As the seventh and final season of New Girl kicks off tonight, fans of the show will no doubt be reflecting on all the time they’ve spent with the now-former residents of the loft. The sitcom’s main cast — the A team, if you will — is the stuff of kooky comedy dreams: Nick (Jake Johnson), Jess (Zooey Deschanel), Schmidt (Max Greenfield), Winston (Lamorne Morris), and Cece (Hannah Simone) have more chemistry together than Schmidt’s cabinets have chutneys.
The supporting players are equally strong. Frequently representing the loft dwellers’ love interests, characters like Reagan (Megan Fox) and Robby (Nelson Franklin) have been able to keep up with the quips and zingers that make the show tick.
But any reflection on New Girl would be incomplete without the recurring characters who swoop in for the occasional appearance and are low-key the funniest part of the episode. These are the friends and family members who may be a little too weird to keep the wheels turning all on their own, but are just weird enough to cause a spit take.
Not all heroes wear capes, but at least in the case of Outside Dave, they do wear flannel.
Sadie (June Diane Raphael)
Let us reintroduce you to your friendly neighborhood gynecologist (her phrase, not ours). Sadie is one of Jess’ friends from her time B.L. (before the loft), but her insanely dry humor fits right in with the vibe in apartment 4D. So well, in fact, that there is a sizable faction of the New Girl audience that would have liked to see her promoted to series regular. It’s clearly too late for that, but it isn’t too late to appreciate her comedic timing.
Sadie is perhaps most notorious for the episode “Eggs,” in which she delivered unwanted reproductive news to Cece and also caused thousands of women to start Googling fertility tests. On top of doling out some impressively deadpan one-liners over the years (“It gets better with age; it’s like the vagina Helen Mirren”), Sadie’s true gift is her deftness in dealing with Schmidt and Nick’s very particular absurdities. She helped Nick through a lump scare and Schmidt through a sexual crisis with the sarcasm and poise we could only dream of.
Bob and Joan Day (Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis)
From a casting perspective, landing Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner is a major coup. Show us a person who wouldn’t pick these two as their parents and we’ll show you a liar (who probably also has a very low therapy bill). But beyond the pure theatrical genius of these acting veterans are two characters who are consistently entertaining.
Take, for instance, Bob Day’s romance with Julie Berkman’s older sister — a storyline that easily could have veered into Creepville (like Schmidt’s father’s many escapades) but remained funny in the face-palm kind of way. Or take for example the time Joan Day and her friends spent Bob’s wedding day on an acid trip: You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Jamie Lee Curtis re-enacting a life-size womb.
Outside Dave (Steve Agee)
Wilson on Home Improvement. Steve Urkel on Family Matters. Ned Flanders on The Simpsons. Kramer on Seinfeld. And now, Outside Dave on New Girl joins the ranks of the sitcom neighbor hall of fame.
He may be a man of few words, but those he does utter are nothing short of genius. Like the time he asked Nick, “Excuse me, is your name Stephanie? I’m supposed to be meeting someone here.” He may not always make sense, but there’s always a shred of truth to his madness. (Jess really is addicted to purses! Thanks, Outside Dave.) We’ll never look at flannel the same.
Tran (Ralph Ahn)
If there has ever been a more soothing presence on a sitcom, we haven’t seen it. There are countless reasons to love Tran, but we’ll reuse those given to us by his occasional co-conspirator and constant BFF Nick Miller.
He’s always there when Nick needs him, even if it means he has to cut out of his dance class early. He never comes to Thanksgiving dinner empty-handed (he brings a Chinese board game). His sweater game is off the charts. He’s always willing to share his mysterious street pretzels. And, most importantly, he’ll hold you like a baby in a swimming pool if that’s what it takes to calm you.
Nadia (Rebecca Reid)
Nadia is so much more than a model — she’s a model who broke Schmidt’s penis. And she’s a model who calls her baby a “little sex party miracle.” And she’s a model who is convinced that Jess is the spitting image of the monkey from a Russian cracker commercial. Those facts are enough to make us forget that they never really explained her escape from the Russian gymnastics factory.
New Girl returns for its seventh season tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET on Fox.