The Story Behind ‘New Girl’s’ Chaotic Drinking Game


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A quick search for True American pulls up dozens of articles, videos, and images showing different ways to play the wild drinking game first seen on the FOX sitcom New Girl.

There doesn’t seem to be one official set of rules to the game, and that is entirely the point according to writer Lesley Wake Webster who worked on the show during its first season.

“It has a mythical feel that all drinking games have when you sober up,” she told Zooey Deschanel, Lamorne Morris, and Hannah Simon, hosts of Welcome to Our Show. “The madness of the game was part of its charm.”

Webster said fellow writer Luvh Rakhe wrote the game into the script very vaguely, allowing the actors to improvise the rules during filming. For example, Deschanel started shouting the names of various presidents and Morris changed up his location on set from scene to scene.

“There are all of these rules that make no sense,” said Deschanel. “We don’t even know the (rules) because it's supposed to be a mystery to the audience.”

True American was pitched by Webster in the writer’s room and was based off a game created by her friend when he was in college. Webster’s friend created the game with his friends in the common lounge room of their dormitory. Their version of the game was based off the show American Gladiators and in an ironic twist, had no alcohol involved.

“It actually had nothing to do with drinking. The goal was to get from one side of the lounge to the other and break through this cardboard barrier that had been set up,” said Webster. “I thought it was a drinking game because I heard about it when I was drunk.”

Before sitting down with the three former New Girl stars on their podcast, Webster said she called her friend and told him about using his college story for the FOX sitcom.

“He had no idea it was in the show,” she said laughing.

Listen to the full description of the original True American game on “A Conversation with Lesley Wake Webster,” the 21st episode of Welcome to Our Show. Available on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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