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New Girl is the quirky 2011 sitcom starring Zoey Deschanel, Jake Johnson and Lamorne Morris to name a few. It ran from the 20th September 2011 to 15th May 2018 for a total of 7 seasons.
Created by Elizabeth Meriwether, New Girl follows newly single teacher Jessica Day move into a Los Angeles loft she found on Craigslist with three male roommates. Nick, Schmidt, Coach and then later Winston start off initially irritated by Jess’ constant re-watching of Dirty Dancing to get over her break up but then end up being her best friends. Jake Johnson plays Nick the bartender, Max Greenfield is Schmidt, a marketing associate in an all female office, Lamorne Morris is Winston Bishop a former basketball player turned member of the Police Force and Daman Wayans Jr. is Coach, a personal trainer. Jessica’s best friend since childhood is model Cece Parekh and she is played by Hannah Simone.
If you’re a huge New Girl fan like us, then you may think that you know everything there is to know about the sitcom; however, here are 45 New Girl facts that even we were surprised to find out!
1. Jessica Day Was Written As More Of A Side Character
Most of the episodes of New Girl are centred around Jessica Day, her career and relationships. The creator of New Girl, Elizabeth Meriwether, has stated that Jess would have played a side character on many other sitcoms. The character of Jess sparked a lot of criticism in the early seasons including negativity around her childish and stereotypical girly nature. Meriwether responded to critics by saying that Jess was not meant to be emblematic of all women and instead they aimed to portray someone realistic and emotionally driven so the show is just not relying on firing off jokes constantly.
2. New Girl Was Fox’s Highest Rated Autumn Debut For 10 Years
New Girl began on the 20th of September 2011 and ran for seven seasons and a total of 146 episodes until the 15th of May 2018. The show received critical acclaim and was named one of the best comedies in 2011. The pilot episode had 10.28 million viewers in the US making it the highest rated Autumn debut for a Fox scripted show since 2001. Since then, New Girl has been included on Netflix and is said to be one of the most popular shows on the platform.
3. Max Greenfield Was Named New Girl’s Break Out Star
In season one of New Girl, Max Greenfield was seen as the standout star however in later seasons critics praised Jake Johnson for his portrayal of Nick Miller more widely.
4. Season 7 Only Consisted Of 8 Episodes
Season seven of New Girl began on the 14th of May 2017 and only consisted of eight episodes.
5. New Girl Wouldn’t Have Been Made Without No Strings Attached
New Girl creator Elizabeth Meriwether is also well known for writing the 2011 comedy film No Strings Attached, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. 20th Century Fox Television approached Meriwether in 2008 to develop a pilot but it was shelved. It was only after the film No Strings Attached that she pitch an idea for a sitcom about “an off-peak girl moving in with three single guys” inspired by her own experience of going from Craigslist sublet to Craigslist sublet for four years in Los Angeles when she was in her 20s.
6. New Girl Was Originally Called Chicks And Dicks
New Girl was originally going to be called “Chicks and Dicks”, and two of the characters in original drafts were similar to two that ended up being on screen. These were Jess and Schmidt. Meriwether's initial idea was to create a Will and Grace style sitcom which would be based on the fact that she had remained close friends with a man after their exes started dating each other. The original script seemed to concentrate more on the character’s sexual relationships but it later formed into a more social and platonic ensemble so the title was changed to New Girl.
New Girl was green lit in 2011 and Fox ordered an initial 13 episodes. Zooey Deschanel was considered for the role of Jess because Elizabeth Meriwether Felt most connected to her.
7. New Girl’s Style Was Modelled On Freaks And Geeks
Jake Kasdan was approached by Elizabeth Meriwether to shoot the pilot of New Girl because she enjoyed his work on Freaks and Geeks mixing together both comedy and emotion. Brett Baer and Dave Finkel became the showrunners of New Girl but it is still considered an Elizabeth Meriwether Project. In an Interview with the New Republic, Meriwether claimed that Kasdan helped to develop the feel of New Girl due to it being more darkly lit and cinematic than an average sitcom. She hoped that New Girl would combine comedy and drama of all of the characters while they were between 30 and 40. This allowed storylines to be written that concentrated on life‘s biggest steps towards maturity in terms of relationships and careers such as marriage and children. This was done very deliberately as other successful sitcoms have always concentrated on the 20s including Friends but Elizabeth Meriwether wished New Girl to have a “built in biological clock“.
8. An 87 Page Lawsuit Was Filed Against New Girl In 2014
Screenwriters Stephanie Counts and Shari Gold filed a lawsuit in 2014 against New Girl. In this 87 page lawsuit they claim that New Girl was based on their script for a proposed television series as there were a number of similarities including the number of roommates, backgrounds, appearance and ethnicities. In both sitcoms Jess has a long-term boyfriend whose name is Spencer and they broke up due to infidelity. In April 2014, it was decided that the two sitcoms were not substantially similar and any other similarities stemmed from non-protectable ideas. The case was dismissed with leave to amend in 2014 and an amendment complaint was filed in 2015. In 2016, counts and gold were ordered to pay approximately US$800,000 in attorney fees according to Law360.
9. Zooey Deschanel Helped Come Up With Jess’ Character
Zooey Deschanel was best known as a film actor and singer songwriter and she was in the process of developing an HBO show when she first read the script of New Girl. Jess wasn’t specifically written for Zooey Deschanel but the producers found her a great match to the character. Deschanel became a producer on New Girl and helped build Jess’ character, specifically concentrating on not making her the classic wife character being ignored by the men and trying to keep out of trouble. Meriwether aimed to write about herself from an honest perspective. Meriwether and Zooey Deschanel have stated in interviews that Jess day was a hybrid of Meriwether, Zoe, the writers and the editor.
10. Jessica Day Wasn’t Meant To Be The Main Character
Zooey Deschanel has described in interviews how she feels that Jessica Day is a part of her, especially when it comes to her enthusiasm and optimism. She stated that she doesn’t mind playing embarrassing or unattractive scenes and she aims to live up to the show's tagline “Simply Adorkable”. Elizabeth Meriwether always imagined New Girl to be an ensemble show with an equally promoted cast. However, Fox decided to concentrate on the well-known Deschanel in their original marketing campaign to promote the series.
11. Nick Miller Was Originally Meant To Be The Smartest Of The Group
After the casting of Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Meriwether was prepared to deviate slightly from the characters she pitched during casting in favour of hiring good actors and writing for them instead. The character of Nick Miller was based on a friend whose surname was also Miller and she originally imagined Nick to be the smartest one of the group. Merriweather wanted Nick to be the character who steps away from the drama and comments on what his crazy roommates are doing around him.
12. New Girl Was Jake Johnson’s First TV Pilot
Meriwether had previously enjoyed working with Jake Johnson, who went on to play Nick Miller, in the film No Strings Attached. He had never auditioned for a TV pilot before so she helped him through the audition process.
13. Jake Johnson And Max Greenfield Auditioned Together
Auditions and casting relied a lot on chemistry tests so Jake Johnson auditioned alongside Max Greenfield who had impressed producers during his first audition for Schmidt. Johnson and Greenfield found out they got the part on the same day.
14. Producers Worried Nick And Schmidt Looked Too Similar
The New Girl producers were originally worried that Jake Johnson (Nick Miller) and Max Greenfield (Schmidt) looked too similar. According to an interview with advocate (dot) com, Jake Johnson was asked to lose 15lb by Fox to prepare for the role of Nick Miller.
15. Coach Was Originally Meant To Be “A Fat Jewish Guy”
The process of casting for Damon Wayans Junior’s character, Coach, took the longest as Elizabeth Merriweather had originally envisioned him to be something quite different. In interviews Meriwether states that she originally saw Coach as a “fat Jewish guy, like a man child” but instead they ended up going for a “dumb joke with crazy rage problems”.
16. David Neher Originally Auditioned For The Role Of Schmidt
David Neher originally auditioned for the role of Coach before producers gave it to Damon Wayans Jr. Neher goes on to play Benjamin in New Girl, the “fremesis” of Schmidt. Among 400 actors audition for the role of Coach.
17. Damon Wayans Jr Left After The Pilot To Film Another Show
Damian Wayan’s Jr starred as Coach in New Girl’s pilot episode, but did not go on to appear in Season one of the show. This is because he had expected the show he was starring in at the time, an ABC sitcom called Happy Endings, wouldn’t be renewed leaving him free to start a New Girl. Instead, Happy Endings was renewed for a second season and the character of Coach had to be replaced. Lamorne Morris joined the cast as ex-professional basketball player Winston Bishop.
18. Lamorne Morris Originally Auditioned For Coach
Lamorne Morris originally read for the part of Coach but he had been unavailable to film the pilot episode. Elizabeth Merriweather suggested that around 80% of the pilot episode would have to be re-shot in order to remove Damon Wayans from the episode as Coach was a leading role in the show. So it was decided that much like the frequent apartment changes in young people's lives, the New Girl pilot can keep Coach as a character and it would be perfectly normal for Morris to join the show in the second episode.
Damon Wayans Junior returns to New Girl in season three after his show Happy Endings had finally been cancelled and he was officially added as a regular cast member in season four.
19. Zoey Deschanel and Jake Johnson Have Both Played Principals
Both Zooey Deschanel and Jack Johnson have portrayed high school headteachers in acting roles. Jake Johnson has played Principal Dadier in 21 Jump Street in 2012 whereas Zooey Deschanel becomes Principal of the school in the sixth season of New Girl.
20. New Girl Season One Had No Planned Story Arcs
For its first season, New Girl had 11 writers and later 15 during the second season. According to an interview with the Writers Guild of America, stories were developed in a collaborative way and were aimed at both male and female viewers. When coming up with the season one storyline, the New Girl writers had no planned arcs but focused on setting up each character. They hoped the second season would show different sides to the characters and overarching storylines were usually wrapped up at the end of the season. The actors playing the New Girl cast were not usually told how a situation would wrap up. For Meriwether, it was important that New Girl was not just a punchy sitcom but instead aimed to be as emotionally real as possible. She hoped that New Girl would be grounded in an emotional story arc especially when it came to Jess.
21. Actors Could Pitch New Girl Storylines
In a 2013 article on hitfilx (dot) com, it was discussed how each New Girl episode started out. Originally there was just one pitch page and it went through many stages of an outline and final draft before filming and editing began so the process could take weeks. Each stage had to be approved by Elizabeth Meriwether and the showrunners, the production company, the Fox studio and the Fox network.
A group of writers would work on alternative punchlines while another group reworked the draft until they found the most funny and emotional version that they could. All of the characters were worked into the storyline and had each of their motivations determined.
Table reads would happen with the whole cast on a Tuesday and the main writers would continue working the episode over the weekend before final polishing. In several cases actors' performances would influence new story ideas and actors could also hand in their own story pitches.
22. You Can Visit The New Girl Loft In The Los Angeles Art District
The exterior of the New Girl loft is the Binford Building which can be found on 837 Traction Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles’ art district. The interior shots were filmed on a studio set, which was built for the pilot and then reused once the show was given a green light. The exterior shots of the bar where Nick works is The Griffin in Atwater village with interior shots of the bar originally being filmed at a restaurant called The Prince in Koreatown. They were later recreated in a studio setting after the first season.
23. New Girl Was Never Filmed In Front Of An Audience
New Girl is not performed in front of a live studio audience and doesn’t have a laugh track. It was filmed with a single camera setup and some scenes were cross covered so were shot with a camera on each person at the same time to allow for improvisation. Handheld camera was avoided to keep New Girl’s distinct cinematic feel.
24. True American Is A Completely Fictitious Drinking Game
True American is a fictional drinking game that the New Girl characters play together in the first season episode “Normal”. Producer of New Girl Brett Baer hoped to include an entire episode about True American but writers were reluctant to form specific rules and wanted the creative freedom to make it as elaborate as possible. According to the AV Club, a version of True American for the 2012 US presidential election was discussed but never made. True American made a second appearance in the season two episode “Cooler” and was played with a strip poker version named “Clinton Rules”. The New Girl writers started to do one new True American episode each year.
25. True American Was Based On A New Girl Writer’s College Experience
Fans of New Girl and True American try to summarise the rules online stating that it is a mix of a drinking game and the floor is lava while you have to shout many names of American Presidents. True American came from a New Girl writer who played a similar game while attending college but she couldn’t remember the game’s rules.
The writers then focused on making the game as funny as possible but only established chanting “JFK! FDR!”. While filming the scenes of True American, the writers would occasionally advise actors to improvise and give them brand-new rules on the spot. It had to look as though the characters had been playing this game for years and years. Fox released an official set of rules for True American, sort of, stating that there are no real rules.
26. There Was A Promotional New Girl True American Bus Tour
A promotional New Girl True American bus tour went through 19 American cities in 2012 to promote the show and at this time writers claimed that rather than not knowing the rules for True American, they didn’t really have enough time to write them down.
Elizabeth Meriwether agrees that it is much funnier if the rules don’t make any sense. She also suggested fans who would like to play the games themselves just get “really wasted” and “look inside” themselves, “the rules will have been there all along”.
27. Jake Johnson Originally Didn’t Understand Nick Miller
Elizabeth Meriwether has stated in interviews that the writers would rely on the actors quite a bit in order to define their characters' personalities. Jake Johnson discussed in an interview with Metro that he did not fully understand the character of Nick Miller in season one of New Girl and has put it down to the fact that the character may not have figured himself out at the age of 30. For example it originally looked as if Nick disliked Schmidt for being a douchebag but later they had almost turned into a couple themselves.
28. Nick And Schmidt Kiss More Times Than Nick And Jess
In an interview with Ryan Seacrest, it was revealed that Max Greenfield improvised kissing Jake Johnson’s character Nick rather a lot in season one until the writers finally put Schmidt and Nick kisses into the script. Hilariously the pair shared more kisses than Nick and Jess in the first two seasons.
29. New Girl And Brooklyn Nine-Nine Crossed Over
The fourth episode of season six of New Girl is a cross over with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, another popular sitcom, where Jess goes from hating New York City to taking it on. Jake Peralta from Brooklyn Nine-Nine stops Jess to use her car to go after a criminal. The car belongs to Schmidt’s Mum and Jake crashes it so Jess has to go to the 99th precinct in Brooklyn. There she meets Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti) and Capt. Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher).
30. Deschanel And Johnson Were Told To Have Little Physical Contact In Season One
During the first season of New Girl, Zooey Deschanel who plays Jess and Jake Johnson who plays Nick were directed to have as little physical contact as possible. This is apparently due to the fact that the chemistry was thought to be too distracting.
31. Deschanel And Wayans Went To School Together
Interestingly, Zooey Deschanel and Damon Wayne’s Junior went to high school together.
32. Zooey Deschanel Missed 6 Episodes As She Was Having A Baby
Despite playing the lead role in New Girl, Zooey Deschanel missed six episodes in season five as she was having a baby. The writers explained this in the script by saying that Jess would be away for jury duty for six weeks. Megan Fox joined the cast as Reagan, a potential new roommate, during that time. Megan Fox’s character continued being a part of the New Girl storyline when Zooey Deschanel/Jess came back.
33. Peter Gallagher And Man Greenfield Played The Same Person In The O.C
Peter Gallagher plays Schmidt’s Dad in New Girl. Interestingly in the show the OC, Max Greenfield plays the younger version of Peter Gallagher’s character Sandy Cohen.
34. Greenfield Nearly Quit Acting Before His Role In New Girl
Max Greenfield has stated in interviews that he almost quit acting before his audition for New Girl. The role of Schmidt came at a good time and he claims the character was so much like him in real life it seemed tailored to his liking of comedy.
35. Amanda Bynes Was Considered For The Role Of Jessica Day
Amanda Bynes was considered for the role of Jessica Day in New Girl before the part went to Zooey Deschanel. She is well known for playing Marianne in Easy A (2010), Penny Pingleton in Hairspray (2007) and Daphne Reynolds in What A Girl Wants (2003).
36. Jess’ Glasses Do Not Have Lenses In Them
Jessica Day's glasses do not actually have lenses in them. This is likely to avoid reflections from lighting while filming on set.
37. There Is A Coach And Cheers Connection
The character of Coach, played by Damon Wayans Junior, actually has the first name Ernie. This is the same as Nicholas Colosanto’s character in Cheers who goes by the name of Coach but his first name is Ernie.
38. Here Are Some New Girl Continuity Goofs
• During season one of New Girl, Jess makes reference to the show Bridge To Terabithia (2007) in which Zooey Deschanel also stars.
• In Season 2 Episode 16, Schmidt mentions Kal Penn and later in Season 5, Kal Penn plays a recurring character. Nick has a poster in his room for JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound.
• Jake Johnson, who plays Nick Miller, actually stars as the lead character alongside Aubrey Plaza in the band’s music video for Rouse Yourself in 2013.
• Interestingly, the sitcom Frasier is also discussed a lot with the New Girl characters and Jess does a Frasier Crane impression. Zooey Deschanel actually starred as Roz Doyle’s cousin in Frasier.
• Hilariously, Nick Miller states that he doesn’t believe in dinosaurs in New Girl. Jake Johnson later goes on to star as a supporting role in Jurassic World in 2015.
• When Dr Sam and Jess break up, she lays on the couch crying listening to songs by Taylor Swift. Later in New Girl, Taylor Swift actually appears as a character not herself. She is the love interest of Cece’s near husband during her arranged marriage.
39. Jerrod Carmichael Was Offered The Role Of Winston
Stand up Jerrod Carmichael was originally offered the role of Winston Bishop in New Girl but turned it down to focus on his comedy career.
40. Zooey Deschanel Owns Jess’ Watermelon Art
After the final episode of New Girl was filmed, Zooey Deschanel took Jess' watermelon art piece from the set and kept it as a memento.
41. Tran Only Ever Has Two Lines
The only words Tran ever speaks during New Girl are, “Drive” and “You are a huge baby!”
42. There Is A New Girl And Grace And Frankie Connection
Several guest stars on New Girl have subsequently gone on to play roles in the Netflix series Grace and Frankie. Firstly, June Diane Raphael plays Sadie the gynaecologist in New Girl and she plays Jane Fonda’s daughter Brianna in Grace and Frankie. Jane Fonda’s character Grace Hanson has another daughter Mallory who is played by Brooklyn Decker. Brooklyn Decker appeared in New Girl as Holly. Peter Gallagher plays Schmidt’s Dad in New Girl and Grace Hanson’s second husband Nick in Grace and Frankie.
43. Schmidt’s Real First Name Is Winston
It’s a major plot point that there are in fact two Winston's in New Girl but for some casual viewers, you may have missed it! Schmidt’s real first name is actually Winston as well as Lamorne Morris’ character’s name Winston Bishop.
44. Prince Makes A Cameo Appearance In New Girl
Prince famously stars in an episode of New Girl in Season 3. It was after the producers learned that New Girl was going to follow the Super Bowl XLVIII, they decided that they wanted to do something special for regular viewers. Prince had enquired about making a guest appearance on the show so the team decided to make a whole episode about him. The episode featured a new song and Prince made his own contributions to the script. The episode also featured guest appearances from baseball player Clayton Kershaw and models Alessandra Ambrosio, Ana Beatriz Barros and Lais Ribeiro.
The episode "Prince" was viewed by around 26.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data, making it the most watched episode of New Girl. Following Prince's sad passing on the 21st April 2016, Fox reran the episode in tribute.
45. Gordon Ramsay Makes A Cameo Appearance In New Girl
Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay also famously starred in a New Girl episode cooking Jess a Valentine’s Day meal. In an interview with Fox, Gordon Ramsay joked about his appearance saying, "It's genius casting, really, because when you think of warm and fuzzy, hearts and hugs, who better comes to mind?"
The episode was Operation: Bobcat, Episode 16 of Season 6 and was originally aired on 14th February 2017.
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