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Nick Miller's 7 Best And 7 Worst Episodes Of New Girl

It's almost impossible to identify Nick Miller's best and worst episodes of "New Girl." He has at least one killer gag in every episode of the show, and when he doesn't have any important character development in the A plot, he's usually leading an exceptional, hilarious B plot. Jake Johnson is an impeccable comedic actor and the kind of star that has charisma with almost any scene partner. As such, Nick's adventures with his various friends and acquaintances in "New Girl" always feel unique.

In any given episode of the Emmy-nominated sitcom, Nick is petulant and raucous with Cece, authentic and silly with Jess, snarky and reactive with Winston, and wacky and emotional with Schmidt. He has some of the best lines in the show and also arguably goes through the most effective and consistent growth. After a careful assessment of all seven seasons, we've identified Nick Miller's best and worst episodes of "New Girl."

Worst: Kids (Season 1, Episode 21)

If you're a "New Girl" fan, you probably predicted that Season 1's "Kids" would make this list as one of Nick's worst episodes. "Kids" serves as the final nail in the coffin of Nick's experimentation with non-monogamy after being dumped by Julia. Since taking his friend Dirk's advice to date younger women in a prior episode, "Fancyman Part 2," Nick has been carrying on casual relationships with young women without any emotional involvement. In "Kids," he's dating Chloe, a girl who seems to be mature despite her young age. But by the end of the episode, the daughter of Jess' boyfriend reveals that she used to ride the school bus with Chloe — meaning that Chloe is only eighteen!

It's not a good look for our guy Nick, and while his comedy in the episode is still on point ("Be honest with me, do my eyes look like poo?"), it doesn't make up for the total cringe when everyone realizes he's been dating a teenager.

Best: See Ya (Season 1, Episode 24)

Nick has a pretty excellent arc throughout Season 1 of "New Girl." He recovers from a painful breakup only to find devastation at the end of his relationship with Julia, dates a series of young women about whom he is not serious, deals with his loneliness next to the romantic successes of his two best friends, and gets back together with his emotionally abusive ex, Caroline. The only thing that consistently serves as a positive part of Nick's life is his group of friends, with an emphasis on the deep relationship he quickly builds with Jess.

In "See Ya," we see Nick grapple with what he expects to make him happy and what actually does make him happy, especially when he gets frustrated after having tons of fun with his friends despite being stranded in the desert and apart from Caroline. The cherry on top of the episode is definitely the glimpse we get of '90's college Nick when the gang plays his fun mixtape out of the moving truck.

Worst: Backslide (Season 1, Episode 23)

Despite the fact that Nick needs to go downhill in order to give us a great finale like "See Ya," it's still painful to watch the parts where he's making the decisions he'll later need to undo. In "Backslide," Nick has gotten back together with Caroline, his emotionally abusive ex-girlfriend, for fear of being alone when all of his friends move on without him. From their obnoxious opening dance to Joni Mitchell's "River," to a concerning conversation in which several serious truths are revealed very casually, every moment between Caroline and Nick is awkward at best and grating at worst.

It's a stark juxtaposition to his chemistry with Jess, and it's actually pretty heartbreaking to see her try to convince him of his self worth at the end of the episode (a conversation that they'll have many times over throughout the show) only for Nick to tell her that he's moving in with Caroline. Shout out to his past self's warning video about Caroline, though: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? No, a summer's day is not a b****."

Best: Eggs (Season 2, Episode 9)

Nick's contribution to the A plot in this episode is solid. He provides excellent comedic relief during a dinner with Cece, Jess, Sadie, and Sadie's wife, and later on gives classic Nick Miller attitude to Jess when she tries to dispose of the loft's microwave (how else is Nick going to make his burritos?!) in a panic about the viability of her eggs. It's a strong episode for Jess, but Nick's B plot with Winston is both hilarious and an important set-up for one of his most significant story threads throughout the show.

After seeing how passionate Winston is about his job, Nick decides to buckle down and finally write his zombie novel. Of course, Nick is a notorious procrastinator, and he does just about everything he can to avoid actually writing (Jess and Cece have some of the best lines upon observing Nick, including Jess' "I just lost another one of my eggs while you were comparing yourself to the greatest writer of all time," and Cece's "Are you just drunk at the zoo right now?"). As Zooey Deschanel has said many times on the podcast Welcome to Our Show, Jake Johnson is very good at acting drunk and the entire sequence at the zoo with his flask is hilarious. In the end, he does manage to finish his novel, which includes a wordless word search. 

Worst: All In (Season 3, Episode 1)

On the heels of an exceptional sophomore season, "All In" awkwardly opens Season 3, which brings a lot of change. Winston's characterization has done a 180 (which is ultimately for the better), Schmidt is being truly selfish and harmful in his dual dating of Elizabeth and Cece, and Nick and Jess have decided to officially embark upon a real romantic relationship. The episode itself feels unbalanced, attempting to juggle so many out-of-character shifts along with Nick and Jess' completely altered relationship dynamic, and Nick's character suffers the most for it out of the entire ensemble.

Nick's desperation to make his relationship with Jess work feels authentic, but his refusal to return to their everyday lives after escaping to Mexico for many days is pretty nonsensical, even for him. Season 3 is not as strong as Season 2 because it messes with the group dynamic too much, and this particular episode sets the tone for a not entirely satisfying romantic relationship between Jess and Nick.

Best: Pepperwood (Season 2, Episode 14)

One of Nick's finest outings (and one of the best "New Girl" episodes, period), "Pepperwood" is the next step in the journey Nick begins in "Eggs." In "Pepperwood," Nick becomes suspicious of a violent story written by one of Jess' adult creative writing students and takes it upon himself to investigate. He adopts the alias Julius Pepperwood in order to go undercover in Jess' class and hijinks ensue. Julius Pepperwood will stick with Nick for the rest of the show, eventually becoming the name of the protagonist in his hugely successful series of YA mystery novels known as "The Pepperwood Chronicles," but the most important thing about this episode is how Nick is inspired by his adventures with Jess.

There's a reason Nick and Jess begin dating in Season 3 — their chemistry is so strong in Season 1 and Season 2 that any other outcome after two years would feel contrived. As investigative partners in "Pepperwood," Jess and Nick showcase brilliant physical comedy and a vibrant stream of dialogue that can still provide a new laugh even when watching the episode for the tenth time. Nick's Chicago accent is perfect and his fight with Jess over an appropriate code-word for danger is a particularly excellent case of Nick and Jess arguing seriously about something entirely unserious.

Worst: Micro (Season 4, Episode 4)

"Micro" isn't a great episode for anyone on the show. It opens with a lengthy discussion between Nick, Schmidt, Coach, and Winston discussing the female anatomy and pretty much holds to the tone of that conversation for the next 20 or so minutes. Jess is, of course, appalled at their words, deriding them for determining the value of women based on their physical appearances. She spends the rest of the episode seeking to prove them wrong in their assertions that women judge men on their appearance just as readily.

To show that she doesn't care about a person's body, Jess dates a man with a feature that might put a lot of people off (see the title of the episode) and soon discovers that he also happens to have a terrible personality. Overall, it's a tired take on an issue that could have been handled with much more originality, humor, gravity, and nuance. Nick comes off the worst as Jess' main naysayer and the person who bets her that no one can ignore a physical appearance in favor of getting to know someone emotionally.

Best: The Box (Season 3, Episode 5)

"The Box" is all about Nick's main coping skill in life — specifically, his well-practiced urge to shove things into a box and forget they're there. Not only is this a metaphor for a lot of the emotions with which he often wrestles, but it's also a literal box in his closet where he keeps anything he hasn't wanted to deal with over the past fifteen or so years of his life. Jess is horrified upon being shown Nick's box and takes the opportunity to secretly pay many of his overdue bills with the inheritance he recently received following his father's death.

When Nick finds out about Jess' interference in his box, he is apoplectic, and somehow ends up throwing many of her purses out the window. The biggest source of tension between them has always been the fact that Nick seeks to ignore reality as much as possible whereas Jess is always trying to conquer it. In the end, Nick chooses his relationship with Jess over the coping mechanisms that have kept him sane and alive, and "The Box" is an important step in both his individual growth and his relationship with Jess.

Worst: Shark (Season 4, Episode 12)

Overall, "Shark" is such a strong episode for Schmidt, Jess, and Winston that it was probably never going to be a great showcase for Nick and Coach. The gang sees Winston graduate from the police academy and Nick and Coach are very worried for his safety because they know him as their gentle friend Winston. They upgrade from worry to full-blown panic when they meet Winston's training officer Aly and see that she is a petite woman.

Nick and Coach take it upon themselves to look out for Winston's safety and repeatedly interrupt his first official week as a police officer, standing in the way of him making a good impression with Aly. It's annoying that Nick and Coach are so convinced that Aly isn't competent because of her size, which doesn't feel like something either of their characters would actually believe. Obviously their stress over Aly is mostly to do with the worry they have for Winston's safety, and she handles it with as much tolerance as is possible under the circumstances, but it's just not a great episode for Nick.

Best: Oregon (Season 4, Episode 16)

"Oregon" is subtly one of the best Nick Miller episodes of the whole show. Based on the synopsis, you might not expect it to be such a good vehicle for him — the episode centers around Jess and her father's Oregon wedding, as well as Jess' failing relationship with Ryan, Cece's secret feelings for Schmidt, and Coach's insistence on acting like a Portland native. Nick quietly takes care of Jess for the entire episode, rallying the gang to take a tour of Portland with her and attempting to keep her positive even as her boyfriend Ryan continually disappoints her.

Nick is so incredibly sweet when he makes a "not!" joke after she points out where she learned how to make one, and his frustrated outburst at Ryan's failure to show up for Jess later in the episode comes from a totally selfless desire to see her as happy as possible. In this episode, Nick proves that he will always be the guy that shows up for Jess without expecting or wanting anything in return except to see her smile.

Worst: Wig (Season 5, Episode 7)

With the introduction of Reagan in Season 5 of "New Girl," we saw a new side of Nick Miller. He was head-over-heels for her from the minute he saw her, and while "New Girl" wasn't exactly the same without Jess' positive attitude to anchor the group, Reagan's character provided some fun episodes and showcased Megan Fox's scathing comedy. Unfortunately, Reagan's arrival on the show also brought us the episode "Wig," wherein Nick has become so convinced of her perfection that he can't even eat in the same room as her.

In order to get Nick to stop scoffing his messy burritos in their room, Schmidt and Cece convince him that Reagan wears a wig. It's not the most inspired lie, and it very quickly backfires when Nick seeks to find out why she needs to wear a wig. Nick's initial crush on Reagan feels like a bit of a step back for him, and his inability to see her as a flawed person gets old pretty fast. It's definitely one of his most skippable episodes.

Best: Heat Wave (Season 5, Episode 9)

Nick and Reagan's relationship is at its best in the Season 5 episode "Heat Wave." On the outside, they seem like two strong personalities butting heads over who's right and who's wrong. What makes their dynamic especially interesting is Nick's unspoken-but-obvious crush on Reagan (and subsequent desire to impress her) and Reagan's reluctant fondness for Nick. Nick is very funny as he attempts to find a solution to the loft's heat wave temperatures, and his madness escalates as he is faced with another "fancy fix," this time in the form of an air conditioner rather aggressively purchased by Reagan.

Nick refuses to enjoy Reagan's air conditioner and Reagan is unable to stop trying to prove him wrong, mostly because she can't seem to stop thinking about him. They knock out the power in the entire apartment building fighting over the outlet keeping Nick's cool ranch alive and then find themselves bantering over mice and cables in the basement. The episode finishes with an endearing admission of romantic interest from Nick and a surprising, matter-of-fact reciprocation from Reagan.

Worst: Christmas Eve Eve (Season 6, Episode 10)

A lot of Season 6 is painful to watch solely because of Jess' returned and somewhat secret romantic feelings for Nick. It's hard to call them unrequited when it's also very clear that Nick has and will always love Jess, but he is preoccupied with Reagan and his new career and he doesn't hesitate to take advantage (albeit unintentionally) of Jess' feelings by emotionally depending on her throughout all of it. In "Christmas Eve Eve," the gang agrees to a Secret Santa exchange in order to appease Jess' desire for holiday spirit without overloading themselves with stress and financial obligations.

Jess pulls Nick's name and decides to bring Reagan to Los Angeles as his gift, but when she tries to keep it a surprise while also discouraging him from flying to meet Reagan in Seattle, Nick points out how strange her behavior has been since he returned from New Orleans and asks why nothing he does is ever good enough for her. Nick says, "Oh, so this is what it feels like to be immediately sorry" when Jess reveals her surprise and leaves him alone. Jess' melancholy is compounded when the gang realizes that no one picked her name out of the hat, meaning she is gift-less. Even though Nick and the group come through for Jess in the end, he still comes off as very obtuse for the entire episode.

Best: Glue (Season 6, Episode 15)

Nick is very funny in the Season 6 episode "Glue." From running and eating healthy foods as a sign of his emotional implosion to his ridiculous behavior while high on Jess' industrial book-making glue, the episode is scene after scene of great comedic work from Jake Johnson. What's more important about the episode in terms of Nick's character is that he reaches a real milestone in his journey to find success and satisfaction on his own terms.

Nick is really brave in this episode, and bravery isn't always his strong suit. Despite the fact that it is Reagan and not Jess who encourages him to make the final leap and give a reading of his novel at the local bookstore, it's still a great moment for him, and this episode is a reminder that Reagan and Nick's relationship was still significant despite not being the endgame. This episode also kicks off the perfect final piece of his persona as a writer — specifically that his ideal audience turns out to be middle-grade and high school YA readers.