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‘New Girl’ got its ‘proper ending,’ actor Jake Johnson says

“New Girl” series finale spoilers ahead.

"New Girl" actor Jake Johnson starred alongside Zooey Deschanel for seven years in the Fox series. Photo Credit: Fox / Adam Taylor

“New Girl’s” unconventional wedding was a fitting end for the series that spent the past seven years teasing a “will they, won’t they” relationship between Nick and Jess, actor Jake Johnson says.

“It was nice to get what felt like a proper ending for them,” says Johnson, who’s played Nick Miller alongside Zooey Deschanel’s Jessica Day since the series’ 2011 premiere.

The Fox sitcom that’s been compared to “Friends” by fans and critics almost went without its seventh season close, ending last spring with a cliffhanger kiss that left the cast and viewers craving closure.

“When I asked the network to bring us back, one of the things I wanted was for Jess and Nick to get married,” Johnson, 39, says. “A lot of people have invested a lot in this storyline and this relationship and I think it’s nice to have a happy ending. It’s entertainment. So, I did get what I personally wanted.”

The relationship between the sarcastic Nick and upbeat Jess peaked with nuptials, but not without some average “New Girl” drama: the return of an ex, a blunt, a baby and an injury. The tie-it-all-up-in-a-bow episode that saw the couple say “I do” in a hospital was the desired chance to say goodbye to the five dysfunctional friends.

Looking back over the course of seven seasons, Johnson says his favorite storyline to see Nick through -- aside from the romantic plotline with Jess -- was one that sparked his character’s “weirdness.”

Johnson recalls filming scenes with Ralph Ahn, aka Tran, a man Nick befriends in season 2 in a Chicago park who doesn’t utter a word. The quiet, yet wise, character popped up here and there through season 5 and became Nick’s confidant in times of distress.

“What I really like about that storyline, is it shows Nick’s weird, eccentric side in that he can befriend a guy and he can have a full conversation with somebody who doesn’t talk back,” Johnson says.

He adds: “Because of that storyline, Nick was then allowed to continue to do weirder and weirder stuff, if that makes sense. Once you do a storyline that’s really weird and people like it, all of the sudden it becomes part of the character.”

Nick’s quirks, such as talking to mute strangers, became among his key character traits. His grumpiness, indecisiveness and at times awkwardness helped progress -- and delay -- the romantic arch involving his roommate Jess and allowed him to become one of the show’s most relatable characters.

The series’ end marks a temporary pause on Johnson’s television career -- a decision he says he’s made purposely, as separating himself from the role may prove challenging.

“I’m not a five-year plan guy. I decided to take this year off of television,” he says. “There were some pilots I almost did, but it felt a little bit too close to jump on a new show after ‘New Girl.’ I hope to someday do television again.”

For now, Johnson is keeping busy with film roles -- including the upcoming comedy blockbuster “TAG” alongside Jon Hamm and Ed Helms -- and charitable endeavors -- such as helping Natural Light pay off students’ college debt.

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