15. To be fair, they earned the right to dream big. After all, music legend Prince reached out to them. “He knows everything about the show,” exec producer Baer told E! News in 2014. “He contacted Zooey and Hannah [Simone] directly and asked to do the show.”
The original plan was to cast The Purple One in a season two episode called “Virgins,” but he turned them down, Meriwether revealed to Vulture. “Obviously, in hindsight: The episode was too racy,” she admitted. “But we were told he would be interested in coming back to do something else another time.” He followed through at the start of season three and with the series slated to air in the post-Super Bowl slot. “It was perfect timing,” noted Baer.
Pitched the idea that the crew would end up at his house party, the musician agreed with one caveat. “He said, ‘I want to be involved in the show in a real way and I want to help Nick and Jess with their relationship,'” executive producer Finkel told E! News. Added Baer, “He’s a Nick and Jess shipper!”
16. And, yes, he had some other demands—but they all stemmed from an obsession to make the episode the best ever. “He wanted to choose the name of the non-speaking chef character, the chef’s wardrobe, the paintings on the walls, the linens in the bedroom set, his wardrobe, Zooey’s wardrobe, the music, the pancakes, the hairstyles,” Meriwether detailed to Vulture, “he had a piece of art, a poem written out in the shape of an egg, flown from Minnesota to hang on the wall of the set. His vision of the episode was all-encompassing, but I never felt overpowered. He always asked what I thought. It was like he was asking me to rise up to meet him.”
Midway through the week-long nighttime shoot, he approached Meriwether with another suggestion: Set to surprise Jess in a dark closet, he asked “Isn’t this funnier?” if he flicked on a lighter under his chin rather than a flashlight. “I tried to stay cool,” Meriwether recalled. “‘Yeah, that’s funnier. Let’s do that.’ As if there were ever a world where doing exactly what was inside Prince’s head wasn’t one of the greatest privileges of my life.”