New Girl came to an end in April after seven seasons. The bad news: in the age of Netflix, I don’t have cable, so I thought I’d have to wait another year to binge the last eight episodes. The good news: my roommate has Hulu, so I was finally able to watch the ending last week. The other bad news: New Girl is officially over.
It feels like the end of an era. This is the show I always go back to when I finish bingeing something new. It’s been my favorite feel-good background-noise show for years. (Unlike shows like Game of Thrones, which require my full attention at all times.) I’m sure it still will be, but there’s something bittersweet about seeing bows tied on every loose end in the characters’ lives, assuming they all live happily ever after, with no new stories or messes to watch them get themselves out of anymore.
In honor of it ending, here are 14 reminders of why New Girl is one of the best shows on television in recent times:
1. Jess is unapologetically herself
She’s weird and girly, but also strong and independent. She sometimes cares what other people think of her, but she knows who she is and she’s proud of that. She’s the perfect female protagonist. Also she rocks a lot of polka dots.
2. True American
A running joke throughout all seven seasons of the show is True American, an incredibly complicated drinking game that’s part life-sized Candyland and part “the floor is lava.”
I remember playing True American with my roommates my senior year of college. Well, I mostly remember everyone being beyond drunk and calling it True American. I don’t think I ever really understood the rules, but luckily someone created playable rules that can be found here.
3. Winston’s outfit choices
Winston is colorblind, but he always wears very vibrant shirts, often with some kind of bird pattern.
And when he’s not wearing a bird shirt, how about a hoodie as pants? Not many characters could get away with this, but the hoodie is never even mentioned, because for some reason it’s not that far out of the realm of possibility of things Winston would do.
4. The Douchebag Jar
Schmidt can be a real douchebag, and his roommates try to keep him in check by making him add money to the “Douchebag Jar” for all the ridiculous things he does and says.
The night he meets Cece, she has him add $5 to the jar for saying, “Girl, I’m gonna marry you.” Spoilers: he does marry her.
5. The minor characters
All the minor characters on New Girl are somehow even stranger than the main characters. Tran is a mute old man who spends all his time alone on a park bench, until Nick meets him and falls in (platonic, obviously) love with him, refusing to leave him alone. Outside Dave is a crazy homeless man who lives outside the gang’s building. And then there’s Nadia, Cece’s Russian model roommate, who breaks Schmidt’s penis and finds it hilarious.
6. Jess dates her cousin
Robby is one of those minor characters who shows up throughout the series that we never really get to know until he eventually dates Jess in season six. At first, he seems like the perfect match for Jess. Eventually it’s revealed that he’s actually her cousin. No wonder they have so much in common.
Winston cat-sits for a girl he’s dating, and upon finding out she’s seeing other people, has the idea to kill her cat, Furguson. Instead, he keeps him and loves him like his own child for the rest of the show.
8. Nick is the world’s most relatable/lovable hot mess
Nick Miller is a borderline alcoholic who dropped out of law school to become a bartender, and has dreams of writing a zombie novel. He’s bad at talking about his feelings, and he’s worse at paying off debts. Yet despite all his shortcomings, it’s impossible not to absolutely love him.
9. Nick & Schmidt’s bromance
For a womanizing douchebag, Schmidt can very easily pass for gay, especially when it comes to his love for Nick. They’ve kissed more times than you’d think two straight dude roommates would.
But their love is so pure.
10. Schmidt & Cece’s Bachelor/Bachelorette parties
But Schmidt’s true soulmate is, of course, Cece. And even better than their wedding are the “parties” leading up to their wedding. A very high Jess and Cece destroy a breadmaker Schmidt’s mom sent them as a wedding gift, and find themselves in a store’s “jail” after trying to shoplift a new one. Meanwhile, the boys start a fight with a biker gang. What better way to celebrate true love?
11. All the characters follow their dreams on their own time
While New Girl is mostly ridiculous, there are some good lessons to take from it too, such as the importance of following your dreams, whatever they may be, and not putting a time limit on success. Winston never knew what he wanted in life until he made the decision to become a cop. Jess turns down “better” job offers because she loves being a teacher. Cece makes the decision against going back to school, because school isn’t for everyone. And while Nick never has any luck with his zombie novel, he does eventually become a bestselling novelist with his Pepperwood series.
12. Winston’s pranks
Winston loves pranks, but he doesn’t quite understand them. His pranks are always either too small, like sticking a feather in someone’s shoe, or too big, like getting married.
13. Thanksgiving episodes
Every season, there’s a disastrous Thanksgiving episode. In season 1, it was a turkey in a dryer and the roommates discovering a dead neighbor’s body. Season 2, Jess tries to get her divorced parents back together to no avail. In season 3, they spend Thanksgiving camping and Nick decides they’ll only eat whatever food they hunt/gather in the wild. Jess ends up eating a diseased fish and needs to be hospitalized. And season 4 introduced “Bangsgiving,” a Schmidt-invented holiday where they bring dates for each other to sleep with.
14. Jess & Nick’s relationship
Obviously the greatest thing about New Girl is the underlying love story that takes the entire series to make happen. Nick loves Jess from the moment she steps in to their loft, but it takes them seven years to make it work. For most of the series, they’re roommates and best friends who care about each other above all else, but aren’t sure if a romantic relationship would work, or if it’s even something the other is interested in. Their relationship is beyond dysfunctional, but totally relatable.
I felt for Jess during season six when she knew she loved Nick and was no longer sure if she could handle being friends with him. I’ve been there. Honestly, I’m still there. So of course I sobbed when they finally got together at the end of the season.
But I didn’t cry during their wedding a season later, because Jess looked like a pirate.