When New Girl first graced our screens on September 20, 2011, it brought a breath of fresh air to the world of romantic sitcoms. Created by television genius Liz Meriwether, who was known for her work on No Strings Attached, the show introduced us to the eccentric but lovable residents of Apartment 4D.
Zooey Deschanel portrayed the ever-optimistic schoolteacher Jessica Day, known as Jess. Her best friend Cece, played by Hannah Simone, added fierceness and humor to the mix.
Joining them were three male roommates: Jake Johnson as Nick, the self-deprecating bartender; Max Greenfield as Schmidt, the materialistic and comically confident ladies’ man; and Damon Wayans Jr. as Coach, the macho personal trainer who had his struggles with communication. Later, Lamorne Morris joined as Winston, the cat-loving former pro basketball player.
The show didn’t go unnoticed at award ceremonies. In its first season, New Girl received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Casting, Outstanding Main Title Design, Outstanding Lead Actress (Zooey Deschanel), and Outstanding Supporting Actor (Max Greenfield). Although it didn’t secure these awards, it garnered recognition from various other bodies and became a favorite among viewers.
Now, let’s dive into the top 10 New Girl episodes that continue to make us laugh, cry, and fall in love with the gang from Apartment 4D all over again.
10. “The Landlord” (Season 1, Episode 12)
“People can be good. You just have to give them a chance to show you.” — Jess
The gang’s lease dispute takes center stage in “The Landlord.” When Jess requests that their intimidating landlord Remy (played by Jeff Kober) fix safety issues in their apartment, things take a hilarious turn. With the revelation that four people are living in a three-person apartment, the roommates must navigate extreme diplomacy. This episode strikes a perfect balance between humor and heart, culminating in Schmidt’s memorable New Year’s sentiment: “Everything is easy when you are a battleship, invading the bay of success.”
9. “Jess and Julia” (Season 1, Episode 11)
“I’m about to go pay this fine, and my checks have baby farm animals on them, bitch!” — Jess
Lizzy Caplan guest-stars as Julia, Nick’s self-serious attorney girlfriend. In “Jess and Julia,” Jess confronts Julia’s dismissal of her more feminine traits, leading to misunderstandings with Nick. This episode explores the show’s feminist perspective, allowing Jess to celebrate her strengths while pondering the complexities of womanhood. It’s a charming and enlightening episode.
8. “Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)
“Did you just make up a theme song for yourself?” — Nick
The pilot episode of New Girl launches with an unforgettable cold open that explains how Jess ends up living with three male roommates. This episode sets the stage for the endearing friendships and humor that we would come to love. It’s a perfect introduction to the quirky gang.
7. “Thanksgiving IV” (Season 4, Episode 9)
“Listen up: For whoever picked me, I just want you to know that I have really gotten into feet lately, so do with that what you will.” — Winston
Thanksgiving on New Girl has its share of hilarious moments, but “Thanksgiving IV” takes the crown. Schmidt invents “Bangsgiving,” a holiday where each loft member must find a date for a sexy Thanksgiving party. As expected, chaos and humor ensue, making this episode a riotous affair.
6. “Background Check” (Season 4, Episode 6)
“I’ve never seen someone sweat so much in my life. It looks like your body is crying.” — Sergeant Dorado
“Background Check” delivers top-notch humor as an LAPD officer assesses Winston’s suitability for the police force. However, things spiral into chaos when Jess reveals a bag of meth hidden in her closet. The gang’s frantic efforts to conceal the drugs from Winston and the assessor create a comedy of errors.
5. “Prince” (Season 3, Episode 14)
“I’m not familiar with this term ‘finger guns.’ Can you elaborate?” — Prince
“Prince” is a special episode featuring the legendary musician Prince in his final acting role before his untimely passing. When the gang is invited to a party at Prince’s house, Nick’s impromptu “I love you” to Jess sets off a chain of events. The collaboration with Prince added a magical touch to the show.
4. “Landing Gear” (Season 5, Episode 22)
“Look, if it made sense, it wouldn’t be my wedding.” — Schmidt
In the Season 5 finale, Schmidt and Cece’s wedding plans are thrown into chaos due to an airplane delay. Schmidt’s heartfelt efforts to convince Cece’s mother to attend the wedding add depth to their relationship. “Landing Gear” expertly blends humor with emotional moments, making it a standout episode.
3. “Quick Hardening Caulk” (Season 2, Episode 19)
“I don’t want some janky freshwater bitch fish, Winston.” — Schmidt
“Quick Hardening Caulk” is a pivotal episode for Nick and Jess’s relationship. While navigating a hardware store, unresolved feelings from Season 1 resurface, leading to hilarious and touching moments. Schmidt’s quiet pining for Cece, symbolized by his fascination with a lionfish, adds depth to his character.
2. “Pepperwood” (Season 2, Episode 14)
“I’m from Chicago. Thin crust pizza? No, thank you. I’m from Chicago.” — Sergeant Pepperwood
“Pepperwood” takes an unusual turn as Nick adopts the persona of Julius Pepperwood, an ex-cop investigating a suspicious student in Jess’s class. This episode sets the stage for the growing tension between Nick and Jess, culminating in a private moment in the hallway. It’s a comedic gem that foreshadows their romantic development.
1. “Cooler” (Season 2, Episode 15)
“I think it might be gang related. I’ve always been worried about my blue curtains.” — Jess
“Cooler” is the top-rated episode of New Girl for good reason. It features a memorable game of True American that leads to Nick and Jess being trapped in a closet while the rest of the gang chants “KISS! KISS! KISS!” This iconic episode solidifies New Girl as one of the best rom-com sitcoms in television history.
In conclusion, New Girl remains a beloved gem in the world of sitcoms, thanks to its unique blend of quirky humor, endearing characters, and heartfelt moments. These ten episodes, ranging from hilarious mishaps to poignant revelations, capture the essence of what made the show so special.
From the very beginning with the unforgettable “Pilot” episode to the iconic “Cooler,” which solidified Nick and Jess’s budding romance, the series showcased the enduring power of friendship, love, and laughter.
As we revisit these episodes, we’re reminded of the brilliant writing and performances that made New Girl a fan favorite. Whether it’s dealing with complicated relationships, navigating life’s absurdities, or simply finding joy in each other’s company, the gang from Apartment 4D always delivered moments that made us laugh and touched our hearts.
So, whether you’re rewatching the series or discovering it for the first time, these episodes are a testament to the lasting charm of New Girl. They continue to bring smiles to our faces and remind us why this show holds a special place in the hearts of its fans.