TORONTO - "New Girl" may revolve around the adorable antics of a polka-dot loving singleton played by Zooey Deschanel, but it's the outrageous humiliations of her kimono-clad roommate Schmidt, played by Max Greenfield, that often steals the show.
Greenfield says he's bracing for even more debasing escapades when the series returns Tuesday.
"I can't get any more naked," he says in mock exasperation during a visit to Toronto before shooting began on Season 2.
"Well, I probably could."
Last year's shenanigans featured the cocky Schmidt parading around the loft in a too-short kimono, being hospitalized for a sex-related penis injury and reminiscing about his fat days in college — a recurring gag that requires Greenfield to undergo two-hours of makeup from Oscar-nominated artist Matthew Mungle.
"I think they needed to throw someone under the bus and they chose me because they thought, 'He's got a good attitude, he's dumb enough to do anything that we ask him to, and not really think about it,'" says Greenfield, who received an Emmy nomination for his work on the show.
"And that's what kind of happened. Had I known better, I probably would have told these people: 'Hey, you know, maybe I won't do that today.' I'd take a stand for myself. But I didn't and now I've been humiliated on national television over and over and over again."
Greenfield admitted to having no clue as to what's in store for his outlandish character in Season 2, but since his Canadian visit much has been revealed about Tuesday's return: Jess is laid off from her teaching job and forced to re-evaluate her life, again.
Of course, last year the season kicked off with Jess redefining herself after getting out of a long-term relationship and moving in with a bunch of guys, including the over-the-top Schmidt, the neurotic Nick (Jake Johnson) and aimless Winston (Lamorne Morris).
This time her professional upheaval leads to some questionable decisions, including becoming a "shot girl" at a party thrown by Schmidt, where she has to work alongside a very jaded cocktail waitress (played by guest star Parker Posey).
A second episode airs an hour later (after the debut of sitcom "Ben and Kate") with Jess inadvertently catching the attention of a beer delivery guy, and then pretending to be someone else when a handsome stranger thinks she is his blind date. Meanwhile, a regular at Nick's bar claims to be Nick from the future, and Winston's disapproving mother — who strongly dislikes Schmidt — comes to visit.
While "New Girl" is unquestionably Deschanel's vehicle, Greenfield says he's pleased to see how the cast — which also includes Canadian actress Hannah Simone as Jess's gal pal Cece — has gelled into a true ensemble.
"It would be very hard for a show these days to kind of live with one character as your lead," says Greenfield, whose politically incorrect character even has his own coffee table book, "The Douche Journals: The Definitive Account of One Man's Genius," from HarperCollins Canada.
"The fact that we have five and can kind of go in between and make moves and tell a story from kind of anyone's perspective is really nice but at the end of the day I do think the show works best with Jess as the centre of the show. But yeah, I think (an ensemble) was always kind of the plan and thank goodness that it worked."
"New Girl" returns to Fox and Citytv on Tuesday with two new episodes.