Liz Meriwether, Writer/Executive Producer
Liz Meriwether is the creator, executive producer, and head writer for one of FOX’s biggest new hits, New Girl, starring Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, and Lamorne Morris. Three weeks ago, Zooey’s “Jess” and Jake’s “Nick” finale gave into some of their romantic tension and kissed. Well, Nick did anyway. We’ve been experiencing the fallout ever since. Liz participated in a recent call to discuss the kiss and what it means for our show. Please enjoy!
TheTwoCents: You have said before that Jess and Nick wouldn’t happen in the second season or anything. Why didn’t you draw it out longer?
Liz Meriwether: It just felt right. I mean we’ve sort of gotten to a place where it felt like organically in their relationship something like this could happen. I mean, we spent the season watching them get closer and closer as friends and then, the original draft of last night’s episode didn’t have them kissing and then we, you know, it was a really good script and we went to table as a draft of the script without them kissing and then we just all sort of looked at each other and felt like it sort of felt right. It also felt like if we didn’t have them kiss, it was kind of like pulling our punches; like we were not really being true to the characters in this moment. I think we were all ready for Nick to kind of step up to the plate and have a moment of confidence, whether or not it was the trench coat or not.
TTC: What can you share about the rest of the season? Any fun things that you can share?
LM: Well, we’re going to have a lot of awesome episodes coming. I mean the rest of the season, this is like a really huge sort of thing that’s happened and I think the rest of the season is really dealing with not every episode is about what happened, but I think like a lot of the subtext has come up to the surface and that’s been really fun to write for because there’s a lot of tension that’s out in the open and everyone’s trying to figure out where they stand. I think Nick and Jess, in particular, are trying to figure out how they feel about each other. There are a lot of obstacles for them. They don’t have the kind of relationship where anything is easy. I mean, they’re always at odds. They’re very different people and they are attracted to each other, but that doesn’t solve a lot of the problems that they have of just like Nick never showering and Jess is like effervescence and optimism in the face of Nick’s like hatred of the world and people. A lot of that stuff hasn’t been resolved and I think the rest of the season is really like them fighting their feelings and fighting their attraction and trying to figure out what they really want out of each other. It’s been really fun to write for and really fun to watch on set. The actors have been really great in sort of embracing this new dynamic.
TTC: A lot of people have been speculating that Jess and Nick are going to be the new Ross and Rachel. What do you think about that?
LM: E. MeriwetherThat would be amazing. I love Ross and Rachel and obviously I still remember when he showed up at the coffee house in the rain or something and like she opened the door and they kissed. I remember that it was like branded into my brain. If they’d had DVR then I would have watched that seven million times over and over again. I think they’re really different characters, but I think that would be amazing, obviously. I think there is this sort of added complication of Winston and Schmidt and the fact that they live together and their friends are a little bit less supportive of all this. They have some of that to contend with, too.
TTC: What was it like filming “the kiss” on set?
LM: It was really fun. It was just; we were obviously kind of wondering how it was going to be. I mean we decided that they were going to kiss and we told Zooey and Jake and Zooey and Jake were excited about it because they felt like their characters had come to a place where it felt like it was the right thing to do. And all the producers came to set for that scene and we all sort of looked at each other and we’re like I hope this works. It was the last day of shooting, right before the holidays, and so it was sort of like this perfect end to the first half of our season of shooting. They just kissed and the entire crew applauded. We were all kind of just freaking out behind the monitor because it just felt like such an exciting kiss and it was just really fun to watch on set. It made me feel like I hadn’t been kissed correctly in my life. I was like I got to be kissed like that. It was a really fun great thing to watch. Yes, I don’t know. It was a great moment on set.
TTC: Do you have any more upcoming great guest stars?
LM: Yes, Steve Howey is coming on in a couple of episodes and he is on Shameless. He’s hilariously funny on the show and he plays a football player who Winston is trying to basically become best friends with and Jess is also interested in. So I think he’s been really funny. Then in a couple episodes we haven’t cast yet, but we’re going to be meeting more of Nick’s family, which is exciting.
I can’t wait! How about you? Catch a new episode of New Girl tonight at 8:30PM ET on FOX!!
Anne – Assistant TO the Editor-in-Chief