Let the haunted shenanigans continue! Nerds and Beyond is getting spooky for the month of October. Each day, our staff members are sharing one of their favorite Halloween-themed television episodes to get you in the spirit for the most wonderful time of the year. On this 13th day of October, we’re here to ask you … who’s that girl? It’s Jess! We’re revisiting the beloved comedy series New Girl for episode 6 of season 2, “Halloween.”
New Girl follows the story of Zooey Deschanel’s quirky Jessica Day, who moves into an apartment currently occupied by three guys after a messy breakup. Jess navigates friendships, love, loss, career changes, family drama, and more alongside her best friend Cece and her loft mates Nick, Schmidt, and Winston.
“Halloween,” which originally aired on October 30, 2012, focuses on relationship problems galore among all of our main characters. Jess has reached a weird place with her new hook up Sam, Nick is navigating uncharted waters with an old crush, Schmidt is on a mission to sabotage Robbie’s relationship with Cece, and things aren’t looking too hot with Winston and Shelby.
The episode opens with Nick fretting over his old college friend Amelia’s visit, as he explains to Winston and Schmidt that he had never worked up the courage to make a move on her in the past. Jess comes home during this conversation, dressed as a zombie for her current weekend gig at a haunted house. She reminds the guys that she has free tickets for them to come, but Nick makes it clear that he won’t be coming — not because he’s scared … he just doesn’t like haunted houses.
Jess visits Sam at work to return his wallet to him, learning along the way that he’s a pediatrician. Her no-strings-attached relationship with him began just a few episodes earlier, and at this point she has very minimal information on his personal life. Sam typically doesn’t share this information with the girls that he’s seeing casually, preferring to keep his caring and sensitive side under wraps. Jess tries to be outwardly understanding of this, but all the while she’s internally screaming over “Dr. Sam” when one of his patients stops by his office to greet him. “This makes me feel nothing. I feel nothing.” Though Nick Miller will forever reign supreme among Jessica Day’s suitors, I’ll always hold a soft spot for Sam Sweeney.
Amelia and Nick end up in bed together, their pent up age-old feelings having boiled over with a kiss shortly after her arrival at the loft. However, it quickly becomes clear that perhaps this great big unknown with her isn’t all that it was cracked up to be. Nick and Jess lament over this at the Halloween carnival while they’re carving pumpkins. And Nick, always maintaining his spot as the king of the best, craziest, and funniest quotes from the show, has a particularly poignant line about the situation he’s in:
You want to know why I don’t like haunted houses? Because they’re just like relationships. You walk in all confident, and then once you get in, it’s not what you thought it was going to be and it’s scary.
Though you would be hard-pressed to find an episode of New Girl that isn’t funny, the fact that this is set during Halloween makes it even better. Nick’s Bea Arthur costume, complete with bouncy antennae and a white t-shirt with “Arthur” written across it, is so hilariously on-brand for him. And Schmidt’s Abraham Lincoln-turned-Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike? Nobody would have expected anything less. Not to mention, although Winston may not have appreciated the lack of sexiness in Shelby’s pun-tastic “reigning” cats and dogs costume, her great humor didn’t go unnoticed. Jess’ noncommittal “no, looks great” as Schmidt bemoans the tightness of the Ninja Turtle pants that she’s sewn for Robbie also bears mentioning.
One of the best parts of this episode, which is largely what makes it so enjoyable, is when Nick discovers that Sam has been texting another girl and decides to brave the haunted house so that he can warn Jess before she admits her feelings to him. Nick and Jess’ nonstop orbit around one another is a central piece to the heart of New Girl, and Nick’s often amusing and always endearing ways of showing how much he cares about her are a key aspect of their will-they-won’t-they relationship. Get you a man who will put aside his own relationship issues and march into a haunted house for you, bee antennae bouncing frivolously with each nervous step. Nick screaming in absolute, unabashed, unhinged terror at the clown lives in my mind rent free until the end of eternity.
Winston and Shelby go their separate ways by the end of the episode, along with Nick and Amelia, and Schmidt and Robbie come to somewhat of a truce over Cece. And although Jess ends up being turned down by Sam, she still ends the night sitting with Nick on the couch, who’s holding a bag of frozen peas to her face as he tells her, “You should be with somebody who’s crazy about you, Jess.”
We would be remiss not to mention the other New Girl Halloween special from season 3, “Keaton.” This episode features absolute peak scheming from Jess, Nick, and Winston as they attempt to manage Schmidt’s unbearable post-breakup behavior (and hopefully save Jess’ Halloween party in the process) by posing as his childhood idol and supposed lifelong pen pal, Michael Keaton.
All seven seasons of New Girl are available to stream on Netflix. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment of our Nerds Gets Spooky series!