Jake Johnson, who plays the endearing curmudgeon, Nick, loves the way FOX’s New Girl is playing out the possibility of a romance between his character and his adorkable roommate Jess (Zooey Deschanel).
“I think what the writers are doing with Nick and Jess is very realistic,” Johnson told Celebuzz. “That is, you know, who you have a crush on and if you’re single and somebody else is single, you know, if there’s a thought. You might not do anything about it, but you both know it’s there.”
Johnson warns that things between Nick and Jess will get “really heavy” on the second half of the season. Timing will be everything. “A lot of people say ‘will they or won’t they’ and I think it’s way more of ‘when will we try this,’” he explained.
“Will we be ready at the same time? Because I think both those characters know there is something to this, but neither of them knows what it is or if it will work so they’re kind of like ‘not now.’ And they’re waiting for that moment to say, ‘Are you ready? Am I ready?’ I think it’s going to be a delicate balance to figure out when is right.”
While much of the attention on the first season paid to Jess and Max Greenfield’sSchmidt, Nick has become something of a breakout character on the comedy’s sophomore season. Johnson thinks the show’s writers found Nick this year.
“Sometimes in Season 1, I didn’t know who Nick was,” the 34-year-old said. “There would be an episode where I didn’t fully get him and this year every episode I feel like he’s Nick.”
Johnson says he usually agrees with his cranky alter-ego’s sentiment even if he doesn’t always agree with how Nick handles uncomfortable situations. “I’m not a big believer in positive thinking,” he laughed.
“I don’t like ‘The Secret.’ I don’t like people going through knee surgery who are saying, ‘Life is amazing.’ You are stuck on your back. You’re allowed to say, ‘This is terrible.’ And so I think that part of Nick I can relate to. I like that Nick says how he feels.”
The Chicago native said it was growing up in the city that houses the legendary Second City and gave Jim Belushi, Bill Murray and Chris Farley their start that made him a career in show business.
“I really looked up to them and idolized those guys and wanted to act,” he said. “And then I saw Cheers when I was [a kid] and I fell in love with it and I wanted to be on a TV show. Cheers was the show that my whole family watched together and we cared about it and we talked about it. TV was something my family loved.”
Johnson actually studied writing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and is currently writing a comedy pilot for FOX with director Max Winkler. “I feel like writing is more intellectual and thoughtful and you have to think about it. And I think acting is kind of more emotional and in the moment,” he explained.
These days, he always hears from people who think they are just like Nick but always add, “that’s just between us.”
“Nick’s not a nightmare. He just isn’t the most flowery guy,” Johnson said. “Here’s the reality of Nick: We’ve got a small group of people who think they’re like Nick, but we’re strong.”
New Girl airs Tuesdays at 9PM on FOX.
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