When a team gets together to make a TV pilot, the point of the episode is to give a network a taste of what the show can be. It introduces the characters, sets up the story of the season, and establishes the tone the writers want for the show. Just what appears in the script for a pilot episode, however, isn’t always what makes it into the show. That’s especially true for New Girl.
Before the series became New Girl, Liz Meriwether penned a script titled Chicks And Dicks. It features Jess finding out her boyfriend is cheating on her and moving in with Nick, Schmidt, and Coach after finding an ad online. Most of the script remains the same, but there are a lot of differences from that original script (available to read online) and what fans remember as the first episode of New Girl.
10 Coach’s Training Success
In the pilot episode, before he leaves for two seasons, Coach is revealed to be Schmidt’s personal trainer, though he struggles to connect with female clients at the gym where he works. The latter part is in the original script, but Coach’s lean physique and commitment to training himself is not.
Instead, Coach is actually written in the pilot as someone who is out of shape. There are multiple references to the idea that he should choose another career path. He even tries to lift the couch that Cece is sitting on at one point and hurts himself.
9 Nick’s Reluctance At Jess Moving In
Nick is initially very reluctant to have Jess move into the loft. He is the one who tries to talk to Schmidt and Coach about it, though he ends up drawing his hoodie when the two pressure him to say yes or no to her. He even questions them, in front of Jess, as to how much they even know about her.
Nick is actually the first one to be open to her moving in on the page. When Jess thinks they aren’t going to agree to her becoming their roommate, it’s Nick who stops her from leaving with a, “We’re sorry. We’re idiots. Give us a shot. Take a look at the apartment.”
8 Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing is Jess’ all-time favorite movie. It’s the movie she turns to for comfort when she’s hurting — like when Spencer cheats on her and she moves into an apartment with three guys she doesn’t know.
The original script features Jess watching Pretty Woman on repeat instead. In fact, she watches it so much that Coach and Schmidt start to memorize the dialogue and even quote the movie when they’re walking through the living room. Coach also makes references to it throughout the end of the script, but instead, it’s Dirty Dancing that brings the group together in the pilot as it was shot.
7 Benjamin And Peter
Peter is hated by fans for standing Jess up after agreeing to be her rebound in the first episode. That wouldn’t have changed. Benjamin is one of Schmidt’s college friends. That definitely would have changed.
Meriwether’s original writing sees Benjamin and Peter as interns at Associated Strategies instead of old friends of Schmidt’s. Schmidt still gets jealous and has Nick call Caroline to get them into a party when Benjamin rubs his invitation in Schmidt’s face, but in the script, he’s jealous of an intern, not a friend. Likewise, Peter doesn’t show an interest in Jess after she talks to him but changes his tune after Schmidt offers to pay him to take Jess out.
6 Jess And Nick’s Talk At The Bar
While Jess is striking out at the bar, she hangs out and chats with Nick. It’s the first time the two seem to really connect in the episode, getting along and bantering over their different points of view. Much of the conversation remains the same in the original script, but there are two key differences.
Originally, this is the scene in which Jess finds out that Caroline dumped Nick and that he’s not as together as he seems. In the pilot as it airs, she finds out not long after meeting the guys. Jess also offers up the idea that they should be each other’s rebound during the course of the conversation, which Nick seemingly agrees to before outlining why them hooking up is a horrible idea. If it stayed in, it would have made for some great foreshadowing for the show of their disastrous first date.
5 Schmidt’s Jar
Whenever Schmidt does anything particularly reprehensible — according to his roommates — he has to put cash in the apartment’s douchebag jar. The jar doesn’t get used for Winston, Coach, or Nick, but Jess does have her own annoyance bowl at one point.
The jar is such a big part of Schmidt’s characterization in the first five seasons that it’s hard to imagine the show without it. When Jess threatens his masculinity in the pilot, he removes his shirt, remarking, “ladies love Schmidt,” about his body, prompting Coach and Nick to request he put money in the jar. That never happens in the script. The jar isn’t in the original script at all.
4 The Guys’ Reactions To Spencer Cheating
When Jess reveals her story about being cheated on by Spencer, the guys go right on with their interview, and Schmidt offers her some consolation in revealing that Nick has also been dumped recently. The script reveals a more in-depth conversation about Jess and Spencer’s relationship.
Each of the guys asks Jess different questions about Spencer’s behavior while they show her around the apartment, like whether or not he lost a lot of socks, took his phone with him to the bathroom, and showered more than once a day. As the guys question her about Spencer’s habits, she realizes how many signs there were that he was cheating on her all along.
3 Coach Getting In Touch With His Feminine Side
This particular part of the pilot script is interesting because it’s clear that at least some of it was filmed thanks to Coach’s wardrobe. When Coach goes to Jess for advice about talking to women in his spin class, one of the things they talk about is jeggings. If fans are paying attention in the episode, they’ll notice he’s wearing jeggings that have been cut into shorts.
That’s because the script involves him trying to get into the headspace of his female clients by wearing jeggings, and then he can’t get them off. He cuts them into shorts instead, deciding that he actually likes the way they fit.
2 Nick Approves Of Jess’ Texting
One of the earliest hints at the chemistry between Nick and Jess is in the pilot. Not only is it clear he appreciates how attractive she is in Cece’s dress when she leaves for her date, but he also appears pleased that she’s been texting her potential hook-up about their date. This is a stark contrast to scripted Nick.
There, Nick warns her that texting a guy too much could scare him off. He does, after worrying her, also tell her that she shouldn’t worry and she should just be herself. Nick is still supportive, just in a different way.
1 “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life”
If Dirty Dancing isn’t a part of the scripted pilot, it stands to reason that its most famous part of the soundtrack also isn’t. The musical scene in which Nick, Coach, and Schmidt sing to Jess at the restaurant is a little bit different.
Instead of making up the words to “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life,” the trio, led by Coach instead of Nick, sing a song they find her singing in the kitchen in a scene that didn’t make it into the aired pilot at all. There, she sat on the floor singing “My Favorite Things.” In true loft fashion, the guys don’t remember all of the words and include lines like, “when the bears come and the aliens land…” It’s a very different version of the song most people know from The Sound Of Music.
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