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Max Greenfield discusses Schmidt and the relationships of New Girl

The Fan Carpet Chats To...
25 November 2013

One of America’s finest comedies, New Girl returns for its second season on DVD on 25 November from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Get ready for even more quirky mishaps, awkward dance moves and sparkling Schmidt one liners, as TV’s kookiest show delivers another classic season.

Geeky, optimistic and honest to a fault Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel: 500 Days Of Summer, Elf) and her offbeat roomies Nick (Jake Johnson: 21 Jump Street, Curb Your Enthusiasm), Schmidt (Max Greenfield: Ugly Betty, Veronica Mars) and Winston (Lamorne Morris: The Guild, Sex, Love and Lies), are back and continuing the care free lifestyle in their Los Angeles apartment with hilarious consequences.

The unpredictable antics begin again when Jess is laid off and becomes a shot girl at Schmidt’s re-branding party, CeCe (Hannah Simone; H+, Beautiful People) introduces the group to her new boyfriend and Nick begins penning his epic love story ‘Z is for Zombie’. Jess decides to try her hands at casual dating but is confused by the sexual tension bubbling beneath the surface of her friendship with Nick..

Max Greenfield discusses Schmidt and the relationships of New Girl



Is it harder to launch a show or to come back for a second season?

It is very difficult to come back for a second season, far more so for the writers.  We just show up and we do the best job with the story that we’re given every week.  I think it’s a difficult thing especially when you succeed in your first season to them come back and be like, okay we have to do this again and we have to do 22 to what we ended up doing was 25 more of these.  It’s a daunting task for anyone.  That pressure falls a lot more on the writers than the actors.


Was there a tendency to want to heighten certain aspects of what makes Schmidt popular with audiences?

You pick and choose which moments you want to really play with.  We have the luxury of really giving the editors and the writers and our directors different options.  I tend to try and play a lot of the stuff big and then if I remember then I do a few smaller takes.

Sometimes less is more.

Yeah, I forget that a lot.  It’s a real problem especially on Thursday and Friday when I start getting tired.  I like to just really go for it.


Do you think the relationships have deepened in Season 2?

As it goes along you just learn more and more about these people and about their relationships and about their backstories and what motivates them as human beings and I think hopefully that’ll continue to happen and deepen throughout each season we end up doing.


Are things getting a little zanier in season two?

The shenanigans only get crazier and crazier and crazier on this show.  By Season 4 they might call the show Shenanigans.  The New Shenanigan.  It will no longer be called New Girl.  It will just be called Shenanigans.  Coincidentally enough because it’s called Shenanigans, there will continue to be more and more and more shenanigans. 


Does it make it more enjoyable to let the broadness take over the nuance as well?

You try to pick and choose the moments that you can go big on and then maybe have the few moments.  It is really nice and what our show does really well is that you’ll have these big moments and you’ll have these big broad moments and then at some point during an episode, it’ll all kind of culminate to a very real moment and that kind of supports all the broadness that came before and hopefully ties that all together.   When we’re able to do that, those are our best episodes.


How did you like exploring the different facets of Schmidt’s relationships?

I thought Schmidt was put in a really uncomfortable unnecessary position of having to choose between these two women.  I thought it was unfair.   With Season 2 and where he came off of the relationship with Cece going back and forth and always having this feeling for her.  At some point when she started to really fall into this marriage or this engagement, he had to come to terms with letting her go and in an interesting turn it forced him to go visit an ex-girlfriend that he’d rekindled feelings for.  It was a nice moment and brought out a different side of him and it helped me at least in that moment move on and see that there’s another life out there outside of this one relationship and ultimately is helping him learn more about himself.



According to normal television you two shouldn’t be together because you’re too good looking.

I don’t think that makes any sense. What was nice about the Elizabeth relationship is that it brings out a side of you where if you’ve have dated somebody and had a very real relationship and a real connection with somebody in the past and then you see them later on, sometimes that feeling comes right back to you and you have that familiarity and you have comfortability with that person and that’s what we tried to look at and explore together.  Merritt Weaver who plays the role of Elizabeth is such a fantastic actress that we were able to really zone and focus on that feeling.  I thought what we did together and playing all that stuff out came out really well and I also had a really great time doing it.


What was it like to be the person in the flashback?

Well, it’s always fun to put that makeup on.  We caught on to this fun aspect of him that he was really happy when he was that size.  Now he’s lost all this weight and so manically obsessed with vanity that he’s gotten a little bit meaner and has a little bit harder exterior.  It was nice to fall back into a little bit of that play and that vulnerability that he used to have.


Talk about how the guest stats helped broaden the universe of the show.

It certainly helped, as any show goes along you start to meet people’s families and people have met and other people that populate your character’s lives.  That certainly adds to everything.  On a personal level it was very cool to have people like Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner and Rob Riggle who came in Schmidt’s side and just some of these great, actors that we got to work with is really very special.


Talk about Carla Gugino.

There are no words.  She’s so smart.  She’s such a good actress.  She made me such a better actor.  I enjoyed my time with her just immensely.  It was a real treat having her on the show.

I love the streak of insecurity she brought to you.

She’s so strong and smart as an actress and makes you feel feel real dumb.  That was good for the characters in those scenes that we played and we had some really nice fun stuff that we found.  I remember those scenes fondly.  She is great.


You guys do at least 40 minutes and you have to cut this down to 21 minutes that we see on television.  Is that disappointing sometimes?

I don’t find it to be disappointing.  I trust the editors and our producers and our writers and our creator, Liz.  I feel like they really make the best 22 minute episode of what we have given them every week.  I don’t think you do it for the reward of a moment being on TV.  You just try to have fun within the scene that you’re doing and you let that kind of be the reward in itself.


What can we expect for Season 3?

Seasons three, a lot of decisions and I will say that on Schmidt’s end, Schmidt might be breaking a little bit bad in this season.


Do you have a memorable moment for season two?

So many.  It’s a lot of the moments that you remember are just silly moments or not so much moments as much as when you brought up Carla Gugino, it’s so nice to work with her.  Riggle was another one.  I couldn’t keep a straight face.  I ruined so many takes with Riggle, it was embarrassing.  I love when people come in and they bring so much.  I really enjoyed those moments.  I love the guest stars and I love when they come on and kind of bring something new to what we come and do every day.



New Girl is out now on DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment