If you aren’t already watching New Girl, catch up. The show, which started out as ‘Zooey Deschanel’s new show,’ has quickly become the best ensemble comedy on TV. In the first episode, Deschanel’s character Jess goes through a bad breakup and moves into a huge loft with three dudes—Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield and Lamorne Morris—each of whom quickly falls for Jess’ caricature-like schoolteacher in his own distinct way (not necessarily romantically).
Even if you aren’t into Deschanel’s signature adorkable quirk, you will love something about this show—chances are it will be Schmidt, Greenfield’s character. What began as a sort of stock douchey frat bro has quickly turned into one of the most fun characters to watch on screen. Greenfield’s happily played along, filming dating videos on Schmidt’s behalf and becoming the unofficial face of spinning almost overnight. This weekend, Schmidt will host a charity ride at Soul Cycle in West Hollywood and next Tuesday Fox will air New Girl‘s first season finale, so we hopped on the phone with Greenfield to find out how Schmidt would answer some very important questions.
ELLE: I know you can’t answer the most important question: when will Nick and Jess hook up? But, can you tell me how you think Schmidt will react when it inevitably happens?
MG: I think, look, I don’t know when it’s going to happen, how it will happen..who knows, but I do think Schmidt will go through several stages of emotions. First, how is this going to effect me? Then, well, if it’s making the two of you happy, I’m all for it. I think that he would say, “Please, if you’re going to have sex, don’t do it in this loft because the idea of hearing the two of you in moments of passion is beyond excruciating.” I think Schmidt’s reaction would be to set up a schedule on the refrigerator–Jess and Nick’s Sex Schedule—and be like, “You can only have sex when I’m not there.”
ELLE: I read somewhere that Schmidt wasn’t really written the way you’ve ended up playing him. Is that true?
MG: There was never a moment where I was like, “Hey guys, I think we should do this instead.” I think with any TV show a character stars off a certain way and then you hope to get picked up and you’re faced with the dilemma—the blessing, actually—of having 13 more episodes where you you’ve got to figure out what to do with this guy. I think the Schmidt character developed pretty quickly, it could’ve easily gone in a different direction and I think that there was kind of an unspoken—I mean Liz and I never really talked about it—but he never went in the direction we expected him to go. We played him very vulnerable and then the writers would pick up on that and we got to a place where we broke the character down so quickly and then it was like, he’s got the best intentions and he’s just a stand up guy.
ELLE: Do you have anything in common with him?
MG: I think I have a few things in common with him…it’s always difficult because, well, let’s see, there’s an optimism to him that I think we share. You want to see the good in every situation and embrace it, with all of yourself, and sometimes that becomes a little detrimental.
ELLE: So is Schmidt like, the new face of spinning?
MG: If that’s true, I’ll take it!
ELLE: You’re leading a big charity ride at Soul Cycle this weekend, how are you preparing for that?
MG: It’s a lot of stress. A lot of dance music. Other than that I feel pretty good about it. Listen, because it’s a one time event, I didn’t want to over think this thing. You go to see Madonna and you don’t want to see her play some song that she’s working on in the studio right now. You want to hear “Like a Prayer.” So the hits, I’m going to play all the hits.
ELLE: And lastly, I’m moving to LA next month, what advice would Schmidt give me?
MG, as Schmidt: You gotta get in the scene. Just be seen, not so much be seen, just get in the scene, the scene is everything. There’s a workout a scene, there’s a nightclub scene, there’s an afternoon coffee scene, you want to get in the right scene, at some point you’re so on top of the scene that you’ll create your own scene—but when you’re hanging out with Schmidt, you are the scene.