Looking Back: 10 Years of New Girl

by The Cowl Editor on September 30, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

Looking Back: 10 Years of New Girl

The Hit Show’s Enduring Popularity and Relevance

Madison Palmieri ’22

Ten years ago this month, New Girl premiered on Fox. At the time, little did the cast and viewers alike know that the show would become a cultural phenomenon, span seven seasons, earn countless award nominations and wins, and accumulate millions of fans along the way.

The sitcom revolves around a newly single, quirky teacher, Jessica “Jess” Day (Zooey Deschanel) who moves into a Los Angeles loft with three male roommates: Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield), and Winston (Lamorne Morris). Other featured characters include Jess’ lifelong best friend and supermodel Cece (Hannah Simone) and on-and-off roommate Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.).

During the show’s seven-year run, some dubbed it the “Friends of the 2010s.” They pointed out the similarities between the two sitcoms, such as their six-person main casts, apartment-based setting, and location in two of the largest cities in America. The two shows also share plenty of relationship drama and heartfelt moments, and both follow their characters as they go from single 20-somethings to more mature adults beginning the process of settling down and starting families.

While this comparison is certainly valid, it’s also important to acknowledge the ways in which New Girl differs from Friends and other, more recent sitcoms from the 2000s such as How I Met Your Mother.

One major distinction is that New Girl does a particularly good job of addressing contemporary, real-life problems. Throughout the series’ seven seasons, the various characters navigate racial and cultural issues. For example, when Winston, a black man, becomes a police officer, he struggles to tell the truth about his occupation to an anti-police romantic partner. Additionally, Cece, who comes from a traditional Indian family, must grapple with her family’s expectations for her and what she wants for herself. Ultimately, this means leaving her Indian fiancé at the altar and (spoiler alert) marrying Schmidt instead.

During its run, New Girl received numerous award nominations and wins. The series won the 2011 Critics’ Choice Television Award for Most Exciting New Series, and Deschanel received the Critics’ Choice Best Actress in a Comedy Series Award that same year. In 2012, Simone received the Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Breakout Star. Notable nominations include nearly half a dozen nods at the 2012 Primetime Emmys and several nods at the 2012 and 2014 Golden Globes.

The show also welcomed numerous memorable guest stars, including Jamie Lee Curtis as Jess’ mother and Olivia Rodrigo as one of her students. The two most memorable guest appearances, however, were Prince and Taylor Swift.

In a less-than-plausible scenario, the gang finds themselves at a party at Prince’s house, leading up to a cameo from the late legendary musician himself. 

Even more surprising was Swift’s appearance. She popped up as a guest at Cece’s traditional Indian wedding, interrupting the ceremony to profess her love for the groom in a moment likely intentionally parodying her hit song “Speak Now” from the album of the same name.

Whether you’re a first-time viewer or looking to rewatch this heartwarming series, there’s no better time than now. Celebrate New Girl’s 10th anniversary by reliving all the laugh-out-loud moments, memorable one-liners, and uniquely 2010s quirks by streaming the show on Netflix or renting it on other services.