It had an adorkably awkward beginning, but New Girl has thrived, and is currently Fox’s longest-running live-action sitcom. That’s despite actors going and coming and going again, a highly publicized lawsuit, and the brief departure of its star. Zooey Deschanel will only appear in the first four episodes of season five (they were filmed right after season four wrapped, which is an insane schedule for the writers) before she gets summoned for jury duty, and Megan Fox moves into the loft as her replacement. (Deschanel will be back later in the season.)
“Jury duty” really means maternity leave for Deschanel, who was noticeably pregnant in last night’s chaotic season premiere. In the episode, Jess falls down a set of stairs and breaks multiple bones, which conveniently allows her to stay in bed, with a blanket covering her belly, or ride around the set on a scooter.
New Girl creator Liz Meriwether spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about having to work around Deschanel’s pregnancy. “There are things you just can’t do,” she said, “so our solution was putting her on the scooter.” (She’s out of the scooter in episode two, but there’s still a lot of sitting down.)
“Zooey was so game to keep shooting, and we did try to make it fun for her. I think the scooter is a little bit of a wink to that. You would think that we could come up with a better way of doing it, but she’s still hiding behind plants.” (Via)
Special effects on television are now so advanced that a woman’s head can be seamlessly placed on another woman’s naked body (and that episode can be nominated for an Emmy), so it’s charmingly old-fashioned that there isn’t a “better way of doing it.” Lucille Ball wore loose-fitting aprons on I Love Lucy, Amy Poehler hid behind strategically placed desks and time capsules on Parks and Recreation, Alyson Hannigan ate a lot of hot dogs on How I Met Your Mother, and January Jones was diagnosed with a tumor on her thyroid on Mad Men. It’s a little game for the writers to figure out, and some deal with it more skillfully than others. (How I Met‘s solution was so dumb that it’s brilliant.)
It’s oddly reassuring knowing that as much as TV changes, from black and white to color, from broadcast to cable to streaming, from couples not being allowed to sleep in the same bed to what happens on every episode of Girls, some things will always stay the same. Pregnant actresses 50 years from now will still be partially obscured by globes, just as they were 50 years ago.
(Via the Hollywood Reporter)