Skip To Content

    These Are The Top 20 "New Girl" Episodes And Here's Why

    "I swear to God, I will scream-sing every last word to Les Mis!"

    Hello, hello, hello! I am a huge New Girl fan. Not only is the show hilarious, heartfelt, and all-around fantastic, it started when I was in sixth grade and ended when I was 18, so it's the show of my adolescence. That's why I decided to rank my top 20 episodes!

    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television / Via giphy.com

    And let me begin by saying it was SUPER HARD TO DO.

    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television / Via giphy.com

    Honorable mentions for "Winston's Birthday," "Basketsball," "Prince," "Micro," "Teachers," "Girl Fight," and "Big Mama P."

    20. "The Landlord" (Season 1, Episode 12)

    The landlord, Remy, says, "And then I'm gonna start unbuttoning your pants," Nick's eyes go wide and Jess keeps dancing
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    When the landlord, Remy, gets in the middle of Jess and Nick's argument about the inherent goodness of humans (or lack thereof), it results in a near threesome set to Rusted Root's "Send Me On My Way." What a stroke of absolute genius. The sexual storyline between Schmidt and his boss is, as they say, not great, but the Jess/Nick plot is so good, as is the whole of Schmidt's 2007 New Year's resolutions, that the episode has to be in my top 20.

    Best Line: "Number nine: Just pick a color of Crocs and buy them already." —Schmidt's boss, reading his resolutions

    19. "See Ya" (Season 1, Episode 24)

    Jess and Nick are in front of a coyote and Jess says "Meep meep"
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    The Season 1 finale essentially turns the entire first season into a pilot, and I love it for that. The end scene with all the roommates dancing and/or complaining in their rooms after Nick's return is wonderful. There's no cliffhanger or huge event, the episode is just an exploration of how these characters interact with one another and their own demons — while trapped in the desert.

    Best Line: "And I have more than one book on my Kindle...and a subscription to Cricket...and a lot of PDFs!" —Schmidt

    18. "The Apartment" (Season 5, Episode 11)

    Cece looking around her empty apartment
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    This episode is about moving on and female friendships. Cece and Jess pack up Cece's apartment and say goodbye to it in that way only best friends can. The Winston/Aly storyline, with the incomparable Dunston's introduction, is sweet, simple, and funny. There's also the fascinating and terrifying revelation that Nick has been flashed "about 300 times."

    Best Line: "Screw you. Here's your crap: lucky crystal, keychain fart marker, over a hundred yogurt tops, your flattened penny collection, a signed copy of a Paul Reiser biography, baby carrot thumb drive, a picture of you and Dave Coulier, loose Pez, my mom's cell number, a ticket stub from Urinetown. When did you even see that?" —Aly

    17. "Cooler" (Season 2, Episode 15)

    Jess and Nick kissing
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    Could any list of the best New Girl episodes be complete without "Cooler," the home of the big kiss? Nick and Jess's first kiss is fantastically surprising, even though it's the only way an episode centered on them not kissing could have ended. The consent is something I'm still grappling with, as Jess isn't clear beforehand on where her desire to kiss Nick stands, but the moment itself is the best ending to any New Girl episode.

    Best Line: "I meant something like that." —Nick

    16. "Injured" (Season 1, Episode 15)

    Schmidt, on the ground in pain, says, "Oh my God, this is real," and Schmidt says, "Probably your lateral sizer"
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    A growth in Nick's throat results in an episode filled with spiraling about death. Everyone shows a side of themselves in this one, from Winston's attachment to his mess of a car, to Cece's deep understanding of loss, because her father died when she was 12. And then there's Nick running into the ocean, naked and alone, arguably the best Nick-centric scene.

    Best Line: "Hey, I've done things. I wrote half a book about zombies." —Nick

    15. "Engram Pattersky" (Season 7, Episode 8)

    Everyone stands on one box, looking around the otherwise empty loft
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    I couldn't ask for a better New Girl series finale. "Engram Pattersky" celebrates the loft, the friendships, and ultimately, Winston, with his prank ineptitude. The main conceit is everyone saying goodbye to the loft before Nick and Jess move out — the perfect and only way to end this show. The episode may not be as shiny and joke-heavy as other winners, but, come on, Nick finally tells Schmidt he loves him! What a moment.

    Best Line: "I love you, man." —Nick

    14. "Landing Gear" (Season 5, Episode 22)

    At their wedding, Schmidt says to Cece, "For the first time, I see what the rest of my life looks like."
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    It's Cece and Schmidt's wedding! Except Schmidt misses the party, stuck on a plane after trying to fly to Cece's mom and convince her to come. They end up getting married in the loft, late in the night, with only their close ones by their sides. It's an enchanting lovefest. Also, this episode is when Jess realizes she's still in love with Nick, which gives us an abundance of that good heartache.

    Best Line: "I swear to God, I will scream-sing every last word to Les Mis!" —Schmidt

    13. "The Story of the 50" (Season 1, Episode 10)

    Jess is covering Schmidt's eyes and walking him outside, he says, "Jess, what are you doing, I'm making an egg-yellows omelet, the shallots and gouda are gonna congeal, I can't, what is this," everyone in front of a party bus says, "Happy birthday"
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    When Schmidt's 29th birthday party plans go off the rails, Jess makes him a new party from scratch. It's great, but what makes this episode so fantastic is all of that is flashbacks in the frame of, "Schmidt has to put $50 in the douchebag jar. Why?" Well, because he tried to kiss Jess. "The Story of the 50" puts Schmidt front and center while nailing that amazing New Girl thing of making fun of him and deeply loving him in the same joke.

    Best Line: "Last month, he went to a party called, 'Bros before hoes on the moon.' What does that even mean? And the dress code was, 'Yacht flair.'" —Nick

    12. "The Decision" (Season 5, Episode 8)

    Reagan says, "Looking forward to sex later," Winston says, "Well, that makes three of—that makes two of us," and Nick says, "Well, get ready for the skin circus, you little peanut"
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    "The Decision" proves how stellar Megan Fox is as Reagan. Fed up with how terrible Nick and Winston are at making decisions and wanting to teach them a lesson, Reagan says she will sleep with one of them if they decide who. Of course, she isn't planning on actually doing it ("This isn't an '80s summer camp movie, I'm not gonna sleep with somebody based on a bet."), but the Nick, Winston, and Reagan moments that ensue are brilliant.

    Best Lines:

    Winston: "And how are you still shaving?"

    Nick: "I'm doing full body, Winston. I started from the bottom, now I'm here.

    11. "Five Stars for Beezus" (Season 6, Episode 22)

    Jess and Nick smile at each other in an elevator, the doors close, and then they open again, Jess and Nick are kissing
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    In an episode that could have been the series finale, everyone gets a happy ending. Cece and Schmidt are going to have a baby. Winston, engaged to Aly, decides to contact his dad. Jess and Nick get back together, three years after their devastating break-up. It would have been a great finale, but luckily, we got another eight episodes, which makes this one a celebration of the past and the future of New Girl.

    Best Lines:

    Schmidt: "I have never seen you look at anyone else like that in my entire life, except maybe, on a few occasions, me."

    Nick: "I've never looked at you the same way I look at Jess."

    Schmidt: "There's just been a few times."

    Nick: "There's never been a time."

    Schmidt: "You looked at Coach maybe once or twice like that. Me, several times. Winston, never. Let's table it."

    10. "Quick Hardening Caulk" (Season 2, Episode 19)

    Jess and Nick standing in front of a just-broken fish tank
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    I LOVE this episode. Basically, Jess is super attracted to Nick because he's trying really hard at his job. The last four minutes or so of this episode, with Jess and Nick fighting and kissing, are truly perfect. The only reason this episode isn't higher on my list is because the B plot is fun, but not grounded enough to be an A+ for me. It's Schmidt wanting a lion fish and Winston helping him, because the lion fish, of course, is a metaphor for Cece.

    Best Line: "If I were a gold digger, do you think I'd be interested in you?! I would be the worst gold digger in the world!" —Jess

    9. "Virgins" (Season 2, Episode 23)

    Flashback Jess says to Cece, "In three years, I'm gonna be 25, I can't rent my first car as a virgin, they'll know"
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    "Virgins" takes us through all of their first times with a tone of earnestness and surprise. It's such an inspired look at each of the characters and their pasts (though "Fat Schmidt" and moments in Winston's arc aren't great), the most ingenious being, in my opinion, Cece and Mick Jagger. It ends with Jess and Nick "not thinking about it" and sleeping together for the first time. By the way, I am a sucker for a good flashback, of which this episode is chock-full.

    Best Lines:

    Flashback Nick: "Is this the first time you'll be making full love?"

    Flashback Schmidt: "No way, Jose! Nick, back in high school, they used to call me...The Sex—The Sex Haver."

    8. "Spiderhunt" (Season 4, Episode 17)

    Fawn says to Nick, "This tastes like the inside of a bear, and that is a compliment, my friend"
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    It's called "Spiderhunt" because the roommates and Cece are hunting for a rogue loft spider, but it's really about so much more, you know? Cece likes Schmidt again, but Jess thinks she likes Nick. Coach is trying to write an email to May and it is not going well. Fawn is about to come over for dinner, so Schmidt is as anxious as can be. Nick is making his sauce. Everything intertwines and the jokes are all 10s. Plus, it takes place entirely in the loft and I love that so darn much.

    Best Line: The entirety of the popcorn machine scene. Just watch it.

    7. "Fluffer" (Season 2, Episode 3)

    Schmidt introduces himself to a bodyguard, "Tagg Romney, pleasure to meet you, sir"
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    This is the episode where Schmidt pretends to be one of Mitt Romney's sons, but it is also the episode where Nick acts as Jess's "fluffer," by hanging out in more-than-friend ways (going on a date, going to Ikea) to get her ready to sleep with Dr. Sam. Both stories land perfectly. The C plot — Winston fantasizing about other women while he and Shelby are in a sexual dry spell — is fine, but somewhat forgettable. All in all, "Fluffer" is heartfelt and hilarious, with some very real stakes.

    Best Line: "I didn't realize you were on the fence about the Louisiana Purchase, Jessica!" —Nick

    6. "Santa" (Season 2, Episode 11)

    Doctor Sam says to Winston, "Can I ask you something, how did you get her" and then we see Jess fanning the warmth of a fire onto her because she's cold
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    The group spends the night going to Christmas parties and dealing with their problems. Jess has to think about Dr. Sam wanting to be with her, Nick and Angie sleep together for the first time, and Schmidt and Cece live in the aftermath of her rejecting him. Everything is stellarly executed, but my personal favorite touch is Winston getting a cranberry stuck in his ear. This episode is so warm and fuzzy, it simply must be in my top 20.

    Best Lines:

    Jess: "Are they just gonna play computer music all night?"

    Schmidt: "What are you talking about? This is a really respected DJ. He was also an actor on Boy Meets World."

    5. "Clean Break" (Season 4, Episode 22)

    Cece says, "Oh, God, you're gonna say something stupid, aren't you," and Schmidt says, "Girl, will you marry me," and the other roommates gasp
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    Schmidt's proposal to Cece is one of the best moments in the show's run. When we see her standing outside the door to the loft, right as Schmidt is about to go find her, it's more than just a happy ending, it's magic. Coach's goodbye is lovely, and the Jess/Nick story about their "sex mug" holds its own as well, but Cece and Schmidt own this one.

    Best Line: "I know this might seem crazy, uh, and probably a little bit impulsive, but it's not. Not for me. I've known since the minute that I met you." —Schmidt

    4. "Table 34" (Season 2, Episode 16)

    Jess says to Nick, "Do not moonwalk away from me" and as he moonwalks away from her, she says, "Do not, you are not...you're doing it"
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    The episode after the big kiss is one of the all-time New Girl greats. The post-kiss tension between Jess and Nick percolates and explodes in the aftermath, while remaining consistently gripping throughout. The fact that the majority of it takes place at an Indian marriage convention is an act of brilliance. Is Schmidt's Schmidt-style racism great? Nah, but the plotting of this episode is outstanding.

    Best Line: "You've named your testicles and they're both named 'Sharon.'" —Winston

    3. "Elaine's Big Day" (Season 2, Episode 25)

    Winston, in the air ducts, says, "You know, I'm just staying positive, but, uh, I'm pretty sure this is where we die"
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    I am sure this is the episode I have watched more than any other. It's Cece's wedding to Shivrang, filled with Schmidt, Winston, and ultimately Nick, attempting to sabotage it. The badger in the air ducts is one of the best things in television history, but there's also Jess and Nick figuring out their relationship, and Cece being brave as all hell by telling Schmidt she wants to be with him. And there's Nick's "Cotton-Eyed Joe" dance. NICK'S "COTTEN-EYED JOE" DANCE!!

    Best Line: "Guys, you know, I've been thinking a lot about the Earth. We got to leave it better than when we found it." —Winston

    2. "Background Check" (Season 4, Episode 6)

    Winston, Jess, Nick, Cece and Schmidt standing against a wall in the loft
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    This episode is flawless and I will fight anyone who disagrees (lol not really, violence is not the answer and I am not strong). "Background Check" takes place almost entirely in the loft, as it's the home visit in Winston's police academy training, and Jess has a bag of meth in her closet — well, aquarium rocks, but it could happen to anybody. I cannot express my fondness for the shenanigans that ensue enough. If you haven't seen this piece of television in a while, do yourself a favor ASAP.

    Best Line: "Would you like a green grape shoved in your—given to your mouth—handed to your mouth?" —Nick

    1. "Parking Spot" (Season 2, Episode 17)

    Schmidt yells, "Give me the spot or I'll kill you all" and Jess, Nick and Winston stare at him
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    "Parking Spot" is less perfect than "Background Check" — Winston's plot is only very good, not great — but it's my number one because of how much story it advances while having an impeccable premise: they discover a parking spot, so who should get it? All while Jess and Nick face and don't face their new post-kiss awkwardness, and Schmidt finds out about it. The climax, miraculously, is Jess and Schmidt kissing for the most uncomfortable seconds of their lives. "Parking Spot" is pure New Girl, at its finest.

    Best Lines:

    Jess: "Where are your nipples, man?!"

    Schmidt: "I'll never tell."

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form