FILE - In this publicity file photo released by FOX, "New Girl" cast from left, Lamorne Morris, Jake Johnson, Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield and Hannah Simone are shown. (AP Photo/FOX, Dewey Nicks, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The recent, gasp-worthy lip lock between "New Girl" stars Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson was the juicy plot twist that both fans and the show's cast have been waiting for.
"Personally, I've wanted it to happen," explained Johnson on Monday night at the PaleyFest red carpet in Los Angeles. "I think the idea of what's going to happen between them is just kind of fun right now. There's a lot of mileage there that we're starting to explore."
Johnson, who plays Nick, the surly roommate of Deschanel's "adorkable" Jess, says audience reaction has been overwhelming positive and immediate. The actor racked up roughly 20,000 new Twitter followers after the kiss aired Jan. 29.
Deschanel, star and producer of the quirky Fox comedy, said she was just as surprised as fans to see the characters' on-again, off-again chemistry finally come to fruition.
"We actually didn't get a script (for the kiss scene) because the storyline of that episode changed last-minute. It was actually pitched to us," explained Deschanel. "So, yeah, I was really excited because they kept us apart for a really long time. And I was just happy that they went there, because there's actually more possibility for storylines."
Will Nick and Jess' new romance reach the iconic status of other TV love stories such as Ross and Rachel of "Friends" or Sam and Diane of "Cheers?" Johnson is certainly hoping so.
"'Cheers' is my show," he said. "I'm copping it as much as I can, and I watch it on a regular basis just to see what they did."
Follow Nicole Evatt on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NicoleEvatt