New Girl Thanksgiving Episodes, Ranked

New Girl ran for seven seasons on Fox, from 2011 through 2019 for 146 hilarious episodes. The show stars Zooey Deschanel as Jess, the titular new girl who desperately needs a place to live after a sudden breakup with her live-in boyfriend. She moves in with roommates Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenberg), and Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.) After the pilot, Coach is replaced with Winston (LaMorne Morris) although Coach does appear as a recurring character. Jess’s best friend, Cece (Hannah Simone) completes this comedic ensemble.

For five out of their seven seasons, the show featured classic Thanksgiving episodes. Here they are in descending order of brilliance.

5 - "Last Thanksgiving" (Season 6 Episode 7)

In one of their more brilliant casting moves, Peter Gallagher guest stars as Schmidt’s father, Gavin, who is visiting for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, Gavin is suffering from a recent heartbreak and is in no mood to do all the fun things Schmidt had planned. Nick is also depressed when his girlfriend, Regan (Megan Fox) bails at the last minute. And Jess is desperately trying to find the nicest way to break up with her boyfriend, Robby (Nelson Franklin), who shows up unexpectedly. The evening is turned on its head when Schmidt realizes his dad is not perfect and he’s going to have to accept him for who he is or not have a relationship with him. And when Jess finally gets the courage to break up with Robby, she finds him irresistibly attractive when he stands up for her. This being the final Thanksgiving episode of the series (the abridged seventh season did not include one), it is endearing, but the weakest of the bunch.

Best Quote - "Robby, I need you to know that there is nothing going on between me and Gavin except for an icy awkwardness that will continue until one or both of us is dead."

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4 - "Thanksgiving III" (Season 3 Episode 10)

In this installment, Coach is back and has recently gone on a date with Cece, much to Schmidt's dismay. Nick and Jess have begun dating and Jess throws her support behind Nick’s decision to convince the group to have a Thanksgiving celebration in the wilderness. Part of the ‘fun’ Nick failed to advertise was that they would all be hunting and foraging for the food for their dinner in the woods. Winston and Cece bond over their hatred of camping, while Nick is desperate to make this idea work even if finding a toxic fish is the best he can do. To prove her loyalty to Nick, Jess eats the fish and immediately becomes delusional and ends up in the hospital with giardia and other undisclosed illnesses. This episode is quite silly, but the comedy of Schmidt trying to outsmart Coach is unparalleled. At the end, even in the hospital, they are able to find the true meaning of the holiday which is the same as it always is: being together.

Best Quote - "I should’ve known those beets weren’t from nature. Nothing purple comes from nature."

3 - "Parents" (Season 2 Episode 8)

Jess invites her divorced parents (Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner) to Thanksgiving dinner in yet another attempt to Parent Trap them, something she’s been trying to do since she was young. The arrival of Schmidt’s cousin (Rob Riggle) who is also recently divorced adds stress to the day as well. There is plenty of comedy in this episode, from Schmidt and his cousin (also named Schmidt) in a ridiculous competition to prove their manliness, to Jess’s parents breaking it to her that they’ll never get back together despite hooking up in the bathroom. (Spoiler alert - they do that a lot). This episode has a real throwback sitcom feeling, with the trope of misunderstanding and classic hijinks, but the charm between Curtis and Reiner is palpable, and it leaves the viewers with a warm holiday feeling.

Best Quote - "Do I regret it? Yes. Would I do it again? Probably."

2 - "Thanksgiving" (Season 1 Episode 6)

In the first installment of their Thanksgiving episodes, Jess decides to throw a big Thanksgiving dinner at the apartment against her roommates' wishes, who just want to have their usual ‘Dudes-giving.’ But really, it’s just an excuse to invite her crush from work, Paul (Justin Long). Problems arise quickly when Jess admits she not only doesn’t know how to cook, but they have to figure out a way to defrost a turkey in just a few hours. Between the turkey catching fire in the dryer, Schmidt meeting his match in Cece, and Paul’s awkward presence, the gang ends up accidentally happening upon their dead neighbor. It also establishes the seeds for series-long romantic arcs with Nick and Jess as well as Schmidt and Cece. It’s an important episode because when you’re in your 20s, your friends are your family. And, corpse aside, it’s these kinds of holidays you will always remember. Trying to cook a big Thanksgiving meal for a group of people for the first time is a rite of passage that is quite relatable.

Best Quote - "I want to let you know upfront that I’ve got some control issues in the kitchen. So if I’m gonna do this, I’m cooking the whole meal. I don’t want you touching anything. And I don’t wanna hear ‘Schmidt Schmidt, you’re using too much tarragon,’ because I’m not."

1 - "Thanksgiving IV" (Season 4 Episode 9)

Since everybody is single at the same time, Schmidt takes the opportunity to declare “Bangsgiving.” Everyone has to pick names from a hat and bring a date for another member of the gang. Jess is all in on the plan as she is trying desperately to get over her inappropriate crush on a subordinate, Ryan, (Julian Morris) at school. When Coach brings Ryan as her blind date setup, Jess is torn between seducing him and running away screaming. Despite some initial awkwardness, Coach, Winston, and Nick’s setups seem to work out. Even Jess makes the decision (albeit probably an inappropriate one) to give in to her feelings for Ryan. And somehow, Schmidt and Cece, end up the only two without dates. Coincidence? (It is actually.) The reason why this is the best is that this is each of the cast members is at their absolute best. Schmidt is smitten; Cece is reluctantly happy she ended up with Schmidt; Nick is insane; Jess is adorable; Coach is competitive but sweet; and Winston is, as usual, underrated in his comedic timing.

Best Line - "Look, the last time I saw you, I kissed you. I know that. We both know that. But this can’t happen. Are we attracted to each other? Yes. Do I sing Oasis songs to myself and pretend that they were inspired by your love for me? I do. But, my job is to enforce the rules. And I love my job and I worked hard to get it. So this cannot happen."

All seasons of New Girl are currently streaming on Netflix.

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Jennifer McHugh (12 Articles Published)

Jennifer McHugh has been obsessed with television since she was growing up in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. Even though she is currently living in Los Angeles, she is a Broadway fanatic and will discuss musicals with anyone even if they don't ask. Her favorite hobbies include watching TV with her cat, Herbie, watching YouTube cooking videos, and listening to True Crime podcasts. She realizes this is very unoriginal.

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