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February 21, 2012 at 04:35 PM EST

From his penchant for chut-i-ney to his insistence on rockin’ a ‘mono on Friday evening, New Girl‘s breakout character Schmidt (Max Greenfield) has provided belly laughs week after week. It was established early on that Schmidt used to be a “fat kid with big dreams,” but viewers have only seen Schmidt’s hefty history in flashbacks and via a hilarious video Greenfield posted of “Fat Schmidt” singing Rihanna’s “We Found Love” back in November.

Happily, we’re about to see more. Starting March 6, a series of episodes will offer more glimpses of “Fat Schmidt,” and EW have pictures showing Greenfield’s step-by-step transformation into his big-boned, big-hearted avatar. Greenfield also spilled details on Schmidt’s long-awaited hook-up with man-eating model CeCe (Hannah Simone) and talked a possible Schmidt-spin-off. So are Schmidt and CeCe relationship material? To which musician might Greenfield pay homage next? And what other characters’ embarrassing pasts will be exposed in the next few episodes? Make sure to click through to the last page for the answer to that question.

“It’s shocking to see yourself when they put the makeup on,” said Greenfield, who entrusted himself to Oscar-nominated makeup artist Matthew Mungle (Albert Nobbs). “It’s definitely a jolt to your system.” Greenfield said that Schmidt’s weight loss “has a lot to do with who he is today” — for better or worse. “He thinks he’s a different person now, but he’s not. I think he was far more lovable and likeable when he was a little bit bigger. Now that he’s lost the weight… he thinks he has to act a certain way. It doesn’t always come off the best.”

To be fair, Schmidt’s Douchebar Jar-filling behavior does seem to have served him well with CeCe. Jess’s sarcastic friend finally gave in to Schmidt’s advances on Valentine’s Day. “Schmidt-and-CeCe does not go away immediately,” assured Greenfield. “It’s still playing itself out [during the episodes we’re currently filming].” And if this steamy preview of tonight’s episode gives any indication, CeCe will have a hard time kicking her Schmidt habit any time soon.

Still, if (or more likely when) Schmidt and CeCe don’t last, there’s always Schmidt’s back-up booty call Gretchen Nelson (Natasha Lyonne). “I wish Natasha would come back,” said Greenfield. “She’s the best. She was so much fun to work with, and I think she’s super-talented.” Her past in musicals like Everyone Says I Love You will certainly come in handy if Schmidt ever gets a hilariously screwy New Girl musical treatment à la Jess and Nick. For his part, Greenfield would love to see a singing Schmidt: “At some point I’m going to penetrate the writers’ room, and I’m going to get into some real musical stuff. I’m thinking a full Billy Joel episode.”

And what of a Schmidt spin-off? “We’re going to call it Schmidt Happens,” laughed Greenfield. “Dave Finkel and Brett Baer, who actually wrote [Friends spin-off] Joey, are our showrunners. They’re going to run the show, and we’re going to try to make America laugh for two seasons.” Okay, he’s only kidding. (What did you expect from the guy who plays Schmidt?) Said Greenfield, “To be honest with you, if we’re in a situation where that’s even remotely a possibility at the end of our run… I’ll be a very happy individual.” For now, “The fact that the character is working and resonating with people is beyond anything [I ever imagined]. I’m just thrilled. I feel like Jeremy Lin on the Knicks!”

NEXT: See Greenfield go from ab-tastic to flab-tacular!

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Zooey Deschanel plays lovable Jess, who is plodding through life with a good group of friends.
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