In the eight years since Friends went off the air, there have been many couples on television that viewers have rooted for to fill the void left by Ross and Rachel, a classic will-they-or-won't-they couple that eventually made good on their undeniable chemistry. So it comes as no surprise that New Girl's Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) have become the focus of yet another hardcore fandom desperately hoping their favorite duo will finally take the plunge.
Many shows have suffered from crossing that line, though, with the Moonlighting curse becoming a turn of phrase in the TV lexicon. The sizzling sexual chemistry between Moonlighting leads Maddie and David (Cybill Shepherd, Bruce Willis) initially boosted ratings, but after the characters hooked up in Season 3, the show began to falter and viewership began to plummet. Fearful of a similar fallout, showrunners have thrown obstacles in the way of TV couples lest the passion and banter die once they come together. But creator Liz Meriwether says New Girl is about much more than that.
"I don't think the show is built on the will-they-or-won't-they aspect of their relationship," Meriwether tells TVGuide.com. "I think that we can go where we want with it because it's just a show about this group of people and these friendships. What are the obstacles of them actually getting together? At a certain point, it just feels like you're throwing fake obstacles in their path. So I just feel like we're trying to be honest with their story more than thinking about the Moonlighting curse or anything like that."
Unlike some other TV duos, Meriwether says Nick and Jess are quite aware of their attraction to one another, which will be explored this season. "It's cool that we're dealing with the chemistry between them head-on a little bit," Meriwether says. "The problem is not that they don't know that they're attracted to each other, the problem is they each have such different personalities. They don't quite know how they would even work together. This season is going to be the two of them figuring it out. We have some big stuff planned for them."
Before those big plans, this week's episode, fittingly titled "Fluffer," — as in, emotional fluffer — will test their relationship, as Jess attempts to navigate a no-strings-attached fling with David Walton's Sam. "Jess is having trouble having casual sex with Sam, so she starts going on dates with Nick before she goes and sleeps with Sam," Meriwether says. "The Sam relationship forces them to confront the balance of their relationship: How do you have a straight male friend who you're not sleeping with and what are the boundaries of that relationship? At what point are you abusing it?"
Are you hoping Nick and Jess will just get together already?
New Girl airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Fox.