Like many long-running television series, New Girl is full of inside jokes that get better and better on each rewatch. It’s what makes New Girl one of the most binge-able shows on Netflix.
Most New Girl inside jokes are related to the outlandish personalities of the hilarious characters on the show. Let’s count down the funniest inside jokes that run throughout the series.
The Gang Is Bad At Dating
It’s not a secret that most of the residents of apartment 4D are super unlucky in love—the series literally starts with Jess trying to surprise her boyfriend with a strip tease, only to find out he’s cheating on her.
Jess isn’t the only one who has bad luck when it comes to romance. Nick’s always getting dumped, Cece only dates assholes, Winston is painfully awkward, and Schmidt can’t seem to entice a woman without lying about himself in one way or another (i.e. telling girls he’s a Romney).
Jess Loves Dirty Dancing
For Jess, the first stage of a breakup isn’t denial. It’s camping out on the couch and playing Dirty Dancing on repeat.
Jess watches Dirty Dancing every time she goes through a breakup, sometimes tearfully singing along to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” When Nick and Jess break up, they even sing the song together from different rooms.
The movie is also playing when Nick and Jess get engaged, reminding us of how far she’s come in her quest for love.
We learn a lot about Nick’s precarious financial situation throughout the series. He doesn’t trust banks, asserting that “banks are just paper bags with fancier walls,” so the entirety of his financial history is stuffed into a box in his closet for safekeeping.
Nick is deeply in debt (the box is full of unpaid bills and notices from debt collectors) and owes pretty big sums of money to all his friends. He also doesn’t have health insurance.
Jess is eventually able to convince Nick to open a bank account, although he insists on arguing with the teller over the $8 fee.
Winston Is Bad At Pranks
Referring to himself as “Prank Sinatra,” Winston has a love for pranks of all kinds. The only problem is he always goes way too big—or way too small.
Prank Sinatra’s escapades range from “Let’s put a little juice by his shoe” to releasing a live badger into the air ducts above Cece’s wedding ceremony. He just can’t find that sweet spot.
Winston even gets married as a prank—like, legally, officially married.
Nick Considers Himself A Writer
Though Nick is a bartender, he identifies as a writer. His ongoing project during the early seasons is Z is for Zombie, a Zombie romance novel that definitely doesn’t have any similarities to Twilight. Nick gets distracted often during his writing process, so the book is a work in progress for a long time. Eventually he finishes Z is for Zombie, complete with a word search (to engage the readers) and 38 different misspellings of the word “rhythm.”
Nick’s aspirations come full circle when he actually becomes a best-selling YA author with The Pepperwood Chronicles.
Schmidt is known for giving his own flair to the pronunciation of a lot of words. His mispronunciations include quirks like saying “room” like “rum” and calling kids “youths” with a big emphasis on the “TH.”
Many of his pronunciations are far more annoying though—like pronouncing “coupons” like “cuppons” or really making sure to say every syllable of the word “chutney,” while adding one ("TUH") in the middle. He’s also a fan of shortening words and phrases to sound cooler, like calling “significant others” “sig-oths” or referring to sabotaging Cece’s wedding as “sabo.”
Nick And Schmidt Were College Roommates
Nick and Schmidt first became friends when they were paired up as roommates in their freshman dorm. We often see flashbacks to their time as dorm-mates, where Nick is usually wearing tie-dye and rocking a mustache and Schmidt is a much larger version of himself.
Their friendship blossomed over shared bunk beds and a mutual inability to talk to girls. The best part of this joke is that young Nick and young Schmidt are still played by Jake Johnson and Max Greenfield.
Winston Loves His Cat…A Lot
Winston adopts his cat, Ferguson, in Season 3 when he steals him from an ex-girlfriend who cheated on him. Though he originally plans on killing the cat to get back at his ex, Winston and Ferguson develop a bond that’s deeper than any human relationship.
Being a cat dad actually kind of takes over Winston’s whole personality. His love for Ferguson becomes more and more insane as the series progresses, with Winston even trying to act as a “wingman” for Ferguson before his neutering surgery.
Schmidt’s Real Name
It took six seasons to find out Schmidt’s real first name (Schmidt is actually his last name). After years of wondering, fans of New Girl finally got their answer: Winston.
Yep, there are actually two Winstons in the group. Schmidt decides to start going by his real name in an effort to be more professional—but the whole idea is nixed when Cece calls Schmidt “Winston” in bed and the two of them are too grossed out to continue.
Nick’s Best Friend Is An Old Man Named Tran
Contrary to what Schmidt would tell you, Nick’s best friend is an old man named Tran. The two hit it off instantly, after Nick “guesses” his name and Tran offers Nick some sage relationship advice. The friendship makes sense, as Nick essentially has the personality of an old man himself.
Tran never actually talks—I guess the advice he gives is meant to be inferred rather than heard. Regardless, Nick comes to think of the old man as his best friend and confidant. He even dates Tran’s granddaughter at one point, who admits that Nick is NOT her grandpa’s best friend.
Some of the best New Girl episodes happen amidst a game of True American, an American history-themed drinking game with no discernable rules (other than the floor is lava).
Games of True American usually end up with every member of the gang absolutely sloshed and hundreds of beer cans littered around the loft, but the best True American episode ends with Nick and Jess’s first kiss.
The Douchebag Jar
Schmidt often says things that are vulgar, inappropriate, or just straight-up douchey. To be fair, those are some of his funniest moments on the show.
The loft mates develop a system to keep Schmidt in check—every time he says something that makes everyone else cringe, he has to put money in the Douchebag Jar.
The joke becomes less prevalent as Schmidt becomes less of a douche. However, at Schmidt and Cece’s wedding, Nick gives the jar to Schmidt so he can break it, replacing the glass that’s customarily crushed at Jewish weddings. It’s a symbolic moment of growth for Schmidt.
Nick Is Bad At Lying
Like, really bad.
Nick shares that he actually can’t lie—he begins to sweat so profusely that it becomes super obvious he’s hiding something. It’s ironic, considering his father was basically a professional con-man.
Nick can never keep a secret, but one of the worst examples of this is when he has to lie to a police officer to help Winston pass a home visit for the police academy.
While the rest of the gang furiously tries to get rid of “meth” that’s hidden in Jess’s closet, Nick is left alone with the officer. The only thing he can do to stop himself from revealing the secret is singing “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac.
Did we miss any of your favorite New Girl inside jokes?
Episodes of New Girl are included with a Netflix subscription.
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She/her. Lover of female-led comedies, Saturday Night Live, and THAT scene in Fleabag. Will probably get up halfway through the movie to add more butter to the popcorn.