'New Girl' star Jake Johnson talks season 7 and why that elevator kiss with Jess just 'didn't feel right'
"New Girl" fans, it wasn't just you: Even Nick thought that season 6 finale felt a bit rushed.
AOL sat down with Jake Johnson ahead of the farewell season of "New Girl" to reflect on seven years of the hit FOX sitcom -- everything from kissing Megan Fox to why he stopped watching the show years ago.
And while he's definitely bummed to see the show come to an end, Johnson has a ton up ahead: His new comedy "Tag" is out this summer, and he recently teamed up with Natty Light for its awesome new scholarship competition. (Seriously, if you're in college, check it out -- they're giving away a million bucks, and all you have to do is submit a video involving a green Natty Light tab. You have until May 6.)
AOL: You just finished taping season 7, but the last we saw of you was the season 6 finale, which ended with you and Jess in the elevator.
JAKE JOHNSON: We did. The reason we as a cast all wanted to come back for season 7 was for the fans. It was like, let's finish these stories. Jess and Nick kiss in the elevator and it feels like the end, but I don't think it's satisfying.
Afterward, people said that season finale could have passed for a series finale, largely because it was written before you all knew if FOX would renew the show one more time.
It was so rushed! I don't remember the exact storyline, I think Jess is with another guy? And then all of a sudden we kiss. And Zooey [Deschanel] and I, we've talked a lot about Nick and Jess, and she and I have always had a take on that relationship. And we were both like, that didn't feel like it was "the thing." You do a kiss and a cool song comes on, and you could end it there, but as the guy who plays that character, it didn't feel right.
I get very invested in shows in a way that everybody tells me is unhealthy. But there was a sitcom a few years ago and the series finale just devastated me because it totally deviated from what the fans wanted. So I love that it feels like "New Girl" is sort of giving the fans what they want to see.
I'll have a different reaction if the fans see it and they hate it, but the intent was to wrap it all up so we get to say goodbye to all of these characters. And as actors, it was really selfishly nice to be able to say goodbye. I loved Nick and Jess stuff. I love Zooey, I always will. And I'm not going to be able to act with her ever again, unless "New Girl" comes back and does a reunion thing. But Zooey and I can't be in, like, an indie movie together where we play, like, Roger and Michelle. People will be like, they're doing "New Girl" as an independent movie? So like, the person I've acted with the most in my life, I'll never act with again. But we got to do that, and College Nick and Fat Schmidt, it was like a farewell tour.
Was there anything that really surprised you, plot-wise, in the final season?
No. They do a lot of episodes, though, where people get to come back. So it was like, "Hey, this guy! I haven't seen you since season three!"
Is there a chance we'd see Reagan?
I'm not gonna give anything away. I will say about Megan Fox -- I really loved working with her.
She was so funny.
She was so funny, and I feel kind of d-bag-ish when I talk about it, because why should it be so shocking that she's so funny?
Did you know she was under consideration to be cast?
I did get a text where someone said, "Your character's got a series arc with a new girlfriend this season." I think it said, "We're considering Megan Fox." And I probably wrote back, like, "Ha ha. Good bit."
Did your wife have any reaction at all to that casting? I mean, she is Megan Fox.
My wife is the least jealous person in the world. I know actors say this, and if you're not an actor you kind of roll your eyes, but set kissing, it's not sexy. I'd get on Twitter and people would be like, "You lucky bastard." And I'm like, if you were there, you'd know it's just technical. I'm there kissing her, and then we cut and I'm like, "Did I block her light?"
Do you have a favorite joke from the show?
No. I don't watch the episodes when they air. I haven't watched since like season four. I would get upset because there would be like, an improv'd moment, like Damon Wayans Jr. would say something so funny, and I'd be like, this is gonna be the funniest moment of the show. And then when they cut it, it's gotta be 22 minutes, and it wasn't on story so it gets cut.
Post-"New Girl," it seems like there'll be a lot of films ahead. Last year you worked with Tom Cruise in "The Mummy," and this summer you're in "Tag" with a ton of huge people -- Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner...
With Tom Cruise, when we were shooting in London, we had to walk maybe fifty steps between set and where the cars were. Well, fifty steps for ol' Jakey J is fine. There might be a couple of younger women who go, like, "Is that Nick?" And then they walk away. Or they might go, like, "Can I get your photo?" That's the peak.
Or my dad, potentially.
But your dad would say "My daughter...." Men always lead with the female who brought them to the show. They never say, "You know what I love? I love the kiss scene in season 2." But Tom walks out and people just start to scream. It was mass hysteria. People don't know how to react to that level of fame.
Would it be hard to do another TV show after such a great experience on this one?
Yeah. When I signed up for the "New Girl" pilot, I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn't realize I would sign a seven-year deal. It's like, I just got out of a relationship! Slow down! I want to see what Tinder's all about!
"New Girl" returns to FOX for season 7 on April 10.