On April 9, 2012, Fox renewed New Girl for a second season, which premiered on September 25, 2012.   Parker Posey guest starred as a "shot girl" at a party thrown by Schmidt in the season premiere episode "Re-Launch"; Leslie Mann was originally cast in the role, but pulled out due to a scheduling conflict.  Raymond J. Barry guest starred as "Old Nick" — an older drunk man who frequents Nick's bar, claiming to be Nick — from the future.  Niecy Nash , David Walton and Eric Winter all signed on as guest stars for the second season. However, Walton was the only actor out of three that appeared in the series, he appeared in a recurring role as Jess' love interest, Sam, first appearing in the episode "Katie".  Rachael Harris reprised her role as Jess' boss, Tanya Lamontagne in episode "Re-Launch".  Maria Thayer guest starred as Amelia in the Halloween episode, a woman from Nick's college days.  Carla Gugino guest starred in a three-episode stint as Schmidt's new boss, Emma.  Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner guest starred as Jess' parents in the Thanksgiving episode.  Rob Riggle also guest starred as Schmidt's cousin in the Thanksgiving episode.  Olivia Munn guest starred in a three-episode arc as Angie, a love interest for Nick.  Brenda Song appeared in a recurring role as Daisy, a love interest for Winston. Brooklyn Decker also guest starred in Song's introductory episode, appearing as Holly. Nate Corddry also guest starred in an episode.  Odette Annable guest starred as Nick's new boss and love interest, Shane, in the episode "Quick Hardening Caulk"; It was previously reported that Annable's role would be recurring, however, she only appeared in one episode.  Margo Martindale , Nick Kroll and Bill Burr guest starred as Nick's mother, brother and cousin, respectively.   Dermot Mulroney reprised his role as Russell from the previous season. Merritt Wever played Elizabeth, Schmidt's old girlfriend from college, in the last four episodes of the season.  Taylor Swift guest starred in the season finale "Elaine's Big Day", playing the episode's titular character.  
With Kasdan's advice to cast good actors and write for them instead of shoehorning them into the other roles, Meriwether was prepared to deviate from her pitched characters during casting.  Basing Nick Miller on a friend also surnamed Miller,  she originally imagined Nick as the smartest one of the group who doesn't need to say that  and thought of him as "the everyman one, who's stepping away and commenting on what all the crazy people are doing around him."  She sent the New Girl pilot script to movie actor Jake Johnson , with whom she had enjoyed working on No Strings Attached .  As he had never auditioned for a TV pilot, she guided him through the audition process.  Casting was done mainly through chemistry tests, and Johnson auditioned with Max Greenfield , who impressed the producers in his first audition as Schmidt.  The actors auditioning for Schmidt were more varied in appearance than those auditioning for Nick,  and Johnson and Greenfield were initially worried that they looked too much alike.  Johnson got the role of Nick after he agreed to lose 15 pounds at the network's request;  Greenfield learned the same day that he was cast.