Shipper Track

A Shipper’s Guide to Watching New Girl for the Nick/Jess Romance

Relationship: Jess Day and Nick Miller
Fandom: New Girl (TV series, 2011-2018)
Where to Watch: Netflix
Time Investment: Viewer’s choice! You can either watch all 146 (half-hour) episodes spread across 7 seasons, or follow along with the list below to enjoy a Nick/Jess-centered highlight reel. Fair warning: Since it’s a sitcom, it’s very easy to get sucked into watching an entire season in a day… or so I’ve been told.
Recommended for: Fans of roommates-to-lovers romantic comedies and/or ensemble sitcoms like Friends and How I Met Your Mother

New Girl burst onto the TV scene in 2011 and cemented Zooey Deschanel as an adorkable star. Despite being off-air since 2018, many fans rediscovered this lighthearted sitcom during quarantine. Whether you’re a longtime fan wanting to revisit series highlights or you want to get to know Nick and Jess before committing to a full series watch, this shipper’s guide is the perfect introduction.

16* Essential New Girl Episodes Every Nick/Jess Shipper Must Watch

“Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)
This episode sets up the entire dynamic of the series and introduces us to our ensemble, but most importantly: Nick Miller (played by Jake Johnson) and Jessica Day (Deschanel). Jess has just broken up with her live-in boyfriend and is in search of new living arrangements when she finds a listing for The Loft. 

“Wedding” (Season 1, Episode 3)
Nick’s still recovering from a vicious breakup with his long-term girlfriend, Caroline. In this episode, Nick needs a date to a wedding that Caroline’s also attending. In steps Jess to be his fake girlfriend. 

“Naked” (Season 1, Episode 4)
Living with three guys is bound to have a few awkward moments, but none so awkward as when Jess accidentally walks in on Nick naked. This not only changes the dynamic between Nick and Jess, but has repercussions on the whole loft.

“Cece Crashes” (Season 1, Episode 5)
Cece (Hannah Simone) is Jess’s childhood friend and a model who also lives in L.A. She ends up crashing with the gang at the Loft for a few days and manages to get in Jess’s head with the observation that Nick likes her. 

“The 23rd” (Season 1, Episode 9)
It’s the gang’s first holiday together! Nick and Jess head to the mall to find a gift for her boyfriend, Paul Genzlinger (played by Justin Long). Nick teases Jess for her gift of couple coupons for “weird nerd sex.” The episode also introduces a running gag of Nick always missing his flight home for Christmas—but this time, it’s to cheer up Jess with a little holiday surprise.

“Fluffer” (Season 2, Episode 3)
By this point, the flirtation between Nick and Jess is simmering, but on the back burner, because Jess has a friends-with-benefits relationship with Sam. Jess isn’t used to casual sexual relationships and subconsciously turns to Nick to be her “boyfriend without the rewards.”

“Cooler” (Season 2, Episode 15)
This is it. While the episode starts with Nick accusing Jess of being a “cooler”—someone who douses the romantic spark between two people, think the opposite of a wingman/woman—it ends with some serious heat. An epic game of True American (a running gag on the show) sees Nick and Jess locked in a room where they’ve been dared to kiss each other. 

“All In” (Season 3, Episode 1)
The rest of Season 2 involves Nick and Jess dealing with the consequences of their kiss. By the Season 3 premiere, however, they’re ready to go all in and decide to run away—from the pressures of the loft and their friend’s expectations—to Mexico.

“Prince” (Season 3, Episode 14)
Jess and Cece have a run-in with none other than Prince. Through a series of events, the legendary artist invites them to his house. While this is possibly one of my favorite cameos of the show, it’s the three little words that Nick and Jess share in this episode that really make the impact. 

“Mars Landing” (Season 3, Episode 20)
By this point in the series, Nick and Jess have had a few ups and downs and are facing some hard truths about their relationship. 

“Clean Break” (Season 4, Episode 22)
We jump ahead in the timeline a little here and, sadly, Nick and Jess have broken up. All is not lost, though, because this episode hints at unresolved feelings between the two.  

“Landing Gear” (Season 5, Episode 22)
If you’ve been enjoying the back-and-forth between Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Cece in this series, you’ll love their wedding episode! However, in the backdrop to all the wedding-day shenanigans, Jess realizes she’s still in love with Nick.

“Jaipur Aviv” (Season 6, Episode 5)
We jump further into the timeline. Nick is in a serious relationship with Reagan (played by Megan Fox). Not only that, but he’s asking the gang if she can move into the Loft. Thus begins an arc of Jess trying to convince everyone (and herself) that she’s fine with that decision.

“Misery” (Season 6, Episode 20)
After successfully convincing the gang to let Reagan move into the Loft, Jess flees to Portland. It’s too painful to see Nick and Reagan so happy together.

“San Diego” (Season 6, Episode 21)
While Jess is coming to some conclusions with her dad in Portland, Nick is contemplating his future with Reagan. 

“Five Stars for Beezus” (Season 6, Episode 22)
Nick finds out that Jess wants to leave the loft. He must make a final decision about how he feels about her…and what he’s going to do about it. 

*Did I say 16 episodes?! I meant 16 + 8. Because if you’ve gotten this far in the shipper track, then really your reward is watching all of Season 7, which is the final season and is all about Nick and Jess’s happy ending.

P.S. If you, too, are a member of the Jake Johnson Appreciation Society, then you may also like this ode to his chemistry with Cobie Smulders (from How I Met Your Mother) in Stumptown.

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