Prince (New Girl)
|New Girl episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3|
|Directed by||Fred Goss|
|Original air date||February 2, 2014|
"Prince" is the fourteenth episode of the third season of the American sitcom New Girl, and the sixty-third overall. It was written by David Feeney and Rob Rosell, and directed by Fred Goss. It was broadcast on February 2, 2014 on the Fox network in the United States. In the episode, best friends Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel) and Cece Parikh (Hannah Simone) are invited to a party held at Prince's house. When Jess's boyfriend Nick Miller (Jake Johnson) tells her he loves her, she gives him an unexpected response, which results in Nick and his roommates crashing Prince's party, so Nick can talk to Jess. At the party, Prince gives Jess a makeover and advice that helps her tell Nick she loves him too.
"Prince" aired immediately after the broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII. Writers and producers sought to attract newcomers to the show, as well as creating a special episode for regular viewers. Around the same time, Prince enquired about making a guest appearance on the show and it was decided that the post-Super Bowl episode would be written around him. During production, Prince made contributions to the script and debuted a new song, featuring vocals from Deschanel, during the episode. "Prince" was filmed in December 2013 and became one of the most expensive episodes of New Girl to be shot. It also features guest appearances from baseball player Clayton Kershaw and models Alessandra Ambrosio, Ana Beatriz Barros and Lais Ribeiro.
"Prince" was seen by 26.30 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, making it the most watched episode of New Girl. It became the highest rated scripted entertainment telecast on television in three years, since the post-Super Bowl episode of Glee. "Prince" received a mixed response from critics, many of whom enjoyed Prince's performance, but most thought the plot was not as strong as previous episodes, with one calling it "a little tedious". Following Prince's death on April 21, 2016, Fox reran the episode on April 26 in tribute.
Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel) and her best friend Cece (Hannah Simone) are invited to a party held at Prince's house. Just as they are leaving, Jess's boyfriend Nick Miller (Jake Johnson) spontaneously tells Jess he loves her for the first time, and she replies with a finger gun hand gesture. At a bar, Nick admits that he meant what he said, but wanted to tell Jess in a more romantic setting. His roommate Schmidt (Max Greenfield) suggests he crashes Prince's party and takes his "I love you" back. Outside the house, Nick and Schmidt watch on as their roommates Winston Bishop (Lamorne Morris) and Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.) use an improv story to gain entry to the party. After their own effort fails, Nick gets in by hiding behind a group of models, while Schmidt is forced to climb through a hedge. As Nick and Jess catch up to each other, Jess tries to tell Nick that she loves him, but suffers a panic attack and faints. In the garden, Nick tries to take back his declaration of love.
As their friends give them a moment alone, Prince appears and asks what the problem is. Nick and Jess explain their situation and Prince asks to spend some time alone with Jess. Nick gets drunk and interrupts Winston and Coach's conversation with two supermodels. Over pancakes, Jess tells Prince that she is scared to admit her feelings and is worried that if something goes wrong, it will be too painful. Prince gives Jess a makeover and advice about telling Nick she loves him back. He also tells her to stop being afraid. Jess returns to the party, where she tells Nick she loves him and he reciprocates. Prince takes to the stage to perform "Fallinlove2nite" and invites Jess to sing with him. The others join them on stage. Back at the apartment, everyone is reminiscing about dancing with Prince, when Jess realises Cece is missing. The scene cuts to Cece, who is still at the house, playing table tennis with Prince.
Conception and writing
On May 13, 2013, Fox announced that an episode of New Girl would be the lead-out program following Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014. The production team began preparing for the episode the moment they found out the news. The show's creator Elizabeth Meriwether told Michael O'Connell of The Hollywood Reporter that they had an opportunity to introduce the show to a new audience, as well as creating a special episode for regular viewers. The team's main aim was to make it funny and romantic. The last sitcom to follow the Super Bowl was The Office in 2009, while the Friends episode "The One After the Superbowl" is the highest-rated Super Bowl lead-out program ever.
On December 12, 2013, it was announced that Prince would be guest starring in the episode as himself, marking the first time he had ever appeared in a television sitcom. Meriwether told O'Connell that near to the time Fox gave New Girl the post-Super Bowl spot, Prince's team also enquired about him making a guest appearance during the third season, and they decided to write the episode around him. Meriwether had heard that Prince was a fan of New Girl and that it was one of the few shows he watched. She also revealed that Prince had previously been offered a guest appearance in the season two episode "Virgins". However, he could not accept at the time, but still wanted to appear in the show.
At least two scripts were rejected, as they were not in keeping with the show. One storyline had Prince playing the lead singer of a Prince cover band. Meriwether said that Prince's appearance with the main characters also needed to be believable. Eventually the writers, Rob Rosell and Dave Feeney, scripted an episode that would see the characters attending a party at Prince's house, where he would help Jess and Nick say "I love you" for the first time. In a piece for Vulture, Meriwether recalled that Prince was pleased that he would be the person who helps get Jess and Nick to admit how they truly felt about each other.
Prince came up with the idea of helping Jess by giving her a makeover, and asked that the house party on the show was as close as possible to his real house parties. Four days before filming was due to start, Prince decided to pull out as he was unhappy with changes to the script. Meriwether explained that Fox had asked that the episode ended with a scene at the apartment, so she had Nick and Jess declare their love for one another in the bathroom. She realised that Prince needed to be the one to get through to Jess and the script was revised that same day. Meriwether said the episode was "a big milestone" for Nick and Jess romantically, and that the storyline would continue to play out during the rest of the season.
Filming and music
The episode was directed by Fred Goss. Filming took place in December 2013, and "Prince" became one of the most expensive episodes of New Girl to be shot, as a house needed to be rented out and new sets built. Prince was on set for three days. Meriwether recalled that he was "fantastic at ping-pong" and told Simone to practice before their scene together. The musician was surprised when she scored a point off him during the first take. Prince also changed a scripted moment in which he shines a flashlight under his chin to a lighter, as he believed it was funnier. The episode featured cameo appearances from baseball player Clayton Kershaw, and models Alessandra Ambrosio, Ana Beatriz Barros and Lais Ribeiro. In May 2016, Deschanel told Conan O'Brien that Khloé Kardashian and Kris Jenner had also filmed cameos. However, their scenes were cut after a member of Prince's team asked about the celebrity appearances and commented "I hope it's not the Kardashians". Prince felt that they would never be at one of his parties.
Prince used his appearance in the episode to premiere his new song "Fallinlove2nite", which features vocals from Deschanel. The show had not featured Deschanel singing before, with the exception of the opening theme song. The actress told Sandy Coen of the Associated Press that the producers wanted her character to go up on stage and sing with Prince, so they asked her to lay down a vocal for the sound department, who sent it to Prince. The following day, her vocal was mixed into the song. Shortly before the scene was filmed, Prince asked producer Erin O'Malley for a megaphone. As the song began to play, Prince used the megaphone to call out "Does anyone want to fall in love tonight?". The crowd of actors and extras gave an unscripted cheer. Meriwether admitted that she teared up following the take. The episode also featured Prince's "When You Were Mine" during the scenes where Prince gives Jess a makeover.
In its original American broadcast on February 2, 2014, "Prince" was viewed by 26.30 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, making it the most watched episode of New Girl and the only episode to reach over 20 million viewers. The episode drew an 11.4 rating in adults between the ages of 18 and 49. It posted a 42 percent increase in adults 18–49 and a 23 percent increase in viewers over the previous year's post-Super Bowl episode of Elementary. New Girl became the highest rated scripted entertainment telecast on television in three years, since Fox's post-Super Bowl episode of Glee, "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle". As expected, New Girl benefited from following the broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII, which was seen by 112.19 million average viewers, making it the most watched Super Bowl in history at the time.
Following Prince's death on April 21, 2016, Fox decided to replay the episode on April 26 as a tribute to him. The broadcast earned 1.78 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. It drew a 0.7/2 rating/share in adults between the ages of 18 and 49.
The episode received mixed reviews from television critics. Marc Hogan of Spin commented, "A couple too many of the show's jokes involved characters inexplicably fainting or otherwise being a bit too FOX sitcom-y – couldn't Prince have been a fan of The Mindy Project instead? – but the Purple One's presence was pure gold." Chris Morgan of Paste wrote "it certainly wasn't the greatest episode of New Girl, but it felt momentous. This was the power of Prince's presence, and his aura. Who wouldn't want to see Prince on a sitcom? And who, but Prince, would randomly show up on a sitcom like New Girl? It will surely go down as a strange, fabulous moment in the history of the series, and also a testament to the kind of life Prince chose to live." TVLine's Kimberly Roots admitted that she did not laugh once during the episode, commenting "the installment is not New Girl's sharpest".
IGN UK's Max Nicholson thought some elements of the episode were "a stretch", such as Prince taking an interest in Nick and Jess's relationship problems, and called the plot "a little tedious". He added, "but with the help of Prince – and a few asides with Winston, Coach, Schmidt and Cece – this week's "I love you" storyline was made much more enjoyable." Lanford Beard from Entertainment Weekly praised Prince's performance during the makeover scenes, calling it "deliciously understated" and "a nice counterpart to New Girl's frequently over-the-top comedy". Beard said his favourite moment was Prince appearing in the closet with Jess and the lighter. Alan Sepinwall from HitFix praised the episode, saying "it was funny and joyful (especially when the whole group got on stage with Prince) and strange and poignant, all in perfect proportion."
Erik Adams of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+ score. He felt Prince improved the plot "that would feel like rote rom-com filler without him." Adams also thought Prince helped give a different angle on Nick and Jess's romance, and "a new spin on a storyline that countless other TV shows and movies have tried out." Adams praised the show's editorial team for the montage and summed up the episode as "very, very funny". Vulture's Josh Gondelman awarded "Prince" three out of five stars. He did not think the conflict between Nick and Jess was believable enough, saying "I was just frustrated because the stakes in this episode were staggeringly low. Nothing seemed to really matter to anyone."
- "Fox 2013–14 Schedule Announced: 'Bones' On the Move + 'Sleepy Hollow' Monday, 'Glee' Gets Midseason Break & More (Updated)". TV by the Numbers. May 13, 2013. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- O'Connell, Michael (January 30, 2014). "'New Girl' Creator Liz Meriwether Talks Prince, Super Bowl Pressure and Letting Zooey Sing". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- Justin, Neal (February 1, 2014). "How Prince ended up on the post-Super Bowl 'New Girl'". Star Tribune. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- Dos Santos, Kristin (December 12, 2013). "Prince on New Girl! Music Icon Will Guest Star As Himself in Super Bowl Episode and Interfere With Nick and Jess". E! Online. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
- Meriwether, Liz (April 26, 2016). "'Isn't This Funnier?' New Girl Creator Liz Meriwether Recalls the Making of the Prince Episode". Vulture. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
- Fernandez, Maria Elena (January 31, 2014). "Prince's 'New Girl' performance leaves creator teary eyed". Today. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
- "Fred Goss Directs Prince On New Girl!". Company Films. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
- Justin, Neal (February 1, 2014). "How Prince ended up on the post-Super Bowl 'New Girl'". Star Tribune. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
- Martinez, Michael (January 30, 2014). "Dodgers lefty ace Kershaw to make cameo on 'New Girl'". Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
- Bueno, Antoinette (January 31, 2014). "'New Girl' Super Bowl Ep Gets Two Supermodels!". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
- Aquino, Tara. "The Best Prince and Jess Moments on Last Night's "New Girl"". Complex. February 3, 2014. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
- Le Vine, Lauren (May 10, 2016). "Prince Reportedly Refused to Have the Kardashians on His New Girl Episode". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
- Grow, Kory (March 14, 2014). "Prince Duets With Zooey Deschanel on New Song 'Fallinlove2nite'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- Lee, Ashley (March 18, 2014). "Prince Drops 'New Girl' Duet With Zooey Deschanel, Teams with Epic". Billboard. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
- Cohen, Sandy (April 10, 2014). "Deschanel talks fashion, Prince and 'New Girl'". Associated Press. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
- Hogan, Marc (February 3, 2014). "Prince Serves Pancake and New 'Love' Song on Purple-Centric 'New Girl'". Spin. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
- Bibel, Sara (February 4, 2014). "Sunday Final Ratings: 'New Girl' Adjusted Up & Final Super Bowl Numbers". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
- "TV Ratings Sunday: (Updated) Super Bowl Sets New Viewing Record, 'New Girl' Strong & 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Decent". TV by the Numbers. February 3, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
- Snierson, Dan (April 22, 2016). "New Girl episode featuring Prince to rerun on Tuesday". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
- Porter, Rick (April 27, 2016). "TV Ratings Tuesday: 'Limitless' finale steady, 'Chicago Med' and 'Containment' rise". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
- Morgan, Chris (April 22, 2016). "Remembering the Wonderfully Bizarre "Prince" Episode of New Girl". Paste. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
- Roots, Kimberly (February 2, 2014). "New Girl Post-Super Bowl Recap: When Loves Try". TVLine. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
- Nicholson, Max (February 2, 2014). "New Girl: "Prince" review". IGN UK. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- Beard, Lanford (February 2, 2014). "'New Girl' recap: A post-Super Bowl episode fit for a Prince". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- Sepinwall, Alan (February 2, 2014). "Review: 'New Girl' – 'Prince': I love u but I don't trust u anymore". HitFix. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- Adams, Erik (February 2, 2014). "New Girl: "Prince"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- Gondelman, Josh (February 3, 2014). "New Girl Recap: Dropping the L-Bomb". Vulture. Retrieved May 11, 2016.