Nick and Jess: 10 Essential Episodes
Re-watching New Girl (yes, the entire series up to “Cooler”), I was struck by just how deep and complex Jess and Nick’s friendship has become over the course of two seasons. Nick usually takes a very protective stance over any and all strange situations Jess finds herself embroiled in, and Jess is always there to reassure Nick when he feels down or ends a relationship. And unlike, let’s say Ross on Friends, there was no unrequited pining going on before “Cooler.” That does not mean, however, that there weren’t hints that a Nick/Jess endgame was in the works. So with that in mind, I took a more analytical lens to their relationship over the past two seasons and came up with 10 episodes that highlight their relationship in particular (which is probably useful if you aren’t a crazy person like me and can’t mainline all the episodes in a few days).
1. Season One, Episode Three: “Wedding”
While Nick emerged as my favorite of the guys from the pilot, I didn’t think of them as a will they/won’t they couple until this episode….and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Jess pretends to be Nick’s girlfriend at a wedding in order to make his ex, Caroline, jealous. While that ruse backfires, Jess pep talks Nick out of his photo booth refuge and out to the dance floor. It’s also funny has Nick labels Jess as a “ruiner” in this episode, setting it up perfectly for her being called a “cooler” in the second season.
2. Season One, Episode Five: “Cece Crashes”
Cece’s prolonged exposure to her best friend’s new roommates leads her to the conclusion that Nick likes Jess. Jess vehemently denies this but can’t help to notice that Cece was right about one thing: Nick’s feet are always pointed toward her, a sure sign that he likes her. By the end, Jess stops acting weird and apologies when they are both brushing their teeth (with clear camera emphasis on their feet).
3. Season One, Episode Nine: “The 23rd”
Jess is seriously questioning her relationship with Paul. Noticing her distress, Nick advises her to talk to Paul about her misgivings. Nick then accidentally talks to Paul about it before Jess has a chance to break the news. Knowing she is upset, Nick misses his flight home for the holidays in order to cheer Jess up by driving her down Candy Cane Lane.
4. Season One, Episode Twelve: “The Landlord”
Nick and Jess get into an argument over being too nice vs. being cynical. When Jess convinces their landlord to fix some things around the loft, Nick worries that Jess doesn’t realize the landlord’s real intentions toward her and keeps an eye on him. The landlord interprets this turn of events as a threesome, neither Jess nor Nick want to give up their side of the argument and stop the situation. Eventually, Jess admits she was wrong. The stakes of the situation (especially when the landlord tells Nick and Jess to start it off) are reminiscent of the “Cooler” scenario.
5. Season One, Episode Fifteen: “Injured”
Jess accidentally injures Nick in a game of touch football and takes him to her OB/GYN friend for some medication (as Nick doesn’t have health insurance). There, her friend finds a cyst on Nick’s thyroid and makes him an appointment to get it checked out. While Nick is reluctant to go, Jess and the gang insist he goes to the appointment. They spend the night on the beach, where Nick tells Jess, “I like you a lot.”
6. Season One, Episode Twenty-Two: “Tomatoes”
Jess observes the passion between her boyfriend Russell and his ex-wife when they get into arguments. She attempts to create the same level of passion with Russell but he isn’t interested in that sort of relationship. Jess says, “I want passion. Even if it’s harder and hurts more,” ending the relationship. Upon entering the loft, Jess gets into a shouting match with Nick, illustrating that passion she was just so adamant about finding. This was the show’s clearest indication that the series is leading up to a Nick/Jess coupling in the first season.
7. Season One, Episode Twenty-Four: “See Ya”
Jess struggles with Nick’s decision to move out of the loft and in with Caroline throughout the episode. When she finally realizes that Nick’s happiness should be paramount, she tells him as much. And this exchange happens: Nick – “I think you need me too much” Jess – “No, I’m gonna be fine. You know why? ‘Cause I met you. That’s why I’m okay”
8. Season Two, Episode One: “Re-Launch”
Jess gets laid off her teaching job and gets pretty down. Nick spends much of the episode attempting to “be nice” to her, when Jess only wants him to yell at her. The episode ends with Jess finally coming to terms with her new situation, sitting with Nick on her car outside her former school.
9. Season Two, Episode Three: “Fluffer”
Nick unwittingly becomes Jess’ “emotional fluffer,” filling in a boyfriend role so she can have a sex-only relationship with Sam. Jess and Nick end up on a quasi-date at a fancy restaurant and getting into a fight over an IKEA dresser. Winston councils Nick that building the dresser leads to the assumption that one day they will share the dresser, as a couple. Nick and Jess both admit they they’ve thought about each other in that way. Nick concludes that people telling him what he should and shouldn’t do for his friend pisses him off…and he builds the dresser. They both decide they are “two people that want to be friends but are sometimes attracted to each other.”
10. Season Two, Episode Fourteen: “Pepperwood”
Nick goes into protector mode when he believes that one of the students in Jess’ creative writing class wishes her harm. After showing up to her class and stealing the student’s notebook, Jess reluctantly agrees to investigate with Nick. One interesting thing I noticed in this episode (not sure if it has happened before) is Nick calling Jess by her full name Jessica multiple times. Enough times that it stood out. To analyze the significance would definitely be going overboard BUT…it did stick out.
- BuzzFeed created an awesome compilation of fan created odes to the kiss here.
- The kiss almost didn’t happen. Schmidt was going to be with Jess behind the Iron Curtain. Creator Liz Meriwether says “We’re just trying to be honest about how we think this relationship would actually go down.” That’s the most refreshing thing in my opinion. I’m all for breaking down the walls of traditional sitcom dynamics. That this happened in season two, and not season four or five, says a lot and gives me more confidence in the show’s future. Read the full story on EW.
- Need to just rewatch the kiss over and over? I got ya covered below:
- Nick: “We like you,” end of Pilot
- Nick: “Jess is one of the good ones,” Fancyman Part Two
- Jess says Nick is attractive “in a rumpled small town PI kind of way,” Kids
- When Jess attempts to talk Nick out of moving in with Caroline she tells him, “You don’t have to settle,” Backslide
- Nick: “I think you’re the kind of girl a guy would come back for,” Santa
- Jess: “You’re not that guy…she didn’t deserve you,” Cabin