New Girl fans, brace yourselves: the Season 6 finale may double as the series finale.
The sitcom has not yet been renewed for a seventh season, and its fate is up in the air. So the show's executive producers Dave Finkel and Brett Baer made sure that the Season 6 finale, which airs Tuesday on Fox, ends at a place where fans will be satisfied if the story doesn't continue but leaves room for more story if it does come back.
"We really wanted to make sure that we delivered an ending that could work in both directions," Finkel told TVGuide.com. "If it was the series finale, that it answered a lot of questions, and then if it was just the season finale, there would be space to grow."
The episode, "Five Stars for Beezus," sure feels like a series finale, and a very satisfying one at that. Every character finishes the episode at a place that feels like the end of a chapter, and there are at least two moments that will make fans cry. No spoilers for what happens with Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess' (Zooey Deschanel) will-they-or-won't-they, but there is a climactic scene set to Lorde's new song "Green Light," which Baer admits that they "dropped a little bit of extra coinage" to get the rights for since it's such a perfect fit for the pivotal moment.
But that doesn't mean that Finkel and Baer are ready to say goodbye. They still love the characters and believe there are many more and different stories to tell.
"The DNA of the show has always been 'when will these broken characters get their s--- together?'" said Finkel. "And now it seems like they've gotten their s--- together to greater or lesser degrees, so there's still fun to be had in watching these idiots continue to evolve and how they take those lessons into adulthood."
"The show's evolved," said Baer. "There are more questions to answer and some of them are a little more adult and don't have as much to do with dating and romance, but I think these characters can support that."
One of the show's big questions was answered in the penultimate episode of Season 6 when Schmidt's (Max Greenfield) first name was revealed to be Winston. Schmidt's name had been a mystery since the beginning, and having it be the same as Winston's (Lamorne Morris) and that's why no one ever said it made sense.
Baer and Finkel wrote an outline for an episode in Season 1 that would have revealed the name, but they decided to hold off. The name changed over time. Baer and Finkel didn't want to reveal any of the early ideas for names, but said they were "very Hebraic." No one knew for sure what it would be until early in Season 5 when creator Liz Meriwether had the idea that it should be Winston.
They thought they were going to have to reveal it at the end of Season 5 during Schmidt and Cece's (Hannah Simone) wedding, but they knew they were coming back for Season 6 and still didn't feel ready, so they avoided it. But with a seventh season uncertain, they couldn't put it off any longer.
The signs point to this being the end for New Girl. Meriwether is working on a new Fox pilot called Thin Ice. Jake Johnson is almost certain it's not coming back. If this is the end of the show, it's going out with grace. Lots of long-running sitcoms limp to the finish line, but New Girl is just as funny as ever. It hasn't overstayed its welcome yet, but it will when the plot contrivances necessary to keep these characters so close completely stop making sense, which will inevitably happen, and probably sooner than later. This finale would send it off satisfactorily, a chance it may not get again. New Girl doesn't need to become Middle-Aged Woman.
New Girl's Season 6 finale airs Tuesday, April 4 at 8/7c on Fox.