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30 Best Episodes Of New Girl Ranked

An under-appreciated gem, "New Girl" is finally getting the recognition it deserves as one of the decade's best sitcom comedies — thanks in part to its appearance on Netflix. A critical darling with a loyal fan base, it boasted an incredible cast led by actress Zooey Deschanel and Nick Johnson. It also had some of the biggest recurring guest stars you could imagine, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Megan Fox, and Josh Gad.

Chronicling the life of four (and, at different points, five and six) housemates who live in a Los Angeles loft, "New Girl" saw characters grow and evolve, date and break up, get back together and fall apart again. As a romantic comedy, it hit all the right notes while being entirely unpredictable, and defied all conventions of the genre. Despite lagging ratings, it still managed to garner seven seasons and nearly 150 episodes. Wondering which ones are the best? We've got you covered, with a little help from the fans at IMDb.

30. Operation: Bobcat

"Operation: Bobcat" continues the "New Girl" tradition of holiday episodes, with a story set on Valentine's Day. While Jess struggles with being alone for the romantic holiday, spending the day watching cooking shows, she tries to convince the gang that there's nothing wrong. Over at his marketing agency, Schmidt wants to impress his boss while he's up for a big promotion at work, but his plans are derailed when CC surprises him at the office for their "Bone-iversary" — leading to an awkward scene on the office rooftop. 

Of course, Winston has his own struggle, wanting to enjoy the day with Aly, but her hatred of the holiday makes it difficult. Jess helps to convince him to go for it anyway, but when Winston arrives with pizza and a stuffed koala, Aly throws off his proposal plans by casually suggesting they get married.

29. Naked

Lake Bell guest stars in the first season episode "Naked" as Nick's gorgeous co-worker Amanda, who he somehow manages to get a date with. It's a landmark moment, as it's his first real date since his breakup with Caroline, but his evening is threatened when Jess walks in on Nick naked and causes a crisis in confidence. Though Jess tries to downplay the accidental encounter, her attempts to calm Nick down only make things worse.

After his date, Amanda wants to jump straight into bed — but not feeling up to being sexually vulnerable, he insists on cuddling. When he tries for a do-over, Jess is there once again ready to screw things up for him. Meanwhile, Winston goes on a disastrous interview and vows to catch up on pop culture so he can make small talk. He instead goes a little overboard watching viral YouTube videos.

28. Fancyman, Part 2

Jess and Russell (guest star Dermot Mulroney) finally go on their first date together in "Fancyman, Part 2." But the age gap proves to be a stumbling block for Jess, who feels the need to prove she's as smart, sophisticated, and wise as her new silver fox crush. It's not made any better when Russell starts giving mixed signals, and Jess suddenly isn't sure what he's looking for in a relationship.

Meanwhile, Nick is trying his own dating strategy when Dirk, an old college buddy, comes to town and suggests Nick start dating younger women just like Russell does. More specifically, Dirk tells Winston to pursue the girls attending the nearby college. Dirk also gives Winston some advice after he tells Shelby they could use some space, prompting him to race off to Mexico to make sure she doesn't misunderstand. 

27. Pepperwood

Nick's endeavors to help Jess find out a student's secrets go horribly wrong in the second season episode "Pepperwood." Adult creative writing student Edgar seems misanthropic and isolated, and is conspicuously interested in murder. Worried he may be dangerous, Nick goes "undercover" in Jess' class as a not-so-convincing student from Chicago named Julius Pepperwood — who is also the central character in his latest novel, a "zombie-noir" detective story. Naturally, Nick's attempts to learn more about Edgar get him into trouble, as they follow him home and break into his house looking for evidence. 

Back at the loft, Winston has an awkward moment with CeCe. To relieve the tension, the housemates reveal that everyone has a "pogo" — a quirk that everyone mocks behind their back — so named thanks to Winston's manhood being visible through his pajamas. 

26. Landline

"Landline" sees the gang install an old school wired landline phone when Nick's room becomes the only place in the loft where anyone gets cell phone reception. As the only one in the house who's at home during the day, Nick naturally becomes obsessed with being everyone's secretary, taking messages and getting a little too involved in their personal lives in the process.

The new landline phone leads to all kinds of problems, with Winston forced to take Schmidt's place in a magazine interview. At the same time, Coach's job as gym teacher at Jess' school is in jeopardy when she catches him sleeping with two different teachers. But Jess is one to talk when she realizes she has an uncontrollable attraction to fellow teacher Ryan.

25. Curse Of The Pirate Bride

It's finally time for the much-anticipated wedding episode, with Season 7's "Curse Of The Pirate Bride." But like most sitcoms, the laughs come less from the event itself and more from the shenanigans that ensue in the lead up to Nick and Jess giving their vows. When the couple eschew the old superstition and not only see each other before the wedding day, but sleep together, it seems to seriously jinx them. Jess injures her eye, forcing her to wear a protective patch for her wedding, while Nick's deal for his first novel falls through.

Aly, meanwhile, is pregnant, and the baby seems to be coming sooner than anyone expects. And in a last ditch effort, Russell (Dermot Mulroney) turns up to profess his undying love for Jess. Caught in multiple vortexes of bad luck, it'll be a miracle if Nick and Jess ever tie the knot.

24. The Landlord

"The Landlord" introduces us to the housemate's eccentric landlord Remy, who arrives when Jess calls for his help with the garbage disposal against the gang's wishes. They confess to Jess that much of their rental contract is falsified, with Schmidt technically a roommate, while Winston was never added to the lease when Coach left the house. When Remy arrive, Nick is more concerned that he may be making a pass at Jess, though the truth turns out to be more puzzling than he imagined.

Meanwhile, Schmidt is getting mixed signals at work from his boss Kim, and decides to impulsively start a physical relationship with her. She welcomes the advance, but their sexual encounter leads to a major mix-up, and an awkward moment on a company conference call.

23. Table 34

"Table 34" sees CeCe attend an Indian marriage convention to find a new partner. But when Schmidt finds out, he promptly crashes the event hoping to win her back and stop her finding a new beau. Jess attends as emotional support, while Nick shows up to support Schmidt, and Winston goes too because, heck, everyone else is going. But, beyond this, this episode is really dealing with the aftermath of a certain romantic moment — Jess wants to talk about it, but Nick wants to ignore it. 

At the event, Winston has to avoid an overzealous woman, Schmidt embarrasses himself, and — when Nick finally gets the nerve to confront the issue with Jess — it creates more problems than it solves. The episode finally sees the end of Jess and Sam too, but not before Sam gives Nick one heck of a right hook and a major blow to Nick's already weak ego.

22. Winston's Birthday

"Winston's Birthday" finds Winston excited about the impending surprise birthday party that he's sure the housemates have been planning for him, but it doesn't seem like anyone has actually bothered to do it. If he wants the party he deserves, he may have to throw it himself. A day after Nick and Jess spend the night together for the first time, an out-of-the-blue visit from Jess' father (guest star Rob Reiner) makes the day after that much more awkward for him, especially as Jess' busy schedule leaves the pair alone. 

Meanwhile, Jess' new job conflicts with her duties in CeCe's wedding party, as CeCe herself is having her own problems while preparing for the big day. Lastly, Schmidt struggles with the idea of people knowing that he's dating Elizabeth, his one-time high school girlfriend who he worries doesn't fit his new image-conscious lifestyle.

21. Teachers

Lisa Bonet guest stars as Brenda, a bohemian motivational teaching guru at an educators conference that Jess attends in "Teachers." There with Coach and her coworker crush Ryan, Jess can't seem to get him out of her head. Circumstances keep pushing the two into awkwardly quasi-romantic situations that Jess is desperate to avoid. At the same time, Coach is worried he won't be able to measure up as a health teacher, and is freaking out from the pressure. 

With Jess out of town, Nick, Schmidt, and Winston plan a crazy guy's weekend, but things prove much less rowdy and much weirder than anticipated when they discover that Schmidt has never learned how to do laundry. The three friends then bond over teaching each other mundane life skills like teaching Winston how to read a ruler, and Nick how to love.

20. Secrets

While Schmidt and CeCe have been clandestinely sleeping together for weeks, it all comes out in the episode "Secrets." Winston, having learned of their relationship earlier, cracks under the pressure and finally tells Nick about their roommate's affair with Jess' best friend. Unable to lie because he's just so infamously bad at it, Jess ferrets out the truth and confronts CeCe, furious at both her tryst with Schmidt and that she'd kept it a secret from her.

But that's not the only secret that comes out; Jess is horrified to learn that everyone in the loft has at one time or another fantasized about having sex with her. As a result she, tries to make herself less attractive around the loft. Finally, Nick's many college-aged girlfriends learn about each other and show him that dating younger was never a good idea to begin with.

19. Santa

The gang agrees to attend several different Christmas parties in "Santa," as it will be the last time they can hang out before they go their separate ways to visit family for the holidays. At the first party, guest star Olivia Munn is Nick's new girlfriend Angie — a strong and exciting woman whose adventurous personality intimidates him, especially when she suggests they sneak off to the bathroom to have sex.

Jess freaks out when she encounters Sam, while CeCe and Schmidt are uncomfortable about going together now that they are no longer in a relationship. At the next party, Jess bumps into Sam again. It turns out he is following her in an attempt to win her back, realizing their previous relationship was much more than the casual fling he'd thought.

18. Parking Spot

Having still never really addressed their romantic moment from a few episodes before, Nick and Jess finally get some alone time to talk about their relationship in "Parking Spot." It begins when Schmidt discovers that the apartment they all share actually has a much-desired parking spot that goes with it, which leads to the housemates fighting over which one of them should get it.

After dropping out of the contest for the parking spot, Winston leaves to have sex with Daisy — only to be stymied by his struggle to acquire a condom. When Nick also takes his name out of the running it's down to Jess and Schmidt, and things quickly escalate to a physical race for the spot in the parking garage. 

17. Goldmine

"Goldmine" finds Jess dating a new man named Ian, who she's worried will be upset to learn she lives with her ex. Nick wants to help, so decides to pretend he is gay as a way of putting Ian at ease. Winston meets two new attractive women who live in the building, and decides to play the long game: Be friendly and helpful in the hopes, of getting in their good graces and romancing them somewhere down the line. 

Of course, Coach tries to convince Winston that there's a faster, easier way to get their new neighbors into bed. Before long, the two are childishly one-upping each other while the women see right through them. On the other side of the loft, Schmidt is heartbroken when CeCe decides to get breast reduction surgery, and must say a tearful farewell to his two former "best friends."

16. Thanksgiving IV

It's an unusual holiday in "Thanksgiving IV," with everyone in the loft all being single at the same time. To cure their solitary blues, Schmidt proposes they have a different kind of feast this year, a dinner he dubs "Bangs-giving" — each housemate must bring a guest to match up with one of the gang they've picked out of a hat, in a bizarre sexual version of a Secret Santa. But things get weirder quickly in classic "New Girl" fashion when Nick picks himself, and brings his quiet park friend Tran to the dinner.

The episode is ultimately not about getting everyone laid, but about facing up to why they're single in the first place. In a rooftop scene that illustrates why the series has always struck a chord with fans, a crass premise gives way to a touching conversation, where Nick and Jess must confront exactly what has kept them from moving on. 

15. A Chill Day In

"A Chill Day In" saw Jess and CeCe mistakenly ruin the wedding gift given to them by Schmidt's mother. The pair must use the day that was supposed to be spent on CeCe's bachelorette party racing to replace it before her fiancé finds out. Unfortunately, by the time they realize what they've done and what they have to do to make it right, they're both stoned out of their minds. 

As a result, what should be a relatively simple task of purchasing a new (but expensive) breadmaker turns into a difficult and wild affair. What comes next is a the kind of zany madcap romp the best episodes of "New Girl" are known for, with Jess and CeCe somehow winding up in jail when it's all said and done.

14. Wedding Eve

It's the day before the big day in the fifth season episode "Wedding Eve." Schmidt needs Nick's help to rewrite his vows at the last minute, after the flash drive he saved them to is destroyed. But that's not the only problem the housemates face, as Jess discovers a diamond ring in Sam's jacket and thinks he's going to propose to her. The rest of the night sees Jess doing whatever she can to avoid Sam, including a massive game of True American.

In the end Jess and Sam both get what they want, and Sam even gives Jess a nudge in the right direction. Meanwhile, Winston is worried when Aly suddenly leaves the wedding rehearsal dinner, convinced he's done something wrong. 

13. San Diego

"San Diego" would finally uncover one of the show's longest running mysteries, with Schmidt at long last revealing his real first name. Most of the episode acts as a flashback to their college years, as Nick, Schmidt, and Winston reflect on how and why Schmidt decided to forego his first name. Meanwhile, Nick is unwilling to confront Reagan over the status of their turbulent relationship, even going so far as to flee the scene and take a train to San Diego to avoid her.

Rob Reiner returns as Bob Day, Jess' father, who is giving his daughter a place to stay while she struggles to move on, admitting that it's because she is still in love with Nick. But when she finds out he and Reagan have called it quits, it leads to a heartfelt phone call between Bob and Nick.

12. Spiderhunt

Season 4's "Spiderhunt" is a bottle episode, in which the gang lives in fear of a spider that found its way into the building. But first CeCe admits to Winston that her re-emergent feelings for Schmidt are what have been keeping her away from the loft, and he's been sworn to secrecy. Jess nevertheless convinces her best friend to visit to help them hunt the giant spider that's been terrorizing them. Hilarity ensures when the hunt for the giant spider becomes a wild adventure.

Personal feelings also intensify for Jess though when Winston, aware of CeCe's troubles, makes a series of cryptic remarks — leaving her with the distinct impression that CeCe is in love with Nick. Upset, but resigned, Jess talks to Nick about CeCe's supposed love for him, while Nick thinks she's talking about a popcorn maker. 

11. Birthday

It's Jess's birthday in the appropriately titled "Birthday," a day she normally spends the day at the movies. But when Nick asks to spend the day with her, CeCe gets worried that she may be setting herself up for disappointment, especially since it's Nick we're talking about. But the joke's on us, as CeCe confirms to Nick that Jess has no idea about the big surprise party he has planned. 

While Coach and Winston quibble over what aspect of the party they each should tackle, Nick has a new problem: He has to find a way to distract Jess all day while the gang puts the party together, and pass it off as the actual surprise. And like any good surprise party story, that won't be the only thing to go wrong.

10. Engram Pattersky

In the series finale, "Engram Pattersky," it's been a month since Jess and Nick were finally wed and are ready to start their new life together. But when they get a call saying that they — and everyone else in their building — are being evicted, it's time for everyone to say goodbye to the loft. Taking a stroll down memory lane, Nick, Schmidt, Jess, Cece, and Winston reminisce about all the good and bad times they've had there.

But for a series not known for shocking reveals or big twists, the episode ends on a surprising note. Full of big tear-jerker moments and even bigger laughs, the finale is first and foremost a tender goodbye to the gang of friends that viewers had lived with for seven incredible seasons.

9. Quick Hardening Caulk

Nick and Jess' relationship continues to evolve in "Quick Hardening Caulk," as Jess finally comes to accept how she feels about him. But things get complicated when Nick's new boss at the bar, who seems attracted to his messy, disorganized, and undisciplined nature — all of the things Jess used to find unattractive. Nick, as usual, is completely unaware of how uncomfortable his new relationship is making her, and hardly notices how turned on by him she suddenly is.

Schmidt, meanwhile, is consumed by his feelings for CeCe. Winston tries to cheer him up with a trip to an aquarium, where Schmidt falls desperately in love with a lion fish. Back at the loft, he buys his own water tank and becomes obsessed with acquiring the forbidden fish — the perfect allegory for his unrequited love.

8. Virgins

Fans were treated to a classic sitcom flashback episode with "Virgins." It begins with Jess receiving a text from Teddy, the man who took her virginity years before. But when CeCe mentions how humiliating Jess' first time was, Nick is eager to get more information. What follows is a series of stories from each housemate, as they attempt to one up each other for the award of most embarrassing first sexual encounter. 

CeCe reveals she lost her virginity to rocker Mick Jagger on her prom night, and Nick tells of his not-so-weird first time in the woods. Schmidt describes the oil-soaked evening he spent with Elizabeth, while it's Jess' story that dominates the evening — ending with a firefighter rescuing her from a kiddie castle. But it's Winston who wins the contest when Nick reveals that his first time was actually with a professional, in an encounter set up by Nick's father without his knowledge.

7. Prince

In one of the biggest guest star appearances in sitcom history, "Prince" sees the famous rocker appear as himself in a role made possible thanks to the star's own call to producers. Far from just a walk-on role, Prince plays a vital role not just in this episode, but in the ongoing story of Jess and Nick and their will-they-won't-they relationship. It starts when Jess and CeCe get invited to a private party at Prince's home. Just as they're leaving, Nick finally works up the courage to tell Jess he loves her, and Jess can't respond in kind.

At the soiree, Nick shows up looking for answers, and finds himself alone with Jess for a private moment. But it's short-lived as none other than Prince breaks the silence and after hearing their story, gives Jess some words of wisdom. Of course an episode with a global pop megastar can't end without a rocking musical number, where he's joined on stage by Jess and the gang.

6. Elaine's Big Day

It's CeCe's first wedding of the series in "Elaine's Big Day" with Schmidt's unrequited lover getting married off to her arranged partner Shivrang. He can't allow the nuptials to go through, and hatches a plan with to put a stop to the proceedings. Winston, with his love of wild pranks, eagerly joins the scheme, but his ideas for a show-stopper are not quite meeting expectations. As such, Nick feels he needs to step up and get involved, much to Jess' dismay.

Of course, CeCe is struggling with her own doubts about the marriage, as is Taylor Swift (yes, you heard that right). Elsewhere, Elizabeth is confused by Schmidt's behavior and gives him an ultimatum, while Jess and Nick finally confront their relationship and decide to call it quits.

5. Background Check

"Background Check" has Winston finally getting accepted into the Los Angeles Police Academy after an exhaustive application process. He and his housemates undergo a stringent background check, including an in-person visit to the loft from Sgt. Dorado. It's all hands on deck as the gang rushes to make sure there's nothing that could stand in the way of Winston's getting accepted to the academy, but they are all in disbelief when Jess reveals she has a bag of meth in her closet. 

Before everyone can be ready, Sgt. Dorado arrives for the background check, and Nick panics knowing he's not going to be able to lie. Stuck with a bag of meth in her bra, Jess begins a desperate bid to shed the drugs before she can be found out and ruin Winston's dream job.

4. Landing Gear

The fifth season finale, "Landing Gear" aired the same night as "Wedding Eve" as part of a one hour special presentation of Nick and CeCe's wedding and the lead-up to it. In the second part, CeCe and Schmidt finally get hitched after five long seasons of off-and-on courtship, but it's not without its turbulence. With CeCe saddened by the fact that her mother would not give her blessing to her marriage because her fiancée is a different religion, Schmidt sets out to win her over before they tie the knot.

To achieve the impossible and get her mother's blessing, Schmidt boards a flight to see her in person, and a mix-up means he might miss the big day. Meanwhile, Nick and Reagan finally start a real relationship right as Jess realizes she still has feelings for him.

3. Cooler

In "Cooler," Nick, Schmidt, and Winston take a night out to themselves at the bar to try to pick up women, and Jess isn't invited because she's Nick's "cooler" — the one who will get in the way of finding a woman. With Jess by herself in the loft, she decides to spend her time cleaning out her closets. At the bar, Nick and Schmidt fight over a bizarre woman named Holly, who seems to be attracted to their misery.

Winston spends the evening out with a married woman named Daisy, who helps him learn how to talk to women. But it's the episode's final moment that makes it so beloved, as Nick and Jess share a completely unexpected — and uncharacteristically spontaneous — passionate kiss, in a moment fans had been waiting for since the show began.

2. Clean Break

In the fourth season finale, "Clean Break" the gang says goodbye to a friend, as Coach prepares to move to New York City to be with his girlfriend May. Intent on leaving his life in Los Angeles behind, he vows to take nothing with him from the loft, but Jess is determined to convince him to take at least one thing to remember the housemates by.

Inspired by Coach's ability to let go of the past, Schmidt decides he's finally going to get rid of mementos from his relationship with CeCe. As everyone in the loft is being nostalgic all of a sudden, Winston becomes emotional, while Nick and Jess find a relic from their time together that makes them reconsider the nature of their relationship.

1. Five Stars For Breezus

In what was almost the series finale, but wasn't thanks to a last minute renewal, the episode "Five Stars For Breezus" tied up just about every lingering storyline from the series at the end of the show's sixth season. After six long years of indecisiveness, Jess and Nick finally get together for good, and Nick at long last receives interest from a publishing house who wants to sign him to a book deal. But what the episode does best is execute a number of emotional callbacks to the series premiere, including a reenactment of the first time Nick and Jess met.

Thankfully, "New Girl" would get a seventh and final season that would put a final bow on the series, but as the highest rated episode, "Five Stars For Breezus" proves it could have been a perfect sign-off too.