Will New Girl Suffer From the Moonlighting Curse?
Jake Johnson, Zooey Deschanel
It's a frequent concern for shows that feature a couple with will-they-won't-they tension: Once a dynamic duo acts on their feelings, does the show lose that spark?
New Girl will face that question head-on when the show returns for its third season on Tuesday (9/8c, Fox) with Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel) now in a relationship. The premiere picks up right where the finale left off, with Nick and Jess deciding to go "All In" — the title of the season opener.
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In Moonlighting, the '80s series took a turn for the worse when private eyes David (Bruce Willis) and Maddie (Cybill Shepherd) gave in to their undeniable attraction but ruined their tried-and-true bantering chemistry in the process. Thus was born the infamous Moonlighting curse in which a show risks doom should it cave to the fans' desires for a particular coupling. New Girl dared to break that curse last season when Nick and Jess finally kissed and eventually, well, you know. But Deschanel and executive producer Liz Meriwether don't fear the curse. In fact, they say this relationship will offer a whole new wealth of comedy.
"It adds a lot of new tension to the loft," Meriwether tells TVGuide.com of the roommates-turned-lovers. "On the whole, though, the show is still the same. Nick and Jess' relationship has deepened and become romantic, but it definitely hasn't drastically changed everything. It's added a lot of great story opportunities and it's been to fun to figure out how any relationship could survive being in that loft."
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For her part, Deschanel isn't nervous since the Nick and Jess relationship was a long time in the making. "It was something we'd all been hoping would happen," Deschanel says. "You end up in a holding pattern if you have too much push-me-pull-me and you're trying to keep the characters apart. They were keeping our characters apart, and I work really well with Jake, so that was kind of a bummer. I thought the season got even better once we got together."
Even though Nick and Jess have been living together for a while, they are still in the early stages of a relationship where you learn the ugly truth about each other. In last season's finale, some of those facts -- such as Nick not being able to get his life together -- were highlighted. "Jess is going to find out how deeply messed up Nick is and possibly try to fix him," Deschanel says. "They both are flawed people, so that's what's fun about watching the two of them interact. She can't help herself trying to see the good in people and bring out the good in people, and he can't himself but be a little bit of a mess."
"They're definitely still dealing with all those issues," Meriwether says and notes that won't be their only problem. "In the first half of the season, Schmidt [Max Greenfield] is actively trying to break them up, so they're battling Schmidt, too. They have a lot going against them, and we will see if they can make it."
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Adds Deschanel: "Schmidt as a secret sociopath comes out a little bit in this. Because he goes so far in his evil ways, we also start to see him have a conscience a bit because he realizes how far he's gone."
Suffice it to say, it will be a while before Nick and Jess both get their act together. Nick does pretty much the opposite of that in the premiere when he ends up in a Mexican jail. "They play into each other's dysfunction a lot," Deschanel says. "They end up encouraging each other in strange ways, so I'm excited to pan all that out."
Do you think Nick and Jess can make it? Or will their new relationship change New Girl? Hit the comments!
New Girl premieres Tuesday at 9/8c on Fox.