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Jessica "Jess" Day
Played By: Zooey Deschanel
"If we're going to do a shenanigan, I'm fine with doing shenanigans! I love shenanigans! As long as no one gets hurt."
- Adorkable: With a healthy dose of "silly" thrown in for good measure. She does become considerably more responsible as the show goes on, however.
- Affectionate Nickname: Jess' mom calls her "Jujube."
- Ascended Fangirl: Gets invited by Prince to join him on stage during the aptly named episode.
- Ascended Meme: The second episode of season 2 had Jess being called Katy.
- Bad Liar: Not as bad as Nick (as she doesn't have a blatant tell) but it's just bad acting.
- Berserk Button: "I told you to water the plants..."
- Beware the Nice Ones: She's a very kind, and caring friend, but don't cross her. Just don't.
- Beware the Silly Ones: One second she's apologetically handing you library cards and cookie fortunes to pay the gas bill, the next she's threatening to castrate you with her feet.
- Blithe Spirit: She's actually closer to this than MPDG, especially as the series progresses, giving her more characterization and depth.
- Birds of a Feather: Jess and Winston geek out together and get into weird situations no one else would join them in.
- Break the Cutie: A gentle version of this happened to Jess at the beginning of Season 2. She became so downtrodden and discouraged (not to mention broke) by her professional efforts not working out that she essentially turned into the apartment's new Nick.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Jess frequently slips in and out of a variety of accents, usually when trying to defuse a tense situation.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: She's odd and she sings, but she's got a solid philosophy on keeping her students encouraged, is a well of information, and by and large seems to get their respect.
- Character Tics: Jess will randomly burst into song for no reason.
- Character Title: She's the titular new girl.
- Catch-Phrase: Usually says "welcome to our home" or some variant of it when someone from outside the loft comes into an awkward situation inside.
- Cheerful Child: So very much in the flashbacks to her as a six-year-old.
- Character Exaggeration/Flanderization: Typecasting example. She is like an exaggerated version of the characters Zooey normally plays.
- Jess is some kind of parody/subversion/deconstruction/lampshading/discussion of Zooey's past characters/the MPDG.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Nick even points out that she runs herself ragged trying to help everyone.
- Cloudcuckoolander: The boys really aren't quite sure what to make of her sometimes. Played for Laughs of course.
- Cool Teacher: Her students love her, except for a single bully... whom she puts in her place by making her stand up and perform a duet in front of the class.
- Covert Pervert: She's really awkward about surprise roommate genitalia, but it's frequently underlined that she's in touch with her sexuality (nervous about not being good, but not nervous about having urges). And girl knows how to flirt.
- Crazy-Prepared: Packed a sewing kit, stain remover, and a box of 100 condoms for a one night stand, as well as spraying her entire body with perfume in case. Keeps a feelings stick in her purse, picks up Cece from a club with pretzels, bakes in anticipation of confrontations, and if she plans something — a last-minute birthday party, a science day presentation — it will be elaborate.
- Cute Bruiser/Girly Bruiser: She's known for a mean tackle.
- Judging by Nick's offscreen swearing, that punch really hurt.
- Cute, but Cacophonic: She has a deep, slightly raspy voice to start with. Then there's her off-key singing and general exuberantly noisy tendencies.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: She habitually screams "IT'S HAPPENING!" while falling over.
- Nick's terror at the thought of her with a rifle is so, so justified.
- "You tripped the other day just standing there!"
- Cuteness Proximity: Gets distracted from a violent, hurried struggle for a parking space by cats sitting on her car. On another occasion she gets distracted from an intense argument because she sees a cat.
- The Cutie: Big eyes, high-waisted shorts, a cell phone case with bunny ears.
- Drink Order: Her default since the pilot has been rosé.
- Drives Like Crazy: Lots of sharp, sudden swerves and and the occasional sharp, sudden U-turn on crowded main streets. Also blocking an intersection to avoid hitting a bird, but what're you gonna do when there's a life at stake?
- Feminine Women Can Cook: She enjoys baking, and is seen cooking eggs without incident, but she needed help making Thanksgiving dinner and her cooking has been otherwise criticized by Schmidt, who does most of the cooking in the house. She can, however, make clothes.
- Flanderization: Inverted. The majority of her early characterization was essentially based around how awkward, quirky, socially stunted, insecure, and otherwise ditzy she was. Come season two and she's evolved into a more complex character who's quirks are only a part of her character, similar to the others, as opposed to the only thing about her. Likewise, her wardrobe and makeup went from being more youthful to more sophisticated.
- Formerly Fat: Flashbacks of her in grade school show her to be this.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic.
- Friend to All Children: With the exception of one of her students, kids and young adults always seem to take to her.
- Friend to All Living Things: Sobbed over a cute dead puppy, bonded with a rhinoceros, even named a frozen turkey she intended to cook. Her response to a strange new roommate smuggling a wild animal into the loft was favorable.
- Genki Girl: And yet less so than her mother.
- Girl Friday: She's Nick's. Lampshaded by him writing a story about a sleuthing duo based on them.
- Girl Next Door: She's Nick's Girl Across the Hall. Not that there's much about her that's average, but she's got a down-home quality compared to most of the girlfriends he's had.
- Girly Run
- Glurge Addict
- Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: She can be completely blind to people's ulterior motives until it blows up in her face.
- She also finds it fundamentally strange that anyone would not be into desserts.
- Gratuitous French: She seems to tend toward this or French accents in particular.
- Hairstyle Inertia: She's had pretty much the same cut her whole life.
- Happy Dance: A major form of communication for Jess.
- Hates Being Alone: Gets epically bored and paranoid.
- Dying Alone: She repeatedly cites a fear that this will happen (emotionally speaking).
- The Hero/The Chick: The hero of the story, the chick of the group.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: When Jess finally faces that her parents really never will get back together, she goes catatonic, and then silently tries to shove the Thanksgiving turkey down the garbage disposal.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Cece. And with her mom. They have a contingency plan of retiring to Miami together, eating cat food, and solving crimes.
- Hippie Teacher: Vaguely, but Dreamcess must count for something.
- Hollywood Nerd: Giant glasses, love of old movies, smoking hot? Yep.
- Hot Teacher: Occasionally commented on. She even dated the father of one of her students.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Jess resolves on doing this for Nick in the Season 1 finale.
- Nick's dad told her Nick had always wanted a horse. So she bought Nick a horse.
- The Ingenue: Especially apparent compared to Nick's girlfriends, who are often foils for Jess.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Giant blue eyes, which are often commented on.
- Insufferable Genius: She's kind of a know-it-all.
- Lampshade Hanging: She's rather self-aware about how bizarre or childlike people can sometimes find her."I essentially used my face as a butterknife. I don't think I'm ready to bring new life into the world."
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: The Light to Cece's Dark.
- Like an Old Married Couple: With Nick. They literally bicker about milk.
- Like Brother and Sister: After moving past a brief attempted kiss (Schmidt) and an aborted attempt to sleep with (Jess), Jess and Schmidt seem to have settled into this dynamic.
- Like Mother, Like Daughter
- The Mad Hatter: She knows she's kind of ridiculous. She's cool with it.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Well, she is played by Zooey Deschanel, after all, and she's certainly livening up soulless, sheltered, emotionless Nick. Ultimately deconstructs the trope as she's the protagonist of the show, she's given her own characterization, and she's just as much of a mess as the guys. By season 4 she has become Team Mom.
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses: In-universe, she has contacts, but sharp-eyed viewers will notice they're just frames with no lenses.
- Motor Mouth: Chatty, opinionated, and has no trouble saying whatever comes to mind, however strange or unsettling. Nick has suggested a couple of times that he would like her to be more quiet.
- Nerds Are Sexy: She really thinks Paul is a hottie, and he's even nerdier than her.
- Nice Girl: She does really care for her friends.
- Deconstructed in the series 4 episode "Coming Out", where her need for people to like her seriously interferes with her ability to do her job as vice-principal.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Basically, Jess' life is her trying to be helpful and thus walking into or unintentionally creating some kind of disaster.
- Non-Nude Bathing: She always comes out of the shower either in a swimsuit or already in her towel.
- Odd Friendship: With Cece and Nick.
- One Born Every Minute: She will believe anything.
- One of the Kids: Among other things, she has a collection of "heartwarming films" with a usual audience of about age ten, loves prop teeth and bubbles, and gets totally distracted by ice cream.
- On the Rebound: Jess tries to have a rebound fling, but she has issues with getting attached. After another relationship, she has a rebound backslide where she hooks up with an old exboyfriend.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Jess is generally pretty gentle, so on those occasions where she does raise her voice or throw her weight around, the others are taken aback and stop offering resistance because this is obviously a big deal. As with other initial aspects of her character, as she's developed over the first season, this has become less of an issue. Now she bickers as much as the rest of the loftmates and it's not really treated as anything particularly unusual.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: In front of her ex-boyfriend and his current girlfriend, no less.Sam: I would love to explore all of this with you, but I have a circumcision to perform.Jess: Hopefully not your own. —Just kidding. I know you're circumcised. Ha, ha. Yeah. ...Well, not that I think about it, it just, I mean, I'm definitely not picturing it right now. [pause] I am picturing it. [pause] Only 'cause we talked about it.
- Overprotective Parents: Jess' parents wouldn't let her eat candy growing up (so she would sneak it), and when they find out she once accidentally ate a pot brownie, they freak out and start worrying she's become a drug-addicted prostitute.
- Perpetual Smiler: Discussed.
- Platonic Life-Partners: She and Nick fell into a domestic pattern long before they got together.
- Plucky Girl
- The Pollyanna: As she develops, it becomes clear that she's not impervious to bad moods, but she makes a concerted effort to focus on the plus side. Get laid off and hate your new job? Think about all that free time you have now! Your roommate spends half your life together pissing you off with his constant negativity? Appreciate all that's good about him and encourage him to be his best self!
- Proper Tights with a Skirt: She rarely wears her miniskirts (or shorts) without them.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: She's very pale with long dark hair.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: With Nick.
- Sensei-chan: More childish than some of her students.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: For someone who spends as much time as possible in bedclothes and tends toward costumes that make her look grungy if not outright misshapen, she really does know how to make herself look good.
- Shipper on Deck: For Schmidt/Cece.
- Silk Hiding Steel: She's sweet and cute and initially comes off as helpless, but she can handle herself and do so with class. She even has a monologue about not underestimating her just because she seems girlish.
- Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Okay, she has a nicer way of saying it. It isn't necessarily that she's blindly perky all the time; she gets upset, but she considers that positivity is a more effective/productive way of getting through life. It comes to a head when she confronts Nick about accusing her of "not knowing how to be real" and tells him he needs to put more effort into his life.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She has a bit of a traditional approach to her romances; she just wants a good guy and takes relationships seriously.
- Sliding Scale of Beauty: Jess is considered Special Average.
- Stupid Sexy Friend: All three of the guys have fallen into that trap with regard to Jess, but it happens to Nick repeatedly (so much so there was an episode devoted to it).
- Sweater Girl: Colorful or patterned fitted sweaters are a thing with her, often paired with a flouncy miniskirt.
- Sweet Tooth: She finds it fundamentally strange that anyone couldn't be a dessert person. That's just weird and it freaks her out.
- She wasn't allowed sugar as a kid, so as an adult she compensates by living in a world of pastries of her own making.
- Team Mom: Basically, you will take care of yourself or she will do it for you.
- Tsundere: Type B.
- Unkempt Beauty: At home chances are she's padding around in pajamas, messy hair, and glasses too big for her face, and sometimes she's got confusing taste in clothes, but it would really strain credibility to claim she isn't pretty. Her wandering around in her bathrobe is Nick's "catnip."
- Womanchild: Ultimately averted. She has playful and silly mannerisms and a wide-eyed outlook, but she's responsible and self-sufficient and has been a mature emotional support for others.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: No pun intended about her massive eyes, but she is way too quick to see the good in everything. When she was a kid, a creepy man in a van pulled up to her and asked her if she liked candy... when she said yes, his grandma in the back opened the door and he said she made too much.
- You Are Not Alone: Her unflinching approach to loved ones in need."I know you don't want to be alone. But I'm going to be there!"
Nicholas "Nick" Miller
Played By: Jake Johnson
"You know what sucks about getting older? Your friends have known you for way too long. They've got too much on you. I want friends who still lie to me 'cause they don't want to hurt my feelings. I sadly kind of mean that."
- Adorkable: Jess seems to bring this out in him more than anyone else.
- Always Save the Girl
- Berserk Button: Hurting or deceiving Jess. And that's just the top among many others.
- Be Yourself: He has a hard time doing this, and it always screws him over.
- Biggus Dickus: He was absolutely glowing when he got compliments for the picture he accidentally texted Jess of his "prize hog."
- Book Dumb: He doesn't know much about Ernest Hemingway. He talked about wanting to eat his way out of a sandwich house. Like Hemingway.
- Brilliant, but Lazy
- Broken Bird: His home life was a disaster.
- Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: With Jess. Works because her thing is more being nice to him (and others) rather than dragging him (or others) into unfamiliar scenarios.
- Butt-Monkey: It seems the writers aren't happy until they can put Nick through at least one painfully humiliating and unhappy experience per episode. However, by season 4 he is able to hold down a relationship (with Kai, although it doesn't last) and the Butt Monkey status is more evenly distributed around the cast.
- Cannot Keep a Secret / Cannot Tell a Lie: He breaks into blatant nervous sweats.
- Carpet of Virility: He's a far, far cry from Robin Williams territory, but he's easily the hairiest guy in the house. Kind of insecure about it, but then he's insecure about everything.
- Catch-Phrase: "This is my nightmare."
- Character Tics: That scrunched-up grimace of bewilderment and/or disgust he frequently makes. Dubbed his "turtle face" by Jess.
- Chicago: Nick hails from the Windy City.
- Chick Magnet: Ironically. It surprises him too. Not that he's necessarily so good at keeping the women.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Groomed for this from an early age.
- Closet Geek
- Conspiracy Theorist: Mildly.
- The Cynic: Oh so very much. He makes House look fluffy and optimistic by comparison.
- Daddy Issues: He's distrustful of the entire concept of "fathers." Justified, justified, JUSTIFIED.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Ditzy Genius
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: He's quite a woobie but, if you value your life, you'll never treat him like one.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Hoo boy.
- Embarrassing Nickname: His dad calls him Little Penis and tells his friends about where the name came from, making him a possibly unique case where showing people his naked baby pictures might actually be preferable.
- Enemy to All Living Things: "Nick hates living things." It's not always on purpose, but he just doesn't have the patience or he hasn't the first clue what the hell to do. Once, he encountered a flower, and literally the only thing he could think to do was kick it and run away.
- Except turtles. He likes turtles.
- Evil Laugh: He's very fond of the memory of stealing a frisbee from some kids who were foolish enough to fly it into his yard. When he was also a kid. He still uses that frisbee as a dish. He also spent an entire episode miming maniacal cackling behind his friends' backs after pulling pranks that approached gaslighting territory.
- Face Your Fears: He's scared of like... life, pretty much. He tries to overcome his many, many neuroses with varying degrees of success (or utter and complete disastrous failure).
- Fatal Flaw: Nick does not like confronting problems and will run anywhere to avoid them.
- Flair Bartending: He wishes.
- Fool for Love
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Responsible to little brother Jamie's Foolish.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric.
- Fragile Flower: It isn't necessarily crying (though there's a lot of that), but it takes very little to get him to break down one way or another.Schmidt: Nick is delicate, like a flower. A chubby, damaged flower who hates himself.
- Grand Romantic Gesture: He's surprisingly full of 'em.
- Grumpy Bear: He's very dour and often tries to bring the group down when they're over-enthusiastic about something.
- Grumpy Old Man: In spirit. Cece compares him to Walter Matthau. And yes, he's been that way since he was a kid.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: To an almost absurd degree.
- Happy Dance: Nick tends to make up dances in order to make people happy. It's never worked.
- Hard Drinking Party Guy: Likes a drink.
- Has a Type: He's gone for a lot of light-eyed brunettes since Jess moved in.
- The Heart: Despite being emotionally removed, he's the closest with each of the other three roommates.
- It's often his angsty life situations that serve to bring everybody together.
- Hot-Blooded: So very much.
- Often feels discouraged from putting effort into things, but when he commits, holy crap.
- I Can't Dance: It doesn't always stop him, though.
- I Have to Go Iron My Dog: This is Nick when nervous. If he actually used ironing his dog as an excuse, it wouldn't be a surprise coming from him.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: He will do effectively anything for Jess.
- I Want to Be a Real Man
- In Love with Love: It's why he gets back with Caroline. Though if you point that out to him, there will be screaming.
- In Vino Veritas: The times he actually gets genuinely drunk he's usually pretty candid.
- Inelegant Blubbering: He cries the most of anyone on the show.
- Hypocritical Humor: He mocks Schmidt for crying.
- Jade-Colored Glasses: And he will go to self-abusive extremes to prove he's right in this.
- Jaded Washout: A pretty big part of why he is so cynical and unhappy.
- Jerkass Has a Point: He gave Paul a hard time and told Jess he didn't like him in pretty abrasive terms. Not only did Paul turn out to be unwilling to compromise with Jess about their relationship, but he is later revealed to have cheated on his girlfriend with an unknowing Jess.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: It comes from cynicism rather than any actual Jerkishness.
- Kavorka Man: According to himself, that is; he thinks lowly of himself and often questions why women are into him. But he's very much not a Kavorka Man in terms of personality.
- Knight in Sour Armor: He almost always does the right thing for people. He's just rarely happy about it.
- The Lancer: To Jess.
- Like an Old Married Couple: With Jess. This is before they get together.
- Limited Wardrobe: His style seems to consist solely of plaid shirts and denim which fits his characterization quite well. There's also those hoodies he hides under sometimes.
- Living Emotional Crutch: Kind of everyone's, especially Schmidt's and his family's.
- Middle Child Syndrome: The logical conclusion from his having a (very childish) younger brother and rather large nieces and nephews from an unseen (but once-mentioned) older brother. His needs being ignored by his family is compounded by his having to always look after their needs.
- Most Writers Are Writers: There have been implications that his interest is in writing, such as using that as an excuse to get out of a doctor's appointment, or his having written half a novel. Based on some references he's made, he also seems to have high and varied literary tastes (or pretensions, anyway).
- Mr. Fixit: The roommates are all afraid of the landlord, so if something goes wrong, everybody goes yelling for him instead. He likes working with his hands and gets very creative with his handiwork, whether in repairing something or methodically destroying it.
- Nice Guy: He's overall a very good guy despite having a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas.
- The Nicknamer: If Nick doesn't like you, he doesn't use your name.
- "Clown" and "Kid" in particular are recurring.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: The Noble to Schmidt's Roguish.
- No Indoor Voice: He kind of almost always sounds like he's barking at somebody even when he's not upset (which isn't often).
- Odd Friendship: Of the three guys, he seems to be closest with Jess which is unusual considering that she's perpetually cheery and he considers smiling a sign of weakness. He's also best friends with Schmidt though both find the other's lifestyle choice highly objectionable.
- One-Hour Work Week: Justified as he is a bartender. His days are incredibly free.
- Only Sane Man: He thinks of himself as this, telling a date that he's "the voice of reason" among his friends. This is less true than it may appear.
- It's becoming more true again in season 3 given Winston's steady decline into insanity and Schmidt's narcissism raising it's ugly head again.
- Perpetual Frowner: He considers smiling a sign of weakness.
- Perpetual Poverty/The Scrooge: He doesn't actually have much money to be a miser with, but he spends the majority of the first season more employed than Winston and yet way more resistant to spending, to the point where he emphatically refuses to even buy a wallet when pressed.
- For awhile there he can't even afford to replace his cell phone and has, in Winston's words, "The credit rating of a homeless ghost."
- Grew up part of a big family that scraped by on the fruits of his dad's cons, and apparently spent the better part of a year living out of a van when he was six.
- Platonic Life-Partners: He was Jess' willing "boyfriend without the rewards" until he got the rewards.
- The Prankster: He puts more passion (and money) into this than he does into his life. Everyone knows he's pretty much a prank genius.
- Promotion to Parent: Had to take care of his unruly, disorganized family from a young age largely due to his father's unreliability. Probably goes a long way toward explaining his emotional repression, his willingness to rely on do-it-yourself shortcuts, his short-lived sheen of stability, and his ability to be a support through the extremes of others while himself a complete mess who doesn't take care of himself. Not to mention his rage problem.
- Ridiculous Procrastinator: One time, he broke his laptop rather than face his writer's block.
- Ridiculously Average Guy: He's got potential, but it hasn't yet been discovered what for.
- Lampshaded by Schmidt once calling him "average" in a moment of frankness.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Nick really can't handle haunted houses. Or clowns.
- Self-Deprecation: He really hates himself.
- The Slacker: Rears its head at times to horrify you.
- Jess claims he once had a post-it note reminding him to put on pants. And it had a question mark at the end of it.
- The Snark Knight
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside
- Stepford Snarker
- The Stoner: Formerly, and apparently such a notorious case that his mom still brings it up.
- Straight Man: The insanity usually plays out around him.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: To those who don't know him well, he seems really angry and snarky. People who know him better get to see his kind-hearted, goofy side. (But angry and snarky still apply.)
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky
- Team Dad: It's not even that he's got himself together; he's just a magnet for people who come to him for help with everything, so he's developed a habit of doing so.
- The Tell: He sweats when there's lying involved.
- This Loser Is You: Nick is a bartender who dropped out of law school shortly before getting his degree, and comes off as rather bitter.
- Tin Man
- Understanding Boyfriend: Um...he's dating Jess. And he's willing to risk a felony because "if you're going to do something that's obviously very stupid, then I'm going to do it with you."
- The Unsmile: When Nick smiles disingenuously... he suddenly has an awful lot of teeth.
- Uptight Loves Wild: The degree of "wild" varies, but it's a thing with him, probably because he wishes he was more like that. Anyway, he's attracted to Julia's aggression, Jess' lack of self-consciousness, and Angie's...well, all-around wildness.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Schmidt.
- When He Smiles: He spends most of his time scowling and looking unhappy (often because he is). But when he's actually happy and smiles, it's pretty sweet.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Nick is scared crapless of haunted houses (as part of a larger terror of the unexpected).
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: But he'll punch a zombie. Not his fault the zombie was actually a girl.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: He's convinced he's broken, but Jess disagrees.
Played By: Max Greenfield
"But, I mean, can we just take a moment to celebrate me?"
- The Ace: He is this at cunnilingus, which explains a lot. After he's described his technique to OB/GYN Sadie, she doesn't hesitate to admit that he is a "va-genius".
- All Men Are Perverts
- Ambiguously Bi: Possibly.
- At the very least, he seems awfully determined to get a look at Nick's privates in one episode, even attempting to hide in the shower to do so (it doesn't work). And he kisses Nick forcefully right on the mouth on more than one occasion. Then there are those suggestive comments he makes about other guys...
- He's apparently specifically gay for Nick. He couldn't deal with the prospect of kissing Winston. Justified in that Nick was there for him for quite some time when the world was not. While he may not actually be sexually interested in Nick, Schmidt basically doesn't know how to express interest in people in ways that aren't sexual.
- Beauty Is Bad; When he was fat, he was an incredibly sweet guy. Once he lost weight and got handsome, he became a serious Jerkass. Lampshaded by Elizabeth.
- Berserk Button: Do not put your dirty hands anywhere near Schmidt's food.
- The Big Guy/Team Mom
- Can't Hold His Liquor: He has a thing for really low-proof melon liqueur and attempting to swallow whisky makes him scream in pain.
- In another episode, however, he mentions that he was in "two frats because I couldn't decide" and then downs two bottles of alcohol in a very short period of time with no immediate effects.
- Casanova Wannabe
- Chivalrous Pervert: Originally the emphasis was very much on the "pervert", but his chivalrous tendencies surfaced in his protective feelings about Cece, and once he accepted that he was genuinely in love with Cece they flowered in his gentlemanly behaviour towards other women. Beautifully demonstrated in how he breaks up with Fawn: having had to claim in a press conference that he loathes the idea of her wearing underwear, he deliberately stages a freakout in a lingerie shop which makes him look like a huge Jerkass and her the innocent victim, and then walks out, turning only when he's out of the view of the press cameras and giving her a fond smile of farewell.
- Closet Geek: Seemingly hinted at. He apparently was considered a geek when he was in school.
- Cool Loser
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Became so insecure about the male models Cece works with that he accuses her of being an untrustworthy sex worker with bad taste in men (proof being her interest in him), sneaks into her text messages, and breaks up with her "for her own sake."
- Crazy-Prepared: When Schmidt develops an ulcer and is ordered by his doctor to not go to work for a few days, Nick confiscates all his electronic devices, including "a satellite phone with a condom taped to it."Schmidt: My earthquake kit?!
- Cringe Comedy: A lot of his scenes rely on this. Especially the case when he's interested in a woman.
- The Dandy: He has body gelato, and even Cece isn't allowed to touch it.
- The Determinator: To a fault.
- Disappeared Dad: He occasionally references his mother, and a flashback shows him as a child at a large dinner table with only his mother. His dad's never been addressed.
- His dad turns out to have left the family when Schmidt was eight and started a big new happy family with another woman. He's technically still in Schmidt's life, but Schmidt has some issues with him that prevent them being consistently in contact.
- Embarrassing Nickname: "Fat Schmidt." It haunts him. Inverted with "Big Guy" from ex-Elizabeth which references the same thing but in an affectionate way.
- Formerly Fat: He was known for most of his life as "Fat Schmidt." He has a reason for his weight gain, however, and once he was in a healthy relationship, he lost the weight, only to pick up his present day douche-y personality traits.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine (shares this with Coach).
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Nick met him in college and then Schmidt's personality shifts snuck up on him while he wasn't looking. The others do care about him, but his obnoxiousness is hard to live with and makes it difficult to make new friends. They mostly keep him as close as they do because he's the only one who has any money.
- Friends with Benefits: With Cece.
- Handsome Lech: If you're into that.
- Has Two Mommies: He's kind of in denial about his mom being a lesbian.
- Humiliation Conga: Goes through one in season 3. He loses both Elizabeth and Cece, has a Villainous Breakdown when he fails to break Nick and Jess up, finds out his hero Michael Keaton had never written him, got beaten up by a bunch of kids, was swindled by Jess' sister, and after moving out on his own was forced to move back in due to financial difficulties.
- Hypocritical Humor: Schmidt disapproves of Nick picking up all his deliveries because he himself buys everything local, "except, of course, for clothing and produce, medication, water, seasoning, meat."
- I Call Him "Mr. Happy": Or, in Schmidt's case, "Hector J." He also calls Cece's boobs "Harold and Kumar."
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: His attachments tend to include sentiment for a foundation — even his guy friends. He almost never lets any opposite-sex attraction stop at the physical.
- Innocently Insensitive: "How are you not cold right now? Does your brown skin retain heat?"
- It's All About Me: Incredibly self-centered.
- Jerkass: He's definitely the least likable main character in the series, in-universe at least.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: For all his obnoxiousness, when he's needed, he shows up. And sometimes even when he isn't needed. Or wanted.
- Show the slightest disrespect to Cece around him and you are toast.note Schmidt: Cry about that, you dirty old bitch.
- Show the slightest disrespect to Cece around him and you are toast.note
- Jewish and Nerdy: He's very proud of his Jewish heritage (Schmidt: "Judaism, son!") and alludes to his Judaism very often. He appears to hide his nerdiness though, but his status as a secret geek is often hinted at.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Frequently dispenses bad advice or gives lectures with great confidence about information that the others know is wrong.
- Ladykiller in Love: Towards Cece, and when he reconnects with college girlfriend Elizabeth.
- Last-Name Basis: Revealed to be addressed as such because his first name is also Winston. Which cause an odd bit of strife.
- Like Brother and Sister: With Jess.
- Manipulative Bastard: He's not above lying, turning on friends, and using people's vulnerabilities against them to get what he wants or avoid trouble.
- Manly Tears: He's a human being and he's entitled to his emotions.
- Moment Killer: His own, everyone else's...
- My Beloved Smother: Based on the information given, his mother is both emotionally distant and yet controlling, to the point where it drove him to binge eating as a child.
- Neat Freak: To the point of Super OCD.
- Nerd Glasses: He's switched to contacts these days.
- Never My Fault: Blames Nick and Jess for Cece and Elizabeth being hurt, rather than the fact that he was cheating on both of them.
- New York State: Long Island, son.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: The Roguish to Nick's Noble.
- Occidental Otaku: Possibly.
- In "Cece Crashes," he owns a rather short kimono (handwoven ... in China) and tried to defend himself from Winston and Nick's ridicule by associating it with samurais.
- Another episode shows him eating an entire platter of sushi, and an argument with Nick brings up the time Schmidt spilled a Midori Sour on his nana's quilt.
- The One Guy: Schmidt is this at his work place.
- Only Child Syndrome: His mother micromanaged the hell out of his childhood, and now he's a micromanager himself.
- Only One Name: Goes by his last name, Schmidt. The audience doesn't even know his first name until Season 6, when it is revealed to be Winston.
- Porn Stash: There's at least five and a half hours of it on his laptop and apparently he just leaves it on sometimes.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: He believes himself to be very hip, and thinks that Winston's family loves him.
- Pungeon Master: They're bad, but he's full of 'em.
- Real Men Cook: When competing with his cousin, he posits this and claims to be more manly in modern times due to his culinary skills.
- Really Gets Around: Implied. Although he might be exaggerating this to make himself look more impressive.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: He grew up rich and makes a lot of money in his job, which has made him not necessarily clueless but very used to a certain standard of living, willing to throw money at any problems, and unaware that ruining someone's family heirlooms inherited from dead loved ones is not something you can make up for with a check.
- Sensei for Scoundrels:
- Nick goes to him to learn how to be a douchebag and not care about women.
- Jess goes to him to learn how to use "Dice," an Ersatz version of Tinder.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Constantly. He must have squandered at least a month's salary in the "Douchebag Jar."
- Stalking Is Love: His pursuit of Cece at the very least generously approaches this at times.
- Super OCD: Fortunately for him, Nick and Winston are dependent slobs.
- Unwitting Pawn: Frequently, corresponding to Winston's chessmaster.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: When he was fat, he was very sweet. But when he lost the weight he got much douchier. Nick and Elizabeth both comment on it.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Nick.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: A few from his fat days are shown
- Walking Shirtless Scene: At least once every episode Schmidt finds an excuse to employ this trope, usually whenever Cece is around.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Schmidt is terrified of the birdcat (cat raised by birds) which lives on the roof.
- He's also dreadfully afraid of spiders, and becomes increasingly paranoid when he spots one in the loft.
- Workaholic: At least gives the impression of it. He does choose work over other things a lot of times, if only for the income.
- Young and In Charge: He's the youngest in the house — a fact he does not tire of pounding in — and basically head of the household — a fact which he also does not tire of pounding in.
- Your Cheating Heart: He doesn't have the heart to let either one down, so he two-times Cece and Elizabeth. He seems to feel guilty, but it doesn't stop him from doing anything to avoid getting caught, including sell out his friends.
Played By: Lamorne Morris
"I don't know how to talk to women. Reason being: I feel like you all think that I just want one thing from you. ...I want the one thing, but a bunch of other things — can't a man just want all the things?!"
- Action-Hero Babysitter: He reminds the kid he sits for of LeBron James.
- Ascended Fanboy: He gets to work with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The first thing he does is ask to sit on his shoulders.
- Beleaguered Assistant: To cruel and annoying DJ Joe Napoli. They end up getting along, but Joe puts him through a lot of weird stuff.
- Berserk Button: It isn't so much that he has one specific button as it is that he does really, really weird things when upset.
- All In shows us that disturbing his puzzles is a big one. And, on a more serious note, so is being lied to/thrown to the wolves as part of a lie.
- Beware the Quiet Ones
- Birds of a Feather: A non-romantic version of this with Jess.
- Black and Nerdy
- Black Best Friend: To all the other characters, though he himself is also a main character, unlike many characters on the page for this trope.
- The Bully: Formerly. "Brown Lightning!"
- Butt-Monkey: To the point where we feel sorry for him. Winston never can seem to catch a break.
- Cannot Talk to Women: Winston spends so long not getting any action that at one point his desperation steals his ability to speak.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: One sip of a fruity cocktail and he gets... naughty.
- Catch-Phrase: "BOOM!" (And, of course, "Brown Lightning" back in his bullying days.)
- The Chessmaster: He deeply enjoys using Schmidt's ego and cluelessness against him.
- Chicago: Winston hails from the Windy City.
- Childhood Friends: With Nick.
- Closet Geek
- Cloud Cuckoolander
- Crazy Cat Lady: Well, more like "Crazy Cat Guy." After Daisy cheats on him and he's the only single person in the loft, he starts burying his loneliness by over-bonding with his cat.
- Deadpan Snarker: Pretty close to Nick's level.
- Deadly Prank: His complete and utter inability to prank people constantly threatens to lead to this, because his fallback idea is always to beat somebody with a ski.
- Disappeared Dad: His dad abandoned the family when he was three, and as a result, he's transferred his attachment onto Nick's dad.
- Flanderization: Went from being the most normal and laid-back character in season 1, to a bit on the awkward side in season 2 and eventually full-blown crazy in season 3. His decision to become a cop has the effect of making him become more serious and by the time he's become one, he's still eccentric but no longer nuts.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Eclectic.
- Friend to All Children: When Jess agrees to bring a group of troubled kids into their home after school, it initially appears that this will create a lot of trouble...until he shows up, strikes a rapport with the kids, and begins training them to play bells for a concert in the park (It Makes Sense in Context).
- With Elvin at Schmidt's work party. It scores him a job.
- Go-to Alias: Theodore K. Mullins.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: When he gets extremely scared or stressed, he has panic attacks which involve him stripping down to his underwear.
- Hot-Blooded: When he gets either really mad or really engaged in an activity.
- Humble Hero: Played for laughs after he saves a kid from underneath a car, and becomes famous as Officer Bishop, the Carport Hero. He doesn't like this nickname because he prefers people to think of him as "Prank Sinatra", in spite of the fact that he is rubbish at pranks.
- Informed Ability: We haven't really seen him at work, whether it be basketball or radio producing, which he claims to be passionate about.
- Averted in season 5, where Nick goes on patrol with him and his partner, and we see that he's a good cop.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Elvin, a boy he nannied, is arguably his best friend in the first season.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: The only one to side with Jess on wanting a bathtub. He likes to be covered in bubbles.
- Really manifests in his Odd Friendship with Cece.
- Maintain the Lie: Told his mom that instead of being a cop, he was doing a radio show. He then went so far as to create his own radio show and broadcast it on a special frequency only his mom could hear.
- NEET: Jess cracks up at the idea that he might be too busy to come help her when she calls him. Things start looking up eventually.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: He doesn't have so much of a character arc as episodic idiosyncrasies.
- Parental Substitute: He latched onto Nick's dad Walt as a replacement for his own, which Walt encouraged.
- Primal Fear: His fear of the dark is a totally rational adaptive evolutionary response. His associated fear of werewolves perhaps less so.
- One-Liner: When he contributes to a discussion, you remember it.
- Only Sane Man: He's the one to be sensible when everybody else is losing it. (When no one else is losing it, he takes on that role instead.)
- The Quiet One
- Raging Stiffie: His chronic morning wood is the subject of much conversation.
- Second Episode Introduction
- Sexier Alter Ego: Sometimes it is useful to him to slip into the character of Theodore K. Mullins, the soulful, deep-voiced "lover on the down-low" of Nick or Schmidt, depending on who he's trying to help/hurt at the time.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: With girlfriend Shelby.
- True Love Is Boring: After a few months, Winston finds his relationship with Shelby has become stale and passionless, so much so they can't even muster an argument about the state of their relationship. It causes him to start cheating on her in his imagination, and eventually they break up.
- Small Name, Big Ego: He's realizing this about himself and trying to work past it. That and his deep interest in hobbies he's not good at (pranking, puzzles...).
- The Smart Guy
- This Loser Is You: Winston spends much of the first season unemployed and clueless about what he wants to do.
- Took a Level in Badass: Very much so after he becomes a police officer, even rescuing a kid from underneath a car when the jack failed. Played for laughs in that it played hell with his back.Winston: [holding up the car, through gritted teeth] Call an ambulance for meeeee!
- He later develops "cop face" and "friend face", depending on whether he's giving personal advice as a friend or legal advice as a cop.Jess: Honestly, I can't tell the difference.Winston: [sternly] Well, there is no difference. That's why I have to announce it.
- He later develops "cop face" and "friend face", depending on whether he's giving personal advice as a friend or legal advice as a cop.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Winston is deathly afraid of the dark.
- You Need to Get Laid: He gets this from everyone quite often... even when he's in a committed relationship.
Cecilia "Cece" Parekh
Played By: Hannah Simone
"Please put your shirt back on. Please don't make me laugh at you."
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: In certain ways, Schmidt is in keeping with her usual taste.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: To begin with. Not so much,
- Ambiguously Brown: Eventually, after the guys unsuccessfully attempt to guess her heritage, she reveals that she's Indian.
- Arranged Marriage: Headed into one of the "traditional arranged" variety. Their mothers got them into contact with each other, and everyone involved approved enough that they kept going along with it. Both she and the groom called it off at the literal last second. She's also the product of an arranged marriage, and is very defensive about her parents' genuine fondness for each other.
- Bi the Way: Is revealed to have been in a relationship with Reagan
- Childhood Friends: With Jess.
- Closet Geek
- Deadpan Snarker: When she's angry.Nick: If you weren't a girl...Cece: Uh-huh?Nick: I'd karate chop you in the mouth.Cece: You would get winded just trying to ball your fist up, dough-boy.note
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Towards Schmidt, though his actions towards her at the beginning of season 3 undid a lot of that. In season 4 she falls in love with him again, and they marry in the finale of season 5.
- Disappeared Dad: Not actually disappeared; he died when Cece was a kid.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Schmidt, by her own admission.
- To Nick, according to Jess (and later Schmidt).
- Drop-In Character: She's the only regular cast member who doesn't live in the loft.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic.
- Friends with Benefits: With Schmidt, at least to begin with. As of the end of season four, they are engaged.
- Hello, Nurse!: She's a model. And the boys react accordingly, particularly Schmidt, who goes to ridiculous (and ill-planned) lengths to seduce her. Downplayed when she gives up modelling and goes to work as a bartender; her dream job is actually TV newscaster and she seems to have a talent for it.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Jess.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Socially, Cece's this to Jess.
- I Call Him "Mr. Happy": Schmidt calls Cece's breasts "Harold" and "Kumar."
- The Lancer: To Jess.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: The Dark to Jess' Light.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: She jerks guys around, but she is apologetic when she goes too far and is an awesome friend.
- Magical Negro: Referenced. Schmidt believes that, because of her brown skin, Cece has the wisdom of a thousand white women.
- Mama Bear: Towards Jess.
- Men Can't Keep House: Inverted with Schmidt and Cece: he's extremely neat, whereas as soon as she starts spending all her spare time in the loft, the guys realise that she's a slob who never tidies up. Justified because, as Nick points out, "Ever since she got boobs, people stopped making her do stuff."
- Mistaken for Terrorist: Turns out that Cece exploits this trope whenever she wants to get out of jury duty:Cece: Just tell them that your parents are Pakistani militants. That's what I do, works every time.
- Ms. Fanservice: Because Cece's a model, we often get to see her in skimpy dresses, lingerie, bikinis, etc. Lampshaded in one episode when Schmidt tells her she looks like she's trying to distract James Bond at a baccarat table. Downplayed after she gives up modelling, and starts spending more time in casual clothes that cover her up.
- My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: According to Jess, Cece's always thinking this way.
- My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Wasn't interested in having kids at first, but when she discovered her window of fertility was very small, she became very goal-oriented about getting pregnant.
- Not So Above It All: Tends to play the role of the sane one most often and in general is the least-quirky of the cast, but it's really more like she's just learned to take all of the insanity in stride and regularly plays a part in the group's hijinks, including things like building a secret tree house with Nick and Winston.
- Odd Friendship: With Jess.
- Also Winston. Played for Laughs with their "Classic Winston-Cece Mess-Arounds".
- Promotion to Opening Titles: In Season 4.
- Raised By Grandmother: While she had parents, her grandmother was a significant portion of her life and they're very close. And while Cece's parents haven't been shown, her grandmother has.
- Really Gets Around: Possibly.
- Shipper on Deck: For Nick/Jess.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Despite being a main character, she's left out of a huge amount of the promotional materials. She's the only main cast member who's not in the title sequence, and even in the show, she's frequently an Absentee Actor. As of the fourth season, the title sequence has been changed to a new one (it's about five seconds long) which includes both her and Coach.
- Sliding Scale of Beauty: Cece is considered World Class beauty.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Guys often parade her around like a trophy and it makes her very wary of her relationships.
- The Slacker: It only emerges in Season 5 when she comes to live in the loft, but she is phenomenally untidy and also has a peculiarly loud and disgusting way of blowing her nose. Justified because, as Nick points out, she's so beautiful that people have tidied up after her for her whole life.
- The Stoic: Her grandma'll tell you.
- Stupid Sexy Friend: It's happened to all the guys with regard to Cece.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: She can seem pretty cold at first, but is very warm and kind underneath it.
- When she goes back to Portland for Jess's dad's wedding and runs into her teen crush Jake Apex, she turns into a total dork around him.
- Tsundere: Type A.
- Women Are Wiser: Maybe, but not necessarily better at giving advice to Winston.
Ernie "Coach" Tagliaboo
Played By: Damon Wayans, Jr
"That first-class ass is gonna be sitting in Coach tonight."
- Cannot Talk to Women: And how. It effects his work. He asks Jess for advice.
- Commuting on a Bus: Was part of the pilot, then the actor's previous sitcom got renewed, then it got cancelled, so now he's returning.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Well, Coach. Because he's a coach, you see. His real name is revealed in "Clavado en un Bar."
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine (shares this with Schmidt).
- Lovable Jock: He's a personal trainer, and despite his awkwardness probably the nicest to Jess when she first joins the loft.
- Platonic Life-Partners: After things fail miserably with Cece, they grow into this.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: In Season 4.
- Put on a Bus / The Bus Came Back: Following the pilot, he leaves the apartment (and the show) to live with his girlfriend. Two years and one breakup later, he's back. At the end of season 4, he has a new girlfriend and goes to live with her in New York, for good this time, although he returns for the season 5 finale.
- Sad Clown: Upon his return, he's claiming that he's happy to have dumped his girlfriend and just wants to party. In truth, she dumped him and he's distraught over it, but can't let his friends see how sad he is.
- Scary Black Man: Schmidt's bronemy Benjamin is a jerk to everybody else but sputters into meekness in the face of Coach.
- Sixth Ranger: He returned in the third season originally for four episodes, was extended for the rest of Season 3 billed as "Special Guest Star", and is now a Series Regular for Season 4.
- Suddenly SHOUTING!: A big part of why he can't talk to women. He gets frustrated easily.
Played By:Cece's fellow model.
- Brainless Beauty: As a model, she's very pretty. Not very smart.
- Brutal Honesty: Doesn't really censor herself. At all.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: She's... an odd duck. When Shavrang is going to show Cece his penis, she gets into a fighting pose and says "if it runs I catch it!" Earlier, she's flipping through a magazine, and then points to it and goes "that's ME!" when no one was around.
- The Exile: Jess says she's been kicked out of Russia.
- Funny Foreigner: Her list of things she likes about America include "ice skating for fun, not to save life."
- Groin Attack: An accidental, but major one: she breaks Schmidt's penis during sex. He swears that there's a right angle in there somewhere.
- Innocently Insensitive: Invariably calls Schmidt "Jew" but doesn't seem to mean anything by it.
- Jerk Ass: Thought Schmidt's injury was funny, makes Jess sing the Russian monkey song over and over again, and overall doesn't really show much empathy.
- Really Gets Around: When Schmidt is about to go on a date with her, Cece comments that not even she knows where she's been. In season four she's pregnant. She doesn't know who the father is, calling it her "magic sex party surprise".
- Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!: The only reason she gets away with some of the things she says is because she's beautiful. Lampshaded by Schmidt after she says something offensive.
Played by: Justin Long
- Birds of a Feather: With Jess and later with fiancee Jenn.
- Creator Breakdown: In-Universe. After his Grandmother died, his music for the school play got quite a bit more downbeat.
- Cringe Comedy: His attempts at sex with Jess... are definitely this.
- Happy Ending Override: His last appearance in season 2 saw him getting engaged to Jenn. Come season 4, it's revealed the wedding never happened, they broke up, and he's now a birthday clown.
- Inelegant Blubbering: He's described as the worst crier ever.
- Nice Guy: He's always nice to everyone, barring sleeping with Jess when he has a serious girlfriend.
- One of the Kids: He's a teacher, so it's only natural.
- Serial Romeo: Not only declares his love to Jess after a month of dating but accompanies that declaration with tickets for a trip to Europe, and can't deal with taking their relationship more slowly. Next time we see him, he's preparing to propose to his post-Jess girlfriend, who given the timeline he can't have been with for longer than six months.
- Spear Counterpart: To Jess, and by extension Jenn (who is just Jess but Asian). They cry the same way.
- Your Cheating Heart: He is a very, very lucky man for Jenn to have taken him back after he cheated on her with Jess. Subverted as a much later episode reveals that they broke up offscreen.
Played By: Lizzy Caplan
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: She can be condescending, judgmental, passive-aggressive, violent, and also she's not a dessert person.
- Birds of a Feather: After Nick says he's sleeping with other women (and she says she's sleeping with other men), her reaction is to go cry in the bathroom. Jess walks into the women's room and finds her, then tries to go into the men's room... to find Nick crying in there.
- Brainy Brunette: Very intelligent and driven. And she's got brown hair.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Which she's taking courses for... court-ordered courses. She tried learning martial arts to become more "zen" but it just made her better at hurting people who anger her.
- Hello, Attorney!: Even her intern comments that he wants to have sex with her.
- The Lad-ette: Has mostly guy friends, is violent, and tries to dress neutral or masculine.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Nonchalantly insults Jess' whole personality... and then asks her for relationship assistance. She also tells Nick she doesn't want to label their relationship, then tries to figure out how serious his feelings are before she exposes her own vulnerabilities to him.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tomboy to Jess's girly girl. Serves as a conflict between those to since Julia doesn't take her seriously for her whole cute shtick while Jess can't understand Julia's pantsuits and Murphy Brown thing.
- Workaholic: Spends all of Valentines Day working.
Played By: June Diane RaphaelA gynecologist, friend of Jess and Cece, married to Melissa. Recurring in seasons 1—3.
- All Lesbians Want Kids: Downplayed. Sadie and Melissa are happily married but there is never any mention of them wanting kids. By her second appearance in "Eggs" she announces that she's pregnant, and in her appearance in "Bachelorette Party" she's 39 weeks pregnant.
- All Women Are Lustful: When she attends Cece's bachelorette party, at which most of the guests are gorgeous models, she gets...flustered.Sadie: One more thing? I am a doctor, if anyone's got any areas they want looked at. I'm fine to take a peek.
- Deadpan Snarker: She is usually this, partly on account of being played by June Diane Raphael.
- Even the Guys Want Him: When Schmidt consults her to see if he's good at arousing women, and describes with a hurricane of Unusual Euphemism his technique, despite being extremely gay, she becomes so aroused that she has to tell him to leave the office. The pregnancy hormones may have had something to do with it.
Played By: Mary Elizabeth Ellis
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She's perfectly friendly whenever you meet her, but Nick's friends have horror stories about the things she put him through.
- Girl Next Door: She comes across as even-tempered, friendly, with a personality not too extreme in any direction.
- Informed Attribute: Nick says that she's emotionally, mentally, and physically abused him, but the worst we've seen is her stringing him along while he had no shot with her. After they've broken up (again), she doesn't take it well, however.
- The Masochism Tango: Her habit of stringing Nick along comes from her never feeling like he's there for her emotionally, yet being unable to move on from him herself, making the relationship a painful one for both of them.
- Master of the Mixed Message: She spends all day flirting with Nick before telling him she's already got a boyfriend.
- New Old Flame: They get back together at the end of the first season.
- Old Flame: Of Nick's. He's been hung up on her since college.
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: When The Bus Came Back in season 3, she goes full psycho when she finds out Nick and Jess are together.
- Relationship Revolving Door: She and Nick have gotten together and broken up four times.
Played By: Dermot Mulroney
- Cool Old Guy: He's much older than the gang, but he gets along with them exceedingly well.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Nick refers to him as "the only man we've both loved"
- Foil: To Nick. He's a sophisticated, wealthy, responsible older man. However, he says that in his youth he was very much like Nick.
- Serial Spouse: Has been married a comical amount of times.
- The Bus Came Back: Shows up in the second season while Nick and Jess are trying to go on a date.
- Uncle Pennybags: As he says, he's got a lot of money, and he enjoys spending it. He's very generous.
Played By: Olivia Munn
- Foil: To Jess. Both are MPDG but show two very different sides of that coin.
- The Lad-ette: Overtly sexual, bold, likes whisky, knocks guys out, likes guns, short hair, drives a motorcycle...
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Where Jess, for all claims, really just encourages people to be brave enough to be themselves, Angie is truly wild and wants to sweep you along in her adventurousness. Subverted when Nick can't handle her and she freaks out when trying to be what he needs.
- My Girl Is a Slut: Nick spends most of his relationship with Angie trying to be okay with having an open relationship. Angie is genuinely regretful to hurt him, but isn't ready to reel it in.
- Opposites Attract: But maybe they shouldn't.
- Polyamory: She doesn't want to be tied down to one guy. Nick isn't comfortable with that, which leads to their breakup.
- Show Some Leg: Or, you know, something else. Uses it to get Nick and his friends into the hospital after visiting hours.
- Youthful Freckles
Played By: David Walton
- Above the Influence: As he points out, he managed to turn Angie down while he was very drunk on absinthe and she was in his lap.
- American Accents: His Californian Surfer Dude accent is part of the reason people assume he's a Brainless Beauty.
- Brainless Beauty: What he seems at first. Turns out to be subverted, he's actually a doctor.
- The Bus Came Back: Returns in Season 5 in the aptly titled "Sam Again."
- Derailing Love Interests: Inverted. In order to get him and Jess to break up (initially), he was suddenly revealed as a doctor, and great with kids. This led to Jess wanting something more, which he didn't want, causing him to break off their arrangement.
- Frat Bro: He has the mannerisms of one, constantly fist bumping and talking like a surfer.
- Friends with Benefits: With Jess for the beginning of season 2. When she tried to turn it into something more, he broke it off.
- Hidden Depths: He's a doctor, and great with kids.
- Hospital Hottie: He's a tall, handsome doctor.
- New Old Flame: Comes back later in season 2 wanting to get back together with Jess.
- One of the Kids: He initially comes off as a bit immature, but The Reveal that he's a pediatrician justifies it somewhat.
- Relationship Revolving Door: Almost as convoluted as Cece and Schmidt! First they hook up when he thinks Jess is someone else. That ends when he finds out she was lying about who she was. Then he comes back and they continue to have a Friends with Benefits thing. Then Jess catches feelings and they break up. A few months later they meet by chance and get together for real. Then they break up because Jess kissed Nick. Years later, he returns as Jess' new boss' boyfriend. Jess causes them to break up and she and Sam begin dating again.
- Satellite Love Interest: Lampshaded by Cece when she finds out he's a doctor. Cece just thought he was "an unemployed handsome guy or something."
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Leaves Jess when he finds out Nick kissed her, realizing that the relationship wasn't going to work.
- Stalking Is Love: He and Jess get back together when he follows her to (several) parties. And in season 5, they get back together again she follows up (even after he takes out a restraining order).
Played By: Merritt Wever
- Big Beautiful Woman: She's not small, (though not all that big either) but she's also not ashamed of herself at all.
- Birds of a Feather: With Fat Schmidt. They both were sweet, overweight, and danced with crazy energy. When he got skinny he changed and she didn't like him as much.
- Formerly Fat: Not her, but she liked Schmidt better when he was fat.
- Love Triangle: Was in one with Schmidt and Cece.
- New Old Flame: Schmidt's first girlfriend, and they begin dating again at the end of season 2.
- Nice Girl: She first met Schmidt when she approached him at a party and asked him to dance, and tried to make him feel better about being awkward, alone, and fat.
- Operation: Jealousy: The reason Schmidt pursued Elizabeth again. He wanted to make Cece jealous of him to get her to break off her marriage, he then caught feelings for her.
Played By: Linda CardelliniJess's wild sister.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: She's a Hard-Drinking Party Girl and Jess feels the need to try to "fix" her.
- The Gadfly: She shatters Winston's confidence just because she can.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: To the point that she doesn't seem to do much else.
- Put on a Bus: After the "Sister" trilogy of episodes, she moves away to live with her mother.
- Remember the New Guy?: No mention of her was made up until she appears in the series. Jess talks to her mother and Cece about how wild she is and the trouble she's gotten into.
Tran (Ralph Ahn)
- Ambiguously Brown: More like "Ambiguously Yellow." He's obviously Asian, but no one seems to have any idea what country he's from.
- Nice Hat: Nick compliments Tran's hat, he likes how it's blank and doesn't have a logo.
- Magical Asian: Parodied. Manages to solve Nick's problems just by being there and listening to Nick without saying a word, but Nick always winds up feeling better afterward.
- Parental Substitute: Part of the reason Nick like Tran so much is that he'll listen to Nick. Nick showing off to Tran "look how high I can jump!" is evocative of a child showing off for his dad.
- The Quiet One: Has one line thus far: "You are a huge baby."
- Shipper on Deck: His expression when Nick meets his granddaughter indicates that them meeting was his plan all along.
- The Silent Bob: Nick reacts to Tran like he's saying things, even though Tran is dead silent.
- Spell My Name with an "S": This very site seems to alternate between "Tran" and "Tranh."
Played By: Greta LeeTran's granddaughter, whom Nick dates after "Thanksgiving IV"
- Accidental Misnaming: Calls Schmidt "Glen" and Winston "Wilfred" in one scene, to which Winston comments that she "ain't good with names."
- Big Eater: Winston points out she eats like she never knows where her next meal is coming from.
- Birds of a Feather: She's exactly as slovenly as Nick.
- Eccentric Millionaire: A millionaire so eccentric that Winston thinks she's homeless.
- Foreshadowing: During Schmidt's Bangsgiving, Nick says "slap a dress on you and I'd date ya." That same episode introduced Kai.
- Meal Ticket: Winston at first thinks Nick is her meal ticket, but she winds up offering Nick money to not go to work and be with her.
- One-Hour Work Week: Justified in that's already wealthy, and just occasionally does consulting work.
- Secretly Wealthy: She hides the fact she's incredibly wealthy. Her shadiness about it leads Winston to think she's homeless.
- The Slacker: She wants to do absolutely nothing, and wants Nick to do the same. When he realizes he wants to do something with himself, she has to break up with him.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: Breaks up with Nick because he's become too driven and motivated to do work.
Played By: Julian MorrisJess' love interest in season four, a new teacher at her school.
- Accidental Truth: At one point, Jess says he's so perfect. He probably spent his childhood teaching his dyslexic sister to read or something. Turns out this is exactly true.
- The Ace: He's utterly, comically, perfect. He's witty, handsome, intelligent, an excellent teacher, and loving. His biggest flaw? He's too rich.
- Character Shilling: Characters cannot stop talking about how perfect he is.
- Derailing Love Interests: An odd version, his derailment is that he moves to England after getting offered his dream job. The reason this is out of nowhere is because the school (that he's obsessed about) hadn't been mentioned once prior to that episode. And once he gets to England, he winds up awful at long-distance.
- Dogged Nice Guy: To Jess. She's actively trying not to be interested in him, but he is relentless in his (respectful) pursuit of her, rules be damned.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Well, with a British Accent. Even mundane words can turn Jess on. Raccoon.
- Hot Teacher: To the point that Coach is upset that he's no longer the hot teacher.
- I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: When Jess is trying not to fall for him, everything he does just makes him seem more perfect to her.
- Never Learned to Read: He got into teaching after teaching his dyslexic sister to read.
- Put on a Bus: To England, but he remains in a long-distance relationship with Jess. Turns into a non-fatal Bus Crash since they break up while he's away.
- Unfortunate Names: His last name is pronounced "Goes in you." Since Jess is actively trying to avoid thinking about, well, him going in her, this is more unfortunate for her than for him.
Played By: Megan FoxA former lover of Cece's, and tenant in Jess's room while she was in jury duty.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: The gang really wants to include her, whether she wants to or not. And she does not.
- Bi the Way: Currently interested in Nick, though she has hooked up with Cece in the past.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: She is pretty distanced from the other inhabitants of the loft (understandably, seeing as she's only gonna be there a month), however they (Winston, primarily) won't have it.
- The Ghost: Has not been as much as a voice in season 5, though she's discussed frequently and Nick is seen on the phone with her.
- Put on a Bus: Moved away at the end of "Goosebumps Walkaway," but started dating Nick long-distance at the end of the fourth season.
Played By: Nasim PedradWinston's police partner and later girlfriend. She moves into the loft in Season 6.
- Action Girl: As part of her job as a cop.
- All Women Love Shopping: Bonds with Winston's mom because of their mutual love for discount shopping.
- Birds of a Feather: Can be as quirky as Winston making them perfect for each other.
- One True Love: Winston says that after he fell in love with Aly he realized he'd never loved any of the girls he'd dated before, he only thought he did. He then called them all and said "I never loved you".
- Pintsize Powerhouse: She is petite, which gets the guys worried that she cannot defend herself, but she quickly proves them wrong.