From “Bangsgiving” to holidays in the wilderness, New Girl is known for its Turkey Day specials.
The Fox series, which ran for seven seasons from 2011 to 2018, followed Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel), a quirky teacher who moves into a Los Angeles loft with three men — Schmidt (Max Greenfield), Winston (Lamorne Morris) and Nick (Jake Johnson) — after she discovers her (now ex) boyfriend has been cheating on her.
The sitcom, which was created by Elizabeth Meriwether, never missed an opportunity for a holiday extravaganza, from zany Halloween antics to heartfelt Christmas cheer. However, it was the show’s decision to air an (almost) annual Thanksgiving episode that pleased viewers the most. The series even brought in a few iconic guest stars like Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner, who portrayed Jess’ mom and dad, respectively.
“[It was] intimidating. Very intimidating,” Deschanel recalled of her onscreen parents during a 2014 appearance at PaleyFest. “I felt like the whole time we were, like, Home Alone face. Something about Rob Reiner, when he walked in, just his signature deadpan, it’s like, ‘Whoa.’ It was really amazing and they are both so nice and generous and told us so many great stories.”
Keep scrolling for a guide to every New Girl Thanksgiving episode:
It may be the first holiday episode, but it’s also the most important as “Thanksgiving” sets up the romantic tension between fan-favorite couple Jess and Nick.
In order to get more face time with her crush Paul (Justin Long), Jess insists on throwing a Thanksgiving get-together despite Nick, Schmidt and Winston wanting to engage in their annual “Dudes-giving.”
While the guys finally agree, problems arise as Jess reveals she doesn’t know how to cook and the turkey has to be defrosted in just a few short hours. The awkward dinner only gets worse when the roommates head next door and discover their neighbor’s dead body.
Who doesn’t love a good guest star? Curtis and Reiner show up to portray Jess’ mom and dad after she “parent traps” them into both attending Thanksgiving dinner – something she’s been trying to do since their divorce.
Family hijinks are abound, with Schmidt and his cousin (also named Schmidt and played by Rob Riggle) competing to prove who is “more manly” and Jess’ parents, who claim to hate each other, hooking up in the bathroom. Jess is devastated when she realizes their rendezvous won’t end in a reconciliation.
Thanksgiving in the wilderness! The gang — plus Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.)! — heads out for a change of scenery as Nick suggests they try hunting and gathering in the woods for the holiday. Jess — wanting to support Nick as their new romance continues to blossom — agrees to the idea and convinces the rest of the roommates to join in.
In true New Girl fashion, things quickly go astray as Winston, Jess and Cece try to secretly buy fruits and vegetables for their Thanksgiving feast, upsetting Nick. A guilt-stricken Jess then ingests a toxic fish to make him feel better, leading her to become instantly ill and delusional.
The group ends the night in the hospital with Jess, who has contracted giardia — among other things — simply happy to be spending the holiday together (and alive).
Thanksgiving? More like Bangsgiving. Everyone in the loft is single, which means Schmidt is ready to mingle. He suggests the roommates all set each other up on blind dates to find new love.
Jess is hopeful to connect with someone so she can get over her crush on coworker Ryan (Julian Morris), but Coach ends up bringing him as Jess’ blind date. Meanwhile, Coach is intimidated by his date’s strength, Winston shares his fear of lunch ladies and Nick brings his elderly friend Tran to the dinner. Exes Schmidt and Cece coincidentally are left with no dates, leaving them to spend the evening together.
The final Thanksgiving episode of New Girl features another stellar guest star, Peter Gallagher, who portrays Schmidt’s recently heartbroken father. The father-son duo work on their issues while Nick revels in his sadness over girlfriend Regan (Megan Fox) not showing up.
Jess, meanwhile, tries to find a way to break up with boyfriend Robby (Nelson Franklin), who shows up to dinner without an invitation, after she previously caused a bunch of accidents that landed him in a wheelchair.