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Real Death in True Detective?

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True Detective is a crime drama that follows the life of a law enforcement officer, both personal and while on the job. The series has already finished two seasons. Both of these followed a completely separate detective, crime, and settings. The first season of the series debuted on HBO on January 12, 2014, while the second season premiered on June 21, 2015. Nic Pizzolatto is both the creator as well as the writer for the series.

The first season of the show follows the life of two homicide detectives of the Louisiana State Police’s CID, Rustin Cohle or Rust and Martin Hart or Marty. Both the detectives are no more in service and have been asked to come in the department for putting together an investigation into the murder of Dora Lange that happened in 1995. Therefore, a major part of the story is in flashback. The two have not spoken to each other because of a fight that happened between the two, concerning Marty’s wife. Both of them are not in the service now. This exercise is being done because most of the evidence has been destroyed in Hurricane Rita. Though the case was closed by the duo, when they caught the criminals with undeniable proof, Rust now feels that the real perpetrator is still free and wants to bring him in.

The first season of the show was inspired by true events in rural America
The first season of the show was inspired by true events in rural America

The character of Rust can be compared to Sherlock Holmes. He is a loner and is impressively smart. He is not the most lovable guy, but it is difficult to hate him either. He has a peculiar way of perceiving things and is not the kind that would appease the bosses or colleagues for that matter. He calls a spade a spade and has a very peculiar way of looking at things and approaching problems. This has led to a very difficult environment at the office, where nobody is happy with him, including his boss. Marty, on the other hand, is a family man, who is popular at office and works well in the office. This leads to many interesting conversations between the two, which are pretty intense at times and always a delight to watch.

The role of Rust was played by Matthew McConaughey, who is splendid in the role. His outstanding portrayal of the complex character of Rust puts life into the character and the show. Woody Harrelson convincingly plays the role of Marty, and perfectly complements Rust. The other important roles have been played by Michelle Monaghan, Tory Kittles and Michael Potts.

Rust (Matthew McConaughey) interrogates Madea
Rust (Matthew McConaughey) interrogates Madea

The season 2 of the show, narrated a completely different story. This one has four main characters. These are the detectives – Paul Woodrugh, Raymond Velcoro or Ray, Antigone Bezerides and a criminal mastermind, Frank Semyon. Woodrugh is a war veteran, who is now working with the California Highway Patrol and he is the one who discovers the first body during one of his beats. It is this investigation that brings together the Vinci PD officer Velcoro and Bezerides. Bezerides is with the office of the Sheriff of Ventura County. They discover that they are actually following a series of murders, which involves many powerful people. The show follows their personal lives, all of which are turbulent and none of the main characters are happy.

The show had many good actors on board. These include Colin Farrell, who played the role of Velcoro. He portrayed the character of a divorced father who has turned into a corrupt officer. The beautiful Rachel McAdams played the role of Ani Bezzerides, a strong, independent woman with a scarred childhood. She successfully brings out the strong character of the lady officer, who is completely dedicated to her job. Taylor Kitsch is cast in the role of a troubled young and handsome officer, who is not true to himself and doing everything in his power to maintain an ‘acceptable’ image on the outside. Vince Vaughn plays the role of smart and likeable criminal. Kelly Reilly plays the role of his wife.

Michelle Monaghan is Maggie Hart in Season 1
Michelle Monaghan is Maggie Hart in Season 1

Both the seasons of the show have been successful. The first season of the series was very well received by both the audiences and the critics. It was even named as the best television drama of the year. The audiences loved the main characters as well as the narration of the show. The performances by the actors, impactful dialogues and the production quality were appreciated by the critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the show received an excellent rating of 8.5/10 based on a total of 65 reviews.

Consequently, the show enjoyed an average viewership of 2.33 million. The second season of the show also received good reviews and was especially praised for its engaging action sequences. All the actors in the show also performed well. However, the audience as well as the critics felt that the season was not as strong as its predecessor. Though the second season had an average viewership of 2.61 million, it did not receive the exceptional response that the first season was able to garner.

Colin Farrell plays Ray Velcoro in Season 2
Colin Farrell plays Ray Velcoro in Season 2

Given that the series made people reach out for phrases like ‘the golden age of TV acting’, it was only a matter of time that the series added a variety of awards to its credit. These included the TCA Awards, Writers Guild of America Awards, and so on. The actors from the series also added some accolades to their lists. These included Matthew McConaughey winning the 30th TCA Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Drama, the 4th Critic’s Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series, and many more. The series and its actors were nominated for almost all the major television awards.

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Feminism and politics in Veep

Veep is a comedy show that focuses on the politics of the United States. The show has been created by Armando Iannucci, who has had much experience in this genre. The show made its debut on April 22, 2012 on HBO. Good response from the audience got the network to order more seasons. Currently, the fifth season of the show is in the making.

Veep’s Plot

Anna Chlumsky is 'Amy Brookheimer'
Anna Chlumsky is ‘Amy Brookheimer’

The show focusses on the life of Senator Selina Meyer. The senator is offered the position of Vice President that she cordially accepts. However, she immediately realizes that it was not the best decision she took. The reason is the nature of the office she is holding. She has a lot of work to do, especially anything that the not-so-great duties delegated by the President, with whom she does not share the best of relationships. That is not all. She is also pushed around by the Senate and the Congress. The worst part is that despite all the work falling in her lap and the hustle, she has no real power. This is her journey being a Vice President and later, the President.

Cast

Julia-Louis-Dreyfus is 'Selina Meyer'
Julia-Louis-Dreyfus is ‘Selina Meyer’

The role of the protagonist, Selina Meyer, has been beautifully played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. This is unarguably the best role she has done after the iconic comedy series, Seinfeld. She successfully projects the character of Meyer, who is real and lovable. She also has an interesting personal life. She is divorced with a daughter, but is somehow still in a romantic relationship with her former husband. The Seinfeld actress has put forth an exceptional performance in the show that has been loved by one and all. Not surprisingly, she has won a number of awards for the role. She has been awarded a whopping four Primetime Emmy Awards. She also has won a Screen Actors Guild Award and has been nominated thrice for the Golden Globe Awards.

Then there is the dedicated career woman, Amy Brookheimer, who is also the Chief of Staff for Selina. She is literally the one-stop solution for all of Selina’s professional issues. So much so that she does not even mind staking her own reputation to save that of Selina’s. The uptight lady does not want to get married or have kids because that would be a distraction to her political ambitions. Later, she is also takes the role of the campaign manager, when Selina runs for the office of the President. However, she resigns from the positions, following the appointment of one of Selina’s friends on the campaign team, who did not contribute much.

Then there is the fiercely loyal personal aide to the Vice-President, Gary Walsh, a role played by Tony Hale. The heartfelt and convincing performance of Hale in the show has already fetched him two Primetime Emmy Awards.

Given the nature of the show, the cast is pretty big, with each of the characters playing an important role. These include the ambitious Deputy Director of Communications, Dan Egan, played by Reid Scott, Jonah Ryan, the White House’s point of contact portrayed by Timothy Simons, and Mike McLintock, played by Matt Walsh is the Director of Communications. Other roles in the show have been played by Sufe Bradshaw, Kevin Dunn, Gary Cole and Sam Richardson. There are also many actors like Dan Bakkedahl, Randall Park and Phile Reeves, among others, who have featured in the show in recurring roles.

Each of the actors have done their job really well. Whether it is dialogue delivery, comic timing or anything else, they have maintained the standard of the show for four consecutive seasons and there is no reason they will not continue to do so in the future too.

The Crew

Matt Walsh is 'Mike Mclintock'
Matt Walsh is ‘Mike Mclintock’

The show has been created by Armando Iannucci, who in the past, has given a number of British comedy series such The Thick of It, In the Loop, and so on. He has retained the same writing staff as in his earlier shows. He is a brilliant director with a different approach to comedy and that shows in the series. He can very well make a cocktail of swearing and yelling characters, who still manage to speak intelligently. He is also one of the executive producers of the show along with Christopher Godsick, Chris Addison, Frank Rich, Tony Roche, Simon Blackwell, Stephanie Lang and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

The rehearsals for the show started months before the actual filming started, and they were designed in a way to make the actors better at improvising by getting comfortable with each other. The shooting started in the February of 2011, and the filming for the actual series began in October of the same year in Baltimore.

Reception

The first season of the show received favorable reviews from both the audiences and the critics. While it got around a rating of 72/100 on Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes gave it an average score of 6.1/10. But Huffington Post and Variety were not impressed by the show and gave it a negative review. However, as the seasons progressed, the ratings started jumping up and fast. This is the best kind of progression any show can ask for. From the first to the last season that was aired, the ratings have only gone up on Metacritic. This trend has continued with other critic sites as well. Other critics are all praises for the show, calling it ‘savagely hilarious’, ‘one of television’s best comedies’, and ‘incomparable’, among many other good things. The audiences have also warmed up to the show that is loaded with political satire and hilarious moments.

Awards

The show has won many awards since it was first aired. The list includes Women’s Image Network Awards in 2012, AFI Award in 2013, Gracie Awards and TCA Awards in 2014, Critics’ Choice Television Awards in 2015 and so on. It has been nominated for a large number of awards during the course of its airing. The various cast and crew of the show have also won many accolades, including the Primetime Emmy Awards, Writers Guild of America Awards, and many others.

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Shameless

Shameless logo

Shameless is an American comedy-drama, which airs on Showtime. The show has completed five seasons and the sixth one is set to premiere on January 10, 2016. The show is in fact a remake of the award-winning British series of the same name. The show, which was originally created by John Wells, is brought to the American audience by John Wells. Both John Wells and Paul Abbott are also the executive producers of the show. The other executive producers are Mark Mylod, Andrew Stearn, Christopher Chulack, Nancy M. Pimental, Davey Holmes and Sheila Callaghan.

Background

William H Macy is 'Frank Gallagher'
William H Macy is ‘Frank Gallagher’

Gallagher family is completely dysfunctional. The main reason for this is the father of six, Frank Gallagher (played by William H. Macy). Frank is an alcoholic and is in a perpetual stupor. That is to say that he is far from anything that resembles a responsible father. For all practical purposes, he is completely absent from his children’s life. Against this background, the children are left with no choice but to learn the ways of the world by themselves. Like a headless chicken left to wander, the children have no one to look up to and each of them is evolving through the series in a complex manner. Sometimes their antics draw laughter, while at other times, the audience is left to wonder whether it is even okay to laugh at them. The fact that the Gallaghers are poor, does not help their situation either.

Cast

Academy Award nominee William H. Macy dons the role of Frank Gallagher. He is the father of six children, although technically he is not the biological father of Ian. He is almost always found in his drunken stupor without a shred of care for his children. But, he can and has displayed a remarkable degree of care and concern for his children in times of need. Despite talking big and taking moral authority on social issues, his primary source of income is cheating the system, or people for money.

Steve Howey is 'Kevin Ball'
Steve Howey is ‘Kevin Ball’

Frank’s oldest daughter Fiona is played by Emmy Rossum. With her father being completely hopeless at taking care of the family, the responsibility of the family fell on her. This made her a strong, selfless and a completely giving person. She quit her high school so that she could take care of the family by working. She has worked a number of dead-end jobs just to pull her family through another day of survival. She does have a wild side to her, but the pressure of taking care of her family usually keeps her in the reigns. Her selflessness is the reason why she is often manipulated and taken advantage of.

The second eldest child in the family is Philip “Lip” Gallagher, portrayed by Jeremy Allen White. He is a smart guy with an above average intelligence. But, he is hooked on to marijuana and casual sex, and even steals vehicles when he can or needs to. The third sibling is Ian. He suffers from bipolar disorder, a condition that his mother was diagnosed with as well. When he was underage, he used Lip’s identity to register with the military. His gay relationship with the neighbor, Mickey Milkovich has been one of the highlights of the show. The fourth sibling, Debbie, played by Emma Kenney, has been a character in development. She is still in her early teen years, and has been eager to lose her virginity for quite some time. While she is quite mature in many ways, she was usually the innocent one in the family, until recently.

Jeremy Allen White is 'Lip Gallagher'
Jeremy Allen White is ‘Lip Gallagher’

The second youngest Gallagher sibling, Carl, is a 13 year old kid, who is struggling to find his identity. He expresses some psychopathic tendencies, often such as mutilating his dolls, fighting with his classmates, and a general disobedience to rules. However, unlike other family members, Carl has a soft side for his father after Frank convinces Carl that he (Carl) has cancer. Eventually Frank tells Carl that he is cured. Carl is portrayed by Ethan Cutkosky. The other members of the cast include Justin Chatwin (Jimmy Lishman), Shanola Hampton (Veronica Fisher), Steve Howey (Kevin Ball), Joan Cusack (Sheila Jackson), and others.

Development

The idea to create an American version of the Shameless TV series was first considered by HBO. The network, in fact, signed a deal with John Wells in January, 2009. However, by the end of the year, the show found home in the lap of Showtime. John Wells Productions produced the pilot for the series in December of 2009, after which it got a nod for twelve more episodes. Among the first people cast for their roles were William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, and Justin Chatwin. Both Emmy and Justin had previously worked together on Dragonball Evolution. The pilot version had Allison Janney playing the role of Sheila, one of Frank’s love interests. However, she was replaced by Joan Cusack, starting with Season 1. The filming of the show began in mid-September. The show is filmed in two different locations. While the interiors are all shot in Los Angeles, the exteriors are mainly filmed in the North Lawndale community area of Chicago.

Emmy Rossum is 'Fiona Gallagher'
Emmy Rossum is ‘Fiona Gallagher’

Performance

Shameless has widely received critical acclaim for its hard hitting portrayal of the everyday lives of the people, who are rarely given a second thought by the society. The audience too has had a positive growing response to the show. When the show debuted in 2011, it started with a viewership of only 0.98 million. At the time, it was Showtime’s biggest turnout for a sales premiere in over 8 years. Over time, it even reached a viewership of 2 million.

The show has received a number of awards in various categories. Both the show and the cast have won awards such as a Primetime Emmy Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, BMI Film & TV Awards, multiple Prism Awards, and so on. Apart from these, Shameless has received innumerable award nominations, including the likes of Golden Globe Awards, Critics’ Choice Television Awards, the Satellite Awards, and many more.

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Everything You Need to Know About The Americans

The Americans Logo

The Americans, which airs on FX, is a period drama set in America during the 1980s. The show has received numerous nominations, awards and generally critical praise for its performances, storyline, as well as its writing and even video editing.

The series is considered a modern period drama, somewhat like the AMC series Mad Men, since it is set in the past but still within a somewhat contemporary time frame. Since its premiere in 2013, the show has gathered a significant fan base–including some notable TV critics–and although the ratings for the show have gone down in reason seasons, it is still one of FX’s most successful shows. There are currently three seasons of other show, with a fourth season set to air in 2016.

If you aren’t yet watching The Americans: you should be! Especially if you are a fan of American history, contemporary period dramas, or simply want to watch a show with great acting, great storylines, and a lot of intrigue. Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about The Americans.

The Premise

Margo Martindale as 'Claudia'
Margo Martindale as ‘Claudia’

The general premise of the Americans is as follows: Two KGB agents, Nadezhda and Mischa, have been posing as an American couple (named Elizabeth and Philip Jennings) for years in order to carry out special and extremely secret operations. The couple have two children, Paige and Henry, who don’t know of their parents secret—but may be on the verge of finding out. As ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Philip’ begin yet another mission, they find that their identity and their lives may be compromised.

The Creative Team

Joe Weisberg is the Executive producer of the show
Joe Weisberg is the Executive producer of the show

The show was created and is produced by Joe Weisberg, a former CIA officer who began writing after he retired from the CIA. Weisberg is the head writer for the show as well. In addition to his work on The Americans, Weisberg also wrote episodes for Falling Skies, a TNT science fiction drama; as well as the legal drama Damages. Weisberg has also written two novels titled 10th Grade and An Ordinary Spy.

It is likely Weisberg’s personal experience in the CIA which makes the show so realistic; and in fact, Weisberg has revealed that he has used his personal knowledge of CIA operations (within legal and safe boundaries, of course) to accurately portray what it would have been like to be a spy during the 1980s.

The Cast

Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings
Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings

Creator Weisberg revealed in an interview that he didn’t have any idea who he would cast in the series before the casting process officially begin. John Landgraf, FX president, came up with the idea of having Keri Russell read for the role of Elizabeth Jennings–real name Nadezhda. Matthew Rhys was brought in to read for her fellow spy and faux husband, Philip. According to those who witnessed their reads together, the pair had the perfect chemistry for the characters and were cast in their respective roles.

In addition to Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, the show also stars:

Lev Gorn as 'Arkady Ivanovich'
Lev Gorn as ‘Arkady Ivanovich’

Holly Taylor as Paige Jennings, the couple’s daughter; Taylor has also appeared in films such as The Otherworld and The Cook, although she is best known for her role as Ballet Girl in the Broadway production of Billy Elliot. Keidrich Sellati plays Henry Jennings, the couple’s son, in his first notable film or TV role.

Noah Emmerich plays Stan Beeman, an FBI agent who may be getting too close to discovering the truth about the Jennings; Emmerich is best known for his roles in films and TV shows such as The Truman Show, Beautiful Girls, Super 8, Frequency, Melrose Place, The Walking Dead, and Monk.

Other cast includes Maximiliano Hernandez as Agent Amador; Susan Misner as Sandra Beeman; Annet Mahendru as KGB Agent Krivola; Richard Thomas as Agent Frank Gaad; Alison wright as Martha Hanson, Gaad’s secretary; and Costa Ronin as Oleg Burov, a Soviet officer.

The Reception

The show has received much critical acclaim since its premiere in 2013; notably in 2014, the show was named as one of the best shows on television but numerous critical publications. the first season of the show received a 90% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with many describing the show as ‘absorbing,’ ‘thriller,’ and ‘clever.’

The second season of The Americans received even higher critical praise than the first, earning a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The second season has been described as ‘one of TV’s finest dramas,’ ‘impossible to miss,’ and ‘nearly perfect.’ Critics especially praised the show’s storyline in season 2 as being groundbreaking; with critic Alan Sepinwall noting that the show took a “major creative leap–the kind that can elevate a show from a strong example of its era to one that transcends eras.”

The third season of the show has also received critical acclaim, earning an uncommon 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The show’s third season has been praised for its increasingly layered plot, exceptionally strong performances, and high stakes for the characters in the show. The third season has even been noted as “one of the best runs of episodes in TV drama history.”

There are certainly high expectations for the fourth season of The Americans, which is currently set to air in March of 2016; however, as each season has only been getting better and better, fans and critics are eagerly hoping that the upward streak of quality continues.

The Awards

In addition to critical praise, the show has received numerous nominations and awards from several major award associations. Its more notable awards include, but aren’t limited to:

  • The Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (Margo Martindale)
  • Critics Choice Television Award for Best Drama Series (2015)
  • American Film Institute Program of the Year (2013 and 2014)
  • Peabody Award (2015)
  • Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding New Program (2013)
  • Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama (2015)

In all, the show has been nominated for a total of 32 awards so far (including several Emmy Awards) with a total of 8 wins.

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Things You Didn’t Know About New Girl

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New Girl, which airs on the Fox network, is a comedic sitcom which first premiered in September, 2011. The show stars Zooey Deschanel as a Jess, a teacher who moves to Los Angeles and ends up rooming with three men–Nick (played by Jake Johnson); Schmidt (played by Max Greenfield); and Winston, played by Lamorne Morris.

The show follows Jess as she becomes accustomed to her new life in Los Angeles, and her many quirks that sometimes put her at odds with her three new roommates. The show also focuses heavily on themes of adulthood, maturity and life changes, as the characters are in their 30s and deal with the struggles that come with this stage of adulthood.

The show, which is currently preparing to air its fifth season, has received generally favorable reviews from critics over the past few years. Critical reviews of the show praise its offbeat humor and the quirky performance of Zooey Deschanel, which—as the show’s creator has noted—would likely make her character a supporting role in any other series. The fact that the show stars a quirky, offbeat character makes it unique among sitcoms with similar settings and themes.

Whether you’re a longtime fan or are just now catching up on the series, take a look at some interesting trivia that you probably didn’t know about New Girl.

Nick and Winston Swapped Personalities

 

Nick in 'New Girl'
Nick in ‘New Girl’

In the original concept of the show, the character of Nick was meant to be a mature adult who had everything in his life under control; while the character of Winston was supposed to be immature and unprepared for real adulthood. However, over time the writers began to feel that the character of Nick fit more naturally into the role of an immature adult whereas Winston seemed to have everything together. The writer’s then decided to write Winston’s growing development into the story and showcase Nick’s immature side more often.

Zooey Deschanel was almost overlooked for the role of Jess

It’s impossible to imagine New Girl with a different actress in the role of Jess. After all, it’s Zooey Deschanel personal quirks that have made the character what she is in the show today. However, it’s true: she was not the original choice for Jess, and there were other actresses in the running for the role. According to the creative team behind the show, Amanda Bynes came extremely close to being cast in the role.

The actors frequently improv on set

'Winston Bishop' played by Lamorne Morris
‘Winston Bishop’ played by Lamorne Morris

While the show has scripts and set stage directions for each scene, the creative team often lets the cast do what they feel is most organic when filming. They are encouraged to improv by adding lines, changing lines, or doing something different during the scene than is written in the script; much of the time, their improv is kept in for the final edit of the episode.

Zooey Deschanel read with every actor who auditioned

Zooey Deschanel was very invested in the show; so invested, in fact, that she decided to personally read with every actor who auditioned for the role of the three roommates. This is very unusual in Hollywood, as random assistants are usually called in to read lines with the auditionees, unless the people who audition are high profile actors or the creative team wants to judge chemistry with someone who has made it past the first few rounds of auditions. Zooey Deschanel, on the other hand, read with every person who auditioned, even if it was their first time reading for the role. It was thanks to her vigilance during the audition process that the actors chosen for the series were so perfect in their roles, and had such great chemistry with each other.

One star is afraid of birds

Max Greenfield plays 'Schmidt' in New Girl
Max Greenfield plays ‘Schmidt’ in New Girl

Max Greenfield, who plays Schmidt in the show, has one particular fear: birds. Greenfield admitted in a few interviews that he is absolutely terrified of birds, which was only exacerbated by the show’s pilot episode which featured a real live vulture. In the few scenes Greenfield has had with birds, he admits he is terrified but pushes himself through it for the sake of the job.

The show is really into bears

Well—sort of. It’s not that shocking that a series like New Girl would have some kind of quirk, and some eagle-eyed (or rather, eagle-eared) fans of the show noticed one particular quirk that ran through every single episode of the series: bears. In some way, bears are mentioned in every single episode of the show. Why? No one behind the scenes of the show has revealed the reason for this inside joke, but it has given fans something to look out for when they tune in every week.

Deschanel and Johnson were told to avoid physical contact

Zooey Deschanel as 'Jess Day' on New Girl
Zooey Deschanel as ‘Jess Day’ on New Girl

For the first season of the show, Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson were instructed by the show’s creative team to avoid physical contact as much as possible. Why? Because they had so much chemistry together it was considered distracting to the regular storyline, and would overshadow everything else going on in the scene. Eventually, of course, the characters started a relationship–possibly due to the extreme chemistry between Deschanel and Johnson on set.

Lamorne Morris wasn’t the original choice for Winston

The role of Winston was actually offered to comedian Jerrod Carmichael. However, Carmichael turned down the part in order to put more focus on his stand-up comedic career. The role ultimately went to Lamorne Morris.

Damon Wayans Jr. was in an early pilot episode

Damon Wayans Jr, who plays the character of Coach introduced in the third season, was actually in one of the earliest pilot episodes for the series. Coach, at the time, was a character similar to Winston. At the time, Wayans was working on his own show, which he expected to be cancelled, allowing him the time to have a role on New Girl. The show ended up being renewed for several more seasons, so he turned down the job—when the show finally ended, his character was reworked and introduced into the third season.

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