Prince was a legendary musician, and a cultural icon, but who knew he was also a New Girl fan? The superstar reportedly reached out to the show creators offering to do a guest spot, resulting in the show’s 2014 post-Superbowl episode featuring a rare Prince TV acting appearance (playing himself, of course). By season three, episode 14 of New Girl, Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) had recently embarked on their relationship, right around the time Cece (Hannah Simone) and Jess inadvertently got invited to a Prince party in L.A. Everyone’s excited, especially Nick, who was extremely into Prince in high school:
Right before the party, Nick blurts out “I love you” to Jess for the first time, and Jess fails to reciprocate, causing a major relationship stumble. Luckily for them, Prince is not only a musical genius, but an official love guru, and he immediately steps in to help the troubled pair. That’s after the Purple One allows them a momentary Prince freakout.
Prince pulls Jess aside to help her get in touch with her feelings (Jess: “Nick, I never thought I’d say this, but I need to be alone with Prince.”). Of course Prince is able to bring the couple closer together after an emotional and fashion makeover for Jess involving ping-pong and pancakes, with “When You Were Mine” in the background. He then performs a new song with the cast in the finale (“Fallinlove2nite”), and offers one last moment of hilarity in the episode closer, sulking when he loses to Cece in ping-pong. The rest of the cast is just dumbstruck by their encounter with the magical icon, wondering how in the world they move on from this. Schmidt ponders, “So, I just go to work tomorrow?”
Prince’s cinematic history admittedly had its highs and lows. But this brief sitcom appearance now stands as a testament to Prince’s acting abilities, as well as his willingness to poke fun at his own image, and his considerable sense of humor. On today of all days, it’s a TV moment that might make you feel just a tiny bit better. Especially when Prince wisely counsels Jess: “Anything beautiful’s worth getting hurt for. You know who said that? Me.”