The social dynamics of the characters often define sitcoms. Programs like All in the Family and I Love Lucy emphasized marriage and familial units. Once Cheers debuted, friend ensembles became massively popular within the comedy genre. While others followed in its path, like Friends and The Big Bang Theory, New Girl carved its place into sitcom lore with chaotic, new-age energy and unique joke delivery. One zany woman living with several male roommates certainly made for a hilarious concept, and the actors and writers executed it perfectly. Check out the best New Girl episodes ranked!
1. “Background Check” (Season 4, Episode 6)
This early fourth-season episode tops the list because it embodies the funniest aspects of every character. Nick's nervous sweating, Coach's failed charisma, Schmidt's obsession with Cece, and Jess's ability to make a minor situation seem out of hand all come crashing together in a cacophony of comedy greatness.
2. “Neighbors” (Season 2, Episode 4)
Schmidt's vanity somehow makes him lovable to audiences worldwide. Maybe it's because everyone knows that Schmidt tries his best even when looking like a jerk, and “Neighbors” illustrates what happens when all of the erratic man's tendencies go off the rails. Schmidt worries the next-door neighbors don't like him because of his age, but his narcissistic nature turns them off.
3. “Prince” (Season 3, Episode 14)
One of the biggest guest stars in recent sitcom history appeared in the middle of New Girl's third season. The gang tries everything to meet the late, great Prince, and the usual antics ensue. The episode aired at the height of Nick and Jess kindling the fires of their romance, and there's plenty of wood thrown on the campsite here.
4. “Parking Spot” (Season 2, Episode 17)
Some of the show's best episodes utilize mundane, everyday occurrences to milk as much humor from them as possible. Much like an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond or Seinfeld, “Parking Spot” covers the ridiculous democratic argument between the characters over who deserves to inhabit the newest vacant parking spot in the apartment's garage.
5. “See Ya” (Season 1, Episode 24)
Location shoots in New Girl episodes always bring in crazy scenarios. The first season finale brings the friends out to the desert in an epiphany moment for Nick and many others as they debate where life goes next for them.
6. “Five Stars for Breezus” (Season 6, Episode 22)
As the series starts to close, long-running plotlines wrap up. Jess and Nick's on-again-off-again relationship finally moves in a pivotal direction, with Jess accepting her place in Nick's life. Schmidt and Cece's family grows after news of the latter's pregnancy, instantly conjuring images for the audience of what type of dad Schmidt will be.
7. “Double Date” (Season 3, Episode 3)
Schmidt struggles to juggle his relationship with two different women, one of whom remains the love of his life, Cece. Chaos ensues when both ladies find out about Schmidt's two-timing ways and the episode sets up well for both Cece and Schmidt to spend time apart.
8. “Reagan” (Season 5, Episode 6)
Megan Fox enters the show as a temporary replacement for Zooey Deschanel during her pregnancy. Most shows don't do well when their star leaves, but the talent of the male actors and Fox's charm help to alleviate concerns in the short term. Fox plays Reagan, a bisexual woman who obtains obvious chemistry with Nick.
9. “Glue” (Season 6, Episode 15)
Nick and Jess appeal to each other's best spontaneous desires, and New Girl episodes such as “Glue” allow the actors to spin their own web of comedic bliss for everyone to laugh along to. The couple go into a glue-induced fervor similar to being high on drugs while they are trying to make Nick's dream of becoming a published author come true.
10. “D-Day” (Season 5, Episode 10)
Some of New Girls' best storylines revolve around a completely outrageous social paradigm flipped on its head. Jess falls for an attractive older man at a winery, but when she discovers the beau is Schmidt's father, well, he's not all that much of a catch anymore. Dating your best friend's dad feels more than awkward, and Deschanel excellently portrays the circumstances.
11. “Naked” (Season 1, Episode 4)
New Girl immediately throws Nick and Jess into the romantic fire with an awkward exchange in which Jess accidentally sees Nick naked. The funniest plot line of the episode stands as Schmidt's queer desires for Nick when he gets jealous of Jess seeing his best friend in all of his glory!
12. “Cabin” (Season 2, Episode 12)
Nick and Jess always try to see other people, but their true desires for one another shine through any time they go on double dates. Jess, Sam, Nick, and Angie all go to a cabin in the woods for the weekend, but the cringy moments between the four pile up quickly. Schmidt's social unawareness reaches new heights when he becomes obsessed with Winston's lack of Black friends.
13. “Injured” (Season 1, Episode 15)
Nick Miller appears to be a depressive mess, but his heart of gold and deadpan sense of humor bring levity and dark humor to most New Girl episodes. The middle of the first season establishes Nick's lack of self-care when he can't go to the doctor after getting hurt playing football.
14. “Chicago” (Season 2, Episode 20)
Memorable sitcoms invite hilarious guest stars during key moments, and “Chicago” fulfills this quota with Bill Burr, Nick Kroll, and legendary character actress Margo Martindale. The trio plays Nick's family members when the gang visits Illinois, leading to Jess learning a little bit more about Nick's background.
15. “About Three Years Later” (Season 7, Episode 1)
New Girl jumps three years into the future for the seventh season premiere, an ambitious decision that allowed for some of the final episodes' best storylines. The time jump mainly allows audiences to see the dynamics of Schmidt and Cece as parents.
16. “Basketball” (Season 3, Episode 12)
With so many character combinations, the writers sometimes forget to pair mismatched and unique offerings. Jess and Coach spend quality time bonding over basketball and help introduce new friendship dynamics to the show. Nick's jealousy and irritation over Jess's choice of favorite team add hilarity to the episode.
17. “Micro” (Season 4, Episode 4)
Jess dates a man with a less-than-impressive “package” to win a bet about male vs. female vanity with the guys. She soon learns the man's physical stature pales compared to his stale personality. The show's understanding of gender stereotypes aids in the plot here.
18. “San Diego” (Season 6, Episode 21)
Jess contemplates where Nick should be the number one man in her life, and she goes to her dad for advice, leading to a surprise in their father-daughter relationship. Zooey Deschanel and Rob Reiner play off one another in an authentic, loving fashion to bring the right amount of cozy to this late-series episode.
19. “Engram Pattersky” (Season 7, Episode 8)
New Girl's series finale combines exquisite charm with closing substance. The apartment becomes the main character of the climactic moments, as the show's setting always helped it feel nostalgic yet modern simultaneously.
20. “Control” (Season 1, Episode 16)
Schmidt's controlling nature elicits sympathy from Jess when she realizes Schmidt contributes more to the household than any other member of the friend group. The episode puts the microscope on what makes Schmidt's personality so hilarious and how the rest of the characters bounce off him.
21. “Goldmine” (Season 4, Episode 7)
Nick pretends to be gay to alleviate any worries from Jess's boyfriend about them still living together. The intentional cringe of the humor makes the episode shine, but the B-plot revolving around Schmidt's devotion to Cece's cleavage stands out here, especially when Schmidt says they will always be attractive because they are attached to Cece.
22. “Parents” (Season 2, Episode 8)
Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner always treat the audience with their talents when they appear as Jess's estranged parents. Thanksgiving presents an opportunity for Jess to turn into a child and create scenarios that could possibly help get her parents back together.