Directors on TV shows often do a few episodes at a time, are handed a script featuring established characters and relationships and are dealing with a cast who are already good friends.
Jake Kasdan is one such director. He talked to The Hollywood Report about the most difficult New Girl episode he had to direct and how he coped.
"The challenge was how to do this episode without reaching for punch lines but finding stuff that is genuinely funny within it. We don't usually do episodes about death, grief, unresolved issues with your parents. We tried different ideas of who would dress as Elvis because you know it's going to look funny, but you also don't know exactly how it's going to play. There was a version where it's the Elvis impersonator, and then Liz [Meriwether, the show's creator] had a moment where she was like, "Jess! It's Jess! Jess should be Elvis!"
It's scary because you are so deeply committed to a big conceptual thought, and when you get there, you have to figure out the details of it -- where we're laughing, where it seems sad, where Zooey sings too beautifully, how you play the reactions -- and not get so preposterous that it takes the weight out of the moment.
Once Zooey started, it was immediately clear that it was going to be poignant and funny and hopefully a scene that you haven't seen before."
FOUR and The Hollywood Reporter