's that girl? (Who's that girl?) It's Jess! I mean, Zooey Deschanel and the cast of Fox's hit New Girl, just renewed for a third season, that came out to play at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills on Monday, March 11, 2013.  Unlike many TV shows, New Girl suffered no sophomore slump.  In fact, it went on to reassure its fans that it found its voice and knew exactly what show it wanted to be.  As the PaleyFest brochure stated, it evolved from "promising newcomer to assured pro" and it was evident from start to finish.

Gracious, lively, and incredibly hilarious, each star gladly answered questions from journalists about their characters and what to expect for the rest of the season, returning on March 19.  The first one to arrive was everyone's favorite douche, Schmidt, played by Emmy-nominated Max Greenfield.  Even though, he says he just played himself for inspiration on Schmidt, Greenfield was the complete opposite of his character.  He was nice, funny, and a real professional.

On his Emmy nomination, he said it was "humbling, validating, and an exciting award and nomination to be apart of" and went to a very nice restaurant in New York to celebrate his nomination.  On Schmidt's character, he explained that it was a "collaborative effort" in creating him.

"You put as much as you can in the character, but it's got to be a collaborative effort with the writers, the creator, and the other actors and the ability to move within that" commented Greenfield, "I think we managed to do that together and they've given me opportunities to really shine and make that character what's it become, so it's hard to take credit for it."

Max Greenfield on the red carpet at PaleyFest
With CeCe's recent engagement on the show, the question remains whether the actual arranged marriage will happen and if Schmidt will ever get back together with CeCe.  The panel, moderated by TV Guide Magazine's Rob Moynihan, focused on this relationship heavily among others on the show, but particularly, one that just got an interesting jump start in the episode screened for the audience.

Jake Johnson, who plays Nick, came in after Greenfield and played it modestly, offering up praises to his cast and writers.  He praised working with Deschanel, "I love working with Zooey.  I think she's an unbelievable talent.  I think we're very lucky to have her on a TV show.  I think she raises the game for everybody."

Jake Johnson would get out of a ticket with his looks if he could.
On what we could expect between Nick and Jess, he played it coy and very nonchalantly even though he knew exactly what would be going on in the episode that screened for the audience.  

[SPOILER ALERT] Do not read the following [SPOILER ALERT].


Creator Elizabeth Meriwether said "it felt if we waited any longer, it would start to feel not true, not what would really happen."  Meriwether and Executive Producer Dave Finkel compared the couple to FRIENDS' Ross and Rachel and The Office’s Jim and Pam.  Deschanel likened themselves more to Sam and Diane, from Cheers, on their love/hate relationship.

Deschanel laughed, "It was interesting because we did the table read and in the whole episode the kiss wasn't in it.  And the whole episode, Jess was soooo annoying, so it was like great, I feel very unattractive. Then, they throw this little nugget in which was pitched to us on a Tuesday.  We shot around ten or something.  I thought it was so great in an episode about how annoying Jess is.  It was really surprising."

When asked if Johnson felt any pressure, he exclaimed: "Absolutely, you don't want to screw that up too badly.  I definitely screwed enough up."

The cast and executive producers dropped other little nuggets on what to expect in the remaining episodes of the season.  Aside from a slew of new and returning guest stars, including favorites Dermot Mulroney and Rob Reiner and Olivia Munn, they also teased that we would get a whole flashback episode, in the vein of the TinFinity episode, showing how they all lost their virginities.

New Girl PaleyFest panel dropping nuggets
On top of that, there would be an episode where the gang would travel to Chicago and meet Nick's family.  Unfortunately, it wouldn't be for the most pleasant circumstances (apparently, Nick's father passes away), but for every downside, there is an upside: Jess dressing up as Elvis!  Fans can definitely look forward to that.

The episode will also have Margo Martindale playing Nick's mother and will definitely be heavy on learning more about Nick, who has only really opened up to two key people, Future Nick (they hope to bring him back) and also Old Asian Man (he definitely will be back, but no cradling this time).   

On whether Hannah Simone's CeCe would actually be having a wedding, Meriwether kept "deflecting" the question.  She has always had a fascination with arranged marriages and wanted to compare the eastern idea to the western idea of marriage, and see if one works better than the other.

Simone on the red carpet shared her feelings on how she thinks Schmidt is taking the news of the engagement and said, "Well, I don't think he's doing too well with it, but he made his bed, so he's laying in himself."

Greenfield stated on the development of his relationship with CeCe, "I really think what we started to do with them that we realized that both of these characters had to grow up themselves before they could be together and I think, especially on Schmidt's end, there is a lot of room.  I think he needs to do some work there before he is able to fully commit, the way he would like to, with CeCe"

Then, he continued "I think he got a taste of what love is and I think, obviously, he holds onto that and it definitely informs every relationship afterwards."  Every cast member slow clapped in awe as he churned out mature sounding answer after answer in comparison to how immature his character is, to which Greenfield quipped "#articulate" referencing an earlier joke on his inability to understand the internet.  The audience was "abuzz."

When Simone asked the audience if CeCe should give Schmidt another chance if he changes his ways, the crowd confirmed with an explosion of wooing and clapping.   "That resolves that," she said to the creator and producers.

Hannah Simone posing for PopCultureBeast readers
"Its been a dream come true," Simone expressed, "we have the most amazing, funny, generous, kind cast with a creator who has a her finger on the pulse of what people want to see and what people find funny and what people are dealing with in their own lives in our generation." Eat your heart out, Lena Dunham.

As the panel started to focus on the creative process, Moynihan asked, "With the news of a season three pick up, does that change your direction for the show, especially with the Nick and Jess stuff?" 

Meriwether answered, "We are going to be honest with the characters and see what feels right.  We do what we feel is right with the episode that we are working on at that moment and try to push ourselves to go as far as we can." She went on to explain that changes are constantly being made as far into the production cycle as possible to make sure the story and characters are at their best. 

Lamorne Morris talking about dropping his Samsung phon in SXSW
Lamorne Morris, who plays Winston, shared early on that "I haven't read the last three episode, but your guess is as good as mine," when asked what to expect from his character.  "When the writers write something, we don't know until we get there and they go 'oh, this is what you're doing this week,' and I go 'oh, so today I'm a pirate who likes playing ping pong, cool."  If this is the character at its best, then I'm game!

Deschanel joked, "For all your journalists out there who ask me to tease things, don't hold me responsible.  I may have shot it, does not mean it's airing" on the haphazard changes that happen even after shooting is over that "surprise" her when she sees the episode.

Lamorne Morris and Zooey Deschanel signing autographs
If this show shows you anything, it's that with passion and staying true to the characters, people will come and stay.  So, when you hear that song playing and you hear the question, "Who's that girl?" You can kick back with New Girl and know you're with and old friend.

Special thanks to Samsung Smart TV for sponsoring my coverage of PaleyFest 2013. Make sure to like Samsung TV USA on Facebook, for an insider look at red carpet photos, video highlights, recaps from the day's events and more. Also, don't forget to follow @PopCultureBeast on Twitter for live updates during the screenings and panels.

Post a Comment