‘New Girl’: Max Greenfield Made Schmidt the Richest, Funniest Supporting Sitcom Star Since Joey

In an interview with IndieWire, Max Greenfield remembers setting a high bar for Schmidt from the start — to be the Joey of “New Girl.” Here’s how he did it.

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The funniest moment of the “New Girl” finale is barely a joke. It’s an accusation, really.

As Nick (Jake Johnson) starts to pack up his apartment, unbeknownst to his wife, Jess (Zooey Deschanel), Schmidt (Max Greenfield) spots a box pushed toward the back of the closet.

“What’s in the box that says ‘gross stuff,’ man?” he asks.

“Jess’ underpants,” Nick replies.

“You have Jess’ panties in a box?” Schmidt asks, to which Nick nods.

“While I’m delighted that you have a box… labeled ‘gross stuff’… of your wife’s… undergarments, uh, I also feel like you may be lying to me,” Schmidt says.

That’s it. That’s the scene. On paper, it’s silly and fun. It provokes many questions and tells us a bit about each character. But reading the words is nothing compared to seeing it play out (which you can do right here), and that’s because of Max Greenfield’s performance.

For seven years on “New Girl,” Greenfield has been elevating his character’s scenes with impeccable precision and uncapped energy. He bursts off the screen in such a way that Schmidt has captured the hearts of fans across the nation. There are endless “best of” montages online and an even more abundant stream of gifs. Schmidt is an icon, and Greenfield helped make him one, very, very carefully.

NEW GIRL: L-R: Jake Johnson and Max Greenfield in "Engram Pattersky," the second part of the special one-hour series finale episode of NEW GIRL, airing Tuesday, May 15 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Such a status isn’t bestowed lightly, nor with any ease. It took great writing, attention to detail, but most importantly, time and talent. There were three phases to Schmidt, as outlined by Greenfield:

  1. The Douchebag
  2. The “Public Serpent”
  3. The Married Man

Those aren’t his words, mind you, but they’re in line with the character. During the first season, Schmidt was a douchebag — a lovable douchebag, but a douchebag nonetheless. In the premiere, his main objective is going to a party as a sexy cowboy so he can sleep with women dressed up as Native Americans. In the same episode, he takes his shirt off — for no reason other than to show off his body — while talking to his new roommate’s model friend (his future wife, Cece, played by Hannah Simone). He creates “Dudesgiving” and later “Bangsgiving.” He’s sleeping with multiple women, bragging about how much money he makes, and he’s emotionally closed off from his friends.

“Those first five episodes are usually terrifying because [nothing] has aired yet and you’re not getting any feedback,” Greenfield said. “So you’re sort of just out on a rope with no net and that’s when you start to go– right around Episode 4 you go, ‘Holy shit, I might never work again after this. I’m doing something out-there shit.'”

But Greenfield made it work. Even as a first-time series regular, he showed a deep understanding of what his role was and how to approach it.

“My feeling early on was that Nick and Jess were the grounding pieces of our show,” Greenfield said. “And I knew that they could never go too big — now eventually we could go there, but especially in the beginning stages of the show, they were the grounding force. Lamorne’s character had just sort of moved in because we were lost Damon [Wayans Jr., who had to leave after the pilot to work on “Happy Endings”], and Cece was popping in and out. So in the very, very beginning it was […] kind of a three-character show.”

“And my feeling was if you were going to have these two grounded characters who were doing incredible work — just really, really good solid single cam acting — there needed to be the big explosive joke hitter. You needed that. Most shows have had them. Like, if you look at ‘The Office,’ Rainn Wilson got that in the beginning. You had it with Neil Patrick Harris’ character [on ‘How I Met Your Mother’] and Joey [on ‘Friends’] and all these other characters like that — that sort of No. 3 that hit the punchlines. I was like, ‘Alright, I’m just gonna go big on this stuff.’ And it’s paid off.”

Among Greenfield’s most successful choices was crafting Schmidt’s winsome and mysterious accent. Though it may have contributed to quite a few people questioning the character’s sexuality, what Greenfield refers to as “a machine gun cadence” was born from necessity as much as insight.

NEW GIRL: L-R: Lamorne Morris and Max Greenfield in "The Curse of the Pirate Bride," the first part of the special one-hour series finale episode of NEW GIRL airing Tuesday, May 15 (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

“When I first moved out to L.A. from New York, I still had an accent,” Greenfield said. “I remember auditioning for shows like ‘Everwood,’ and they were like, ‘No man, we can’t put you on this show.’ […] I remember my wife telling me at the time like ‘You have got to get rid of this fucking accent.'”

Then came “New Girl,” and he was still in the process of ditching it.

“When I would be nervous, especially in an audition, I would tend to really commit [to the new voice],” he said. “I think the way I was able to move through some of those larger stretches of dialogue [was] from me over-annunciating every word and shedding any trace of any accent, which sort of then creates its own accent.”

There were many reasons fans fell hard for Greenfield’s performance, including great decisions by the writers to amp up feelings of empathy for the former schlub. The douchebag elements were phased out along with the douchebag jar, in favor of building a character who felt deeply and craved deep feelings from others. Just look at the ever-popular “cookie scene” from Season 2: He’s pouting because Nick refuses to reciprocate the loving friendship Schmidt puts out there, and their emotional push-and-pull becomes a theme of the series (all the way through the finale, when Schmidt finds out Nick never used the foot lotion he gave him as an annual gift).

“Our show was so much about relationships,” Greenfield said. “You had the centerpiece of our show — which was this relationship between Nick and Jess — and you really had to elongate [that] and concentrate on nuance in that relationship. In order to do so, I think they really sped up the progression of Schmidt’s character.”

But not everything changed. Some of Schmidt’s early traits stuck over the years.

“Schmidt felt very unfazed,” Greenfield said. “He wasn’t jealous. He rolled through things, he’s unapologetic, and I think that was one of the main reasons why [people] love him. He owns his shit.”

Then he had a real relationship, and the second phase of Schmidt’s development began: The Public Serpent, a title borrowed from his punny Halloween costume.

“And then and then I think he met Cece’s character, fell in love, and that was really the turning point for him and it was like, I can’t shake this feeling and now we’ll spend the rest of the time with this character as he sheds his old self.”

NEW GIRL: L-R: Hannah Simone and Max Greenfield in the "Five Stars for Beezus" season finale episode of NEW GIRL airing Tuesday, April 4 (8:00-8:31 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Shedding his former skin was an invigorating process to watch, as Schmidt dug into many new layers of himself. He realized he was in love only after it was gone, and watching a despondent version of the character post-heartbreak proved as endearing as it was surprisingly funny. Even when he was contemplating morality — “Just tell me I’m a good person, Nick!” — Greenfield found fresh ways to progress his character from a douchebag to a man his dream woman would want to marry.

“You’re finding stuff and […] you see what works, and then all of a sudden you’re getting a lot of feedback and people are saying, ‘Don’t do that,’ or they’re praising certain things. And I think that starts to sort of shape the character. And at some point you go, ‘All right, I feel like we know what we’re doing here.”

Schmidt’s arc was ahead of the series’ overall curve. His peak came two seasons before the series ended with Nick and Jess getting married, as he and Cece proposed and tied the knot amidst the core relationship’s tumultuous state. In a way, his arc became the primary story driver because it was the series deepest mine — consistently, Schmidt’s arcs just worked.

“He went from this single ladies man to married with a kid — his journey has probably been the most significant of the group,” he said. “It’s been interesting to play a character on a sitcom that’s changed as much as he has.”

Now, with “New Girl” over, Greenfield is looking toward the future. He’s nabbed scene-stealing supporting roles in two high-profile Ryan Murphy projects — “American Horror Story” in 2016 and this year’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” — and landed praised supporting roles in the festival favorite “Hello, My Name Is Doris” and the Best Picture nominee “The Big Short.” The day the “New Girl” aired, CBS announced Greenfield will star in its upcoming comedy series, “The Neighborhood,” but he’s not worried about typecasting.

“In the beginning. I was so happy to have the job, I was like, ‘Fucking typecast me as much as you want. Great!'” Greenfield said. “But you know, the climate has changed so much in the seven years that the show has been on; there’s so much content out there, I don’t know that being typecast or pigeonholed as a certain character is even a possibility.”

But even as he moves past “New Girl,” Schmidt will always be with him — literally, in his pocket.

“I just learned how to do a .gif on my phone, and I wrote ‘Schmidt’ in, and I’m flabbergasted by the amount [of options],” Greenfield said. “You could really use one for sort of any scenario. It’s wild.”

Life finds a way, sitcom icons never die, and — as Greenfield said in the pilot — Schmidt happens. Long may he live.

‘New Girl’ Ratings Hit Finale Low In Series Ender, Celtics Win Sees NBA Up For ESPN

On a night of a very big NBA game and finales for Black-ish (1.2/5), NCIS: New Orleans (0.9/4), Chicago Med (0.9/4) and the canceled Rise (0.7/3) , the real end came for New Girl (0.6/3) on Tuesday after seven seasons.
In the short term, last night’s o…

On a night of a very big NBA game and finales for Black-ish (1.2/5), NCIS: New Orleans (0.9/4), Chicago Med (0.9/4) and the canceled Rise (0.7/3) , the real end came for New Girl (0.6/3) on Tuesday after seven seasons. In the short term, last night's one-hour Season 7 finale was up a tenth from last week. However, in a sign that the end perhaps couldn't come too soon to the Zooey Deschanel-led Fox comedy, the 9 -10 PM Season 7 ender was also down 33% from the 8 PM Season…

TV Ratings: ‘New Girl’ Series Finale Jumps 20 Percent Week-to-Week

The two-part “New Girl” series finale was up week-to-week in the overnight ratings and on par with what the Fox show has averaged in its final season. Airing at 9 and 9:30 p.m., the two episodes averaged a 0.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 1.5…

The two-part “New Girl” series finale was up week-to-week in the overnight ratings and on par with what the Fox show has averaged in its final season. Airing at 9 and 9:30 p.m., the two episodes averaged a 0.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 1.5 million viewers. That is up by 20% in the demo […]

‘New Girl’ Series Finale: That Final Nick-Schmidt Bromance Flashback Was Totally Improvised

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen the series finale of “New Girl”)

The love story at the center of Fox’s “New Girl” was a focal point of the series finale on Tuesday. We’re talking, of course, about the bromance between Nick (Jake Johnson) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield).

Oh, come on, you always knew Nick and Jess (Zooey Deschanel) were going to get married. But did you ever imagine Nick would finally admit he truly loves his BFF? Yes, in the last few moments of the episode Nick says those three little words Schmidt has been waiting for so long to hear.

And if Johnson and Greenfield had had it there way, you probably would have seen more of a two-sided relationship long before the finale.

Also Read: ‘New Girl’ Creator Liz Meriwether Tells Us Where the Idea for Winston’s ‘Greatest Prank’ Came From

“I love all the flashback stuff,” Johnson told TheWrap, while being interviewed along with stars Greenfield and Hannah Simone at an advanced screening of the final two episodes of the Liz Meriwether sitcom. “[Greenfield] in the fat suit was always really funny. Lamorne with those rows was always funny — those cornrows. It was just really fun to do those. And the one that I saw in this one [the finale] — now I’m trying to brag, but I have seen the last two episodes — we do a bit on the couch –,” Johnson said, before being cut off by Simone, who plays Schmidt’s wife Cece.

“I have not seen that like intense sexual chemistry that happens there,” Simone said, laughing.

“Yeah, well, cause it’s been cut out Hannah! For six years!” Johnson said. “Every scene — all you’ll see, cause [Hannah and I] hadn’t worked together for four years — but all you’ll ever see would be ‘Cool it man!’ [from Nick]. And everybody thinks I’m a bad guy. They always cut out. Every bit for him is he’s got a thing for me and I was really glad they finally put it in!”

Also Read: ‘New Girl’ Series Finale: Jess Has ‘Truly Terrible’ – and Underwhelming – News (Exclusive Video)

Johnson then broke down the scene he was referencing, which is a flashback in the series closer showing Nick and Schmidt moving into the loft right out of college. As he told the story, Greenfield and Simone stood by and tried (unsuccessfully) not to laugh.

“Cause the bit is — it wasn’t scripted that way, he improvised that,” Johnson said. “It was scripted, ‘What’s gonna happen in this loft?’And he goes, ‘I’m gonna hopefully meet a girl and have a kid.’ ‘Maybe I’ll be a writer and fall in love,’ [I say.] That was all that was in there. He improvises — I think I said to him, ‘What does she look like?’ And he improvises exactly what I look like.”

Oh, he does. Down to the gray beanie.

Also Read: ‘New Girl’ Showrunner Pitches Us the Show’s Most Sellable Spinoff

“We laughed, the crew laughed. I thought, ‘Another garbage, throwaway moment.’ But finally what I appreciate is they did put that in. Cause that is what it was seven years! Every opportunity to make it a sexual bit between us, he would do, I would fight. We would do for three minutes, somebody would finally yell, ‘Guys stop! We’re never using it.’ But it was fun to do.”

Greenfield expanded on his dynamic with Johnson a bit more, talking about how so much of their on-screen banter was improvised over the years. And how his favorite came about in just the last few episodes.

“There is a moment that really had me crying laughing,” Greenfield said of a scene in Episode 2 in the final season. “Jake walks into the scene and he has some line about like, ‘That’s like a porcupine putting on a tie’ [laughs]. And I remember very vividly — and I don’t remember a lot of things cause my brain dies sometimes [laughs] — and improvising on every take, ‘Wow, wonder what that would look like.’ And I remember Jake saying for the first three takes, ‘Please ,stop improvising that, cause they’re gonna put it in the show.’”

Also Read: ‘New Girl’ Series Finale: Jess Rocks an Eyepatch on Her Wedding Day (Exclusive Video)

And of course, they did. “I saw it at home when it was on later. Done. One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. That happened and just — tears.

OK, go back and watch that one now, cause you’re gonna need some happy tears after all the feels in the series finale.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘New Girl’ Showrunner Pitches Us the Show’s Most Sellable Spinoff

‘New Girl’ Series Finale: Jess Rocks an Eyepatch on Her Wedding Day (Exclusive Video)

One ‘New Girl’ Writer Has Been Lobbying to Do That Furguson Episode for 4 Years

‘New Girl’ Creator Liz Meriwether Tells Us Where the Idea for Winston’s ‘Greatest Prank’ Came From

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen the series finale of “New Girl”)

The love story at the center of Fox’s “New Girl” was a focal point of the series finale on Tuesday. We’re talking, of course, about the bromance between Nick (Jake Johnson) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield).

Oh, come on, you always knew Nick and Jess (Zooey Deschanel) were going to get married. But did you ever imagine Nick would finally admit he truly loves his BFF? Yes, in the last few moments of the episode Nick says those three little words Schmidt has been waiting for so long to hear.

And if Johnson and Greenfield had had it there way, you probably would have seen more of a two-sided relationship long before the finale.

“I love all the flashback stuff,” Johnson told TheWrap, while being interviewed along with stars Greenfield and Hannah Simone at an advanced screening of the final two episodes of the Liz Meriwether sitcom. “[Greenfield] in the fat suit was always really funny. Lamorne with those rows was always funny — those cornrows. It was just really fun to do those. And the one that I saw in this one [the finale] — now I’m trying to brag, but I have seen the last two episodes — we do a bit on the couch –,” Johnson said, before being cut off by Simone, who plays Schmidt’s wife Cece.

“I have not seen that like intense sexual chemistry that happens there,” Simone said, laughing.

“Yeah, well, cause it’s been cut out Hannah! For six years!” Johnson said. “Every scene — all you’ll see, cause [Hannah and I] hadn’t worked together for four years — but all you’ll ever see would be ‘Cool it man!’ [from Nick]. And everybody thinks I’m a bad guy. They always cut out. Every bit for him is he’s got a thing for me and I was really glad they finally put it in!”

Johnson then broke down the scene he was referencing, which is a flashback in the series closer showing Nick and Schmidt moving into the loft right out of college. As he told the story, Greenfield and Simone stood by and tried (unsuccessfully) not to laugh.

“Cause the bit is — it wasn’t scripted that way, he improvised that,” Johnson said. “It was scripted, ‘What’s gonna happen in this loft?’And he goes, ‘I’m gonna hopefully meet a girl and have a kid.’ ‘Maybe I’ll be a writer and fall in love,’ [I say.] That was all that was in there. He improvises — I think I said to him, ‘What does she look like?’ And he improvises exactly what I look like.”

Oh, he does. Down to the gray beanie.

“We laughed, the crew laughed. I thought, ‘Another garbage, throwaway moment.’ But finally what I appreciate is they did put that in. Cause that is what it was seven years! Every opportunity to make it a sexual bit between us, he would do, I would fight. We would do for three minutes, somebody would finally yell, ‘Guys stop! We’re never using it.’ But it was fun to do.”

Greenfield expanded on his dynamic with Johnson a bit more, talking about how so much of their on-screen banter was improvised over the years. And how his favorite came about in just the last few episodes.

“There is a moment that really had me crying laughing,” Greenfield said of a scene in Episode 2 in the final season. “Jake walks into the scene and he has some line about like, ‘That’s like a porcupine putting on a tie’ [laughs]. And I remember very vividly — and I don’t remember a lot of things cause my brain dies sometimes [laughs] — and improvising on every take, ‘Wow, wonder what that would look like.’ And I remember Jake saying for the first three takes, ‘Please ,stop improvising that, cause they’re gonna put it in the show.'”

And of course, they did. “I saw it at home when it was on later. Done. One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. That happened and just — tears.

OK, go back and watch that one now, cause you’re gonna need some happy tears after all the feels in the series finale.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'New Girl' Showrunner Pitches Us the Show's Most Sellable Spinoff

'New Girl' Series Finale: Jess Rocks an Eyepatch on Her Wedding Day (Exclusive Video)

One 'New Girl' Writer Has Been Lobbying to Do That Furguson Episode for 4 Years

'New Girl' Creator Liz Meriwether Tells Us Where the Idea for Winston's 'Greatest Prank' Came From

‘New Girl’ Review: The Series Finale Is a Solid Ending, But It’s Got an Amazing Twist

“New Girl” — yes, the Fox sitcom built around a strong ensemble — ended with one of the best twists ever, and they built up to it in secret all season.

[Editor’s Note: The following review contains spoilers for “New Girl” Season 7, Episode 8, “Engram Pattersky” — the series finale — as well as previous episodes.]

If you would’ve told me the final scene of “New Girl” would be a season-altering twist by Prank Sinatra himself — aka Winston Bishop (Lamorne Morris), aka. Winnie the Bish, aka the father who named his son Dan Bill Bishop while his wife was sleeping — I might not have even watched the finale; that’s how worried I would’ve been about ending this particular broadcast sitcom with a jarring revelation instead of a heartwarming goodbye.

After all, “New Girl” struggled when it pushed itself into overly ambitious territory. The ongoing will-they-won’t-they romance of Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel) got so complicated they had to set it aside until fear of cancellation set in. Their big swing in the post-Super Bowl spot was the biggest miss of the series. Heck, most of the Winston-centric storylines were either bizarrely charming or extremely uncomfortable. (Winston getting his period and Winston trying to get two cats to have sex remain two of the most outlandish sitcom C-plots ever put to screen.)

But Winston and “New Girl” saved their greatest prank for last. Not too big, not too small, “Engram Pattersky” (which spells out “My Greatest Prank” — kudos to any eagle-eyed fans who unjumbled that anagram) is a dynamite closer because it tied into one of the show’s favorite pastimes (pranks) and provided closure to a series that started when Jess moved into the loft and ended when she moved out.

NEW GIRL: L-R: Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson in "The Curse of the Pirate Bride," the first part of the special one-hour series finale episode of NEW GIRL airing Tuesday, May 15 (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Since the Season 7 premiere, eviction notices have been slipped under the door at apartment 4D. With every new letter, the gang either ignored or missed the message, and each delay in acknowledgment seemed like a clear indicator as to how the series would end — and it was, just not the way anyone expected.

After finding the notice at the start of the finale, the episode is dedicated to remembering the loft and what happened there. Memories are forced back into the present, Nick finally learns the rewards of moisturizer, and one last game of True American is played. It’s sentimental, but not overly so, as members of the original group have slowly but steadily left the loft over the past few seasons.

The tone doesn’t just fit the characters, but also where the series stands today. Many thought “New Girl” would be axed without a proper goodbye, as it almost ended with Nick and Jess reuniting in the Season 6 finale. So when the reprieve came and an abbreviated final season was ordered, it felt more like a bonus epilogue than a long-awaited answer to any big question.

Creator Elizabeth Meriwether (who wrote the final episode) still finds a way to flash further forward into the future, as we see a family-friendly version of True American being played by the gang and their kids. (The Trubisky jersey on Nick’s son is a nice, if slightly optimistic, touch.) But that’s not what matters. What matters is what comes next.

NEW GIRL: L-R: Lamorne Morris and Max Greenfield in "The Curse of the Pirate Bride," the first part of the special one-hour series finale episode of NEW GIRL airing Tuesday, May 15 (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

As Nick slams the moving truck’s door, a giant picture of Winston greets the gang with “Gotcha!” written above his smiling visage. “Prank Sinatra, baby!” Winston yells.

At first, the group is unmoved. They don’t get it. “Did you pay the rental fee?” Schmidt (Max Greenfield) says. “Winston, that’s just nice.” But then Winston gets into it: Engram Pattersky was all a prank. He asked a few friends (Sadie, Principal Foster, Brian Posehn’s unnamed Biology Teacher) to help him slide eviction notices under their door (so they wouldn’t suspect he was doing it). He bribed Fawn Moscato (Zoe Lister-Jones) to take Jess’ call and confirm the building was being turned into a non-residential space. He spent six months building a website, and “you didn’t even visit the office!”

There was no eviction. Winston made it all up. Jess and Nick didn’t have to move. Though the group is wildly frustrated by this, they also collectively accept it. Nick and Jess don’t move back into the loft, they move out. It’s time, and they know it. Therein lies the beauty of the prank ending: Closing this chapter of the gang’s lives is no longer something forced upon them; they’re not required to leave so much as they choose to move on. There’s a beauty in that, both in the story and outside of it. “New Girl” is the kind of show that could’ve gone on forever, either on Fox (unlikely these days) or by searching for a new home via Netflix or Hulu. Perhaps it will be revived down the line, but for now, it’s time to end it. And that doesn’t have to be sad.

NEW GIRL: L-R: Hannah Simone, Lamorne Morris, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield and Zooey Deschanel in "Engram Pattersky," the second part of the special one-hour series finale episode of NEW GIRL, airing Tuesday, May 15 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2018 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

With that in mind, it’s additionally fitting that the prank didn’t detract from the rest of the episode’s simple pleasures (or the half-hour that came before it). Schmidt, always and forever the best thing to come out of “New Girl,” stole the show yet again with two savvy moments: an appalled glance away from a rabbi who just said his days are “normally wall-to-wall death,” and later when he carefully paused to emphasize the unconvincing nature of Nick’s lie: “While I’m delighted you have a box… labeled ‘Gross Stuff’… of your wife’s… undergarments, uh, I also feel like you may be lying to me.” Schmidt, in perpetuity, is the opposite of terrible.

Nick gets to feebly (and hilariously) wrestle with his idol of masculinity, Russell (Dermot Mulroney). Jess goes off the deep end in back-to-back episodes, first high off her ass from weed “so weak they call it Gun Control in America” (what a razor-sharp line) and then in the finale when she’s all doped up on nostalgia. Cece (Hannah Simone) gets to be the wise, put together mama bear to Aly (Nasim Pedrad) when she goes into labor. And looking back, Winston actually won both endings: The rat-a-tat rhythms of the ensemble (well-edited by Keenan Hiett) are highlighted by the preposterous repetition of an even more preposterous name: Dan Bill Bishop. (“You were asleep, and I made an executive decision,” is an all-timer in terms of closing lines.)

If you would’ve polled any of the characters, asking if Winston could ever pull off such a delicate, crucial twist, none of them would’ve bet money in his favor. And even though only Jess thought Engram Pattersky worked out in the end, it’s as clear to the rest of them as it is to the fans watching at home that “New Girl” did the improbable: It ended with a twist and was better for it.

Bravo, Prank Sinatra. Bravo.

Grade: B+

“New Girl” Season 7 is available to stream on Hulu. Previous seasons are streaming on Netflix.

‘New Girl’ Series Finale: Zooey Deschanel On Jess’s Fate, Her Take On How Series Could Have Ended, & Future Plans

Spoiler alert: This article contains details of tonight’s two-episode series finale of Fox’s New Girl.
Who’s that girl? It’s Jess Day, who is moving on to bigger and better things.
Tonight, Fox aired the final two episodes of New Girl…

Spoiler alert: This article contains details of tonight's two-episode series finale of Fox’s New Girl. Who’s that girl? It’s Jess Day, who is moving on to bigger and better things. Tonight, Fox aired the final two episodes of New Girl, the Elizabeth Meriwether comedy starring Zooey Deschanel, which ran for seven seasons and was among the network’s most notable series at 146 episodes and five Primetime Emmy noms. Arriving on air on September 20, 2011, New Girl followed…

‘New Girl’ Creator Liz Meriwether Tells Us Where the Idea for Winston’s ‘Greatest Prank’ Came From

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen the series finale of “New Girl”)

They didn’t have to move?!?

The series finale of “New Girl” aired Tuesday night, ending the whole show with one of the most elaborate pranks Winston (Lamorne Morris) has ever pulled off on the Fox sitcom. Sorry, “Prank Sinatra.”

See, Winston, Cece (Hannah Simone) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield) had spent the entire final episode packing up Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick’s (Jake Johnson) belongings, as the newly-married couple were being evicted from the loft that every member of the core group had lived in at one time or another, by a company called Engram Pattersky (which also happened to be the episode’s title). The night was full of laughter and tears and one last game of True American.

Also Read: ‘New Girl’ Series Finale: Jess Has ‘Truly Terrible’ – and Underwhelming – News (Exclusive Video)

Only just as they were done loading the truck, Winston revealed he had planned the entire ruse, and they didn’t have to move. What, you didn’t realize if you rearrange the letters in Engram Pattersky you get “My Greatest Prank”? Oh, snap.

Now, who would have thought Liz Meriwether’s goofy ensemble comedy would end with a twist that required “The Usual Suspects” like flashbacks to break it down? Oh, the creator said it was the only way to could have closed it once the writers thought of it.

“It was our writer — who’s been with the show since the beginning — Berkley Johnson, who came up with the idea,” Meriwether told TheWrap in an interview last week. “And as soon as he said it in the room, we were all just dying laughing. and it felt really right. And he loves word puzzles, so he came up with the Engram Pattersky; that, that spelled ‘my greatest prank.’”

Also Read: ‘New Girl’ Showrunner Pitches Us the Show’s Most Sellable Spinoff

“But I think the idea of, we knew that we wanted Winston to have one big final prank,” Meriwether continued. “And he always goes too big or too small. So we were pitching around different ideas. And when Berkeley pitched that, it kind of made sense. I think we all felt like them getting evicted or having to leave the apartment was going to feel a little expected. So there was something great about the prank idea to give it a little bit of a final twist as opposed to, ‘Oh, they have to leave and it’s sad.’ It was great.”

It was the greatest, Liz.

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(Spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen the series finale of “New Girl”)

They didn’t have to move?!?

The series finale of “New Girl” aired Tuesday night, ending the whole show with one of the most elaborate pranks Winston (Lamorne Morris) has ever pulled off on the Fox sitcom. Sorry, “Prank Sinatra.”

See, Winston, Cece (Hannah Simone) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield) had spent the entire final episode packing up Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick’s (Jake Johnson) belongings, as the newly-married couple were being evicted from the loft that every member of the core group had lived in at one time or another, by a company called Engram Pattersky (which also happened to be the episode’s title). The night was full of laughter and tears and one last game of True American.

Only just as they were done loading the truck, Winston revealed he had planned the entire ruse, and they didn’t have to move. What, you didn’t realize if you rearrange the letters in Engram Pattersky you get “My Greatest Prank”? Oh, snap.

Now, who would have thought Liz Meriwether’s goofy ensemble comedy would end with a twist that required “The Usual Suspects” like flashbacks to break it down? Oh, the creator said it was the only way to could have closed it once the writers thought of it.

“It was our writer — who’s been with the show since the beginning — Berkley Johnson, who came up with the idea,” Meriwether told TheWrap in an interview last week. “And as soon as he said it in the room, we were all just dying laughing. and it felt really right. And he loves word puzzles, so he came up with the Engram Pattersky; that, that spelled ‘my greatest prank.'”

“But I think the idea of, we knew that we wanted Winston to have one big final prank,” Meriwether continued. “And he always goes too big or too small. So we were pitching around different ideas. And when Berkeley pitched that, it kind of made sense. I think we all felt like them getting evicted or having to leave the apartment was going to feel a little expected. So there was something great about the prank idea to give it a little bit of a final twist as opposed to, ‘Oh, they have to leave and it’s sad.’ It was great.”

It was the greatest, Liz.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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'New Girl' Series Finale: Jess Rocks an Eyepatch on Her Wedding Day (Exclusive Video)

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