New Girl Interview: Creator/EP/Writer Liz Meriwether On the Big Kiss

There’s been huge developments on New Girl during the latest episode “Cooler,” and TV Equals was there to get the scoop on Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick’s (Jake Johnson) big kiss from the show’s creator, executive producer and writer, Liz Meriwether. Read below to see what we learned during the conference call.

What happens next with Nick and Jess

Meriwether said that what’s next for Nick and Jess post-kiss is figuring out where they’re going in their relationship.

“Well, I guess, next’s week episode is obviously dealing with the fact that Jess is dating Sam. We pick up right where this episode left off. Sort of like a continuation of that night and it just obviously rocks Jess’s world and Nick starts freaking out about what he’s done and they both are just grappling with how they continue as friends the way they were,” she said. “It’s not really something that’s easy for them to do, and it definitely pushes Jess into a place with Sam [David Walton] where she has to, I don’t know, deal with whether or not this really is something that she wants to be in. You know, if the relationship with Sam is really what she wants to do. So, some of that gets resolved next week and it’s a really fun episode where we also end up in an Indian marriage convention with Cece [Hannah Simone] trying to meet an Indian guy to marry. All of it’s kind of crazy.”

The reasoning behind the kiss

The common logic behind the show was that the relationship between Jess and Nick wouldn’t really happen in the second season. So, why make the kiss happen now?

“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,” Meriwether said. “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.”

Awkwardness ensues

With the kiss now in the past, it’s a given that things are going to become really weird between Jess, Nick, Winston (Lamorne Morris) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield).

“Yes, I mean that’s also a big part of the episode…the week after is sort of a big like the loft just dealing with all of it. Schmidt digs up a ‘no nail’ oath that they all took when she moved into the loft where they all agreed not to nail her. And that, obviously, has repercussions, you know, throughout,”said Meriwether. “Obviously Jess is mad about it and Schmidt is just like dealing with the fact that the loft dynamics have changed in his view. It’s been fun to write because it’s definitely forced all the characters in to really strong positions, and instead of taking any tension out of the series, I think it’s really actually ignited it and helped us focus it. Obviously Winston and Schmidt have really strong opinions about everything and so they come down pretty hard against it, which is really fun to track.”

Why Nick and Jess aren’t ready to become a couple

Meriwhether explained more about why Nick and Jess aren’t anywhere near ready to engage in a solid relationship.

“They are definitely not ready to be a couple. I think they’re really sort of struggling with their feelings for each other. I think this came out of the blue and surprised both of them and I think they’re like struggling to deal with if they want to be a couple and how each one of them feels. Obviously, Jess is in a relationship and they live together and Nick is like kind of a screw up, I guess, is a polite way of saying it,” she said. “I think there’s just a lot of stuff that they need to get through and figure out. And what this did, though, is just acknowledge the fact that they have this amazing sort of pull with each other and they’re just really attracted to each other.”

She explained more about the craziness between Jess and Nick. “I think that really complicates a lot of the conflict that they already were sort of always dealing with,” she said. “I think what’s cool is that we get to tell a modern story about two people coming together and they don’t think that a lot of time one kiss leads to an immediate relationship. I think there is a lot of like messy kind of back and forth in between that, and I feel like they’re in this really messy, fun back and forth, push pull moment in their friendship.”

Developments with Cece and Schmidt

“[S]he’s very much still determined to get arrange married, and in next week’s episode, she’s really fighting her attraction to Schmidt. After hearing about the kiss from Jess reminded how much she misses sex after like spending a couple of months going on dates set up by her mother and is really fighting her urge to jump Schmidt’s bones. I think that they’re still really struggling with their feelings towards each other even though they both keep trying to move on. That is definitely something that we are going to follow to the end of the season, just to see if Cece is going to take this all the way through and get married.

What else to expect from this season

“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,” said Meriwhether when explaining what fans can look forward to the rest of the season.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Filming on set

“It was really fun…[W]e 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,” Meriwether said when explaining how it was to film “Cooler.” “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.”

The popularity of New Girl

Meriwether said that the relationships between the actors is what viewers seem to respond to.

“I think you can see in last night’s episode there’s just this amazing chemistry between all of the actors. I think there’s a great ensemble show, we have this great ensemble, and everybody is just sort of in an amazing zone right now,” she said. “There’s a lot of give and take on set. There’s a lot of just like joy, I think, and fun between them. They all, in real life, really like each other a lot and you can just, I don’t know, you can just tell that everybody is giving a lot to each other and to the show. I really think that that real sense of friendship between them resonates and they’re just all really hot and funny, which is weird because those things don’t usually go together.”

Watch New Girl every Tuesday at 9/8c on FOX.