The New Girl alum reacts to the ever-growing popularity of the lovable man-child.

By Derek Lawrence
August 21, 2020 at 11:15 AM EDT
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It's been two years since New Girl wrapped its memorable seven-season run, but the power of Nick Miller has seemingly somehow only grown — and Jake Johnson couldn't be more shocked.

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., EW declared New Girl the perfect quarantine binge, and the affection for the show has continued since, especially for Johnson's lovable man-child character. During a one-week span in June, the Nick Miller cult reached an all-time high, with a viral tweet about him and two separate articles titled "Nick Miller was always the one" and "The reason we're still so obsessed with New Girl's Nick Miller."

"It’s trippy because Nick Miller must be a slow-moving acquired taste because he was not the one people cared about when we were filming the show," Johnson says to EW with a laugh. "So I wonder if in like 20 years people will be like, 'I actually really love Nick Miller now.' In 2040, Nick is really going to have a moment."

As much as fans still love Miller and New Girl, Johnson feels the same way. For his new animated Netflix series Hoops (now streaming), he cast his former loftmates Max Greenfield, Damon Wayans Jr., and Hannah Simone. However, Zooey Deschanel didn't score an invite as Johnson was too "embarrassed" to ask her because Hoops is "so disgusting."

"But, honestly, [Nick] is the character that I will probably relate to the most in my career, because we were all so young when we started that show," admits Johnson. "[Creator] Liz Meriweather was in her late 20s, it was my first really big job, it was Max’s first big job, it was Lamorne's [Morris], it was one of Damon’s first, Hannah’s, and Zooey was different because she was more established. It just felt like we were creating something together. We were able to improvise so much, we did such long hours, we did all of our first big press tours together, we really got to lend our sense of humors to each character. I do have similarities to Nick but I’m not Nick. Max has a lot of Schmidt but he’s not Schmidt. But comedically we really are those guys, and we can lean into the joke of them really easily because we did it for so long. So the fact that people are finding it and appreciating it, all jokes aside, it’s really heartwarming and fun."

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New Girl

Zooey Deschanel plays lovable Jess, who is plodding through life with a good group of friends.
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