Usually when the titular character of a TV show takes a hiatus, you'd expect some chaos to ensue. New Girl without Zooey Deschanel as Jess could have been a disaster, but it's a testament to the ensemble cast of Nick, Schmidt, Winston, and Cece that the show still has all that good, laugh-out-loud charm fans are used to seeing from the gang. And while I am very happy that Deschanel's real-life pregnancy did not lead to a pregnant Jess (that wouldn't had made any sense for her character), I, like all fans, am still excited for when Jess will return to the New Girl loft.
Currently, the show is using the guise that Jess has been sequestered for a month while serving on a high-profile jury. While I think I would have been just fine with the four remaining pals getting into hijinks on their own, the show brought in Megan Fox's pharmaceutical sales rep Reagan to sublet Jess' room. (Fox has been great in the role, but here's hoping she gets some plots that aren't based solely on her sexuality before she departs.) Deschanel will be missing from a total of six episodes of New Girl in Season 5, but she will be back on March 8 for the show's 100th episode.
When Jess returns to her friends, she may discover that quite a few things have changed during her absence on New Girl, but here are seven things the show could have her do to help get her back in the saddle.
Plan A Bachelorette Party
Though Winston has been filling in as Cece's maid of honor in his title of bridesman, Jess will want to make up for lost time and get back to her wedding duties stat. That includes planning a (second) bachelorette party for Cece. At least there shouldn't be inappropriate photos this time.
Fix A Wedding Dress
Speaking of wedding duties, when Winston went dress shopping with Cece, the pair of them got a bit too drunk and bought a terrible, light-up dress that caused Schmidt to faint upon seeing it. They couldn't return the dress, but Jess already said (by holding a sign from her hotel window) that she can fix Cece's dress. Prepare for some Jessica Day magic at this wedding.
Upgrade Her Wardrobe
Before renting her room out to Reagan, Nick was using the loft as an Airbnb to earn money for Schmidt's bachelor party, where a strange assortment of characters popped into their space. The oddest of them was played by Fred Armisen, who went deep into Jess' closet. Here's hoping Nick and Schmidt give her the heads up so that she can carefully go through her items upon her return and make sure nothing is missing.
Get A Promotion
Although it hasn't been that long since Jess was vice principal of her school, Deschanel's last episode before her hiatus had Jess getting the chance to fill in as acting principal. Unfortunately, the position went to Becky Cavatappi, who will be, excitingly, played by Elizabeth Berkley. Since Jess was 100 percent more competent than her previous boss Dr. Foster, I can't wait to see the dynamic between Berkley and Deschanel. And who knows? Maybe she'll get a chance at the big job of principal again before Season 5 is up.
There will actually only be one episode where Deschanel's Jess and Fox's Reagan meet, but I can imagine that these two women will most likely clash. Jess is intent on inclusive friendships and Reagan's cold attitude will probably confound her. Not to mention that she is inevitably going to feel left out about everyone having bonded with their tough new roommate — especially if Reagan and Nick hook up. Speaking of which...
Get Back Together With Nick?
OK, I'm the first admit that you shouldn't spend all your time watching New Girl 'shipping Nick and Jess, but I just can't help it. With Cece and Schmidt's wedding going down this season, love will be in the air for the two BFFs. Yet, according to TVLine, don't expect Nick and Jess to be together by the end of Season 5. Said actor Jake Johnson, "I have no say, but from what I understand, if they're going to come back together, it's going to be at the end of the series." Which then I guess means that Jess should...
Find New Love
While I thought the ending of Jess and Ryan's relationship was sudden and a bit lame (kind of like her breakup with Nick, *ehem*), that doesn't mean Jess isn't ready to have a serious boyfriend again. I'm sure she'll want to bring someone to Cece's wedding and New Girl loves to have its characters dating, so I'm sure Jess will be meeting potential suitors when she comes back for the rest of Season 5. While that's all well and good, I'll just continue to bide my time waiting for Jess and Nick to reunite romantically.
Though New Girl has been fun without Deschanel, I can't wait to have her back where she belongs.
Images: Ray Mickshaw/FOX; Giphy (7)