My Celebrity Life

How New Girl broke the mould with Cece and Jess’s friendship: Hannah Simone on women building each other up on screen

Hanna Simone opened up about her time on the hit show (Picture: FOX)

New Girl star Hanna Simone revealed that she was instantly drawn to her character Cece and was pleasantly surprised by how female friendships were written.

Hannah starred as Cece on the hit sitcom, whose best friend Jess (Zooey Deschanel) moves into an apartment with three men after finding her boyfriend with another woman.

Spanning seven seasons, the show was a hit among fans and quickly developed a cult-like following.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk the 40-year-old said it was ‘refreshing’ to see strong female friendships on screen.

Hannah instantly fell in love with the script and the way that her character was portrayed, knowing instantly that she wanted the role.

‘I remember reading the pilot and reading this character Cece who has found out that her best friend is moving in with three men she found on the internet. And then Cece shows up to this loft saying “if you do anything to her I will murder you”. It made me laugh,’ she said with a chuckle.

10 years on from when the first episode premiered, the cast are still good friends (Picture: Getty)

‘It was the most refreshing thing to read because so many things I had watched and read pitted the women against each other for comedy or would have had my character show up and flirt with the guys.’

So often on TV – especially before 2011 when the programme came out – female friendships were depicted as two dimensional, and writers heavily relied on sexist stereotypes to flesh out characters.

Show writers didn’t always take the time to show the depth and strength that women have in their friendships, instead forcing them to be in competition with each other.

It was show writer Liz Meriwether who focused on portraying real female relationships on-screen.

‘Liz went “no, that’s not how true female friendships work, we have each other’s backs”. The fact that she could write that and be honest and true in it and find the inherent comedy in it, made me absolutely fall in love with the character and made me completely identify and relate to her,’ Hannah said.

Cece and Jess had a strong friendship throughout the show (Picture: Getty)

‘And I think that that is the magic of the show, not only with Cece but the rest of the characters. Liz wrote their interpersonal relationships authentically and then found the comedy.’

Hannah’s character Cece has been hailed as a strong and self-reliant character that subverts the toxic pretty girl stereotype.

Despite the fact that she is a model for the first three seasons, her personal storyline was created deliberately to avoid the superficial ‘hot girl’ trope that has been used as a plot device by so many other series.

The idea that a woman who is considered attractive by ‘traditional’ standards can be self-reliant, have platonic partnerships with other sexes, have an emotional arc, and face the same challenges as any person, was something Hannah did a great job at portraying.

It is in Cece that we see the most character development as New Girl progressed. She leaves her fiance at the altar only to soon be cheated on by Schmidt; her modelling career suffers a setback, and she takes up bartending, which are all events that allow her to grow.

The show was a hit amongst fans (Picture: FOX)

‘When you shoot episode one, season one of a show, you have no idea how long the road is ahead of you. It still shocks me when I think that we go to do the show as long as we did,’ she said.

‘There was no way we had any idea it was going to be so successful.

‘I feel so incredibly lucky because so many shows don’t make it that far and the fact that we were given the chance year after year was always the most surprising, incredible thing, and that really is down to the fans that were watching it.’

The British-Canadian actress is right, the fans were the driving force behind the show’s success. They were so steadfast that season seven, which saw the characters being given the endings they deserved, would never have happened without their support.

Show creator Liz previously told viewers that the last eight episodes were ‘a love letter to the fans’, with writers and producers sprinkling in ‘Easter eggs’ reserved for the most loyal of viewers.

Now that it’s been almost three years since the last episode aired, different audiences are discovering New Girl for the first time thanks to a variety of streaming platforms.

Taylor Swift was one of the many celebrities who made a cameo on the show (Picture: FOX)

Prince famously asked if he could make a cameo (Picture: FOX)

‘It’s incredible because you kind of think you’re just going to be put on a shelf when you’re done and it really was a special show to work on and to do. The fact that people are rediscovering it and feel the same way is a really lovely feeling,’ she shared.

The series – which starred Hannah, Zooey, Jake Johnson (Nick), Max Greenfield (Schmidt) and Lamorne Morris (Winston) as the five core characters – created an unbreakable bond between them all.

Oh and yes, 10 years on from when the first episode of the show premiered, the cast are still good friends.

Hannah said: ‘We were all put together on this show and grew up together on it and none of us foresaw how huge a hit this show was going to be.

Megan Fox was a guest star while Zooey was on maternity leave (Picture: FOX)

‘That’s a huge learning experience for a person, there’s no book you can read to prepare you for it so it’s the people that you’re around that are on that ride with you that guide you. That bonds you for life, so yeah, we’re all incredibly close.

‘It’s such an incredibly important era of my life. It was the first big job for so many of us and the fact that we held each other down and supported each other in such a real and beautiful way personally was so powerful. Professionally, it changed my life, so it’s something that I am so grateful for and still love so much.’

New Girl has provided a variety of incredible moments, from Megan Fox guest starring to Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis playing Jess’s parents, so many in fact, that Hannah said she can’t pick a favourite.

She said that this is a testament to the programme.

‘We were on the show for almost a decade, we did 146 of these episodes and what was amazing to me that episode after episode, year after year, there were still things that would just completely surprise us and make us realise how lucky we are to be doing it,’ Hannah explained.

‘Taylor Swift swinging by or Prince showing up. Or getting to do genuine and hard moments around family dynamics or relationships. You would think after that many episodes and after that length of time it would have gotten old at some point but it never did.

‘I‘ve never felt so lucky, it would be impossible to give you a top 20 list. The great thing is, for the most part, they’re captured on tape and shared with everybody.’

New Girl is coming to Star on Disney+ on 7th May.


Credit: Original article published here.

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