"So, you know in horror movies, where the girl's like, 'Oh my god, there's something in the basement... let me just run down there in my underwear and see what's going on in the dark.' And you're like, 'What is your problem? Call the police!' And she's like, 'Okay!' But it's too late, because she's already getting murdered — well, my story's kind of like that."
— Jess Day
New Girl is an American-madesitcom starring Zooey Deschanel that premiered in 2011 on Fox, and can be watched on E4 in Britain and Ireland.Jessica Day is a socially awkward young woman, fresh out of a recent break-up with her ex-boyfriend, in search of a new place to stay. When she persuades a trio of men to let her move in with them (mostly through the knowledge that she's friends with a model who's friends with yet more models), they find themselves completely unprepared to deal with Jess's quirky behavior, but still rally around their new roommate.
Winston's truck, professionally deemed as "not officially a car anymore." After it breaks down for good, he reluctantly abandons it and acquires a vintage Chevelle SS convertible (though it's possible the latter is his boss' car and his boss just isn't allowed to drive it anymore because of all his DUIs).
Potentially Jess' station wagon, which apparently used to be her parents' station wagon, and which she has a long tradition of pushing places when it stalls. Unlike Winston's, it hasn't dropped dead yet, though.
Nick's car is also beginning to collapse due to the sheer force of aging.
Jess and Nick in "The Landlord." In the most awkward and hilarious context possible. Specifically, when about to engage in an accidental threesome with their landlord. Yeah.
About a season later, Jess pretends to try to kiss Nick after they talk about pregnancy, and he pulls away laughing.
And the two of them again throughout most of Cooler. They got a lot of false starts on that front.
Ambiguously Brown: Schmidt's impression of Cece, although she states in Episode 5 that her parents are Indian. Hannah Simone, who plays her, is a mixture of Indian, German, Italian, Cypriot, and Greek. Lampshaded by Schmidt when explaining to Cece the ingredients he put in a perfume he made for her for Christmas.
Schmidt: Cocoa, because of your brown...-ness...
Angrish: When she finds out he's cheating on Cece, Jess is so furious at Schmidt that eventually all she can do is repeatedly scream "YOU CRUM BUM!" Even she looks confused by what she's saying.
Anything But That!: Jess and Winston are so terrified of incurring Schmidt's neurotic materialistic wrath that when they accidentally soak his entire collection of suits with a bathtub he didn't want them to get, rather than own up, they decide to fake a burglary.
Appeal To Vanity: How Nick, Winston, and Jess get Schmidt back to his old self in Control. In fact, it's a good way to get him to do anything.
Artifact Title: And it becomes more and more of one as the show goes on. To say nothing of the fact that Winston actually moved in after Jess did.
A conversation in the second episode lampshades (and handwaves) this, by explaining that Winston had lived there before he moved and Coach temporarily took his space, so Jess is "still the new kid."
Artistic License - Biology: One episode has Schmidt going to an aquarium and becoming enamored with getting a rare "Californian Lionfish." Of course, there's no such thing and lionfish are from the Indo-Pacific region.
Ascended Meme: Season 2 episode 2 had Jess being called Katy throughout the show by a guest star.
Author Appeal: This show really likes showing sexual relationships between bosses and employees.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Of course, everybody was screaming, but when they thought Nick was trying to jump off the building Schmidt burst into tears and passed out. This from a guy whose usual approach to the friendship is mockery with occasional forays into Ho Yay.
All four roommates trying to convince the landlord that there were only three of them.
Winston pretending to break up with Jess in "Santa."
Winston: Say goodbye to paradise, honey!
Batman Gambit: In the episode "The Captain" Schmidt tries to get Nick and Jess to break up by playing on their insecurities. It works, putting a serious dent in their relationship. But then they have a breakthrough leading to Nick talking about his feelings and to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. The fact that Schmidts gambit has failed so spectacularly leads him into the throes of a Villainous Breakdown.
Big Bad: Schmidt is intent on becoming this during season 3.
Big Damn Kiss: Took 'em long enough. They even spent an entire episode building up to it in the second season. During a game of True American, Nick and Jess end up having to kiss, with a clear and present threat of tongue. Nick ends up climbing out the window instead after telling her "Not like this!" Then at the end of the episode..."I meant something like that."
Big "WHAT?!": More of a hilariously extended what; Cece's reaction to the news that Nick and Jess kissed.
The look on Jess' face when she promised not to talk to the landlord, and later her claim to have found her keys lying on the cliff off of which she was meant to have thrown them.
Schmidt's claims to being one of Mitt Romney's sons
Jess, after being visibly impressed when she found out that her friend with benefits was a pediatrician sees him play with a kid and, though a blatantly fake smile says "This makes me feel nothing."
Schmidt's wardrobe was stolen and dry-cleaned by meth heads.
Jess tells Nick that the two of them calling off their budding relationship "feels good" while visibly tearing up.
Nick's insistence that he's fine following his breakup with Julia. He asked a friend to come to the beach because he's great, and doesn't need anything, but he really doesn't want to be along. But he's fine.
Daisy insisting that the shower's running because she's about to hop in there. And that's her size 12 shoe. And that no one turned the shower off. And flushed the toilet.
Season 2 begins and ends with Nick and Jess and her car. In the first episode, they sit down on top of the car while Nick is comforting Jess after she gets fired. In the last episode, they ride off happily together and they're in a relationship.
At the beginning of the episode "Re-Launch," we first see Nick singing "Groove is In the Heart" by Dee-Lite in the shower, and then Winston at the end of Schmidt's party when he's drunk from a fruity concoction of Nick's creation.
Bowel Breaking Bricks: In the pilot Jess discovers Spencer has been cheating on her. We cut to a shot between her legs of a bow hitting the floor.
Elvin forces Winston to leave his nanny job by telling his mother that Winston was a degenerate. Even though he loved Winston as a nanny, he knew it was a dead end job for him.
In the season one finale, Schmidt "White Fangs" Cece, and tries to drive her away for her own good.
Break the Cutie: A gentle version of this is happening to Jess in season 2. She becomes so downtrodden and discouraged (not to mention broke) by her professional efforts not working out that she essentially turns into the apartment's new Nick.
Brick Joke: In episode 10 of season 2 Jess mentions her dad had problems with making left turns (going right instead), and later in the series it's revealed that one of the reasons Jess' dad doesn't like Nick dating his daughter is because he reminds him of himself, during the season 2 finale, when Jess and Nick drive off together, you can hear Nick yelling about making 3 right turns, because it's slower that way.
Bridal Carry: It's usually around the waist, but Nick has a habit of picking Jess up. Comes to a climax at the end of "Virgins".
But We Used a Condom: Cece and Schmidt. He "gets so athletic" that she stresses that it's all but useless.
Butt Monkey: Nick. The writers seem to have decided to make him the show's designated punching bag. And it actually fits his characterization quite well.
Call Back: Winston's gay alter ego, Theodore K Mullins, is referenced well before he finally makes an appearance. Winston normally uses Theodore (Nick or Schmidt's gay lover on the downlow, depending on who he's messing with) to screw with his friends, but when it gets an epic call back, it's as part of a mega-rant against everyone's fighting and he uses Theodore to get some college girls to stop fighting over Nick and leave the apartment.
True American (from the "Normal" episode) is this for the over-21 crowd. It appears to be a bizarre combination of Drinking Game, Candyland, Hot Lava, and yelling out the names of various American presidents, with additional cryptic details such as "everything you hear is a lie knock on wood" and "there are four zones: the alternate zone is the crazy zone!" And then of course there are the ritual sacrifices with tennis balls.
"Cooler" re-introduces it with "sexy Clinton rules," now including stripping and having to go "behind the Iron Curtain" (i.e. the big metal door in the apartment) in order to kiss. Nick's date even lampshades the Calvinball nature of the game by asking if there's a printout of the rules anywhere. There emphatically aren't. Despite this, playable rules for True American actually do exist.
Cannot Spit It Out: At the end of "First Date," Nick and Jess are caught in stasis between open attraction to each other and each waiting for the other to make a move — Jess is confused about where they stand because he never outright states what he wants out of their relationship, Nick seems to know exactly what he wants but is too nervous to act in case Jess doesn't feel the same way, which just confuses her further, which...
Cannot Talk to Women: Winston spends so long not getting any action that at one point his desperation steals his ability to speak.
Nick says a variation of "this is my nightmare" whenever he's in an awkward situation. Which is frequent.
Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate: Nick and Schmidt start off fighting about money and related social norms. They end up fighting about whether or not Midori Sours are trendy. Then they keep fighting about whether or not Midori Sours are trendy.
The first few episodes Jess behaved more on the "Ambiguous Disorder" side of Manic Pixie Dream Girl before settling into a more grounded "middle-school teacher" version, in episodes like "The Wedding" she seems incapable of concentrating on one task or interacting with normal society. This is explained/retconned as being that the series starting break-up/move-out really threw her off balance and the guys helped her find her footing again.
Winston goes from being the most responsible of the loft to a Cloud Cuckoolander struggling to find himself, is obsessed with his cat, and is in a relationship with a strange woman who drives a school bus.
Cheek Copy: Nick got really bored waiting for his girlfriend to get off work. He wants everyone to know he does not have three butt cheeks.
Pretty much everyone, except Jess who is an uncloseted geek. Schmidt and Cece bond over children's books, Winston wants to live on the moon, Nick expounds on his theories about zombies in writing. There's more.
"This is President Miller of Earth, I'd like to speak with the Galactic Emperor."
Not to forget Winston's excellent rendition of the soundtrack of Wicked while driving.
Clothing Switch: It's convenient that all of Nick's stuff was in a moving van accompanying them when the gang stranded themselves in the desert, because they all layered on Nick's clothing to get through the night. The next day, Nick gave Winston some more of his clothing to change into because he'd gotten lost in the desert over night and there was "pee everywhere."
Continuity Nod: Winston's complete inability to pull a prank (first showed when Nick pranked Schmidt to feel old) shows up again when he and Schmidt decide to ruin Jess and Nick's date, and continues to come up for the rest of season 2.
Everyone but Jess knows she should be embarrassed.
Schmidt hitting on Cece can be fairly painful to watch.
Jess and Paul in the bedroom. Cringe Comedy, personified.
A drunk Schmidt pushing his very pregnant boss into a pool. Granted she turned out fine and liked it, but with that large a belly, you can't help but cringe.
"The Landlord." Just "The Landlord."
Jess replacing Cece at the car show in Models.
The Cynic: Nick. Turns out, he's right about the landlord. Sort of.
Dance Party Ending: The roommate chicken dance at the end of "Wedding", and all dancing to the same song in their various rooms in collective joy in the season 1 finale — the chicken dance even comes out again.
Deconstruction: A number of plots and sub-plots tend to be this. For instance, Nick and Jess's whole romance thing is effectively a deconstruction of what would actually happen when you combine a neurotic emotionally-damaged man with a manic pixie dream girl - a lot of dysfunctional moments.
Specifically, as opposed to the trope where their qualities give each other purpose, Nick can find Jess' exuberance annoying and she finds his negativity/avoidant attitude oppressive.
Schmidt, in the season 2 finale, having to choose between Elizabeth and Cece. Both are clearly very good for him, both love him, and he loves the both of them. There's no clear or correct choice unlike in a rom-com. There is, however, a wrong choice, which Schmidt winds up taking.
Derailing Love Interests: Daisy in the beginning of the third season goes from being pretty cool (although with sparse appearances) to juggling several men (and lying about it), and taking advantage of Winston.
Disgusting Public Toilet: Nick's job for his and Schmidt's 10th Anniversary Party was renting a toilet. He winds up buying a disgusting portapotty that the owner said was garbage. Jess agreed to use it to make him feel better, but couldn't last even a second in there.
Disposable Fiancť: Both Shavrang and Cece, of the "let's call the whole thing off" variety. Cece first stops the ceremony, but then Shavrang quickly agrees and proclaims his love to his childhood friend who was attending the wedding.
Within a few months of knowing each other, Nick and Jess have got each of their significant others and Cece expressing their suspicions that the two are into each other.
It's possible Jamie just has sex on the brain, but the first words out of his mouth when he meets Jess are about whether she's hooking up with his brother. (It actually makes up the bulk of his conversation with her.)
Everyone knows Schmidt's in love with Cece before he does.
Expy: Amelia from the second season "Halloween" for the Slutty Pumpkin from How I Met Your Mother. Both are female love interests from the male lead's past that never were, but they finally do get together years later, on a Halloween episode, only to end the same episode because everything about their interactions wound up being completely awkward. They also both end on the same aesop, where the protagonist realizes that he was chasing the idea of a relationship, not the girl herself.
Extreme Doormat: Jess with Spencer, not just during her emotional state post-breakup but implied during their relationship too. Odd, because she's usually quite able to stand up for herself.
Face Palm: Jess gets this reaction from specifically Nick sometimes.
Nick and Jess turn each other on for really obscure, nonsensical reasons. Like the first time she thought about being with him was while watching him play-act some puns with a bowl of peanuts, and he thought some frankly creepy sketches were "kind of sexy" because of their incongruously big eyes.
Cece was turned on by Schmidt getting really intense and furious about cooking, and again when he listed a bunch of cheeses.
First Girl Wins: Jess (in the process of being interviewed by Nick and the other roommates) is the first thing you see when the series starts.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: In Fancyman Part 1, the list of "alternatives to intercourse" on Jess's chalkboard include: "get to know a neighbor," "look at pics of ST Ds," "write a convict," and "watch Friday Night Lights."
The Fun in Funeral: They tried so hard to avoid it, but Walt Miller's funeral still involved multiple drunks, a psychotic break at the pulpit, an ambiguously high old lady, two Elvis impersonators, both of them even more out-of-place than your average Elvis impersonator at a funeral, and a fight literally over a body.
Many of Schmidt's storylines are effectively classic movie/tv situations involving females but with the genders flipped. Some of the humor or intentional lack thereof stems from the flip, revealing how awkward or unusual those situations actually are. Specifically, he's the only man in an office full of aggressive career women. As a result, he has to deal with social exclusion, not being taken seriously because of his gender, sexual harassment, etc...
The latter part of season 2 has this for Schmidt outside of his office as a Gender Flip of some romantic comedies due to his relationship with Cece. And again, the flip shows how depressing and painful it is for someone to see the person they love marrying someone else and how it's desperate, not cute, when that someone tries do things to win them back or save face.
Genre Savvy: Part of the reason why Julia doesn't like Jess is because she can see that she is the "mean lawyer girl" while Jess is the "nice teacher girl."
In a moment suggestive even for this show, Nick and Jess are trapped in the hallway and ordered to kiss. They decide to finally submit so they can get out. Thing is, Nick is sitting and Jess is standing, so each moves to get face-to-face with the other, culminating with Jess face-to-face with Nick's junk. There are no overt statements on the matter, but his face.
The hardware store scene of Quick Hardening Caulk. Heck, even the TITLE of the episode. Just say it out loud.
Grumpy Old Man: Parodied with Nick, who's happy that each year he grows more into his personality. A flashback shows he's always been this way;
Young Nick: *Picking up an errant frisbee* Keep this crap out of my yard! Ya hear me!
Hands-On Approach: Invoked in-universe in The Landlord when Nick explains to Jess that "Any time a man shows a woman how to do something from behind, it's just an excuse for him to get really close and breathe on her neck." He then gives her a demonstration, and she squirms away.
Nick and Schmidt, to the point where Schmidt insists on throwing a very expensive, wedding-like party to celebrate their having been roommates for ten years. Shivrang has to explain to his mother that it is not what it sounds like.
After meeting through Nick, Schmidt and Winston are surprised to realize that they've become so close. Winston's often the one to help Schmidt get through emotional turmoil, they go to each other for advice, and Schmidt has been known to physically help Winston dress.
Nick used to play the string bass. He's also pretty damn smooth when he really wants something. And he grew up as the head of a household.
Hit Me, Dammit!: In "Longest Night Ever", Schmidt asks Jess to hit him with her car to stop him from breaking up Cece and Coach's date. Jess at first just taps him with the bumper, which freaks out Schmidt. Then she does it accidentally (and much harder) when she is startled by a police siren.
Downplayed between Jess and Nick. She was heading off to a party at Prince's house and Nick casually says "Have fun! Love you!" and the mood dropped dead, all Jess could do in return was playful finger guns. Nick tracked her down at the party to apologize for the awkwardness of the situation and just being in a more comfortable situation Jess exclaimed "I love you Nick Miller!"
I Take Offense to That Last One: When we first meet Jess' friend Sadie, she has just heard the story of Nick's girlfriend insulting Jess' entire personality as being a quaint ploy for attention. The first thing out of Sadie's mouth is "I'm sorry, she doesn't like desserts?". That particular point bugs Jess a lot too. She points out several times how weird it is.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Jess resolves on doing this for Nick in the finale, inspired by Schmidt's more delusional version of "White Fang-ing" (as he calls it) in relation to Cece.
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The majority of the episodes consist of a single-word title. And when they don't, you get things like "Quick Hardening Caulk" and "Downton Abbey Christmas Special (Part II)", which is not even a Christmas episode.
Idiot Ball: They pass it around from episode to episode, each taking turns being grounded while everyone else is a lunatic.
Of note, Jess grabs a of it tightly in "Sister II." Not only does she think it's a good idea to use Nick to lie to and distract her sister (when she knows full well the man cannot tell a lie to save his life), but when Nick suggests that maybe they set Abby up with a guy, Jess thinks Winston is a good idea (this is after seeing Abby psychologically destroy him for giggles).
At the rebranding party for his recovered penis, Schmidt dances with twirling fire batons. "I'm not actually sure how to stop this. I'm very apologetic, I think everyone should leave." And then he nearly sets the bar/Robby's face on fire.
Cece's model friends sing a Russian cracker jingle at Jess and make her dance like a monkey from the commercial repeatedly.
Some mobsters get worried Nick is a cop when he nervous-sweats and make him strip down to his underwear and dance to shake out the wire they think he's wearing.
Ironic Echo: "Dip your toe in the pool of possibilities".
Schmidt. Originally portrayed to be such a jerkass that the other guys even forced him to pay a fine whenever he did or said something inappropriate (even after being warned several times not to). Thankfully, after the pilot, the character became more of an adorkable-type character whose cluelessness about women made him more sympathetic to viewers. Unfortunately, he reverted back to obnoxious jerkass territory when his relationship with Cece was out in the open.
"Bachelorette Party" sheds some light on this, indirectly. When Schmidt lost weight, he also started acting differently, presumably acting like how he thought an alpha male should be rather than the sweet, kind, and caring Adorkable person he actually is. By the time of the show, he's all but forgotten what he was like before and it takes ex-girlfriend Elizabeth (the only girl he's been in a long term relationship with) and the impending wedding of Cece and Shivrang for him to start to realize that.
In a later episode, Schmidt clarifies a little. He notes how when he was overweight, people - especially girls - never really noticed him. But once he lost weight and people started noticing him, he just didn't know how to respond to that because he didn't have any experience or frame of reference.
Jiggle Show: The girl dressed as a Native American in the pilot.
Just Friends: Nick and Jess for most of the first two seasons. Occasionally they'd get a side-eye from the people around them.
Sadie's wife Melissa is a lesbian version of this — crass, flirty, likes a drink.
Nick often goes for this type of girl.
Large Ham: Winston's strategy for getting a girl out of the apartment involves a dramatic monologue about his love affair with Nick.
Laughing Mad: "My shoes are filled with blood!" And then she cackles insanely before having to be carried away.
Law of Inverse Fertility: Played with in Cece herself. She figures she's got time and isn't interested in having kids or worried about how her reproductive system is doing, but when she finds out she's running out of time she gets scared she won't be able to have kids once she's ready.
Love Epiphany: In a sequence that starts with some word vomit and ends with trying to leave a fourth story room by the window.
Love You and Everybody: Very early on, Jess tells her ex that she doesn't need his faux supportiveness because she has her new roommates, who she may hardly know but she loves. Nick lights up there for a second.
Magical Asian: Subverted with Tran, the old dude who does little else than being present during Nick's diatribes. He isn't dispensing any fortune cookie wisdom, isn't bouncing back questions, it's even doubtful that he's actually listening - he's just keeping him company, and that's about it (except for that one time when Tran introduces him to water massage). All of their conversations have been Nick effectively imagining Tran's responses and reactions. And Nick can be forgiven for the quirky relationship since Tran's a better father than Nick's own father by virtue of actually paying attention.
Inverted, and then Subverted. First it seems like Jess is the messed up girl that needs help from more adult, serious guys. Then quickly the guys are shown not to have it together as much it might seem.
Angie, Nick's stripper girlfriend It gets pointed out that her spontaneity brings Nick out of himself. Subverted in that her mania terrifies him despite his efforts to convince himself otherwise, and she doesn't have it in her to rein it in, so she leaves him.
It's ultimately subverted in Nick and Jess's relationship. Nick in general doesn't take care of himself and has little motivation to improve. Jess tries to take care of him, but in a motherly way. She doesn't actively find him attractive until she sees him showing initiative at work and when they get together Nick starts taking better care of himself for her sake.
Used in one memorable case when Cece wrapped up in Schmidt's blankets before walking out into a living room full of his roommates. Of course, why she didn't just put on her own clothes, or even his, before wandering around in front of his friends is another question.
When they were trapped naked in the back of Schmidt's car with Winston driving to Mexico, he had strategically placed fuzzy dice, she had a road map.
In yet another case of this trope defeating its own purpose on this show, Schmidt wraps a small sheet around himself and comes into the kitchen to complain to the others about how he'd been unsuccessful in "getting something going with myself." With his bedroom door open.
Schmidt: You are an amazing woman, and you are going to do and be so many amazing things in this life. Maybe you'll be a mom, and maybe... maybe not, but I will support you no matter what.
Cece: [softly] Thank you.
Schmidt: I also just wanna give you a quick heads up. I'm probably gonna be going on the internet before we have sex again, because I, I just don't want to impregnate the baby. You know? I mean, we could have a Russian nesting doll situation on our hands.
During "Bathtub" there is a sweet moment where a drunk Schmidt lays down in Cece's lap, and it seems she has forgiven him for standing her up and drinking with his boss, but as soon as he passes out she calls her mother and says she is ready to be set up with someone.
Mr. Fixit: Nick bodges everything back to working order, instead of calling repairmen.
Ms. Fanservice: Cece. Justified. After all, she's a model. Makes sense that they wind up together.
My Card: In "Fired Up", Winston, pretending to be a lawyer, gives his card to some real lawyers in case they want to "play with the big boys." After he leaves, they notice it's a baseball card.
My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Jess wants a baby. Cece doesn't at present but doesn't take it well when it sounds like the option might be closed to her. Judging by his contribution to the discussion, Nick wants a baby too.
Naked Apron: Schmidt, of course. But with one of Jess' aprons.
Necktie Headband: Jess, as part of a wildly mismatching costume constructed out of sheer boredom.
No Sparks: In "Tomatoes", Jess breaks up with Russell when she realizes she'll never have the passion she wants with him.
Noble Male, Roguish Male: Nick and Schmidt. The former is emotional, unused to casual flings, and dislikes "throwing a woman out like a piece of meat;" the latter identifies that as exactly his problem and coaches him on how to be a douchebag.
After accidentally confessing that he really does want to kiss her, Nick and Jess find themselves awake in the middle of the night, whereupon Nick figures that, well, he already reached the point of no return...
Nick's resolve at the end of Virgins is another now-or-never moment, but it goes beyond a kiss.
Oblivious to Love: When she was a kid, there was a boy named Eduardo who had a crush on Jess who thinks he has a crush on Cece.
An overstimulated/drunk Schmidt throws his boss in the pool at her baby shower. Everyone (also overstimulated and drunk) freeze and stare in horror as Schmidt nearly vomits in horror. Then she pops up and yells "I'm having a baby!" and the party starts roaring again.
Nick upon realizing that he just accidentally PUNCHED JESS IN THE FACE. He spends most of the rest of the episode screaming.
In each of the first four episodes, the roommates do something embarrassing or un-manly in support of Jess: singing songs from Dirty Dancing in public, wearing her hats, dancing in slow-motion, and using the feeling stick.
Inverted in Bully, where Winston insulting one of her students on her behalf to the kid's parents and Nick tearfully protesting a threat to have her face disciplinary action just make Jess' situation worse.
She isn't seen, but it's averted when Cece and Jess discuss a "Jessica freaking P." they went to school with as kids.
Schmidt's cousin Schmidt.
Jess' dad and a particular incredibly supportive coworker of Nick's are both named Bob, and Nick's also got a cousin named Bobby.
Only Sane Man: When she's in the room, usually Cece. For the loft dwellers, its usually Winston. Nick subverts this trope, as he initially has many of the hallmarks associated with it, but as the show progresses his... eccentricities become more and more obvious. Eventually, the only way you'd really recognize Nick's role as the sane one is by his absence, because Schmidt and Winston get up to some stuff together when he's not around that would be bizarre even by Nick's standard (mostly due to his habit of shootings ideas down out of cynicism).
The One Guy: Schmidt is this at his work place. Interestingly, however, his status at his work place is typically shown using typical one-female-among-many-males workplace tropes such as co-workers dismissing his work due to being a different gender, superiors sexually harassing him, and so forth rather than shown as some sort of dream job. In addition, these situations are also subverted in that they are typically shown as the truly harmful behaviors they are in order to bring light of the Double Standard - Schmidt doesn't like being told to dress like a slutty Santa at the office holiday party, for instance, as he feels it belittles him even if it does give him a chance to socialize and network.
OOC 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.
Operation Jealousy: Two episodes in a row, Schmidt did this to Cece. It's also the objective of his mission to get a plus-one to her wedding.
Parent Trap Plot: Repeatedly invoked by Jess throughout her life in her efforts to trick her parents back together.
Parents as People: Jess' parents. Jess is abnormally comfortable with their identities outside of their roles as Mom and Dad (this includes actively encouraging their sex lives, dispensing romantic advice, and making retirement plans to be crazy cat ladies with her mother).
Pep Talk Song: One of Jess' quirks is her tendency to give herself songs meant to boost her own confidence.
Jess: She's goin' out to find a rebound... Who's that girl? It's Jess!
Potty Failure: One per season so far. Season 1 was a random marathon runner who pushed between Cece and Jess, and season 2 was Schmidt risking it rather than losing a parking spot to his "pishy"...and then pushing between Nick and Jess.
Power Trio: Schmidt is the Id, Winston is the Ego, and Nick is the Superego.
Product Placement: Although the focus is on Jess's physical comedy, one scene in "Models" is literally a commercial for the Ford Fusion.
Put on a Bus: Due to the unexpected renewal of Damon Wayans Jr.'s series Happy Endings, his character Coach was sent away after the pilot and replaced with Winston (who had lived there before with Nick and Schmidt, thus keeping Jess as the titular "New Girl")
Jess: I want to have sex with him big time! Big time! I want to take him down to Chinatown and slice him off a piece of this pumpkin pie, okay? I want to do all the things that you do in a bedroom with him! I want to do it standing up and sitting down and half-up and half-down and the Wiggly One and the Bear Attack and the claws in the head and the one that figure skaters do and the "what's for lunch?" and the "gimme that hat!" The point is that I'm good. I'm really good and I don't care what you think!
For all that they have some typically male tendencies and insecurities, the three guys have never exhibited any trouble hugging each other, telling each other or other people they love them, or crying. Schmidt in particular is also not averse to kissing his male friends (although Nick tells him multiple times to stop "Fredo-kissing" him when they think that Nick has cancer). There's also his cooking, Winston's comfort with girl talk, and Nick's claim to be good with babies.
Winston's a nanny for awhile, and he and the kid Elvin are total buddies.
Recurring Character: Tanya (Jess' boss), Remy the landlord, Sadie, Sid (a strange and silent regular at Nick's bar), Nadia (Cece's terrifying model roommate), Schmidt's various superiors at work, Outside Dave the belligerent homeless man, Tran the silently supportive Asian water massage therapist, and some of the love interests.
Schmidt and Cece. At first they were casually hooking up, then they stopped when feelings got involved, then they were dating, then they broke up, then Schmidt declared his love for her, then Cece decided they weren't working, then they were friends with benefits, then she got engaged to someone else, then she broke off the wedding because she liked Schmidt, at which point they get together again... only for her to dump him when she learns he never broke up with his ex and had been dating them both. It's been a complicated story.
Off-screen, Nick and Caroline. Before the series began, she had dumped him three times. They get back together and break up at the end of the first season.
Relationship Upgrade: Jess and Nick wrangle with this for the second half of season 2 and finally embrace it in the finale.
Reset Button: After the "Sister" trilogy of episodes, Schmidt is forced to move back into the loft. Though not a perfect reset, as Coach is still around.
Retcon: In the pilot, Jess says the word "penis." In the fourth episode, she is unable to say it. (Then again, it was a little sing-songy in the first episode.) Her difficulty with saying "penis" in episode 4 was probably because of the awkwardness of the situation.
Ridiculous Procrastinator: Nick goes to truly extreme lengths just to avoid writing his zombie novel such as dropping his laptop on purpose and going on a drunk excursion to the zoo.
Secret Relationship: Schmidt and Cece initially, at Cece's insistence. However, in "Fancyman, Part 2" they're discovered by Winston after he steals Schmidt's car while they're having sex in the back of it, drives to Mexico, and is stopped and searched by U.S. Customs on the way back. Then, in the next episode, Winston tells Nick, and...
Sex for Solace: In the pilot Jess's new roommates decide to help her find a man to use for a rebound, for which they give her extensive coaching.
Sex God: For all his Ted Baxter qualities, Schmidt is certified by both Cece (who practically can't help having sex with Schmidt) and Sadie (a lesbian gynecologist who Schmidt manages to turn on by describing what he does in bed) to be a "vagenius." His boss even explicitly picks him to be her sex partner because of his sterling reputation!
Jess' plan for surprising her boyfriend at the beginning of the pilot. Backfires.
Jess again, taking advantage of Nick's attraction to her by putting on one of his hoodies and doing the beginnings of a strip tease so he'd let her have a parking space. He knows what she's doing, he recognizes that she's doing it clumsily, and he goes right along with it anyway.
Sexy Shirt Switch: Half the purpose of Nick's flannels seems to be so that we can see girls wearing them.
Shaggy Dog Story: "Control." Efforts to get Schmidt to loosen up are abandoned and he's back to being the dominant force in the house. No one learns how to pick up the slack and take care of themselves in his absence, and anything Schmidt might've learned is unlearned. Also, Nick never does pay Winston back his hundreds of dollars, but Winston stops pressuring him about it.
She Cleans Up Nicely: Schmidt and Coach's reaction when they see Jess in the Little Black Dress her friend Cece helps her pick out... a reaction which is killed soon after, when Jess breaks into a celebratory dance. This happens again in Episode 3, when Jess is wearing her "Who let the dirty slut out of the slut house?" dress, but promptly kills the reaction again when she dons a pair of false buck teeth and puts on a fake Cockney accent.
Nick: I forgot what you looked like when you're not dressed as the loft troll.
Schmidt: (while trying to distract someone) Look, it's Abu Nazir!
Schmidt might get another to Veronica Mars when he says "[This apartment] smells like Tijuana." Tijuana was a frequent plot point in VM, where the actor played a cop.
The season 2 finale contains a lot of subtle homages to The Graduate.
The Silent Bob: Tran. Nick holds entire conversations with him, even though for the most part he doesn't say anything back. Nick gains a lot of insight from these conversations somehow.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: Even after they start hooking up and realizing she likes him, Cece treats Schmidt with a lot of impatience and snappishness. He's nicer to her, though — unless it involves cooking. And she likes it when he gets angry.
Sleep Cute: Nick and Jess, and Schmidt and Cece on two occasions.
Also arguably to Friends, they're a group of single 30ish people in the big city, who live in an apartment that in real life would probably be unaffordable. New Girl also shares Friends' romantic comedy leanings and love for Formerly Fat controlling characters.
Stacy's Mom: Winston flirts with Nick's mom over the phone. He also saw her naked when he was thirteen, which he claims was an accident, but Nick is convinced was by design.
Stalking Is Love: Instead of simply going to her door to apologize and ask for a second chance, Sam lurks through Jess' invitation RSVPs and follows her to several Christmas parties.
Star-Crossed Lovers: Between Cooler and the s2 finale, Nick and Jess kept being stalled by various obstacles like the other's denial, their own denial, the disapproval of roommates, the disapproval of her father, self-doubt, bad timing, before Jess finally outright states what it means to her and Nick gets it together.
The season 1 finale opens on Nick about the move out of the apartment, but he eventually breaks if off with Caroline and goes back to his friends.
The end of season 2 has Cece getting an arranged marriage. She calls off the wedding and her fiance runs off with Elaine
Stepford Smiler: Nick, very transparently, for the first few hours after getting dumped by Julia. And in the same episode, one of Jess' students throws her relationship troubles in her face and suggests that her happiness is a mask. "I love being unemployed! I. Love. It."
The Stinger: Usually an extended cut of a humorous scene. Examples include Schmidt practicing pickup lines into a mirror, a longer version of College Nick and Schmidt's first encounter, a longer cut of a (shirtless and fat) homeless man serenading Winston on a date, and more.
Stood Up: Happens to Jess near the end of the pilot, and becomes the basis of her bonding with her roommates when they show up to be reverse-Mormons who sing to her in public.
Straight Man: Most of the insanity seems to happen around Nick.
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). It's also happened to all the guys with regard to Cece.
Super OCD: Possibly Schmidt, at least while he's cooking. Somewhat justified when he figures out that he and Nick have been using the same towel...and that Nick has NEVER washed it. And that Nick sometimes wears his underwear.
As early as the second episode, Winston for Coach (due to Wayans contract with Happy Endings). Both are the Token Minority and with a heavy sports background. By virtue of how little we knew of Coach, Winston does have a more defined personality and a much different relationship with Jess (Coach would inadvertently make her cry by taking the direct approach; in contrast, Winston is less upfront and comforted her when she was upset with the others).
Lampshaded in "The Landlord" by Remy, who refers to Winston as Coach.
In universe, Jess believes that Jenn, Paul's girlfriend after her, is "Asian me" due to the two women's obvious similarities. Ultimately, she decides she was something Paul happened upon on his way to Jenn, his true love.
Take a Third Option: Schmidt has to choose between Cece and Elizabeth. Or he can secretly date them both. It ends horribly.
Take That, Critics!: When Nick's new girlfriend Julia makes dismissive comments about Jess's "whole thing" (meaning her sweet/cute/feminine style and demeanor), Jess mounts a defense that can be clearly seen as one of these toward those who have criticized the character (and Zooey Deschanel herself) as excessively twee and girly.
Jess: I brake for birds. I rock a lot of polka dots. I have touched glitter in the last 24 hours. I spend my entire day talking to children. And I find it fundamentally strange that youíre not a dessert person. It freaks me out. Iím sorry that I donít talk like Murphy Brown. And I hate your pants suit. I wish it had ribbons on it or something just to make it slightly cuter. But that doesnít mean Iím not smart and tough and strong.
Jess to her students, or when her friends are in trouble/being idiots. Nick remarks on her tendency to take care of everybody.
The Tell: Everyone knows when Nick is hiding something.
Schmidt: Sweatback? You told Sweatback?!
Ten Minutes in the Closet: Played with when Nick and Jess get locked "behind the iron curtain" to kiss as part of a game, though they had no immediate issues to resolve (that they knew of) and Nick jumped out a window to avoid having to go through with it...until later.
Jess: I'm going to pay this $800 fine. And my checks have baby farm animals on them, bitch!
This Loser Is You: Nick is a bartender who dropped out of law school shortly before getting his degree, who comes off as rather bitter. Winston is currently unemployed and clueless about what he wants to do.
Those Two Guys: Jess and Winston seem to be the most likely to pair up to geek out or snark on their roommates. Or, you know, have a Sophisticated Man Dance-Off. And at one point Jess created a theme song for their hang-out time.
Tough Room: Schmidt and Jess run up against this often.
True Companions: As an example, two of Jess' roommates show up to her students' science fair — Winston to help her fix a project for one student, and Nick in turn because Winston is also in the middle of baby-sitting him through a meltdown. There are also the many occasions where they all come together as a group in defense of one of them, and stuff like Jess' ease with telling all of them she loves them, or Schmidt and Nick's comfort with showing affection for each other in public.
In fact, the climax of an early season 3 episode has Jess yelling at everyone to not freak out over some of the episode's issues because they're family as much as friends. And because of such, they'll figure things out.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: Nick and Jess, which they openly discuss. Eventually they resolved it, which opened up a whole new can of issues. But so far they seem willing to go with it.
The Unreveal: In "First Date", Russell snaps after a night of being hassled by Jess and Nick and asks them what they think the state of their relationship is. They write it down on a pair of tickets, give it to Russell, who looks regretful about making them do it, then promptly leaves. They also don't have the guts to tell one another what they wrote.
Unusual Euphemism: Hector J, Harold & Kumar, White Castle, and most of Jess' alternative words for penis.
In Valentines Day, Jess uses the word "twirly" instead of well...horny.
"Completion" for ejaculation and "gumbo pot" for vagina.
In "Eggs" Schmidt uses a torrent of these to explain his foreplay techniques to Jess' lesbian gynecologist friend Sadie, which, combined with a series of hand gestures the audience can't see, is enough to turn her on to an incredible degree and deem him to be a "vagenius"
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Jess has seen male nudity so often since moving in with the guys that she doesn't even blink anymore (she used to gigglescream). In Jess & Julia, Schmidt can't find his towel so he walks through the house naked. She doesn't even look up (as much as he wishes she would). First thing in the morning in Fancyman pt. II, she walks in on Nick's friend in the bathroom with his pants down without having bothered to close the door behind him and simply walks sleepily out again.
Episode 20 of the second season when Nick's dad really does die and the roomies travel to Chicago.
Villainous Breakdown: When Schmidts gambit to break up Jess and Nick fails he goes ballistic, trying to get between them having sex, cutting up Nicks condoms, and finally taking Jess's birth control pills.
We Want Our Jerk Back: Becomes the plot of "Control." Jess gets Schmidt to finally stop being so uptight and nitpicky and to finally relax. Unfortunately, he becomes a little too relaxed, and joins some sort of hippie commune on the beach, stops going to work, and spends the whole day playing a bongo drum. And it turns out that without Schmidt there to nag the other roommates, the apartment falls into chaos, as Winston and Nick have no idea how to shop on a budget (they are in awe at the fact that Schmidt, thanks to his finickiness and obsession with detail, is able to get the groceries with less than $100), all three of them apparently can't dress without Schmidt's fashion advice, and the apartment starts becoming dirty. At the end of the episode, they coax him back to the apartment, partially by offering him Calvin Klein slacks. By the end, he's obsessively cleaning the apartment, tells Nick "Your hair is doing that thing that I just HATE," and in general is back to his usual self...and the roomies couldn't be happier about it.
Wedding Day: The season 2 finale. An early season 1 episode too, but that one doesn't have quite as much of men bleeding out after being mauled by badgers and a recurring Cotton Eye Joe hook to it. It does have a loud drunk (Nick) and creepy child, though.
What Did I Do Last Night?: "Jess, what happened last night?" Made poignant by the fact that nothing really happened...except that Nick opened up emotionally under the influence of pain meds and fear, and tried to resolve to become a more proactive person, only to forget it all.
What Does She See in Him?: Seems to be everybody's opinion about any woman who dates Schmidt, but turned Up to Eleven when the group finds out about him and Cece. Justified though in that outwardly, he's kinda of a douchebag, but his actual personality is more of an adorkable loser who doesn't know how to deal with people... and happens to be a sex god.
Schmidt with his "friend" Ben. Schmidt refers to their relationship as kind of like a girl's friendship, where they're friends but they hate each other.
Schmidt and Robbie. They're fighting over Cece, but otherwise get along famously. Even while Schmidt is actively trying to sabotage Robbie's relationship.
Your Cheating Heart: Jess returns home early in hope of surprising her live-in boyfriend with some Sexy Coat Flashing, but he's cheating with another woman. This leads to her breakup and search for a new apartment.
In season 3, Schmidt involves himself with two women with both thinking he had broken things off with the other. He ends up losing both of them and a pie to the face.