“New Girl” can hardly be considered new anymore. The popular Fox series just wrapped up its fourth season Tuesday night and has already been renewed for a fifth to begin in the fall. But thanks to a surprise engagement in the Season 4 finale and the news that star Zooey Deschanel is pregnant, Season 5 will present a lot of new challenges for the quirky comedy.
For one thing, Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Cece (Hannah Simone) are finally engaged. After four seasons of on-again, off-again drama, the couple finally committed for good in the Season 4 finale. That means Season 5 will feature a whole bunch of wedding lead-up storylines.
"The first episode back is an engagement party," Greenfield told Us Weekly. "And Cece's mom comes to town; we're not quite sure if she approves of Schmidt or not. There's definitely going to be some road bumps on our way to actually having a wedding."
Simone added that the wedding allows the show to dive more into the two characters’ backstories instead of focusing just on their relationship.
"I think what's really great is that so much of Cece's and Schmidt's characters on the show have been part of this will they, won't they, and now that they're together we can start exploring their family and their personal history and who they are as individuals," Simone said.
While Schmidt and Cece’s onscreen relationship may be leading to new storylines, Deschanel’s real life is causing some other dilemmas for the show. The actress, who plays Jess, is pregnant and expecting her baby with fiancé Jacob Pechenik around the same time the show returns this fall. According to the Hollywood Reporter, “New Girl” has already filmed the first four episodes of the new season – an unusual move for a network show – in order to include Deschanel in the premiere. When the comedy resumes production in the fall, Deschanel’s Jess will be absent for another four episodes.
Luckily, “New Girl” creator and executive producer Liz Meriwether has a creative solution to the temporary loss of the show’s main character.
“Jess gets sequestered on a jury,” Meriwether said. “The idea behind it was to be able to do those pastel courtroom sketches, so you could still see her in the jury. It's a little weird, but we're having fun with it. It's a way to have all of the guys check in with her. They watch the news reports on the trial. And the show being set in L.A., this is a city where celebrities get into trouble and juries really do get sequestered.”
How will the show fare with all of the big changes? Find out when "New Girl" returns in the fall.