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‘New Girl’ has a TV friend group so fun even sci-fi fans will love them - stream on Peacock

We'd do unspeakable things to play a round of True American. 

By Brian Silliman
Lamorne Morris in New Girl.

Some of the most enduring sitcoms in recent memory revolve around a group of friends that the viewer loves to spend time with. They are found families with huge apartments, front-row seats at the bars and coffee shops, and there is always at least one ‘will-they/won’t they’ couple. For us, the group on New Girl is the one that has us coming back again and again. 

Now streaming on Peacock, New Girl has an eccentric night peanut named Jessica Day (Zooey Deschanel) move into a loft with three guys. Her friend Cece (Hannah Simone) gets subsumed into things quickly. Jess might be the “new girl” of the title, but in about three or four episodes, she’s found a solid place within the group. The title stays the same.

When the series debuted in 2011, is was an all-Jess affair. The unfortunate term “adorkable” may have been invented for the character. Deschanel was the initial draw, but it is the rest of the group that soon made magic happen. Jess is an integral part of the group and Deschanel is always charming… but the other members of the gang (along with Cece) started to get weird, and… heroes were born.

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The stars of New Girl

Nick Miller (Jake Johnson) was a hit from the start, but he only grew in power. Schmidt (Max Greenfield) began as a selfish moron, but he gradually became a real boy. The specific way that he pronounces certain words never gets old. Damon Wayans Jr. pops in and out as Coach, and he’s a fun addition to the group dynamic when he's there. As we said already, Cece gets roped into the group against her will, but she’s in it to win it soon enough.

The real hero of the series? Winston Bishop, aka Winnie the Bish, played to perfection by Lamorne Morris. He didn’t make much of an impression early on, and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when Winston truly became Winston. Suddenly he’s stealing every scene before you even know what is happening. The stakes of him doing jigsaw puzzles are a signpost, but once his cat Furguson arrives, the change is complete. It's not an easy ensemble to steal from, but Morris steals the spotlight constantly. 

He loves pranks, but he’s horrible at them. They are either too big, or they are barely imperceptible. The show takes this running gag and has the audacity to make it a pivotal part of the finale. Winston isn't just weird AF, he's lovable, kind, and he's someone to root for. Our favorite relationship in the show (no slight to Nick/Jess or Schmidt/Cece) is Winston and Aly (Nasim Pedrad).

We want to be friends with Winston. We want to be friends with all of them. When we put this show on, we’re not watching television. We are, in fact, spending time with friends. Real actual friends, be quiet! This is unhealthy, we know, but that’s the effect that these shows have. This particular show excels at it. 

How it compares to other sitcoms

Friends did something similar, as did How I Met Your Mother. What sets New Girl apart is the growth that the characters experience. That growth is not suddenly undone in final seasons, and though Schmidt has his moments, no one here is going to spike your drink.

Unfortunate flashbacks of Schmidt in a fat suit aside (it’s not funny, it’s never funny, the trope has to die), there is a streak of kindness here. The characters are, for the most part, decent people. When they are selfish, they make amends. They don’t reset. Winston is both fun and funny, but he never has a hard-turn episode where he’s stuck in a bathroom trying to deal with leather pants.

We know that our friendship with this group is one-sided, obviously we know that. They aren’t real people and these scenarios are not realistic. This is a fantasy, but it’s not out to kill anyone, so… leave us alone? There are seven seasons of fun to be had with this group, and we always enjoy going back to check in. We also really, really want to play True American.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we think it’s time for us to start a puzzle.

New Girl is streaming on Peacock right now. Go have a classic mess around.