‘New Girl’ Star Zooey Deschanel on Balancing Silly With Sincere and 4 Other Emmy Contender Quickie

“It’s not ‘Game of Thrones’ and its not ‘Friends’ — it’s a unique take on a sitcom,” the actress tells TheWrap of Fox’s quirky ensemble comedy

Last Updated: June 19, 2015 @ 4:33 PM

“New Girl” and Zooey Deschanel may no longer be new to the scene, but the centerpiece of Fox’s comedy ensemble cast is still having a great time making the sitcom.

“In my whole career, if I have fun doing something, it usually turns out so much better than something that you don’t have fun doing,” Deschanel told TheWrap. “Especially with a comedy, if you’re having fun when you’re doing it, people will probably have fun watching it,” she continued. “So I think it’s important to keep a good atmosphere.”

Five seasons in, “New Girl” still has that atmosphere, Deschanel is proud to report.

While the show’s cast oftentimes steal scenes from one another and take turns dominating the comedy for entire episodes, there’s no denying that Deschanel is the show’s anchor — just look at the title and the “Adorkable” marketing materials. The actress talked to TheWrap about the most challenging scenes to shoot — especially while pregnant — the funnest episodes, and how she would persuade “New Girl” virgins to watch the show.

TheWrap: What was the toughest thing you had to do this season?
Deschanel: We have a lot of very silly … comedy we play on the show, and then we have sort of more serious stuff. The tone for the show is kind of unique, so I think just really trying to maintain a strong sense of character within that context is always a little bit challenging. You’ll have to do something really silly and then turn around and have a very sincere moment.

What was the most fun thing you got to do this season?
Doing a musical with Josh Gad was one of my favorite things. We had Josh and Justin Long on that episode, and that was a fun one.

On one episode, Zoe Lister Jones was playing Schmidt’s (Max Greenfield) girlfriend this season, and I got to have one episode that was basically just her and me. That was fun. I love her.

I love working with all of the actors on the show, but it’s always nice when you have someone new come in; it kind of throws you into a different dynamic, and that’s always really exciting.

Let’s assume that somebody has never seen your show. What would you say to persuade them to watch it?
I’m not accustomed to trying to sell it to people! I think it’s a show that has a cast with really unique voices. It was one of the best groups of actors I’ve ever worked with, and we have really, really great writers. It’s the type of show where you could definitely get emotionally involved, but also something where you could just forget your day and laugh.

It’s not “Game of Thrones” and its not “Friends” — it’s a unique take on a sitcom.

Who else on your show deserves an Emmy, and why?
Everyone, really. In different seasons, different people have gotten their bigger moments … I was there throughout the whole casting process and I was able to see each and every one of these people and I know how special they are. We saw like everyone in the world for this show.

The first season, Schmidt got a lot of attention … Season 2 was kind of a lot of Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Deschanel) … This season, we got to see more from Lamorne (Morris), and we got Damon (Wayans Jr.) back for two seasons, which was amazing.

[But] I think Season 4 was the season of Winston (Morris). I think it took just a little while for them to figure out exactly how to write for him. And I think Hannah’s (Simone) had a bunch of really amazing stuff this season too — everybody has really had their moment.

If nominated, which episode would you submit and why?
I think I’d submit “Walk of Shame,” or “Par [5]” — that’s the one with Zoe Lister Jones — or “Spiderhunt.” Especially the second half of the season; there were a lot that were really fun for me to shoot.

See more of TheWrap Magazine’s Emmy Movies and Limited Series issue.

Wrap Emmy magazine cover - Richard Cabral, American Crime

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