This post discusses plot points from the most recent episode of New Girl.
For nearly six whole seasons of New Girl, Max Greenfield has played a character with a Type A personality, a penchant for mispronunciation, and no first name. But that all changed with tonight’s episode, “San Diego.” Ladies and gentlemen, please say hello to Winston Schmidt.
No, not “Winston and Schmidt.” Not Winston Bishop, the New Girl roommate played by Lamorne Morris. Winston Schmidt, head of marketing for Associated Strategies, husband of Cece Parekh, and a guy who can finally show off every last monogrammed item that’s definitely in his wardrobe.
According to co-showrunners Brett Baer and Dave Finkel, the New Girl writers have toyed with the mystery of Schmidt’s first name since the show’s first season—beginning with its 16th episode, “Control.” “It was much more Hebraic,” Finkel said of the original concept. “We just decided that it was not the right time, and that it was too soon, and that we were shooting ourselves in the foot, comedy-wise,” Baer added.
Baer and Finkel told The A.V. Club that the subject of Schmidt’s first name has come up in the writers’ room “at least once a season”—prompted by fake letters from Schmidt’s childhood hero, Michael Keaton, or the Schmidt-Parekh nuptials in season five. “Watch those episodes again, Finkel said. “There’s closeups of the invitation—we very artfully cover Schmidt’s first name with his thumb.”
The New Girl team looked to past sitcoms to see when they made similar reveals, like when Kramer became Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld. “We obviously wanted to hold our fire for as long as we possibly could,” Baer said. But there was a ticking clock element, as well. “We also didn’t know if this was the end of the road, so we wanted to finally do it,” Finkel said, referring to the fact that Fox has yet to pick up New Girl for a seventh season.
Will the show’s approach to Schmidt change now that he shares his given name with a known bird-shirt enthusiast and slow puzzler? Baer and Finkel laughed at the suggestion, before hinting that Schmidt’s first name will come into play in next week’s sixth-season finale.
“In the end, Schmidt is Schmidt,” Finkel said. “I’m Dave Finkel, but everyone has called me ‘Finkel’ my entire life. I think my parents even call me Finkel. Once it becomes a part of your personality, it doesn’t change that much.”