New Girl: Lamorne Morris talks directing J.B. Smoove as Winston's long-lost dad
Winston (Lamorne Morris) may have lost a family member close to his heart in Furguson, but he’s about to win one back.
In “Godparents,” the fifth episode of New Girl’s final season — which airs back-to-back Tuesday with episode 6, “Mario” — the prank-happy, color-blind cat lover gets reintroduced to his father (guest star J.B. Smoove), who left Winston at an early age. And the episode isn’t just Winston-centric on screen: Behind the camera, Morris got to direct for the first time, something he’d hoped to accomplish before the series ended.
“I had two things on my bucket list: Be in the NBA, or direct an episode of New Girl,” the actor jokes. “The NBA, you know, didn’t work out.” He laughs. “No, this was always one of the things I wanted to do, and it was great.”
Besides, cast mates including Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson have already directed episodes — a fact that made Morris work even harder to ensure the episode ran smoothly under his watch. “I actually stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to block out scenes,” he says. “If I came in and just thought, ‘Well, okay, we’re all friends, right? I don’t really know what I’m doing here,’ they would have killed me. They would have crushed my ego so much, so I didn’t want that to happen.”
Good thing “Godparents” was the perfect episode for Morris to direct. As seen in an exclusive clip above, Smoove shows up on Winston’s doorstep as his father, there to reunite with his adult son, who couldn’t be more thrilled to see his just-as-quirkily-outfitted dad.
On set, the pair — who worked together in 2016’s Barbershop: The Next Cut — bonded just as quickly as their fictional counterparts, thanks to Smoove’s “tons of riffing” in their scenes together. “For a while I was convinced he couldn’t read, because I was like, ‘Oh, he’s just going to improvise the whole thing!’” Morris says, laughing. “I was like, ‘Oooh, that’s amazing.’ It’s a fun environment to be around.”
But if Winston’s having a good time in first of the two episodes, Nick (Johnson) is about to experience the opposite. In this second exclusive clip, from “Mario,” Nick reveals that he’s finally going to propose to Jess (Deschanel) — but it looks like the pair have different ideas for their plans that night. While Nick aims get down on one knee, Jess can’t wait to grow their family “by four small paws.” Watch the clip below:
New Girl will air its penultimate pair of episodes Tuesday, May 8, at 9 p.m. ET, and the final two episodes, including the series finale, will air May 15.
Zooey Deschanel plays lovable Jess, who is plodding through life with a good group of friends.